Pop over here to enter the giveaway.
Step 2: Stand, forlorn, in front of your woefully disorganised pantry. Your Spare-Room Policy of ‘if an area is a total mess, but I don’t have to look at it, does the mess really exist?’ has clearly been extended here. Look from your pantry, to the cuteness of the kitchen labels, and back to your pantry. Resolve that drastic action must be taken.
Step 3: In a flurry of activity, remove every item from your pantry and place them, haphazardly, all over your kitchen surfaces. Preferably an hour or so before you must prepare a meal for your family. This will lead you to discover that the lid of the washing machine makes a perfectly adequate chopping board.
Step 4: With hot soapy water, scrub all hardened jam, flour, crumbs and fingerprints until sparkling clean. As if on cue, have your cat walk over your freshly washed surfaces. Rinse and repeat.
Step 5: Get up at 5.30am, two days in a row, to undercoat your pantry before the children wake up and try to ‘help you’.
Step 6: Go to your local paint store for test-pots. Do not let the fact that, on returning home, you discover you do not have any of the other tools required for painting a decorative feature. You know, like painters tape. Or a ruler. This is the point where most people, on having a freshly painted pantry, all white and inviting, would just say, hey, maybe I don’t need to paint a Chevron stripe in here. But you are not most people. Devise that, alongside your can-do attitude, a record sleeve and some ordinary cellotape will do just fine to fashion a guide for your stripe. Be pleasantly surprised with the results. Feel a little smug once you have finished. Go and have a shower. I can’t believe you left the house like that.
Step 7: As you stand under the warm water trying to wash the paint out of your hair, think to yourself what a shame it is that it overcast; that now you will have to wait until tomorrow for your paint work to be dry enough to get to the fun part of the make-over – the organising! Wonder if it’s normal to feel so genuinely excited about your kitchen cupboards. Realise suddenly that you seem to have completed a whole thought. This has not been possible during the children’s waking hours…ever before. Feel immediately and overwhelmingly suspicious.
Step 8: Expletives.
Step 9: Thank your ‘helpers’ for the ‘fine job’ they did ‘helping you’. Worry that perhaps the tone in which you write about parenting on the internet is somehow drawing these experiences to you. Try not to think too much about Thomas theorem.
Step 10: Spend another two days preparing all the meals in the wash-house because you cannot face painting the pantry for the eighth time.
Step 11: Just do it already. This is getting ridiculous. You haven’t seen the bench in a week.
Step 12: Paint over Jackson Pollock Jr and Jackson Pollock Jr. Jr.’s masterpiece, ignoring their cries of protest. Realise this may well be the first in series of instances wherein you ‘don’t understand their art’.
Step 13: Once your pantry is completely dry, enjoy with great relish the grand reorganisation. Know now that this was the reason you had been hoarding all those jars. Stand back often to admire your work and to take a series of poorly lit photographs. Ignore the realisation that you could have just used washi or another decorative tape to create your Chevron stripe, and saved yourself a whole heap of trouble.
But where’s the fun in that?
And now! A Give-Away!
Stuck on You have kindly donated a set of their gorgeous personalised kids pyjamas. Head over to their website and check out all the styles available here. Then come on back leave your preference in the comments for a chance to win. I’m crazy about the Circus themed ones!
The winner will be picked at random next Thursday the 18th of April. Good luck!
Think only good thoughts on Valentine’s Day.
Because, really, it is never wise to be tricked by commercialism into thinking you are missing out on something. And you are quite lovely all days of the year; even though you get declined at the money machine and sometimes you say the wrong things and you put the bins out wearing only your knickers, certain that your vigilance somehow grants you the power of invisibilty. Your neighbours do see you, you know. But you look so adorable, all bed-ruffled and wild, they’d be fools to complain.
And though you get dressed from the washing pile and leave crumbs in the bed, and spend too much time on the internet and haven’t thought enough about current events or your savings account, and you complain bitterly about things you know don’t really matter and you didn’t go for a run today, I am sure there is someone, somewhere, who adores you completely.
And, sure, it may be your Mother or it maybe your dog or it may be your children or it may be your best friend. Or maybe you don’t feel you’ve yet met someone to adore you completely, in which case, you have so much to look forward to!
Or maybe you are lucky enough to already completely adore the person who completely adores you right back, and what a thing! For all of our foibles, there’s someone who loves us. And aren’t we lucky to be so adored.
So, today, let’s just love love. Let’s hug too long and say nice things and smile and show our teeth. And let’s be thankful that there’s air in our lungs and kisses to be kissed and chocolate to be eaten, no more today than any day.
And then, to celebrate all our good fortune, let’s make the most insanely decadent, sinfully delicious thing we can imagine.
And then eat it for breakfast.
Roast 3/4 of a cup if Hazelnuts in the oven at 175oc for 10-15 minutes. This helps seperate them from their skins, which will then come away when rubbed with a tea towel, or between your fingers, if you don’t mind the cursing it will entail as you burn your fingertips.
While these are roasting, pit 10 Medjool Dates. These are Dates for people who think they don’t like Dates. They’re huge and fresh and soft. They taste like caramel. If caramel came from heaven.
Place Hazelnuts in the food processor with half a block of good quality dark chocolate (I used Whittakers Dark Cacao), and half a tablespoon of brown sugar. Use Demerara, if you are feeling fancy – this will gives a great texture to the filling you are making for the Dates. Whizz on high while slowly adding a generous drizzle of Olive Oil to combine the mixture. (Pro-Tip: This is essentially Nutella in Veganism! You’re welcome!)
Now comes time for the secret ingredient! Booze! (I used Quick Brown Fox. It’s an organic-Coffee Liqueur, with a hint of cinnamon. It’s full and balanced and smooth. It’s flavours tell you a story. A story so delicious it’s ridiculous. It’s also accidentally Vegan! You can read more about it here: http://www.quickbrownfox.co.nz/) Add to suit your taste.
Once your mixture is combined, add just enough to fill the center of your Dates while still being able to close them seamlessly. This will be around half to a full teaspoon, depending on the size of your Dates.
In a double boiler, or a double boiler of your making (I find a bowl in a pot of shallow boiling water perfectly sufficent) melt the other half of your block of good quality dark-chocolate. With a spoon, roll the Dates in the chocolate until completely covered and leave to set on a plate lined with baking paper.
Once set, dip those suckers again! Because your decadence knows no bounds and maybe you are channelling Juliette Binoche in Chocolat and a Gypsy Johnny Depp was her boyfriend in that, so, you know. Sometimes, nothing succeeds like excess.
And now, to sweeten your day just that little more: A Valentine’s Day Giveaway!
In the spirit of the day, share the best compliment you have recieved; the one that tickled you pink, or put roses in your cheeks, or a spring in your step – on Valentine’s Day or any other day – and leave it in the comments section.
With help from Special Guest Judge: Arjun from Quick Brown Fox, a winner will be selected next Thursday the 22nd of February and sent a beautiful bottle of Quick Brown Fox all their own. Perfect for those loquacious evenings with friends, and for trying out this recipe!
(WINNER: Congratulations to ohdearred! That ‘your nose is as cute as all of Japan riding on a kitten’ is about the cutest thing we’ve ever heard. Enjoy your bottle of Quick Brown Fox – and make sure and high-five your darling from us, we’ll be using that line in future!)
So, Happy Valentine’s Day to you, dearheart. You look absolutely smashing (hunched over your monitor). xx