What is it about holidays?

So. That was Easter. How fast is this year going?

I’d told the the clingons that  the Easter bunny had left their eggs  in all sorts of odd places this year so they’d have to search for them. One was up on the field hidden in the blackcurrant bushes, one was down in the garden by the greenhouse. It took them ages to find them. Peace, perfect peace.

Mind you, I had to get the timing and placement correct or we could have ended up with a real old mess on our hands. It was quite a hot day and the sun was blazing down. I… er, I mean the Easter Bunny waited till he got a text message to say the kids were on their way then ran out and placed the eggs so that they were kept coolish in the shade of the bushes while still highly visible (can’t make it too difficult).

The Rev was kindly volunteered by Gembolina to help out with the heavy duty work in the garden. Thanks, Gem!!

Between The Rev, Boofuls and Big N they made short work of clearing out the ‘fire pit’, a small built up area that is crying out for decking and a pergola.

While the chaps were getting on with that we women made ourselves busy in our respective kitchens. The least I could do for getting out of the building work was to cook everyone an Easter dinner.

Lamb and chicken were put in to roast, spuds (or ‘praters’, if you’re local) and vegetables were peeled. The bread maker was working at full pelt.

Then I turned my hand to an idea that’s been knocking about for a week or two.  I made Cheese!!!!

Last week I ordered from the internet a cheese making kit which included the stuff to make a starter culture. Of course that needs 24 hours to get going and I didn’t want to wait. I wanted this cheese for our starter.

A quick shufti round the internet later and I had what I wanted, a quick and easy recipe for cottage cheese. How easy is that?

1. Warm milk

2. Add lemon juice

3. strain.

4. Add flavouring

5. Serve

After straining I added salt, pepper and chopped walnuts. Then kept it chilled before serving. It tasted of…… absolutely nothing  – but you can’t have everything and I did have the excitement of making it.

Have you ever noticed how domestic appliances seem to conspire against you while you’re cooking a big ‘High days and holidays’  dinner? I vividly remember the Christmas Day when the dishwasher decided not to work. Is there ever a day in the year when you have more dishes to wash than on Christmas Day? I think not.

Yesterday, the hob decided  not to work. Turning the gas on, I pressed the ignitor button. Nothing. I listened for the sound of gas through the pipes. Nothing. I sniffed for the tell tale smell of gas escaping. Still nothing. BOOFULS!!!!!

After clanking around with the gas bottles for a while Boofuls ascertained that we had in fact run out of gas. Deep sodding joy. There’s a lot to be said for living in the suburbs and being attached to civilisation by nice long pipes that supply utilities on demand.

So. Cook a meal for seven people using the oven alone?  Challenging but not impossible.

The small mountain of chopped leek and cabbage was the most challenging. Big N suggested I cook it on the coffee pot warmer thingy that I’ve never used on the cooker. “It’ll be slow but it’ll do it. The pan went on to warm. I was a bit dubious when it took 5 minutes to melt a knob of butter but we persevered.

I might as well have cooked it using my own body heat, it was so slow.  It took about an hour but it got there in the end.

I sent Gembolina a text to ask her to make gravy at her house and bring it up with her. “I’ve got granules, I’ll bring them.”

“Granules, what do you do with them?”  I asked, much to her amusement.

“Pour water on them.”

“Is that it? Why have I been faffing about with  meat stock and vegetable water all these years?”

Eventually dinner was served, and very nice it was too. Gembolina had made lemon biscuits and an apple crumble for pudding. A show of hands voted for custard to go with it. I popped off into the kitchen to make it. Stopped at the door.

“Um. guys? No hob? That means no custard.”

Apple crumble without custard?  A travesty!

We ended the evening all snuggled up on the settee watching the previous nights ‘Britain’s Got Talent’.

It was a nice end to a busy, family day and I loved it.

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