Going Russian

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Last Wednesday,the rain poured out of the heavens like that of the epic flood. Having spent an hour clearing out the girls room, I surveyed my surroundings. Yes it looked tidy but the walls looked grubby, so I felt completely dissatisfied that things looked any better. Considering the weather and the fact I wasn’t bringing my two year old out in it, I had the bright idea to freshen up the room with a lick of paint, sure how long would it take?!
Well,lets say by five thirty I’d no dinner cooked and I was only washing out the brushes. And all I had accomplished was a white room, nothing pretty or fancy,that was it.
So what was I going to do on the walls?  The girls wanted butterfly’s, hearts, the usual. I promise I did consider it but come on,surely there was something just a little bit different…. So there it was…Russian dolls…pretty but not hearts and it’s not that I don’t like hearts, just lets be a small bit original.

Excited about my new idea, I went off to the hardware shop and bought four beautiful testers,bright pink, turquoise, yellow and a coffee colour. Anxious to get started, I got my husbands level out to make sure it was going to be a half professional job!  On the line we stenciled a cute little saying for the dolls to “sit “on. Next we made our doll templates. This all took longer than I thought as I wanted them to look right,so once I’d taped them to the wall I could start the actual painting.

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Well, after many days of doing a bit here and doing a bit there,I’ve finally got it finished…Its now Tuesday and I step back and survey the room,I’m happy with the final outcome but my eyes drift to the bedspread which does have butterflies on it! I suppose I’m going to need a new project to be excited about….where can I get a plain white double duvet to customise?….

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Dinner?!!

So you know those days when you feel incredibly lazy, you put a movie on for the kids and end up snuggled up with them instead of hanging that washing out, well today was one of them. The laziness didn’t go away and the thought of making dinner was too great. Cereal was suggested as a substitute, but my motherly instincts wouldn’t let me, cereal is saved for those emergency situations when really all else fails. Seeing as ninety nine percent of the time they are fed good wholesome dinners the occasional lazy day is ok. So dropped scones it is! This news goes down well with the kids and there’s a scurrying around getting favourite toppings on to the table. The great thing about these is they cook up fast and everyone gets one at the same time, unlike pancakes which can’t cook up quick enough.so it’s win win really.

Dropped Scones with Jam

Dropped Scones with Jam

Dropped scones
225g self raising flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 level tablespoon caster sugar
1 egg
1/2 pint of milk

make a batter

make a batter

Mix dry ingredients. Add the egg and start slowly mixing in the milk to make a batter. Brush hot pan with butter and drop small rounds of batter on to the pan with a tablespoon.
Cook until bubbles appear on the surface.

cook until bubbles appear

cook until bubbles appear

Then turn and cook for two minutes or until cooked through.

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Serve hot with butter and jam or Nutella, lemon curd or maple syrup.

Where do I start?

Well, I suppose, here would be a good place, Friday, the kids call it pizza night and for good reason. Ever since a holiday to Tuscany in Italy six years ago, we’ve nearly always made our own pizzas from scratch. Once you start, it’s hard to go back to the shop bought ones. Ok,it does take a bit of fore thought but not too much effort, especially if you have a kenwood chef mixer with the dough attachment. But saying that, I did four years of hand kneading my dough every Friday and its quite therapeutic. I used to love the feel of the the dough and I don’t know if this is a weird thing to admit to…giving it a satisfying smack when it was all soft and smooth!

Dry Ingredients
Once that’s done and its sitting covered in a nice warm spot you can get on with the hoovering, or mopping floors, or whatever it is that needs doing. I suppose you’ve realised by now, I’m a stay at home mum, but don’t panic if you have to go to work, you can make the dough over the weekend and freeze it. Then take it out the freezer the morning you want to use it. My recipe makes 6 pizzas so I always freeze half anyway, so I have a Friday off the next week, happy days.

Once all the mopping is done and the house is all shining, the kids come home and mess it all up and we have hot chocolate and biscuits and then I turn the oven on to full whack. Then my six year old begs me to help make the pizza and he chops and I turn out the dough. We make a great team, I wizz up the tomato sauce, spread it on and he fires on the toppings. Whack it into the oven and job done!

tomato sauce

tomato sauce

Pizza dough
1kg strong white bread flour
1 level tablespoon fine sea salt
2 x 7g sachets of dried yeast
1 tablespoon caster sugar
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
600ml lukewarm water
Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl, bring together and knead for 5-10 minutes till smooth and springy. Dust with flour or semolina all over cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.

Tomato sauce
250ml passata
100ml tomato purée
4 garlic cloves
Bunch fresh basil chopped
Pinch of salt
Mix the passata with the purée. Crush the garlic and chop the basil and add.mix together and that’s it!

Toppings
Half a green pepper diced
Half a red pepper diced
Salami
Two balls of mozzarella sliced or torn
Chunk of cheddar grated
Jalapeños
Olive oil

Assemble
Turn oven to hottest setting
Split the dough into 6 pieces. Roll out the dough or look up on YouTube how to stretch dough by using your two hands in a circular motion, stretching slightly as you go. It doesn’t knock so much air out this way.

Place on tray or hot pizza stone. Prick all over. Spread the tomato sauce thinly over the pizza but not quite to the edge. Throw on your toppings and drizzle olive oil over the top. Whack it in the oven for 10-15 minutes or golden on top. Yum!

ready for the oven

ready to eat

ready to eat