topbar

                       
Showing posts with label family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label family. Show all posts

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Perfect Banana Bread - a text message recipe

Easiest banana loaf recipe

Sometimes I have a craving for some really specific foodstuff from my childhood. Now that my mum and dad both live abroad, I've had to make do with asking them for recipes rather than popping home for a dose of home cooking. It's at times like this that I will send one of them a frantic text saying something like this, "Dad, I need to know how you make that leek and ginger soup you used to force me to eat all winter when I was a child! It's urgent!" or "Mum can you tell me your recipe for banana loaf again - I've lost it..."

Thankfully, both of my parents are fairly tech savvy and understand the importance of urgent food cravings, so I usually get a response fairly quickly. They are both excellent cooks too - the kind of cooks who can just open up the fridge and make something fantastic, no matter what they find inside. I hope that one day I will acquire this skill - Dan is a bit better than me at this right now. I'm too scared of failure. Anyway, before this turns into a self-flagellation-fest, here's the response that I got when I sent my mum a text asking for her banana loaf recipe a few months ago:

easy banana bread recipe


So, you've got Owl Mother to thank for this one - although she probably prefers to go by 'Karen' since that is her name! This recipe is not very consistent with its measurements but there are plenty of nifty conversion tools online if you want to make it into cups or ounces or something like that. And yes, I did text my mum "<3 Ur a goody". It was (semi) ironic, I swear!

- 2/3 mashed bananas (we always mash ours with a fork)
- 2 tablespoons of margarine (you can use butter, but this recipe works really well with marg)
- 125 grams of caster sugar (I use golden, but white works too).
- 200 grams of self raising flour! (this is important!)
- 3 eggs (medium)
- Chocolate chips (as many as you want! I used a whole packet!)
- A pinch of nutmeg (you can replace with cinnamon or leave out altogether if you like).
- A pinch of salt.

Make sure you preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius/Gas Mark 4/350 degrees Fahrenheit! The basic method that my mum and I always follow is to start by creaming the butter and sugar together, before adding all of the other wet ingredients and mixing it up into a big gloopy yellow mess. Then we add the flour bit by bit until it's all incorporated. My mum says you can add a bit more flour if you think it's too wet, but like she said in her text, this is a pretty wet mixture, so don't stress out about it too much! Pour the mixture into a greased non-stick loaf tin, and pop it in the oven for about an hour. I always check mine with a skewer or knife after about 45 minutes to make sure it's cooking nicely, and then keep checking it every ten(ish) minutes until the skewer comes out clean (except for melted chocolate!) and it is ready! Pop it out of the loaf tin and onto a cooling rack before gobbling it all up with a pot of Earl Grey.

fresh banana bread

chocolate banana loaf recipe

This recipe is so easy, that you can pretty much whip it up WHILE dinner is cooking! A favourite Friday night tradition with my mum is to make tuna pasta bake and banana loaf all at once, and then devour them both whilst watching sitcoms on the television. I've tried so many banana bread recipes and none of them work quite as consistently as my mum's classic! So my question for you is this - do you have any 'family recipes' in your household? Are your dad's roast potatoes the best in the land? Does your grandpa make the most intense margaritas you've ever tasted? (Probably not - that's Dan's Nonno's territory!) I'd love to know if you've got any culinary secrets in your family!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Happy Birthday Dan!

Baby husband

It's my husband's birthday today, so I thought I'd write a quick note to him on here, in public... It seems like a good idea right now, but we'll see how I feel about this in the morning!

Happy birthday beautiful Dan. I probably don't say this enough, but I love and appreciate you so much. From the very beginning of our relationship when you were barely 20, you've looked after me, supported me, and entertained me. We can talk and talk together for days, even if we do sometimes tell each other the same story more than once, or vehemently agree with one another... both arguing on the same side of the debate. You're a kind and generous human being; you are overflowing with boundless affection and tenderness for everyone you meet (except for people who stop walking very suddenly in front of you on a busy street... and wasps). I am very grateful to have met you and to be able to say with certainty, that we will always comfort one another when we're sad, and rejoice together when we're happy.

We've got a lot of stress coming up, what with this house-move falling at every hurdle, but I know that we will be okay because you're pragmatic and hilarious - a winning combo in a crisis.

Also, a big shout out to Dan's sister Bex. (Somehow, they both ended up with the same birthday, five years apart. That's Bex and Dan in the photo above) Bex, you're a schnügly tinosphere and I love you lots. In the words of Kierkegaard, "You don't know you're beautiful - that's what makes you beautiful."

Saturday, 2 August 2014

My long distance relationship... with my family!

coping with relatives overseas

Like pretty much every other young adult on the planet, I have a complex relationship with ‘home’. Increasing numbers of children are growing up in composite families, and I’ve always been able to joke about being ‘the child of a broken home’. Even my friends whose parents are still together find themselves in a strange between-space as they leave their families and find their way in the world. ‘Home’ doesn’t necessarily feel like ‘home anymore’… But that’s another post for another day. Today I’m going to talk about my long distance relationship with my family.

90s family photo
riverside nostalgia

My mum is Australian, so I’ve always been stretched across the hemispheres of the planet. One of my earliest memories is wishing that there was such a thing as a video phone so that I could see all of these strange family members who wanted to speak to me down the phone once a week. (Obviously this was pre-skype, pre-facetime, and pre-internet in homes!) We went to visit them when I was three – god knows how my mum managed to keep three-year-old Candy occupied on a 24 hour flight… And I was bombarded with affection and love by this army of fast-talking, loud-laughing Australians. I’ve been back to visit them five times since, sometimes for months at a time, and every time I leave, it hurts more.

family reunion sydney
tiny fashionista coffeeshop
port douglas grandparents

When my parents split up, I split my time more-or-less evenly between the two of them. I lived out of my school rucksack from the age of ten, and soon became accustomed to the feeling of always missing someone. When I was at my Dad’s house, I missed my mum and my silly Stepdad, I missed the big sofa, and I missed the endless snacks available for my delectation. When I was at my mum’s house, I missed my Dad’s music, I missed my baby brother and sister, and I missed having someone to chat to, the moment I got back from school. I was always at home, but I was also never at home.

My long distance family story doesn’t stop there. When I was eighteen, my Dad moved to France with my stepmum and my little brother and sister. I had just finished my A-Levels, and I was tentatively preparing to move to Cambridge in the Autumn. Around that time, my Mum decided to spend some time with her family in Australia, and suddenly a natural ‘baby-bird-flies-the-nest’ scenario was out of the question. It was more of a ‘shit-the-nest-blew-away-in-a-storm’ kinda deal. I was essentially an international student, in terms of my living scenario, but I didn’t have any of the special storage allowances afforded to students from overseas. I remember getting a couple of comments in my first term at university about why I had SO MUCH STUFF in my room – in truth, I had ALL my stuff in my room…

These days, my Dad is still in France, and my baby brother and sister are old enough to chat using Skype and FaceTime. My mum lives back in Australia, and battles with the same ‘where is home?’ struggle that I do. My story is far from unique. One of my friends’ parents recently moved back to China after raising her in the UK. Many other friends moved to the UK to go to university, leaving their families behind in Poland, Italy, Spain and all sorts of other places. And whilst Skype and FaceTime make keeping in touch easier than when I was a child, they don’t take away that feeling of displacement that you get from being part of a long-distance family. And don’t get me wrong, when I say family, I don’t just mean those who are related to you by blood. Half of my family isn’t. Blood has nothing to do with the hollow feeling of missing someone you love.

I’m a firm believer in re-imagining the idea of home and making it resonate with you personally. We’re fed this idea of home being a physical space, occupied by blood relatives and where hearty, nostalgic food is readily available. Home is advertised to us as a place that we can always snap back to like an elastic band, even if we stray far away…

Balls to that. What about all of us whose family homes now house other families? What about those whose childhood houses have been bulldozed or redeveloped?

Home doesn’t need to be a physical space at all, and even if we have to keep re-teaching that to ourselves for the rest of our lives, I think it’ll be worth it in the long run.

very young siblings

The photos above are a selection of old photos and newer photos of my family. I don't have photos of everyone, as a lot of my photos are packed away, but I love them all so, so much (in case you didn't notice), and I miss every single one of them more than I could hope to express in words.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Winter in Brittany

I love the "country lifestyle".

Right now, I live in central London, but when I was growing up in Brighton I always had unlimited access to both the beach and the countryside. I also spent my summers in rural France, exploring everything on my own. I always relish going to stay with my Dad, so here's a little taster of what I got up to on my very relaxing trip to stay with him, this winter.

winter beach walk
winter sunset

festive table setting

winter prawn stew

analogue camera and woolen legs

twilight trees

magic lake brittany
It was the perfect way to convalesce after my operation. I'm on my way back to health, and looking forward to a productive, healthy, and happy new year. This year, I'm getting married, and lots of other exciting things are going to happen too! Keep your eyes peeled, friends!

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Cambridge!

Well, here I am in Cambridge...

I have been here for a week, and a bit. So much has already happened. It is actually ridiculous! I have eaten my weight in cheese toasties. Toasties seem to be the "in" thing here. That, or I am just unaccustomed to the mysterious nuances of student life.

Tonight I am going to something called a 'College Family Superhall' which is indeed as weird and confusing as it sounds. It is basically a fancy dress dinner. I have also joined a society which simply calls itself the 'Sheila and Her Dog Society'. I must say, the people are the strangest and cutest people I have ever met in my life. They sit around in their dressing gowns, playing Charades, and eating lumps of cheese. It is all rather quaint, but yet so lively! I have also auditioned and been accepted by the College Chapel Choir, which aside from the God stuff (which I will be getting enough of during my Theology course for the next three years), should be really good fun! And it means free food on Sundays!

I am still considering whether or not to get into rowing... Do I really want to be a boatie? Do I need that in my life? I am not sure... But it is something so inherently 'Cambridge', you know?

Have made some lovely friends here too, which I am very happy about.

Sorry this is such a quick post. Here is a picture of some of us on Matriculation day. (Laura, Emma, and Me)