Apple Crumble(v) and A Missed Easter

We made a use it up crumble.

And here is the recipe. It’s totally vegan unless you choose otherwise; so stay wild moon child and eat this to your own taste, vegan or not its delish.

Baked apple crumble, straight from the oven.
A recipe for a classic favourite, with a vegan twist.

Ingredients

120g Plain Flour
60g Vegan Buter
60g Caster Sugar
40g Oats

A round about method (and commentary).

Get your hands in! Rub the butter into the flour until a breadcrumb consistency. We like a mixture of fine and larger breadcrumbs. Add the oats and sugar and mix it well.

For this particular crumble I peeled 5 small apples we had left over in the fruit bowl and 2 small pears. I sliced the apples and chopped the pear in to cubes, threw them in the old school enamel pie dish we inherited from Mans Nan (we lost her just before Christmas and we miss her so). I mixed in about 30g of sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon because, well cinnamon and apple; enough said.

Cover it over with your crumble topping (great to mix in a handful of chopped pecans if you have them too) bake for about an hour until golden and crisp on top. I use a gas oven currently and I go medium to low heat for this one.

Enjoy your crumble – served with custard, ice cream, cream or your fave vegan alternative. I had a bit with alpro plain yogurt. Delish.

Dog pretending not to look at a bowl of apple crumble
Aro the dog looking at our homemade apple crumble.

We’ve had an indoor/outdoor kind of day. We’re in week 3 of lock down and these days are merging into one. Don’t know what day it is most hours and the fact is, it could be three months of this. I’m hoping to utilise some of the time to plan and knock out some publishables in prep for post lock down days, back to work times and ‘normality’ (what ever that is). In the meantime, we will cook, bake, laugh, love, play, make a mess (constantly), clean up the messes, drink wine, write, create and just be in our home.

Little girl in the grass with a watering can plant pot
Dee sits in the grass with her nuby cup and some sweet yellow flowers in a watering can.

As always, I am grateful for all that I have right here. I am however missing my family and my friends. I miss nipping to mum’s for a cuppa and a 3 hour chat. I miss randomly getting together with my sister and brothers, my friends, and of course my Grandma who is more isolated than ever. I miss my sweet nieces and my nephew. And we have fully missed my mum’s and step dad’s Easter Gathering with all of that side of my family. The Easter Bake Off competition we do, which I’ve been band from by the way (untouchable skills you see), the kids Easter hunt and just being together; laughing and enjoying the company. Until we can, know we miss you the most, love you the most and cant wait to see you.

L, xox

Garden Tales: The Watering Can Edition

Finally the post I have been most excited to write. I couldn’t because it hadn’t happened yet, but now it has. We have now got a filled and set up veg plot. When I say plot I do mean raised bed. It maybe small but it has been highly anticipated in my household, well at least by me.

We started with some old decking that was plaguing the garden when we moved here last year. We cut it into 6ft and 2ft pieces and joined with extra long screws (very technical I know, but we were winging it and didn’t have too much to hand). We’ve lined it with pond liner tapped in with some small nails and made drainage holes in the bottom. I’ve layered in some torn up cardboard because I had read that somewhere (admittedly I cant remember where now), then the compost. Since we’ve been on covid-19 induced lock down, we’ve been sourcing everything we can as locally as we can. When I found out our local garden place was offering a delivery service I got super excited. I ordered what I thought were going to be seeds, picking tomatoes, chilies, kale, lettuce and mini cucumber. They arrived at my door and they were not seeds in small paper packets, but seedlings; growing already and perfectly ready for transplanting.

Dee, of course, helped out. Sticking her dirt covered fingers in to the soil over and over. She was loving every second. She’s a little bit rough with the seedlings and determined to water them – a lot. More especially when my grandma sent over a small watering can for her that she no longer used any more, Dee will certainly use it. All the time. She is already trying, I mean we just had to go out and water it all again before bedtime.

I’ve also planted some seeds, along side a kitchen scrap celery stalk. We’ve done some beets, radish and leeks. I am waiting for runner beans to arrive and a couple of other seeds. Feel like I’m starting a little late, but this is all about trial and error for us. I am seriously hoping that my Grandad is watching from where ever he may be now and is sending his wisdom about everything plant based. He passed just about a year ago this week, and my heart aches for him. I miss him dreadfully. I keep revisiting a post which I published last year close to him passing; My Grandad; Snippets from Charlie. I equally smile and cry when I think of him at the moment.

Watering (lightly) twice daily at the moment, results are anyone’s guess. I will however keep you updated. Keeping the little busy in between watering times feels like Easter exploded all over the downstairs of my house. We’ve been painting, sticking, making, baking, painting some more and of course eating our bakes. And that’s just been today. Please feel for all parents out there at the moment, not having the ability to take a walk to public park and let them kiddos run wild for an hour is a killer. Check on your parent friends, we are run ragged.

Off to sink some Gin, but I wish you all have the best Easter Weekend and stay as sane as humanly possible.

Love and Bunny Hops,

L, xox

The Broken Crayons and The Ginger Whale

Sorting out the littles colouring box and finding a hell of a lot of broken crayons. I’ve seen it countless times online, pinterest, and Insta ect when people melt down the old crayons in silicone moulds and reuse the results. Getting the best out of the broken bits. I’d just like to take a moment to drift back to my own childhood when the paper jackets on crayons would slip off countless times for you to be able to slide the crayon right back in, or they’d be easy to rip back the paper to expose more of the crayon. I remember the waxy smell of them and still to this day love it.

However I can confirm that crayons are no longer easy to separate from their paper jackets. As it took me a good 20 mins to take all the paper off before melting them. But its imperative you do so I did endure it. I filled up an old silicone cupcake tray with the broken old crayons and tried to keep similar colours together. Keeping them similar makes me smile but feel free to mix them up and put in all the colours you would like or stick to one colour per hole.

Pop them in the oven and bake till melted completely. On my lowest setting it took about 15 mins, but my oven is beyond ancient so isnt the best (roll on the new kitchen in the atumn – can not wait). All I can tell you is heat until melted, remove from the oven and cool till solid making sure they are thoroughly cooled before letting little hands touch.

Grab some paper or a colouring book and enjoy those new colours. Dee loved them, easy to hold and they look cute stacked because of the puck shape. I implore you to have a go, in the name of reduce, reuse, recycle and of course as a time filler if you’re lacking bits and bobs to get the little ones involved with.

Dee forever asks to make “gingermans” and today I folded and helped her make some. We made circles, gingermans, stars and whales which initially I thought was a strange looking bunny. Man put me right and hands up it deffo looks like more of a whale than a bunny. What do you think? I can kinda see both. Dee says it’s a bunny.

Recipe to follow shortly for these. They’re certainly a winner in my house. Crisp and spicy with a lingering ginger flavour, for lovers of ginger these are a must.

Love and wishes,

L, xox

Easy Peasy

When toddlers take things at face value we often find ourselves puzzling, doubled over in laughter or even blushing with embarrassment. When Deedee had a conversation with her daddy today in the garage we were no exception to that rule.

She was practicing riding her trike, shes having trouble pressing down on the pedals with alternate feet. Her attention span ain’t all that, so she wanders off to find daddy doing man things in the garage. They end up having a conversation where shes asked him if the moon was going to come out. He quickly replied that he would get the moon and stars for her “easy peasy lemon squeezy”. Okay daddy.

She comes into the kitchen where I’m having a rare four and a half mins and a cup of peppermint tea. And she says “Mummy, can I have the juicy lemon for daddy so he can get the moon to come out” I tried to hold back the giggles, but this kid was serious so I asked her how he was going to do that to which she replied “he needs the easy peasy juice lemon to get the moon and the stars to come out”.

Yes, darling; daddy is going to get you the moon by squeezing lemon at the sky. I mean, what do you say to that. I’m in stitches, she’s really pleased I’d given her the lemon juice (juicy lemon squeezy) out the fridge and she wandering in and out the garage trying to give daddy it so he can get the moon.

You’re killin’ me smalls. You’re really killin’ me.

Love and squeezes,

L xox

Eternally Formal in a B.O Ridden Waiting Room

Thursday was the day I had to go to The Job Centre to confirm my claim for universal credit (oh the joy). I was dreading this little visit. Thursday was a hugely busy day and this was my least preferred part.

The location – Parking and walking through a down trodden part of Bradford was not my idea of a good time to start off with. The Job Centre is located on Manningham Lane; for those of you who don’t know this part of Bradford I strongly suggest you don’t take a trip there unless necessary. Everything looks scruffy, filthy and well past its best. It’s like the sun got sucked out of the sky and your soul is slowly being consumed by a black hole that waits and feeds on all glimmers of possibility. I’m so very glad that I had care for Delilah on Thursday, I will aim never to take my child to this soul destroying place.

I’ve only ever been to The Job Centre once before. I felt exactly the same the first time, this being four year ago when I found myself redundant for the first time round. I had dressed as I would for an interview, but most people in the vicinity looked as though they had rolled out of bed and not showered for at least three weeks. People wearing tracky bottoms, looking like they had taken a dump in their slacks and carried on regardless – the smell from some would confirm this to be true. The gentleman who decided to take the seat behind me (we were practically back to back) had an odour so strong I had to strategically place the back of my hand under my nose and over my mouth so as not to breathe in the stench. The rancid smell of body odour was the thing I remember the most from the last time I had to make the visit. The thing of nightmares.

“Stay positive” I kept telling myself “It will be over soon – you’ll have a job by next week” My pep talks got me through the wait as did the thought of the two interviews I would sit that very day. I was feeling decidedly overdressed at the start, but convinced myself that I would never turn up to any interview in anything less that formal business attire and this should not be any different, even though the rest of ‘the Job Centre Crew Massive’ looked like death warmed up. Even the email concerning the time of my ‘appointment’ called it an interview. First impressions are important after all!

I was utterly determined they would not treat like a twirp, and went in ready to fight back and burry the potential insultee with words. The last time I was there I was told I was over qualified so they couldn’t help me. Let me clarify that I was out of work for a grand total of two weeks, and the claim I put in (just in case) for job seekers allowance was rejected because ‘I hadn’t contributed enough national insurance’. This was an absolute joke of a comeback as I have been working and paying national insurance since I was 16. I know people walking straight out of school at 16 claiming everything and anything they could, but I couldn’t even claim JSA regardless of working my entire workable life. Anyway back to Thursday, I was finally called forward (ten minutes later than my stated interview time) and the woman who I sat with was lovely. She didn’t talk down to me which was my major concern and led me through what would happen after going over the obligatory security details.

As we were sat discussing the bits we need to, there was rather a large hoo-ha outside the neglected building we exist in. As in noise, plus police sirens. Well that was comforting – at least there was police sirens. The woman turned to her co-worker and said “wonder what drama we’ve got today?” I’m sat there thinking that that statement means it happens on the regular and I would rather be almost anywhere else but here. She swiftly bid me farewell after that exchange and I cautiously left the building feeling pretty relieved that this particular interview, in this particular place was over.

Walking back to the car, I had no desire every to step in that hole again. As I drove off of Manningham Lane, the darkness lifted and the sun peeped through the grey clouds. The sun was magnificent, all ready for my interviews that afternoon and evening.

Job interview #1. Yes, this was just outside central Leeds. I’d planned where I would park, drove there with plenty of time to spare. The car park I had planned to park in was rammed. There was no way in hell I was getting in there. So I Google mapped it to the nearest car park. I ended up in Leeds city centre. Which while driving, is my idea of hell. I am far too impatient and full of road rage to deal with a city centre I just don’t know – most especially on my way to an interview. I spotted an on street parking spot, abandoned the car and threw money in the machine.

I set of walking. This idiot had only parked a 25 minute walk away from where I was interviewing. Would have been okay, but my little detour into the city had cost me time. I had 17 minutes to walk a 25 minute walk. I called and let the appropriate parties know, but I hate being late and having to follow Google maps on foot is stressful. The clock in the top right hand corner of your phone screen getting ever closer to the time you are supposed to be there, the map counting down clearly outside the time scale you should be working to. The walk was allllll up hill, and I’m not even talking a little hill. I’m talking like a really steep hill. The kind you would cycle up if you were in training for The Tour De Yorkshire. Realistically I should have grabbed an Uber to my location to save me the stress, and by the time I got there I felt like I had lost 90% of my bodily fluids. I never sweat, I sparkle. I had a very sparkly face. I was completely blessed that I had thrown flip flops in my bag as well as wearing heels. Flip flops were my saving grace at this point.

Got to the entrance of the building I had been told to go in. There was only a bunch of construction stuff going on right outside it. I couldn’t use that door. I walked back on myself to the last door I saw, threw on my heels and started to wander the corridors of a huge, huge building. I was so in the wrong place. I talked to some guy behind a desk who looked at me as though I had just landed my spaceship on his cat, but he managed to get a hold of the lady who was interviewing me even though it seemed like I was in the entirely wrong place. Once in the company of the interviewer things looked a little brighter.

SO as you can tell, this particular part of Thursday was highly eventful, and it all happened before 1pm. I was so very pleased to get home to Delilah. I missed her the entire morning I was gone. It felt like forever being so away from her. The latter half of the day went swimmingly with no mishaps or parking errors getting to the second interview. Here’s to next week when I should know how it all went in their opinions.

XOXO, L