This has been a rather mixed year in the garden. Despite all my busy sowing early in the year, there wasn’t a whole load to harvest after those pesky rabbits got stuck into all the tasty green shoots. Still, the arrival of four cats (and the occasional extra stray or two) has put a stop to the dozen or so rabbits that we used to see in the mornings, carvorting in and around the raised beds, and we have managed to get our hands on some of our own garden produce.
It’s been a big week in the life of a Little Missy. She’s been happy to stand up and cruise around the furniture ever since we were in New Zealand then, two weeks ago, just shy of 11½ months, she took off. Starting with little unsteady forays in the sitting room, she started to walk on her own, chortling with pleasure, arms windmilling by her sides as she tried to balance and master this new means of locomotion.
Sometimes, in this house, baking is not just for the bigger members of the family and, along with the Flapjacks and Shortbread, there’s even a tin marked with Little Missy’s name. It’s currently filled with these twice-baked Banana Spelt Biscotti, which I love because they are easily made, contain no sugar and it’s up to you about the kind of flour you use. These, along with LM’s favourite rice cakes, are perfect afternoon snacks – and easily portable – but she is quite happy to munch on them at any stage, and especially loves a small smear of marmite on the biscotti when we’re at home.
Coffee and cake – kaffee und kuchen – can you think of a better thing to warm you up on a bracingly cold Berlin afternoon? Over the course of ten days in Germany there were a lot of stops with Little Missy for a variety of sweet treats – and a lot of walking to compensate! Herself, myself and the Husband were staying at an apartment in the Friedrichshain district so, with the Husband gone from early to late on his course, LM and I set off to explore the city together. Mornings she slept then, as soon as she cocked an eye, she was scooped up, wrapped warmly, landed in the pushchair and we took off.
The Little Sister, who finishes college early on Fridays, was around yesterday so we took Little Missy for a walk that turned into an impromptu blackberry picking expedition. Not being very organised, we had to use LM’s hat for a basket, gathering (and eating) the berries while we strolled down the road. Blackberry season seems to be going on for ages this year, with a sunny September ensuring that there are plenty of fruit for eating and for cooking with rather than the usual one-or-the-other situation.
I’ve only managed to go to the cinema twice since Little Missy arrived on the scene, an enormous drop off when compared with the four or five films a week I might go to see when I reviewed films for the RTÉ entertainment website. I used to go see those films during the day, and for free. That was a Very Good Thing – even if the films were bad, and some were really, truly horrendous.
Last year, on a trip to London, I picked up a spork – a light plastic utensil which features a spoon at one end, fork at the other and serrated knife edge on the fork side – in a kitchenware shop and I’ve rarely been without it since. The last quarter of 2008 was taken up with train trips to Dublin as I worked on the Foodtalk documentary series and, food on the train being what it is – or isn’t – my spork was invaluable.