Only one more sleep until your baby brother enters this world, so as soon as I’ve finished writing this I’ll be packing my bag and hopping in the car for the four-hour drive to your house.
I’m very excited.
It’s not often I get to roam at will and the thought that there’s you and a new baby waiting at the other end is only adding to the general air of hysteria.
Your Grandpa and Ella won’t be able to make it until the weekend because someone has to stay behind and make a quid.
That someone isn’t Ella, who recently achieved a personal best for lying on your Uncle Paul’s couch with a pair of Explorer socks on her head (17 minutes in case you’re wondering).
I think food smears will be with us for quite some time. They must be saving restaurateurs a fortune.
The menu will generally say something along the lines of “…served with a lightly spiced sweet potato mash” and you’re picturing this fluffy mound of deliciousness but what you actually get is half a teaspoon of the stuff swiped across the side of your plate.
Bring back food towers, I say. Or even better, Nanna serves, where the food is arranged in piles all around the plate.
Your Grandpa, who’s been a grumpy old shit lately due to major dental surgery, blames the food-smear trend on the never-ending parade of celebrity chefs and TV food shows.
We had to stop watching My Kitchen Rules because by the third episode he was threatening to put a brick through the TV.
In other news, I have finally painted all the woodwork in the passage, bathroom and bedrooms. It took me two weeks.
I’d like to be able to say it gave me immense personal satisfaction to see the end result, but it didn’t. By the end of it I’d almost lost the will to live.
Also, due to aforementioned dental surgery, we’ve been eating lots of soup.
I can’t say I’m a big fan of soup, and that didn’t change after eating it non-stop for what seemed like a decade but in reality was only a week.
The exception is this Pumpkin and Sweetcorn Soup from TV cook Delia Smith.
I can eat it until it comes out of my ears (which it almost did over the course of that seven days).
Delia’s original recipe includes a sprinkling of toasted sweetcorn over the top of the soup, which I never do because I can’t be bothered.
Also, as usual, her recipe is about five pages long because she seems to be under the impression all her readers are morons.
Here is a shortened and slightly altered version that is still extremely delicious.
One year ago on this blog: Getting Clucky
PUMPKIN AND SWEETCORN SOUP (FROM A DELIA SMITH RECIPE)
2 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
700g butternut pumpkin
1 supermarket pack of corn cobs (3-4 half-cobs) or 2 whole corn cobs, husks removed
salt and pepper
750ml (3 cups) chicken or vegetable stock (Campbells or similar)
250ml (1 cup) milk
Melt the butter over low heat in a big heavy-bottomed pot.
Fry the onion gently for 8 minutes, without letting it colour too much.
While that’s happening, peel the pumpkin and cut it into 2cm cubes.
Take the kernels off the corn cobs by standing them on end and slicing down their length with a knife.
Tip the pumpkin and corn kernels into the pot and season with salt and pepper.
Put the lid on the pot and let the vegetables soften for 10 minutes over a low heat, stirring occasionally.
Raise the heat, pour in the stock and milk and bring to simmering point.
Lower the heat, partially cover the pot with a lid and simmer gently for 20 minutes or until the pumpkin feels soft when pierced with a knife.
Puree the mixture with a stick blender until smooth (or blitz it in a blender) and, if you haven’t just had dental surgery, serve with big hunks of bread or cheese on toast.