Visits

Posted in Uncategorized on September 30th, 2004 by Jo

In the last weeks my social life has picked up as lots of you decided that it is a good time to visit me. I am very happy about that and it is lovely to see friends. With a few people I have had to explain certain details so I decided to just post them here and then it will be common knowledge! There are some things I would like everyone to know, before they come to see me.

First of all, I really find it hard to talk about anything but the pregnancy, the baby and the labour. It is the only thing on my mind, prepare yourself it could be painful sitting through listening to me going on for hours!!! – especially to those who are used to the pre-pregnancy Joanna.

Secondly I am pretty useless in the late afternoons and evenings, as I am kept awake during night hours and usually wake up at dawn, so I will only be able to meet during day time.

Just one final thing… Please remember that I am in my 7th month and there is a little being in my belly listening to all the conversations too! :grin:

Another tarte!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 24th, 2004 by Jo

I was expecting two girlfriends to visit me today and I decided to bake a strawberry tarte. Both cancelled (Chloe is a bit ill, hope you get better soon sweetie and Nika, has a new housemate with no key) and I am left with a whole tarte! It is the second one this week and I am quite worried about my sanity. Anyway it is delicious, so here is the recipe.

Roll out the shortcrust pastry(same pastry as for the pear tarte).
Line a silicone tart mold.
Prebake the tart shell.
Meanwhile, make a pastry cream-(150 g sugar, 75 g flour, 5 egg yolks, 1/2 vanilla pod, 3/4 litre of milk)
Trim the strawberries and wash them quickly under running water.
When finished, leave the shell to cool.
Spread the pastry cream on the bottom of the tart.
Line the strawberries in rows on the pastry cream.
Melt a bit of red coating with a tablespoon of water on low heat. Beat the coating until homogeneous lump free. Brush the surface of the tarts using a brush.

Enjoy!
I was quite worried about, who will eat it. But thank GOD Warwick was very happy to take this responsibility upon himself.

Parenthood

Posted in Uncategorized on September 22nd, 2004 by Jo

As we are both first time parents to be it is very important for us to prepare ourselves as much as possible for the arrival of our child. We both found reading an enormous help in the task of becoming a fulfilled parent. Of course I am a firm believer in the fact that nothing is as good as learning from practice, but studying does help. We started of with Dr Yehudi Gordon’s, nearly 600 pages “Birth and beyond”, which is concentrating on the 9 months of pregnancy and, then first 9 months of the child’s life. It is a great book for anyone who is a beginner. We understood what changes to expect in our life’s and how to prepare for them. Also for me, the explanations of my physical state during pregnancy and labour were very helpful and the book made me feel more aware and able to be more in charge of my life and future.
Then a few weeks ago we received a present from Warwick’s brother Mark and his fiancee Nicola. A book by Peter Mayle “Baby Taming”, which is just brilliant! I would recommend it as an easy read to any new parent to be. The other one is Steve Biddulph’s “The Complete Secrets of Happy Children”, I will agree that the title is scary! But the book is great. It really goes through the stages in the child’s and parent’s life and gives authentic, straight forward advice, that sound so obvious it is difficult to understand why so many people do not just follow them naturally. Any of you already parents might say – “Easy to say, wait and see when you will have a crying baby!” I think the most important message in this book is these three main rules for parents
1. take care of yourself;
2. take care of your partnership;
3. take care of your kids;
It is so easy to forget yourself and just compromise everything for the children, but it is as important for their health to have happy parents. Another thing, the children come second very close, after your relationship! That’s so important! I can not re-write the book. But I would recommend it to anyone it does make things so much clearer and we can not wait to put this into practice.

Pear Tarte

Posted in Uncategorized on September 21st, 2004 by Jo

Another recipe, that is worth while!

You need:

Shortcrust Pastry, 300 g almond cream, 1 can pear with syrup, sliced almonds, blond coating

Technical Stages:

Roll out the shortcrust pastry- (250 g flour, 125 g butter, 1 pinch salt, 1 egg yolk, water)
Ease into a pie pan.

Prick with a fork.

Spread the almond cream- (100 g cream butter, 100 g sugar, 100 g almond powder, 20 g flour, 40 g whipping cream, 2 eggs) all over the pie.

Level.

Mince the pears.

Put them all over the cream.

Bake in a warm oven at 150°C or 302°F.

Baking at 150°C or 302°F, it will slowly brown and the shortcrust will bake nicely.

When the top is golden, take out of the oven. Let it cool. The baking part should last between 40 to 50 minutes.

Over low heat, melt the blond coating with a bit of water. Coat with a brush the surface of the pie.

Finish up by sprinling roasted sliced almonds.

A Saturday…

Posted in Uncategorized on September 12th, 2004 by Jo

We arranged to meet Mark and Nicola yesterday in our local restaurant for lunch to celebrate Warwick’s birthday. We met at noon and did not leave until nearly 22.00! We ended up having lunch and dinner. The restaurant staff was quite amused, they even informed us that just in case we were interested-they do not do breakfasts! Hahahaha. As I don’t drink alcohol it was quite amazing watching the atmosphere change. Warwick was in a very jolly mood and went on about parenthood, becoming a father and how happy and proud he is to start a new family. Mark and Nicola had to listen to us bragging on about it. We had a really good time. The bar was getting fuller and smokier, that’s, when I decided it’s time to go home.

Warwick’s Birthday

Posted in Uncategorized on September 8th, 2004 by Jo

It was Warwick’s 32nd birthday today and he decided that we should spend it together. I made him a tuna steak, rice and salad dinner and served the lemon tart for dessert.

Afterwards we went to the West End to see the new production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest based on Ken Kesey’s novel, with Christian Slater, Mackenzie Crook and Frances Barber. Obviously we both saw the film before and knew the storyline. It was a good play, but somehow unconvincing. Slater was really good as the self confident and bubbly McMurphy, but he did not manage to portray the moments of anger and desperation, especially after Billy Bibbitt’s suicide, when he risks his own future by attacking Nurse Ratched. Frances Barber, was to much a ‘Mary Poppins’ character from a children’s play. So stiff and fake it certainly was not authentic. I don’t know if it’s because they chose a set of comedians, or they chose for it to be an easy, commercial show. I expected a much more profound play, which leaves you thinking. Anyway we had a very good evening and I even managed to stay in the typical red velvet tiny theatre seats with my big bum for 2 hours.

Aunt and Uncle

Posted in Uncategorized on September 7th, 2004 by Jo

Lula or Henry got lots of presents from Aunt Nicola and Uncle Mark. They just got back from New Zealand where they were planning their wedding and they still brought back a tiny little all blacks t-shirt and gorgeous lamb skin booties, a little lamb and other beautiful presents. Thank you aunt and uncle!

Tarte au Citron

Posted in Uncategorized on September 7th, 2004 by Jo

Warwick’s favourite dessert is lemon tart and as it is his 32nd birthday tomorrow I decided to make one for him. It was very courageous on my part as apart from crepes and brulees my desserts were always a defeat. I found this recipe online and it proved to be a winner!

You need:

300g sweet dough, 2 lemons, 75g sugar, 140g lemon juice, 2 eggs, 100g sugar, 200g butter

Technical Stages:

Roll out the sweet dough to 2 to 3 mm thickness, and ease into a circular 20cm in diameter and 1.5cm high buttered pie pan.

Remove any excess dough, leave to rest in the fridge for about one hour.

Bake blind in a warm oven at 180oC for about 20 minutes.

Lemon Cream: Zest 2 lemons on 75g of sugar, pour in a pot with the lemon juice. Bring to a boiling point.

Whisk the eggs with the remaining sugar until pale and thick, and cook at a boiling point for 3 minutes, constantly whisking.

Away from the heat, combine the butter in chunks, still mixing.

Let it cool and pour in the baked shell.

Remove the lemon pie from the pan, brush the surface with blond coating.

Decoration: blanched lemon zests.

Lille

Posted in Uncategorized on September 6th, 2004 by Jo

We just came back from a great weekend in Lille. Visiting Bruno and Marion and little Boule de neige. We got there on the two days and two nights some two million people from France and abroad, in particular, Belgium and England came to participate in The Braderie de Lille – the Lille Flea Market with bargains galore, trading and haggling on small stalls. It was a whole town that wanted to empty its cellars and attics to have fun selling all manners of things. Everything and anything could be bought, sold or exchanged. All around were people consuming mussels and chips.

We were pleasantly surprised to have a hot Indian summer weather and walked through this beautiful city. Each morning we got up and bought delicious croissants and pain au chocolat straight from the boulangerie.

On Monday Bruno took us to a Commercial Centre in Englos, where a red bugaboo frog pram was waiting for us. Warwick was over the moon! He could finally play with it. I have to remember to tell our baby, how excited his dad was about playing with the pushchair himself. It is a masterpiece of a pram and I am very glad we got it.

Even thought the trip was exhausting I had a great time. Marion and Bruno always make us feel so welcome, this time they even gave us their bed and Marion cooked the best tuna & olive pasta. They are such sweethearts and we can not wait now for them to become parents, so we can have even more in common.