Tuesday, 3 December 2013

In which I am still the Lovechild of Gwyneth Paltrow and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Now where was I... Ah yes, I was busy, and tired, and starving.  I am still busy – it is December after all, and notwithstanding my best intentions, I didn’t get all of my shopping done by mid-November.  (In fact I got none very little done, except for a present for my sister, who last week texted with the suggestion that we each just get the other’s children gifts.  I also have several work projects to deal with before the children break up for the holidays (in a few short days, given the “pay more, educate less” maxim on which London’s private schools operate), then we head to Ireland, then we EMIGRATE.  And before all that, before the shopping and the packing and the editing and projecting and faffing and procrastinating  and the EMIGRATING I have to do all the London things I’ve been meaning to get done for the past 17 years.  (AND I will have the children in tow, so that should make it especially enjoyable...)

I am no longer tired – rather not as tired as I was, because the children are being quite cooperative between the hours of 7pm and 7am.  (In fact most days I have to wake the Baby up at 8, tiptoeing in, heart in mouth with every parent’s underlying fear that there might be a more... permanent reason for her silence.  Will this fear ever subside?  I don’t think so.  God, imagine what it’s like being the parent of teenagers.)

Similarly, I am no longer starving, although I am still about 90% detoxing – meaning I am no longer entirely anally retentive, or avoiding social interactions,  but not using dairy or sugar or wheat etc at home, and still largely avoiding alcohol – although that is something I’m trying to ease myself back into in advance of the impending boozey holidays. Yesterday, for instance, was a bitch of a day and so I sank into a large glass of wine at 7.01pm (and then another at 7.03) and consequently  had a horrible night’s sleep, involving dreams of Alec Baldwin and Kim Bassinger, all of us gallivanting in Singapore (they were quite delightful actually;  Kimmy was a bit neurotic and, as she told me, “IRS-neutral”, and Al got pissed and  tried to feel me up, but all our kids played nicely, which is the most I hope for in any social engagement).  

“What do you EAT?” my friends roar, unable to believe that anyone would willingly eat wholegrains or salady things or seeds and nuts, and I tell them all to go buy Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Veg book, get organised about ingredients, and be prepared to spend quite a bit of time peeling and chopping and burping and farting.  Do I feel any better for it?  Not really, although – until last night – I was sleeping brilliantly.  Also, if you eat as many seeds and nuts as I do, basically bathing  in peanut butter, and use so much olive oil that you might as well drink it straight from the bottle, you aren't doing it to lose weight.  But the dimply bits on my bottom have gone – vanished! – and that is NOT because I am too weak to see in the mirror properly.

In other news, the Baby – formerly love of my life, light of my heart – has turned into a BEAST.  Quite suddenly, in the space of about 10 days.  Not so long ago she was content and laid back and wanted only the attention of her siblings and perhaps a crust of food every so often. Now she seems to have decided that she IS one of them – that is, a 3 or a 5 yr old, complete with fully functioning limbs and legs which hold her up and a brain which reacts to objects rapidly coming her way (such as the floor).  Alas, while the spirit may be willing, the flesh – albeit magnificent and behemoth – is weak.  And so we have her attempting to climb onto the sofa, screeching at the failure of her efforts, then getting her arms tugged off by a “helpful” sibling, before screeching in pain, then leaping around like a lobotomised monkey, before – naturally – succumbing to the perils of gravity, and screeching once more.  Suddenly the house is filled with steps and other hazards, each one brought to attention by a fresh wail, but that doesn’t deter her.   In fact the only thing which has successfully distracted her in the past few days is random spoonfuls of this:

What do you mean what is it?  It's peanut butter OF COURSE.  Here's a nicer picture to show you what you can do if you're feeling fancy (and vegan.  And not too hungry.) Note: Don't knock peanut butter and avocados until you've tried them:

I finally managed to make it properly last week, and have been making daily ever since.  (It helps that I found really cheap roasted peanuts in Tesco for about 50p for a 150g bag, which yields a full jar, making it, frankly, the best value peanut better ever.)

Home-made Peanut Butter (because I’m crazy like that)  
(note: You need a blender / food processor.  Or else VERY strong hands.)

Makes:  one medium-sized jar

Most recipes I read for peanut butter call for added salt and sugar and Godknowswhat.  IGNORE THEM.   Ignore also instructions to shell or roast your own nuts (pfnar pfnar...) Buy them ready-roasted and salted, then tip them into a sieve and shake the hell out of them over the sink, and watch in horror as buckets of salt fall to a watery demise. 

You Need: 
  • One pack of salted roasted peanuts (150g will make a smallish jar, so use anything up from that)
  • Groundnut / vegetable oil

Tip the peanuts into a sieve, and agitate (in the strict sense of the word;  not agitating in the sense that my children agitate me)  to remove excess salt.

Stick nuts into food processor or blender, and whizz.  After half a minute or so, add one tablespoon of oil for every 100g peanuts.  Blend again for another half minute, adding oil, if needed, in tiny amounts, until you have the consistency you’re after.

Spoon into a clean jar, or just straight into the mouth of an increasingly over-weight, increasingly bonkers baby.

This should keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge, but if you can keep peanut butter for that long, you are a better person than I.


  1. I love your blog. I do. I've just had my husband shouting at me on the phone (we run a business together) and instead of scurrying off to ring a rubbish supplier, I've sat down with a Nettle and Ginger (unbelievably yack) tea, and I've read your post. Now, I'm going to put the kettle back on, give the yack to the dying basil, and make builder tea with sugar. Then I'm going to read some more of your posts.
    So thank you.

    1. Thank you MrsL. And having just spent 25 minutes with the baby monitor on mute, and cbeebies *not* on mute, reading your own, the feeling is mutual. (Btw, one of my work projects is writing articles on Supplier Management [it really doesn't get much more glamorous]. Apparently you should be rating your rubbish suppliers using surveys, metrics or Supply Chain Event Management... Who knew?)

  2. Oh yes, we sadly pay for one of those schools - have assumed they run on the same basis as lingerie, the more you pay, the less you get...

  3. I do this too (the peanut butter part) - I find that using peanut oil makes the taste even better. YMMV, of course.

    Avocados - genius.

  4. I am going to make peanut butter for the first time ever, thanks to you. Will report back.