Friday, February 27, 2015

Roasted Butternut Squash & Smoked Garlic Soup

Not all of my soup making attempts are disastrous, thank goodness, and this was one of the nicest ways I've spent a Sunday afternoon while The Hubs was working (apart from lying on the sofa watching Scandal and eating chocolate).  But if you time this right, you can easily accomplish both.  That's called multitasking, you know...  Back to the soup now.  Peeling butternut squash has got to be one of the most soul destroying and manicure shredding tasks known to man, so I have a clever little cheat's trick - a very sharp knife or a cleaver to split the squash in two. All you need to do then is scoop out the seeds, score the flesh and whack it into the oven.  If you're particularly lazy, line the roasting tin with foil so there's minimal washing up too.  You're welcome!

Monday, February 23, 2015

My Favourite Fizz

There are few sweeter sounds in my life than the pop of a cork heralding a celebration, be it an anniversary, a birthday or just because it’s Friday night. Those of you who read Babaduck or follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram know that I’m very fond of a glass of fizz. And for me, it doesn’t have to be a swanky vintage Champagne, some of which have turned out to be bitter disappointments (like the pink one that was a gift, cost a fortune and ended up being poured down the sink on New Year’s Eve).  Many countries make sparkling wine and one of my favourites is Spain, the land of unlimited Cava.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Celebrating Chinese New Year 恭禧發財

Kung Hei Fat Choy everybody!  When it comes to New Year celebrations, we pale into comparison with the Chinese, who have it down to a fine art.  2015 is the Year of the Goat/Sheep and Chinese New Year begins on Thursday 19th February. With 15 days of holiday festivities, that means cooking a lot of food to feed friends and family, so I thought I'd cook a Chinese banquet for us in Maison Babaduck to celebrate (no goat or sheep though...).

First up, it was time for some serious cleaning and decluttering to sweep away any ill-fortune lurking around the house before we decorated the table with lucky red envelopes.  The colour red symbolises luck and wealth so here's hoping for a prosperous 2015.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Technology : Making Life Easier in My Home

The lovely people at L&G asked me to take part in a campaign to talk about how technology makes life easier in my home and it really got me thinking.  We all take technology for granted now and sometimes we forget what a difference it makes to us all.  Take this weekend, for instance. We had not just one, but two guests, with Sandie the fluffy dog and Lucy the fluffy child both staying with us. 

Like most 9 year old girls, Lulu is obsessed with technology and knows her way around a mobile phone and a tablet, trying to persuade me download Roblox to ensure she never misses an opportunity to play.  Being a sneaky auntie, I hid my iPad away this weekend.  Her other favourite thing is Netflix, where she can watch iCarly to her heart's content.  Or until I sneakily log her out from the kitchen.  Yes, I am evil Auntie and we painted our nails instead!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Now I am Five

Half a decade.  Half as long as I've been married and half as long as three of the Childerbeasts have been on this earth.  That's how long I've been writing on Babaduck.  The soundtrack to this piece is running through my head and it's Never Forget by Take That.  Because I never forget where I've come from.  Babaduck began as something to keep me busy during the dark days of recession when the company I loved working for, folded like a pack of cards, and went into receivership.  I spent a very long and lonely 10 months out of work, desperately afraid that I wouldn't find another job and frantically worrying about how we would manage to pay the mortgage on just one, ever decreasing salary.  My confidence plummeted to an all time low because I couldn't get a first interview for the vast majority of the 200+ jobs that I applied for, never mind the luxury of a second one.  I buried my fear because I didn't want to worry The Hubs who was the only one earning.  I cried when we didn't qualify for any assistance apart from jobseekers benefit, despite hitting all the criteria on paper.  I lost a lot of my hair because of the stress, a fact that my amazing little sister hid from me, in case it never returned.  Thankfully it did, and she only told me about a year later when I was working again and was able to deal with it.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Win £50 voucher from Brainbox Candy

Are you broke and full of January gloom?  Do you need something bright, cheerful and irreverent to bring a smile to your miserable face?  Fantastic, I've something to bring a chink of light into somebody's day, and it could be you.  The sarky sods at Brainbox Candy have given me a £50 voucher for one of you to have a little shopping spree in their online store and you can be as politically correct or filthily rude as you like in your selection.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Raspberry Frangipane Tart

Over the holidays, I saw sheets of all-butter pastry appear in the supermarket aisles.  I love these as they taste so much better than standard ready rolled versions and you could easily pass them off as home made, just saying...  I was going to my friend's house for a Ladies Night In which involves takeaway, one or two sociable glasses of wine and some dessert so I volunteered to bring the dessert. Naturally, I had a roll of the sweet shortcrust pastry in the fridge for such an eventuality so it had to be a tart.  Actually, this tart was made from store cupboard and freezer ingredients so it's something you can make in an hour without leaving the house to buy ingredients.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Still Saving for a Rainy Day

Last January, I wrote about a really easy savings plan that I'd heard a lot about in the internet and in the papers.  The idea was  to start saving with just a euro, and add a euro every week.  I'm fairly disciplined about saving but The Hubs isn't, so I figured out it would be a great routine for him to get into, and sure I'd do the same.  So we started the plan on Saturday 2nd January 2014 and we stuck to it.  Religiously.  I know, I'm a little bit surprised at that too considering that the theme tune to my life is "She wasn't good (but she had good intentions)". 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Kitchen Nightmares

It started off as just a normal Sunday in winter.  The Hubs went to work and I was dragged out for a walk by the little fluffy dog, who sniffed every plant, gatepost and blade of grass along the way.  By the time we got home, I was absolutely freezing cold and in need of a bit of warmth.  I thought that making a batch of soup would do the job so I chopped, diced and sliced until my giant soup pot was full, added a dash of olive oil and left it all to simmer away.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

From all of us to all of you.  Thanks so much for reading, commenting, cooking and enjoying.  I appreciate it more than you'll ever know.  Have a wonderful 2015!