I have to say that I’m not the most zen parent you’ve ever met. Obviously I adore my little one and he can be ridiculously funny and loving. He can also be a massive pain in the arse and this is only exaggerated in lockdown. I really can’t even begin to imagine how single parents or parents of more than one child are coping right now and my heart goes out to you.
i only have one, very imperfect, strategy and it involves a Venn diagram that’s looks something like this:
(don’t worry, I only drew it for this blog, in reality it is more just something I think about on a rare moment I get to go to the loo alone)
Ernest loves being outdoors. He also loves food. He has the attention span of a gnat. I love food and foraging. My attention span is also limited. So I figured we had a crossover.
Today I am rather pleased with myself because we managed to make the most of it by getting out for a walk, where he got involved in picking dandelion leaves and flowers, jack-by-the-hedge (garlic mustard) and hawthorn shoots.
When we got home, he stayed interested long enough to throw together my incredibly simple soda bread recipe which I got from my friend, chef Gary Knowles and have shared below, and which we spiked with garlic mustard. I seem to have tons of bicarbonate of soda and (like the rest of the country) no yeast, so soda bread is a great solution and much easier to make than normal bread. Our local village shop has also recently sourced an amazing freshly milled wholemeal flour - created in direct response to the shortages caused by COVID 19. Wheat supplied from one of the farmers living here in the Chalke Valley and then milled down the road at Alderholt.
Then I got a bit carried away and made him fancy baked beans with onion, thyme, smoked paprika and all the foraged bits. Obviously he didn‘t appreciate it at all but the day went past with only minimal discord and now it’s bedtime and there is wine in the fridge. 👌🍷
Here is that soda bread recipe, I think it would work equally well with wild garlic, chives or thyme in place of garlic mustard.
1lb (450g) flour (a mix of strong white bread flour and wholemeal flour works best)
1 oz (30g) butter
1 oz (30g) brown sugar or treacle
1 dessertspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
1 pint plain yoghurt or buttermilk (you might not need it all, some flours absorb more than others)
1 handful garlic mustard or other herb
- Mix all the dry ingredients together and rub in the butter
- Add half of the yoghurt and the garlic mustard and mix, then keep adding more until you have a loose dough
- put it in a loaf tin and bake at 160 degrees centigrade for 1 hour