Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Spring Adventures

I have children. Although we've been married for 8 months (feels longer than that!), I have two of them. They are kind that I keep for 6 hours and then give back at the end of the day. Two precious wee souls who sometimes I tuck into bed at night and sing songs to, and then leave for my own home where there are no toys to trip on or homework to be done. I pick them up from school the next day and listen to their stories of school life.

We decided to spend the day in the park, have a picnic lunch and to visit the menagerie, the little zoo. We packed the picnic, put on our hats and suncream and chose our special toys to bring for the day. The sun was shining, the flowers were out at last after a cold winter and I was full of expectation for a glorious day in the park amongst the blossom.

It started out like this; romantic flamingos, graceful on one leg, the giggles of contented children running in the sun and watching BIG animals.
And then we found the wild parts!  On my camera I ended up with more photos of savage animals than a flowery picnic in the sun.  We spent a long time watching the big cat from China and the crocodiles.  The animals were obviously happy with the sunny day and obligingly showed off their savageness with big displays of open mouths, wild grins and stealthy stares (thankfully all through very thick glass). 

The diversity of the world never fails to amaze me! It was a fabulous adventure on a spring day. Could I call it a savagely gracfeul outing? I'll leave you with the chinese big cat to decide for youself.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Vanilla Crème

It's warmer here now. I like that. I like the feel of the air on my skin and the sun on my face. I was born for such a time as this - summer.  I went out running the other day in the early morning. It's my favourite time of the day; when the world is waking up and birds have the parks to themselves.  Our closest 'park' has no grass so I'm not so sure it fits the bill as an official park, but it's a good place to run. I do feel a bit like a little mouse running his little plastic wheel in his cage as I do laps of the park to stretch out my exercise time, before heading for home. However, the trees are beautiful and the birdsong is enough to awaken my soul as well as my body. 

I made these petits pots de crème vanille the other day for friends who came over for dinner. They are perfect for warmer weather as they are a not-too-big and not-too-small kind of dessert. And one that doesn't leave your stomach sinking at the end of a dinner party. 

You don't need an excuse to make them. Quick and economical to make. They work perfectly well for a mid-week dinner in front of the tele if you can't wait for an official occasion. 

Vanilla Crème
serves 6
500ml full cream milk
4 egg yolks
120g sugar
35g cornflour
60g butter
2 vanilla beans (or 1 tsp vanilla essence)

Heat the milk with the vanilla pods until it reaches just below boiling point. Let it cool for 10mins, leaving the vanilla pods in the milk.
Beat the egg yolks with the sugar and cornflour.
Take out the vanilla beans from the milk.
Pour the milk into the egg mixture, beating well all the time. Once mixed, pour back into the pot.
Continue to stir the milk over a medium heat until the mixture starts to thicken. 
As soon as it begins to boil take off the heat immediately and pour into your ramekins.
Let the ramekins cool and then serve with a small delicate biscuit of your choice.