30 March 2014

Good morning on what looks like it could be a rather pleasant day – let’s hope so. Yesterday was one of those tantalising, almost spring like days which show glimpses of better things to come and which was certainly a pleasant contrast to the sleet and flakes of snow we had earlier in the week. The forecast for this afternoon is favourable so we’ll keep our fingers crossed and trust that the prognosticators are right this time.

Last Sunday both Penelope and I had very productive days. Of course, Penny has productive days twelve times a week where as I have just about the opposite ratio – perhaps about once a fortnight. But last Sunday Penelope made a batch of her world-famous muesli and I made a batch of whole wheat zucchini, carrot and oatmeal muffins.

Penelope’s Meusli

Penelope’s muesli is a masterpiece combination of nuts, oats, sultanas, cranberries, bird seed, crumbs from the bottom of the toaster, and anything else to hand. I would ask her for the recipe to share with you all but I think she makes it up as she goes along. I think she puts honey in too? It is delicious although Molly is sulkily disappointed whenever I choose the muesli over our “normal” breakfast routine of a piece of toast from which she gets to share bits of crust. Once I get the muesli jar out she knows she’s not getting any scraps.

The zucchini, carrot and oatmeal muffin recipe I ran across thanks to Amanda who shared it and they turned out to be every bit as good as they sounded – how could you not like the sound of zucchini, carrot and oatmeal muffins? Need a way to get your kids to eat zucchini and/or carrots? Give them a taste of these muffins and they’ll be begging you for more. And healthy too! What could be better?

Zucchini Muffins
Zucchini, Carrot and Oatmeal Muffins

Making (and eating) Amanda’s muffins last week naturally reminded me of another muffin recipe I had been meaning to try. Some time ago our lovely friend Jane Benson featured Cranberry and Cream Cheese muffins on her market stall in Cognac (via her Facebook page) and I asked her for the recipe. She gladly pointed me in the right direction and here it is. I’ve got to tell you – these muffins are simply astoundingly good, especially fresh out of the oven! Perhaps not quite as “healthy” as the zucchini, carrot & oatmeal muffins but they’ve got cranberries in, don’t they? Surely that counts for something?

Cranberry and Cream Cheese Muffin
Cranberry and Cream Cheese Muffin

Our clocks “lept” forward this morning. Oh boy! I can hardly wait for all that extra daylight I am going to save! It’s absolute madness. And then, to make this idiotic process even worst, there’s an article in yesterday’s Guardian with the somewhat disconcerting headline: Daylight saving switch and lost sleep increase heart attack risk, study says.

Switching over to daylight saving time and losing one hour of sleep raised the risk of having a heart attack the following Monday by 25%, compared to other Mondays during the year, according to a new US study released on Saturday.

So, not only is the whole business simply a stupid idea, it’s also detrimental to our health. It’s pure and simple madness.

Today is Mothering Sunday in the UK and we’re off to Nick & Lucy’s for what I am hoping might be a delicious meal interspersed with opportunities to tease the granddaughter. As well as wishing all of you “mothers” a similarly splendid Mothering Sunday, I’d like to send special Mothering Sunday best wishes to a few of my favourite mothers – my mother, the mother of my children and the mother of my granddaughter, in particular. If I remember at the appropriate time, I will try to wish you all a fabulous Mother’s Day as well.

No rant this week, just a pointer to an article in the Guardian from a few days ago explaining how it has come about that the tripling of tuition fees has resulted in no extra money being available for higher education. You can’t make this stuff up!

Love to you all,