Tonight marks the end of two weeks of half term for the Bee and the Bear, and Grizzly as well in fact. It's been a blast, but I think the ferals (as we affectionately refer to the children) are looking forward to being looked after by people who aren't allowed to shout. And I get two mornings a week back when I can dedicate myself to Christmas puddings, and developi...ng my brownie range. On that note, if anyone has ever thought 'if only she didn't have three pre-school children and could be bothered to offer us a peanut butter brownie', now is your moment - please let me know as I would love to offer a couple of new flavours. (I'm going to come clean and say I won't be selling salted caramel. Because I hate it and can't see the attraction in salty confectionery. Sorry.)
I did sneak off to Hastings one morning earlier this week for a networking lunch, which I had very kindly been invited to. One of the first people I met was a vegan, and it struck me the extent to which veganism is on the rise right now. When I was growing up vegans were a rather rare breed of pale hippy to be frank, but nowadays it's become entirely mainstream, and pretty cool. Within minutes of chatting to him I realised I needed to offer a vegan option on my web-site, and he showed me a social media page his wife had set up showcasing her vegan baking and recipes. It all looked incredible. So, watch this space, but I hope to have a vegan brownie on offer in the next few weeks.
And if anyone is wondering how the s@dding pumpkins have been getting on, let me enlighten you... Now as you all now, we have an Aga, which means a warm kitchen 24 hours a day. I'm prepared to accept that this may not provide the ideal environment for storing large vegetables pre-Halloween, but after driving across the country for an hour, enduring weather previously only seen on documentaries about American storm-chasers; quite possibly scarring the children for life; and almost certainly ruining my jeans forever, I expected carvable pumpkins. Whilst hoovering the kitchen mid-week I noticed one had begun to rot... I whipped the bread knife out, announced we were carving the first one NOW, and removed as much rotten flesh as I could before we started on the face. The second one looked fine, but as I had the knife out I thought I'd just lop the top off and scoop the middle out, leaving the face for the kids to carve themselves. No sooner had the knife pierced the flesh, a miasma of rotting vegetable matter started to permeate the kitchen. By the time the top had come off the smell could have knocked a donkey over. Rather than scooping out the flesh, I simply poured brown liquid into a bin bag, whilst retching and yelling at the children to KEEP BACK!
I have seen many pictures of joyful pumpkin picking forays on Facebook this week, in fact so many I'm prepared to accept we picked a couple of wrong'uns - but the sooner I see the back of ours and can put the entire experience behind me, the better.
I modelled this one on my own face whilst carving it.