Attempting to make it as a writer

Archive for March, 2012

Chicken Burger

This is just the easiest meal in the world to prepare and serve.  The boys love it and there is often a fight for the last piece of chicken around our table.  This is also a great party food with children’s friends coming round to tea.

This may not be the healthiest of meals for them but as an occasional treat is quick, easy and you can add nutritional sides.

Ingredients

Breadcrumb coated Chicken pieces
Baps /  burger buns

Optional ingredients

salad leaves
cucumber / tomato
relishes
mayonaise

Cook the chicken in the oven till it is cooked through and ready.

Slice the buns in half and add for a moment to the oven

Serve to hungry and very appreciative family.

I served with a fennel and spinach gratin and buttery broccoli.  I also used up some home made Beetroot chutney.

Baked beans and sweetcorn would add vibrancy or coleslaw for crunch.

French fries would go well, and as a party food serve some carrot sticks and cherry tomatoes.

Tomato ketchup is a must.

With the last piece (only 5 in our family), I cut the cold cooked chicken up into thin slices and added Mayonaise, spinach and chutney and put in my husband’s sandwiches the next day.   Who said you can get to a man through his stomach.!

don’t forget to read my other blog at https://tiggyhayes.wordpress.com/

happy eating

Tiggy

Home Shopping

Don’t you just hate chasing your tail?  At the moment I am running round like the proverbial demented cat wishing for a few extra hours in the day to just appear.   Instead of which we are about to lose an hour as we convert to British Summer Time. What is worse I don’t actually seem to be achieving anything; which of course is probably not true but it just feels like it. Added to all the other normal things  I do, family, work, writing and organising, this week I also had to find various presents so had to go shopping; internet shopping.

I was a bit spoilt over last weekend for Mothering Sunday.  I didn’t get breakfast in bed or anything quite like.  I get up with the lark before the family are awake so the struggle for me to stay in bed waiting, only to drop crumbs and tea all over is just too much.  Also I had to be out of the house and on car parking duty at the rugby club for 9.30.

I came home many hours later from the aforementioned rugby club to find Sexy Sporty Dad surrounded by pots and dishes, peelings and vegetables and a succulent smell pervading the whole of our downstairs.  Not a child in sight helping him.  He was doing alright though and produced a wonderful meal and superb bottle of wine.   As we all sat down, some more reluctant than others to enjoy the meal en famille, Mini Son struggled in; arms stretched around a huge bunch of flowers and a plant.    The flowers now sit proudly in the dinning conservatory and the kitchen, while the plant; an Anthurium now resides proudly on my bedroom window sill which has been ceremoniously cleared to house it.  These same gifts had sat in my utility room since Friday night when I had been instructed to not notice each time I went in and out.

It had been an expensive week and my best friend and I, Amazon have spent many hours together just smooozing over appropriate gifts.  Obviously there was the mother’s day present which I find very hard to decide on.   Being one of six means I need to think hard and find something a bit different.  One of my sisters always sends flowers and not just a small bunch but a large deeply scented bouquet that will always include her favourite freesias.   My brother has a deal with a particular chocolate mini egg company going on so she receives them by the bucket load.  Two of my sisters live nearby so will take her out and treat her to Sunday lunch with trimmings.   It is therefore left to me and my other brother to come up with the different more unusual ideas.

This time Amazon guided me to the DVD of the recent TV series “Call the Midwife”.  I was convinced she would have sat down every Sunday night and watched it but I felt it was nostalgic and she would enjoy it.  She was a midwife in the 50s latterly so and although not out in the community the characters were very much the same type of people she will have helped.   I was right, it was a terrific success.

I was not nearly so clever or accurate with the other presents.  My brother is a difficult person to buy for, he buys most of what he wants and when he does want something it is usually well above my simple birthday budget allowance.   He reads avidly and has a library full of books; I have no idea which ones he already has so Amazon kindly sent him a gift voucher.   It was during his 40th Birthday party that we received the news about the arrival six years ago of yet another little cousin for the boys.   She is the youngest of the cousins and at the grand old age of 6 caused an even bigger headache for me.  I have never had girls myself, my sisters girls are all a bit older and when they were growing up there was a plethora of parents to advise.  Now, those same parents seem to have forgotten what six year old girls are into!   Amazon kindly not only does books but gifts, electrical and some clothing amongst their incredible range.  Another gift voucher was purchased and sent via email for delivery on the day, unlike all the cards which were all posted on the day so will arrive late.

Well what a week but just as I thought it safe to leave the haven of my desk I remembered the twins.  How could I ever forget them, those adorable two tiny babies have grown up into a strapping football playing sailor and a fashion conscious aspiring model of now 16.    I gave up a long time ago trying to fathom out what teenagers want; if they had an idea themselves it would be helpful.  I allowed my pal to guide me through the gift voucher section yet again and sent them through.

I am sure if I lived near a big town and had time to myself I would spend hours traipsing up and down the high street looking in different shops and coming out with fantastic ideas but the reality these days is we all suffer lack of time and the choices are so great that it is difficult to choose.  Gift vouchers and money seem a bit of a cop out to me but so often we receive things that we already have or we don’t like or want and they get thrown away, donated to charity or swapped; giving a voucher gives the recipient the onus to choose what they really want.

There are obviously many internet shops out there we all have our favourites.  I like the frighteningly dangerous fact that they have my details, even the addresses and emails of my family and friends whom I send things to.  One click shopping, I don’t even have to open my purse.

The down side of this and there is always a downside was; the other day checking my card statement and yes I am organised enough to check my statements.  I discovered a payment to Amazon that I knew nothing about.   The recent orders didn’t tally as there was nothing ordered for that amount.   A lot of investigation and it turned out that two of the recent items added together, minus one of the children’s voucher limit, left the odd amount charged to my card.     Time to change passwords I think!

Looking at the calendar I see another sister has yet another birthday this week.  I could meet her for lunch, we could meet up and visit a pamper parlour or I could go to a town and buy her something she might never wear.

Excuse me, I smell the coffee pot bubbling invitingly and feel the draw of a quiet desk and a smooze with my old pal.

Love Tiggy

 

Ps  Writing  –  it seems to have fallen down the priority list but is far from forgotten –  I checked the local paper for 2 press releases I have sent off this week and one result – nothing .     Will keep sending them though.

 

 

Wigmore Chicken



This was given to me many years ago by the wonderful Diana Wigmore. It has maybe adapted from the original recipe she gave me but it remains a firm family favourite.   

A great dish to use up left over roast chicken and of course turkey could easily be interchanged here.  A fun topping  makes the boys think they are eating something naughty.

Ingredients

Left over roasted chicken
Broccoli  broken up into florets 
Butter
Flour
Milk
Curry powder – for a spicier meal add more
Cheddar Cheese cut into tiny diced pieces
Large packet of Ready Salted Crisps  (You can use any flavour but plain ready salted doesn’t overpower the other flavours)

Make the roux with the butter, flour and milk (everyone has their own way – but I throw the ingredients in together and with my pampered chef spiral whisk mix them)
Add curry powder –  even a good spoonful still leaves the meal mild

Place the broccoli across the bottom of an ovenproof dish
Cover with the chicken

Cover with the roux making sure all the chicken is covered.
Cook in hot oven for 20 minutes or so  –  roux must be bubbling


Take out and sprinkle the slightly broken crisps over – cover with cheese cubes and return to the oven.
10 minutes for the cheese to melt and the top to become an enticing melted brown and just bubbling.

Remove and serve with sides of your choice  – tiny crispy floured roasties go well, as does mashed potatoes.   Fresh peas or carrots bring a vibrancy to the table.  These can be added before the chicken stage – frozen peas or diced boiled carrots so keep the timings altogether.  Or served as a side dish.



This flies off the table so make sure you get enough first time round as there are never seconds left.

enjoy 

Tiggy 

Follow my struggles to get my novel published by following ;  Tiggy Hayes

Border Line Senility

It was the domino effect rather than the senility, I hope, that resulted in embarrassment for me.

As most people know Mini Son and I go to the same school.  He studies hard and learns lots.  I work hard and also learn lots, however it is he rather than me that is able to leave on time.

He had been picked, for the school football team, to take part in a local festival against other year 5 and 6 teams.   I was planning; to leave work at midday, rush home, change and grab some lunch, then be back by 1pm to collect him.

With 15 minutes to go and parents starting to arrive to collect their children I knew plan A was not going to succeed.  One of the other parents offered to take Mini Son and give me precious time to eat and change.

As I left the house, I realised I hadn’t had a drink so grabbed a sports bottle and filled it with water.

There was no parking anywhere.  There could have been, if some of the cars had been parked a little more thoughtfully.  As I drove back out of the car park I noticed the tiniest of spaces tucked into the hedge at the end of the line of cars just at the entrance.   I manoeuvred backwards and forwards into the space leaving no more than a millimetre between me the car behind.  She did have half a parking space in front of her, so getting out was not going to be an issue.  I tucked in really close to allow others in and out of the car park.  Even I was impressed by my parking; unless you are a very bad driver, you could still drive a double- decker bus through the entrance.

I found the school team; arriving at their pitch just as the first whistle blew for kick off.  I joined the throng of parents cheering them on and shouting loudly at my lad and his team mates. With the other supporters; head in hands as a kick missed its mark by a hair’s breadth.

Looking round the pitch, I found parents I had stood together shoulder to shoulder with on the rugby sidelines, only now we were on opposite sides of the game.   No matter how friendly and close I might be on a Sunday, I was delighted we won and even more proud to learn Mini Son was captain; leading the cheering at the end.   “Oh what a clever boy!”

They say “Pride before a fall”.

It was after that first game I learnt both Mini Son and his friend had left their drinks bottles in the boot of his friend’s car. His mum only delivering them, my part of the bargain was to bring both back.  Thank goodness I had my precious bottle of water; I didn’t get a look in.

After winning three matches we then had a three match break, Mini Son joined me in a search for a water tap, to top up the now empty water bottle.  I again ran into parents I knew from Sunday rugby.  One was coming to my fundraising pampered chef party that evening.  She was there with her husband who I have seen a few times and a few other parents I knew.

They too had a break of two matches.  Wendy whose meeting had finished early, had dropped in as she passed on her way to another, managing to see her lad play a couple of games.  She was now going to drop her husband at the village shop.  It seemed such a good idea to get a few snacks and drinks for the boys.

I stopped momentarily to look at my car.  If I drove the half a mile I would most definitely lose my carefully negotiated parking spot.  I began to walk, after all the walk would do me good. I had a three match time window and it really wasn’t that far.   I began walking  in the now beautifully sunny afternoon, once I had left the pitch I was sheltered from the wind.    Wendy and her husband drove past and stopped.  Without a second thought I accepted the lift happily and waved her off at the shop with a cheery “see you tonight”.

Browsing the shelves of the shop I picked out a couple of bottles, a large pack of mini cheddars, they might share them with me if I was lucky, and a packet of haribos which I was not so keen to share.  I began wandering over to the till and reached into my handbag.

Only my handbag wasn’t there.

Crossed hands checking my body for tell tale signs of a hidden bag.  A rush of minor panic as I knew exactly where it was; hidden under the rain mac in the well of the car.   So what were my options?

I could run back to the car and then to the shop and then back again.  Really!

I could leave everything and wander back empty handed with the excuse that I had changed my mind.  Lost it more like!

Or

I wandered still laden down the aisles until I came upon Wendy’s wonderful husband and said “Andrew I wonder if you might help me out”.   Bless him, he paid for all the boys snacks and afterwards we casually strolled back to the pitches chatting amiably about life in general.

I stopped at the car and retrieved the £20 note for which of course he had no change.   “Sort it with Wendy tonight” he said dismissing the money.

No Change of course!

I did try to sort it with Wendy.  She knew nothing of the earlier events but under protest allowed me to buy her a glass of wine which I was more than willing to do so.

I am still the proud mum of Captain Mini Son who led his team to victory finishing top of their pool.  They were then beaten in such a close semi final, it could easily have gone either way.  Even in defeat his voice was loud and clear as he led the cheers for the victors.

Had I left work on time, I would have made sure the boys remembered their drinks and probably packed extra.  I who like to be early would have parked in a proper space in the car park.  I would not have needed to go to the shop at all. Is this how old age will start?

Or was I just dipping a testing toe across the border line of senility?

Writing

I have had some wonderful feedback on my powerful honour killings story but still not sure what to do with it!

Tiggy 

 

 

Tuna Pasta Bake



One evening during the holiday we came back from an adventure out and around the local National Trust gardens.  I find these places reassuringly safe places to let the children run and run and run.   There are all kinds of adventures to be had along with plenty of fresh air and of course even mum gets to walk around and watch the changing beauty of the seasons.   Best of all are the tea, hot chocolates and cakes that have to follow such extreme adventure.

Having got to the tea shop just before they stopped serving at 5pm no-one in the family wanted a large dinner at 6.30 so I relegated the planned meal to the fridge for the following day and waited.  Later in the evening as the little knawing pangs of hunger began making themselves known,  I heard little voices calling “I’m hungry Mum”.   

This is a great throw together meal that doesn’t take too long,  is easy to prepare and serve and relatively little washing up.


Ingredients

Pasta  –  any kind really, fairly small to cook quickly.
Tuna  –  I used 1 tin per two people.
Frozen peas
Mayonnaise – lots so it doesn’t dry out  (a touch of milk can be added if required)
Cheese grated  loads 
 

Boil the water and add the pasta, halfway through cooking add the peas.

    
Meanwhile mix the tuna with the mayonnaise so that it is really well coated.  

Drain the pasta and peas and add to the mayonnaise mixture.

Make sure there is enough mayo to coat (this is the time to add milk if required – not a lot as the pasta is pre-cooked – enough to keep the pasta moist)  

Sprinkle the cheese liberally over the top and add to a hot oven
Cook for about 10 minutes until it comes out bubbling and the cheese is golden.


This would do just as well with sweetcorn,  instead or as well as peas.  

Try it and let me know what you think.   



My middle son hates fish but is happy to eat tuna and meaty fish if it is disguised like this.  Read more about Middle Son’s latest escapades in my other blog Dawn Chorus.  

Enjoy

Tiggy

Bruised and Battered

You will not believe my week again, waves of déjà vu, nausea and pummelled heart strings.

In some small ways that I haven’t worked out yet we are probably lucky where we live.  We do not however, have an A&E department nearby but like buses within an hour’s drive we have three.  Depending on the ambulance crew will determine where you end up.

At work the other day we had nearly reached break time when the call came through.  Ironically I was already taking a call from another member of top school staff on a less important matter.  I cut the call short as the other line was ringing.

“Middle Son has been playing rugby and taken a bad tackle.”

My mind on overtime “Have you called an ambulance?”

“No he’s fine, he walked off the pitch but is complaining of a sore neck.”

I know I spend a lot of time; some might say too much time dealing with the aftermath of rugby induced sore necks so maybe I am a touch hyper sensitive in that area.  He had, after all walked off the pitch.

I agreed to get there as quickly as it took me to go home and get the car.   I walked or teetered in my high heels and thankfully had the intuition or was it premonition to grab my handbag as I went.  As I drove, that horrible feeling crept over me; haven’t we been here before.

I got to the turning off into town and heard it.  It got louder as my stomach sank low into the well of the car.  I reached the roundabout and there it was coming from another direction; the paramedic, lights flashing, sirens wailing.   Swallowing down the wave of nausea I slipped in behind her and followed all the way to school.

He had become agitated and delirious they thought, so they had called the ambulance.  He is a teenage boy; he is always agitated and usually delirious but only on occasions when you can get anything out of him.

Assessing the tableau before me, I already knew what she would say.   “X-ray needed, neck injuries, just a  precaution,” all words I had heard previously.  How that word, precaution rules my life.

We waited, he breathing deeply on entonox to ease the pain, me pacing the room or holding his muddy hand telling him it will all be ok like an expectant father.  I gave all the complex and intricate medical history and elaborated when they learned he’d been run over, receiving a fracture to the base of his skull.  An event long filed in the memory banks of my mind was now being revisited with each delving question.

Unconscious, for how long?  What were the lasting effects?

The land ambulance arrived and I had to replicate and repeat all the same information.

Finally on our way; Middle son neatly cocooned in the new style back boards which are more like a swimming lilo strapped tightly over the prone body then inflated.  Apparently this cushions the body holding it still.  They also had to cut the collar off his rugby kit to get the neck brace round his neck.  Looks like I’ll be out shopping at the weekend for a new rugby shirt then.

We set off for a very windy, bumpy and rushed journey, well if the rugby didn’t injure the neck the journey had a very good attempt.  Middle Son was offered morphine to quell his pain, unaware of the beneficial pain relieving qualities and learning it involved a needle; he declined.  They unfortunately didn’t have anything strong enough to suppress my nausea or heaviness in my neck and shoulder.  The fact though that middle son was prepared to suffer pain rather than a needle levelled my emotions.

I was glad to arrive at the hospital and get him out.  The journey had become very claustrophobic for him and he was distressed.  He felt very sick, causing a problem in his strapped and prone position we could not turn him easily.  He started trying to fight his way out of the protective cradle while the ambulance crew struggled to hold him still.  It took a while before we were calm enough to be able to get out of the ambulance.  It had served a purpose though; an agitated youngster with a neck injury; they had the doctor look at him very quickly and we were taken to x-ray as soon as we were booked in.

The x-ray thankfully was ok.  They lifted his bed to a seated position, removed the head blocks and allowed him carefully to sit up.  Later, releasing him to a standing position, a wave of giddiness hit him as blood surged to forgotten places. The nurse went through the head injury leaflet with me, another to add to my collection.

If any of the following occur contact my GP or Emergency Department  immediately.

Increased drowsiness or difficulty waking the patient from sleep; he is a teenager!

Confusion or poor understanding of what is being said; he is a teenager!

Mood swings or irritability; he is a teenager!

We escaped.

Realisation hit me I was stuck in town; hungry and thirsty with a hungry thirsty grumpy injured teenager.  Sexy Sporty Dad was stuck the other side of the county in a meeting he couldn’t get out of.   Another ambulance crew and we could have been in the same town as him.

We walked, well he walked I teetered; not really the time to remember I was wearing high heels, into town.  I found Cafe Nero and we both indulged in well earned lunch and the most delicious cup of tea.  I am not sure if this is representative of Cafe Nero or just my timings and need.

On his phone he facebooked all his friends who despite the no phones in school rule all managed to answer him.  I got a text from Sexy Sporty Dad to say he would be able to leave in about 2 hours and would drive straight to me (another hour).

My I-phone came into its own; I googled train times.

There was a train at 29 minutes past or another an hour later.   We crossed to the bus stop there was a bus to the station at 5 past the hour that would get us to the train on time.  It was now 10 past the hour.

Tottering round the corner I discovered the taxi rank.  The driver knew the train times and reckoned barring traffic we could make it despite it now being 20 past.

We arrived with three minutes to spare to find no one in the ticket office.  The station master hardly older than Middle Son was also ticket seller, guard and playing porter when I found him.  The train pulled in to the station as I told him I needed tickets.  Loading top up drinks and snacks, he relayed my need for tickets to the guard on the train, who allowed us to hop on and pay on board.

All well and good but my last cash had been eked out to pay the taxi, who had let me off the last 7p as we were now officially cashless.

The guard however didn’t need to settle for my body or selling my son he arrived at our seat with a portable card reader.

I don’t actually know how much lunch was that day or how much the train fare finally cost.  I know the guard said that in school uniform Middle Son counted as a child.

My final teeter of the day; back up to get the car from school.  I did contemplate getting another taxi home but we needed the car later.   The idea of a taxi to school also crossed my mind, but we had no money left between us.  We walked.

Apart from researching for this week’s blog; I have still to write some new stuff.  Even rugby was called off this weekend so no match report.

Have a safe week

Tiggy

Have you tried http://tiggy-tea.blogspot.com/.  Check out this weeks recipe.

 

 

Baileys and Hazelnut Chocolate Mousse

This week we are going to try something a little more indulgent. But still so easy to dress up or just to enjoy as it comes. 

Chocolate mousse is universally acceptable as a pudding either for a family meal or dressed up with extras for entertaining.  I made this mousse thanks to my close friend Becky who had tried it before.  Both her family and mine were equally rapturous about it.    The basic mousse is straight forward and I will give you that recipe, what you add in is entirely up to you and who you are serving it to. 


Ingredients
Chocolate – I used a 70%  but above is even better  if I can get hold of it.  A whole bar!
Butter  only about 2oz  (55g)
Eggs  4  separated into yolks and whites.  The whites should be in the largest bowl as that will be the final destination of all ingredients
Icing sugar about 2oz  (55g)
Cream – double I used a full 300ml carton

These are the basic ingredients-  you can choose all different extras to add in depending on your guests.

Baileys  –  couple of really good slugs
Chopped roasted hazelnuts
Icing Sugar and grated chocolate (for decoration)
Chocolate drops in contrasting milk or white chocolate
You could use a brandy or mint baileys or orange liqueur, swap the alcohol for mint flavouring 
Try replacing the hazelnuts with almonds or walnuts again chopped and roasted, Glacè cherries or small peices of dried fruit or ginger.  This is your mousse add what you want.

Break your chocolate in to small cubes and put in a bowl with a pan of boiling water underneath it.  Do not let the water bubble over the sides but keep on a medium heat while the chocolate melts.

Add the butter when the chocolate starts to melt.  Also this is the time to add your baileys, liqueur or flavouring.

Stir occasionally and when all melted remove from the heat and allow to cool for a while – no more than 10 minutes

Meanwhile you can be whisking the egg whites till they stand with their peaks up and then whip the cream to the same consistency.

Stir in the egg yolks and icing sugar into the chocolate mixture.

Carefully fold the cream into the chocolate mixture.  A wooden spoon is good and if you fold slowly and deliberately in wide turns you will mix all the mixture.

This is when I added nuts; you could add chocolate drops, cherries or fruit now.

Then add this mixture again folding slowly into the egg whites.   This is where the lightness will come from, so don’t allow yourself to beat them.   (It is not the end of the world if they are beaten the mousse will still taste delicious)

Gently transfer to serving bowl and decorate with icing sugar and the grated chocolate. If you have mint baileys a mint leave or sprig would be good. You can leave the decorating till you are about to serve but if you are grating the final chocolate square – hide it well or it will disappear!

Leave in the fridge to set for several hours; if you can prepare the night before even better.  Make sure you cover with a tight fitting cling film or you will be serving it with finger sized holes!

Serve alone or with shortbread or ameretti buiscuits .  This pudding does not require extra cream but I leave that to you.

This is not a diet aid, replacement or anything other than pure indulgence and should be treated with the reverence this commands.

Enjoy and make sure you tell me how you get on and what you added to make it your own.  To leave a comment you will need to join my site but please do I want to hear your comments.

Tiggy 

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