Potatoes: Yukon Gold

Potatoes: Yukon Gold

I love the name of these potatoes: Yukon Gold! They sound like some sort of exotic flower or even an exotic form of Far East gold. You wouldn’t have guessed that these are potatoes of all things.

The name Yukon Gold was given in honour of the Yukon River and the gold rush of that time. But these potatoes did not originate from the Far East, these potatoes actually have roots (pardon the pun) in Canada. They were developed in the 1960’s but were only available to buy in the 1980’s.

Natoora: Yukon Gold Potatoes

They are large yellow coloured flesh potatoes with light brown skin – typically round in shape. They are a great all rounder potato – all rounder meaning they are great for mash, chips, roasties and boiled potatoes. They absorb flavours really well due to their fluffy nature, so get a spoonful of good quality butter in there and you will taste the difference.

Yukon Gold

These potatoes are from Natoora and were purchased through Ocado – a little expensive at £2.79 per kg but you know they are going to be special.

Chips (Fries)

To start off, for the chips, I peeled and cut the potatoes into the shape of chunky chips. The chips were cut into approximately 2cm thickness, then par-boiled for about 6 minutes. I always par boil my potatoes before frying or roasting. It speeds up the cooking time and makes the potatoes more crispy on the outside and maintains the fluffiness on the inside.

Chips / Fries

Once the chips have been par-boiled, I transferred the chips to a bowl. I put a plate on top of the bowl and gave the chips a little bit of a shake. I do this to “rough up” the edges, trust me this will give your chips an extra crispy crunch.

The chips are then cooled down completely (pop them in the fridge until you are ready to fry them). They are then fried in some hot oil for a few minutes until the are golden brown and crispy.

The Yukon Gold chips are divine! They maintain their crispy exterior even after they have cooled down. The inside of the chips are fluffy and soft with a wonderful creamy potato flavour.

Mashed Potatoes

To make the mash, I chopped the potatoes into small pieces before boiling them for 12 minutes. I wanted these potatoes to be super soft to make them easier to mash.

Mashed Potatoes

Once the potatoes were soft, I drained the water, then put the potatoes through a potato ricer. To the mashed potatoes I added a little butter, a touch of milk and a pinch of salt and mixed it well.

The result was the most delicious, creamy mashed potatoes. The mash just melted in the mouth, the salt and butter just enhanced the flavour of the earthy potato. The mash was thick, but smooth – it mashed really well and took in the flavour of butter and salt really well. I can imagine this being great with some sausages and a rich onion gravy.

Boiled Potatoes

For the boiled potatoes, the potatoes were simple peeled and chopped into large chunks. They were boiled in a large pot of water for about 13 minutes. I didn’t want to boil them for too long because they would turn to mush really quickly.

Boiled Potatoes

I’m not a big fan of boiled potatoes in the first instance, it always feels like something is missing … some goosefat or some kind of sauce. Continuing my potato quest, I boiled some of these Yukon Gold potatoes just to see what they taste like in their most basic form.

The potatoes were soft with a subtle buttery taste, they had a really lovely flavour. The husband said they tasted alot like Charlotte potatoes … I don’t particularly agree with that, but I guess everyone has they own opinions.

Roast Potatoes

For the roast potatoes, they were par-boiled for 8 minutes so that the inside is firm but the outside is fluffy. They are roasted in the oven with a little goosefat for 30 minutes at gas mark 7 (220˚C).

Roast Potatoes

These roast potatoes were gorgeous! A lovey crispy exterior with a lovely fluffy centre. A great buttery flavour, the potato taste is great and they browned really well in the oven too. I totally fell in love with these roasties!

Verdict

Yukon Gold are a delight. Such a lovely potato, versatile and full of flavour. I love their size – perfect for cutting into chips or good sized roasties. They hold their shape well even though they are a floury starchy type of potato. A great all rounder and if you can spare an extra £ or two, they are worth the splurge.

Best for: roast potatoes
Availability: Ocado

Price: £2.79 per kg (price correct as of February 2021)

My Tonsillectomy Journey

24.02.2021 – Long Read

My Tonsillectomy Journey

Last year my anxiety levels went through the roof. Not only was the pandemic in full swing, but I was worried about my health. My glands felt swollen. I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. I panicked and made an appointment with my GP. It was a difficult time, the pandemic had reduced our normal healthcare services.

I initially spoke to a locum doctor who didn’t seem to be too worried about my concerns. “Your glands are probably just that size, I wouldn’t worry about it” she said. I wasn’t convinced but I left it for a couple of months and got on with my life. A couple of months went by in a blur and I just couldn’t shake that feeling that something was just not quite right. I called the GP again and spoke to one of my regular doctors. He looked at my notes and saw I had a history of lumps and bumps. He calls me in to see him.

I go to my GP surgery. It was empty and I sat there nervously shaking my leg in anticipation. My doctor calls me in to see him. He is fully covered in PPE. He examines my glands and looks confused. He wasn’t quite sure what he was suppose to be feeling. After another poke and prod he feels something “squishy“. He explains to me that what he was feeling did not feel like cancer in his experience, but to be on the safe side he refers me to the hospital ENT department for further investigation.

Over a week later I get a phone call from an ENT doctor at the hospital. They were only doing telephone appointments at this point. I explain my concerns and he tells me also that that was probably just the size of my glands but he was going to arrange for an ultrasound scan and refer me to the maxillofacial department as this was their area of expertise.

A week later, I see the maxillofacial doctor and he tells me that the gland that I was worried about was a little enlarged but it was still within normal limits. He wasn’t worried about it. I think he saw in my face that I was worried so he suggested I have an MRI scan just to put my mind at ease. He even said to me that he wasn’t suggesting an MRI scan because he thought there was something wrong, but because he just wanted me to have peace of mind. He was sure that the results would come back normal.

About a week later, I have the MRI scan – not the most pleasant of experiences but it was ok. The whole thing took about 40 minutes – they tell you to try and “sleep” whilst in the scanner but it is impossible. It’s claustraphobic in there and the scanner is super loud. After the scan I went home quite optimistic.

I went back to the hospital a few days later to get the results of my scan. The doctor wanted to see me in person rather than discuss the results over the phone. That was when I started to get worried. I mean, if the results were normal, why would she call me into the hospital especially with the pandemic in full swing? The hospital is limiting the amount of people it has in its building so to call me to come in was quite worrying.

It turns out this doctor just liked to give results in person rather than over the phone. She begins to tell me that the results came back normal. There were no lumps, bumps, growths in my face or neck. I was so relieved. However, she did point out that I was congested and my left tonsil was a little enlarged, but she didn’t seem to think it was anything to worry about. She referred me back to ENT to have a look at the tonsil but she didn’t think they would do anything about it.

I see the ENT doctor a few days later. I think he was stressed because he was a bit grumpy. He tells me my scan showed that I was severely congested – he prescribed me antibiotics and steroid tablets to help with that. He recommended that I have sinus surgery to help with the congestion. He also told me that he was concerned about my left tonsil. He tells me that it is unusual for one tonsil to be enlarged and not both. Asymmetric tonsils he called it – a sign of something sinister i.e. tumour. I was worried again. He suggested I have my tonsils removed – both of them. He wanted to send the tonsil off to histology to see if anything sinister shows up. Ahhhh man … surgery. Another surgery, I’ve had my fair share over the years. I agree to this and he tells me it will be done within the next two weeks … elective surgery he calls it.

I was scheduled to have my surgery on the 30th December 2020 but a few days before that I had developed a cold and I had an asthma flare up. I felt awful. I went to the hospital anyway and told the anaesthetist I wasn’t feeling well … they decided for my own health that the surgery should be rescheduled. When you have any type of surgery, they usually put a breathing tube down your throat or through your nose. If you are not in the best of health, you can develop a chest infection which can be fatal. They said that if I was to develop problems during surgery, there just wouldn’t be any intensive case facitlities for me due to the ongoing pandemic. They sent me home and the doctor would call me in a week or two to see how I was feeling.

A week later, the anaesthetist called me and asked how I was feeling, I was feeling better – he decided that the surgery should be postponed for another 4 weeks just to make sure the cold virus had completely left my system. Now it becomes the waiting game … my anxiety levels were through the roof.

On the 4th of February 2021, the anaesthetist calls me and asks me how I was feeling. I was feeling good. My congestion had cleared up immensely thanks to the steroid tablets and antibiotics. My asthma was also behaving itself. I hadn’t been using my blue inhaler often. The anaesthetist marks me down as fit for surgery – I was booked in to have the tonsillectomy on the 9th February 2021.

Moment of Truth

On the morning of my surgery, I couldn’t sleep. My husband asked me if I was scared? I wasn’t scared, but very anxious about the whole thing. I was suppose to be at the Day Stay Unit by 7:30am (it was a day case so I didn’t have to stay overnight in the hospital) – my husband dropped me off outside the building. I checked in and waited in the waiting room. Two other patients came in, checked themselves in and waited. One of them was having a termination – she told the receptionist across the waiting room floor.

Me and the other two ladies were called in to the Day Stay Room and we were allocated our cubicle. I was cubicle 1. It was a little cubicle with a comfy reclining chair. I had my blood pressure and heart rate checked, then I was given a gown to change in to. I was also given disposable underwear, a pair of compression socks and a pair of fluffy red socks with slip proof soles. They were cute and comfy.

The doctor came and spoke to me – he had to do his obligatory warnings such as risks and what to expect. The possible risk of bleeding in which case I should go straight to A&E and also there is a risk of infection. I also got the all clear from the anaesthetist so all was good. I was number 2 on their list.

I was called into surgery at 9:50am – I quickly texted my husband to tell him I was going into surgery. I was actually feeling very calm … not as anxious and scared as I thought I would be. I think I was just eager to get it over and done with. It’s been such a long and worrying journey – and now finally I am getting fixed.

I walk with the anaesthetist to operating theatre. There were about half a dozen doctors standing around the theatre – all looking at me as I walk in. I take a deep breath and walk towards the operating bed. They had put a cotton sheet over the bed and were blowing hot air under the sheet to keep the bed warm. Nice touch I thought, it was particularly cold in that theatre.

I lay down on the bed and try to get comfortable. This feels all too familiar … I’ve done this before. There is a trainee doctor and he is trying to put in a canula in the back of my right hand. He has trouble finding a vein … another (experienced) doctor is supervising him. They have trouble locating a vein, the trainee doctor finds one – pushed the needle in and it was at that point I knew that he did not find it. He kept pushing the canula in deeper and deeper – it was so painful I yelled out in agony. It was all abit too much. I get upset, the tears start rolling down my face. The (experienced) doctor apologies and states that “we sometimes don’t get it in first time”. I’m not new to this … they usually do get it right unless you don’t know what you’re doing. The (experienced) doctor switches to my other hand and he quickly puts in the canula, 2 seconds and it was in, pain free. He tries to talk to me to calm me down and take my mind off what was going on around me. He asked me questions about my family and my job. I knew what he was doing, I didn’t want to engage, I was still upset. He puts a gas mask on me, telling me it was a painkiller but I knew it was a sedative, I started to feel drowsy and my eyes started closing …

Post-Op

I hear someone calling my name … wake up, wakey wakey … who was that? Where was I? I slowly begin to open my eyes. The first thing I thought was “I made it!”. I have always had this fear that I wouldn’t wake up from a surgery … or I would wake up and something would be drastically wrong. I keep hearing the nurse calling me to wake up. I kept trying to open my eyes but my eyelids felt so heavy, they didn’t want to open. What time was it? I really wanted to know what time it was. It felt late … afternoon maybe. I noticed a clock on the wall in front of me so I tried to lift my head to get a better look. I managed a quick glance before allowing my head to fall back on the pillow. I felt dizzy.

The time was 11am … so it took about an hour. That wasn’t too bad. My throat hurt each time I swallowed. It wasn’t overly painful but my throat felt dry and coarse. I needed water. I think it took me about half an hour or so to wake up and feel better. Around about 11:40am I was wheeled back to the recovery room. I was escorted to my little cubicle … I felt a bit light headed but that’s to be expected after an anaesthetic. The nurse helped me into my comfy recliner and I just sat there … I was relieved. I checked my phone, there was a missed call – my husband had called me about 10 minutes previously. I quickly texted him telling him I was done and I was in recovery and that I was ok!

The thing about a tonsillectomy is that they won’t let you go home unless they can see that you are eating and drinking properly. Sounds crazy right? I mean I’ve just had throat surgery and they want me to shove food down my throat? The nurse came over with a jug of water and encouraged me to start drinking. The water actually came as a welcomed relief. The cold liquid soothed the throat and it made swallowing bearable. So I kept sipping the water and took too many toilet breaks because of it. The nurse then brought me over a little pot of jelly which was easy to eat. I hadn’t had jelly for so long and it was really tasty. I mean there is no chewing involved in jelly is there? I just let it slide down my throat and the coolness of the jelly soothed the incisions.

Half an hour later the nurse comes back and asks me if I wanted a sandwich? How they think a sandwich is palatable after throat surgery is beyond me, but I wanted to go home so I agreed to an egg sandwich. She brings me one over, it’s one of those pre-packed ones. I open it up, it was cut into quarters so I attempted to eat a piece. It wasn’t the easiest of things to eat. The dryness of my mouth made the bread thick and stodgy. I bit off a little corner of the sandwich and chewed it as much as I could but I couldn’t move my mouth much. I tried to swallow the sandwich but it got stuck at the top of my throat. I had to drink water to wash it down. I only managed a quarter of the sandwich but it was enough. The nurse was satisfied with that.

I rested for a bit longer and by 3pm the nurse said I was ok to go home. The words I was so excited to hear! I called my husband to pick me up and whilst I waited for him, I got dressed and waited for the pharmacy to issue my medication.

The pain after tonsillectomy wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I had read stories of people experiencing excruciating pain, swelling and bleeding. I was expecting the worse. But the actual recovery wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Don’t get me wrong, it is painful and I am not denying that at times I felt like it was never going to get better. But I persevered, listened to my body and looked after myself. Recovery is something that should not be rushed … believe that time will heal all.

Recovery

The first three days I experienced swelling in my throat which made eating difficult. Food would get stuck at the top of my throat and I would have to drink water to help push it down. The painkillers did not take the pain away … it took the edge off the pain slightly and made eating a little more bearable, but don’t be naive in thinking that the painkillers would allow you a pain free recovery. The painkillers made me very sleepy and light headed, but that was ok because it allowed me to sleep alot and helped time pass quicker.

I stocked up on palatable foods such as jelly, ice cream, pancakes, yogurt, porridge, baked potatoes and beans. Nutrition wasn’t high on my list of priorities … food was food at this point. The doctor did warn me that at around day 7 post-op the pain will be at its peak, but after that it will slowly start to get better. It was around day 8 that I started to get pains in my left ear – it felt like someone was stabbing my ear with a knife and also I also had pain down the left side of my jaw – it felt like a bad toothache. This went on for about 4 days. It was making eating quite a chore … so I ended up not eating much (I didn’t poo in 7 days!).

The pain in my ear shifted from one side to the other … one day it would be in my right hear, then in my left. But it was always just there … it was only painful when I swallowed so it wasn’t a continuous pain so it wasn’t that bad. All in all … the experience wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It was painful but bearable. The most difficult part in all this was not being able to eat properly for over two weeks. Living off jacket potatoes and beans with a side of jelly was not enjoyable. But I am happy to say I made it through another surgery.

Advice

Here is a little advice for anyone with an up and coming tonsillectomy – but as always, follow the advice of your health practitioner. Any advice given here is from my personal experience and what worked for me.

  • Always listen to your doctors and health practitioners and follow their advice.
  • Take at least two weeks off work to recovery – rest is so important so take it easy.
  • Stock up on supplies before your surgery e.g. water, jelly, yogurt etc … any soft foods you like. Drink plenty of water – it helps sooth the throat.
  • Avoid hot food and drinks for at least 2 weeks.
  • Do not take hot showers or baths – the steam can cause your incisions to open up and bleed.
  • Talking will be difficult so rest the throat and don’t talk too much.
  • If you don’t already use one, buy a soft bristle manual toothbrush, brushing your teeth will be limited during recovery time.
  • Your prescribed painkillers may run out after a few days so stock up on paracetamol or ibuprofen.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help from family and friends with chores and errands. You need rest … make the most of it.

I also want to express my gratitude to the NHS and to my ENT surgeon. He has been amazing at pushing through my elective surgery even though the hospitals are over-stretched with pandemic cases. It saddens me when I hear people saying negative things about the NHS and how under-appreciated they are. Our healthcare system is one of the best in the world. It is not perfect and there are people that abuse the system … but when I have needed the NHS the most, they have been there and given me excellent care.

~ Boss Mum xx

Dover Castle

English Heritage – Dover, Kent

THE SECOND LARGEST CASTLE IN ENGLAND

Dover Castle has stood proudly on the shores of England for over 9 centuries. It’s foundations hug the iconic White Cliffs of Dover.

We spent a wet and windy afternoon there as we continue on our journey visiting as many Englsih Heritage sites as possible. Dover Castle is one of English Heritage’s most popular sites and is only 21 miles away from France. If you squint out to sea, you can just just see France hovering on the horizon. I didn’t realise we were that close.

Dover Castle was built between 1180 – 1185 and was built as a defence system for the British Empire. Its location makes it ideal for scoping out the enemy. The castle is flanked with towers and high walls, ramparts and moats. All of them working together to build one of the best defence systems of that era.

The castle also sits above three miles of tunnels which were used as air-raid shelters during the war. There is also a military hospital which was used to treat wounded soldiers in battle. After the war, the military hospital became a maternity hospital for a few years before being abandoned altogether

Dover Castle has the longest recorded history of any major castle in Britain. Spanning over 80 acres of ground, it has survived two world wars and is still one of my favourite castles in the UK.

It’s best to visit the castle on a clear day so you can see far out to sea. Bare in mind the castle has plenty of towers – particularly the Great Tower so there are alot of stairs – not suitable for those with limited mobility or health issues. I’m asthmatic myself and I struggle to get up to the top of the Great Tower – but if you do manage to the top, the views are just breathtaking.

Get To Know Me Q&A

I’ve always wanted to post a Q&A about myself. It’s probably because I am quite nosey myself and love knowing about people. It’s not the big things like … “where do you see yourself in 10 years time?” Blah Blah! I’m more of a “Do you like apples or oranges?” type of gal.

I recently discovered the Vogue 73 Questions (Q&A videos). I love watching them … they are not your average interviews.

So I thought I’d give myself a 73 question Q&A … here goes!

  1. To start .. do you like apples or oranges? ~ Neither, I’m more of a vegetable girl
  2. Where do you live? ~ London, UK
  3. How long have you lived there? ~ Since 1984
  4. How are you feeling today? ~ Anxious
  5. Who was the first person you spoke to this morning? ~ My husband
  6. What did you eat for breakfast? ~ Mocha and garlic bread
  7. What is your favourite drink? ~ Water
  8. What is your favourite dessert? ~ Anything with custard
  9. What is your favourite season in London? ~ Autumn
  10. What is your favourite activity in London? ~ Walking in the park
  11. Would you ever leave London? ~ Never say never
  12. What three words would you use to describe London? ~ Cultural, Expensive, Congested
  13. What was it like growing up in your family? ~ Difficult
  14. Favourite movie(s) of all time? ~ Dirty Dancing and Grease
  15. Favourite TV show(s)? ~ Grey’s Anatomy, Friends and The Twilight Zone (1960’s series)
  16. Rachel or Phoebe? ~ Neither … it would have to be Monica, I’m abit OCD
  17. What was the last movie you watched that made you laugh? ~ Home Alone 2
  18. What was the last movie you watched that made you cry? ~ Me Before You
  19. When was the last time you cried in general? ~ Yesterday
  20. Name a book that you’ve read more than once? ~ The whole of the Harry Potter series … many times.
  21. What Hogwarts House would you be? ~ Hufflepuff
  22. What book do you plan on reading? ~ A Song of Fire and Ice (Game of Thrones  – bet you didn’t know it was a book series before the TV show)
  23. On a scale of one to ten, how excited are you right now? ~ Super excited because it’s Christmas so that would be a 9?!
  24. iPhone or Android? ~ iPhone all the way!
  25. Twitter or Instagram? ~ Instagram … I don’t know how to use Twitter to be honest
  26. What’s your favourite food? ~ Cheese
  27. Least favourite food? ~ Anything spicy
  28. Weirdest thing you’ve eaten? ~ Turtle meat (don’t ask!)
  29. What’s the hardest part about being a mum? ~ Worrying about them all the time
  30. What is the best thing about being a mum? ~ Watching them grow into kind and considerate little humans
  31. If you could master one instrument, what would it be? ~ Piano
  32. Who is your music icon? ~ Early 90’s Madonna
  33. Dogs or cats? ~ Neither … hate domesticated animals
  34. Dolphins or koalas? ~ Koalas are so cute
  35. What’s your spirit anima? ~ Owl
  36. Best gift you have ever received? ~ My children
  37. What’s the biggest lesson you want to teach your children? ~ Be kind … wherever you are or whomever you meet … just be kind.
  38. What do you wish for them? ~ Health and happiness above all else!
  39. Last gift you gave to someone? ~ PS5 to my son 
  40. Person you want to have coffee with? ~ My late brother
  41. Historical figure you would like to have coffee with? ~ Joan of Arc
  42. How do you like your coffee? ~ I don’t drink coffee but I love lattes and mochas
  43. What’s your favourite curse word? ~ F*ck!
  44. What’s your favourite board game? ~ Telestrations
  45. What was the last country you visited? ~ Spain
  46. What’s a country you wish to visit? ~ South Korea
  47. What’s your favourite colour? ~ Grey
  48. Least favourite colour? ~ Blue
  49. Diamonds or pearls? ~ Diamonds
  50. Cheap shampoo or expensive? ~ Expensive
  51. Blowdry or airdry? ~ Airdry if I have time to spare
  52. Heels or flats? ~ Flats
  53. Dress or trousers? ~ Trousers
  54. Your favourite designer? ~ LV
  55. What’s your favourite constellation? ~ Orion
  56. Best way to decompress? ~ Cup of tea and Grey’s Anatomy re-runs
  57. If you had one superpower, what would it be? ~ Time travel
  58. Is there anything you wish you could re-do in your life? ~ Record more memories
  59. Can you describe an experience you felt the most nervous? ~ Waiting for my hospital test results
  60. What’s the weirdest word in the English language? ~ Gobbledygook
  61. What is the one word that you live by? ~ Understanding
  62. What are the three words that best describe you? ~ Shy, Short, Quirky
  63. What are the three words that others have describe you? ~ Kind, Big hearted, Generous
  64. What is your biggest pet peeve in the world? ~ Parents who let their kids walk all over them
  65. What is your go-to karaoke song? ~ Superwoman – Karen White
  66. What is your hidden talent? ~ I have very nice handwriting
  67. Describe your personal style? ~ Comfy
  68. What is an important life lesson for someone to learn? ~ Live with no regrets
  69. What would you like to be remembered for? ~ Kindness
  70. What are you the most scared of? ~ Losing someone
  71. What angers you the most? ~ Rude people … there is just no need
  72. What’s the most expensive thing you have splurged on? ~ My MacBook Pro
  73. Who is your biggest Hollywood crush? ~ Johnny Depp always and forever!

That was fun! Until next time!

~ Boss Mum xxx

Custard and Pie Adventures

Custard and Pie Adventures

What is Custard and Pie Adventures you may be wondering?

Let me introduce you to Custard and Pie.

Custard is the nickname of my son Devon. He is 9 years old and the most awesome dude I know. He is very much mummy’s boy and likes nothing more that a great “cuddle session” aka lots of hugs. Why is his nickname Custard? Have you heard of [Ambrosia] Devon Custard? No more explanation needed.

Pie is the nickname of my daughter Skye. Many family members adopted the name Skye-Pie mainly because it sounds cute and it rhymes. Skye is 12 going on 20. A sensible and bossy little human – but she is my little side-kick. I rarely need to worry about her because she has a good strong head on her shoulders.

Click on the image below to access our wonderful world of adventures!

IMG_1733
One of the most awesome places we have visited. Stonehenge is one of the most beautiful and mysterious places we have visited in the UK.

When I am not working, baking or cooking … one of the things we love to do the most as a family is roadtripping. We love jumping in the car and just travelling around the country, exploring and visiting landmarks and just enriching our lives with knowledge and history and having fun at the same time.

We have been around alot of the UK … but there is still so much to explore closer to home and beyond. Somebody once said to me that a holiday is not a holiday if you don’t get on a plane. Girl PLEASE! A holiday is what you make of it … and believe me, our roadtrips are not any ordinary roadtrips … our roadtrips are just EPIC!

So welcome to Custard and Pie Adventures. Here I will be sharing with you some of our most memorable visits and I hope it will offer you some inspiration to get out there and start exploring with your friends and family.

If you need any suggestions or recommendations of where to visit, especially with young children, please drop me a message. I am happy to point your in the right direction.

Happy Roadtripping!

~ Boss Mum xx

The Lockdown: Week 16 – Time To Say Goodbye … For Now

Saturday 11th July 2020

Happy Saturday!

I have decided that this post will be the last lockdown post … for now. It’s been four months. Can you believe it?

As restrictions are slowly being lifted in England and people are now getting back to some kind of new normal and infection numbers are slowly decreasing, I think it’s fitting to call time on my lockdown blog. It’s been quite an emotional journey.

The lockdown has pushed my anxiety and mental health to the limit. I must admit, the pandemic has scared me. I was super anxious at the beginning when the virus was spreading like wildfire and the country went into chaos. I experienced subtle racism … like nobody wanting to sit next to me on the bus and people swiftly covering their mouths when I entered the vicinity. The anxiety was relentless … my emotions were pulled in all directions and I broke down many times. Not being in control of your own health is scary. What frustrated me the most was the way some of the nation were still not abiding by the lockdown rules. The selfishness of some people shocked and angered me. People could still be seen socially gathering, visiting beaches when the weather was nice, having bbq in the park when it was warm. I personally know some people who breached those rules … people that I have known for years. People that should have known better. The complete lack of compassion for others is somewhat overwhelming.

Remember when eveyone was stock-piling toilet rolls? Now, that was funny. I also remember empty shelves in the supermarket, not being able to buy flour because everyone was suddenly baking! Hand sanitizers were impossible to get and were being sold at ridiculous prices online. The roads were quiet … like a ghost town. Children were sent home from school and parents developed a new appreciation for teachers after the nationwide home-schooling fiasco! The two metre rule kicked in and the queues into the supermarkets were longer than a piece of string. The price of everything sky-rocketed and small businesses were struggling. Then the furlough scheme was introduced which was a lifeline for a lot of people who had not been able to work. We clapped for the NHS and Keyworkers on Thursdays and children were making rainbow and heart posters and sticking them in their windows.

thank you nhs text surrounded by hearts
The real heroes. Thank You NHS Always

I haven’t been to work for four months now but I have always received a salary regardless. My workplace has been amazing … they have gone above and beyond to ensure that their employees are protected healthwise and financially. They sent home all those who have underlying illnesses and they are now actively encouraging more people to work from home. I don’t know when I will be back in the office. I am working from home and it looks like it will be like that for a while. I am not complaining. I am loving being at home with my family. I am going to make the most of it before they call me back in again.

My husband is still furloughed from work. He doesn’t have an exact date of his return. He speculates that he might be off for another couple of months. He’s a little worried as there is some talk of redundancies.

I went for a hospital appointment this morning. This is the first time I have been to the hospital in ages. (I have alot of medical problems and I am always at the GP surgery or in the hospital for one thing or another). I had an appointment with the gynaecologist this morning.  It was bizarre … before I could sit in the waiting area I had my temperature taken, I was given a mask and told to wash my hands. This is before I had even checked in at the reception desk. The waiting room consisted of 5 chairs all spaced 2 metres apart and each chair was in its own little make shift hazard square marked out on the floor using black and yellow (hazard) sticky tape. I can’t wear masks because of my asthma – so the doctor told me it was fine to take it off. There was hardly anyone there in the clinic anyway. I was only there for half an hour and quickly left.

The virus is still out there, but we need to kick start the economy for the sake of the nation. I get it! Let’s just hope people are careful out there.

Do I think there will be a second wave of infection? Definitely … watch out for Lockdown – Part 2 … coming to a blog near you!

~ Boss Mum (and family) xxx

Turnip Cake

Turnip Cake

Turnip cake is not actually made with turnip – well technically not English turnip. It is made from a root vegetable which is part of the turnip family. This root vegetable is called daikon but it is also known as mooli or even just Chinese radish.

Daikon is like a big white carrot looking root vegetable with a subtle radish flavour. It’s also lovely boiled in soups and stews, grated in spring rolls or even just grated or julienned in a nice salad.

Today we are going to make a savoury turnip cake. A popular dish at dim-sum and one of my daughters favourite dishes. It’s so easy to make and tastes great pan fried.

Get your ingredients ready …

IMG_4667

Firstly grate the daikon, I use a box grater for this. Trim the ends of the daikon and peel the skin then grate the daikon into a large bowl.

Untitled 2

Transfer the grated daikon to a wok (or a large pan) and add the water. Bring the water to the boil then reduce to a simmer – cook the daikon for about 15 minutes continuously stirring.

Untitled 3

Once cooked, remove the daikon from the wok, drain the water into a cup (top the water up to 250ml) and allow the daikon to cool in a large bowl.

Dice the mushrooms, Chinese sausage, shrimps, scallops and spring onions.

IMG_4695

Add some scallion oil to the pan and fry them all in a wok (or large frying pan) until they are nicely browned.

IMG_4700

Put the cooked daikon into a large bowl and add the rice flour, cornflour, salt, sugar and white pepper with the water. Add the fried sausage and mushroom mixture to the bowl with the daikon and mix well.

IMG_4706

Mix well …

Untitled 5

Lightly coat a shallow heatproof dish with some scallion oil (or sesame oil) then transfer the mixture to the dish.

Untitled 6

Use the back to a spoon to push down the daikon into the dish to flatten it and evenly spread it in the dish.

Steam the turnip cake for about 50 minutes to 1 hour. The turnip should be nice and soft with a paste like texture.

IMG_4725

I use a wok filled with water to steam the daikon. You can use any steaming method you prefer, but you may have to adjust the timings.

Once steamed, the turnip cake should be soft and paste like in texture. It will firm up once it has cooled down.

Allow the turnip cake to cool down completely before slicing.

IMG_4737

Once cooled, take a slice and pan fry it. Depending on the size of your dish and the thickness of the turnip cake you can slice the turnip cake through the middle so that the slices are not too thick. Do this before you fry them.

IMG_4742

Once pan fried, the turnip cake with have a lovely crispy coating with a soft paste like texture.

Serve on its own as a snack or will be a great accompaniment to any meal.

See below for a printable recipe.

Turnip Cake

INGREDIENTS:
– 600g daikon (also known as mooli or Chinese white radish – peeled and grated)
– 250ml water
– 2 tbsp scallion oil (or sesame oil)
– 2 tbsp dried shrimps (washed, soaked and finely chopped)
– 10g dried scallops (washed, soaked, dried and finely chopped)
– 5 large Chinese mushrooms (washed, soaked and finely chopped)
– 1 Chinese sausage (finely diced)
– 2 spring onion stalks (finely chopped)
– 150g rice flour
– 1 tbsp cornflour
– Pinch of salt to taste
– ½ tsp sugar
– Pinch of white pepper to taste

METHOD:
1. Firstly prepare all the ingredients as above.
2. Peel and grate the daikon and place it in a large wok with 250ml water. Bring the water to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook the daikon for 15 minutes continuously mixing it.
3. Once the daikon is cooked, transfer it to a bowl to cool slightly. Keep the remaining liquid and top it up to make 250ml of water.
4. Add the rice flour, cornflour, salt, pepper and sugar to the daikon. Add the water and mix well. Set aside while you cook the rest of the ingredients.
5. In the same wok, fry the shrimps, scallops, Chinese sausage and spring onions in some scallion oil until nicely browned. Add this to the daikon mixture and mix well.
6. Lightly grease a shallow heatproof dish with some scallion oil. Add the daikon mixture and use the back of a spoon to press down the daikon into the dish and flatten it. Spread it out evenly.
7. Steam the dish for about 50 minutes to 1 hour. The turnip mixture will cook and form a firm paste.
8. Once steamed, allow to cool before serving. You can eat it as it is, but for even more texture and flavour, cut the turnip cake into slices and pan fry them to give them a crispy texture.

Enjoy!

IMG_4756
Fried turnip cake garnished with slice spring onions and red pepper flakes

I hope you give this recipe a try. It’s delicious and so simple to make. Let me know how you get on!

Head over to my Instagram page where you can see what I have been up to in my kitchen. Don’t forget to hit that follow button below to get alerts on new blog posts and leave me a comment to let me know you popped by. I love receiving mail!

~ Boss Mum xx

The Lockdown: Week 15 – Happy Independence Day!!!

Saturday 4th July 2020

My apologies for this late post … this is what happened.

On Thursday the Hubby told me that the window fitting guy was coming round on Friday morning to do some final measurements for my home windows. I’m like great!

Let’s get this ball rolling … 9am he was coming.

Come Friday morning, a van pulls up outside my house and two tradesmen knock on my door. They are here to install some windows. I turn to my Hubby and said: “Huh? I thought they were just here to re-measure?” My Hubby thought so too … but here they are knocking out the old rotten windows and starting to put in the new frames in the bedroom windows.

The Hubby gets in touch with the company and they said there must have been a miscommunication, they were ready to install and had all the windows ready. Woah! I was pleasantly surprised. So because of this … I totally forgot to do my end of week blog. Shame on me!

They were here until 10pm doing finishing touches which was tiresome. I just wanted to get washed up and go sleep. I’m feeling super tired. They were coming back tomorrow.

So this morning, me and the Hubby was waiting around … 9am passes … 10am passes … no sign of them. We call the company and the main contact guy … no answer. We are starting to get worried … another case of rogue traders – but they left their tools in the house so they must be coming back right?

11:30am … the van pulls up and the tradesmen come out. Me and the Hubby was so relieved! I asked one of the tradesmen what happened? He said that he woke up and 5am … went for a walk round the park for half an hour … came home and fell back asleep again. Haha. At least he was honest! I told him I didn’t blame him and he must’ve been really tired after a non stop 12 hours labourious day previously. He was forgiven.

So anyway …

Can you believe it’s July already? I mean … come on! Where has the last few months gone? We are now 15 weeks of lockdown restrictions … well not really lockdown anymore – as things are easing up and people are starting life in their new normal.

I am still a little reluctant to go out and attempt a life of normalcy. The virus is still out there and I am still worried that I may catch it. So for as long as I can I will keep myself to myself. I have had some friends and family over … albeit social gatherings in my garden. It’s been nice to see them and socialise again. But I will be cautious …

Home schooling is still in session. The children’s workload is slowly dwindling – not as much as when lockdown first started. I am glad and I can’t wait for the summer holidays (just two weeks time). No more home schooling! I can’t wait to utter these words to my children when the time comes.

Got to love you and leave you for now … more home renovations needed. I will post some before and after shots in next weeks blog post. Yay!

Oh … and Happy Independence Day to all my American followers!

dessert with flag on money against american flag on background
Happy 4th July!!!

Head over to my Instagram page where you can see what I have been up to in my kitchen. Don’t forget to hit that follow button below to get alerts on new blog posts and leave me a comment to let me know you popped by. I love receiving mail!

~ Boss Mum (and family) xxx

The Lockdown: Week 14 – Summer Is Officially Here

Friday 26th June 2020

Happy Friday! How awesome was the weather this week!? I mean come on … 30°C heat. I must admit I was sweating.

We are officially into summer … yes, a whole season passed us while we were in lockdown. How do I know we are officially in the summer season? Well, the Summer Solstice just came and went without anyone noticing. It had been eclipsed by the coronavirus I guess. But yes, Summer Solstice was last Saturday (20th June) and it marks the end of spring and the start of summer and also longest day of the year.

background backlight blur color
Summer is here

You know, for the last few weeks my husband has been on this health kick. Eating only one meal a day and just being really active … walking whenever and wherever he can. There was one day last week where he walked over 40,000 steps in one day. Yes … ONE DAY! He walked all the way to South London to meet his friend who lives in Elephant and Castle, then the both of them went on to walk 8 of London’s bridges – making their way to Westminster bridge … then he walked back home. He’s on a little health kick right now and has lost so much weight. I think I may be a little bigger round the waist than him right now – something I didn’t think I would ever say. But good on him though! It got him off that darn sofa at least.

So he inspired me to dust off my Fitbit and do some walking. I do not like walking so I won’t be doing any mammoth walking sprees like him … but I aiming for at least 10,000 steps a day.

So every day … in the late afternoon, we go for a walk around our local park. I am lucky to live opposite one of London’s nicer parks – Victoria Park. Big, lots of green open space and a nice place to stretch our legs and get some fresh air. Lockdown has made me lazy and lethargic, so I am making an effort to get off my butt and move!

Monday – 11,300 steps
Tuesday – 10,700 steps
Wednesday – 9,400 steps
Thursday – 10,700 steps
Friday – 8,900 steps

IMG_2094
Victoria Park

We also noticed a new ice-cream parlour opened up in our village – Vanilla Cream. They sell vegan gelato and many other flavours of luscious ice-creams and gelatos. I treated myself to a lovely pistachio ice-cream in a waffle cone and Skye had mint chocolate chip which she loved.

IMG_2107
Village Cream – lovely ice creams … perfect in this weather.

After a hot and sweaty week, we are forecast to have rain next week. It will be a little relief for me anyway. I don’t do well with hot weather. I suffer quite easily from sunstroke so I prefer cooler weather.

Anyhow, head over to my Instagram page where you can see what I have been up to in my kitchen. Don’t forget to hit that follow button below to get alerts on new blog posts and leave me a comment to let me know you popped by. I love receiving mail!

~ Boss Mum (and family) xxx

The Lockdown: Week 13 -It’s Been A Rough Week

Friday 12th June 2020

Hello all!

It has been a pretty exhausting week mentally for me. I’m not going to get into it in detail but the lockdown has put a strain in our family dynamic. Living in close proximity to someone can bring out the worst in you … and this week all our frustrations came out in the worst possible way.

I confided in one of my dearest friends and she brought me back to reality. Sometimes we have to take a step back from a relationship and really dig deep to find the good in another person. Something that I don’t often do. I take people at face value and sometimes it’s just not enough. Not for me anyway. Am I talking in riddles?

Life is too short to be angry and bitter all the time.

So I am trying to be more positive … looking for the good in everything around me. Negativity is just so exhausting. It really is so I am going to smile more often and try to be happy. Is this even possible?

Another coronavirus update: I think a second wave is imminent. China is seeing over 100 new cases of coronavirus infections. Brazil is in crisis … there are over a million people currently infected and their government is just overwhelmed. It is said that Brazil could have the highest Covid-19 death toll in the world by July. How crazy is that? They get over 1000 new deaths every day.

It all stemmed from the fact that the Brazilian President dismissed that there was a pandemic when the whole world was heading into lockdown. He allowed his country to continue as normal and slowly but surely their numbers increased at an alaring rate. I feel so sorry for the people of Brazil. As a country, you rely on your government to protect you but in this case they were completely let down. Pray for Brazil!

We went for a walk in the park today. The rain eased off so we attempted our daily walk. The kids rode their bikes and me and the hubby went for a stroll.

We actually went in search for something unique in the park. In Victoria Park, there is a face in a tree. We found out about the face a few days ago and decided that we were going to go look for it for fun. Considering that Victoria park is pretty big and there are over 4,500 trees spanning 88 hectares of land. That is a lot of trees to look for.

TZ28RDtCR8yBfNKR9mTLGw_thumb_5130.jpg
The face in the tree

But we did find it … eventually. It’s an eerie face (I think it’s made out of clay that has worn away). I don’t know anything about the history of the face in the tree … where did it come from? How long has it been there? Who made it and put it there? I have no idea … I will have to research this properly because it’s made me super curious.

Update: I did a little digging and found out that the face in the tree is actually a memorial to the late Margaret Muller. This young lady was brutally stabbed to death in 2003 in Victoria Park at this spot [Source: Unsolved Murders]. Margaret (an art student) was jogging in the park early one morning and it is suspected that two men approached her and launched an unprovoked attack which resulted in her death. She was heard screaming but there was no signs of robbery or sexual assault. Her killers were never found. Her body was brought back to the USA for burial.

On that sombre note …

Head over to my Instagram page where you can see what I have been up to in my kitchen. Don’t forget to hit that follow button below to get alerts on new blog posts and leave me a comment to let me know you popped by. I love receiving mail!

~ Boss Mum (and family) xxx