Thursday, 28 June 2012

Home-Made Tagliatelle

After watching Masterchef a few times, I developed a desire to make pasta from scratch.  It didn't look too complicated and I know it has a superior taste to it's dried cousin.  Having expressed my new founded cookery interest to my husband, I was very excited to find my birthday present this year was a pasta machine (roller).   I was 10 weeks pregnant at the time and well...  I was a long shot from feeling upto the exciting task, but finally a few weeks ago I made my first attempt.  Sadly it was a complete failure and it had to be thrown in the bin.

After such a miserable first attempt I did what any modern young woman would do and 'youtubed' it.  After watching a few videos (Jamie Oliver's being the best) I was all excited about it again and set to task one evening when the kiddlets were all tucked up in bed.  This time it was a complete success and was surprisingly quick to do.  Hubby and I enjoyed taste testing and I felt I was ready to embark on making a proper pasta dinner for the whole family.

And here we are today!  
Home-made tagliatelle with home-made cheese sauce.

Ingredients at the ready
First we decided to make the sauce so it is ready just to re-warm and pour over the pasta.  Didn't want to risk spoiling our fresh pasta waiting on a sauce.

Measuring milk for the cheese sauce
Whisking in the flour
Grating the cheese
Charlie carefully turns the hob on ready to cook the sauce
So first job was to melt the butter and then when fully melted add in our milk and flour mixture.
We then added some salt, pepper & about half a tsp of whole mustard. (we forgot the parsley)
Once all those ingredients were stirred through we continued to stir frequently until the sauce thickened at which point we added our cheese and garlic.  Once that was all melted and stirred through we put the sauce to one side and started making our pasta!  :O)

Here the boys poured 200 grams of flour on the table and made a hole in the middle.
Then we broke 2 eggs and added them to the centre of our flour
Next job was to mix it carefully together.  We started off using a fork and then when the mixture was not too wet we brought it together into a dough using our hands.
Charlie takes a picture of me kneading the dough.
And now for the fun bit everyone had been waiting for!!!!

Caden started us off by putting the dough through on the largest setting.  We continued to put the dough through this setting about 8 times.  We then reduced the gap by one notch and put the dough through about 4-5 times, occasionally dusting the dough with flour so it didn't stick to the machine.
Eventually the dough became too long so we cut it in half.  We then carried on in the same manner, reducing the gap and putting the dough through about 4 times.  Our machine has 6 setting and we stopped at setting 3, thinking that the dough was thin enough.  As it turned out it would have been better to do one more setting and stop at 2.  (At least that would be our preference.  I've made tagliatelle before going right down to setting 1, but we decided that we'd prefer it a tad thicker.)

Here we go using the cutter setting on the machine - definitely the most exciting part!  :O)
Rosina was determined to try some before it was cooked! (Charlie doesn't seem impressed with her!)
Next we boiled the pasta for about 3-4 minutes in heavily salted water. (sea salt mind - none of that table salt stuff)

And here we go - the finished dish:

Rosina had to give in her vote too!  :O)

We use a 100g to 1 egg recipe for making our pasta.  You can use regular plain white flour.  My next job when it comes to pasta is to tackle ravioli and then white pasta alternatives - ie spelt pasta!  :O)

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

20 Week Ultrasound

The time arrived for the 20 week ultrasound and we were very excited, but also concerned at what may be found.  I had had a nagging feeling that this baby was going to have some problems and as the 20 week scan drew near I almost expected them to find something wrong.

Despite these feelings Alex and I both felt at complete peace and were not worrying about what may be discovered.  We were ready to embrace whatever may be about to come our way.

Our appt. was about 30 mins late. Finally our time came and I excitedly hopped onto the bed.  And there was our baby!!  Happy and looking rather sleepy. S/he was all curled up - so sweet.  Slowly the sonographer worked through every body part and everything looked great!  No problems were detected and we so enjoyed our 20/30 minute look into the secret world of our unborn baby.

Here is a little clip I put together after our visit:

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Pregnancy - 20 weeks

Half Way!

Yesterday marked 20 weeks into the pregnancy and to be honest I can't quite believe I'm here already.  The weeks since my last scan have gone by quickly.  
(An 11 day holiday probably helped with that! hah)

We are booked in for our next scan this Friday at 8:25pm and we are rather very excited to get another peek at our new little baby growing away.

I am feeling lots of movement now which is just amazing and such a comfort.  It doesn't seem to matter how many times I've been through this - feeling those kicks is just as amazing every time!  The miracle of new life!

Recent Cravings - dark chocolate & cakes (all the healthy stuff!)
Feeling - more tired than I have in previous pregnancies at this gestation. Hoping for relief soon, - won't hold my breath though... just enjoy the better days as and when they decide to offer me some relief. It seems that my old friend SPD is back to spend some time with me.  It is very minor at the moment - making the most of pain free walking while it lasts.  :O)
Belly Growth - 33.5" = 5.5" gain!

Lilypie Maternity tickers

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Graduating Year 3

After a challenging year of hard, hard work for our eldest, he achieved his completion of year 3 yesterday - Friday the 8th of June.

His reading and writing abilities have come on leaps and bounds!  He can happily sit back with a novel and chew his way through the whole thing.  He has just started learning cursive writing, which he absolutely loves to do... think it makes him feel very grown up to be doing joined up writing! :O) His Math abilities have developed really well too and his talents now include adding fractions, long addition, problem stories & estimation to name a few.  Next grade we get to tackle the times table (All prayers appreciated for me and my son!)

Caden is especially excited to have completed his 3rd year as his 4th years work will be done on the computer and our Mr Caden 'gets' computers and so loves to work on them.  I'm also rather pleased too as the clever program marks his work for me and automatically plans out his years work, allocating evenly for the whole year and adjusting accordingly when a challenging area takes him longer than estimated etc, etc... bliss.  :O)

We celebrated Caden's achievements today with a mini party.  The kids put on party hats and I cooked a cake, which had 3 candles to represent each year of education completed.  We presented Caden with his certificate of achievement and gave him a hearty round of applause.  

When it came time to blow out the candles, I told him to think of all those pages of Math, filled with sums, and blow them away!  :O)

We then presented him with a gift as a reward for his labours.

To say he is cuffed with his solitaire chess is an understatement.  He is sitting by my feet as I type working his way through the challenges and absolutely loving it!  :O)

A massive congratulations Caden!

You're a star!

The Little Dude Turns 5

On the 28th of May my ickle Quinny turned 5 yrs old!  Seems mad to me that my little boy is 5... that's not so little anymore!

We had a celebration for him while on holiday, as his actual birthday was during our trip to Ireland.  We then had his 'main' celebration once home again.  I was rather tired after our jouneys and the seemingly endless washing that appears after a holiday and so was planning to buy Quinn's birthday cake this year.  Was feeling a little guilty about it as it is my little tradition to make them a special little cake every year so I decided I would ask him... give him the choice of a fun shop bought cake or a mummy made one.  He looked at me with his big green eyes and said he wanted me to do it..... well I just couldn't refuse his cute little face!  I asked him what he wanted this year and he asked for a football pitch.  Rather pleased he picked something simple... I agreed.

Monday, 4 June 2012

I'm Back!

Well my goodness, it's been a good little while since I've felt up to blogging, but here I am again, feeling better and ready to do some catching up!  :O)

We returned home from a lovely holiday to Ireland last week.  We took the ferry from S. Wales across to Rosslare and rented a static caravan there for 3 nights.  We didn't really know how good the place we would be staying at would be as it seems the Irish are still learning to use the internet to it's full potential as their websites seem rather.. well.. basic. 
We were thrilled to find a lovely caravan though and an absolutely fantastic beach just a few minute walk down a country road - was so idyllic and to top it off we even had brilliant sunshine for our first day!!  Who would have guessed! hah! 

We visited an 800 yr old lighthouse, which claims to be the oldest, still functioning lighthouse in the world, so that was pretty amazing to see.  We had a tour of the inside of the lighthouse and it was like a castle in there!  Definitely a trip worth doing if you ever happen to be in Wexford County.  :O)

For our next day in Rosslare we planned on going to see an historical village that had an old working windmill.  We drove down the road where it was supposed to be and there was no sign of it.  So we stopped at the nearest pub and asked about it.  We were promptly informed that the place had closed down 2 years ago!  (and yet the website is still up and running!)  :S
So we took a trip into the nearest main town instead.  We were surprised how few shops were about generally and also how big people's houses were when you were outside of a city.

After our short stay in Rosslare we drove right down to the bottom of Ireland and stayed with friends who live in Bandon (nr Cork).  It's a good job our friends gave us clear directions to their house because apparently they don't see the need for post codes (zip codes) over in Ireland.  So you might as well pack your sat nav away if you visit Ireland and pick up a good map instead. :) 
We had a super time down there.  We had a mini celebration for Quinn's 5th birthday and we experienced some offical Irish chocolate.  We took an amazing trip (THE trip of the holiday) to Killarney and saw some stunning sites up there and took a memorable trip on a horse and cart around the lake and sites.

All in all a fab time was had by all and we greatly enjoyed our Irish holiday.