Three Days of Madness: Act II

Don’t get me wrong: my children are the best thing in the world to me. When they’re up to mischief, more often than not, I’m laughing about it as much as they are. Take Cub 4, for example. His little big sister, Cub 3, came running into the kitchen the other night and shouted at me that Cub 4 is stuck. Of course I rescued him, but what kind of mother would I be had I not taken a picture of him first:


Fun as they are, boy did they drive me mad yesterday! Every single button they could, they pushed.

After the usual, and expected, Monday morning madness of trying to get the four of them up, washed, fed, and dressed, I thought that I’d get a little break while they’re all in school, preschool, childcare. Well, if by break I meant time to clean the house, put on a wash and do the dishes, then I got it.

The real trouble started when I picked up Cub 4. He didn’t want to go in the buggy. Not having had his full rain gear and it being a rather incessant soft day out there, I made him sit in it anyway, much to his annoyance. From there we went to pick up Cub 3, who cried all the way home as her legs were tired and I hadn’t brought the double buggy (less than 10 minutes walk, but she can make it seem hours!).

By the time I had to get them out again to pick up Cub 2 from school, I decided to drive and get a couple groceries while I was at it. At least cubs would stay dry and no more crying about walking – until, at the supermarket: my car wouldn’t start again!!!! Rather inconvenient that to say the least.

On the phone, sending a message to the husband about the misbehaving car, I try a sixth time, and voilà: the car started up. Typical. (Hubby is going to check it out and fix that little snag, hurrah!)

Thinking that my bad luck for the day was all used up, I started making some bread and while that was left to rise, I dove right into Mt Washmore.

Mt Washmore, you see, is higher than Mt Everest. Believe me when I say it is. I’ve never really managed to conquer it. I fondly remember the days before the cubs, single and more or less organised. I used to wash one dark and one white wash a week. Ah – memories! It took me a solid hour to fold all the washed and dried clothes, never mind putting them into the closets.

Cub 1 returned from school with one of her best friends, and the two of them had a great time. Add another friend and still, all was well. Add Cub 3, who shares the room with her big sister, to the mix: an eternity of screaming, shouting, missiles throwing later, we had tears and tantrums with me left wondering where their tiaras were.

Only three casualties though:

  1. The clock: it fell off the wall (completely by itself, would you believe. No? Me neither…)
  2. The ceramic horse: a bad decision to use that as a missile. It broke a leg, but the husband glued it. I was ready to throw it out. Good cop, bad cop. Guess I’m the bad one again. Sigh.
  3. The beaded necklace: lovely clatter as it was torn apart by the two pulling on it, then blaming each other for breaking it.

Of course, after all that was resolved, and peace restored it still wasn’t the end of things. I’m not actually sure how much coffee I drank yesterday, but it was a LOT. You see, while holding the mug, I’ve got my hands full and can’t go strangle them. I hear that’s frowned upon anyway, so probably better I drink coffee!

I had finished the bread, and gone on to make dinner. You see, I had this gorgeous romanesco in the house still and needed to make something yummy with it. I love romanesco. So much nicer than just cauliflower. I think it’s the texture as well as the look and the slightly nutty flavour.

So I chopped and stirred and created and pre-heated the oven at 200C and then shoved the vegetable bake in. It takes around 25 minutes to cook in the oven.

When I checked it after around 20 minutes I was disappointed to see the veg wasn’t even nearly cooked through. Doubting myself, I resigned myself to having to wait. After a few more checks and at 45 minutes I realised why it wasn’t cooking: Cub 4 had taken to turning knobs and pushing buttons whenever he got his fingers on them. I found the oven at 110C. No wonder it wasn’t cooking!

What else was I to do but serve up the freshly baked bread sandwiches for dinner, accompanied with carrot sticks and a few crisps on the side (rare that I do that, but hey, it was that kinda day!).

On the plus side, today’s dinner’s already done and only needs re-heating!


Wholemeal Treacle Bread

Another rainy day, already having been to the shops, and realising I hadn’t nearly enough bread in the house. What else was I to do but to simply bake my own?

I threw a few things together willy-nilly and hoped it would work. By golly, it did! It’s one of the most delicious breads I’ve tasted in a long time. And healthy, too!

The treacle I used in this bread is made of 100% sugar beets and 25g of it contains 64% of your daily requirement for iron, 24% of magnesium, 23% potassium and 65% folic acid. Add to that the goodness of the seeds and you’re on to a winner!

Excuse the bad picture but my kitchen’s rather dark and the artificial light does it no justice!


To make this bread, you need:

  • 400g wholemeal flour
  • 100g chickpea flour
  • 1 sachet dried yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup treacle (or molasses to some of you, but sugar beet one, not sugar cane!)
  • water


Mix the flours, salt, yeast and seeds together. Add the treacle and just enough water to make a pliable dough. Knead it through for a good 5 minutes.

Leave it to rise in a warm, draft-free place until it has risen to twice its size. My kitchen was rather cool, so it took nearly 1.5 hours to rise, but if you want to speed it up, leave it somewhere warm.

Once it’s risen, knock it back and knead it through one more time on a floured surface. Then form it into an even loaf and bake it in a pre-heated oven at 180C for about 40 minutes or until the bread sounds hollow when you gently knock on the bottom of it. That’s how you know your bread is done.

In order to get a lovely crust, leave a small oven proof dish full of water in the bottom of the oven while the bread bakes and brush it with water about half-way through.

Leave it to cool on a wire rack before cutting. That’s if you can wait that long. I’ve had my first slice as soon as it was cool enough to handle.

This is a rather firm bread, that is full of goodness and fills you up nicely.