This Sunday may I present to you my Manchester Tart….
I’m doing a spot of recipe writing for something which I can tell you more about in April, and this is the happy and rather delicious result of one of those recipes.
My Grandma taught me how to cook, she was a school cook and a pastry chef, so this, the famous Manchester Tart was one of her favourite things to make. I followed her handwritten recipe in a rather battered handwritten book and this was the delicious outcome.
If you’ve never had Manchester Tart before, it is shortcrust pastry blind baked, smothered with a layer of raspberry jam, topped with creme patissiere and sprinkled with toasted dessicated coconut. Some recipes (some very wrong recipes IMHO) include a layer of sliced banana on top of the jam, and most use much more coconut than I did, but it’s all personal taste.
Regardless of whether you are pro or anti banana, this Manchester Tart was a fine tribute to my Grandma, and I like to think she’d be tucking into seconds right now if she were still with us.
Although I’ve already written a blog post about my boy starting to learn to read, when I looked back over the photos I’d taken this week, this is the one I liked the best. It marks such a milestone in his development and will forever be a nice memory for us all.
So this is our son with his first reading book from school, as proud as punch to be reading with his Daddy.
Family. There’s not much more important to me than that. The small boy is now old enough and interested enough to have recently started asking questions about where he’s come from and who he is. These pictures are the best reminders I have of the two awesome matriarchs I am descended from and the brave soldier and kind heart who was the Grandfather I never knew.
I have a shelf full of these pictures, posed studio photographs from the 1940’s, snapshots from the 1980’s and printed off digital photographs from a week ago. A shelf of memories, a reminder that my family are made of stern stuff and when pushed, that I am too.
Fall down seven times, stand up eight.
The boys and I have had a lovely week “off” from work, spending lots of time together doing activity books, building Lego and going on little adventures. On Tuesday we hopped into the car and headed to Crosby Beach in Liverpool. A beach famous for its Antony Gormley statues – a beautifully eerie collection of 100 identical figures scattered across a two mile stretch of beach. The installation is called “Another Place” and it’s well worth a visit if you get the chance. I’m putting the finishing touches to a blog post about our visit, so do keep your eyes peeled for that.
In the meantime here’s one of my favourite pictures from our visit. Deep December blue skies, gently rolling surf, what’s not to love?
As I sit and write this it’s Boxing Day. I have a fridge full of leftovers and a camera roll on my iPad filled with great pictures of my family sat around the dinner table enjoying their Christmas dinner. I have a few snaps of me, my dad and my brother sat making balloon animals, just like we used to when we were children. Pictures of my son opening his presents, photos of him bouncing on the bed with joy on Chrostmas Eve and pictures of him discovering floury footprints by the fireplace in Christmas morning. A camera roll full of memories sat on a virtual cloud somewhere.
But the picture I’ve chosen it probably one of my favourites, taken at the Christingle service at church, attended by lots of his school friends; carols were sung, Merry Chistmasses wished and I shed a little tear. December has been a long hard slog, but we got there, we made all the way to Christmas unscathed and excited for the days ahead. Christingle always marks the start of our Christmas and we went home and our family celebrations began.
Merry Christmas everyone, hope you’ve had a good one x
This picture represents quite a special memory for me. The small boy being five now was desperate to get a Christmas tree AND decorate it AND put a star on top. So, uncharacteristically bowing to pressure we bought a tree and put it up much earlier than we would have done under normal circumstances.
For me this is a lovely memory. It’s the first tree me and he have decorated together. We spent time making some nice decorations to go on the tree, and we talked about some of the baubles and trinkets we were hanging which came from my childhood and his dad’s childhood trees. For us this is a Christmas tree hanging with memories, some very old, some very new, but all of them precious, to us at least.
Merry Christmas, and thanks for visiting my blog, I do appreciate it. Love and luck for 2016 x
My Sunday Photo this week is one of my son telling me about the bauble he’d painted.
This Saturday afternoon it was raining cats and dogs, so we cancelled our outdoor plans and spent an hour or two doing some Christmas crafts. We each painted a bauble; mine was plain red with gold spots on, and his was multi-coloured. He was keen to tell me that he’s painted the world and pointed out which bits were the sea, America and Didsbury – the part of Manchester where we live.
We’ve actually done quite a lot this week, he’s been a donkey in his school nativity, he’s had a big birthday party (50 kids!), we’ve been to the theatre, visited a farm to buy our Christmas tree, but probably my favourite bit was quietly painting a bauble with him. Simple things eh…
If you can’t guess from the giant Zippy Santa, this is Manchester Christmas Markets. Santa sits on the Town Hall and oversees the goings on at the market, which when I visited mainly involved mulled wine and a very very good plate of pie and mash.
I love the Christmas Market, I go every year with my best friend Bob who is also a freelance copywriter, it’s our annual “works Christmas do” and something I look forward to for months.
This was taken with my Nokia Lumia phone, a quick snap in between mulled wines, but it turned out pretty well. I like the way the bright lights are captured.
On Friday night, me and almost every blogger with a northern accent (and a few rogue southerners) went to the On The List Co-Op event in Manchester.
It was a lovely, glittery, if very damp evening. I was part of the Q&A Panel (which you can read about here, should you wish), a role I was very much dreading and had managed to work myself up into a ball of anxiety about for most of the week.
My picture (taken by Karen Hannah, aka Grumpyish Mum) shows me enjoying a post-panel drink and feeling relieved that I didn’t quite make a complete fool of myself for once.
I think you can see the relief on my face. It was a great night though, and it was lovely to see everyone again.
Photo credit: Karen Hannah