Before Sam could walk, in those long, dark, awful days when he would just sit on the floor and shriek, I would tell everyone - or just mutter to myself "When he can walk, it will be better. When he can walk, it will be better." I clung to that truth, willed it, wished it to be so. Somewhere, in a dark place, was the thought that maybe walking wouldn't improve things - maybe he was just a little jerk and would be forever this albatross, this non-eating, non-sleeping albatross. Round my neck. Forever.
But then, O Lord, praise praise be - I was right! He walks. He eats. He sleeps. He SMILES!! Hallelujah! Rejoice! Rejoice! Calloo - callay!!
|Pirate Sam - walking so fast he's just a blur|
Now, in the morning, I can come downstairs with him and just let him roam about while I make a cup of tea. He will sit with me and eat a few bites of my breakfast. He will potter about with his toy brush and my copper saucier, humming to himself while I read the paper.
When we all leave the house together, I put on all their shoes and sweaters and whatever on and then stand at the front door and shout "Come on! We're going!"and out scampers Kitty in her pink glittery high-tops and then a few seconds later Sam staggers into the hallway in his stout little trainer boot thingies, clomp, clomp, clomp - wobble - clomp, clomp - wobbbbllllle - clomp clomp.
And I am a changed woman. I no longer stamp along my little local high street in an unspeakable mood, snapping "I had an awful weekend," at Freddie, my butcher and weeping on the shoulder of Matthew, the coffee shop owner. I smile, I brush my hair, I make polite chit-chat, I light candles in the evening. I have carved a pumpkin in preparation for Hallowe'en. I bought a new houseplant.
The world suddenly seems a bright and beautiful place. So hopeful.
I think.... I am.... happy.
And what better way to celebrate than by taking Kitty - at large this week on half term - to a delightful little baking school called Bake With Maria - (www.bakewithmaria.com). Normally I absolutely refuse to do anything like this but this place was a 15 minute drive from us, on a Tuesday at 10am during half term. How could I say no?
Maria Mayerhofer is smiley, lovely, patient with small children and enthusiastic about everything - and as we made a simple loaf of white bread I saw plainly and clearly what I've been doing wrong with bread all this time, which is 1) I add too much flour because I am freaked out by how sticky the dough is and 2) I don't knead it for long enough.
Two such simple things!
Anyway the bread was all well and good but it was these overnight rye buns that really caught my eye. I've got a real thing about breakfast. I really, really like it - like that disapproving sister in Magic Mike. And what you do with these buns is put together the dough (no kneading required) - stick it in a bowl in the fridge overnight, then scoop out the dough in the morning onto a baking tray, put it in the oven for 20 mins and you have fresh bread. Fresh freaking bread! And now Sam doesn't require literally constant attention his every waking moment, I can do stuff like this!
HIGH FIVE THE WORLD!!!!!!
Overnight Rye Buns, from Bake With Maria
150g dark rye flour (Waitrose!)
200g strong white flour
4 g dried yeast
4g runny honey
50g natural yoghurt
1 Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl with a spoon - it is a very wet dough so don't go in there with your hands, just go for it with a metal spoon until it's all combined.
2 Stretch some cling film over the top of your bowl and put it in the fridge overnight
3 As soon as you hit the kitchen in the morning, get your oven to 200C and once it's hot put in a roasting tray with some boiling water in it - about an inch deep.
4 Grease well a baking sheet or tray (I use that Lurpak spray stuff - it's fab). Dip a wet tablespoon into the dough and scoop out a goodly amount and plonk it on the tray to form a bun and then repeat.
5 Bake for 20 minutes
Eat with butter, jam - whatever - at your leisure, in your kitchen. Maybe with the paper?