Planning a picnic

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Rory and I enjoyed a relaxed Friday, especially as the weather continues to be so hot. We headed to the park in water gear to play in the sprinklers and meet up with friends – Christine, Gracie and Mason and Marji, Gray and Luke. We headed home for lunch and whilst Rory napped I enjoyed perusing this book to get some ideas for a picnic we’re having tomorrow with Lucy, Jim and Teddy. In the afternoon we met up with Lucy and Teddy and headed to Sahadi’s to stock up on yummy food for the weekend and tomorrow’s picnic. That evening O and I snuggled in and watched the whole first season of Political Animals. Not the best TV I’ve ever watched but I do so enjoy a political drama, me.

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The “springker” is on

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The weather has really warmed up and Rory could not believe his luck when we arrived at the park and the sprinkler was on. He asked what it was. I told him. He now fondly calls it the ‘springker’ and LOVES going in it. It kept him occupied all morning which allowed me time to catch up with the lovely Jennifer and Saffron. Jennifer even gave me a big bag of greens which she has grown in their garden on Shelter Island, yummy. After lunch and nap we stayed cool indoors where Rory enjoyed playing with his train track. O came home early with a yummy pizza from Juliana’s which we had with Jennifer’s yummy salad. Whilst O tucked Rory into bed, I got ready for girls night. I met up at a local bar with some of my favourite girls in the whole world for a long overdue catch up and cocktails. The perfect end to a great day; I love my girls.

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I need to get my phone mummy

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Boo, we woke up to rain this morning. Luckily we headed to music class first thing, which is a great escape from the horrid weather. We nipped to pirate park with Lora, Oliver and Maeve for a quick run around in the rain before heading home for lunch. The rain got heavier in the afternoon so we were forced to stay indoors. Luckily Rory enjoyed playing with his Tegu, creating lots of different vehicles. He was so proud of his work that at one point he rushed out of the room shouting ” I need to get my phone”. I thought I’d misheard him. But he actually did get his phone. His wooden iphone and took a picture of his masterpiece… just like mummy. After a miserable day it was lovely to enjoy a date night with my boy. We headed to the cinema to see The Great Gatsby and what a wonderful escape it was. I loved it. The romance, the fashion, the city, the chic rich American lifestyle of Long Island, how true to the novel it was etc. etc. I couldn’t stop gushing about it all the way home. O (who hasn’t read the book) didn’t enjoy it and thought it was “rubbish” and felt “assaulted”. Mmmm.

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Governors Island

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Finally we have some lovely sunshine! Once again we decided to get on our bikes and head out for a family picnic. As this weekend marks the start of the summer season here in America, Governors Island has opened. We decided to cycle down to get the ferry but it seemed like lots of other people had the same idea as there was a huge queue. Rory and I popped to the park for a swing whilst O waited with the bikes. Once on the island we enjoyed a cycle round before stopping for lunch. We enjoyed fresh baguette with our English cheddar and the biggest watermelon (look how big it is next to Rory who found it very interesting) for dessert. In the evening O and I enjoyed watching some of the new Arrested Development (I LOVE this program) and Behind the Candelabra, the new Steven Soderbergh film staring Micheal Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon. The two guys are amazing in their roles. So much so that I was quite freaked out by the whole thing. Plastic surgery… go watch it!

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Cacao Prieto

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The grey, rainy weather is continuing so we decided to go on a family bike ride (a much quicker way to get home should the need arise). We stopped off at the park on the way to Red Hook where O and Rory enjoyed some spinning action. Once in Red Hook we popped to Fairway to stock up on yummy weekend treats so we didn’t have to go out in the rain again. They have a fantastic selection of English goods so we were able to get ‘proper’ cheddar (from Devon) and clotted cream. Clotted cream! We also explored Cacao Prieto, a chocolate factory which makes the most exquisite bars. The whole Egan family got involved in the tasting – quite impressive as it’s very rich, dark chocolate. In the end we decided on a raisin and hazelnut and an almond and sea salt bar. Out the back of the factory Rory spotted a cockerel, which he loved. We cycled home and snuggled in for the afternoon. In the evening O and I were supposed to be going on a date to see The Great Gatsby. It was a total disaster. Even though we had purchased the tickets in advance, the subway was so delayed we only just made the opening of the film. Unfortunately most of New York had decided to go and see this film so the only seats left were right at the front where you crick your neck trying to look at the screen and loose your hearing being so near to the speaker. We decided not to stay. We did manage a stroll down 5th Avenue and picked up something yummy to eat from 12 chairs before heading home. Boo.

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Who cares if it’s raining, Daddy’s home.

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Another miserable day meant that Rory and I had a slow start to the morning – him happily playing with his toys in pj’s and me cleaning and organising the fridge and freezer. We finally headed out to the park and met up with Christine, Gracie and Mason for a much longed for bout of fresh air. Our beloved neighbourhood toyshop, Pomme is closing which is so sad as not only do we have music there every week, but Rory has had all of his birthday celebrations there and it’s where I met all of my wonderful mummy friends. A sad day. On the plus side they are clearing out all of their stock at incredibly low prices so I picked up this beautiful game and this cool toy. After lunch Rory and I both enjoyed a nap and whilst still sleeping O arrived home – yay! Rory was so excited when he woke up. As it was pouring we decided to go to our local bookshop where Rory enjoyed having lots of stories read to him by daddy, including the biggest book in the world! Afterwards we indulged in a spot of afternoon tea at One Girl Cookies. O had carrot cake, I had a chocolate cupcake and Rory chose a brownie. We bumped into Katie and Ruby who had obviously had the same idea. We headed home and Whilst O cooked this amazing vegetarian lasagna, Rory and I enjoyed doing some games, including this tower stacking and his new gum ball machine (which he spent an hour doing again and again). Who cares if it’s raining, daddy’s home.

Aubergine lasagne

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 3 aubergines
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • a few sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked
  • 1 dried red chilli, crumbled
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2×400 g organic tinned plum tomatoes
  • 1 splash balsamic vinegar
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, leaves picked and stalks chopped
  • 150 g Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 handfuls Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 6-8 fresh lasagne sheets

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400ºF/gas 6. Steam the whole aubergines over a pan of simmering water for 30 minutes, then scoop out the flesh and cut it up roughly. Slowly fry the aubergine, garlic, thyme and chilli in the olive oil for around 10 minutes.

Add the tins of tomatoes, chopping them up roughly with a wooden spoon, then add the balsamic vinegar and most of the basil leaves. Bring to the boil and simmer for around 10 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened.

Spread a layer of aubergine sauce in a large, shallow dish. Sprinkle over some Cheddar and a handful of Parmesan, then spread over a layer of lasagne sheets. Repeat once or twice more, until your dish is full. Finish with a final sprinkling of Parmesan, a scattering of basil leaves and a drizzle of olive oil.

Place in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes until bubbling and golden.

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A rainy day

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The day started off beautifully, weather wise, so Rory and I headed to the park to meet Jennifer and Saffron and Randi and Marlowe. They loved playing together in the sandpit and climbing. After a yummy lunch and no nap (!!) we awoke to dark skies, thunder and lightening and heavy rain. There was no way we could be out in it so it was lucky that Lucy and Teddy invited us to their house for some indoor fun. The boys were very taken with this amazing model of Tower Bridge that Lucy and Jim had made, although this photo looks like the boys have done it. After a fun afternoon we rushed home to cook supper for O returning home after a long week away. Unfortunately the weather meant his flight was cancelled so we had to have another night without seeing Daddy – boo!

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King of the forest

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This morning Rory and I polished off a yummy smoothie (vegan with raw coconut, greens and chai seeds and yes he couldn’t get enough) before meeting up with Jennifer and Saffron and heading to Forest School. Usually Rory heads straight to the mud soup making, but today he enjoyed hanging out with Charlie doing boys work. They rolled logs over for us to sit on, collected some more big sticks to make the tee pee stronger and then made some crowns – one for Charlie and one for Rory. It was soon time to wash hands and enjoy snack and tea (Rory’s favorite) and Rory had five helpings today. Afterwards all of the children followed Jane to do a spot of fishing with big sticks. Rory loved seeing two ducks and a turtle come very close to him but couldn’t understand why they swam away when he splashed them with his stick. Once he was happily wet enough, we headed back to the meadow for circle time songs and rhymes. After a spot of kite flying it was time to go home for long showers and longer naps (both of us). If you’re wondering why I nap so much check out this article that Mel sent (saying I’d obviously like it) and you can see the scientific reasoning, not that I need any. After we woke we enjoyed fresh strawberries and this yummy Ronnybrook yoghurt drink (with lots of probiotics). In the afternoon we met up with Christine, Gracie and Mason and Lora, Oliver and Maeve and headed to the park for a good catch up. We were chatting so much that I didn’t realize how late it was. We power walked home but luckily I had made jacket potatoes which had cooked in the oven whilst we were out. We enjoyed them with avocado and cheese. Rory could not get enough of it. PS As you all know I have a love for potatoes so I’m rather enjoying this article.

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The hottest day of the year so far

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We’re still easing into the week given that Rory is still on the mend after his horrid weekend cold, O is away again on business and it was the hottest day of the year so far. After music class we headed to the park to meet with Randi and Marlowe and Christine, Gracie and Mason. It was good to catch up. We enjoyed a ‘green’ soup for lunch (lots of broccoli and green beans with potato) before Rory refused to have a nap – boo. Instead we decided to have yummy watermelon and headed back out into the heat for a gentle afternoon at the park. We caught up with Caroline and  Roxanne and Lucy and Teddy before heading home. Since it was so warm I was craving a little summer, easy Italian dish so cooked my trusty favorite summer linguine from Supernatural Everyday. Yummy.

  • 2 medium-large zucchini or yellow summer squash, coarsely grated
  • Fine-grain sea salt
  • 4 ounces whole wheat linguine or other thin pasta
  • 4 ounces durum wheat linguine or other thin pasta
  • 2 Tbls extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbls unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to serve
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Put the zucchini in a colander, sprinkle with a few generous pinches of salt, and let sit over a bowl or in the sink for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, cook the pasta in separate pots or sequentially. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt generously, add the linguine, and cook according to the package directions, or until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving a little cooking water.

Just before you are ready to eat, heat the olive oil, garlic, and red pepper in a large skillet over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant and the garlic just begins to brown. Squeeze the zucchini between your hands, over the sink, to eliminate any excess liquid and add to the skillet. Cook until tender, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes.

Add the pasta to the pan and add a little cooking water if the zucchini mixture seems on the dry side. Toss to distribute the zucchini throughout the pasta. Add the butter and cheese and toss again.

Season with salt and black pepper and divide among bowls. Top with more cheese if you like.

Serves 2 -4

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