Sylvia takes a long long long time to eat each meal. I have even spoken to the workers at childcare and been told she is always the last one eating. So it is not just my impatience that makes me say this. But I will admit that I used to eat breakfast very quickly in the days before Sylvia. So let me tell you about this morning as an example:
- It starts with her running to drag boxes of cereal out of the pantry and select a bowl from the cupboard.(She has just learnt to open the pantry and cupboards by herself so now she thinks any time is cereal time.) She then insists on finding herself a spoon in the cutlery drawer.
- I lift Sylvia into her high chair and we get cereal into her bowl. She loves snaking her hand into the boxes and coming out with a handful of cereal.
- Today she didn’t want milk. Then she changed her mind and did want it on her cereal. I pour a little in the bowl and stir it.
- Then she kept calling "milk, water" so I put some milk in a sippy cup for her and she drank a little, spat it out and cried. Mostly she just drinks water.
- She fiddles with her cereal and I wonder if she will eat any. Throws some on the floor that I pick up and then eats a little. Takes her arm out of her singlet and then eats a little cereal. Pulls single over her face and then pulls it down again and eats a little cereal.
- I get tired of watching her and spend a bit of time on the computer checking emails. But I keep an eye on the cereal because I know Sylvia’s urge to throw it on the floor is great.
- She asks for "a cuggle" (known to you and me as a cuddle). Attention is waning.
- I sit with her again and try and catch the bowl when she throws it to the floor. I catch the bowl, put the cereal from the floor back in the bowl, and place it on the highchair. What child could resist throwing it back down again.
- At this point cereal is finished, with most of it a soggy mess that I have scrapped off the floor two or three times and returned to the bowl.
- I get toast with butter, promite and cheese for both of us. Sylvia wants my toast so we swap. She takes the cheese and tries to wipe the promite off the toast. She nibbles the toast and throws it on the kitchen table.
- I go to prepare some fruit and get a shard of glass in my food because a glass broke last night when it rolled off the dishrack. (It is impossible to buy a decent dishrack these days – maybe this is because we are the last household in the world not to have a dishwasher!) I sit down and remove shard from foot.
- Another request for "a cuggle".
- Another request for "milk, water".
- The blue plastic plate used for the toast is held against the face and then thrown on the floor.
- I offer pineapple. She lights up at the suggestion. I offer nectarine. No.
- I put some pineapple in a bowl for Sylvia and have a bowl of pineapple and nectarine for myself. Sylvia wants my nectarine and piles it into her bowl. She loves nothing better than to transfer food from one bowl to another. Oh no, I lie. Even better is hurling food across the room.
- Sylvia eats some fruit but is mostly playing with it so I decide breakfast is finished.
- She looks around for something else. “Bun? Cake?” she asks hopefully. Not on your nelly!
- I lift her out of the highchair and when she gets to the ground she finds a piece of cereal that she shoves in her mouth as though she hasn’t had the opportunity to eat her fill.
- I sweep the floor and collect any spoons, plates and bowls that have found their way to the floor and not been picked up during breakfast.
- I had left her in a singlet for breakfast because she refuses to wear a bib and gets cereal all over her clothes. But today when I put her in a nice t-shirt she regurgitates some of her breakfast all over it.
To finish off the story of my day so far, I dropped in to work to meet one of our new colleagues from an interstate office and then met my friend Cheryl for lunch at Bar Italia in Carlton. I hope, after hearing how Sylvia eats her breakfast, that you will understand that I was too busy picking up things off the floor, keeping glasses at a safe distance and preventing er eating crayons to take any photos. But I would like to tell anyone looking for a child-friend café in Lygon Street that this is a great place for kids. They had the highchair, crayons and the waitress was so welcoming to Sylvia including picking up more than her fair share of crayons and bread crusts.
But I digress. I really set out to tell you about the cheese and pesto muffins I made on Friday night while watching great BBC drama, the Silence. Dinner has been light on and there was no bread in the house so I had promised E that I would make muffins. I did a quick search and found a recipe for Cheese and Pesto Muffins.
Lacking energy (see above breakfast routine and apply to dinner) I couldn’t be bothered rubbing butter into flour so I found another recipe for cheese muffins in Alison Holst’s Meals without Meat. Her recipe had no butter but I figured there was enough fat in all that cheese. The best aspect of the recipe was the ease of just mixing wet and dry ingredients together.
I loved Vanielje's idea of a dob of pesto and half a cherry tomato on the top of each muffin. It meant an explosion of intense flavour on top and looked ever so pretty. The cheesiness of the muffins was immensely satisfying. The only problem was confronting muffins hot out of the oven in their muffin papers when hungry from a light dinner. The papers cling to hot muffins meaning that a lot of the crumb seems to stick to the paper.
Which brings me back to breakfast. These were lovely for breakfast because the papers peeled off nice and easily. I meant to eat them with some chutney but Sylvia must have been throwing her cereal on the floor because I was distracted and forgot to do this. I couldn’t say if Sylvia liked them. She nibbled at her muffin, broke it into pieces and made lots of crumbs, but she looked happy. I can tell you that E and I loved them!
Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Edinburgh: the grim, the cosy and the grumpy
This time two years ago: PPN Genovese-style pappardelle for feminists
This time three years ago: Trashy choc chip cookies
Cheese and pesto muffins
Adapted from Vanielje Kitchen and Alison Holst
- 200g cheese, grated
- 1½ cups self raising flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- good shake of smoked paprika
- handful of fresh basil
- 1 egg
- 1 cup milk
- 2-3 tbsp pesto
- 6 cherry tomatoes halves
Spoon muffins batter into a 12 cup muffin tin lined with papers or greased. Use a small spoon to drop about half a teaspoon of pesto on top of each muffin (push into the batter a bit) and then push a cherry tomato half onto the blob of pesto.
Bake at 220 C for about 15-20 minutes or until tops are golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle of the muffin comes out cleanly. Eat warm or cold. I think these lasted about 3 days.
On the Stereo:
Serendipity: an introduction to … John Martyn