Once again, it’s been one of those days.
I realise there are people out there who have really big issues going on in their lives but they say wars are not started on the big things, it’s the little things.
And there’s been a lot of little things.
I woke to the teenagers both not being here (pre-organised and yes, Arabella is back from study camp) and Carl left early to go to work.
I was on a mission to tidy the house as the next day I was hosting a lunch for six adults and plenty of offspring. After making Alfie a high-protein breakfast I put him in front of my computer while I set about cleaning the house. It seriously took me about an hour to go from room to room and pick everything up off the floor just so I could have the privilege of vacuuming. I finished the vacuuming then washed the floors, cleaned the bathrooms, tidied the kitchen, folded clothes, emptied rubbish bins and sorted laundry.
By midday the house was sparkling, almost, but I was still in my pyjamas. Alfie asked if he could have a friend over to play so next thing he was on the phone organising a play date and within minutes a class mate was on his way over. I greeted the classmate’s mother in my dressing gown so I’ve had better moments but Alfie couldn’t have cared and was thrilled to have company.
They set up Monopoly all over the dining room table and fought over the rules. Just then Arabella arrived with a friend and as it was wet, came in walking muddy footprints all down the clean floors. Archie came home with Webb and after a big night of drinking and not really eating, they started a cook-up in my sparkling kitchen of scrambled eggs with Tabasco sauce and crispy bacon and melted cheese and all my juice and buttered toast and frothy coffee and pickles straight from a jar and my leftover Chinese Chews.
I made an announcement, and it was a loud one, that I was going into the bathroom for a shower.
I walked into the bathroom and locked the door. It can’t be locked with a key because there isn’t one but there’s a latch that can be pulled across and looped into a little hole to prevent intruders. I hadn’t even been in there 30 seconds when Alfie tried to open the door. ‘Mum, the door’s locked. Why did you lock the door?’
‘Because I’m having a shower’.
‘But I wanted to tell you something.’
‘Well what is it?’
‘I’ve bought a house. Harry doesn’t have any but I’ve got a house’.
‘That’s great. Keep playing the game and I’ll come and see it when I’ve finished, okay?’
I stripped down into the nude and put on my very unattractive shower cap and was about to turn on the water when the door just flew open and Archie was standing there. ‘Oh, sorry mum, I didn’t know you were in here.’
‘I announced it, Archie, I told everyone I was taking a shower, and now you’ve broken the latch on the door. Do you have to do everything with such force?’
‘Oh, sorry mum. How’d I do that?’
‘Well don’t worry, can you just leave’.
‘Oh, yeah, sorry mum’.
And that wasn’t awkward or humiliating. I had my shower and dressed and headed out to the kitchen that was now just an enormous mess. It was carnage. I said to Webb, ‘Do you barge in on your mother when she’s having a shower?’
And he chuckled and said, ‘Oh, not really’.
‘Well I’m off to the shops’. And I didn’t have my car because Carl had borrowed it so I had to take my granny trolley and walk in the rain and I didn’t have an umbrella because Arabella’s lost them all and by the time I arrived at the shopping centre I had that wet-wool smell about me. But right in front of me was a young, good-looking guy standing in front of a display handing out free bottles of water. He saw me from a distance and as I walked in his direction he stepped forward and offered me a free water bottle. I was so pleased. I took the water and as I went to unscrew the lid, there was a label on the bottle that said, ‘Fitness for the 50+’. The water was being handed to people over the age of 50 to encourage them to join a gym. I’m not over 50. I have a few years left in me before that event.
My clean house had been trashed within minutes of me fixing it. I’d been sprung in the nude wearing an ugly shower cap. All three children were home with three extras. The lock on the door was broken giving Carl yet another job on his lengthy maintenance list. And I was given a free bottle of water because I look over 50.
It’s the little things.
Feeling like a granny, (and perhaps looking like a granny), I made meringues for my guests, just like my grandmother would have done.
Meringues with Lemon Curd
Degree of Difficulty: 3/5
Cost: All you really need are eggs, lemons and a few raspberries.
- 2 egg whites
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 1 cup frozen raspberries, thawed (I used fresh)
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 eggs
- 2/3 cup caster sugar
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 100g butter, chopped
Preheat oven to 140°C/120°C fan-forced.
Line 2 large baking trays with baking paper. Mark eight 6.5cm circles on each piece of baking paper. (I marked mine with pencil then reversed the paper so the lead didn’t touch the meringues).
Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add sugar, 1 teaspoon at a time, beating until dissolved. Spoon mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm nozzle. Starting from the centre, pipe a 6.5cm spiral in each marked circle. Bake for 15 minutes or until firm. Turn off oven. Cool in oven with door ajar. (Mine took nearly an hour to become touch dry).
Make lemon curd: Place egg yolks, eggs, sugar, lemon rind and lemon juice in a heavy-based saucepan. Whisk to combine. Add butter. Place over medium heat. Cook, whisking, for 7 to 8 minutes or until butter is melted and mixture coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat. Stand for 5 minutes. Pour into a bowl. Cover surface with plastic wrap. Set aside to cool. (It sets more quickly and more firmly if placed in the refrigerator).
Place one meringue disc onto each plate. Top each with 1 tablespoon lemon curd followed by remaining meringue disc. Dollop 1 tablespoon remaining lemon curd on each. Top with raspberries. Serve.
This recipe is from Taste.