Waiting for Agnes

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Wet day program October 16, 2010

6am – The small one begins his day with a long, leisurely breastfeed. I doze, listening to the rain pelting down. It hasn’t stopped raining for more than 24 hrs now. Lush spring weather, sunny one day, pouring for a week, the garden green and leafy, casting deep deep pockets of shade.

7:19am – Small starts his morning stampede over the pillows. He is up up up! Things to do, places to explore, drawers to empty. I pull up the bedroom blind, squinting blearily. The garden is grey? Hail. Thick piles of hailstones skirting every tree and plant. The rain still falls.

7:30am – Let the chooks out. Bloody hell it’s cold. Hail coats the chook house roof and ramp. Six of the seven chooks leap lightly from deck to ground, scoffing grain as soon as their claws touch down. Betty slides the length of the ramp, hail scattering in her wake, landing with an undignified squawk.

7:42am – Breakfast. Sock puppet with dubious french accent has great success in convincing small to eat a substantial amount of porridge and not-All-Bran. Raining. Seedling tomatoes and eggplants on porch are barely visible above the hail. Hope they survive.

8:30am – Raining. Shan’t take small to be netball cheer squad today. Wonder if they’ll play? Another whole day inside ahead of us. Good thing small can spend anything up to an hour playing with the washing machine. He treats it with the rapt fascination one would have for a portal to another world.

9:16am – Wander vaguely in kitchen, picking up things and putting them down again. Find some forgotten pumpkin seeds, mysteriously stashed in bookshelf. Would plant them, but it’s raining. Decide to make biscuits.

9:25am Biscuits

inspired by Nigella Lawson

260 grams of wholemeal spelt flour (or whatever plain flour you have to hand)

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1/2 a teaspoon of salt

200 grams of unsalted butter at room temperature (a warm room)

120 grams of brown sugar

2 tablespoons of instant espresso powder

2 eggs

200 grams of dark chocolate, chopped

100 grams of walnuts, fairly finely chopped

icing sugar to dust (if you don’t have any it doesn’t matter at all)

Preheat your oven to 170 degrees (150 fan forced)

Line two baking trays

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl. You can do it with an electric mixer, but a wooden spoon is sufficient.

Add the coffee powder and mix to combine well.

Add the eggs and mix to combine well.

Stir in the flour mixture, mixing to a sticky, cookie-dough consistency.

Stir in the chopped chocolate.

Now, you have a choice here:

Option 1

Spoon generous tablespoonfuls of dough onto your trays, leaving 4-5cm between each blob to allow for spread.

Bake for about 15 minutes.

Cool for a few minutes on the trays, then transfer to wire racks.

This is what I did with the first half of the dough. While they baked, I was feeding small and watching some random cooking show on TV. With excellent timing, Karen Martini is on and making some kind of Italian coffee biscuits, crusted with chopped pistachios. Miss most of segment, but think is excellent idea. Remember walnuts in pantry. Ah ha!

Option 2

Shape generous tablespoonfuls of dough into balls and roll in chopped walnuts.

Arrange on trays with 4-5 cm between each ball.

Press down lightly.

Turn oven down to 160 degrees celsius (140 fan forced), to prevent nuts from burning.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, until golden and just firm to touch.

Allow to cool on trays for a few minutes, then transfer to wire racks.

10:15am – The small one and I snuggle up on the couch, under a woolly blanket, with a teetering pile of books. Rain lashes the windows. We snuggle and read until lunch time. Heaven.

12pm – Lunch. Services of dubiously accented sock not required. Small fading fast. Tuck him into bed and wonder when one is old enough to wallow in the pleasure of falling asleep to the sound of rain.

2:34pm – Wrap us both up to brave the three metre walk to the car. Drive the sodden streets to M’s seventh birthday party. ABBA. Hysterical shrieking. Much tiny booty shaking. Party food. Small develops love affair with sparkly disco ball.

4:15pm – Another couch. Tea.

8:31pm – Small sleeping. Finish off powerpoint notes for upcoming talk. Wonder out loud how expensive a projector might be. Am firmly instructed to forget about projector. Blog. Tea. Biscuits. Good without walnut. Better with.

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