On Thursday M and I had one of those rare days together, just the two of us. S and N spent the day at their surrogate grandparents' house enjoying a day of undivided attention whilst we went to Rotterdam for a nice relaxed lunch together. And what a lunch it was: rustic bread with pesto and garlic butter; artichoke and Parma ham salad; and a frothy cappuccino to finish things off.
But now I'm going too fast. Back to the salad.
M was tucking into his quite happily when suddenly we heard a loud crack, as if he had just bitten into a shell of sorts. We both stopped eating and stared at one another. M worked whatever it was to the front of his mouth, and, with forefinger and thumb, plucked the offending object off his tongue. We both bent forward a little, squinting. What M had put in the cup of his hand was... half a molar. We both stared at it, a little dumbfounded. M felt around his mouth with his tongue and sure enough, his tongue was met by the jagged edges of the other half of the molar. "Damn," he said, "that's another visit to the dentist." (I don't know what that is, but past a particular age - say forty - a person suddenly develops a more intimate relation with their dentist). "Well," I said attempting a joke, "thank goodness it's your molar - imagine finding someone else's molar in your salad!" M laughed half-heartedly (for Dutch readers: als een boer met kiespijn) whilst he got out his phone to call the dentist for an appointment the following week - yes, the first busy week of school when making appointments is extremely difficult (why oh why do things always have to come at once?).
On a different note, I have loved reading lots of posts on the ending of summer and the start of the new school year. Monday will be our first day. M and I start the school year with meetings; daughter N will experience her first day of school ever, and son S is dreading everything, particularly because he fears that school will interfere with play-and-toys time. I so enjoy the way he loses himself in play and the way he cherishes and appreciates his toys, although I must say there is a slightly worrying side to all this. Let me illustrate. He recently approached me with a concerned look. "Mama," he said, "where are all your toys?" I wasn't quite sure how to answer this question tactfully, so I asked, "Uhmm, what do you mean exactly?" to which he answered, "Well, where are all your Barbies and My Little Ponies and FurReal Friends?" When I answered that I didn't have them anymore, his eyes clouded over. "You mean....they're gone...?" he whispered. What ensued, of course, was a long talk about growing up and changing interests. I even told him there were grown-up men who collect (and play with) Lego and toy trains, which brightened up his face a little. He was not quite convinced, however. "Well," he concluded, "it seems to me grown-ups don't play enough, and that's strange because there's nothing more wonderful than getting out your toys and playing." What could I possibly add to that?
|One of S's creations: "The more, the merrier"|
There is a recipe I have been meaning to share. I don't know whether I have mentioned this before, but I absolutely love bananas. What I don't enjoy however, are banana cakes that are soggy or heavy in any way. This one is neither. It's actually surprisingly light, and moist without feeling greasy. I made it recently and we took wedges of it to the Efteling.
Banana and Coconut Cake
adapted extensively from Love, Bake, Nourish by Amber Rose
2 egg whites
4 tablespoons of coconut flour*
125g butter, melted and cooled
120ml maple syrup
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
50g dried, unsweetened desicated coconut
100g spelt flour
1 tablespoon bicarbonate of soda
* Coconut flour is very healthy (and gluten-free) but also rather expensive. Use it if you happen to have it in your pantry; otherwise simply increase spelt flour with 4 tablespoons
- preheat the oven 180 degrees Celsius
- grease a 20cm springform tin and line with baking paper
- in a clean squeaky clean bowl, beat the egg whites to form stiff peaks; set aside (in de fridge if the weather is warm)
- in another bowl, put everything except the flour, bicarb, and desicated coconut; mix well with an electric hand mixer
- add flour, bicarb, and dessicated coconut; mix well until you have a smooth batter
- carefully fold in the egg whites
- pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 40 minutes, checking at 35 minutes by inserting a wooden skewer into the centre of the cake - if it comes out clean, the cake is done
- let cool on a wire rack and dust with icing sugar