Buttermilk Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 350g/12oz Self Raising Flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 Egg
  • 85g/3oz unsalted butter
  • 300ml/½pt Buttermilk
  • 300ml/ ½ pt Semi-Skimmed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Butter for frying

 

Method

  1. In a bowl, sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and sugar.
  2. In a separate bowl or jug, mix together the buttermilk, milk, eggs and butter. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and stir to combine. Do not overbeat – stir just to combine.
  3. Melt a small knob of butter in a large frying pan. Using a ladle, pour some batter into the pan to make a pancake. With Buttermilk Panckes I always pour a thicker pancake compared to the traditional ones. Depending on the size of your pan, you may be able to make more than one pancake at a time, or if you are confident you can use two pans at the same time.
  4. Cook the pancakes for about a minute, or until the underside is golden-brown and the top is bubbling. Then turn them over using a palette knife or fish slice and cook for another minute. Keep the pancakes warm in a very low oven while you cook the remaining batter.

 

Serving Suggestions

  • Drizzle with Honey or Maple Syrup
  • Fresh fruit
  • Butter

Traditional Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 250g/4oz Cream Plain Flour
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 2 Egg
  • 600ml/ 1pt Milk
  • Oil for frying

 

Method

  1. Sieve flour and salt into a bowl.
  2. Make a well in the centre of the flour, break in the egg and add about a third of the milk. Beat well, gradually pouring in the rest of the milk and drawing in the flour to make a smooth batter. I use a handle held mixer to mix the batter and I sieve once I am finished to make sure there are no lumps left.
  3. Pour batter into a jug and allow to stand for about 30 minutes. (Personally, I like to make it the night before and store it in the fridge).
  4. Brush a pancake pan or frying pan with oil. When the pan is hot, give the batter a stir before pouring a thin layer onto the pan.
  5. Fry until golden brown. Turn and fry the other side until brown also.
  6. Stack pancakes on a large plate, as they are cooked.

 

Serving Suggestions

  • Dust with Shamrock Golden Caster Sugar, add a squeeze of lemon juice, roll up and serve
  • Drizzle with Honey or Maple Syrup
  • Fresh fruit served with natural yoghurt or whipped cream
  • Stewed apples, flavoured with cinnamon and a dollop of fresh cream
  • Or if you are strange like me you could have yours with chef brown sauce – don’t judge till you have tried it, it’s amazing.

Buttermilk Scones Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 450g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 100g cold butter, diced
  • 85g golden caster sugar
  • 284ml buttermilk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Splash of milk

 

Method

  1. Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Put the flour, salt and butter into a food processor and pulse until you can’t feel any lumps of butter (or rub in butter with fingers). Pulse in the sugar.
  2. Gently warm the buttermilk (don’t throw away the pot) and vanilla in a microwave or pan. Using your largest bowl, quickly tip in some of the flour mix, followed by some of the buttermilk mix, repeating until everything is in the bowl. Use a knife to quickly mix together to form a dough – don’t over-mix it.
  3. Tip onto a floured surface and lightly bring together with your hands a couple of times. Press out gently to about 4cm thick and stamp out rounds with a 6cm or 7cm cutter. Re-shape trimmings, until all the dough is used. Spread out on a lightly floured baking sheet or two. Add a splash of milk into the buttermilk pot, then use to glaze the top of each scone. Bake for 10-12 mins until golden and well risen.

 

This is an amazing recipe and so tasty for a treat or afternoon tea.

 

Serve With:

Butter or

Whipped Cream and Strawberry Jam

Stressful Meal Times with Children

Does anybody else think that meal times with children are the most stressful times of the day. It’s like they take turns to antagonise me and put my blood pressure through the roof. I mean please who are these demon children.
Today for example, I gave the boys 2/3 warnings that they would have to come in soon for dinner and that they wouldn’t be going back out afterwards. They were out late last night and need to catch up on their sleep. When dinner was finally on the table I called them in. Only to be met with tears, wailing 😭, and begging. I’m tired, exhausted actually. I can barely use my body after the intense workout yesterday morning, and now the little people are trying to kill me with noise and ungratefulness. 
I calmly tried to tell them again for the galzillionth time that dinner was on the table and they had to come in. The oldest said he had to go get his bike and the tiniest one just screamed and asked what was for dinner. Now you would think that I just sprung it on him that we were having bolangaise, that we hadn’t previously had two discussions about what was for dinner today. Oh no! The bad mammy that I am made the worst dinner in the world. At this stage now, I was standing at the doorway. Practically on the street, he was crying like a banshee and I could feel steam pouring out my ears. Up to bed with you, I said and no dinner until you can be quite.
I thank my lucky stars everyday that my two boys are intelligent and have some cop on. But in that moment of despair, when they think their lives are about to end because something has happened that they don’t like, there is no talking sense into them. Any reasonable person would just be quite so they could ear their dinner. But oh no! This little monkey, stomped up the stairs, into his room, bellowing from the top of his lungs that he was starving and just wanted to eat his dinner. Is he s**ting me. I just said he had to stop crying. He’s still whinging. Ten more minutes pass. If any of the neighbours could hear him I’m sure they would think I was starving the poor child.
Then there was silence and I could hear little toes coming down the stairs. The penny dropped and he wiped his eyes and his tear stained cheeks, a little sniffle and he was creeping up behind me. He sat down on his chair, I thought to myself “Victory”, he’s going to eat his dinner now. No chance!! This dinner is disgusting, I want cheese on it like in Grainne’s house. Can I have noodles instead. Why don’t you cook me chicken nuggets and chips anymore? Will you cook me noodles when I’m finished? Where’s my broggie? Then Nathan turns around to him and says “All Mammy and I have to say to you is CONOR MCGREGOR!!” 
“Ahhhhhhhh! Stop being mean to me, you too are being so mean!!!! Ahhhhh!” Steam is now coming out my ears, noise, eyes and mouth. Why child, why?? 
Thankfully he ate some of his dinner and he wasn’t murdered or sold. He is now safely tucked in bed after loads of hugs and kisses getting ready to fight another day. The joys of children 👶 but I wouldn’t have it any other way (well maybe just at meal times)………………….
To be continued 

PHI Brows

Last Wednesday, on my week off, I got Phi Brows/Micro Blading done in La Belladonna Hair and Beauty Salon in Monasterevin, County Kildare.

As you can see from my before picture my own eyebrows were very thin and the hair was sparse. I had scaring from chicken pox as a child and hence bald patches where the hair wouldn’t grow. When I applied make up I would always fill them in as you can see from the pictures below.

I love a good brow, I think it helps shape your face and define your features and was longing to get micro-blading done for so long. An opportunity arose and when I was on my week off I made an appointment.

Judi, my therapist for the afternoon was so nice, very kind and inviting and made me feel at ease immediately. She also got me excited about the end result. Judi spent quite some time preparing my brows. My eyes were closed but she used the prep time to draw the shape of the brow to suit my face, using time and precision. Once she was finished I was allowed have a look and make any changes I liked to suit my preferences.

It was time to start the micro-blading. Judi drew on one stroke so that I knew how it felt and what I was in store for. It wasn’t pleasant but as they say, “pain is beauty”. The right eyebrow was completed first and this was the more sensitive side. I couldn’t speak and just spent the time trying not to clinch my jaw in case it made the shape of my brows turn out different. The longer strokes were the worst because I didn’t know how long they were going to be.

Judi showed me the right side as soon as it was done. This was great motivation to get through the left and to keep going. The left wasn’t as bad and I was able to hold a conversation through this one. I sat up at the end to have a good look at them and I was over the moon. They looked so natural, besides the redness and swelling. My face was instantly transformed. Judi thoroughly explained the aftercare I needed to complete daily for 1 week and we made an appointment for me to return in 4 weeks for my top up. Music to my ears was the numbing agent that can be used on top up day.

I am so appreciative of the opportunity to get phi brows done and can’t wait to apply make up at the weekend after giving enough time for them to heal. To wake up with brows in the morning and not have to worry about accidentally rubbing them off during the day is such a treat. I feel great and will be eternally grateful to Judi and La Belladonna Hair and Beauty for this amazing transformation xxx ……………………..

To be continued

Just the Four of Us

Today, yesterday and the last few weeks have been a struggle. But today more so than anything. No particular reason, I am sure it’s just a build-up of everything. Isn’t it awful when life knocks you down and makes you feel like giving up.

As you have read over the last few months I have been struggling with fertility. I have mentioned the big dark cloud that looms as things keep getting progressively worse with disappointment after disappointment. Well this is different. I can’t even describe how I am feeling, I am fine one minute and then angry, upset, inconsolable, or just plain crazy the next. My need to control things has increased and my anxiety is through the roof.

This is not a call for sympathy or I am not trying to dwell on things to be a martyr, it is just a lot to digest and I feel like I am mourning. I am mourning the life that I thought I was going to have and the baby that I was going to love with all my heart.

I have received conflicting reports from Doctors, all helping to mess with my head even further. When we met with my Gynaecologist, who did the procedure, on the day my stitches were being removed, she gave us hope. It was more the delivery of the news than the words themselves as she delivered them with a smile and optimism. Sean came out of the meeting with a sigh of relief and said that wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. To which my reaction was – “Were we in the same room?”.

She explained that during the hysteroscopy there would have been an element of fluid and there was no spillage from my tubes. The D and C went ok and she was happy enough with her findings and she even showed us pictures of my womb and tubes. From these pictures, she was able to show me the opening to my tubes which were in fact open and not in spasm. However, during the laparoscopy instead of using 10ml of fluid she used 50ml and there was no spill into my abdomen. She explained that during the procedure my tubes might go into spasm but that it was unlikely that this would happen for the length of time that she was doing her investigations. She then explained that my left tube had attached itself to the wall of my bowel with adhesions and that surgery to remove it and free it up may not be successful.

There was so much to take in and she was very understanding and kind, but also said that with the art of making babies anything goes, that although things don’t look or sound great that miracles happen and people have proved her wrong in the past. I am not feeling miracles at the moment. I don’t want to give myself anymore false hope. The last few months have been all about the science and through no fault of my own miracles have not helped. I have done everything I could. I have pumped my body with so many hormones and drugs. I have put my life on hold and I have been borderline insane at times. But no miracles.

I want to believe that everything will be ok and that things are the way they are meant to be, but am I really meant to be this unhappy and this broken. Am I really meant to feel guilty that it’s all my fault that I can’t give Sean another child or my children another sibling. I understand that things happen in life to make you stronger and that you will see down the road why it happened or the greater good that has come from this experience. But this is going on for nearly three years, I would rather just know why I feel like I am being tortured.

My consultant in the fertility clinic in Dublin told me that my tubes are more than likely fine and that they were just in spasm. It was very blasé on the phone and there was no consideration of my feelings. He hadn’t seen the scans, he hadn’t done the procedure, he was just giving me the numbers. He told me he would see me for my next appointment (which was meant to be this week and we would talk about it then). He said to arrange to get another HSG scan done, which I had. This would hopefully show that my tubes were ok and if not, I would have to consider more surgery or IVF. I postponed my appointment with him. What was the point in paying out 200.00 when I had no more information for him. I need to wait to have the next HSG scan done and also be back on treatment to have some blood results to review.

I am afraid to even try for a baby at the moment because I am at risk of ectopic pregnancy and losing my tubes altogether. If I was to fall pregnant I would need an early scan to rule it out. Imagine finding out your pregnant and feeling the excitement that it has finally happened and then living with the worry for a few weeks that it may be ectopic and not viable.

I brought Nathan, my oldest boy to an appointment last night with a craniosacral therapist last night, which is another day’s work. But this woman was able to read me, and not in a physic sort of way. She asked me if I was ok, she said that she could feel that I was holding a lot of upset on my chest. I told her that I was grand and she said that “Mammy’s always are, for the sake of their kids”. Am I that transparent, besides that fact that I am spilling my guts to all of you. But can I not even put on a fake smile and pretend to be ok in public anymore?

Another way of looking at it is why should I have to pretend to be ok? Why can’t I just be a mess all the time? I haven’t slept since the 30th of June, I am exhausted, both mentally and physically, I am trying to put on a brave face for my kids all the time and I am just tired. On the rare occasion that they find me upset I just tell them that I have banged my toe or have a pain in my belly. They have asked a few times in the last few weeks when Holy God is going to give us a baby and I have had to try hold my SHIT together and tell them that there will be no baby for a while and that we are happy, just the four of us……………………………..

To be continued