When I realised I needed to smash open ten million walnuts to make dinner the other night, I was filled with dread. How on earth to keep a small boy amused while I smash open a mountain of nuts?
At first he sat beside me & watched with eyes like saucers. And stole all the walnuts & ate them before I had a chance to collect more than three! Then he asked me really nicely 'Mummy, my turn hammering?'
The boy is a superstar. He hammered the nuts far better than I did, and never got bored (whereas I was over hammering nuts myself within three minutes). His were perfectly destroyed, meaning I could get the nuts out with minimal fuss!
Only a few bounced out of the nutcracker & into the garden, but my diligent assistant happily shimmied off the deck to find them again. What a superstar.
Once I had my stash, we made a really really awesome dinner! It's a Nigel Slater recipe, from the Kitchen Diaries (love that book so much!), with a minor modification or two.
Courgette & Lancashire Cheese Crumble - Nigel Slater
2 onions, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 or 4 potatoes, scrubbed & diced
As many courgettes as your garden can provide, also diced
A few sausages, taken out of their skin & made into meatballs (this was my addition, had a few left over in the freezer!)
Loads of finely chopped rosemary
A few slices of bread
100g crumbled up lancashire cheese (I got it from countdown!)
100g Walnuts (provided by our tree & my lovely assistant!)
Gently fry the onions & garlic with the rosemary in olive oil, til they're lovely & soft & sweet. Add the little meatballs, if you've got some! Continue cooking for five minutes. Add the diced potatoes, pop a lid on & cook for 15 minutes or so. Add the courgettes & about 100ml of stock, let it bubble for a few minutes.
Make the crumble - shove the whole lot in the food processor & whiz it.
Press the crumble on top of the veges, put the whole lot in the oven for about 45 minutes on 180 Celsius.
All done! Yummy! And it kept Jarvis amused forever - next time he's after an activity, a mountain of walnuts & a nutcracker will do the trick ;)