|Patriotic 4yo stuffing his face with cake at the bbq|
My husband dreams of being a fishmonger. I have nightmares about being a fishmonger's wife. But on Friday a happy compromise was made. Mr McDonald got up at 5am, drove to Billingsgate Fish Market and bought boxes of sea bass, bream and scallops. I stayed in bed and slept. On Saturday we had the scallops, as big as my 2yo's fist, for lunch, just lightly fried in butter, served on lettuce leaves, with crusty bread. Oh yum. So simple, so delicious. A box of about 30 cost £20 which must be worth the early morning? At least that's what I tell him.
Saturday afternoon was spent on a small island in the Thames. A friend of ours had organised a 30-boat flotilla, from Teddington to Hampton Court. My 4yo sat on the prow, dangling his feet in to the Thames (wearing the brand new shoes I had bought for him literally three hours before, the little blighter), while the 2yo blew bubbles and waved at the Prince Phillip and Kate lookalikes manning the other boats. We got back to the island in time for tea, so fires were lit and bangers,burgers and sea bass were cooked, washed down with red wine.
The forecast was terrible, shiny pavements and doomladen clouds meant we knew an afternoon in Battersea Park to watch the flotilla was going to be wet. So we got rid of the picnic and the rug, it was going to be too damp to sit down. Instead I packed a pork pie each, easy to eat standing up, and stuck a small Union Jack in it. A huge flask of hot chocolate, with marshmallows, warmed us all up. We found some haystacks to sit on, and ate it all watching some brilliant urban Maypole dancing all accompanied by bagpipes and a human beatbox. We eventually got home, put the kids to bed and I rewarded myself with some more hot chocolate with brandy this time, and laughed hollowly at the cucumber drink I had been planning to quaff during the Jubilee weekend.
Have you ever cooked over 100 sausages? I hadn't, but it taught me a lot. Mainly, don't offer to do all the savoury stuff for kids at a street party. It also taught me how to clean a grill pan. This is quite an embarrassing admission, but I've never really got to grips with grill pans. I use my green sponge-thing to clean them, which always destroys the sponge and, tbh, doesn't really clean the grill pan. This time I had an idea! I have this weird metal stuff I bought on a rare visit to a supermarket with the 4yo. He was being very sweet, wanting to buy me some jewellery, although obviously I would be the one to actually spend the money, and really, I didn't want a £17 necklace from Waitrose. Instead I persuaded him to 'buy' me some shiny silvery stuff which cost about £1.15. Turns out this stuff is great to clean wire grills and grill pans with. In fact, I think that might be what it's for. My grill pans have never been so shiny. I just thought I'd pass the message on - not because I want you to be disgusted by the state of my grill pans, but just if you were wondering what to do with yours, I've found the answer. However, I do understand that I could be alone in this one. Most of you may well have already discovered scouring pads.
After the sausage feast we invited some friends round for a barbecue, 10 adults, 5 kids, which for future reference is perfect. Two adults for every one child means they're outnumbered, not you. We had homemade beefburgers with ground rosemary and fennel seeds, barbecued halloumi (the most addictive substance on the planet?), asparagus, salads, and lots and lots of fizzy wine.
I had to work, so Mr McDonald looked after the children, while I sat in my room, typing and gingerly sipping white tea. Poor man was a little hung over, as was I, so I think I got the best deal from that situation.
So, thank you Queenie, although excuse me if I don't raise a glass to you again, at least for the next couple of days.