Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Evolving appetites

Graham is training for a marathon again.  He came home last weekend after a long (over two hour) trail run, and his Garmin showed that he had burnt nearly 1,800 calories while he was out.  Which is an eye watering amount of calories for a single run - over two thirds of the recommended daily amount of calories for a man.  Unsurprisingly he parked himself down at the kitchen table and devoured vast platefuls of food, washed it all down with a banana and oat smoothie and then took himself off for a long nap.

The children too are eating vast platefuls of food and sleeping a great deal.  They are growing almost in front of my eyes...Cam is now within a centimetre or so of being taller than me, and Olivia already taller than her grandmother.  Teenage appetites have arrived in the house with a vengeance.

And so suddenly I find that my years of experience in cooking for four people don't count for much.  My previously precise quantities are all out of kilter, and what used to feed us all comfortably with second helpings and leftovers now barely feeds the children.

Toad in the hole. I'm going to need to get a bigger pan. What used to feed 4, with plenty of leftovers, now barely feeds the teenagers.
Toad in the hole

Baked oats with apple, cinnamon and cream #brunch
Baked oatmeal

Brunch underway #potatoes
Potatoes - ready to be roasted for a corned beef hash

Someone 'accidentally' put a LAKE of syrup on her porridge this morning.
Would you like some porridge with your syrup, Olivia?

Cherry and almond loaf cake #cake #teatime
Cherry and almond cake

I have gone back to doing a big brunch on Sunday mornings, which gives me a break from what sometimes feels like endless cooking and feeding of squawking baby blackbirds.  While Graham is out on a run, the children can lollop on the sofa watching tele, and I can leisurely potter about in the kitchen listening to Radio 4 in peace while I cook and bake.  I try and make at least three big, filling dishes that everyone can help themselves to, and come back to during the day if they feel hungry.  I don't bother making anything for lunch, and then we have supper a bit earlier than usual.  It makes the whole of Sunday feel lazy, indulgent and slow, which is just what I want.

Here's what has made it onto the brunch menu during January:
  • corned beef hash
  • herb omelettes with spicy tomato sauce
  • Amish baked oatmeal (recipe here)
  • banana and apple muffins
  • huevos rancheros
  • lemon and raisin pancakes
  • savoury bread-and-butter pudding (grated cheese and bacon instead of the sugar and raisins)
  • soda bread
  • breakfast pizza (homemade pizza with breakfast-like toppings eg. mushrooms, bacon, tomatoes, eggs)
  • spicy burritos
  • oat and raisin muffins
We eat brunch at about 11am, but the children can't last that long without food.  While they are lolling and tele watching they are also eating fruit, toast or porridge - whilst waiting for brunch to appear....so basically they have breakfast AND brunch....


  1. I know what you mean about having to re-adjust quantities. There's something very sad about the refrain 'isn't there any MORE?'. But my personal favourite is when they ask halfway through lunch about what is for dinner.

  2. I have this to look forward to I think, with three boys. Already the ten-year old eats loads, and I'm starting to have visions of overflowing supermarket trolleys and cooking on an industrial scale. Your recipes sound delicious, I'm sure I'll try the Amish oatmeal soon.

  3. I remember this well when my two boys were teenagers - there were years when it was impossible to save any leftovers. Then of course before you know it your teenagers will be away at university and you will still find yourself buying and cooking industrial quantities of bread, cereal and pasta and there will be nobody there to eat it!

  4. brunch at your house sounds divine. I often do a big brunch but I love the idea of being able to go back for more.

  5. Can you begin to imagine what it is like to feed four teenage boys at once - there is never enough food. And then they grow up and leave home and you realise there is always too much food in the house. I love it when they come home to visit!

  6. It takes me back to when I had teenagers!

  7. You are far better than I am. I just let them eat endless chocolate spread sandwiches. Then I get to read a book for ONCE.

  8. Amish oatmeal - what a revelation that was - gorgeous! I can only imagine how much better it would have been had I added Cinnamon as opposed to cayenne! :-)


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