Nanny and Grandad were on duty this morning at 9.30 - yes, 9.30 - to look after Samuel aged 2.
Of course, it has been pouring with rain so we didn't think we would go out and anyway, his parents were due back at lunchtime. Big brother Oscar had gone to play with some of his friends so it was up to Samuel and Nanny to keep Grandad occupied.
Luckily Nanny had a bag of her Magic Sand with her and we all spent a happy morning making pies, and castles, monsters, anything, in fact that a 2 year old can dream up. Mummy and Daddy found it hard to believe that we had been busy at it for two hours!
I love Magic Sand. It is very satisfying to work with as it holds it shape so you can make great sand pies with it - even move them - and very satisfying if you are busy cutting up 'pies'. If you have a little one to amuse it is very easy to make. In a large bowl mix around 500g/1lb flour with about half a 'normal' size bottle baby oil. Mix as though you are making pastry to coat the flour with the oil. It will resemble pale sand grains - add more flour, or oil if needed. Keep in a sealed plastic box after use and renew regularly. Great for Grandads!!!
Samuel occupying Grandad
It was still pouring once we had handed over to Mum & Dad so we bolted to the American Diner nearby for some lunch and to recover!
I noticed when we got back home, that the lemon balm has shot up with this recent rain and sunny spells. Right, now is the time to get some Lemon Vinegar, all ready for summer salads. It couldn't be easier - peel the zest from 2 lemons, in strips, and put into a large jar with 1 litre/2 pints white wine vinegar. If you have lemon balm in the garden - or lemon thyme, then put a small handful in the jar as well. Put on the lid, and give the jar a good shake. Leave in a cool dark place for a couple of weeks, shaking occasionally. Strain through a piece of muslin, kitchen paper or a coffee filter paper and bottle in pretty bottles. I like to add a fresh curl of lemon zest to each bottle to make it look extra special.
You can use this versatile vinegar all through the summer in salad dressings and to sprinkle on fish before cooking. My favourite use though, is to make a Lemon Vinaigrette with a teaspoon of wholegrain mustard, Lemon & Dill if possible, Lemon Vinegar and some melted butter, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pour over small hot new potatoes, finished with a sprinkle of chopped parsley, to serve with summer lunches - or just eat on their own! It truly has the most amazing flavour.
Lemon Vinegar soaking