There is no mistaking it I now look pregnant! I feel pregnant too. My normal brisk hour long walk is becoming a slog, as I puffed my way up the hill I even considered having a brief sit down before continuing, but the bench is at the summit and so I kept on going along the easy route (Everest, it is not!)
Technically I may be on the early side but the nesting instinct has kicked in. It may be something to do with being so exhausted for the first trimester, not much got done from my permanent home on the sofa. I'm trying to take advanage of the middle months, before I start to get uncomfortable. I've been sorting, tidying and cleaning for the past 10 days - which is so out of character I can only attribute it to pregnancy. Note to self: I have more pairs of 5 inch heals than I am ever likely to wear, but they are still beautiful!
Once I have stored out all the backlog I can start to think about buying anything new for Beanie. I have started to write a list, but I am really only focusing on the first week. More important to me is that we have a relative degree of order so that when Beanie is born I can focus on him - I think that tidying is far more arduous and time consuming than a little on-line shopping if, worst case scenario, Beanie arrives early. I will be writing a list over the next few weeks and will have hospital bag and all that he needs for the first week at least a month in advance.
Preggy Brain, truth or fiction? Well, I wrote most of this blog then forgot to write publish so that is not me working on full brain capacity. Last time around I was pretty good (I think) except for one missed meeting. Other friends find that the concept of preggy brain is an excuse for colleagues to get away with blaming them for mistakes with impunity. What do you think?
What Beanie is up to?
Beanie is having a real growth spurt at the moment am so I am having to be careful what I eat. All his organs are now in place and his skin is going from transluscent to opaque. He is almost 30cm long - which I find a bit surreal as I look down at my rather neat bump.
His nose is 'unplugged' now and his ears are working so he can hear all the sweet messages that the Pickle is giving him (even if he really can not talk as she claims she can hear)... I can start to influence his taste in music mwah, ha, ha, ha [evil laugh]!
I am still feeling comfortable, if short of breath, and slathering myself with moisturiser and stretch oils is now part of a ritualisitic 'me time' rather than a chore (even if evidence indicates that even that does not effect the appearance of strech marks).
Got a midwife's appointment next week, so must remember to take in my 'sample' as they are watching out for pre-eclampsia.
What I am cooking
I am doing loads of entertaining at the moment before I start to bed in and nest (and I am still feeling comfortable) so I have been perfecting the art of low maintainance cooking for small tribes of people. (I have also not been too proud to ask friends to bring the puddings). I like this menu as I can do much of the work the night before and display it all on a big platter with a green salad and the range of colours together look absolutely fabulous!
Slow Cooked Lamb
I was looking for a celebratory food that would not tie me to the oven, and mindful that shell fish was out and any meat needed to be 'properly' cooked, I decided to go for a slow cooked lamb dish. Remember to marinate over night and start cooking it good and early (it takes 3 - 4 hours so it is not a last min dish).
Take a large clean freezer bag, big enough to fit in a shoulder of lamb with the bone in (about 2kg). Dry fry 1 tsp of each: coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cardamon pods for a few mins then crush in a pestle and mortar and add to the freezer bag. Next add 3/4 large pot of greek yoghyurt, juice and zest of 2 limes, 2 crushed garlic cloves, a small handful of chopped mint and about 1 tbsp olive oil and a good grind of black pepper. Mix roughly in the bag then add the lamb.
Seal up well then careful massage the marinade into the lamb before popping in a fridge overnight, if you get a chance turn it occassionally massaging the marinade into the meat as you do. Transfer to a roasting dish marinade and all and cook for 3 -4 hours at 180' - then leave to reast for about 15 mins. Cooked for 4 hours it is so tender it almost falls from the bone. Blitz up the marinade with a hand blender and it turns into a gorgeous sauce. Easy peazy - and it looks impressive!
Warm Squash Salad
Peal, deseed and chop a butternut squash (or similar firm pumpkin), set aside.In a large lidded pan cook one grated onion for about 3 mins then add 1/2 tsp each ground ginger and ground cumin and 1 tsp paprika and cook for another min. Add the squash, juice 1/2 lemon, the chopped rind of a preserved lemon, a handful of chopped green herbs (a mix of any parsley, coriander, mint, chives) and 1/2 cup water.
Season, cover, then simmer over a low heat for 20 mins until squash is tender, adding more water if necessary and gentley stirring to make sure it does not stick. Can be served hot or warm
This is just an encouragement to enhance your couscous! I add loads of chopped mint and parsley as well as pommegranate, lemon juice and a selection of dried fruit and seeds such as raisin, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.