Zoe Grant studied Creative Arts at Birmingham University, and loves creating and designing and has a passion for prints and patterns. She, her husband Drew and their five (!) children (Connor (13), Jack (12), Lucy (11), Amber (9) and Kitty(5)) all live in a little village in Suffolk, UK. We’re so impressed that Zoe still finds time to write her blog Zoe & Drew! Here is her dinnertime story.
Dinnertimes for me, in our house are the most important time of the day. It is the time when we all catch up on each others days and also helps my children to take turns in conversations. With five children life can be incredibly chaotic, especially during the week with Brownies, Guides, orchestra practices and sports matches. However apart from Tuesdays we manage to eat as a family everyday, with the occasional exception. We eat between 6 and 6.30pm everyday, which may seem a little late as our youngest is only five but with a healthy snack after school to stop the tummy rumbles, Kitty is more than happy to wait to eat all together.
I am very lucky as my husband cooks the evening meal most days. He loves to cook so doesn’t see it as a chore but a way of contributing to the endless list of tasks that family life throws at us. Between us we seem to have developed a list of go to dinner recipes that feature regularly, but then we also like to try new ideas, which stop dinners being boring! Chicken with pasta, rice or noodles are definately a favourite and we are quite traditional in that we have a roast dinner most Sundays, with BBQs and salads being the favourite Sunday choice in the Summer months.
With a large family there always seems somebody willing to help with the cooking, even if it’s just chopping some veggies or stirring a pan of something. Sadly this keenness isn’t so obvious when it comes to laying the table or doing the washing up!
We have a large farmhouse style wooden dinner table that is the hub of mealtimes. This is where we sit, chat, play Around the World in an Alphabet, laugh and sometimes whine that ‘I don’t like this’. Mobile phones are banned from the dinner table, something that my teenage sons have as yet not moaned about. With technology a part of everyday life it is nice to remove the distraction of phones from family dinner times.
I believe family meal times are incredibly important in teaching children social skills and manners. The time at the dinner table is vital to keeping my children talking about their lives and us spending time together as a family.
Apple Crumble has to be my favourite pudding and I love that you can change the fruit as the seasons change. So I wanted to share this recipe with you!
Preheat oven to 180C. Peel, core and slice apples into a pudding or small casserole dish. Sprinkle cinnamon and muscavado sugar onto apples. Rub butter into flour to make breadcrumbs, stir in caster sugar. Pour crumble topping evenly onto apples. Place your crumble into the oven for about 25-30 mins until crumble is golden brown. Serve with cream, ice-cream or crème fraîche.
I like to add little balls of marzipan to the apples or a couple of handfuls of raisin or sultanas or try replacing some of the flour with ground almonds. Apples can be replaced by more seasonal fruit throughout the year, rhubarb & ginger is one of my favourites.