I slide the tray of almonds in to the oven, eight minutes should do it. Baking them gently really brings out their flavour. I am preparing tomorrow’s bake whilst entertaining Lucas. I slide them out at bang on eight minutes, not quite there yet so back in they go for a couple more minutes.
Beep beep, my phone jumps to life and I am really excited as a close friend has just sent me some fantastic news. Excitedly I begin ‘whatsapping’ away as Lucas whizzes around on his toy car (you should see his hand break turns!). The almonds!! Oh no, they are all charred and useless… 200g wasted. On his way back from the field Andrew picks up some more, I find myself multi-tasking again this time when Lucas and Andrew are in bed and I’m waiting for the next bake to finish in the oven, clearly my communication and cooking skills don’t mix too well, I’m on Skype with some more great news and I forget to turn the oven down leading to a particularly crispy base!
With an eye project or baking, you need a little faith. When I made today’s bake, the electricity went 10 minutes before it was due to come out of the oven. I just kept it in there for a further 20 minutes whilst the oven cooled and they came out perfectly!
As I was burning bakes, the report from the field was positive, the team were doing amazingly well today with 32 people found out of a possible 42 from 5 years ago, that’s over 75% follow-up which is really good. Today is also one of the team members birthday. Faith. She has been an invaluable member of the team and her name says it all. Having been involved in eye projects for 8 years and being a data clerk for the initial part of this study 5 years ago she has a real understanding of how things should run, a great eye for detail and a temperament to cope with the multiple challenges. So happy birthday Faith and thank you for all your hard work!
We’ve certainly learnt that despite multiple set backs, having faith is key to keep you going, along with having some amazing people like Faith around.
We climb up in to our seats and each start our engines, ‘Mummy red one’ ‘Me blue tractor’ we are off, I run half squatted behind Lucas attempting to catch up with the blue tractor in front of me, finally I catch him and its tickle time! Whilst Andrew is in the field with the van, Lucas and I travel in a real red tuk tuk and Lucas’ excitement when we see it arriving is endless! It’s lovely.
We spent the afternoon making 14 cardboard cars as thank you cards for all the lovely cards and poems from Kate and Jonny’s kids for Lucas’ birthday.
Here are some of the amazing cards Lucas received
Recipe – Millionaire Shortbread
220g plain flour
175g butter cold and cubed
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g soft brown sugar
397g tin of condensed milk
Pinch of salt
200g plain chocolate to top
20cm by 20cm cake tin
- Rub the butter into the flour with the vanilla essence until it becomes a soft dough. Press down into the cake tin and pierce all over with a fork.
- Place in the oven at 180°C for 5 minutes then reduce to 150°C for 35 minutes.
- Whilst in the oven make the caramel add the butter and sugar over a low heat, when the butter is melted and the sugar dissolved add the condensed milk, stir continuously and when you see the first bubbles as it begins to boil remove from the heat and leave to cool.
- When the shortbread base is room temperature pour the caramel over and flatten with the back of a spoon into the corners etc and place in the fridge and chill for 30mins.
- Melt the chocolate in a heat resistant bowl over simmering water then pour over the chilled caramel and shortbread base, cool to room temperature then place in the fridge to cool.
- When chocolate is firm cut into as many squares as desired, it’s very rich so they don’t need to be very big.
Faith sharing out her birthday “cake”