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Challenging Chutney

You may have noticed that we have been working on the RDI goal of ‘Co-ordination’ for some time.  It’s not that Ellen can’t co-ordinate, it’s just that most of the time she doesn’t want to, prefering to be different.  I spent a whole walk once playing Simon Says with her, in an attempt at a co-ordinated game but whatever I said she did the complete opposite – giggling wildly all the time (Me: Simon Says walk like a chicken, Ellen: Baaaa!).

Our RDI Consultant has kindly taken pity on us and we have now moved on to a Co-regulation goal: ‘Ellen to regulate her actions to remain coordinated, while participating in a form of co-regulatory turn-taking, in which each person observes their partner’s “turn” and then responds with their own contingent, but not imitative action.’

This week I was determined to get this nailed, ticked off, completed etc…the trouble was my mind was totally blank of ideas.  I couldn’t go out anywhere because I was in charge of the puppy, apple-printing would be too messy, but hang on we’ve still got loads of courgettes – so how about making a courgette chutney!

The idea was that we would take different turns peeling and chopping the various vegetables.  Ellen tried to peel the courgettes, but found it too challenging, so we swapped and I peeled while she chopped.  This worked pretty well, although the chunks were not quite the ‘small dice’ required by the recipe, but a few goes with the potato masher at the end soon sorted out this little problem.  There were quite a few tasks which we could co-ordinate on whilst working on separate goals; Ellen held the measuring spoon while I poured things in; she put the chopped items into the pan while I started peeling the next ingredient and I even manage to stop over-compensating and let her measure out the ingredients.  I’ve yet to look back at the video and that almost always reveals a few chinks in the porcelain, but we had a lovely time together enhanced by the three flies who kindly flew into Ellen’s orbit to be swatted and the glass measuring jug which ‘spontaneously’ broke while Ellen was drying it up – much to her delight (less so to mine).

 Ellen and the chutney mix

Ellen and the chutney mix

Cheese and chutney sandwich anyone?

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Oh good; more courgettes!

There’s a certain time of year in England when everyone’s conversation turns to the subject of what on earth can they cook with all their courgettes.  Even pathetic vegetable plot managers like myself seem to be able to produce a bumper crop with very little effort and there is a sudden scramble to find recipes to turn the maligned green vegetables into edible fare before their inevitable wilt.

The bumper crop!

The bumper crop!

It’s no surprise then, that this week’s activity was centered around, you guessed it, courgettes!

I found an incredibly simple recipe for courgette buns, which actually tasted nice as well, although disappointingly used less than half a courgette…

The Recipe –  makes 12 buns (helpful if you have leopard-print bun cases too)

40g grated courgette
110g self-raising flour
110g caster sugar
20g cocoa powder
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 medium eggs

Ellen managed to practise her egg-cracking skills (successfully) and we got a nice turn-taking pattern established when putting the mix into the cases.

I now need to work on over-compensation.  Watching the video back I realise that I weighed out all the ingredients and Ellen is certainly capable of this…however with the amount of courgettes we have there will be no lack of opportunity to practise!

The final product

The final product

 

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Raspberry Rippled

We’ve had a few weeks off Ellensdays over the summer and although Ellen doesn’t start college again until Monday, our RDI-focused activity days have begun again with a vengence.  Today we had a quadruple experience; not only did Ellen do her regular twenty minute job in the local shop and enjoy her weekly trip to McDonalds (doing excellent ordering) but we also made raspberry ripple icecream – from scratch http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1508665/raspberry-ripple-ice-cream.

I came at the idea backwards.  Ellen loves visiting the local PYO farm in June to gather strawberries, so I looked to see what was in season at the moment and discovered that raspberries are apparently available into October.  Sure enough, they had plenty and by the time Ellen and I had worked ourselves up and down one row we had a punnet each of gorgeous raspberries and we only ate the ones that squashed as we pulled them off the plant – honest guv! Ellen loved it and apparently next week we’re going back for cucumbers…

The pickings

The pickings

I found a good recipe which didn’t require an ice-cream machine and said it was simple enough to make with children.

I’ve never made ice-cream before and assembling the ingredients I can now see exactly why in large quantities it’s no good for the wasteline. Eggs, double cream and sugar appeared to be the main ingredients with the raspberries seeming rather incidental to the whole thing.  With puppies intermittently racing around the kitchen and Ellen continually asking me why I didn’t have any socks on (I had stepped in puppy wee – an occupational habit at the moment) we mixed the coronary-clogging brew.

Things went fairly smoothly until Ellen misinterpreted (whether deliberately or not I’m still not entirely sure) my instruction to put the bowl containing the sugar and the eggs on TOP of the pan of boiling water and poured the whole lot INTO the pan instead.  It was a moment which would have fitted right in to the Great British Bake Off.  After a few moments of surveying the scene whilst doing my very best to remain calm (remembering I was filming the whole thing for RDI) I dumped the entire lot down the sink and we started again.  At least it gave Ellen more practise at cracking eggs – in the end we got through a whopping 12 of them.

The second batch was completed without further incident.  The result was a totally trashed kitchen but a product which lookied remarkably raspberry ripple like – although it hasn’t yet competed its six hours in the freezer and is as yet untasted.

The finished product!

The finished product!

As a slight aside, here’s an updated picture of the puppies for those dog lovers amongst you – it’s been seven weeks since they were born – and it took five and a half weeks for Ellen to acknowledge their existence and allow one on her lap, but they are now so much part of the family that it will be hard to see them go to their new homes over the next few weeks.  Luckily we are keeping one – Brian

Brian is furthest on the right

Brian is furthest on the right