greeting the morning aka staying ahead of the game…

This morning, like the last six mornings, I was awoken at crazy o’clock by my 10 month old. She’s normally a great sleeper, but between ‘summer’ colds (I joke, its still like a mild winter here) and some impending new teeth, she’s had some broken sleep of late which means I’ve had some broken sleep. And I don’t do well with broken sleep. So at 4.10am, and 4.20am and 4.33am and 4.55am I resettled her. Now what happens after a session like this is that I tend to fall back into a deep sleep, almost coma like, due to feeling overwhelmingly wrecked, so heavy a sleep that a herd of elephants could cha cha about the bedroom and I wouldn’t flinch. But that sleep is a faker. Its not a real sleep, it’s not a long sleep and its certainly not a nice sleep to wake up from. Which I’ve discovered. Every morning. For the last week. So this last week when my two boys, full of beans at 7 o’clock, came in for hugs, snuggles and indepth discussions about dreams and the like, I’ve been reluctant to wake up. Even though they addressed me at least a million times – ‘mammy, mammy, mammy, mammy’ you get the idea, I just didn’t want to move or talk or read Tractor Ted in the Springtime. I just wanted, needed, sleep!  ‘Go on back into your room for a little longer and play ok’, ‘why don’t you read your book to your little sister for a bit’ or ‘no, its ok, you can jump on your beds, just this once’ and on and on and on. I’m aware I was just prolonging the agony and yet I stayed in bed just that little bit longer, and then I’d glance at the clock – 7.30am  – and the baby was getting a little tetchy, and the boys were starting to annoy each other, so I’d send in a roar, or two, something along the lines of ‘you’re brothers, you should be friends not killing each other’, or ‘don’t upset your sister with all your shouting, I don’t care if you’re being dinosaurs…’ until finally at 7.47am I’d get up, as the mayhem from the next door room had escalated to a dangerous and noisy level. Then I’d herd them downstairs to begin the day. But unfortunately the rest of the day remained an uphill battle. Because I was then in a bad mood, worse than that actually, a bad mood riddled with guilt (for shouting at the children) and of course my moods are instantly picked up by said children, so they were cranky and acting up so I wasgetting frustrated which ended in more shouting. It has been a vicious cycle this last week, and I’ve just had to take myself outside the back door and breathe a bit and then start again. But the problem with mornings like these – rare as they are –  is that not only do they start badly but I end up trying to catch up with the day, for the whole day, pretty much until I fall into my bed at night mentally and physically exhausted from all that chasing! But not this morning!Aha!

This morning, I met the day head on. This morning I got up at 5.30am. Instead of turning over, I decided I had to break the curse of the last few days. So up I got and down the stairs I went. The Quiet Man (my other half who we shall title TQM from hereon in) was having his porridge whilst looking at the weather on the laptop (he works on a boat, the weather is his social media), I whispered hello and went into the kitchen. Popping on the kettle,  I headed back out to the front door and went outside. I stood there watching the sun come up amongst the pillows of grey and white clouds and I greeted it!

Greeting the Sun

Greeting the Sun

Then I took a picture, I came back inside, and I made a tray of scones!

Let me give you a little background on scones. I don’t think there is a family home on this island that doesn’t have their own way of making scones, and you can be assured with every cup of tea you are offered in whatever house you visit, you will also get a nice warm scone with butter and jam. And you just can’t beat a fresh out of the oven homemade scone. My recipe came from Mairead,(an aunt in TQM’s family and a native islander) as I didn’t have any recipes of my own (lets just say before I left Dublin, an omelette would have been the height of my culinary skills). My own aunt uses a recipe from my grandad’s cooking notebook, but i find that Mairead’s one, which I’m going to share with you, produces the most delicious scones.No secret ingredient but I do use our own duck eggs and they are amazing to cook with.

So by 6.30am the house was filled with the heavenly scent of cooking scones, while I had enough time to have some of my Yogi’s ‘Women’s Tea’ (something empowering about that don’t you think) and catch up on some reading in the wonderful dawn silence that encased my house, before my little bundles came looking for me for their hugs, and snuggles and to engage in indepth discussions about dreams! No shouting, no frustration AND there were scones for breakfast! Cycle broken! It would seem that greeting the sun is my way of staying ahead of the game.

Mairead’s Scones

1lb self raising flour

4oz butter

4oz sugar

4oz dried fruit/raisins/sultanas

2 organic eggs (I favour duck)

and enough milk to form a dough.

In a basin,rub the butter into the flour with your fingertip until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add sugar and fruit and mix. Beat eggs and add to the basin(leaving a small amount of egg for brushing over scones before cooking). Then add milk a little at a time, mixing with a knife until the dough forms a ball (you can add a little extra flour if you’ve made the mixture too wet). Flatten dough onto worktop to your desired thickness. I use the rim of a pint glass to make the scones, so out of that recipe above I get about 10 or 11 fairly big scones but you can get more with a smaller cutter, do whatever you fancy. Some days you just need to make big scones!

So pop them on parchment paper on a baking tray and brush with the remaining beaten egg. Into the oven at 180c for 17 – 22 minutes. Judge cooking time based on your own oven as like children, every one is different! Make a cup of tea and enjoy!

Big Scones

Big Scones

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