So, what would we do with three nights where we could just throw the food into the oven and wait?
Charlie Bighams challenged us to see how we could spend more time together if we weren’t in the kitchen at dinner time, and gave us three meals that we could simply pop into the oven, set the timer and leave.
I could tell you that we spent our evenings sipping wine and enjoying each other’s company – I could describe a perfect date night in, but in reality, these meals are just a blessing to our completely exhausted selves.
Three boys, one of whom has a dislike to bedtime, one who isn’t feeling on top of the world and one who still wakes at least once in the night for Mommy means that there’s not a lot of time left for anything exciting by the time everyone is settled, and we are just grateful to get our bottoms onto the sofa together to watch an episode of How I Met Your Mother or Elementary [which we are only just watching].
So, honestly, here’s what happened:
Meal One: We chose Salmon en Croute, and cooked oven chips and steamed vegetables to go with it. We watched Kingsman with Colin Firth and discussed how ridiculous it was that it was only awarded 2 stars in our TV ratings, when we knew even before watching that it was going to be awesome. He’s a Winchester man like our boys, how could anyone give that two stars? It was amazing, and I was pretty smug that I picked a good film for once. I also had a very happy tummy when I went to bed, the salmon en route pastry was light and crisp, and the salmon was juicy.
Meal Two: Fish Pie was our choice for the second meal and we’re so glad it was as the evil stomach bug pixies decided to target Lyoto again and no sooner had we put our knives and forks down, he was up and everything in his body was too. The rest of the night was spent mopping up, propping up and soothing a very upset four year old.
Meal Three: We couldn’t enjoy meal three without it being a family affair and we’d have felt so guilty eating without the boys. Charlie Bigham’s spaghetti bolognese is legendary in our home and so we bought two and decided to have an early family style dinner with the boys. We always add a little basil from the Jensen’s homegrown herb pot [which he is very proud of] and some garlic bread and broccoli “trees” and peas. Although we didn’t eat it as a couple or romantically, at least this meant that when they were in bed, we were able to crash out and watch something together whilst going over dates in our diary.
So maybe we didn’t get up to anything fun, and we definitely failed our challenge, but we had very happy tummies and far less washing up than normal thanks to the little bamboo trays from Charlie Bighams – and when you’ve got three little boys under six with a circulating set of germs, you can’t really expect more than that!