Getting rid of unwanted visitors

We’ve had visitors for the last couple of days. Unwelcome ones we didn’t even realise we had until yesterday. Yup, I managed 44 years of being nit-free but now MiniMe and I have MiniInfestations. Not only do they survive me trying to drown them in the shower, the little blighters are even resistant to getting squished between two fingers. Last night I extracted four of them from MiniMe and another three this morning. John found one on me this afternoon. To me this doesn’t seem many and so far we haven’t found any eggs. If anyone has any experience of this let me know. I’m using tea tree shampoo and spray and a nit comb till I can get to the chemist for something stronger tomorrow.

The added problem with MiniMe is that her skin is super-sensitve to sodium laureth sulphate, the ingredient in shampoo that makes it foam. We avoid it in shower gel and shampoo as it makes her skin and scalp break out in eczema so goodness knows what head lice shampoo and its nasty chemicals will do to her.

If anyone else out there or their kids are fellow eczema sufferers I have discovered a completely natural remedy. Take an old-fashioned cotton hanky, put 2 tbsps of oatmeal (anything but pinhead) into the middle, tie it up with string or a freezer bag tie and put it in the bath as it runs. Once you or the child is in the water squeeze the ball over the affected area and rub it over and it should start to clear up in a couple of days if you keep doing it at every bath time. You can also use it in the shower if you’re a shower person.

Further to the home made noodle pots from the other day, I came across these in Aldi of all places. They’re supposed to be for salads but they’re perfect for noodle pots what with the fork attached to the side and the wee pot nestling in the lid for your soy sauce and lime juice.

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Aside from that it’s been a day of cooking, washing, ironing, reading the papers and extended combing of hair.

Oh and just for those of you who like cute cat photos, here’s Maple reading Unconditional Parenting.

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Today’s recipe

Mulled beef

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This recipe uses boiling beef, a cut usually used for soups. I asked my butcher’s advice for a Gok Wan recipe which asked for short ribs of beef and he said to try boiling beef but to cook it for longer. It was absolutely gorgeous but then I wondered what else I could do with this underused cut and hey presto, here’s one idea.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

A couple of slugs of olive oil

plain flour for coating

2 chunks of boiling beef

half a bottle of red wine

450mls beef stock

2 bay leaves

a mulled wine sachet

Method: Heat the over to 160C/Gas 3. Coat the beef in the flour while the oil heats in a flameproof casserole. Brown the beef on all sides to seal in the flavour.

Add the wine and reduce by half by simmering. Add the stock, the bay leaves and the mulled wine sachet. Bring to the boil then put in the oven for 3 hours. Take it out a couple of times during cooking to give it a bit of a stir, check the seasoning and male sure it isn’t drying out. You can also add sliced mushroom for the last 30 minutes of cooking if you like. and you could add root vegetables at the start too. Again, another versatile recipe.

When it’s ready, remove the meat, let it rest then flake the meat away from the fat and bone and serve with the rich gravy. I served this with creamy mash, carrots and Yorkshire puddings.

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