When I was a child it was my father who would read to me each night, even though generally he would only be in the door from a hard days work, this was never made an issue of and he would deliver each story, mostly from memory, with such dramatic expression I felt as though each night I was at the theatre. I so loved his story telling but only now as a busy parent do I truly appreciate what he gave to me. My children love books and I equally love to read to them. I adore that little magical look that comes into their eyes, when the images of the stories are being made clearer to them. Jack has always been an avid reader and for years it has not been unusual to find him under the duvet, with his flash light, frantically trying to get a few more pages read before sleep. We generally have one rather large and ambitious book to read as a family, of which I or Diarmuid will read whenever we can steal a few spare minutes. We are currently half way through reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Even though Tiarnan, Fionn and even Millie will snuggle up for the story, it is really Tiarnan who eagerly awaits the next instalment from Hogwarts. Fionn's favourite books are ones that require a little interaction from the reader, ones that ask questions at the end of each page, such as the Richard Scary books. Big favourites for Millie and actually all the children, especially when read with varied voices and lots of gusto, are Julia Donaldson's books. No matter how many times the Gruffalo is read laughter will always ensue.
A couple of months ago I was very kindly sent some books by Westmeath author Dolores Keaveney. I was already familiar with Dolores's books as we had taken them on loan, on a couple of occasions, from the library. It initially was Fionn who was attracted to the look of the books, as they are so vibrant in colour but also contain the beautiful illustrated paintings which are familiar scenes of hens, bees and gardens. Dolores is one talented lady as she not only writes the stories but also illustrates each book. She currently has written one spiritual book and four children's picture books including her latest book Beelicious -Recipes with Honey, which is a cookbook for children. The beautiful part to this cookbook is the involvement of Dolores's family, especially her young granddaughter Ellie, who helped devise the recipes. Again this book, no different from the others, is beautifully illustrated and as an added bonus, throughout the book there are interesting facts about bees and honey. A few evenings ago Tiarnan and I made Ellie's Flapjacks from Beelicious and they really worked out a treat. This little cookbook has some real gems of recipes and ones that are especially tailored for the younger cooks in the house.
250g / 10oz butter
100g/ 4 oz soft brown sugar
30 mls honey
20mls golden syrup
350g/ 14 oz porridge oats
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C(fan)/390°F/gas mark 6. Grease a baking tray.
2. In a medium sized saucepan add all the ingredients, apart from the porridge oats, and slowly melt stirring regularly.
3. Take from the heat and stir in the oats. Turn into the prepared tin and with a wooden spoon press down well.
4. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 -25 minutes. Cool, in the tin, on a wire rack.