Highs and lows in the Bangers & Mash kitchen – part 5

The last few weeks have been as busy as ever in the Bangers & Mash house. I jetted off to Amsterdam and London for work leaving my darling Mashettes to fend for themselves for a few days. I’ve never been apart from my family for that long before but of course when it came to food they were all sorted, as I’d left them with a trusty meal plan…

That’ll be me then. In the Dam.

Amsterdam was wonderful. The last time I visited I was in my early twenties and it felt quite strange going back all grown up and all professional. I was there for the Meet the Blogger event for interior design bloggers at the simply stunning Conservatorium Hotel. If you’ve ever seen my home, you’ll know how incongruous I felt being at a conference for glamorous ladies talking about the latest in home design trends. But my role there was to tweet and blog about the proceedings, and I’m always happy when tasked with writing. There is a lovely short film documenting Meet the Blogger if you’re interested…

As I was there in a work capacity I didn’t have much opportunity unfortunately to really explore Amsterdam’s restaurant scene, although I did enjoy a rather splendid steak somewhere I can’t remember the name of at the end of a very long day. And I was also taken to a lovely bakery for a quick bite of lunch on my way back to the train station. De Bakkerswinkel bakes superb bread, as well as pastries, cakes, pies and all kinds of baked delights. I only had a simple ham and cheese roll but it was sensational and a delicious way to end my stint in the Dam.

De Bakkerswinkel in Amsterdam

A day after getting back from Holland, I had to head off to London for a trade show where I was helping out as a press officer on a client’s stand. I can’t say the event was all that exciting but it was a good chance to catch up with my Dad and step-mum Sue the night before as they live in Tottenham. And I finally got to see their amazing new kitchen, which they’ve been talking about and planning for oh, only the last 20 years or so. I am now green with envy. I want a new kitchen. Now.

My step-mum Sue in her beautiful new kitchen

But back to the food. I’ve been trying out some really rather good recipes lately. Initially I was rather disappointed with my attempt at a lamb and rosemary crumble. When it came out of the oven it just didn’t look particularly appetising and so I didn’t bother taking any photographs. Yet it tasted surprisingly good. I’m to work on it a bit more to see if I can make it look as good as it tastes.

My rhubarb, strawberry and lemon tart creation went down rather well, although this was another dish that wasn’t much of a looker.

Strawberry, rhubarb and lemon tart

Another tart that turned out well was a butternut squash tart with blue cheese, spinach and ricotta. It was one of those very simple affairs where you roll out some ready-made puff pastry, smother it with a few choice ingredients and bake. Hey presto! You have a tasty supper.

Butternut squash, blue cheese and ricotta tart

Pasta is always popular in our house, particularly as a quick dinner after a busy day at work and school. We all loved this yummy sausage and courgette pasta carbonara from Chez Foti. Definitely a dish we’ll be making again. And again.

Sausage and courgette pasta carbonara from Chez Foti

Pasta makes another appearance in my list of highlights. Broad bean tops arrived in our veg box the other week. I have to admit I had no idea you could eat them but they are quite delicious; like a cross between pea shoots and chard. I used them in this recipe from Riverford for pasta with broad bean tops, ricotta and mint, which was very good indeed. We are growing broad beans in our vegetable patch, so I look forward to experimenting some more with this new ingredient.

Pasta with broad bean tops, ricotta and mint

Egg fried rice is an excellent speedy supper and so versatile too. You can throw in whatever you have to hand or need to use up. I cooked up a big wok full of egg fried rice the other night with peas and red pepper, served up with lashings of soy sauce and hot chilli oil. My kind of fast food. Yum.

Egg fried rice with peas and peppers

Last but not least comes the Full English pizza. Yes, you’ve guessed it. Pizza topped with all those staples of the traditional cooked English brekky: sausage, bacon, tomato, spinach and egg. I wanted to use mushroom as well but my daughter Jessie hates them with a passion. You’re probably thinking it sounds completely OTT and you’re probably right, but it was so tasty and very, very moreish. I can’t believe I’ve never tried it before.

The Full English Pizza

Well I think that’s it for now. I’m rather pleased to be able to look back and see the highs far outweigh the lows. I’m definitely getting better at this cooking lark, I think. Now, time for those meal plans…

Monday 11 June
Lunch: pasta with broad bean tops, ricotta and mint 
Dinner: Bangers & Mash bake (F)

Tuesday 12 June 
Lunch: tuna mayonnaise rolls
Dinner: butternut squash tart with spinach, blue cheese and ricotta

Wednesday 13 June
Lunch: rice salad
Dinner: sausage and courgette pasta carbonara

Thursday 14 June
Lunch: cheese and pickle rolls
Dinner: baked potatoes with garlic mushrooms and salad

Friday 15 June
Lunch:  pasta salad
Dinner: egg fried rice with peas and red peppers

Saturday 16 June
Lunch: cheese and tomato on toast
Dinner: courgette and summer greens pie and salad

Sunday 17 June
Lunch: OUT
Dinner: cold courgette and summer greens pie

Monday 18 June
Lunch: hummus, pitta bread and salad
Dinner: lamb and rosemary crumble with new potatoes

Tuesday 19 June
Lunch: ham salad rolls
Dinner: the Full English pizza with salad

Wednesday 20 June
Lunch: cous cous salad
Dinner: red Thai curry with tofu and vegetables

Thursday 21 June
Lunch: cheese and pickle rolls
Dinner: chicken and ginger stir fry with noodles

Friday 22 June
Lunch: wet garlic, tomatoes and mozzarella on toast
Dinner: pasta with pesto and cream cheese

Saturday 23 June
Lunch: bread and cheese
Dinner: pork chops with rice, asparagus and carrots

Sunday 24 June
Lunch: homemade ham with Finnish mustard and herby focaccia
Dinner: cheese omelette

F = from freezer

Around the world in six suppers

… my big plan is to cook six meals inspired by some of my favourite holiday destinations from years gone by, and share those recipes with you here on the blog. I have some ideas already for dishes I’d like to cook, but if  you have any suggestions for recipes I should try I would love to hear them…

If I’m honest, the idea of a ‘staycation’ has never appealed much to me. For a holiday to be a proper holiday you really need to get away from it all, don’t you?

I adore exploring new destinations as well as returning to much loved haunts; sampling the local cuisine, relaxing by a pool with a good book or acting like a Japanese tourist and fitting in as many sights as I can in a single day.

On holiday in France with Jess and Mia

Admittedly, holidays have changed quite a bit since having children. We’ve been forced to slow down and plan ahead much more carefully.

I remember our first holiday abroad with Jessie when she was just learning to walk. With another couple and their young daughter we rented a beautiful villa in Tuscany. It would have been amazing, if it hadn’t been for the unfenced pool and marble staircases and sheer drop down what seemed like a mini cliff face at the bottom of the garden, oh and all the prickly rose bushes scattered around the stunning garden. Nansi and I were having near heart attacks every five minutes as our plucky girls explored and stumbled their way around the place. Not a relaxing holiday. But a massive lesson learned on the need to check out how family-friendly your holiday accommodation will be.

Sadly it looks increasingly likely we won’t be having a family holiday this year. My husband has quit his job and is retraining in IT, and I’m freelancing part-time on a couple of projects but the income is very up-and-down. And we’ve just been stung by some rather steep vets’ bills. So a staycation it might just have to be.

But I’m not going to let that get me down. Oh no, not me. So while I might read about other’s plans to fly off to far-flung foreign destinations, I won’t get jealous. We live in lovely Somerset after all. There’s so much to do right here on our doorstep, isn’t there? How many tourists flock to this part of the world every year to get away from it all, and here we are already!

And if I can’t go off to see the world this year, well I’ll just have to bring the world to our corner of Somerset.

Over the six weeks of the school holidays, my big plan is to cook six meals inspired by some of my favourite holiday destinations from years gone by, and share those recipes with you here on the blog. I have some ideas already for dishes I’d like to cook, but if  you have any suggestions for recipes I should try I would love to hear them. Even better if they appear on your blog as then I can easily link up with them too.

In no particular order, the places I’ll be visiting on my culinary world tour are:

Barcelona: when I went inter-railing with my best friend Ruth after our A-levels, this had to be my favourite city. The food, the beer, the Gaudi, the boys…

New York: I have very fond memories of visiting New York with my Mum and sister Elly when I was about 12 years old. I remember Mum bartering with a bloke on a street corner selling bangles and an Italian waiter chasing us down the street as we hadn’t left a tip!

Northumberland: I spent some of my childhood just outside Newcastle and enjoyed many an idyllic day out playing on the beautiful beaches, visiting the spooky castles and wandering along Hadrian’s Wall. I can’t wait to take my husband and children there sometime soon.

Penang: My Mum was born on the Malaysian island of Penang and I think it is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. And the food isn’t bad either!

Rio de Janeiro: one of my jammiest PR jollies ever was to take a group of journalists to Brazil for a tour of an aircraft factory. The tour lasted half a day but we had to stay a week because of flight availability. What a shame! We had a fantastic time in Rio and Sao Paulo and I’m desperate to get back there again one day.

Mystery destination: I haven’t quite decided on my final destination. I’ve been considering Turkey and Italy, or perhaps Bordeaux or Greece. Or how about Norway or Sweden? I’ve had wonderful times in each of these countries but whose food should I try to recreate in the final week of my staycation? Please let me know where you think I should head to!

Strawberry, rhubarb and lemon tart

Lots of people have been talking about strawberries and rhubarb making a winning combination, so when my lovely friend Sarah gave me a big bunch of rhubarb from her garden the other week, I thought it was about time I found out what all the fuss is about.

They weren’t wrong. Sweet strawberries are the perfect foil for the tartness of rhubarb. And for me the creamy tanginess of a lemon tart provides a perfect base for this fruit frenzy.

Alright, I have to admit though my strawberry, rhubarb and lemon tart isn’t the prettiest pudding around. Presentation, particularly when it comes to sweet things, isn’t always my strong point. And I did slightly over-colour the pastry. But then, I am a home cook after all. As long as it tastes good, then I’m happy. Very happy in fact.

Strawberry, rhubarb and lemon tart

Serves 8

For the pastry case

125g soft butter
100g icing sugar
Pinch of salt
250g plain flour
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp milk

600g rhubarb, chopped into inch-long chunks
6 tbsp granulated sugar
Splash orange juice
400g strawberries, hulled and quartered
170g caster sugar
4 eggs
170ml double cream
Juice and grated zest of 3 lemons

Start by making the pastry. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, icing sugar and salt. Then add the flour and egg yolks and rub in until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the milk and work together to form a dough.

Wrap the dough in cling film and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4.

Grease a 30cm tart dish. Roll out the pastry into a large circle and carefully line the dish, pressing the pastry into the edges and making sure it comes fully up the sides. You may need to do some patching up here and there – I always do.

Blind bake the empty tart for 15 minutes until the pastry is coloured ever so slightly. Then leave to one side while you prepare the filling.

Place the chopped rhubarb in a saucepan with 4 tablespoons of granulated sugar and a splash of orange juice and heat gently. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes until the rhubarb is tender but still has a little bite in it.

In a bowl, scatter 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar over the chopped strawberries and gently mix together.

Whisk together the caster sugar and eggs in a large bowl and then stir in the cream, lemon juice and zest.

Spoon the strawberries into the middle of your pastry tart and arrange the cooked rhubarb around this. Then pour over the creamy lemon mixture and carefully transfer this to your oven. You should do here as proper chefs suggest and pour in the mixture when the tart is already in the oven to reduce spillage, but I invariably forget this bit and have to mop the floor afterwards.

Bake for around 45 minutes until the filling is firm but still has a little wobble to it, and if you can (unlike me) catch it before the pastry turns too dark around the edges. But hey, don’t worry if it does. My dad always told me the burned bits were good for your insides.

Leave to cool for an hour or so while the filling sets some more. Serve with some vanilla ice cream or a dollop of creme fraiche.

I’m entering this tart into the Tea Time Treats blog challenge hosted by What Kate Baked and Lavender & Lovage, as the theme this month is Summer Fruits. As Wimbledon approaches, what fruit could better represent the British idea of summer than the ubiquitious strawberry?

The perfect Father’s Day breakfast: fried egg with garlic portobello mushroom on ciabatta

Here’s an easy way to put a smile on Dad’s face this Father’s Day (Sunday 17 June in the UK). Toasted ciabatta topped with a portobello mushroom baked in garlic butter and a heart-shaped fried egg. The perfect way to start the day; after a lie-in and a cup of tea in bed, of course.

To make the garlic butter simply crush a clove of garlic and mash into a decent knob of butter. Add some chopped, fresh parsley if you happen to have some. Smother this onto a portobello mushroom and bake in a hot oven for 15 minutes.

Cut a ciabatta roll in half and toast.

Place a handful of salad leaves in a bowl and toss with a little vinaigrette.

Fry an egg just how Dad likes it – sunny side up or over easy. I cooked mine in a cute heart-shaped frying pan or you could fry your egg as normal and then cut it out with a heart-shaped pasty cutter.

To assemble, simply place the ciabatta on a plate and cover with some dressed leaves. Carefully place the mushroom on top of the leaves and spoon over some more of the gorgeous garlic butter.

Finally, place the fried egg on top and serve, along with a copy of the Sunday papers. Enjoy!

Bangers and mash bake for Father’s Day

It’s Father’s Day in the UK this Sunday. Normally when I’m planning what to cook on Father’s Day, my thoughts turn to light, summery meals we can eat outside in the garden. Perhaps a barbecue? But the weather forecast for this weekend doesn’t look good. I heard on the radio that they’re expecting three months’ worth of rain to fall over the next three days. Splendid.

So my offering for a Father’s Day meal this Sunday might not be what you’d typically expect to be serving up in June, but it’s perfect comfort food guaranteed to put a smile on Dad’s face on a soggy, grey afternoon; followed perhaps by the chance to doze on the sofa in front of James Bond. Perfect.

This bangers and mash bake is simply a sausage casserole baked in the oven with buttery mashed potato on top, rather like a cottage pie. It’s very satisfying and, of course, very popular in our house. For this recipe, I’ve gone with peppers and green cabbage in the casserole but use whichever vegetables you fancy really; courgettes, carrots, swede and beans all work well.

It’s also a great dish to prepare in advance. Simply pop in the oven half an hour or so before you’re ready to eat. And the leftovers freeze really well too.

To cool dads the world over – Happy Father’s Day!

Bangers and mash bake

Serves 4 (two big, two small)

3 tbsp vegetable oil
6 good quality pork sausages
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 red and 1 green bell pepper, deseeded and chopped
1 tbsp corn flour
750ml beef stock
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Good squeeze of tomato puree
Half green cabbage, shredded
Salt and pepper
1kg potatoes, peeled and chopped
50g butter
Splash of milk
50g Cheddar cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/gas mark 6.

Heat one tablespoonful of oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan over a moderate heat and brown the sausages. Remove to a warm dish.

Add the rest of the oil to the same pan and fry the onion until soft and golden. Throw in the red and green pepper and fry for a couple more minutes.

Return the sausages to the pan and stir in the corn flour. Cover with the beef stock, balsamic vinegar and a good dollop of puree and stir well.

Add the shredded cabbage and stir in. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook uncovered for about 25 minutes to let the casserole thicken. Season to taste.

Meanwhile boil the potatoes in a large pan of salted water until tender. Drain and return to the pan. Add the butter, a splash of milk and salt and pepper to taste, and mash well.

In a large oven-proof dish, firstly arrange the sausages to make sure everyone gets a fair share in their helping.

Then add the rest of the casserole. Spoon over the mashed potato (it does help if the casserole has had a little time to cool first), and tidy up with a fork. Go wild and create fancy patterns with your fork while you’re at it. Lastly sprinkle with the grated cheese.

Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until the mashed potato and cheese are beginning to brown on top and go crispy. Serve and enjoy!

Slow roasted tomato and oregano pizza

Homemade pizza is a regular on the menu in our house. The children like to get involved in making it, especially kneading the dough and putting on the toppings. As you can imagine, it can turn into quite a messy affair!

This recipe for slow roast tomato and oregano pizza is a firm family favourite and the perfect way to put to good use all those gorgeous tomatoes and herbs coming into plentiful supply this time of year.

We have lots of beautiful oregano in the herb garden at the moment

You do need to plan ahead a little with this one. The tomatoes are slow roasted in a low oven for four to five hours, giving them an incredibly intense, sweetly caramelised flavour and a gorgeously sticky, slightly chewy texture.

Trust me, it’s worth the effort. They taste sublime and are fantastic on pizza, as well as in salads, quiches or served with olives and cold meats as part of an antipasto.

Slow roasted tomato and oregano pizza

Makes four pizzas

For the slow roasted tomatoes:

8 cherry tomatoes
6 medium tomatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp sugar
salt and pepper

For the dough:

400g strong white bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 x 7g sachet fast action dried yeast
2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
250ml luke warm water
1 tbsp olive oil

For the topping:

Passata, about half a jar
Mozzarella, 2 x 250g balls
Two handfuls fresh oregano, leaves picked

Firstly, prepare the tomatoes – I suggest the night before.

Preheat the oven to 140°C /Gas Mark 1 or use the bottom oven of an Aga.

Cut the tomatoes in half and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle over the olive oil, and sprinkle on the oregano and sugar, and season to taste. Place in the oven and roast for four to five hours, until the tomatoes are shrivelled but still sweet and juicy.

To make the pizza dough, put the flour, salt, dried yeast and oregano into a large mixing bowl and mix well.

Make a well in the middle and pour in the lukewarm water and oil. Gradually work the flour into the liquid, making a soft dough. If it’s too dry, add a drop more water. If it’s too sticky, add a little more flour.

Flour your surface before tipping the dough onto it. Knead the dough by stretching it away from you, then pulling back into a ball. Do this for five minutes or so, until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Return the dough to the mixing bowl, cover loosely with cling film and put in a warm place for about an hour, until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6 or use the middle of the top oven of an Aga.

Uncover the risen dough and punch it back down. Flour the surface again and divide the dough into four balls. Stretch or roll out each ball until you have a thin circle about 22cm across. Place the pizzas onto slightly oiled baking sheets.

Pour a couple of tablespoons of passata onto each pizza, smoothing out with the back of the spoon. Next add the roast tomatoes and oregano leaves and finish with torn pieces of mozzarella.

Bake your pizzas for 15-20 minutes and leave to cool for a couple of minutes before devouring.

I’m entering this tasty pizza into the June Herbs on Saturday blog challenge over at Lavender & Lovage. Karen always receives heaps of delicious looking recipes for her blog challenges, so make sure you go and take a look at the other entries!

I’m also adding it to the One Ingredient blogging challenge, as the ingredient in question is the tomato. The challenge is run by Laura at howtocookgoodfood and Nazima at Londonworking mummy.

Highs and lows in the Bangers & Mash kitchen – part 4

It’s been a busy but fun couple of weeks in the Bangers & Mash household. Despite racing around like a crazy thing most of the time, life feels good at the moment.

The sun has been shining, which always puts people in better moods. Our veggie patch is thriving; the hedgerows are full of beautiful wild flowers; the housemartins have returned to rebuild their nest in the eaves of our roof; the Olympic flame has passed through Somerset (my husband took the girls to see it in Wells); the bunting and flags are up and everyone’s getting excited about their Jubilee celebrations; and yours truly is becoming a bit of a local celebrity as a result of being a finalist in the MAD Blog Awards.

There’s been a piece on me in the local paper and I did an interview on BBC Radio Somerset’s breakfast show. I was terrified beforehand but actually rather enjoyed the interview in the end. The host Matt Faulkner was very easy to talk to and seemed genuinely interested in the ins and outs of meal planning and feeding a family on a budget.

Talking of budgets, ours got a little tighter this week. I’ve just finished my temporary stint at Bath Spa University, which is sad as I really enjoyed it there. But working from home again will make life a lot easier. And my husband has just finished working at a local primary school and is about to start retraining in IT. So on one hand it’s fantastic that we’ll both be at home much more and able to spend more time together as a family, but on the other hand we’re going to have to be incredibly careful with the pennies. Cheap eats are definitely the order of the day.

Foodwise I’ve been keeping things pretty simple because I have been rushing about so much and haven’t wanted to spend hours in the kitchen when it’s been so hot. Saying that, my mum and I did spend an afternoon baking this Jubilee cake on one of the hottest days of the year.

Jubilee party cake

Yes, it’s completely OTT but I think it’s a great cake for children’s Jubilee parties.

Another culinary highlight was this delicious Oyakodon, a Japanese chicken and egg rice dish, the recipe for which I found at Under The Blue Gum Tree. As my mother is half Chinese, we tend to eat lots of oriental flavours in our house and with mum visiting for a weekend I thought this would be a good dish to try. It was a big hit all round, although the flavours were quite different to what I was expecting; much softer and more subtle, very clean and light. I could eat this dish again and again, and probably will.

Oyakodon from Under The Blue Gum Tree

With the mini heatwave in the UK, it’s only natural that salads have featured highly on our menu. One simple meal we had recently was fried chicken served with a red cabbage and beetroot slaw. The chicken was fairly dull really, but the slaw was very tasty and such a beautiful colour. It keeps well for a couple of days, and we used up the leftovers at our barbecue.

Beetroot and red cabbage slaw

 Our herb patch is looking glorious. The rosemary, thyme and oregano are all in full bloom and the sage flowers are set to open any day now. I read somewhere recently that oregano flowers work well in salads, so I decided to add some to a lovely salad I made with courgette, mozzarella and baby plum tomatoes. It looked and tasted fantastic.

Courgette and oregano flower salad

Rice salad is a regular in our lunch boxes and I try to play around with ingredients so the kids don’t get bored. This week I included grilled chicken (marinated first in a mustard vinaigrette) and artichoke hearts. The lunch boxes came home empty. Need I say more?

Rice salad with grilled chicken and artichoke hearts

Always on the look out for new meat-free dishes, I came across this spinach roulade on Thinly Spread. Initially I thought the rolling of the roulade was going to be a bit of a tall order for me; I’m a walking disaster zone when it comes to dainty presentation. I really am the clumsiest person I know. But it was actually incredibly easy. And oh, so tasty. I’ve got to make this dish again when friends come over as it looks so much more difficult to pull off than it really is, and so a great one for impressing dinner guests.

Spinach roulade from Thinly Spread

And finally, because it looks like the weather has turned again and the rain is pattering against the window as I type, I include a picture of our barbecue last weekend when mum was over from Spain. Come back mum and bring the sunshine back with you!

Bangers from the barbie – lovely!

So time for those meal plans…

Monday 14 May
Lunch: pasta salad
Dinner: spinach roulade with new potatoes and salad

Tuesday 15 May
Lunch: ham salad rolls
Dinner: lamb meatballs and rice (F)

Wednesday 16 May
Lunch: pitta bread with hummus and salad
Dinner: pork chops, mash and vegetables

Thursday 17 May
Lunch: cheese and cucumber rolls
Dinner: omelette and salad

Friday 18 May
Lunch:  rice salad with grilled chicken and artichoke hearts
Dinner: pasta with bacon and tomato sauce

Saturday 19 May
Lunch: baked sausages with fennel and butternut squash
Dinner: bread and cheese

Sunday 20 May
Lunch: kohlrabi and spinach gratin
Dinner: carrot and coriander soup

Monday 21  May
Lunch: olive and mozzarella muffins (F)
Dinner: courgette, mozzarella and oregano flower salad with crusty bread

Tuesday 22 May
Lunch: salad wraps
Dinner: wild garlic pesto and spaghetti

Wednesday 23 May
Lunch: pasta salad
Dinner: poached eggs on toast with asparagus

Thursday 24 May
Lunch: ham and salad rolls
Dinner: Oyakodon with steamed pak choi

Friday 25 May
Lunch: garlic mushrooms with salad
Dinner: southern fried chicken with beetroot and red cabbage slaw and potato wedges

Saturday 26 May
Lunch: pub lunch
Dinner: bread and cheese

Sunday 27 May
Lunch: barbecued sausages and chicken with salads
Dinner: bread and cheese

F = from freezer

Tipping point

This post represents two firsts for me. The first first is that has nothing to do with food. And the second is that I didn’t write it, despite what it says above.

Bloggers the world over are putting their weight behind a call on world leaders to urgently put in place a resolution to protect children in response to the hideous atrocities that have taken place in Syria. Children there have been brutally murdered. As a mother, as a member of humanity, I’ve been wondering all day what I can say on this blog to add my voice to this call.

And then I read an amazingly powerful piece by Chris Mosler on her blog Thinly Spread. Anything I try to write now would simply be an attempt to say the same thing but far less eloquently. And so Chris has kindly given me permission to reblog her post here. Please take a few minutes to read this and sign your name on the Save The Children and Avaaz petitions. Thank you.

Tipping Point – by Chris Mosler

This post is written as part of today’s coming together of the parent blogging community to share our outrage at the atrocities in Syria.

I wrote last year about the power of one voice when it reaches out and touches others, about how that voice can snowball. Sometimes it can seem hopeless, but you have no idea who it might reach and what effect it might have. I for one cannot sit here and say nothing having read Wednesday’s gruesome article in The Times.

Children have been massacred in Syria. They were not just by-standing victims caught in the cross fire. They have been put to death. They have been executed.

49 children.

I cannot imagine the fear which went through their little heads. I cannot imagine how the remnants of their families must be feeling.

This all started a year ago with Syrian people rising up, as their neighbours had done across the Middle East, in a peaceful protest calling for freedom and democracy. The uprising was crushed by Assad and his regime. The world stood back. Now the conflict is armed and has escalated to a point where men are killing children.

We stood back and allowed Rwanda and Srebrenica to happen. This time we have a network with the potential to make an enormous amount of noise and force a response. Kofi Anaan has said that Syria has reached a ‘Tipping Point’, balanced precariously on the edge of sectarian violence and further horror. This is the time to shout.

Please use your voice, those children and their families deserve it. The least we can do is make sure their deaths do not slip quietly into history and to shout loudly that this mustn’t be allowed to happen again.

Much of the world is outraged and there are lots of political shenanigans going on. In the meantime I am joining with Save the Children and signing their petition ‘ calling on world leaders to put in place an immediate and legally binding “Resolution to Protect Children” that carries the full force of international law on those attacking children and other civilians.’

While I’m at it, I’m signing this one too.

Please Make Some Noise.

What you can do

Please tweet this post out using the hashtags #Syria #StopTheKilling and #TippingPoint.

Retweet any posts you see from the parent blogger community using the above hashtags.

Share this post and others on Facebook.

Sign the two petitions I mention above.

Write your own post.

This is my first ever image free post because there is no image I could use here.

Thanks again to Chris Mosler for letting me feature her post here.