We had big plans for Little Man’s first Easter. We were going to go stay with my parents. My father-in-law was going to come along too, as were my sister and auntie. On the Saturday lots of other aunties and uncles were going to visit to get their first chance to meet the little dude. And as my parents live in the countryside, we were going to chill in the garden, go for lovely walks, visit the local pubs… Etc etc. Then coronavirus hit and instead we’ve had to spend Easter at home, just the three of us.
So it wasn’t quite what we planned, but we still had a fabulous time. Some of my highlights were…
Little Man’s First Easter Egg Hunt
Martin and I took it in turns to hide eggs in the garden and then search for them. Little Man was absolutely useless at finding eggs. He spent most of the time just squinting in the bright light and dribbling. He’s seriously going to have to up his game for next year.
Eating, Drinking and Baking
We’ve had some really great food and drink this weekend! Particular highlights: Martin made me a fabulous gin and lemonade with mint leaves on Saturday, and made incredible lamb neck fillet kebabs on Sunday. He put a dry rub on the meat and let it marinade overnight and it was dreamy!
I baked a delicious gluten free Easter chocolate cake from this Nigella Lawson recipe, which I highly recommend! I also think it will be fabulous in the summer with raspberries instead of mini eggs.
Family Video Calls
We had some lovely video calls with family over the weekend and it felt like we had fun together despite the lockdown. We chatted to family in Japan on Saturday morning while they had their dinner, and it was their first chance to meet Little Man albeit remotely! It’s crazy how our nieces in Japan grow so fast, every time we see them, they seem to have grown so much. Another highlight was family Easter quizzes with my family over WhatsApp/Kahoot, masterminded by my awesome sister. It was fun to do something different and interactive together.
Obviously Easter means bunnies, which means a great excuse to dress Little Man up in an adorable costume! He was our Easter Bunny for the day on Sunday and it was ridiculously cute.
So lockdown is boring (have I mentioned that?), and we have to find ways to make it more fun. My awesome husband came up with the idea of inventing a cocktail with just ingredients we already have in the house (although, fair warning, we do have two shelves of booze in the pantry, so it’s not a particularly heavy restriction). Clearly this would be named… The Quarantini. And this is the Quarantini Challenge!
I suggested we should each separately come up with a recipe and swap. Originally we were both going to make our drinks on Sunday evening, but after Martin made his drinks, it rapidly became clear that having another cocktail each would result in a much higher level of inebriation than intended or appropriate for a Sunday night. So I made mine on Monday instead.
Read on for the recipes…
Martin’s Quarantini: The Dirty Artini
Named after Dirty Arty, a video game character notorious for eating tinned peaches and leaving the cans behind (among other things). Martin went with the base of a classic Martini, and a quarantine twist straight from our cupboard of canned goods. His recipe:
50ml gin (he used Roku gin, a Japanese brand)
10ml Marsala wine
10ml peach liqueur (or umeshu)
15ml tinned peach juice
The above to be stirred over ice, strained into a cocktail glass and garnished with a slice of tinned peach (lockdown bonus: you get to eat the rest of the tin afterwards).
My Quarantini: The Jumbletini
Named because it was made of a total mish-mash of random booze from the store cupboard, I proudly present my recipe for a quarantini:
25ml spiced dark rum (I used Kraken rum, our favourite)
25ml lemon gin (Sipsmith Lemon Drizzle)
10ml pink grapefruit gin (from the Ely Gin Company)
10ml umeshu (Japanese plum wine which I’m obsessed with, I used The Choya Single Year)
lemonade to taste
mint leaves from the garden
I smushed up the mint leaves (technical term) and served the above over ice in our favourite sparkley whiskey glasses.
The Quarantini Challenge: Who Won?
Obviously it pains me to admit it, but Martin’s quarantini was better! My cocktail was pretty nice actually, and I would drink it again, but Martin’s was delicious, plus you got to eat the boozey peach slice at the end, which was awesome. So yes: Martin won the Quarantini Challenge!
Have you made a quarantini? What was your recipe? I’d love to try other people’s store cupboard cocktails too!
More lockdown fun…
I’ve also written about my kitchen tips and tricks for lockdown, focusing around cooking and storage tips and ideas for stocking up during the Covid-19 pandemic. Why not check it out?
“Well, darling, mostly I sat around the house wiping your vomit off things.”
It’s been three weeks now and I’ve left the house once for a walk and once to take Little Man to the doctor’s for his second set of vaccinations. It’s not really how I envisaged my maternity leave going. After two months, I’d just got to the point where taking Little Man out no longer felt like a huge undertaking, and I could predict how much time I would need to get us ready before leaving the house. I was just starting to think of doing some more adventurous trips out with him on my own, when coronavirus really hit and we had to stay in the house.
It’s hard not to be a bit gutted when I think of all the plans we had for maternity leave which probably won’t happen now. We were planning to take him for a couple of weeks in Ireland, drive down to Devon, we had family planning to visit from Japan in the summer, I was hoping to arrange some kind of ‘welcome to the world’ party for him… The list of cancellations goes on.
Equally, we have to get through this by staying positive and there are some positives. His dad is working from home which means he gets to spend so much more time with us, and that’s lovely for everyone (although he may not agree when he’s on a conference call and Little Man is kicking off downstairs). Plus, financially things aren’t so tight as expected with my maternity pay reduction, because we’re not going out and spending money.
Sometimes it feels a bit useless to be sat indoors, so I have to keep reminding myself that we’re at least doing our bit to try to avoid spreading this horrible virus around. We’re so grateful to all the keyworkers who make it possible for us to stay at home, from the delivery men who bring our shopping, to the medical staff on the front line who probably would like nothing more than to be sat at home with their kids every day, wiping vomit off things.