When her big sister is at nursery, Ruby and I have a chance to enjoy some quality time alone together. We both miss Ava when she's not here but it's lovely because, before now, Ru and I never had many opportunities to hang out, just the two of us.
Of course, in between reading books, putting stickers on each other's faces and snuggling on the sofa growling, there are the more boring chores to do and, until recently, I might have included making lunch among them.
But Ru, it would seem, has developed an amusing interest in culinary creativity. The other day, having taken the information that 'we' were going to make lunch rather literally, Ruby dragged the steps over to the worktop so she could see what was going on and get stuck in.
Perhaps I should have stopped her when she started helping herself to the Hovis. I almost certainly should have stopped her when she began rifling through our larder cupboard for more ingredients (and nicking the tomatoes I was actually using for our toasted sandwiches). But Ruby was enjoying herself so much, and taking the job in hand oh, so seriously, I just had to watch and see what fantastic things she would come up with.
Here, in exact detail, is Ruby's recipe for what I have called...
Le Pain Folle (Crazy Bread)
Cooking time: approximately 25 minutes
1 end slice of wholemeal bread
4 lumps of butter (varying sizes)
2 dried apricots
1 cherry tomato
sprinkle of cinnamon
1 small handful of dry rice
3 pasta tubes
Essence of Smartie
1 tsp of sugar
1 Crayola crayon (red)
1 small piece of onion (from down the side of fridge)
1 baby forkful of cream cheese
¼ digestive biscuit
Take the bread, lick it and say, "Mmmm!". Place bread oto plate.
Use index finger to gouge out four lumps of butter. Squeeze each lump of butter between thumb and forefinger, before squidging on to bread.
Take the dried apricots, sniff them both, then bite one before making a face like a person who has just put a wasp in their mouth. Squeeze both apricots very tightly in your fist. Squash apricots on to bread.
Take the cherry tomato and drop it on the floor. Say "oh noooo!" and then step on tomato before picking it up. Squash tomato on to bread.
Spend several minutes shaking a jar of cinnamon before finally working out how to open it. Continue to shake cinnamon vigorously in the vicinity of the bread (some is bound to land on it).
Take the rice and drop half of it on the floor. Ignore rice on floor and sprinkle the rest over the bread.
Stick two pasta tubes on to ends of fingers, then spend a few minutes attempting to pick up the third one. Remove two tubes from fingers and stick upright into bread. Put third tube into the cutlery drawer and close. Open cutlery drawer to check pasta tube is still there, then close. Open cutlery drawer again, remove pasta tube and stick into bread.
Take four Smarties and carefully place on to bread. Leave there for 1.5 seconds, then remove Smarties and eat all four in one go.
Using a teaspoon, stir the sugar in the sugar bowl for a minute or two. When it has not changed in either colour or consistency, take half a teaspoon from the bowl and sprinkle over the worktop. Next, take another half a teaspoon and sprinkle over bread.
Using as much force as you can muster, stab the bread with a small, red Crayola crayon, until it stays upright.
Remove small piece of onion from the crevice between the kitchen cabinet and the fridge, sniff it, and say "smell!". Carefully place sniffed onion on to bread. Then take it off again. Then put it back.
Using a small fork, attempt to stir bread and other ingredients. Next, use fork to scoop out some cream cheese from a tub, then put the fork on your nose. Try to lick nose. Eat a bit of cream cheese from fork and then squash remainder on to bread.
Ask your mummy for a digestive biscuit. Eat ¾ of it. Place the remaining ¼ on plate next to bread, then serve several hours later.
Yes! Several hours later. Because I was not (oh thank you, thank you) destined to be the recipient of this spectacular culinary masterpiece. When I told Ruby how very lovely her cooking was, at first she said: "Try? Try?"
"You want me to try?" I said (probably looking a bit worried).
"Oh, no," she said, with the serious face of a person who has realised their mistake and changed their mind. "S'daddy's!"
Ha ha haaaa!!