> The Beesley Buzz: Hernias, High temperatures and Hanger - What a week!

Hernias, High temperatures and Hanger - What a week!

This week was pastry week on GBBO and I knew it would be stressful, but I didn't expect my own life to get quite so stressful too.

J has got another hernia in his very first week at secondary school. He had one when he was 4 years old (I think he'd just started Primary school at that point) and that had to be operated on and now he has another and we've spent this week in and out of the GP's surgery, the on-call doctor's surgery and A&E. We need to get back to the GP on Monday to get a definite referral this time.

Thankfully he has settled brilliantly into his new school, although he is missing his old school. He's kept up with all the homework so far and even got one of the top marks for his maths homework. Considering it is a super-selective grammar school where all the kids are bright kids, it's great to hear how well he is doing and still getting top marks!

This boy has had a real roller-coaster ride when it comes to his education so it really is a relief for us that things are going well for him at his new school.

Miss T has had some not-so-good news about her arthritis - the Methotrexate (MTX) is not working as well as hoped so the dose needs increasing and she is going to have to have steroid injections into her ankle which I had been hoping she'd avoid. They are also considering whether she would need to progress onto the next level of treatment if these actions are not sufficient to help.

That actually terrifies me as Methotrexate was worrying enough and needs close monitoring with regular blood tests but the next level is biologics - and the side-effects sound horrendous so we are praying it really won't be necessary.

For the first time since all this began in January, I felt my hopes dashed rather than managing to keep positive because I had really hoped that she was making good progress.

Fridays are her regular MTX injection day and she just didn't seem herself yesterday so we made the decision to delay until today and I'm so glad we did because today she has had a very high temperature and it is dangerous to give her the MTX when she has a high temp so we've given it a miss this week for the first time since she started treatment.

And now onto D, who is usually a dream. He is the one that keeps me sane through everything with his calmness, kindness and compassion. Yet we've noticed something over the years. We've noticed that a couple of hours after eating, if he doesn't have a snack, his mood rapidly changes into anger and grumpiness.

Give him a snack and the usual D reappears.

This summer I've been timing closely, monitoring and investigating and it turns out he has 'Reactive Hypoglycemia'. There doesn't seem to be a huge amount of awareness or understanding of this but the 'treatment' is to catch it before it happens and give snacks which is what we have tried to do over the years without even knowing about this 'label' for this condition.

So between the 3 of them, it's been a tough week.

But I didn't want to lose bake off momentum...especially after a really lovely piece of news I read on last weeks Great Blogger bake off round up from Mummy mishaps. I was over the moon reading that about my free-from bake from last week.

Jenny's rules for linking up this year do allow an old bake to be posted, as long as it's not been used for #GBBO linky previously AND it's relevant to that week's theme so for this week I am going to reblog an Autumn recipe I made up last year and suggest a variation to it which is what I would have baked had all the hernia, high temperature and hanger issues not arisen!

It's a Blackberry Bakewell Tart which I made with blackberries we picked last year and the original post I wrote can be found here. This year I would have varied it to make mini-ones like these that I sketched if I had the time:

Here's the recipe and photos re-blogged here for convenience:

Blackberry Bakewell Tart

It is one of those recipes that I kind of made up as I went along so I don't have exact quantities for the blackberries I'm afraid. We didn't have a huge quantity so at a very rough guess I'd say 300g - 400g of blackberries. 

Ingredients for the pastry:
300g plain flour
30g sugar
125g butter
1 egg
A splash of milk

Ingredients for the blackberry 'jam':
Fresh blackberries (see note above about quantities!)
A splash of Madeira
Some sugar - around 2-3 tablespoons I would guess. 

Ingredients for the filling: 
100g ground almonds
2 eggs
100g sugar
100g butter
15g plain flour
Zest of a lemon
A generous handful of flaked almonds

Icing sugar and water to decorate if desired.


1. First make the pastry. I used my food processor to blitz together the flour and butter, then added in the sugar, egg and milk until it started to from a dough. 
2. On a floured surface bring the dough together and knead it a little so that you can roll it big enough for a 24cm tart tin. (The pastry quantities are a little more than you will need for this size tin, so we've kept the spare bit in the fridge to make a couple of mini jam tarts, or similar, tomorrow. 
3. Carefully place your rolled out pastry into your tart tin and prick gently with a fork. Then place in the fridge to chill. I read somewhere that it should be left to chill for an hour, but I'm nowhere near patient enough for that, so I just let it chill long enough for me to get started on making my blackberry jam. 
4. Wash the blackberries well. Then simmer on the hob with the sugar, Madeira and a few tablespoons of water. You may need to add a little more water as you go. Keep it simmering until the blackberries start to go mushy and the water reduces. Then push through a sieve to remove all the seeds to make a smooth 'jam'. I have called it a 'jam' but as I don't have a clue how to make jam properly I use this in the loosest way. It is essentially a thick sugary blackberry liquid to spread over the base of your pastry tart. 
5. Pop a sheet of baking paper into your chilled pastry case and fill with baking beans (or dried rice, lentils, mung beans will do the trick too). Blind bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 200C. Then remove the baking beans and baking parchment, reduce oven temperature to 180C and bake for a further 5 minutes. 
6. Whilst the pastry case is cooking, you can make your filling. I used a mixer with a beater attachment but you can mix by hand. Start by beating together the sugar and butter. 
7. Then add in the ground almonds and eggs. 
8. Finally add in the lemon zest and flour. 
9. Now it's time to assemble your blackberry Bakewell tart. Start by spreading the jam across the base of the pastry case (don't go right to the edges as I did or it will bleed through the filling). Next spread your filling on top of the jam. Finally generously sprinkle your tart with flaked almonds. 
10. Bake in the oven at 180C for 20 minutes then allow to cool. 
11. Once it is cool you can mix together a little icing using icing sugar and water to drizzle on top. Alternatively you could dust with a little icing sugar. 

I was so pleased with how this turned out and it's a great way of using those autumn blackberries hence blogging about it so I don't forget the recipe!

If you're good at making pastry tarts then you might want to tidy the edges of the tart up but my kids love all the extra pastry bits around the edges so I left it on there as I didn't want to risk the whole thing falling apart!

Mummy Mishaps


  1. Your blackberry bakewell look delicious! I bet those blackberries tasted great in it. It certainly sounds like you and your family have had quite a week! I hope everything settles down for them all soon :-) x
    Angela x
    Only Crumbs Remain

  2. Oh no, what a time you're having, poor Miss T, J and D. I hope things settle for them soon xx I'm glad that J has settled in his new school though.
    Your blackberry bakewell tart looks scrummy and well done for getting Star Baker last week, that carrot cake was special xx

  3. oh dear you have had a stressful time recently - i hope things will soon settle and life will get easier for you all (hugs)
    Thank you for managing to still link up - I think a blackberry bakewell tart sounds really delicious and i love your sketch of your dessert :) a true GBBO bake along planner! xx

    1. thanks Jenny. Miss T feeling a lot better today - so that is a big relief for us. x

  4. What a lot you have had going on so well done for whipping this beauty up! I love your drawing of the bake too very creative :) #GBBOBloggers2015

  5. Mmm, I love fresh blackberries and this does look absolutely delicious - I would love the mini ones :)

    1. thanks Stacey. I love blackberries too and all sorts of berries actually. x


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