This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Both MsDD and I have colds at the moment. The worst thing about that is knowing that, no matter how lousy they make you feel, they’re really not serious and so you’re expected to keep calm and carry on.

Normally I send MsDD into school no matter how bad she’s feeling but she had a fever this morning and I took pity on her. The problem with carrying on is that you carry on and pass your viruses to everyone on the bus, on the train, all around you in the office, at school, at choir, at concerts, in restaurants. While you’re soldiering on, you’re afflicting everyone else. It’s terribly anti-social.

I’m particularly aware of this since a very nasty bug, caught through someone in choir, knocked out my voice for months in 2008. If I catch a cold, that means no singing for me for weeks and it takes ages to catch up again. But this one isn’t too bad, I hope, and I did a few gentle voice exercises this afternoon so I hope I’ll be OK. These days I’d never go anywhere near choir if I had a cold. And don’t forget, those who catch it can pass it on to vulnerable people with suppressed immunity if, say, they’re undergoing cancer treatment.

So starve a fever; feed a cold. And what do we feed it with? Comfort food. Tonight this takes the form of oven-baked ratatouille from Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall’s Veg book. I love ratatouille made this way. It’s much preferable to the soggy veg stew, I think, but my family likes a bit more sauce than the amount that this recipe generates so I replace some of the tomatoes with a can of chopped Tuscan tomatoes. I always imagine the Tuscan sun beating down on those tomatoes on their vines in full view of terracotta villas and cypress-lined avenues.

We had another meeting with our architect and builder this evening. The extension project is now moving rapidly on and we hope to start work in just a few weeks. To ease the conversational flow I made these blueberry mini-muffins to Nigella’s Domestic Goddess recipe. I find that bite size mini muffins work well. Her recipe for 12 standard sized muffins would make about 40 mini-muffins, I’d say. Mini muffins take about 12 minutes at 180 deg on the Intensive Bake programme.

I found huge blueberries in Waitrose that exploded like saucy purple balloons in the oven for a most pleasing effect. Of course I could not partake…technically…because I’m fasting today. I did, though.