Archive | July, 2012

Happily Ever After. The fairytale myth.

29 Jul

Fairtytales have a hell of a lot to answer for if you ask me.
What is up with that whole happily ever after lark? Frankly, it’s false advertising.

Cinderella? Happily ever after.
Snow White? Happily ever after.
Sleeping Beauty? She had a cracking snooze AND lived happily ever after.
Romeo and Juliet? Hmmm, forget I mentioned them, and they’re not technically a fairytale anyway.

Realistically speaking, Cinderella may be the exception to the rule. Yep, she possibly lived happily ever after because she married into royalty. She snagged a Prince so she probably had nannies, and housekeepers and still got her hair done every month or so and went for cocktails with the girls whenever she wanted.
Alright for some, I suppose, but even marrying into royalty would have its issues, for instance, she could never pick her nose in the car for fear of being snapped by the paps.

Snow White? Well, after living with 7 guys, albeit little ones, for months, she probably lived happier once she was just living with just one princely dude. Can you imagine how many pairs of shoes were all over her loungeroom prior to that? Or how many skiddies those 7 little bottoms would leave in her clean bathroom? She probably ate that poisoned apple because she was so over cleaning up after the dwarves. She definitely would have been happi-ER, but happily ever after?
There’s no such thing.

No one mentions how, after Sleeping Beauty has three kids and no sleep for two years, she’s always cranky when the Prince comes home from trotting about in his kingdom. He just wants to take off his breeches, scratch his balls and sit by the fire with the hounds but she wants him to help her with bath time and to fold the never ending washing.
It’s not easy maintaining a relationship when you have a family- there’s no two ways about it- but you don’t hear that in a fairytale.

In fact, no one ever said that relationships are hard work, full stop. It’s a well kept secret until after you’re married and the realisation of ‘forever’ sinks in.
Although in Hollywood people get married and divorced before you finish your cup of coffee, most people enter into the union meaning the word ‘forever’.
Marriage is rewarding, and stability is reassuring but it’s not all happily ever after at all, even if you do have a white picket fence.

When you join with someone, in marriage or in a committed way (bring on gay marriage, you bastards, enough of this silliness!!!), they talk about you becoming ‘one’.
You don’t become one at all. You’re still you and they’re still them. Two people trying to do the best thing for each other, and their families but also needing to what they need to do to keep the balance of themselves for their own life. That’s a frickin’ juggling act, let me tell you, and it ain’t always roses.

Relationships are constant work, and require more negotiation that the United Nations on a busy day and sweeter choreography than the Bolshoi. Libidos rise and fall, and not always at the same time as each other’s, so when the red, hot passion fades, you better be sure that you’re good friends. Spouses get depressed, have mid-life crises and even have affairs that threaten to tear the others heart out. Miscommunication or even just taking each other for granted can be very dangerous long term.

The thing with this whole marriage business is, you need to listen as much as you speak, it seems….. and sometimes you really need to listen to what’s not being said.
You need to be honest about your needs BEFORE it becomes a craw because it’s so much harder to fix once resentment has reared it’s ugly head.

When you get it right though, it’s beautiful to have that special ‘one’ at your side, supporting you and smiling with you when things get tough. It may not be happily ever after, but it can certainly be close.

Pear, Pistachio and Dark Chocolate Cake

28 Jul

I love seeing the look on someone’s face when, as they board a plane, they realise they’re sitting next to me with two kids. It’s priceless. It’s almost worth borrowing a sprog or two if you don’t have any and you’re brave enough to hazard a trip with a pair of ticking time bombs.
My fellow travelers probably feel as though they’re all po’ faced and shit,  but trust me, in that split second I see a multitude of emotions flit across their dial before they plaster a smile that looks like a grimace and they emit a high pitched and squeezed – ‘Hi’.

D Man has flown more in his 2 years than many adults in a lifetime. He was lucky enough to get an invite to Mister H and my honeymoon (sharp intake of breath….baby before marriage? SHOCKING!!) and he jumped about 12 planes on that trip alone. From the Vietnamese heat to the freezing temps of Holland, he just took it in his stride (like his Ma, he was not a great fan of -10C). With family all over the world, he may as well become seasoned early, as we love overseas adventures and the world is easier to get around these days than ever before.
I travelled a lot, also from a baby, so I often wonder if that’s where my love of travel came from?
My parents were great adventurers. Their honeymoon was Madras, India to Naples, Italy, overland, so there’s no doubt we come from stock with itchy feet.

Anyway, I’ve hardly done anything that exciting this trip. I just tied the largest handkerchief I could find to a stick (there is no traveling light with two babes!) and boarded a plane to Melbourne. That’s right, I’m back in the nest, and really enjoying having the support of family around me. Kiki and D Man were absolute poster children on the plane so our neightbour’s terror was unfounded.
I haven’t been doing much cooking, as I’m getting thoroughly spoilt, but I did whip up a little cake for a special birthday boy.
This cake has made an appearance at a few special birthdays – my Grandpa’s 85th, my sister-in-laws 30th, and our dear, old friend, John’s 65th birthday last night. You could say it’s a family fave…….

You don’t need a special occaision though, cos it’s easy to make and easier to eat, and it looks thoroughly glam.

You will need :
200g dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), coarsely chopped
3/4 cup pistachio kernals, plus extra to serve
150g softened butter
150g caster sugar
3 eggs
1 cup plain flour, seived
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 Packham pear, cored and coarsely chopped

Chocolate Ganache
150g dark chocolate, chopped
150g pouring cream

Preheat oven to 160C.
Process chocolate and nuts in a food processor until course crumbs form, set aside.
Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time.
Beat until well combined, then stir in flour and baking powder.
Stir through nut and chocolate mixture, then the pear and pour into a lined 22cm springform cake tin greased and lined with baking paper.
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
Cool in tin for 10 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack and cool to room temperature.

For ganache, place cream into a saucepan over a medium heat. Add your chocolate and stir until melted.
Smooth over the cake and scatter with pistachios.
I didn’t have extra nuts this time so I garnished with calendula flowers.
Allow 30 minutes for ganache to set and then – nom nom nom.

NB I have never touched a PC before and I’m endeavouring to blog on my mama’s computer as I didn’t have enough hands to bring my Mac. Please excuse dull images, but it’s all too hard!!!
Regular programming will resume next week!

Cook Once, Feed All COVER_lr

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To order your hardcopy of Cook Once, Feed All  head to the Holsby Shop right now.

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Sending Respects to Aurora, Colorado

25 Jul

What a terrible, terrible thing it was that happened this week in Aurora. For those who live in a cave, I’m refering to a young, academically gifted loner named James Holmes, who slowly accrued a stash of weapons, body armour, tear gas and 6000 rounds of ammo and opened fire at a midnight showing of the new Batman flick.
12 people were killed and 58 were injured, with some still in a critical condition.

What a terrible, terrible thing.

James Holmes’ mother, Arlene, said that although she was across the other side of the country, she had a gut instinct that her son was responsible for this heinous crime – the biggest massacre since the Columbine shootings in 1999.

I wonder what that means? She, nor police, are revealing exactly how she knew, but she does say she knew he’d been struggling to get a job of late. What changes did she see in her boy in the days, and months leading up to this atrocity? She must have seen something, felt something, or else she would never in a million years make the jump from hearing this terrible news to instinctively knowing it was her child. Obviously, she had no way of anticipating that her son would snap like this, becoming a mass murderer, and she is in no way responsible, but you can bet your arse she’s blaming herself and questioning her choices right now.
I guess it does raise the question of nature versus nurture, and I can’t help but wonder – what the hell happened?
What makes an, from all reports, incredibly bright, seemingly nice boy – a good son – carry out such pre-meditated horror? Is it just a flipped wire in his head? Or is he simply evil? We will never know.
Yes, indeed, my heart goes out to his mother and hope that she can sleep at night again some day soon.

Were violent video games to blame in the demise of this young man? There have been many studies time and again proving that the violence in these games desensitizes against violence and makes it seem the norm.
Not to make light of the situation, the reports I read only say this kid played ‘Guitar Hero’, and I don’t think that could be the culprit.

Although James Holmes is wholly resposible for his actions, I think we can most certainly point some of the dark finger of blame on U.S. gun laws. None of the Presidential candidates will touch the issue due to so much government funding coming from the Gun Lobbies. The adage “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you” appears to be biting the Nation in it’s arse.
Here, in Australia, illegal gun ownership, and subsequent use is apparently on the rise, but at least you have to be relatively wily to obtain it. This poor, silly, sick boy got his arsenal online.
Online.
From the comfort of his loungeroom.
God knows how he paid for it, but the evidence of his stockpiling is right there for anyone who’d care to look for it.

It truly is a terrible, terrible thing.

For me, I think of these poor people who went to the movies, all excited about a premier, and now their families will never hold them again.
It, once more, brings home that our time could be up at any time and we really need to ensure that the people we love know about it, and that we live each day with integrity and joy. Anything could happen, at any moment, but I pray to God that nothing like this ever happens again.

With that, I send love and light to all of the victims and their families.
I also send love and light to the family of the accused, because they’re hurting right now also.

Lastly, I send love and light to James Holmes himself. You may think this strange, but he needs it, for he is not right, and he has done a truly, terrible, terrible thing.

Toddler versus Tabby. An action adventure tale of oral hygiene.

23 Jul

I recently promised one of my readers some action/adventure as I was a little stuck in the mummy blog rut. How much childbirth and boob stuff can you really blab on about? You want adventure? You want action?

Try cleaning your kids teeth. That’s friggin’ action.

There are high speed chases that occassionally end in collisions and people flying through the air, there’s explosive language, and even sporadic nudity, his, mine, both – anything goes.

I often think that I would have more luck cleaning Mister Fluffy Pants’ (yeah, that’s my cat’s name – what of it???) teeth than I do D Man’s, although, I would no doubt end up with slightly clawed forearms. I somehow feel that the overall trauma would be somewhat less. Of course, I would have to buy the cat his own toothbrush as sharing one with your cat would be weird……as it stands, I’m stuck attempting to clean a very uncooperative toddler’s teeth with varying degrees of NO success.
I googled for some technique tips and read of one woman who grabs her tortured kid in a head lock but that seems altogether a tad ballistic, especially when you take into consideration that this round of teeth with fall out eventually anyway, so perhaps World Wrestling Federation tactics are not the way forward? Surely, it will only cause negative associations with teeth cleaning, or a pro-wrestler with dazzlingly sparkly chompers who enters the ring with a Dora the Explorer toothbrush?

It’s highly recommended to brush your toddler’s teeth twice a day, and to clean each tooth thoroughly, including the backs…… INCLUDING THE BACKS???. How the hell are you supposed to get the backs, twice a day?  I’m working on the theory that if I clean each tooth in his head once a week, we’re doing ok. I’d love it if D Man was compliant, with a flip top head for easy access, but he’s usually hopping about, grabbing at the toothbrush and anything else within arms reach (contact solution, hand soap, toilet roll, which, FYI, is never the same once it’s landed under a running tap).
I also really loved the handy tip about turning the entire tooth cleaning experience into a game. Obviously, D Man got that memo before I did because he’s turned it into an awesome game of Catch Me If You Can, Loser.

I’ve got a little system going on. Basically, I squirt toothpaste on a little Ben 10 electric toothbrush, whilst weilding a mini-mouth manual brush in my other hand. When he opens his mouth to suck the toothpaste off the one he’s holding (whichever one takes his fancy on the day) I lever the remaining brush into his gob and brush as swiftly as I can. He’s bites it, he blows raspberries, then he manically shakes his head from side to side like he’s front row at a Nirvana concert and then he bolts.
I’ve given up chasing him and decided that we can try again in the evening. Not becuase I don’t care about his oral hygene, I just know that this will not be the only battle of the day and I need to conserve my battle strategies.

The experts, who hand out advice on this matter, also recommend no lollies. They stick to the teeth and the sugar has a little party that boogies on down in baby teeth. We rarely give him any lollies so that’s under control, but they also mention that dried fruit is the root of all dental sin, as it’s as full of sugar and sticky as a lolly and attaches it’s sticky goodness to tiny teeth and creates oral havoc….. Oh….. I see. We eat sultanas and dried apricots all the time, am I doing something bad???  Dang. I love dried apricots. He loves dried apricots. I think that this pearly set of milk teeth may be in big trouble.

Thankfully, we need not worry too greatly, as he’ll get a whole new Hollywood smile by the time he’s 10 or so (guessing, no idea) because I really do need to conserve my energy for more dramatic action/adventure scenes.

NB I would have dearly loved to post a picture of D Man and Fluffy Pants, but to say their relationship is precarious is an understatement. D Man loves Pants. He wants to pat him, rub his nose in his fur, and have tea parties with him. Pants hates D Man and wishes he was never born. I hate those one sided relationships.

A Letter Of Complaint to the Manufacturers of the Female Anatomy.

20 Jul barbie

To Whom It May Concern at the Lady Factory,

I’d like to register a formal complaint, please, because I sincerely believe that your engineers were a tad hasty in the signing off of this project.
I would like to preface my complaint by saying I truly feel that many features are perfect. The lady lumps and curvy bits are generally to my liking, and I have to say that on the whole our genitalia is considerably less hilarious in appearance than our male counterparts.

Generally speaking, the female reproductive system is truly amazing, however, I do feel that the method of expelling a baby from the body could do with some tweaking.
In theory, your current methods works quite well, but there are a few fundamental design issues that ought to be addressed for the evolution of the next prototypes.

Primarily, I’m referring to the certainty that a vagina does not comfortably fit a watermelon. If the dislodgement process were currently perfect, ladies would not experience issues such as squeezing drops of wee whilst sneezing, hemorrhoids, cervixes falling out, rectal walls tearing, or any other number of unspeakable indignities. Please be advised that the nether regions of the female ought never see the glint of a sewing needle doing fancy stitch work.
EVER.

In future, please add more elastin to the mix for female epidermis, to ensure skin is never traumatised by sudden growth during pregnancy as ladies truly have enough body issues in a bikini without added stress of stretch marks from a process that is beyond their control.

Furthermore, after this process is complete and the fairer sex moves into the feeding stage, I would like to draw your attention to the major planning balls up that is mastitis. Whilst one is trying to provide nutrition to ones progeny, one ought not be afflicted by a searingly exquisite agony that makes one want to have an immediate mastectomy.
If you insist that this glitch cannot be fixed, at least work on some better treatment methods because the old ‘cabbage in the bra’ trick, leaves ladies smelling like a cross between a Russian deli and a fart.
While you’re perfecting the area of the breast, feel free to ensure that the nipple region is, in fact, not going to be blistered, torn or in any way mauled when continuously gummed and sucked for a 12 month period, as is the recommended usage period.

I have had extensive experience with this current model, and done boundless research in the public field, so if you require further feedback or would care to discuss any of these issues, please don’t hesitate to get in touch,

Yours sincerely,

An ex-bikini wearing, stitched up, sore breasted customer.

Losing Our Wilsons….A Farewell Yum Cha.

18 Jul yum cha!!!


Recently, my dear friend, G. Peorge (AKA Mrs Wilson) said ‘Sometimes, you meet someone and you just have a connection’.

I hoped for a minute she was referring to our relationship, which had blossomed from neighbours to dear friends….alas, no. She was referring to D Man and herself.
They used to live downstairs in our building B.B. (before ‘burbs) and Mrs W and I became firm friends whiling away Friday afternoons with a ‘play date’ accompanied by cheese and wine, as play dates ought to be. Our sons played together and became each others’ first real friends, they’re names being amongst each lads first words.
We progressed to dinner parties, and baby sitting, and sleepovers and our friendship grew. Our family’s have grown close over the last two years, but the love between her and D Man is truly a beautiful thing. He worships her. He talks about her all day, and I think he may even love her just a tiny bit more than I do.

Occasionally people come into your life and they just feel like they’ve been there forever….and you hope they’ll stay forever. You don’t need to have known them for a long time, but you know that they’ll remain a solid in your life from now on.

That’s the Wilsons.

There has been laughter and tears, wine and tea, and a hell of a lot of food. Those Wilsons sure can cook, and eat…… Oh, and the desserts…….We love the Wilsons.
But, if there’s one thing you can bank on in this life (aside from death and taxes), it’s change, and in a move that is going to be fabulous for them, we’re losing our Wilsons.

They’re moving south of the border.

You may remember back on my Winter To Do List, I vowed to challenge myself with home made Yum Cha. What better way to send off dear ones than with a labour of love type meal?

None of these elements on their own are particularly difficult. A little time consuming, sure, but not hard. All of them together?? Wouldn’t want to be in a hurry. I’ll admit I started a few days early and I froze them as I went. The prawn ones I made on the morning of the extravaganza as I don’t dig on frozen seafood.
You will note that I have used how gee wrappers which are actually made of wheat. At Yum Cha, many of the dumpling are in a rice kind of wrapper…..I tried to find it ready made, and they don’t do it. It’s not actually rice as such, it’s a little pancake made from potato starch and rice flour and I sure as shit wasn’t making 50 of those……yes, I’m trying something new, no, I’m not busting my ass to do so!!!!

You will need soy sauce and Chinese chilli sauce for serving to make it authentic yum cha. I also did Chinese Broccoli (and maybe I bought some egg tarts, but I’m not telling)

Here’s how I pulled off the Yum Cha Extravaganza…..

Pork and Coriander Dumplings

Yield : 25 dumplings

You will need :

  • 300g pork mince
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ketcap manis (Indonesian sweet soy)
  • 1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger, grated
  • 1/4 cup chopped coriander
  • 1 egg white
  • 25 gow gee wrappers
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

dipping sauce

  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce

1 large red chilli, seeded and finely chopped

Place the mince, shallots, sauces, coriander and egg white into a bowl and mix well to combine. Place a heaped teaspoon in the middle of each wrapper.
Brush the edge with a little water  and fold to enclose the filling. Pinch the edges any way you think is styley.

At this point I stuck them in the freezer……

To cook, you add your oil to a fry pan that has a lid. Pop your dumplings into the oil and fry until the bottoms are browned.
Add 1/2 cm water to your pan and pop the lid on for a further 3-5minutes, depending if they were frozen or no.
To make dipping sauce, put all ingredients into a bowl and stir until sugar is dissolved.

Prawn and Bamboo Shoot Dumplings

Yield: 25

You will need :

  • 300g prawn, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped bamboo shoots
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 egg white
  • 25 gow gee wrappers

Place prawns, onions, bamboo shoots, oyster sauce, wine, sesame oil and egg white into a bowl and mix well. Make the same as the prok dumplings. You can change the shape if you’re talented enough!!!
To cook, place a saucepan quarter filled  with water on to boil. Place your dumplings into a steamer (I put them on a little baking paper for the anti-stick factor) and cover with a lid.
Steam for 3 minutes.

Steamed Pork Buns

Yield : 10

You will need :

For bun dough

  • 1/2 package dried yeast
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 tablespoons sesame seed oil

For pork filling

  • 250g Char Siu pork (Chinese BBQ pork), finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup coriander, finely chopped
  • 2cm ginger, grated
  • 2 cloves, garlic
  • 1 heaped teaspoon sugarPreparation:
Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water. Add 1/2 cup of flour. Mix thoroughly. Cover with cloth. Let rise 1 hour, until bubbles appear.
Dissolve sugar and vegetable oil in 1/4 cup boiling water. Stir well. Cool until lukewarm. Pour into yeast mixture. Add remaining flour.
Knead dough on lightly floured board until smooth. Put into extra large, greased bowl in a warm place. Cover with damp cloth. Let rise until double in bulk, about 2 hours.
In the meantime, in a pan cook your garlic and ginger in a little peanut oil. Add finely chopped pork, sauces and sugar. Toss in your coriander and stir until well combined. In a tiny amount of water, mix cornflour into a thin paste and add to mix. cook for two minutes and remove from heat.
Take out dough and knead 2 minutes. Roll into roll 12 inches long and 2 inches wide. Cut into 10 pieces.
Flatten each piece with palm of hand. Roll with rolling pin into 3 inch circles.

So, with this meal, we fare thee well. I think we Holsbys will have a Wilson shaped hole left in our lives, but we now have a Wilson shaped house to go and stay at in Melbourne. Or as we like to call it, Mexico.

Rainy Day Plane Spotting

16 Jul

Breakfast of Legends – Red Porridge

14 Jul red porridge

D Man’s all time favourite colour is red. Everything is red. Even blue things are red.

He loves red shoes, red pants, red cars and, although fond of all hats, his favourite – by a country mile –  is his red fire chief hat.

I’ve been feeling like a bit of a fraud lately, you know being a foody/mummy blogger and all…..It would seem that D Man’s tastes have changed and my toddler, who was eating sushi back when his peers were eating rice smoosh and mashed everything (he didn’t use chopsticks though, just in case you were going to call Ripley), has become a bit picky.
I hate picky eaters, as much as I hate dog poo so I sincerely hope it’s just a passing phase.

He still eats sushi with gusto, and pretty much anything that can be eaten on the run with his hands. I think it’s mostly because he’s just so damn busy all the time. He’s currently a cracking multi-tasker. Playing with blocks, whilst watching tv, whilst eating something that will leave crumbs all over the Persian, whilst probably filling his pants.
I wonder if he’ll continue to be able to multi task as he gets older? I think it’s something that most guys lose the ability to do by about 4…..but I digress.
Breakfast has been a real bitch. He might have a couple of bites of toast, a few nuts or half a banana, but he’s gone from devouring large amounts of breakfast to picking like a supermodel. When I asked him yesterday what he wanted for breakfast, he answered,

“Red”

What the f&*k is red? Red is not a food? But instead of going into the semantics of the English language I thought perhaps I could accommodate my little red-loving friend. I made us red porridge….apples, berries and some food colouring. Figured he’d poo poo it and I’d end up eating the lot, but I’m ok with red porridge.

He noshed that red pap right up, muttering “Yummy, red. Niiice”, like a mini, blonde Yoda.

I sure fixed his little red wagon, so to speak.

This morning, when I asked him what he wanted he said, for the first time EVER,

“Blue”

When I put his bowl of banana, date and blue porridge in front of him, he breathed a happy sigh and said,

“Mmmm, red’.

Little weirdo.

So, today’s recipe is nothing amazing for people with no kids (perhaps inner children will be excited?), but for people with kids, this may revolutionise your mornings. If you’re going to be all ‘oh no, we don’t do food colouring because it’s unnatural, and stuff’, then fine. Stick to grey old porridge.
I ain’t bovvered.

Yield : enough for he and me (yes, grammar spotters – I KNOW!)

You will need :

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 small red apple, grated
  • 1/2 cup frozen berries, chopped
  • a few drops of red food colouring

Do you really need me to tell you? Ok, I’d better, just to keep up appearances.

Place all of the ingredients into a pan and cook until thickened, and squidgy. Like porridge…..but red.

Other rocking combinations are banana and date (and blue, if you so desire), and pear and apricot (yellow, I would say – but there are no rules)

Spring Into Skinny Jeans

12 Jul

The other day, I did a rather disappointing mathematical equation.

Baby weight + multiple batches of biscuits and ice cream = pouchy tummy.

Boo. Hiss.

I’m not an idiot, I know how it works – energy in versus energy out. Seeing as I will not be giving up biscuits, ice-cream or inappropriate serving sizes of pork belly  and roast potatoes any time soon (nor could I possibly let y’all down by going all ‘lettuce and mung bean’ on you), I need to step up my calorie burning. Walking to the fridge, sadly, isn’t actually classified as exercise. I have been to bootcamp once in the last year, and I’m fairly sure that’s not quite the requisite calorific expenditure for negative gearing. Shame.

I packed the kids into the Titanic and on a cold winter’s morning, we hit the pavement for a run. Yeah….I know.
Simulateously, I broke one of my cardinal rules. I vowed, upon moving to the ‘burbs, to never, ever, wear track pants out of the house. I had a particularly ugly pair to help me stay true to this vow, until recently…….well folks, as I was dressing for this jaunt I thought if ever you can get away with sweats in public, it’s on an early winter’s morning run. My new trackies are fluorescent lime so I reasoned with myself that, in fact, I was wearing them for my children. These puppies are like a traffic safety beacon on my arse. I knew we wouldn’t be missed in the early morning haze.

Cast your mind back….from memory, how many women have you seen running with a double pram? Especially one not specifically designed for such behaviour?
Not sure? Can’t remember? Let me tell you – Not. Bloody. Many.

By the time you have a toddler, a baby, a nappy bag, plus snacks packed into the actual pram, you’re looking at about 40 kilos. Pushing it up-hill like a lumbering Hunchback with a twisted bowel, I felt like a reverse Husky in the morning mist. What I really needed was D Man to be yelling ‘mush, mush’ whilst flicking a crop at me, but all I got was him yelling ‘yummies, nyummies’ at the top of his lungs. At least it let people know to get out of the way, as my pram steering is sketchy at speed (when I say speed, I mean, jerky, laboured walk/run).
It appears something wacky happens to my pram at this pace. The left front wheel locks in forward and refuses to swivel for easy turning. Great for straight lines but alas, the world is not flat and the paths are not straight. D Man ended up off one gutter and in three bushes. He didn’t complain because he’s quite the Knievel, and he can’t really talk.

You may recall a couple of months ago I wrote about being desperate and dateless on the buddy front out here in the wilds (if you missed it, you can catch up here). Well, D man and I were out cruising in the local park recently and we were picked up. I didn’t have to use my smooth lines as this Mama practically threw herself at me. She was in the same boat. We’ve been on a couple of ‘walking’ dates, shared afternoon tea and today we progressed to a home-made boot camp in our local park. Yes, sir, I done gots me a bonafide friend. I refrained from wearing my lime greens, though, as I don’t wish to peak too soon in our relationship.

Anyway, the moral to the story is, I’m not going to buy a bigger pair of jeans. I’m determined to get back in my old ones. If I have to rock a little muffin top, I’m down with that (seems de rigueur out here anyhoo), but by jove, on September 1st, I’ll be wearing my old faithfuls.
Watch this space…….. (she types whilst eating ice cream – my determination is inspiring, no?)

A Bombay Love Story and Curried Mince

10 Jul nana and grandpa young


The year is 1945, and we’re in India.

Bombay had a pretty cranking swing scene (the music style, not the extra-marital lifestyle) and there was a rather happening 7-piece band called The Broadway Boys.
The B Boys were led by a handsome young chap by the name of Fred Steller, who blew a pretty mean clarimaphone.

One evening, The Broadway Boys had a guest singer come in for a set or two. She was a 15 year old, dark eyed, brunette by the name of Maxine. Incidentally, Maxine’s mother, Vera, had been advised not to name her thus as it conjured images of French prostitutes. Gloria was offered instead…..ironically, Gloria conjures images of trannies, so luckily Vera wasn’t swayed.

Young Maxine had the voice of an angel, and was more than a little bit cute. Fred asked her if she would become the regular singer for the band. Not so secretly, our dear Fred had a crush on Maxine, and seeing as her father was the Deputy Commissioner of Police, no doubt it seemed the safest way to make his move.


This pair of young hipsters became very fond of each other over the next few years, and although India was in a great state of unrest, they fell in love amidst the turmoil.
Five years later, in 1950, Fred proposed to Maxine, but in true Romeo and Juliet style, the very next day he sailed away on a ship, the Himalaya, permanently bound for Sydney, Australia. The young love birds didn’t have a plan, and Maxine was still under the charge of her parents. It seemed a kinda hopeless scenario, but you know how it is with young love?
Maxine’s heart broke as she wished her love farewell, but I guess she had faith that they were meant to be.

Deputy Commissioner Taylor had just been offered a new post n the hills, and although the status of the English in India was getting more and more precarious, Maxine’s father was determined not to leave their homeland.
Our Maxine could be very persuasive, it seems, as 6 months and an ugly incident involving a her father and a stoning (not the fun kind) later, she and her family were on board a boat, heading for Sydney and her one true love.
God bless Maxine’s wily charms, for our star crossed lovers were reunited under the broad, blue Australian skies.

Fred and Maxine were married shortly after. Over the next 10 years they had a daughter and three sons, who in turn gave them seven grandchildren. They are now proud great-grandparents to three gorgeous squawkers.

Fred and Maxine are my Nana and Grandpa. 

They are neither young, nor hip any longer. In fact, they’re now more deaf and arthritic but they still love each other, 67 years later.
Can you imagine how annoyed you would be after hearing your husband’s stories for 67 years? I reckon she just pretends to be hard of hearing.
Anyway, I think that’s a pretty good love story.

Today’s Indian inspired meal is something I’ve eaten with them a million times.

There’s an easy way to make this, or an even easier way. The easier way is buy a jar of good curry paste and use a couple of spoons of that. It’s good to have stuff like that in the cupboard or fridge for those nights that you need a helping hand. I’m all for cheating sometimes. I have all of these spices at hand, so its easy for me, but if it’s cheaper and easier for you to buy a jar of paste – whatevs.

D Man will eat this if it’s not too chilli hot, also, I add a good spoon of raita when serving and he likes that. Adjust the heat for your family.

Yield : 3 adults and two toddlers or 4 adults

You will need :

  • 2 teaspoons of cumin
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamon seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 dried chilli, chopped
  • 5 curry leaves (optional – I had some from my Grandparents garden)


or

  • a couple of tablespoons of Pataks or Sharwoods Curry Paste
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 large potato, cubed
  • 2/3 cup of frozen peas
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • a slug of Worcestershire sauce
  • a tin of chopped tomatoes
  • fresh coriander


Throw your chopped onion into a heavy based pan on a medium heat. When translucent, add your garlic. After a minute or so, add your spice mix (except curry leaves) or paste.
When it’s all deliciously aromatic and gorgeous, add your mince.
When it’s all cooked through, add your carrot and cook for a further 2 minutes. Toss in your tinned tomatoes, stock and add a slug of Worstershire sauce. Pop your potato in and give it a good stir. Salt to taste and leave to cook over a low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
You want most of the liquid to evaporate, leaving a thick Bolognaise type consistency.
Serve with rice, raita and katchumber.

Raita is a pretty loose thing. It’s made with yoghurt, and finely chopped or grated veges. The most popular is cucumber, fresh mint or coriander and salt. Some people add garlic, some people add  cumin, some people add cayenne pepper.
I do garlic, cucumber, mint and yoghurt.
I always serve my curries with kutchumber too. Recipe can be found here.

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