Archive | November, 2012

Arrivederci Spring, it’s been swell……

30 Nov

Spring has definitely sprung but she’s been an unpredictable mistress this year.

My trees all have leaves and my roses are blooming, but half the time the weather doesn’t know if it’s hot or cold, so it’s usually a little of both on any given day…….Sydney-siders could be forgiven for thinking they’re in Melbourne (a little in joke for the Aussies).

Kiki, who was so little at the beginning of Spring, has experienced her first heat rash. She’s trying valiantly to sit up if for nothing else but to make herself a smaller target for D Man who bounces around her like Tigger. D Man appears to have rollicked into the Terrible Twos with gusto. I saw something recently that said -

‘Why is is called the Terrible Twos? Because Fucking Awful doesn’t start with T’.

He’s still my divine little man, but I now cannot take my eyes off him for a second without discovering him smothering his sister with love and pillows/toys/his butt, or ruining something.

I smashed the To Do List this season…..a little flurry at the end, but I nailed everything and I feel pretty pleased with myself, truth be known. Some things were more successful than others, so let’s break down the season that was…..

Grow my own veges

This wouldn’t have happened without my Dad. He made us a cracking vege patch (with the help of D Man and myself, of course) and it’s has just gone from strength to strength. We’ve been eating cos like it grows on trees, or in the ground as the case may be. Tomatoes are just getting their first blush and we’ve eaten spring onions, and beetroot, with PLENTY more to come.

I must admit that my cucumbers are bloody awful. Bitter and woody, I think I left them too late but I also planted a strain meant for pots on balconies……perhaps I should have planted some sweet little Lebanese numbers cos these suck balls.

Otherwise, a roaring success! Check out my Papa’s handwork here

Cook a rabbit

The flavour of this was great, but the wild versus farmed rabbit part bit me in the butt cos this little jumper was way too lean and tough to cook like this. In all fairness to Maggie Beer, she did specify farmed but I couldn’t find it on the day I was all inspired to do this so I forged ahead regardless. More fool me.

Next time (and I will do rabbit again one day) I shall do a long slow braise and really let Bugs break down and become all fally-aparty.

If you want to have a look at how that went, it’s here

A backyard picnic with friends

This was such a lovely afternoon with some really special people in our lives. We have a lovely South Australian Honey Myrtle in our garden and it provides the most delicious dappled shade for us to lounge under……we ate, we lounged, and our friend played human helicopters with the kids.

The weather was perfect, the food was plentiful and the wine was cold. Can you ask for anything more from a picnic?

I told the story with images here

Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls

I really love these. They’re perfect picnic food but they also work for a little interactive dinner party. Just pile all of the stuff in the middle of the table and let your guests roll-their-own….and it means you don’t have to do the work. Win/win.

Have a look how to do it here

Make mini-cheesecakes

I shall revisit this one for shizzle…..these little babies were awesome, and there really was a moment that I thought they were magical because no matter how many of the little suckers I ate, there was always another plateful in the fridge!!

I think I will try another flavour next time, not because strawberry wasn’t the bomb, but we’ve done that now so, brave explorers that we are, it’s time to try another angle…..maybe Fruit of the Passion, or Berry of the Blue.

If you want to have a crack, or just read about it, go here 

Make ricotta

I’d been dying to make my own ricotta and it really is the cheat’s cheese. It’s really just curdled milk, but it’s so wonderfully delectable that you can be forgiven for thinking it’s something fancier. I turned mine into an old family favourite with Pineapple Curd Cake……ermhagherd……….delish.

My pen-pal Genie is an adventurous cheese maker so I shared the recipe over on her blog, Bunny Eats Design…..pop over for a look here

BBQ a whole fish

This meal was a special meal shared with a special friend, who met my family for the first time. This particular fish represented a friendship being rekindled, and a bridge being built. I will always be grateful to Steve the Snapper who gallantly gave up his life to lie gracefully on my BBQ and be a memorable meal.

Three cheers for Steve.

Hip Hip……….!!!!!

I had a few people contact me about this piece, so I think it struck a few chords. If you missed it, you can see it here

Make bloody croissants!!!

BOOM!!!

CHECK ME OUT

Cook American style ribs

Oh, sweet baby Jesus, these little puppies were AAAAAAAAAALL that…..and then some.

The sweet, sticky, smoky pigginess was everything we could hope for, and I will abso-piggin’-lutely be doing these again. Next time I will be more vigilant in ensuring my ribs are the perfect cut, but there was not a single murmur of complaint.

If you don’t have a BBQ, go and get one immediately…….then read how to make these for yourself here

Make homemade baked beans

Last, but certainly not least, we ate beans.

Coincidently, you are also looking at my very first ever poached egg. I’m a master of the scramble and can boil with my eyes closed but I knew for the perfect beans on toast, my oeuf had to be poached.
My darling friend, who is not a natural in the kitchen, gave me a quick run down and I have to admit that I thought ‘If that Muppet can do it, so can I’. Sorry, Lipsteo.

Under her tutelage I’m proud to announce it was perfectly cooked. Can’t remember for the life of me what the timing was, but my yolk was exactly the right consistency to burst it’s yellow ookieness all over the beans, creating a breakfast that if I bought in a cafe, I’d be 100% satisfied.

That, my dear friends, was Spring…….let’s get ready to welcome Summer.

Beans Means…….Homemade Baked Beans.

29 Nov

I cannot hear the words Baked Beans and not think of that scene in Blazing Saddles….you know the scene I’m talking about?

Basically, it’s a load of cowboys sitting around a campfire eating beans and they all begin to thunderously pass wind only seconds after the beans pass their lips.
I’m not a huge Mel Brooks fan, but this scene is the first ever fart scene in a movie, so I will give him credit where credit is due.

You rarely see/hear farts in film. Considering they are a part of life and everybody does it, you’d think there would be a little more wind on celluloid.

I wonder if James Bond ever got a nervous tummy? He’s certainly been in some tight squeezes, so it wouldn’t surprise me, but I suppose he would not be as cool  if when push came to shove a little ‘eeep’ squeaked out of his tuxedo……or heaven forbid, a shart.

But I digress, back to beans.

I love baked beans, and they are actually incredibly good for you. Packed with iron, protein, calcium, fibre and they are low GI so they will keep you fuller for longer. All this, and they are really yummy too.

I made these beans as a side dish to a slow-roast pork belly. Pork and beans go together like Ginger and Fred, in my books. All at my table enjoyed the combo, but none more than Mister H and I who got to double up with eggs and beans for breaky the following day.

It’s surprising we didn’t singe our eyebrows, if you catch my drift.

The original recipe for this came from the Riverstone cafe in Bellingen, but I tweaked it to my taste. If you would like to see the original recipe it is here.

Yield : 6 portions

What you will need :

330g dried cannellini beans (or Great Northern Beans), soaked in water overnight

3 red capsicum, seeds removed, coarsely chopped

2 carrots, coarsely chopped

1 onion, coarsely chopped

75 ml olive oil

200 gm speck, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed

2 thyme sprigs

1 fresh bay leaf

400 gm canned crushed tomatoes

1 tsp smoked paprika

30 ml maple syrup

a good dash of balsamic vinegar

a good dash of Worstershire sauce

To serve: poached eggs and toasted sourdough

What you need to do :

Drain your beans and chuck them into a pot of lightly salted water, so they are covered with an extra couple of centimetres. Bring to boil, and reduce to simmer until they’re tender (30-40 minutes).

In a food processor, chuck your capsicum, onion and carrot until finely chopped.

Preheat your oven to 180C.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add capsicum and carrot mix, speck, garlic and herbs and cook until soft (7-10 minutes). Add salt and pepper to taste. Add tomato, bring to a simmer and add to beans. Add 500ml water, paprika, Worstershire sauce and vinegar, cover with foil and bake, stirring occasionally.

After 2 hours, check to see if they need a little more water, add if required, pop back into the oven for another 30 mins or so, until beans are nice and tender but not mushy. You want them to retain their shape.

Stir through maple syrup, season to taste and serve with poached eggs and sourdough toast.

We’re heavy on the recipes this week as it’s time to wrap up my Spring To Do list……and then we can get onto Summer!

Pass the Pig…..American Style Pork Ribs.

27 Nov

Anyone who knows Sydney will know Hurricanes ribs.

Their flagship restaurant is down in Bondi and I have spent many a summer’s evening getting a rack of pork ribs, smothered in Monkey Gland sauce (sounds so wrong, but it tastes so right), taking them over to the grassy edge of Bondi Beach to devour those delicious, sweet, smokey ribs and washing it all down with a long-neck of Cooper’s Green ale whilst watching the surfers catch waves in the last of the day’s rays, my hands and face all glistening brown with the delectable mess.

I used to love living at Bondi Beach.

I lived there for many years. It was the kind of place that you go out for a loaf of bread and you’d get home three days later. I used to always keep a toothbrush in my handbag because you never knew what adventures you were going to have…….was it Bondi Beach, or was it just youth?
These days I can’t leave home without a nappy bag and child kit the size of freakin’ Texas, and social events are planned at least a week in advance……who is this imposter???

When I go to Bondi now, and I’m happy that I don’t live there any longer. I just smile at all the young and fabulous actor/model/designer wannabes.

I smile because they’re invincible. I smile because their butt is hanging out of their pants; the guys from the top, and the girls from the bottom.

I smile because I used to be them.

I wonder if some ex-Bondi, yummy-mummy ever came in from the ‘burbs and smiled at me dancing on a pub table with a lampshade on my head?

Probably. ‘Tis the circle of life, no?

I wouldn’t want to live there again. Nowadays, I just see dirty streets, with piles of used, dumped furniture left lying around, and run-down apartment blocks that owners refuse to fix because they know that people will pay the exorbitant rents regardless of peeling paint and carpet that your feet sticks to.
The cafe scene is totally happening and the bars are really cool, but seeing as I’m barely happening or cool these days, it’s a moot point!

Anyway, I really miss those ribs.

I’ve cooked ribs a couple of times but usually used a bought marinade that claims to be ‘Down-Home Southern Style Seriously Good Rib Sauce’ or some such. I knew I needed to venture into the land of the Monkey Gland and find something that would ease the longing for Hurricanes and transport all who gnawed the bones to the grass of Bondi, if only for a minute, with the laughter of ghosts of backpackers and D-grade actors past tinkling in our ears.

Did these do it? Were they the ‘down-home’ pig ribs I was hankering for?

Well, butter my ass and call me a biscuit…..yes, sir, they were all that and more. A hushed voice at my table even muttered the words, with a mouthful of rib,

‘Better than Hurricanes’.

I ordered American style pork ribs at the Vietnamese butcher and they went away and cut them for me. There was a moment of panic when I pulled them out of the bag at home and they were long sides of pork belly. Totally wrong for this.

But I was committed. I removed a slab of belly, and retained the ribby goodness and got a’marinating those little puppies.

This is how it went -

Yield : 2-3 whole racks of ribs, for 4-6 people

What you will need :

  • 2-3 full rack pork/lamb ribs (for me, the only rib is pig)
  •  2 large alfoil roasting trays (turkey size) and a basting brush

For the marinade :

  • 1 cup of Brown sugar
  • 1 onion
  • 2 big cloves garlic
  • 1 cup of tomato sauce
  • 1 cup of BBQ sauce
  • 1 cup of Coca- Cola (full strength) (buy 2 litre bottle, rest is used for cooking)
  • ½ cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of Worstershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of balsamic
  • 2 tablespoons smokey paprika
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary
  • salt and pepper

Put your onion and garlic and rosemary into a food processor and blitz to a fine paste.

Chuck all other ingredients into a bowl and throw in your onion paste. Stir well to combine.

Put ribs in roasting pan with half the marinade and leave to marinate overnight.

This part can totally be done in the oven, if you so desire, but it was a stinking hot day so outside was better for me….also, you do get a bit of a BBQ flavour throughout the meat if it’s done in the BBQ. Heat up BBQ with lid / Webber to constant 120-150 degrees with lid down.

Place ribs in BBQ but not on direct heat. I had the grill on with the ribs sitting on the plate next to it.

Pour remainder of 2 litre coke into roasting pan until ribs are fully submerged. Cover with foil and punch about half a dozen holes in it.

Cook for 5 hours at no more than 150 degrees. Your juice will barely boil, if at all, and mine did not seem to reduce much at all.

Take rib tray off BBQ and fire up grill section to blazing hot. Put ribs on grill and baste with remaining marinade (don’t be shy with slapping on the marinade)

Turn ribs every 5 mins and keep on basting generously. Do this for about 30 minutes until marinade caramelises and a sticky, gooey, gorgeous crust forms.

Remove from grill and tuck in….ensuring you get the full ‘smile’ of rib sauce.

Our buddies picking lettuce from the vege garden…..

Cook Once, Feed All COVER_lr

Cook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier whilst preparing nutritious and quick food for your family. Hailed by Mouths of Mums as the ‘must have recipe book for all families’, this book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by stories from my life.

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

If you like what you’re reading why not like my Facebook page now or subscribe via email, to be sure to always keep up with the Holsbys.

Imagine a forever goodbye…..

25 Nov

photo by Jane Dyson

I was reading the crappy local paper recently and the front page story broke my heart.

The story told of a young policewoman, named Natalie Newman. Natalie had been diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2007 and when they went in to operate on her they found that she actually had another mass in her ovaries.

As we know, ovarian cancer is known as the silent killer because it is undetectable by PAP smear and many woman disregard the symptoms as other things until it is much too late.

Anyway, Natalie, fought that cancer and has gone on to live her life with her beautiful daughter. She recently got her 5 year ‘all-clear’ from the doctors….and all is rosy.

Natalie is a 33 year old, single mum and her daughter Emily, is eight years old.

Eight years old is not as young as it used to be. I imagine Emily is starting to have strange feelings about boys, to be more self-conscious about her appearance and all the other normal range of things that happen to young girls as they approach their teens.

So, why did my heart break, you ask?

Because just weeks after they told Natalie that her cancer wouldn’t come back, she has been diagnosed with an inoperable ovarian cancer that is going to end her life.
Probably sooner rather than later.

It would be natural for Natalie to fear her fate, to be angry at the world, but she seems gracious and wonderful. Her deepest sorrow is that she will not be there to see her daughter become a woman. She won’t be able to soothe her through her first heartbreak, to watch her walk down the aisle, or to ever smell the sweet, smell of her grandchildren.

She has fought as much as she could, not for her, but for her daughter, and she has vowed to fight every single step of the way if it means one more day with Emily.
Her cancer has now spread to her lymph nodes, her lungs and diaphragm so things are not looking great…..and you know what she said?

She said she tries to live by the proverb -

I cried because I had no shoes, until I saw a man that has no feet.

Yep, I cried at the thought. I like shoes, I like feet…..but you know why I was really crying.

Imagine knowing that you brought your child into the world and then you were forced to say goodbye to them forever. Emily is still a child who needs her mother.

A very sad thing indeed.

Natalie’s boss, Superintendent Dave Donohue is planning on doing a 7 km swim in Sydney’s South (La Perouse to Doll’s Point, for those who know it) in a bid to raise money for Emily’s education and care after her mother is gone.

He’s a good guy, I reckon. He has an 11 year old daughter and he says it’s hard to imagine not being around for her.
It is hard to imagine, isn’t it?

I think losing your child prematurely is a terrible, horrible thing, and knowing you would be leaving them prematurely would have to be a close second.

Before I had children I would have thought this a sad story, but now that I can imagine how I would feel in that position, I think it’s tragic.
I know tragedy occurs every day in a million different ways, but something about Natalie and Emily’s story made me take pause.

Anyway, if you want to contribute to the Swim for Emily you can do that here, but that’s not necessarily why I’m sharing this sad, beautiful story of courage and solidarity and love.

I’m sharing it because life is really precious. We are, in many ways, so tough and resilient, but we are also very fragile.

Remember to tell people you love them, remember to forgive freely because holding grudges and anger can manifest in your cells.
Remember to know yourself enough to be aware of changes in your body, and remember to love yourself enough to go and see a doctor as quickly as you can.

Mostly, remember every day is a gift.

The precious present.

Eat Yourself Happy

24 Nov

I went through a tough time in the first 12 weeks after Kiki was born.

I don’t think I had post-natal depression, and I loved my new baby wholly and soully, but it was a big adjustment for the whole family and at times I felt I was alone at sea in a rocky boat.

It wasn’t fun at all. Imagine multiplying it by 10, or 50, or 100……

I wrote a little article for Post-Natal Depression Week for the Bub Hub about some super mood boosting foods that we should all eat every day, no matter who we are, or where we are in our lives.

Well functioning brains, and hormonally balanced people cope better in every day life, let alone extreme circumstance!

Did I eat these foods when I was blue?

Well, I guess. I eat these foods all the time, they’re always in my cupboard. Reckon, I should have also been stocking valium. That had the monicker of ‘Mother’s Little Helper’ in the ’70′s, didn’t it?

The human body is a complex and beautiful machine. What many people don’t realise, or choose not to, is that what we power our machines with plays a really large part in how our machines perform.

Just as the type of petrol we use in our car affects its performance, the type of fuel we consume affects ours. We all know about it when it comes to our energy levels, but what about our mood? Can what we eat affect our moods?

To read more, get your click on here

HOLSBY TV Super Mood Boosting Smoothie for Post-Natal Depression Week

23 Nov

Did you know that 1 in 7 women can suffer from post-natal depression?

When you think about all of the millions of women out pushing prams and cuddling little chubsters at this very minute, that figure is staggering.

Chance are, you, or someone you know may be feeling the deep pull of the dark despair right now.

This week is Post-Natal Depression week during which we endeavour to bring a greater awareness to a massive problem that, with the right help and support, is very manageable.

I’ve popped together a little Holsby TV episode-ette, in honour of PND Week.

If you are, or you know someone, who may suffer from post-natal depression, reach out for help now. Don’t wait.

Help is never far away.

Half Year, Half Birthday. My little love……

21 Nov


Say I Love You with CROISSANTS!

18 Nov

A long time ago, Mister H said to me -

If you loved me, you’d make me croissants

I laughed in his face.

I thought it was a terrible shame that he would go through his life without someone who loved him enough to make croissants, because the whole world knows that those tasty little French pastries are an utter ball-ache to make, and I, for one, was not interested in such pursuits.

But, you know, sometimes that little seed gets sown in your brain and, slowly, slowly it can germinate into a hair-brained idea that maybe, just maybe, you do love your husband enough to bestow upon him a calorie-laden delicacy extrava-ma-ganza.

I started to look around at a few recipes and I got the resounding impression that these were going to be a commitment…..much like marriage.
The writing was on the wall.

I decided that I was going to give this infamous pastry a crack. When I told my mother I was doing them, her response was bolstering.

My biggest EVER culinary disaster was croissants (and gnocchi), said she.

I will say two things for this recipe I’m about to impart to you -

1) If no one has ever challenged the quality or quantity of your love, and you have a life, just buy them.

2) These were some of THE best tasting croissants I ever did eat.

I dare say we have a quandary, no?

Read this and decide from there your chosen method of croissant acquisition.

It’s not that they’re difficult, because they really aren’t, but time-consuming they most certainly are. In a 24 hour period, they got more rest than the rest of the family combined, but the good news is while they’re resting, you can be doing whatever the hell you like.

Yield : 15-20 croissants depending how big you make them.

What you will need :

  • 1 1/2 cups warm whole milk
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 3 3/4 – 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 375g cold, unsalted butter
  • 1 egg + 1 teaspoon whole milk, beaten for brushing

What you need to do :

Put your sugar, salt and yeast into your warm milk and leave for about 10 minutes. You need it to get activated, and it needs to be foamy. The recipe I was following said if it wasn’t frothy, toss it and start again…..I did that once. Second time looked a bit more active so I thought, LET’S GET THIS SHOW ON THE ROAD!!!

Once foamy, add 3 3/4 cups flour and the salt. My recipe called for a stand mixer, but I only have a hand mixer (are you reading this KitchenAid? I will spruik your product til the cows come home, with no qualms about selling my arse, if you send me a red one) which I used with dough hook attachments.

Mix on low-speed until dough comes together and is  soft; about 7 minutes. Transfer dough to your workspace and knead by hand for a minute or 2, using more flour to make it silky and not sticky.

Form dough into a 1 1/2 inch thick rectangle, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for one hour. I got distracted at the park and mine chilled for two hours but who’s counting, right?

Pull your butter from fridge and cut into even sticks. Lay them next to each other. Press down on it with the rolling-pin and roll and bash and roll into 8 x 5 inch rectangle. Once done, wrap in plastic wrap and chill while rolling dough.

LOOK AT THAT BUTTER!!!!!! Arteries hardening yet?

Remove dough from fridge, unwrap and sit on a lightly floured counter. Stretch the dough into a 16 x 10 inch rectangle. It was kind of like making a pizza but a rectangle. Be sure to measure as it does matter.

Place dough with a short end near you. Stick your butter in the middle of the dough, then fold the ends up to encase it top half down and bottom half up.

Turn your parcel so the short side is facing you, and use the rolling-pin to evenly roll your dough into a 15 x 10 inch rectangle, rolling out to the ends but not actually over the ends.

Again, fold the dough as before; top half down and bottom half up, and stretch so the corners are square. This should form about a 10 x 5 inch rectangle.

Glad Wrap it and chuck it in the fridge for an hour…..or two, because you get distracted hanging washing and putting kids down for a sleep.

Now this is where I think I got lost – How Sweet It Is, whom I following like a lamb today, wrote this -

Repeat step 3 THREE more times, for a total of four folds, chilling the dough for one hour after each fold. After the fourth and final fold, wrap dough tightly with plastic wrap and chill for 8-12 hours, no longer.

I wasn’t sure if that was three times the two folds, or four folds all together so I kinda split the difference…..now, I realise that the more folds, the better as it makes the layer upon layer of buttery, light, fluffy goodness……next time, I shall do four times the two folds……then I went to bed and let my little butter-ball get a good night’s sleep in the fridge.

When dough is ready, roll out to a very long and skinny rectangle, about 15 x 32 inches. (If your counter is small, you can break the dough in half and do this in 2 sections). Cut the dough into long triangles. Cut a small vertical slit right into the middle of the straight end, and using both hands, roll croissant up pushing the sides out to either side to form your crescent.

Line trays with baking paper and lie your little delicacies about 2-3 inches apart, cover with a towel and set in a warm place to rise for 1-2 hours.

Tempting to skip this last one, but they did rise a little more……even though I only left them for one hour. I will admit freely that by now I was getting a tad impatient….we were coming up to our 20th hour of doughy relationship.

Pre-heat oven to 230C. Brush croissants with beaten egg then, bake for 12-14 minutes, or until golden brown.

Let cool before removing from tray and cooling on a wire rack…..unless you’re too excited and you shovel one straight into your mouth and burn the knobbly bit behind your teeth.

I rolled a piece of Lindt Dark chocolate into four of mine as a surprise……and it was a very nice surprise indeed.

The verdict :

These were not quite as airy as some I’ve had, resulting in a slightly more doughy croissant. I think I’ll try fresh yeast next time and the multiple fold thing I talked about………the taste?
Oh my sweet baby Jesus, these tasted awesome. Butterier (hmmmm, think I made that word up) than the average bakery ones and the perfect balance of yeasty sweetness.

I declare these a success, and they are only going to improve with practice.

I ate two straight away and then I did something really mean…..I took a load of them to my bootcamp class and off loaded them to the ladies thereby rendering their last hour of exercise null and void.

But I did it because I love to share…..and for self-preservation.

The rest I offered to my darling husband, as a token of my affections, and he is now smug in his knowledge that I am 100% crazy about him.

Monster Wanted For Questioning

14 Nov

A monster is wanted for questioning in relation to an incident that has left a family shocked and frightened in the early hours of this morning.

In a Southern Sydney suburb at about 5.30am this morning, the victim claims he heard a loud, scary monster under his bed.

Another key witness at the scene claims to have heard the cat, Mister Fluffy Pants, running down the hall on the wooden floor at approximately the same time. It is uncertain if the cat was running away from the monster, or if it is indeed a case of mistaken identity.

Authorities tried to question Mister Fluffy Pants but he was hiding under the bed and unavailable for comment at this time.

When shown a line-up of photographs, the victim was unable to positively identify the perpetrator with the only definite points of identification being that the monster had large feet, big teeth and sharp claws.
Obviously, all monsters do not look alike, however, this is not much for the authorities to lead their investigation with.

It is believed that it may be the same monster that has been terrorising other families in the area but until authorities question him, it is too early to say if he is a serial monster.

The victim was treated for shock and terror at the scene before being moved shortly after to Mummy and Daddy’s bed, where no one proceeded to get any sleep. After a short time authorities thoroughly searched the area and pronounced it clear of all monsters and the victim could return to his room.

Sadly, he was unable to return to sleep and is feeling very fractious and upset today. Understandably.

Another key witness at the scene was heard to comment ‘Bloody typical’ as it is believed she was having the best night’s sleep in 7 months with the family’s younger child having slept all the way through for the second time ever.

If you see this monster, do not approach him as he may be dangerous. If you have any information that leads to the arrest of this monster you may be entitled to a reward.

Harbouring this monster will be severely dealt with by authorities as it is a serious offence in all states of Australia.

Rekindling Old Friendships and a Snapper Named Steve

12 Nov

I was driving along in my car recently and someone I hadn’t thought of in a long time popped into my head.

This wasn’t just any old ‘someone’, but someone who was once so close to me that he and I used to call each other brother and sister. We did this not because we are related by blood, but because trying to explain our relationship to people was too hard.

We were more than friends.

We were even more than best friends.

We were BFFs…… we thought.

I don’t know exactly where it went pear shaped, there was no singular event, but I do remember the time in our lives, and it was complicated for the both of us, to say the least. We were living together, but our lives were very separate. We were both engrossed in our own stuff and I guess we needed some space.

There’s space, and then there’s SPACE, because as I was driving along I realised that this man – that I once called my brother – did not know that I was married to a red-head, with whom I was set up on blind date.

He would think that was funny.

He did not know that I had a son with beautiful, deep grey eyes and a cheeky smile, and neither did he know that I had a daughter, named after my great-grandmother.

I had no idea where he lived, or even if he lived, and I was suddenly filled with profound sadness at this thought. As soon as I stopped driving I called his phone, hoping he had the same number.

I got voicemail, of course, what an anti-climax, and I left a message just saying I was thinking about him, and maybe we could talk if he wanted to.

I left it in his court, but at the very least I wanted him to know that he was in my thoughts.

I didn’t hear anything for a few days, and then I got a text. Maybe he wasn’t ready to talk, just yet.

Maybe he needed to see if we still had rapport?

After a few tentative texts back and forth, I invited him over for lunch, and I’m so thrilled that I did because it was just like old times.

Friendship is a funny thing, isn’t it?

How someone, with whom you were once invincible, suddenly doesn’t fit, and then perhaps down the line you do fit again. Or you fit differently but it’s still nice.

It isn’t the first time my river meandered away from someone who was my left bank and then, with time, moved back towards them, and I’m sure it won’t be the last, but sometimes you just need to take a step towards someone….make the first move towards rekindling. It’s not about pride, or swallowing it, it’s about saying ‘Life is too damned short, I wonder what my old friend is up to?’

I strongly urge you to call someone today, someone you let slip away, and just tell them you’re thinking of them. You don’t need lunch or a grand gesture.

It feels really nice.

I wanted to BBQ a whole fish this Spring, and this lunch seemed the perfect occasion.

Meet Steve.

He was a 2 kilo snapper, and he was delicious.

I was hoping to BBQ a fish that I had never cooked before but when I was at the fishmonger, Steve was winking at me and I couldn’t resist his fishy goodness.

Yield : 1 BBQ’d fish

You will need :

  • one fish, cleaned and scaled
  • 3 cloves garlic, skin removed
  • juice and zest of 1 lime, retain husks
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 birdseye chili, deseeded if you prefer
  • 50ml olive oil
  •  handful of coriander root and leaves

What you need to do :

  • Score your fish deeply in the sides to allow for the marinade to penetrate.
  • In a mortar and pestle (or small food processor) add everything except the olive oil and pound until it forms a paste. Add your oil and stir to combine.
  • Rub mixture all over your fish, and put empty lime husks inside. Refrigerate for at least 40 minutes for let the flavours infuse.
  • Our fish BBQ cage thing was too small to accommodate Steve so we got a little creative and sandwiched him between two cake racks. He didn’t know the difference and it just kept him over the heat instead on directly on it.
  • We did a little lid up, and then a little lid down action, cooking each side for about 20 minutes. He was pretty fat, so you’ll need to adjust according to the fatness of your fishy.

I really think that BBQing anything makes it yummier, and Steve was no exception. I served him with a soba noodle salad, but you could eat this with rice and Asian greens, or stir fry, or even potato salad if it takes your fancy.

Cook Once, Feed All COVER_lr

Cook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier whilst preparing nutritious and quick food for your family. Hailed by Mouths of Mums as the ‘must have recipe book for all families’, this book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by stories from my life.

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

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