Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Been Cooking Up a Storm

It's a pity I'm not one of those who take photos of everything I make or this whole post would be photos.

The  question probably is why do I suddenly have an urge to cook. It's not as if I don't usually make our meals from scratch - with my dietary problems that's a given - but I had accumulated a pile of different veggies when the surgeon finally allowed me to go out and do some work in the garden. As a result I had the last harvest of the eggplant and capsicums sitting in the fridge and I knew they wouldn't keep much longer. Added to that were a couple of nice parsnips I bought last time I was at the shops and some bags of onions I'd asked Pisces to get me a fortnight ago intending to cook them up but hadn't gotten around to it. (In something quite unconnected this reminded me of one of the birthday presents Pisces got many moons ago. He's pretty good at procrastination so a friend gave him A Round To It which was a nicely finished wooden plaque lettered in gold with - you've guessed it - 'A round to it'. It disappeared quite quickly so I suspect he didn't appreciate the joke as much as I did).

All of these goodies were going to go to waste if I didn't act soon so the cooking flurry began and we now have:

Slow cooked onions - they were sliced and then went into the well greased slow cooker with a slosh of olive oil and a couple of dabs of butter where they cooked away for 6-8 hours. I packaged what we didn't eat immediately into serving size amounts and popped them in the freezer to make a useful starter for all sorts of goodies. One of my current favourites is cheese and onion toasted sandwiches.

Baba ganoush - I roasted the eggplant until very soft with a bulb of garlic wrapped in cooking parchment alongside it, scooped out the flesh of both and mashed it with Moroccan style spices and lemon juice. I made some pita crisps (sprinkled with Moroccan spices) to go with it and both are seriously good.

Pear and parsnip soup - simple but very tasty. I just chop up the parsnips and microwave them in vegetable stock until tender, add a can of pears, drained, and it's back into the microwave until all are piping hot then blend the lot with a hand held blender. Top with some finely chopped parsley. Yum. (You can do the same using canned apple instead of pears - also yum).

Chickpea and pumpkin vegetable stew - this has a Middle Eastern twist, too, with added chopped dried apricots. Yesterday we had it with fresh pita bread and a dollop of Greek yoghurt.  This time I'm planning on fruity couscous - a handful each of toasted pine nuts and currants soaked boiling water for a few minutes added to the cooked couscous.

Does this all sound good? It is.

Saturday, July 06, 2019

How I Spent Yesterday

- it wasn't all that interesting, I'm afraid.

I started out with the laundry that had to end up cluttering up the family room on the clothes airer 'cos it kept on raining. I'm not complaining about the rain, of course. Heaven knows we need every single drop of that but it certainly doesn't help with getting the washing dry. It was chilly enough for us to have the heater on for most of the day, something we rarely do, so the washing was dry enough to fold and put away this morning.

Then I decided to do a bit of on-line shopping. Got on amazon.com, found what I liked and they wouldn't let me buy it. There have been some taxation changes here - long overdue and quite reasonable - and Amazon can't or won't work with their third party sellers to incorporate them so you can't buy anything that is not directly from Amazon like say Kindle e-books. Dang.

Okay, I thought, I'll go directly to the manufacturer's website and buy from there. Nah uh, they just flicked me back to amazon.com. This was seriously frustrating. The item I wanted is a gadget for fastening bracelets and necklaces. My arthritis makes this pretty much impossible these days and Pisces makes such a production of it when I ask him to help that honestly it's not worth the hassle to try to wear anything I can't fit over my head. To be fair he does have bigger fingers than most and this makes gripping small jewellery catches difficult. Why do they put such tiny catches on jewellery you and millions of women ask? I'm guessing it's largely to save on costs but the reality is the cost increase would be infinitesimal and it would make life much easier for everyone who wants to wear a piece of jewellery.

Having reached peak levels of frustration I wandered out into the garden between showers - and this was much more satisfactory. The seedings I planted earlier in the week - kale, broccoli, pak choy, bok choy, lettuce, coriander and dill plus some Sweet Alice and kangaroo paws - are all looking great and obviously enjoying the rain. As well the seeds I put in a week or so ago are almost all up so soon there'll be sugar snap peas, snow peas, carrots and beetroot plus more lettuce and pak choy - these will replace those already in the garden as they're harvested. The only ones not yet showing are the red onions and spring onions. I'm particularly pleased the seeds are coming up because most of them were on trays out in the open when the drenching storm we had at the beginning of the week hit and when I finally managed to get out to check on them they'd been standing in pools of water for at least a day. I figured that if the over watering hadn't finished them off the pelting rain would have washed them out of their seedling containers but most - for now at least - seem to be doing well.

Add in a couple of hours of French and German study and a bit of writing where I fixed up some very obvious plot holes - well not so obvious now - and my day was pretty much done with equal parts of frustration and pleasure.

I was tired by then and ended up watching It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World - a very silly but thoroughly entertaining movie. Pisces, who almost never watches a movie, enjoyed it, too.

So that was yesterday. I wonder what today will bring.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019


As I sent off yet another message yesterday apologising because I couldn't attend a social event due to health problems I thought I should fill you in on my life for the past eight months - and it hasn't been a bowl of cherries. I've posted about some of this before but in case you haven't seen much of me - my husband said the other day that the number of social events I've left the house to go to in that time wouldn't even fill up a count on one hand and he's right - here's a brief run down.

I've had three separate surgeries and one of these left me with severely compromised vision for close to five months. That has now resolved but was very scary. My vision is still deteriorating but with the help of a wonderful optometrist I can now see well enough to read and watch television and with luck this will stay at a level where I can function fairly independently for quite a while.

Then there was some major surgery from which I'm still recovering slowly. My surgeon has had me on very restricted activity for the past two and a half months and since I don't want to have to go through this again I'm being a very compliant patient.

Added to all this I've had a major flare up of an auto-immune disease I've had most of my life which has made physically doing even simple things very difficult. Walking any distance has been impossible and I've struggled to do something as simple as hold a sewing needle - my husband bought some new work pants three weeks ago and yesterday was the first time I could cope with pinning and sewing up the hems.

So, if anyone has been wondering where I've been and why I keep having to pull out of social activities now you know. With luck things will continue to improve. I certainly hope so because I'm more than a little fed up.

Friday, June 28, 2019


My neighbour borrowed three eggs yesterday. She's just returned them and this came with them along with a head of broccoli.

Yum - and the perfume is simply glorious. If I could I'd leave them out on the kitchen bench but I'll succumb to commonsense which dictates putting them in the fridge.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Gardening - At Last

Not that I got much done before the rain came. Still something is better than nothing, I suppose, and although my surgeon has said I can start to do some gardening he did stress that it should be 'gentle'. I am trying very hard to be a compliant patient because the last thing I want is to have to go through all this again.

Bearing his instructions in mind I pulled on my red wellies, grabbed my spade, trowel and loppers and headed out to the veggie patch. I have been pulling a few weeds every day and went over some of the ground with a dutch hoe but this is superficial stuff and I knew I had to take on the biggie if I want to get any winter veg at all.

The problem is that because my veggie patch is heavily composted, fertilised and mulched it has become a magnet for invasive roots from my neighbour's garden. They have a curry leaf tree, which is very lovely with its delicate, fern-like leaves. It's a great flavouring in curries, too, but in the garden it's highly invasive which is why the one I have in is a pot and will be staying there. My neighbour's one is not so confined. Its roots come under the fence (which is sunk over a metre deep), then come up beside it and spread across my garden. The roots consist of quite substantial ones up to 3 cms in circumference as well as masses of fibrous roots - some bunches of these that I pulled out today were 45 cms long and 10 cms around. Both of these suck the nutrients and moisture out of the ground and block the roots of anything I want to grow. They sucker like crazy, too - the furtherest sucker I've found was 30 metres into my yard - so at the change of every season I have to go along the fence line with a spade, uncover the roots and cut them off, knowing they'll be back in a few months.

So that's what I've been doing - very carefully - this morning. I was hoping to do more but the rain has arrived  - and truth be told, it's probably just as well because once I start working in the garden I tend to find it hard to stop, doctor's orders not withstanding. I did do one other thing though. See. Here are the seeds I sorted ready to plant. All I have to do now is to put them in their punnets or into the ground. I might wait until the storms we're expecting later today and tomorrow pass before I do that, though.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Here's Something Pretty

Not much of anything is happening in my garden at the moment due to my run of surgeries. I've finally been given permission to do some work there but it's going to take quite a while to catch up on the weeding and other tasks which have been pretty much on hold since last October. I did manage to grow some summer veggies but that was only because I planted them out before everything went pear-shaped. The garden still gives me lovely surprises now and then, though, and here is today's.

I have several large pots of these beauties - yellow bearded irises are among my favourite flowers -and I'm making the most of this bloom now because they are quite fragile and I doubt it will last long if the storms we're being warned about hit tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Awww. The Cuteness

I'm sick today but I found this and thought you might like it as much as I do.

Puppy sleeps as though it is turned off