Sunday, May 27, 2012

Reports from 5.46am

Its cold. And dark. And way too early on a Sunday morning - but since I woke at 3.30am I have not been able to go back to sleep.

It played like this:

  • 3:?? dream I can hear Paris yelling out to me.
  • 3:??+1 realise Paris is yelling out to me. Get out of my warm, warm bed and go to check on her. She is freezing (of course), upside-down in bed and wants her Mummy. Aww. Turn her, tuck her, sing her a song.
  • 3:26 return to bed.
  • 3:27 Can't sleep. Realise that to ensure a sleep in, I probably should have changed her nappy. Realise that, although there was a discussion about bringing up some nappies from downstairs, there was no action plan.
  • 3:28 Make heartless decision about leaving her in wet nappy even though I have hit the above lightbulb moment.
  • 3:29 My backside is cold. Toss and turn to try to find best butt-warming position. Nasty little voice inside my head tells me that if I think my behind is cold, imagine how it is for a 2.48 year old with a wet nappy.
  • 3:30 Contemplate what going down to get nappies would actually entail. Decide against it as it would require layering up and the potential of waking the baby to do the change.
  • 3:31 Paris takes the decision out of my hands by requesting my presence again. Guilt urges me to scrap the against points on the whole "get out of bed and freeze" discussion I have just had.
  • 3:31 Rug up, reassure child, go OUTSIDE the back door into the cold, down the freezing back stairs, into the naturally-refrigerated laundry, find spare nappies, reverse journey, get back into house.
  • 3:33 Discover that not only are we dealing with a wet nappy situation, it has upped to a wet trousers, wet shirt and wet singlet situation.
  • 3:34 Enter a futile conversation with Paris about the benefits of putting on the stripey shirt and lose.
  • 3:37 Golden moment of discovering that, despite the soaking of all outerwear, Paris has not wet the actual cot sheets!! Tuck her, sing to her, return to bed.
  • 3:38 Can't sleep. Brain has started to whir about things I cannot affect at this hour of the day. Try to sleep.
  • 3:41 Still trying to sleep. Think about all the work stuff I have to get through this week.
  • 3:52 Still trying to sleep. V wakes, goes to the bathroom, returns to bed and goes straight back to sleep.
  • 3:55 Try to toss and turn really quietly so as to ensure at least one adult gets a decent night (or morning)
  • 4:01 Start to whir about how I am going to fit in everything that needs to happen in regard to work stuff (more on that in a future post, no doubt) over the next 10 days.
  • 4:09 Try to switch my mind from all the frustrating things regarding the current work situation and contemplate the great things regarding the impending work situation
  • 4:14 Planning overseas holiday. I will need to get us all passports. What about 'Salina's schooling? Hmmm, when should I budget this all in? Where? Should we fix V's knees before or after? That reminds me, I must check on the our Health Insurance. I have to do the budget. When will I get the tax organised? Do I have any appointments I need to diarise? Oh no, back to the current work situation and my lack of time to deal...
  • 4:26 Cat is digging his litter tray really loudly.
  • 4:28 Still.
  • 4:29 Okay, I will get up and let you out, Eddie. Darn it, might as well stay up now.
  • 4:35 Make a pot of tea, justifying it by thinking I won't hit the coffee until a reasonable hour
  • 4:27 Realise that I have not had a pot for so long, I had forgotten the one golden rule of pre-warming the pot. Drink cool tea in penance.
  • Surf inanely on the web
  • 5:01 Shut the back door as my butt AND whole back are cold from the draft. It makes me a bad, but warm, cat owner.
  • 5:07 Think about another cup of tea but scrap that idea due to tepid response from last one.
  • 5:15 Think how, if we hadn't made the decision to sleep in today, 'Salina and I would be getting ready for our walk now.
  • 5:24 Read blogs by people I haven't read for years. Some of them haven't added to their blogs for years. Mourn.
  • 5:31 Think it is a good thing we didn't go for our walk, as it is freezing cold and still very dark.
  • 5:46 Decide to blog.
  • 6:16 Realise that I have written a very crappy post, but at least I have put it out there...

How are the mornings of the rest of the world panning out?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Coriander Orange Pulled Pork with Pureed Sweet Potato

(Okay, I confess - sleep time was at a premium last night, so this only got half done. Bear with the edits.)

Dinner tonight last night was DOUBLE-YUM!! (So was tonight's, but more on that later...)

I am a super-frugal shopper at the best of times, and so it had to be pork, because pork is currently on special at the local IGA.

It also had to happen either quickly and easily courtesy of V - or slow-cooked with quick preparation and quickish delivery at the other end courtesy of my "how many jobs can you fit into a day" Wednesday.

I chose the latter. As you know from my previous post, I got some goodies to try out last week.

(Other people also got goodies - their trials are listed here)

Anyhow, where was I? Oh yes, inspiration provided, limitations acknowledged, time to prepare a feast.

When I was a wee lass, I loved, loved, LOVED recipe books. I scoured and devoured (in my imagination) the whole 640 range at the school library, and when I learned that Sunrise would send you a FREE cookbook just by giving them a stamped envelope, I could not wait until I had one in my hot little hands.

One of my favourite finds courtesy of that cookbook many, many (many) years ago was the marriage of orange and pork - and one of the beautiful things about living in Paradise is its proximity a wonderful citrus growing region (and my belief that what I buy in the local store must come from there, because who would be so foolish as to import oranges when they are grown just near by, really?)

So, with these...

a slow cooker,

and a heap of time, I created this:

Coriander Orange Pulled Pork with Pureed Sweet Potato
  • Pork Shoulder Roast (we skinned as much of ours as possible beforehand, because you don't get crackle, you get gelatinous gloop)- ours was about 2 - 3 kg with bone
  • 1-2 tablespoons Gourmet Garden Coriander
  • 1 tablespoon Gourmet Garden Garlic
  • 2-3 teaspoons Ground Cumin
  • Juice of 1-2 oranges
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • a few bay leaves
  • Sweet potatoes
  • steamed or salad veges
  • fresh limes (if available)
  • toasted pita bread to serve

  • Mix the coriander, garlic, cumin, juice and stock in a jug
  • Scatter bay leaves on base of slow cooker, place pork and pour above mixture over
  • Put on low and cook for 9-10 hours
  • Pour off the juice and put in refrigerator
  • Shred the pork, removing all skin, bone and fatty bits and put into the dog's dish
  • Peel, boil and mash (I went all Masterchef and sieved) the sweet potato
  • Skim the fat off the juices and reduce to 1/3
  • Serve

Yeah, my photography doesn't get better than this - I wouldn't quake too much, professional food bloggers!!

(Still, you can't ruin some photos no matter how hard you try!!)

Oh - and tonight, we had enchiladas with the leftover pork - mmmmMMMMMmmmm!!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Schnitzel Thyme

So hello again!
  • Lots going on in this corner of Paradise - check
  • Lots unbloggable - check
  • All jobs going well - check
  • Both children growing and amazing - check
  • Husband reading my mind and anticipating my every whim - ha ha ha ha ha - check
Lovely to see you still have your sense of humour. V does pretty well, but half the time I have no idea what I am thinking, so he hasn't got a hope...

Still, we will keep the carnage we shall forever refer to as "THAT Mother's Day" close to our chests, and just enjoy the highlights of the week prior.

So, the biggest material highlight of the week was bounty courtesy of Gourmet Garden! I occasionally meander into the Digital Parents site and pretend I am a real blogger, and there was an invitation for bloggers to sample products and create.

Now, I have a confession - this is not my first sighting of Gourmet Garden Goodies. I happen to know another blogger who uses these religiously. My mother is another with a stash (but unfortunately not a blog - at least, not one I know about.)

They are great to have in the fridge (or - shhh - in the freezer if you are too far from grocery stores and/or your children are too fussy to just roll with herbs and spices being used with abandon and vigour) - but enough of a plug. I am a serious product tester here. (ha)

Anyhow, besides the excellent new lunchbox esky, I am truly impressed with the fact that they arrived still cold!! Paradise is not exactly capital city territory, and a few folk have been known to take the fact that there is a lot of Australia falling into that category a bit too lightly.

So - my brief is to use their product in my everyday fare (or even create amazing dishes etc, etc, etc). Will do my best. Saturday night was my first opportunity...

Due to budgeting, freezer and grocery restraints, chicken was on the menu on Saturday. I decided to test out a bit of an extension of the usual schnitty with my new goodies, and therefore the Gourmet edge to our dinner was to create awesome crumbs.

Being ever frugal, I had a few old crusts in a plastic bag at the back of the freezer, and so I threw them into the food processor with a squirt of the Gourmet Garden Thyme paste and about a cup of cornflakes (we were at the bottom of the cereal container, so there were some extraneous bits of cereals prior to our current cornflake obsession that found their way into the mix too) and whizzed it all up.

Please take note of the matching white crockery. That's called "Thought and Effort" folks. Admire.

I am not sure if our counter-space is enhanced by the vibrant yellow or diminished by the brown mini-tiled "splashback", but there is definitely an art to bashing breasts without hitting the cupboards above, the plates either side or either major appliance.

At this point in dinner preparation, it is always important to stop and appreciate the beauty available - it helps with the inner calm (and indeed the outer - Paris has been known to think about whinging and veer into "beautiful sunset" mode on more than one occasion). Ahhh.

Okay, so it being impossible to dredge, dunk, crumb AND photograph at the same time, so between the last photo and this one was indeed the dredge, dunk and crumb step. I am yet to discover the art of doing so without needing to do a degunk or two (or eight) between pieces. I once read having a wet hand and a dry hand was the secret, but I keep on forgetting which is which.

You may note the sultana pieces - lets pretend they are deliberate and truly gourmet, shall we?

A mix of butter and olive oil and sizzle away. The Thyme really packs a punch to the old olfactory system, but in an "oh yum, I want to eat you" way.

Yeah, well this is why I am in Paradise surrounded by a family that loves me and not on Masterchef - me and artistic talent nod at each other in passing and are fairly cool towards each other.

The verdict from my patrons, however, was a double thumbs up. The thyme really made this every day schnitzel into something smooth and delicious and very much something that will be used!!

Chicken Schnitzel Like What You Would Find If Jeanie Cooked For You
  • 2 Double Chicken Breasts
  • Plain Flour
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 3 Eggs
  • 4-5 Slices Old Crust/Bread
  • 1/2 tbsp Gourmet Garden Thyme
  • 1 cup cornflakes (and secret other bits and pieces>
  • Olive Oil
  • Butter
  • Steamed Veges
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Fresh Lime Juice

  • Whizz bread, thyme and cornflakes until the right texture. I thought the thyme might make it too moist, but I was wrong.
  • Cut breasts into half horizontally bits and bashed to even thickness.
  • Have 3 bowls - the first with seasoned flour; the second with beaten eggs and a splash of water; the final one with crumbs - and with each chicken piece dredge in flour, dunk in egg wash and crumb.
  • Heat oil and butter in pan and sizzle well on each side.
  • Drain each piece well.

Serve with veges etc - our lime tree is really producing at the moment, so I can HIGHLY recommend a drizzle of lime juice.

Through the Digital Parents site, I also discovered Mummy's Undeserved Blessings does a Weekend Cookbook every Friday. This week she will be linking other recipes for the Gourmet Garden challenge.

In other news...
Paris passed off wearing Pigtails with great aplomb. I currently get Fridays with her, and a few girlfriends and I had finally got our acts together to share some time with our charges (grandchildren in their instances - I cannot lie, I am of more mature mother stock).

You may note that I treasure the artwork that both of my children create - the smudge in the mirror is not mess, but rather "Abstract Interaction of Toddler with Dental Hygiene Products #52".

We kept those plaits in all night, because there is still that eighties child within me hoping that perfect kinky look will adorn my (or my offspring's) head with style, grace AND longevity. Yeah, right - that would be nought from two who have escaped the genetic doom that is hair that won't hold a curl.

Meanwhile, my elder offspring is well into being both stylish AND gracious without any resortion (is that even a word?) to the frizz. Here she is in a modern installation "Life Imitating Art" - posing with my Mother's Day present from last year.

(Mother's Day this year had high points also - just went very close to being ruined by some moody cow getting her nose out of joint at the slightest shadow...)

How was yours?

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

There was an old lady...

4.33am, and I awoke to a buzzing sound...

Do you know the buzzing sound of insects as you sleep, and the sudden terror you feel when the buzzing is REALLY, REALLY close to your ear and then inside your ear and then panicking inside your ear and then nothing?

That is the sound I got this morning.

So, serious questions:

Can flies walk backwards? Will they do so towards the light? Or the cold?

Where does one go for someone to look at and extract such things? How would they extract? Is THIS the job for which ear candles were invented?

(And at last resort) what sort of spider should I contemplate?

There are other answers I seek too (including "why does ABC Jazz play such a medley of songs that have no musical connection to one another?", "why does my husband leave ABC Jazz on to play all night?" and "why couldn't the fly at least do something useful and block out the ABC Jazz?"). Some are too gross to contemplate at this hour.

Anyhow - off to see if the cold will flush it out on our walk.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Starting the day

For the last few weeks, I have been up at 5am (okay, 5.12 alarm so 5.17 out of bed then) - over here, that is 3/4 to crack of dawn - checked 'Salina was up (generally she is, completely dressed and hair styled), got "dressed", pulled on sandshoes (thanks family for the lovely present) and left the building.

We walk up to the front - its 2 blocks from here - and then turn and walk along. Occasionally there is jogging attempted (far more often by 'Salina than I, I must admit) and we go as far as we can in 15-20 minutes - always trying to go a little further.

On our way back, we will find the best spot we can for our "meditate" and watch the sky get a little lighter.

I think its worth it.

We have actually missed 2 mornings.

The first it bucketed down (hooray) but there was a certain pallour over the slightly later-starting morning after affecting both pre-teen and mother moods - we both decided that we should go back to our original start time.

The second because 'Salina had a nasty head-cold. We went for our walk the next day mid-morning, but discovered that the quiet yet cheerful "good mornings" generally found in the pre-dawn lights had disappeared in the sunlight.

The only downside - it gets to Paris' naptime, and I have discovered I would be well served to adopt the same strategy with dealing with the day!!