Monday, February 24, 2014
This is part of my 101 things in 1001 days challenge.
No, I haven't quite finished this one as yet, but I've sure started well. To date I have made 17 recipes out of over 100 in this book, and have been very pleased with most of the dishes so far. Some I have absolutely loved, some I wouldn't cook again, some I've tweaked to my liking, and some I'm either extremely excited about trying, or not at all looking forward to. (But there's only 2 or 3 of those, that's why I chose this particular recipe book out of my collection.) I was flicking through it today, and even though I know I've read the intro blurb before, the last couple of lines finally stood out to me today:
I will try everything at least once! And I have already repeated some of them! I haven't taken photos of all of them, but here's a snapshot.
So far, I have made; (in order they appear in the book... mostly...)
~ Bechamel sauce (I usually just make this flying by the seat of my pants, so it was nice to follow a recipe for once!)
~ Pesto (a bit too much lemon juice in this recipe for my liking)
~ Slow-cooked Sticky Lamb Shanks with Parsnips (not a huge fan of this one, as I make pretty damn good lamb shanks with my own recipe, but you know, slow cooked lamb shanks are always pretty damn good.)
~ Shortbread (yum - I'll be making this again)
~ Bad bad brownies (these are ridiculously rich - only for a very special occasion!)
~ French Toast (I've made this one twice already - so delish!)
~ Chicken Enchiladas (Oh man this was really really good. I cooked it for friends and got rave reviews)
~ Sopillos (these are almond-meal meringues and they were a bit of a disaster. They tasted amazing but weren't pretty. I'd like to try them again and make them smaller)
~ Houseboat pie (this one says "serves 6" but that would only apply if that's all they were eating for the whole day! There is 1.2 kg of various cheese in this one and it made 2 pies! It was so yummy!)
~ Julian's French Green Beans (adding breadcrumbs and butter to beans - how can you go wrong??)
~ Chocolate mousse (hard to go wrong with a good mousse, and this is no exception)
~ Roasted roma tomatoes (simple and yummy)
~ Fresh Pea and Chorizo Risotto (not enough chorizo for my liking, so I would add more next time. It also required cooking chicken stock from scratch which I'd never done. It took a long time and to be honest, wasn't that flavorsome, so I'm not sure I would bother next time!)
~ One-Pot Pasta (I just made this over the weekend and damn it was SO good. I'd use less pasta and finish it off with chopped, roasted pine nuts next time. There will definitely be a next time!)
~ Jungle Jaffa Cake (I had made this a few times before the challenge and have made it twice since. It's a great gluten free go-to cake that everyone loves.)
~ Ginger nuts (an excellent recipe. I made 2 batches in 2 weeks, and Hubs has just requested more.)
I then, as the recipe book suggested, re-purposed them into a ginger log, just like Mum used to make. Oh so good...
~ Steamed asparagus (simple. Done.)
So that's where I'm at so far with challenge #56. It really is a gorgeous recipe book and would make such a lovely gift for someone about to embark on the world. Or, you know, turn 30 :-)
Looking forward to sharing more reviews with you soon!
Thursday, February 20, 2014
We had our first "dinner party" in Mount Isa last night, with 5 doctors in attendance. I was a little nervous to be honest, as I hadn't even met 2 of them, but I had a pretty solid 3 course meal planned, and as long as there's wine, it's always a success! I served bite-size tomato, bococini, basil layer thingies that Hubs and I are kind of hooked on at the moment. It's such a fresh, light, tasty little something to have on the side or before a meal. I then served beef cheek stew which is Hubs' favourite. It slow cooked in the oven in my chasseur for 6 hours! It was only supposed to be 5 but the kids took a while to go to sleep. I think the extra hour made it even better though :-)
And of course for dessert, Hubs' other favourite, chocolate mousse. The food was a real hit (yay!) and the company was just lovely. And the best thing? We mostly talked about everything other than medicine!!! I sometimes don't really look forward to the conversation at these dinners, as I have very little to contribute to the conversation. Hubs always makes an effort to not talk shop too much, but it's hard when you don't have much in common with other people other than your work. But the people who came over last night were very interesting and it wasn't hard to keep the conversation away from rashes and cannulas.
Unfortunately this morning, as I was getting dressed, I put my neck/shoulder out quite badly and couldn't actually move. I'm so glad Hubs hadn't left for work, and he was able to stay home and look after the kids. I was in quite a bad way this morning, but after some pretty strong pain killers, and lots of rest, I'm not too bad this evening. And I'm really hoping it settles down a lot overnight. It hasn't been this bad in such a long time, but it's been niggling all week, so it was only a matter of time before it snapped. Fingers crossed for a speedy recovery!!
Monday, February 17, 2014
Hubs warned me before we moved here, that Mount Isa doesn't get much rain. When we arrived, I was really taken aback by how dry and dusty the town is, and thought "well, this is how it's going to be." The total rainfall for 2013 in this area was 69mm. For the whole year!!!
Just before Australia Day weekend, rain was predicted. Some locals were talking about how they're "due for a good soaking". But most were sceptical. Rain had been predicted before, and had never come. But it happened. On Monday the 27th, the clouds grew heavy and down it came. Not for long, but over the next 3 weeks, it rained every few days. And now, the grass is greener, there are flowers out (very few, but they're there) and a plant in our garden bed is threatening to take over the courtyard. So far this year, the region has had 120mm fall.
The weekend just gone, it rained almost the whole time. What is it about rain that soothes the soul? I was happy and calm. I wasn't irritable. I felt like myself. I mentioned recently that I was looking for something. Maybe it was the calm that washes over me when I feel like "myself".
Today, the sun is out, and although it's not too hot (yet) I already feel more energised from my weekend. The house is still a mess (where on earth are we going to find space for all this stuff???) and Chanbe has been getting in to bed with us EVERY NIGHT for the last 3 weeks which results in broken sleep for the 3 of us, but I feel calm amongst the storm that is settling in to a new town.
I've been going to the gym regularly since we arrived which has been great for my energy levels and my general mood. I have a plan of action today, and a to-do list with about 10 things on it. I've just had a lovely coffee (home made) and Chanbe is happily watching Despicable Me. I'm ready. I feel like Wifey again. It's been a while, but I'm ready to get back on the ride!
Sunday, February 9, 2014
I feel like I'm looking for something. I'm not sure if I've lost it, or if I've never had it. I'm happy to be here in Mount Isa; the mums I've met through the playgroup and through friends (of friends of friends) have been extremely welcoming and kind. I haven't had to try too hard to make friends which is nice. But there's just something missing. My patience is lacking and I'm feeling restless; like this is only a half-way point to where I'm really going. Or something.
Little things are getting me down; I still haven't finished unpacking/organising/settling in, even though Mum and Dad have been here over a week, so my parenting responsibilities have been drastically reduced; I still haven't worked on launching my new blog, even though I've had the new domain name for 18 months; we are not as financially stable as we both thought we would be by now; and I haven't made macarons since I got my "macaron making kit" for Christmas. (A lack of macarons just adds to the melancholy.)
Just lots of little things that are making me feel lost and uneasy.
Some positives: I joined the gym the day after we arrived, and have been at least 5 times a week for 3 weeks. It's a GREAT gym - nice and small with friendly, personal service. The classes are good and the childcare is handy. I'm already feeling more energetic and much more motivated to eat well. I'm just making small, hopefully sustainable changes instead of having over the top, grand plans to "finally eat healthy and get fit." I just want to live. I want this to be a part of my life without it being a fad. This is a positive thing.
Also, Chanbe has been adjusting really well. And Quinn took her first steps this week! So exciting!
I'll keep searching for whatever it is I feel like I'm missing. Maybe one day I'll even find it.
Thursday, February 6, 2014
It was rather a quiet affair for our little Quinndy, and a lovely time was had by all. I was trying to decide which cake to make her, and gave the cake book to Chanbe to have a look through. This is the suggestion he came up with:
Ummmmm. No. I don't think so. We finally decided on the ladybird. I never had that cake growing up, and it's a bit of a classic. Here's the picture of the cake in the book:
And here's how mine turned out. As usual, I couldn't get that really rich red, but I was happy with a nice burgundy.
My dear baby girl. What a treasure you are. You have brought so much joy and delight to our lives, and I love getting to know you more every day. I've never seen such a happy baby, and I look forward to seeing what you have in store for us in the future.
It's been rather an exciting week around here! I'm getting through the unpacking and organising, and starting to feel a bit more at home. I've met some more mums and am hoping to catch up with them in the next week or 2. Mum and Dad are here until Friday week, so there's a few more things I'd like to do with them around - the time will go too quickly I'm sure! - and I've already booked our first trip back to Brisbane for the year, in about a month. Like I said, lots going on!