Happy fifth day of 2018

We had a lovely  Christmas and New Year  blessed with family and friends. One day we hosted a morning tea in the care home for MotherFD to share time with some of her siblings. It is such a joy interacting with my aunts and uncles now that I am mature too. Sadly, Mum is not too conscious of who they are, but they ignore and treat her as they always have. My niece’s little ones were present, and Mum did not take her eyes off them the entire time. She has never seized her love or concern for children. It was lovely to witness the connection.

The Saturday before Christmas, or Christmas Eve Eve, we Flamingo Dancers met to give out presents to our three precious grandchildren, one having his first Christmas. I bundles all sorts of gifts into one large box for each of them and so we had the delight of watching them dip into their box as they wished. Peppercorn (aged 2) insisted on wearing her pink tutu swimsuit the entire weekend, and I must admit that if you can’t wear your tutu swimsuit for Christmas at two, when can you?

Christmas table 2017

Christmas Day was hosted by my niece and her family. She looked to every detail and I half expected to open a cupboard to find Martha Stewart and her clipboard check list inside.  It was incredibly hot weather, which was out of everyone’s control but it was a truly lovely day. It was lovely to see my grandchildren really interact with my sister’s grandchildren for the first time, as mine little ones are now aged 4 and 2 years, and the baby is 5 months  – he is a real heart breaker.

New Year’s Eve was a quite affair for Mr FD and I. We shared a Pimm’s at midnight and watched the Sydney and Brisbane fireworks on television. It was fairly quiet in our Village, but I did hear a few fireworks earlier in the night, which I think may have been illegal.

The end of the school holidays are only a fortnight away, but I am not returning to teaching. Life change, adventures await. We will see, what we will be…

 

it is all about balance

Out and about today, so we lunched at an Organic Café. They were so organic that I was worried that they might check that I was wearing underwear made from natural fibres before they served me. I wasn’t so, thank goodness they didn’t.

We both settled for the totally vegetarian salad.

salad .jpg

Hence dinner at home was this:

hot dog

Augie ate his so fast, I couldn’t get a snap – even after I gifted him a second sausage!

augie eats

oh just a morsel then…

I feel a bit ripped off by the weekend. It was very social. I find being nice exhausting and so by the end of the weekend I was feeling depleted. Happy but depleted as only an introvert can be!

Saturday we collected the exercise bike from a former colleague, a lovely woman who was so kind to me during my very first teaching job. It seems so long ago, and it was such a difficult time that I almost walked away from teaching before I even really started. However, Colleague and I have kept in touch through social media, and the gifting of the exercise bike meant a trip to the city and a good twenty minutes of polite conversation in her driveway as Mr FD loaded the bike into the back of our car.

To recover, Mr FD and I treated ourselves to lunch, something we haven’t done for months! We both chose the barramundi fish with pea mash and sweet potato chips. We were quite decadent and followed up with dessert. I chose the orange crème brûlée that was just perfection in a ramekin. I would have ordered a second helping without much prompting! Mr FD declared he would order something more “manly”; an apple and rhubarb crumble with vanilla ice-cream. How a dessert can be manly, I don’t know, but he was more than satisfied with his choice.

lunch 1

lunch 2

Sunday, I lunched with my favourite girlfriend, the one I have known since kindergarten. She and her husband have just returned from a trip to South America and climbing  Machu Picchu, as you do! Friend had news of a mutual friend who has had her foot amputated due to complications arising from diabetes. A lack of self care – so sad.

After the exhilarating  gustation of the previous day, I settled for a chicken soup with mushrooms and basil. It arrived in a bowl large enough to bath a small babe, and with a bread stick roll that was almost too large for the soup bowl. I have to admit that I had chosen soup as I was expecting a smaller meal! I did my best, but have to admit the soup defeated me. The glass of white, didn’t however.

ANZAC DAY

ANZAC DAY

UNTOLD STORIES : Today is ANZAC day and as a nation we celebrate all Diggers! But did you know that over 1000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders fought for Australia in World War 1 – even though they couldn’t vote and were not recognised as citizens in their own country? Many who tried to enlist were rejected on the grounds of race – but for those that slipped through the net – they rode in the Light Horse, they climbed the slopes of Gallipoli, they fought and died in the trenches on the Western Front. And they would not have thought their sacrifice more than that of any other Digger. They all volunteered to put their lives on the line for their country.

Reliquaries, fuddling cups, turnips and Mr FD.

Petite Fille declared this elephant "silly" for standing on his head on the banks of the Brisbane River. Obviously, it forgot which way was up!

Petite Fille declared this elephant “silly” for standing on his head on the banks of the Brisbane River. Obviously, it forgot which way was up!

 

Thankfully, I am not in a position to be involved in disaster management for the Queensland Museum’s current exhibition, Medieval Power : Symbols and Splendour.   During our visit, yesterday, as part of Mr FD’s birthday celebration, we played a game of “what two items would you save” and my choice did not fall to papal rings, or a saintly reliquary. I chose a combination ear scoop and tooth pick, and a minuscule fuddling cup.

To me, they were the most interesting artefacts in the display, and preferred over the dozens of noble seals that were on display. We debated whether the word befuddled orientated from the concept of a fuddling cup, on the journey home. We all agreed it probably did.

Prior to visiting the exhibition we (Mr FD, Daughter1, Petite Fille, my sister and I) enjoyed a lovely lunch at the GOMA Bistro, overlooking the Brisbane River. We toasted Mr FD with a glass of white. I chose the watercress, peach, salami, truffled mozzarela and capers salad, as did my sister which did not disappoint either of us. Mr FD chose the steak. Later we enjoyed slice of Opera cake with coffee before we drove back to The Village.

Petite Fille, unlike most children rarely falls asleep in a the car, but after a swimming lesson in the morning and a day walking around museums and galleries, for once succumbed to slumber.

She had been quite excited that the day was to celebrate Grandpa’s birthday. I had barely risen from bed when she was pleading to make Grandpa a birthday cake. I made the mistake of allowing her to sort through my collection of cake tins, and that is how we came to bake a ginger cake in a gingerbread man tin! Ho ho Grandpa!

I think it was one of the more memorable birthdays of recent times for Mr FD. He continued his celebrations into the evening, enjoying a drink or two before bed. The day must have led to the land of dreams, for I heard him mutter in his sleep, “I can’t help it, it is turning into a turnip!”

fish sticks and evilosity

fishing

A student of Torres Strait Islander descent was explaining to the assembly that each Torres Strait family is given a totem. A totem is a natural element that they must respect and care for in their culture. Her family, she shared, were given the shark as their totem.

All I could think was that she had better not eat fish fingers (fish sticks) then, as they are reputed to be really shark fish.

I know, evil. I am evil.

 

A foodie’s salute to Australia Day

Or foods Jamie and Nigella would never tell you about.

January 26 is our Australia Day, the day the celebrates the arrival of the British First Fleet of convict ships, under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip in 1788. It is the day that the indigenous world mourns.

We will be celebrating with a barbecue; surely the norm for the day. So to mark the celebrations I share with you  our foods, new and traditional that make Australia, well, Australia.

 

Australia Day 2016 11

Peppercorn, hops and a foodie tour

Scientific field research has proven that it is difficult to write a blog post when a two week old baby is using you as her bed. Peppercorn is of the firm opinion that a nanna nap means that she naps ON Nanna.

Peppercorn is proving to be the perfect baby, sleeping her days away. Unzipping her “wombie” or sheep’s wool sleep swaddle, is like switching her to on. Instantly she awakens, wiggles and will give her consent to a feed. Then it is poo time, or rather poo time with Daddy as he always seems to get that end of the process, and she resettles into sleep. We all have fingers crossed that the Christmas gremlins don’t steal her to replace with evil baby girl.

Grandma and Grandpa have managed a few outings when not needed to be an improvised crib.

Saturday was to the Feral Brewing for lunch and a tasting tray of very feral beer. I am not a beer drinking so my choice was the lightest beer, feral white – number 1, and Mr FD had his pick of the others. We didn’t buy any to take home and glasses four and five were largely untouched.

feral 1

feral 2

 

We did enjoy the cheese platter and the lamb on flat bread with pomegranate salad.

feral 3

feral 4

Afterwards we did the tourist drive and visited The Honey Shop, The Cheese Barrel and stopped off at Yahava Koffeworks where Mr FD asked if they stocked the coffee beans rescued from monkey poo. He was politely told that we could not afford to buy it and they could not afford to stock it. Consider yourself put in your place! He never asked to buy it; well, not in my hearing anyway!

Feral 5

Mr FD somehow made time for his version of the Victorian Tourism “Run Rabbit Run” ad in the vineyard. He blamed his ungainly gait on his knee replacement. I made no comment but my brain was pinging with plenty of replies. Sometimes the inside words need to be just that…inside.

feral 6

Cookies and milk

dancing housewife

My mission for the day, which I chose to accept, was to bake lactation cookies. I had never heard of them either, but apparently they assist in mother’s milk supplies.

The secret ingredient is brewers yeast. Once upon a time this could be purchased at the local supermarket, but our failure to source it yesterday confirmed that the supermarket chain no longer stocked home brew supplies now that they owned a  liquor chain outlet. Wonder why?

Mr Daughter2, the new Daddy, went out on a hunting excursion and was almost lost to the wildes of the Home Brew Store until he remembered his quest and returned with sachets of brewers yeast. The store owner had gifted them to him when she had heard the reason for his quest.

So Grandma, that’s me in this tale, sallied forth into the kitchen and created lactation cookies. Oh, it was a jolly time, with many a joke about  “we mustn’t allow the men folk to eat our cookies, or heavens knows what might happen to them!”

Daughter2 wondered aloud what might happen to her if they were wildly successful. I said we would make a podcast for YouTube and create a lactation cookie empire.

Three trays of cookies were baking in the oven when for amusement I reread the recipe and realised that one ingredient was missing. The super duper secret ingredient – the brewer’s yeast.  Too late to whip the trays from the oven and add the ingredient, I thought of saying nothing and hoping the placebo effect would do its task, but my sharp intake of breath informed Mr D2 standing nearby, that something was amiss. I could have lied, but had to confess. He manfully offered to eat the evidence. What a hero!

I set too and made a second batch. Trays cooling from the oven, I started to clean the kitchen after admitting my error to Daughter2, who was not surprised at her mother’s antics, and to be honest would probably have been surprised had I indeed read the recipe correctly first time around. She remembered too well the great mustard fiasco of year 12.

As evidence that the brewers yeast was now ensconced within the cookie, I wafted the 5g sachet under her nose.

“Wow, how convenient that it was exactly one sachet that the cookies needed,” she declared, impressed.

Ummmm

Close inspection of the recipe stated that 2 TABLESPOONS of brewer’s yeast was required. I had used a mere 1 teaspoon.

We are still relying on the placebo effect.

 

 

 

to thine own glass be true

jam-jar-cocktails-14709-1

Jam jars and vegemite jar glasses played a large role in the first third of my life. In my childhood, if  I drank water, milk or cordial if was from a glass that had once been a jam, honey or vegemite jar. My own children were raised in the same tradition. A set of everyday, drink glasses that matched were sheer luxury.

So, the mason jar trend has been an oddity to me. What is so great about drinking from a jar. That is a marker of civilisation, how? It is also not up cycling if you buy a purpose made mason jar. I thought we had hit tipping point when I saw a collection of mason jar baby fruit juice bottles with a sippy lid, in the supermarket.

hexagonal

In Perth this week, lunching by the seaside I spied diners served drinks not in mason jars, but one of those hexagonal jam jars. I probably have three exactly the same in our fridge back home! Oh, half a set! Late Christmas gift!

Luckily, I ordered wine and they did had the finesse to serve it in a wine glass, but no doubt this will evolve as the next step.

Drinking from a jar does not make anyone sophisticated in my opinion. To me, one is but a mindless follower of “fashion”.

Perth has a couple of things that have really irritated us.  The major roads have no or few road signs that mention regional towns. If they have them then they must be hiding them as state secrets.  The road signs just mention highways to take, but if you don’t know which highway you need to take to get to a certain town or city then how the hell is a highway sign going to help anyone?

And it doesn’t help that being from the east coast our reference point is east is the coast and west in the inland. In Perth, the ocean is west and the inland is east! As a person who has no sense of direction, trying to get my bearings is near impossible. So we need some clear signage please! Please tell us we are lost earlier rather than later!

Before you say it, yes we do use the GPS on our mobiles. Well, Mr FD set the app on his phone, but being Mr FD his mobile is always near flat battery and so right at the important turn if goes down. I now have the app on my phone and it is always charged.

Then there is the problem of the bumpy roads making the mobile screen jump so that X no longer marks the spot. It has nothing to do with random and ill advised finger movements…

Let us not forget that the Perth drinking water is shit. I think that I actually read somewhere that it is in fact shit, recycled. Even if it isn’t it is shit. Too many chemicals. Thank heavens Daughter2 has a water filter jug, otherwise life would be intolerable. To make a cup of tea, the tea bag has to steep for sometime to overcome the chemical flavours. It is a fine line to not steep it so long that the tea becomes bitter black tar, but not allow the chemicals to flavour the brew. I have perfected  the task, of course. It’s a stress though.