#1536 Day 38 of getting there: the never-too-late Anzac biscuits

I had the ingredients for these bikkies on Saturday, but after the time, effort and dishes required to do my sweet potato gnocchi, I was feeling like I didn’t wanna do any kind of cooking/baking task anytime soon.

Only the thing was, these Anzac biscuits are the easiest to make.

Either way, I had a break on the weekend, and today on this cloudy and rainy day, I whipped these up really quickly.

20200429_150018

Now I’m no massive Anzac bikkie fan. But when I come across a recipe that –

a) I have the ingredients for, and

b) is soooo easy

I just can’t help myself. It’s like the recipe is calling me.

These gave off the most wonderful smell as they baked in the oven, and the crunch and deliciousness were most definitely there when it came time for taste-testing.

As I get progressively more and more ‘over’ store-bought sweets, I am so happy to now have a massive batch of these guys to keep my coffee company over the next week. 😉

#1511 Day 13 of getting there: a little bit of everything makes Saturday sweet

The day started off, drawing with baby girl.

20200404_115731

Next was the brownie baking.

20200404_125718

The triple choc brownie baking, I might add. 😉

There was taste-tasting, coffee making, and puzzle doing… it was relaxing, and with the wind howling and sheets of rain coming down outside, there was really no better place than to be at home.

Our cat Mister F slept for about five hours on the couch. It was that type of day.

Then at night, on random we started to dance in the kitchen.

If you’ve followed my blog for a while you’ll know that’s a common event in our household. Somehow though, we just haven’t had much of a chance or opportunity to dance all together on a Saturday night.

It seems for the moment though, we will have an indefinite amount of time to dance in the kitchen.

What made it better, was I started off reluctant. All I wanted to do was settle back on the couch. It was like I was so used to doing nothing, that I just wanted to go back and do NOTHING.

But as the saying goes… if you can’t beat them, join them.

Which is what I did. I participated in baby girl’s little dance-off contest, and before I knew it, was galloping and pirouetting across the kitchen floor and almost colliding with Hubbie and baby girl but doubling over with laughter.

And I was so glad I caved in. So glad we mucked about and went stupid and got warm amidst a really freezing day. And though we aren’t all tik tok savvy to have recorded it for the world to see, there is something else I captured…

Our little tennis match. I saw the best idea on facebook a while ago. Take two wooden spoons or other long-shaped utensils, tape it to the back of some paper plates, then using some stools/chairs, drape a blanket/tablecover over it to create…

A tennis stadium IN YOUR HOUSE.

20200404_201304

Oh, and the ball? A balloon. It even acts like a ball if it’s been hanging around the house for a few days, flying irrationally and without care through the air, making it more challenging to hit.

Let it howl. Let it rain. We’ve got the home isolation entertainment down pat.

#1332 Banana and date bread

I’ve been wanting to make this healthy banana bread recipe for some time now. But even today as I started making it, I had to wonder, “will it be good? Will it be tasty?”

You know the recipes. You have to buy all the extra ingredients, things you don’t normally have in your pantry… the photos look so pretty… you’re getting it from a free supermarket foodie mag.

It was these 3 things that had me going “hmmm. This may not be too impressive.”

But I wemt ahead. I baked it. And I let it cool. And then, I cut myself a piece.

20191008_163822

Look at that deliciously healthy food porn. With sunflower and pumpkin seeds just falling all over it. It was, actually, surprisingly, AMAZING.

Nom nom nom nom nom.

 

#1160 Foolish games, poetic words

It had been a big, fun, full day. From a sunny day enjoying the warmth, walking our cat on a leash outside (yes, a leash), baking up some Easter treats, and then enjoying a birthday with loved ones, it felt like we had done it all and in turn, were getting tired by days end beyond belief.

It didn’t affect the volume in the car though.

Like one of our favourite Prince songs, we were almost “Delirious.” Talking over each other as we drove home from the birthday, music blaring… I was surprised my ears weren’t ringing as they usually do when people started shrieking.

Hubbie changed the radio station while we were in full force. He heard the notes of something, and exclaimed “Oh I love this!” I recognised the same song he did, and we were both disappointed in our realisation moments later, when it turned out to be a recent slow song.

“Oh, I thought it was Jewel,” he said. He didn’t even have to tell me that. I had heard the same parts he had identified. We started talking about one of her earlier songs, and then the ‘mistaken’ song in question, Foolish Games.

Have you ever forgotten about a song you loved so much, but then as you start singing it, it ALL COMES FLOODING BACK TO YOU?

I l♥ve those moments.

I’d remembered, that I had known the song so well. It was a slow song, a sad song, but one that told a story, a story so precise and real and true, that there was no doubt in my mind that Jewel HAD lived this tale, the images she sang were so real in my mind. They were poignant, and they were raw.

In my effort to recall it all, I tried my best to hum the first notes, the gentle piano tones rising up and then down, and then –

“You took your coat off… and stood in the rain. You were always crazy like that.”

I smiled at him, excited that it was starting to come back.

“And I watched from my window… always felt I was inside… looking in, on you.”

Meanwhile baby girl was starting to complain that our soft notes were too loud for her. This from the girl that had made me turn up the volume to 20 and “open the windows!” when Body by Loud Luxury came on. Oh, please.

But we continued. I paused as I tried to remember certain words, and then Hubbie would jump in, filling in my blanks.

Me: “You were always the mysterious one with, dark eyes and …. careless hair, you were, fashionably sensitive, but – “

Together: “Too cool, to care.”

Oh, it was great. We were literally pulling the words out of our heads as the music played between us, unspoken. We got all the way to the first few lines of the second verse, and then majorly stalled. I knew for a fact that I loved the second verse best, and yet I couldn’t remember it.

Thank God then, for youtube.

Hubbie pulled up the video clip on my phone as we drove. We sang along and happily filled in the spaces where we had stopped so suddenly before. But it flowed of course when she sang it, like we had never forgotten it at all.

Then Hubbie found a live version where she well… kicked it out of the ball park. She sang the melancholy song with such sensitivity, range, emotion, and passion, that really… WOW. Effortless yet powerful, all at once.

Here are the beautiful and poetic words…. and with it, that live performance of Foolish Games from 1997.

I think we will be playing a lot of this re-discovered song this Easter long weekend. Enjoy 🙂

You took your coat off and stood in the rain,
You’re always crazy like that.
And I watched from my window,
Always felt I was outside looking in on you.
You’re always the mysterious one with
Dark eyes and careless hair,
You were fashionably sensitive
But too cool to care.
You stood in my doorway, with nothing to say
Besides some comment on the weather.
Well in case you failed to notice,
In case you failed to see,
This is my heart bleeding before you,
This is me down on my knees, and…
These foolish games are tearing me apart,
And your thoughtless words are breaking my heart.
You’re breaking my heart.
You’re always brilliant in the morning,
Smoking your cigarettes and talking over coffee.
Your philosophies on art, Baroque moved you.
You loved Mozart and you’d speak of your loved ones
As I clumsily strummed my guitar.
Well, excuse me, guess I’ve mistaken you for somebody else,
Somebody who gave a damn,
Somebody more like myself.
These foolish games are tearing me, you’re tearing me
You’re tearing me apart
And your, thoughtless words are breaking my heart
Your breaking my heart
You took your coat off
And stood in the rain
You were always crazy like that.
~ Jewel.

#1143 Making and Baking

Today on her Pupil Free Day…

where baby girl was at home with me, rather than at school…

She found herself making

IMAG8110

And baking

IMAG8092

IMAG8094

What a great opportunity today was to start on the Easter hat she will don for the parade at the end of term this Friday. It was a leisurely actively both chosen and imposed, for I have realised the sarcasm evident from the mouths of parents when they jokingly show overwhelming disdain for yet another project they have to help their child with.

Sure she decorated most of it, I helped with the fiddly bits of course… and it’s the fiddly bits that are the worst. I attached the strips to the bonnet the wrong way and it was showing up white, instead of green…

(Face palm).

PEEL OFF. Again we start.

We got there, in the end. And she was so super pleased with herself, she did her own little impromptu hat parade around the house.

And then of course, there were the scones.

I don’t know if it’s just unlucky coincidence that last time we made scones she was also sick. I don’t know if that means the act of planning to make scones make her sick (as I had planned on scones for today from last week) or if in fact I somehow predict on a subconscious level she is going to be sick, and therefore wish to protect ourselves from the fact by baking something homely and comforting to combat the unwelcome cold.

Nevertheless, the jam and cream upon pillow-y pieces of goodness made her happy. She lavished the spreads on generously, and if anything, the scones and hat made her forget she was sick… she was really only having, a well-timed day off.

#975 Baking: blueberry lemon cake

I haven’t baked in a little while, purely for the purpose of ‘just ’cause,’ for AGES. Back in August my mass baking was of an intentional and event-based nature, so when I came across some mouth-watering recipes last week, I decided to schedule in my very own baking day.

I think it was all the more enjoyable because baby girl was at kindergarten. I do enjoy when she is in the kitchen with me… I love that she is curious, that she wants to help, and her sheer excitement at the prospect of the finished product. I also want her to appreciate the cooking process, the effort that goes into making things, so that she may appreciate eating, and the food itself more, since she knows where it came from.

But at the same time, as a Mum… sometimes you just wanna get shit done.

You just want to go at your own pace. No constant questions of

“can I mix?”

“can I add?”

“can I taste?”

“can I put this in?”

Just me and MY kitchen. Putting mess and bowls and utensils and drips of batter, wherever the bloody hell I like.

After a couple of hours from start to finish, I got something like this:

IMAG4580

Do you think I got close? 😉

IMAG4584

I am being cheeky, sure. Yes I created it almost spot-on to the recipe photo, and even styled the kitchen magazine-style in the process (check the cake under the dome).

IMAG4586

But the MOST important question… how did it actually taste?
IMAG4592

Well I can tell you this: it wasn’t to my taste at first. It had a definite tangy flavour, what with all that zest and lemon juice in the batter. Which is fine, but then there was the addition of so much extra virgin olive oil, which led to a superbly moist but rich cake.

The berry layer was made from scratch with real blueberries, but the cream was not so… creamy. In fact, light cream cheese was required instead, which made it slightly biting… however this was not too bad in its small quantity in contrast against the lemony cake and mild blueberry jam.

I didn’t expect Hubbie to like it… but he did. He actually enjoyed it. And being a fussier food critic than I, SmikG the food blogger, well that was a massive tick in my book. √

#907 For the love of Baking

I am quite pleased with myself. Pleased in that I don’t despair too much when faced with the task of cooking or baking, whether for myself or for others.

I don’t despair, because… I enjoy it. A LOT.

It is another avenue of my creativity coming forth. It requires thought, planning, precision… but just like the creative process, it also takes intuition, passion, and a healthy dose (perhaps a few tablespoons?) of spontaneity.

I’ve been baking a bit this week in the lead up to my nephew’s 16th birthday bash this weekend. And although I know I don’t mind cooking, the thought of making so much was initially, a bit of a worry in my mind.

How would I get it done?

Would it go as planned?

Would any hiccups occur along the way?

Amazingly, so far, none. Today was the last baking-fest, and each day that I had to prepare or tend to the oven, I’d put on a cd, turn it RIGHT UP, and begin the creative process in my kitchen.

IMAG2391

I have found real happiness and delight in making things with passion. With heartfelt intention. While singing out loud to Queen/Prince/Sia/Michael Jackson, other creative geniuses filling the rooms of our house with meaningful music.

I guess I’ve realised whole-heartedly, how important the act of baking is to me.

It brings people together. It carries on age-old cooking traditions and recipes.

It is magic, at your fingertips. Much like writing 😉

And it creates love and unity. Nothing is more rewarding that your Hubbie and daughter stealing baked goods that you’ve created for a party, knowing how happy it is making their tummies.

I do it, for the ♥

And that is how the magic comes in. You must do everything, out of ♥♥♥

#842 Scones and Schnitzel

It’s kinda hard to look for gratitude and try to find small things that make you happy in amongst shitty days, even more so when those shitty days reveal even worser days for others.

How can one complain about smaller issues when they know of family or friends in ill-health or distress?

It actually reminds me of what I used to say after my father-in-law passed away. Here I was, a new Mum to a beautiful baby girl, yet still completely overwhelmed by my new parent role and the life that came with it; and then there was Hubbie, equally besotted by her, while simultaneously still in deep grief over his father’s passing. And sometimes, someone, somewhere, would tell me they were having a bad day.

They would quickly realise their words in my company, and apologise for complaining. They saw in me, in us, in our family, that there were far harder things to go through. To manage. To overcome.

But you know what I would say to them?

“Everyone has their own problems. You shouldn’t feel bad about yours, and feel guilty that they aren’t big enough to cry over. You are allowed to be upset, it’s your life, your problems.”

Sure, little problems in light of big problems become an awareness of the bigger picture, and that enlightenment is major in itself.

But we can’t all be in woe at the same time, can we? Then we wouldn’t have those others around us, less in woe, to pick us up from our sadness…

At this time of my life, I think I’m in a state of ‘less in woe.’

So I’m grateful.

But that isn’t what this gratitude post is about. That in itself is actually huge, more so because I know, and I have felt the comparison of being WHOLEHEARTEDLY in woe.

This is perhaps about the most trivial of things in light of today… baking.

For a week now I’ve been planning on making scones. They seem to make them for any given reason at baby girl’s kindergarten. Parents getting to know each other afternoon tea? SCONES. Mother’s Day? SCONES. Neighbourhood primary school visits? SCONES.

A possum jumps from the gum trees into the yard and shits all over the kids play equipment?

SCONES.

Ok so clearly I am bullshitting with you but you get my drift. I have not made scones in ages, well since we moved here really, and part of that has to do with

  1. kitchen reno, AND
  2. having half my kitchen stuff still in boxes upstairs because I’m waiting on one more damn cupboard (COME ON kitchen guys!) to get made.

I’ve forgotten half of what I do own in the way of bakeware and pans and the like, it’s been that long I’ve seen half of my things. But after repeated reminders by the kinder that both baby girl and I, really enjoy them, well I said to myself “I’ll damn well making them.”

You require next to nothing to make scones after all.

I really wanted to be grateful for them, really I did. And at the end, I was, for some brief moment at the end as I indulged in jam and cream upon pillows on doughy lightness that were apparently ‘café-style’…

IMAG1269

But the ‘before’ was hard, because baby girl was sick you see. I held her back from kinder, quite rich since THAT IS THE PLACE SHE CATCHES ALL HER WEEKLY COLDS FROM.

Not shitty much.

She was weak, tired, and developed a sudden ear ache during the day which had her retreating to the couch often to lie down. I had imagined us making these together with happiness… the most she did was brush the tops with milk.

And then the ‘after’… because as I was trying to enjoy my coffee/scone break, breathing slowly, ALONE, in peace, once baby girl had finished her babycino… I somehow spilt my coffee.

No, it gets worse. ON MY PHONE.

I swore better than a sailor out at sea. OH MY. Baby girl knows her Mum too well, and wasn’t afraid. In fact she came up to me and asked “Mama, you ok?”

Awww.

So instead of being grateful for my scones, the preparation time with baby girl which wasn’t special, and then the clean up which was devastating (I’d let dishes pile up half of the day), I instead became appreciative of something else.

IMAG1271

Hubbie cooked a killer chicken parmigiana tonight. He cooked it fresh, placed passata and ham and freshly grated cheese on top, grilled it in the oven, and it was THE BOMB.

The best part to him making it for us?

I didn’t have to clean it up.

(That wasn’t agreed to from his original contract, but from the day I’d had, there was no other choice).

Every time I complain about something going shitty, really I am grateful… because I do know better… I know better, that there is worse.

P.S My phone survived

#795 Strawberry crumble

When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.

When life gives you a kilo of strawberries for $2, you make Strawberry Crumble

IMAG0287

The above is the result of a stallholder packing up from Main St market day yesterday, and trying to offload his last two punnets of strawberries to someone, anyone, the first Tom, Dick or Nancy that dared to humour him and look at him twice.

So when Hubbie glanced over at him as we waited for baby girl to get her fill of a small play area off to the side of the street, the man wasted NO TIME.

“Sir, a kilo of strawberries for $2!”

I fished out a gold coin, and was soon wondering how I would use up a whole lot of quickly maturing strawberries.

The answer came to me in my Nigella cookbook later that night. A crumble? Hmmm…

I questioned it only slightly as I poured in the sugar this evening. 100 grams Nigella? Ain’t this too much? And then another 75 grams of Demerara, in that mix too?

OOKKKAAAAAYYYYY.

Yes a fair bit of ‘good stuff’ went into it, yet at the same time, it was sooo simple. My questionable thoughts were laid to rest when 30 minutes into baking the delicious gloop, my kitchen was filled with the most serene and sweet scent of sugar and strawberries.

Mmmmm.

It was good. Damn sweet, but good. The strawberries were sweet, soft and warm, and the contrast against the crunchy crumble, given extra texture with the addition of almond flakes, was brilliant.

But, I think I will take up Ms Lawson on her firm suggestion next time: ‘Cream on the side is obligatory; not optional.’

Yes Miss!

#778 Dromana day

We finally got our relax day today.

It didn’t happen on Friday – we were sick, and I was busy baking.

Saturday I was still busy baking, we were still run down, and then I was working.

On Sunday, well… Easter.

And today, we were able to just lounge about and enjoy the day in some kind of unhurried state, as we ventured a short 15 minutes or so to Dromana.

We had some lunch with a lovely vantage point over to the water.

We crossed the road to the park so that baby girl could have a good ol’ play.

IMAG9964

IMAG9968

The water was green and coral-like. The sunshine reflecting off it made it sparkle blindingly.

IMAG9967

IMAG9965

And then we started to walk down the long, narrow, not-very-safe-on-one-side pier… ‘started’ being the operative word… until Hubbie decided to look over the side and let baby girl stand all too close to the edge, which resulted in me turning my heel on them and storming off.

IMAG9973

He had to give me a heart attack, AGAIN. I would have no part of them falling into the water with me there, thank you very much. If he was going to be reckless, well then I wasn’t going to stand by and just have a heart attack and just watch!

So, it was relaxing, up until the pier. But you know, bliss in the sun, heart attacks on the pier, IT’S ALL BALANCE.

Dromana is a lovely seaside village with a community of 6000. The advantage of their main strip is that it is directly opposite to an accessible beach, for both young and old. Mornington may be the hub of the Peninsula, but most of their cafes don’t have direct views of the water just due to the geography and how they are placed, and even then the beach access slopes down amidst cliff-faces.

Anyway, we will be Discovering Dromana much, much more 🙂