The things you wait to say in life…

photo-39Okay, so here are some things I would LOVE to say in my life: I’m off to Paris for my birthday (although, maybe not my actual birthday, as that is in August, which is peak tourist season.) Let’s start again. My book royalties mean I can afford an apartment in Paris, for a month in spring. Then there is: I’ve lost 10kg! Really, and it was super easy. Following from that fantasy is, I performed a pole dance in public!! And I got a standing ovation. I’ve been learning pole dancing for years, and am still useless, compared to the people around me. Any whoooo, the other thing I would say is: I can’t meet you for lunch/can’t do that shift at the hospital/vacuum the house today, cos I’m editing my next book!! And that’s what I am doing. But fear not, my recipes are at the ready, and my husband has primed his workmates to expect a rainfall of food. Well, you can’t eat it yourself if you are going to effortlessly lose 10kg, edit your book, and perform a dance in public on a pole any time soon…

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The Early Years

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGrowing up in New Zealand, in the 60s, was pretty cool. The stuff we ate back then, is the stuff most people won’t touch with an electrified cattle prod anymore. We ate brains (which I hated), tripe (still a fav), liver, tongue, and kidneys. We baked, cooked, broiled, and preserved all manner of things. We used to put milk bottles at the gate each night, with money in them, for the milkman. Imagine doing that nowadays! In the summer, we would go to the beach for our holidays and eat ice creams, fish and chips wrapped in newspaper, sweets, sweets and more sweet. We rode our push bikes everywhere, and never wore sunscreen. We got up at the crack of dawn to play with the kids in our street, returning only when the sun went down. It was great. Today is great too, but I wanted to share some recipes from that time, the recipes that are cemented in my brain when I think about my childhood. No, perhaps not the tripe in white sauce, or the liver with onions, even the tongue sandwiches. Cos while they were delicious, it’s not the flavour du jour anymore. However, I’m going to make each recipe before I post it, because they are from a long time ago now. I need to make sure I can still make them, before I share them, and that they are as good as I remember. I’ll just warn you, the early years are all about sweet things (and Star Trek, and the boy next door, and trying to look like Farrah Fawcett). So standby, and get those sugar packets out from the back of the cupboard…

 

 

 

My Hundred Lovers?

Zi6_9509I finished reading ‘My Hundred Lovers’ by Susan Johnson. It was a beautifully written book, about a woman who is turning fifty, and chronicles her sensual adventures from her childhood onwards. It’s literary, poetic, deep and meaningful (okay, I got a bit bored and skipped to the last page because it wasn’t as racy as I hoped it would be). What I did think, after finishing that last page, was I would never write a book about any amorous adventures I might have had, but I would write about my favourite foods I have eaten, or cooked (or even grown) over my life. I know my blog is meant to be about writing, but frankly, writing involves putting your backside on a seat, and spending hours tapping away at your computer, editing your creation until the cows come home, then hoping that it will be a published, and you will make a fortune from it. I do have an e-book due out soon, but until then, I don’t have a lot to say about my writing adventures, but I do have a lot I could say about food. So that shall be the theme of my posts for the next few weeks (or until I run out of ideas about food). That is not my beloved in the photo either, it’s some French dude, enjoying a healthy meal of cigarettes, wine, chips and raw steak. Yum. So on that note, I shall away, as my beloved and I are heading out into the wet, windy night for a meal and a warming glass of vino.

Winter Comfort Stew for BAD TIMES

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATwo weeks ago, I got knocked off my bike by a car, while riding home through the city. While nothing was broken, I felt broken, with such a close encounter to your own mortality. Then my two icons, Julia Gillard (our ex-prime minister), and Nigella Lawson, got completely shafted in public. What’s a gal to do, especially when it is the dead of winter? Make the best damn beef stew she’s ever made in her slow cooker! Never underestimate the healing power of comfort food.

Ingredients:

1 kg oyster blade steak, diced

500ml beef stock (I used commercially prepared stock)

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3 rashers bacon, chopped

2-3 tablespoons smoked paprika

2-3 tablespoons paprika

Crushed black pepper to taste

2 large Swiss Mushrooms

4 heaped tablespoons Cornflour

Method:

Basically, I put everything except the mushrooms and cornflour, into the slow cooker. I gave it a good mix, then let it cook on auto for around 7 hours, with the occasional stir. Then I chopped up the mushrooms, put them in, and then took out some of the beef stock, and put it into a cup. I added the cornflour into that (you need about 200mls of stock), and stirred it around until it was free of lumps. Then, I put that mixture back into the stew, and let it simmer for another 30 minutes until it had thickened. It was gorgeous. In the meantime, I roasted some potatoes and pumpkin, and when the stew was served, I added a bit of sour cream on the top of mine. Mind, body, and spirit was healed. Julia, Nigella, my door is open to you….

Nourishing Broth for Small, Unwell Fur Babies

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI thought today I would share a recipe we make for our beloved ferrets, when they are under the weather. When an animal is sick, it’s so hard to get them to take nourishment, but we have found that this broth will be almost universally eaten by ferrets, kittens, cats and small puppies or dogs. You can even grind up medications and put them in the broth, to get them to take it, and we have often put Bach Flower and Bush Flower remedies in to a warm bowl of this, when our fuzzies need it. We keep our freezer stocked with the broth, frozen in ice cube trays, then stored in a container. To be honest, our little fur balls get a bowl of this to share every day… It takes a while to prepare, but as with anything to do with pets you love, it is never a chore. So, here we go!

Ingredients:

1 chicken (for boiling)

2 chicken breasts

1 or 2 cups of rolled oats

4 eggs

Method:

So the basic idea is to cover the chicken with water and boil it in a large pot for approximately 1 hour until all the meat is cooked. Remove from the stock, and allow the chicken to cool. Next, add the chicken breasts into the broth and simmer until they are cooked. Set aside. Into the broth add the rolled oats and eggs.  Allow to simmer for a while before adding back in the meat, removed from the chicken carcass, and the chicken breasts, cut into small pieces. When it is cool enough, blitz it with a blending stick, then when it is totally cool, put it into ice cube trays, and freeze for future use. If you animal is sick when you make this, then offer them small, regular amounts until they recover. We make it into a thick broth, by adding more oats, and add kitten milk to it, to make it thinner. Our ferrets love it!