Mother Who Works

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wastage

Despite working in advertising, where our job is to drive consumers to consume, I do worry about excessive consumption. Australian’s spend $10.5 billion a year on food we don’t eat, CDs we don’t listen to, clothes we don’t wear and books we don’t read. That’s $1,200 per household.  Clive Hamilton dubs this ‘unethical consumption’ in his book Requiem For A Species.

We’re certainly (and sadly) no exception, but I try really, really hard not to waste food as I consider it the most unethical. An unworn dress can be donated to charity to be cherished and worn by someone else, but uneaten food – especially if it goes into landfill instead of compost, just creates, well, more landfill.

If you think of the resources used to produce food – water, agricultural equipment, processing, packaging and transport – that tub of yoghurt I just hurled into the bin represents far more waste than the plastic container and some curdled milk. Sometimes it really doesn’t bear thinking about.

According to the website Homelife, Australian’s toss out 145kg of food per year, for every man, woman and child. OMG. (Hit the link to get the shocking details of what that's made up of...)

So in an attempt to avoid such wastage I do try, although I confess not with complete success,  to use what’s in the fridge; to love my left-overs.

We had a brunch one weekend that left cooked spinach, mushrooms and baked tomatoes (not surprisingly the eggs and bacon were all eaten!). I chopped them up, popped them in an oven proof dish, made a frittata base with eggs, milk, some mixed herbs, salt and pepper, topped it with cheese and baked in the dish, in a roasting pan with a couple of centimetres of water in it (it just cooks the egg mix more gently so it stays juicy and doesn’t go rubbery). I can only guess that it tasted okay as it disappeared before I got any.

Frittata a la left overs


Tonight I chopped up what cooked meat was in the fridge and fried it with left over veggies and rice. I added some frozen peas and made a two-egg omelette in the microwave to slice on the top. It might not have been the most amazing fried rice but it served a good purpose and was eaten.

Do you have any ways that you use up your leftovers? I’d love to hear your tips please.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Performances


It’s been quite the week of performances. First up on Monday was a relatively new MD of a client who came in to share the business strategy. He’s so dynamic, that it was really quite awe-inspiring.

Tuesday was a combined Scouts and Cubs night with an AFL footballer called Max who was so tall he threatened to bang his head on the vaulted hall ceiling! Sadly, I know so little about footy I’m not even certain which club he plays for, but he did his thing and 40 or so kids were suitably dazzled.

On Wednesday, my friend Dawn and I saw Bangarra’s Belong. Bangarra is Australia’s indigenous dance company. It was an amazing performance, made distinctive by its many graceful but angular movements, easily recognisable from traditional aboriginal dance. Their use of projected film and integration of the dancers – slipping seamlessly from film to stage and back again – was as innovative as the Netherland’s ballet performance. If you get a chance to see them, it’s well worth your time.



On Thursday, the littlest one had her school production. She was a butterfly. Much of it was sung and spoken in Japanese but as they were all Prep, Grade 1 and 2, they were so cute it didn’t matter that most of us had no idea what was going on. There were some speeches at the end that proved too much for the preppy who was front and centre, and after staring into the distance while the other couple of hundred kids on stage sang, he yawned, flopped his head forward and promptly fell asleep!!

Friday night we took George and E to see the Queen Tribute. The guy playing Freddie Mercury did do a great job but it reminded me that the world will only ever have known one voice like Freddie’s.

So a big week of performances. All very different and all very enjoyable in their own way. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Twilight

You’ve probably read the books and seen the movies. I read the first book to the oldest two when they were 13 and 15 and they were pretty underwhelmed. I must admit, if Edward ran his lips over Bella’s jaw line once more, I think I was going to throw up. It was light on the promised UST (Unresolved Sexual Tension) and heavy on the tedium.

And am I the only one who thinks there’s something fundamentally wrong with a 105 year old (albeit, Vampire) lusting after a 16 year old?? Screams pedophile to me.

But I know it’s extremely popular for many girls and women, so I was somewhat alarmed when Mahli at work talked about one of the books insinuating that you lose your soul if you have sex before marriage.

Stephanie Meyer is a Mormon and in an article I read, when challenged with the idea that her books promoted the religion, she said that wasn’t her agenda, but as a Mormon, naturally her values are portrayed in the books.

That’s fair enough, but I realised some of my friends, whose daughters were drinking up these books, had no idea of these ‘messages’. I rang one with views similar to my own and she immediately said she was going to clarify the pre-marital sex issue with her 16 year old.

(Can I say here and now, that this is merely my point of view that sex before marriage is fine. Obviously that’s my position as I’m not married and am the mother of four – and they’re not adopted. But I appreciate it’s not everyone’s view.)

I was on a mission. E, then 11, was just getting into the Twilight movies, so for some crazy reason, I thought I should ‘warn’ her.

“E, you know that it’s okay to have sex before marriage,” I blurted out as I was driving her to Scouts.
“Mum, why are you telling me this?! I’m 11!”
“Because Mahli told me that the Twilight books say you lose your soul if you do. And that’s not true.”
“I still don’t know why you’re telling me this….”
“Well, when should I tell you?”
“How’s old is Mahli?”
“23?”
“Yeah – well, maybe tell me when I’m 23.”

I suspect that might be a tad late...


Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Secret to Running Fast


I’ve blogged before about the oxymoron that is the Fun Run. Last year I did four of them and this year I’ve done the sum total of none. I’m quite comfortable with that.

Last year, we took the kids and went with some other friends to do the City to Surf in Sydney. It’s just over 14kms. My partner pushed our disabled son, the then 11 year old pushed the then 4 year old while I ran. We had a great weekend. My surrogate daughter, Frankie, lives in Sydney and came to babysit on the Friday night while we grown ups went to dinner at the very fine restaurant Icebergs in Bondi. She joined us for family dinner the next night and the run on Sunday.

My friends Jen and Craig ran a great time of about an hour twenty. I was happy with my time of an hour 28.

We recently went to Jen and Craig’s farm for a really lovely weekend. The 12 year old and I decided to go for a run on the Sunday morning. We asked Jen if she wanted to come, but she declined (it was extremely cold.)

‘Can Jen run?’ asked our smallest one.
‘Oh yes. She’s a better runner than me,’ I replied.
‘That’s because she’s lighter than you!’ Hmmmm. Yes, quite possibly.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Dinner Disaster


 We had some friends over for dinner last night. Luckily, close friends we’ve known for years. So after Pilates, netball and shopping, I finally started getting the food ready about 3pm.

Tarts before going into the oven


I made individual tarts for starters РI just used bought butter puff pastry, spread some chunky basil and cashew nut pesto in the bottom, topped with saut̩ed leeks, goats cheese and slices of fig. They're served with a small pile of rocket and a generous squiggle of balsamic vinegar. So far so good.

We have a new barbecue and after weeks of wrong parts, we finally have the rotisserie working. I did some pork last weekend and although a spot charred, I finally adjusted the temperature and the end result was crispy crackling and juicy meat. So I thought I’d repeat it. I had a beautiful rolled, well-scored loin. Hopes were high. I found a Donna Hay recipe and stole the idea to serve it with slices of Stilton and a port and honey sauce. I was also doing creamy mash and dressed radicchio and spinach leaves.

Guests arrive, we’re sipping champagne, I’m arranging oysters and pop the chorizo in the oven – all's going well until Elle (12 year old) races in “Mum, oh my god! There’s smoke pouring out of the barbecue and you should see the meat!’ I sprint out – and she’s right. My pork looks like a charred offering. OMG all right. Bloody hell!!! Seems the aluminum drip trays ignited, causing a small, enclosed inferno, taking the under-hood temperature from 200 to about 800 for only a matter of minutes, but what damaging minutes they were!

Geoff is so distracted by the potential ruination of his new barbecue, he completely forgets about the guests. The paint up the deck pole, which was white, is now black-ish and the paint blistered. ‘Could have been worse,’ I mutter, ‘the deck could have caught fire.’ He heads back to the guests to announce that dinner is pretty much fucked. So helpful.

I get the meat on the metre-long skewer inside, burn my arm in the panic and get the pork off and under foil to ‘rest’ (possibly more like RIP!).  ‘Have another champagne,’ my wise friends advise, ‘and we’ve saved you a couple of oysters too. Relax!’

Tarts eaten (despite a good suggestion that perhaps I could have made them main) I crack off the worse of the charring and carve the meat. Despite its shrunken, possum-caught-in-a-bush-fire appearance, it was surprisingly – no, miraculously -  okay. In fact, my three men-friends all threw their hands up for seconds. Bless!



Monday, September 5, 2011

T.F. Sunglasses

Here are my friend Mandy's T.F. sunglasses. That's Tom Ford. Original, stylish, genuine.... and rather expensive. Mandy was quick to point out that they even came with a lovely case to keep them in.



Here are my T.F. sunglasses. Two 4 Forty (dollars) from the local mall. Admittedly, not quite as stylish, but serve the same purpose. After I declined the additional expense of a not-very-special sleeve to put them in, they threw in an oh-so-practical zip-lock plastic bag.

By my maths, my T.F.s were less than 10% of Mandy's T.F.s. To some people, that's savvy. To others, it's a waste of money on a cheap imitation.

Which camp do you fall into?

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