Tuesday, 25 December 2012

'Tis the season for giving...

It's not hard to think about those less fortunate than yourself at this time of the year - especially with all the direct mail from any and every group you've ever given money to in your whole entire life comes flooding through the letter box. So in the spirit of the season I was compelled to fill in my Visa details for a couple of them, as well as buying some gifts for the wishing tree at Sass's school and gifting an education for a girl in Africa and a pair of ducks for some other poor poverty stricken community.

What I hadn't counted on was my $70 contribution to The City of Melbourne. I copped a parking fine a couple of weeks ago. We had put all available coin into the meter just before 6pm hoping it'd take us through to the non-restricted, free for all period starting at 7pm. But it wasn't to be. Yes, in the spirit of Christmas, the time of issue on the ticket was ...... 6.58pm. And a merry Christmas to you too City of Melbourne!!

Friday, 21 December 2012

The Card

Some of you may have seen the article my business partner Mandy and I got in B&T (an industry mag) a couple of weeks ago. (If the type is coloured, it is a link - just in case that isn't apparent - in this case, to said article).

Elle commented that it was a great shot of Mandy - but perhaps not my best. 
'Yeah, well, Mandy picked it,' I said.
'Hmmmm.......' said Elle.
'Here's the one I put on our Thread FaceBook page, what do you think of that one?'
'That's a good one of Mandy too, and a better one of you,' she decided.
'Yes, well, I chose that one!'

I keep telling people this story - in front of Mandy! Because in truth, what happened was she sent out the release and forgot a photo. I shot her an email but she'd already realised. We were due at a meeting and she literally had to fly home, send a pic and get going again - no time for a considered selection. It was sent just after 12 noon and the article appeared at 2pm. She says I'm being unfair by not telling everyone this part of it and I keep tell her to stop ruining my story!!! 

Anyway, just to wrap it up, here's a scan of the card she gave me yesterday. I laughed so hard I nearly wet my pants!!!!

Just a bit of house keeping - a couple of people have asked how to comment if you receive these posts via email. You need to hit a link - usually the post title - which will take you onto the blog online and then you can comment. Although I'm tempted to request no comments on this post -  it is a joke - not a competition!!

Thursday, 20 December 2012


Straight from the oven
Tuesday night dinner for the relatives-who-aren't-related dinner
Yes, it's that time of the year! I've cooked two breasts so far and both have come up a treat. I bought a frozen buffet from the supermarket, took both breasts off and used the carcass for stock. For $45 it was incredibly good value.

The best thing about the buffet is it's all breast so it's juicy and tender and you just slice and serve.

I made a stuffing by first simmering sultanas and prunes in water, loads of cinnamon, lemon juice and lemon rind. There might have been some orange juice and rind too. Once the fruit had puffed up I added a few slices of spicy fruit loaf - as usual, because that's what was on the bench - but it worked really well. I folded a big can of pie apples into that now mushy concoction (you can stew your own if you want, but why??) and some toasted almond slivers. I then just push the stuffing under the skin of the breast, secure with a couple of skewers and Bob's your uncle. 

Pour melted butter over the skin, and I used a salt, lemon myrtle, pepper, macadamia mix to sprinkle over the top but just salt and pepper will do. Cook at 180C for about an hour and 40 minutes and you're done. In fact, I got home on Tuesday at 4.50pm and we were eating this at seven. But the girls (Frankie, Gabi, Elle and Sass) did a brilliant quinoa salad and the dessert below.

May your turkey be juicy and perfectly cooked this Christmas!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Roast veggie, rocket and feta salad

Another salad creation - it was great with cold roast turkey in the park on Sunday with the cousins.

Cube and roast with a few splashes of olive oil:
  • pumpkin - throw the seeds in too, Kiersten my American friend taught me that - and I sprinkled a generous amount of cumin over it too
  • beetroot
  • Spanish/red onion
  • sweet potato
You could also roast garlic, zucchini, parsnip, carrot - just check what's in the fridge.
Try and keep the beetroot in it's own baking dish - it does stain everything else purple.

Once roasted, allow to cool, then mix through:
  • rocket
  • goat's cheese feta - crumbled
  • a heap of chopped tarragon (this is the magic ingredient)
  • loads of lemon juice and grated lemon rind
  • salt and black pepper
  • more cumin if you like it
Sprinkle generously with toasted pine nuts. (You don't need to add oil as there should be enough from the roasting)

This is another one that could be a meal in itself with a blob of sharp, natural yoghurt and a chuck of crusty olive baguette. And perhaps a glass of something white and crisp...

Monday, 17 December 2012

A stranger - the other perspective

So my last post was about a stranger who was no help at all. But it got me thinking about other strangers who have been enormously touching.

While in Modesto, where George has been airlifted, I went to a T Mobile shop to buy more credit for the phone. The gorgeous girl in the shop - of JLo-like beauty - was fascinated by a tourist in her home town.
'How come you're in Modesto', she asked?
'Oh, we're just driving around in our RV, having a look', I deflected.
'How long are you here?' she asked, again amazed that anyone would be more than passing through. She was so lovely I decided to come clean.
'Actually, our son is in the hospital and we're not sure how long we'll be here', I admitted.
'How's he doing?' she asked, probably thinking broken limb.
'Not great. He's on life support.' Her shock was visible.
'Oh my god, I am so sorry', she offered with sincerity. 'Seriously, if you need anything - if you want to know where to eat or need a park or anything - come by the shop. This is Travis,' she said, introducing her colleague behind the counter, 'he'll be here tomorrow, but I'm here all next week. But if you need anything, please, just call.'

She handed me a card with her name - Angel.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

The Letter

Sass came home tonight with a letter for us that had been addressed via her school. I recognised the hand writing immediately. This person wrote to us when Jaz died and I was so angry at the time I threatened to write back. I'm a tad more mellow this time, but my annoyance is still piqued.

Why? Because not only did this person not know George and Jaz, they don't know us. He cheerfully admits he gleaned our details from the death notices in the newspaper. You may think I'm being harsh about a well meaning stranger, but I find it objectionable and completely self-serving that this man chooses to quote chunks of the bible at us and suppose that he has any understanding of what we're going through. The entire letter is dripping with his own purpose - not ours.

"What I am writing is rather than a few nice words [sic], is what I have found has helped me under similar circumstances when my parents dies." Not even close, buddy.

"Although thought by many to be obsolete in this day and age, The Bible has the answers as to where the dead are and what the future holds for them and us." How does 'fuck off' sound?

"Having told you of my care and concern, I will not write again [thank Christ!!!] however if you feel I can be of any help, please do not hesitate to let me know." All contacted details provided. I was thinking of contacting him and telling him what I think, but then I remembered I am trying to be more gracious.

And finally, the icing on this cake: "PS I must apologise for using the computer for this personal letter [soooo personal - it's the exact same letter he sent when Jazzy died] because my disability makes it painful to write for any length of time." Mate, I'll tell you about disability - and it's a hell of lot worse that a sore hand.

Now never mind that we're non-believers as I've blogged about before, but the whiff of self-serving superiority and righteousness is down-right nauseating. This letter is NOT about us. It's about 'Richard' making himself feel like a top bloke for being so caring and sharing. And that's what makes me so god-damned angry.

I was reminded of the time I foolish allowed some unknown nutter at Chadstone say a prayer for Jaz. He'd clearly singled her out because of her disability. That alone should have been cause enough for me to tell him to fuck off too. And had I know he was going to fall to his knees, gripping the wheel of her chair like it was his last salvation, as we stood in the queue for New Zealand Natural Ice-Cream and loudly start chanting - no, actually, ranting - I would never have agreed. I should have gather up my flock and wheeled off. But no, shocked, we endured minutes of this torture, this public demonstration of his 'goodness' and god-fearing, heart-felt sincerity as Jaz sat there, looking both bewildered and yes, sorry for him! Never the less,I should never have allowed her to be subjected to that.

Am I wrong??

(Please do try and post them on the comments section below, or sign up for Disqus, it's painless.)

Monday, 10 December 2012

Asian Salad

I made this salad last week. I think it would have looked better in a black bowl, but if you can get past the fact it doesn't look amazing, it did taste sooooo good, it could happily be a lunch on its own. I think mint is herb de jour at the moment but does make everything taste summery and what's not to love about that?

Here's what's in it:

  • Asian cabbage - slice as finely as you can
  • Chopped honey-roasted peanuts (I used honey roasted because they were on the bench, but as it so happened, they were a great)
  • Fresh peas - raw
  • Celery - diced to about same size as the peas
  • Grated carrot - to save it being complete anemic - you could add red pepper too if you like
  • Loads of chopped mint
  • Spring onions, skinny slices
  • Lots of sesame seeds
For the dressing, in a jar:
  • A good slug of sesame oil
  • A small splash of tamari (or soy)
  • A drizzle of fish sauce
  • A big squeeze of lime juice
  • As much chili as you care for - or not
  • Some crushed garlic
  • Some minced ginger - again, if you like it
Optional extras:
  • Some like the crunchy bite of a packet of noodles
  • Fresh chopped coriander
  • Vietnamese mint (kinda tastes like mint and coriander to me!)
  • A squirt of honey in the dressing if you don't use honey-roasted peanuts
And if you can't be bothered making dressing, buy the Thai dressing at the supermarket in the Asian section - it's not bad! But I'd still recommend some sesame oil as well.

Just in whatever portions you like to your tastes. Give it a good shake and pour on.

We had it with grilled pork steaks but it's also be yum with chicken. Works for the 'no carbs after 3pm' kick Geoff and I are currently enduring.

Friday, 7 December 2012


As you know, I do like a good mani. Remember those weird silver foils I had put on? And the time I was sprung by the Managing Director - now a CEO no less - painting my toe nails at my desk??

Well check out my nails this week!

My hands look like I'm 110, but the nails are perfectly shaped and shellaced!

I swore off Shellac last year but am now an utter devotee. I had my nails Shellaced twice at one of those nail places that appear to offer such good value - but had to grow out the damage both times. I think because I have stumbled across a beautician who's attention to detail is second to none, I now have my nails done every 3 to 4 weeks. I'm not gentle on them - I scrub the barbecue without gloves - but still, they look great. I had them done on Tuesday morning before lunch with my friend Sally. By 2pm, she too had an appointment with the amazing Maria. Let me know if you need awesome nails and I'd be happy to pass on her number.

BTW, you may have noticed I don't do the paid promo - but some products and services just deserve to be shared!

Monday, 3 December 2012


I saw this quote recently on Pintrest (you can follow me there too! Just click here) and immediately thought to print and laminate it for Eleanor as her mantra for life.

But who am I kidding??

This should be MY mantra for life! Having had my face fried in the quest for 'pretty', achieved or not, it'd have to be said I give it a red hot go. And 'witty', well again, I'll let you be your own judge, but I am inclined to make myself laugh a fair bit (leading the kids to comment that I do find myself hilarious).

So that leaves 'gracious'. And that's an ambition I could do well to be more conscious of every day with every interaction (family and close friends excluded!) But imagine truly always being gracious. The dictionary says it's polite, affable, courteous, amiable, congenial, social, well-mannered, civil, tactful, kind, diplomatic and genial. I suspect my language (fuck!) might let me down a tad.... and a tendency to smart-arsed-ness.

I have a long way to go, in fact in honesty, it's unlikely I'll ever achieve it, but I am going to try and think about it more. But I'm promising nothing!

The Moroccan Bath

The girls and I have come up to Dubai for a few days to escape the Melbourne winter. It's in the 40s so we've thawed out - quickly. ...