Friday, June 29, 2012
I awoke yesterday to a very distraught little girl pleading with me to let her stay home from school. "My tummy really, really hurts mum", she said.
There have been all sorts of nasty bugs doing the rounds lately and even though Ada has a bad habit of saying something hurts on a daily basis, for some reason her tears seemed much more genuine than usual and I found myself telling her she could have the day off at home with me. We dropped Kye off at kindy and just like magic Ada perked up, tears disappeared and any hint of that sore tummy were long forgotten. I'd totally been conned.
It's been a long term at school and we're nearing the end of it with only one week to go until the holidays start. It's not very often that Ada and I get to spend time alone without her brother around, so conned or not, I didn't mind letting her spend the day at home, call it a mental health day if you will. Because even if the sore tummy was not real, I know her poor little body and mind could do with a day off. It's been such a big year.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
With all this rain we've been having over the last fortnight I've barely even looked at our garden. I have ran out to pick the odd lettuce or rocket leaf and we are starting to eat a few outer leaves of the kale, but I have to admit it's been a tad too long since I've spent real time out there, checking on the plants and giving them the love and attention they need.
With my lack of attention the cabbages are looking a little sad. The aphids have moved in, feasting on their sweet tender inner leaves and sapping the life out of the plants. They are right at the crucial stage of trying to tighten up to form the bud which will then balloon to form the cabbage. But at least half of them are so riddled with aphids, their future looks dreary.
In a bid to keep them alive I've taken to the two natural ways that I use to get rid of these little sap-sucking buggars. Water and soap.
First up, every day I've been blasting them with the hose on high. Get your hose right in there, turn it on full and wash away all of them as best you can. Open out some of the inner leaves as they tend to hid in there where no one can see and blast hard. For the really sick, bug eaten leaves I actually just pull them off and discard them. This has been working on it's own, but should they come back with a vengeance I will turn to soapy water spray next. To make this, mix one teaspoon of natural eco-friendly laundry or dish washing liquid with one litre of water and spray all over the bugs. Use just once a week for a few weeks though as I've read recently that if it's used for any longer you can run the risk of damaging your plant and the residue left on the soil can kill good soil bacteria.
Thursday, June 21, 2012
It's freezing today. I mean proper finger numbing, toe aching, shiver-inducing cold as cold can be. Perth is the craziest place of extremes, hot as hell in summer and then just as freezing as back home in NZ in the wintertime?! That's why I enjoy spring and autumn so much, give me mild any day.
When most people would simply reach for another jumper to put on, light the fire or switch on the heater I tend to think about ways to heat myself up from the inside out... with chilli. It's no surprise that I am a big chilli fan and I try to sneak them into as many dishes as I can throughout the year, but it is in winter that I really appreciate the heat they bring.
Friday, June 15, 2012
Cooking legend Julia Child would have been turning 100 on August 15th this year. For the past 6 weeks bloggers from around the world have been invited to cook recipes in her honour as part of JC100. Each week there's been a different recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking to play with if we so choose and while I openly admit that the first bunch of recipes (Rolled omelette, Chocolate mousse, Coq au vin, Niçoise salad and Vichyssoise) didn't exactly get me inspired to join in, this weeks recipe for Reine De Saba had me throwing chocolate all over the kitchen in no time at all! Go figure...
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Citrus season is in full-swing in Perth and I've never seen such laden trees before moving over here! Back home in NZ our lemon tree used to take turns, you know... one year millions of fruit, the next, only a handful. But here, the trees seem to be full to branch-breaking point every year. We have a lemon tree out back nearly reading to start picking, sadly they are not my favourite kind of lemon; thick skin, super tart and not all that juicy but a friend of mine has the most amazing tree and kindly gifted us a big bag of these beauties below. She reckons her tree is that full that even after picking heaps of bags you still can't see any less.
I was all ready to get stuck into making lemon pudding this Sunday just gone. It was the craziest of days, one of those days when the wind was howling and the rain was coming down in sheets. At one point we were scared our lemon tree was going to turn into a weapon, the way is was bending from side to side, bright yellow bombs at the ready should a gust come through strong enough to let them fly.
Just as I was motivating myself to get up and make these puddings a reality... the power went out. And even though the updates on our power companies website keep promising it would be back on again at 9pm... then 12pm... it didn't come back on until a day and a half later! (By which time Si's iphone was well and truly flat and we'd stopped believing the updates anyway).
We were okay, the kids played board games and drew pictures all day as they had yet another day off school. But my god were we glad when that light flicked on just before 5pm last night. I didn't feel like another night of recharging the kids (hand-charged) torches every few hours to use as their makeshift night-lights.
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
A little bit salty, a little bit spicy, a little bit sour and a little bit sweet. This is my idea of the perfect bowl of soup. Add in some slippery noodles and a tangle of Asian greens and I'm one happy lady. As I've mentioned before, soup is not something I cook all that often. I love it, Ada loves it. But the boys of the family just don't get it.
I've been up every night over the long weekend nursing my poor little sick babies. So today while they were home off school for another day, I thought it would be the perfect time to treat Ada and I to a bowlful of spicy soup. (Kye was still too sick to eat much so was happy just eating a piece of toast as we tucked in). This is one of those curry-esque type soups that's fragrant and full of all the Southeast Asian flavours I love; kaffir lime leave, lemongrass, chilli and ginger, although galangal would be much more authentic to use if available and affordable where you live (same goes for using shallots in place of red onion if you can). Candlenuts are used as a thickener and also lend a beautiful flavour to the soup. But of course if you can't track them down I've listed a bunch of alternatives in the recipe notes below, so everyone can make it!
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apt. 2 baking co