Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Sunday 27 February 2011

Recipes - your wish is my command

These are both easy/peasy.  The fudge sinfully so because it is something that should go on the eat very rarely list.  Sigh.

Chocolate Pistachio Fudge
350g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids) chopped
1 x 400 g tin of condensed milk
30 g butter
pinch of salt (which I left out)
150 g unsalted pistachios or a combination pistachios/raisins.  The smaller portion suggested that next time dried sour cherries would be good.  He is right.  I added a splash of rum to the nuts and the raisins

Put the chopped chocolate and the condensed milk and the butter in a saucepan and heat and stir slowly over a low heat until melted and well combined.

Bash the nuts ( a good stress reliever) until they are broken up a bit.  Stir them and whatever else you fancy into the chocolate mix.  I added a bit of cinnamon as I love it with chocolate.

Pour into a 23cm square tray, smoothing out the top a bit.  Let it cool for a bit and then refrigerate until set.

Cut into smallish pieces and indulge.

Zucchini Crust Pizza

3 cups grated zucchinni (I found one smallish zucchini was about a cup).
3 eggs
1/3 cup plain flour (I used wholemeal)
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese (I used much less)
2 small tomatoes, halved and finely chopped.
1/2 cup chopped onion
Whatever else you fancy - I used mushrooms and fresh asparagus
oregano and basil to taste
3 tbsp grated parmesan

In a large bowl mix zucchinni and eggs.  Stir in the flour - I added a little onion and garlic too.  Spread onto a 30cm pizza pan coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 230C for eight minutes, then remove and apply topping.

Turn oven down to 180C.  Bake for 15-20 mins until onion is tender and cheese melted.

I think next time I will give the crust a little longer at maybe 240C or so.

As I said the base was more like a zucchini frittata - but it tasted good.



I am seriously knackered.  However it is a good  knackered.

The usual Saturday tasks happened - washing and changing sheets etc.  (And I love the smell of clean sheets - if there was a clean sheets fairy I would have them every day).  And sweeping of the back deck.

And then I finally finished the curtains and himself hung them for me.  The hanging needs some adjustment (a bit of bunching) but they are a decided improvement.  Both of us are pack rats and the room needed lightness so the plethora of things could be seen.  And grotty green velvet is not a suitable backdrop for much.  If anything.

Then I was on a roll.  So I made some pistachio and golden raisin fudge.  A bit of a worry.  It is simplicity itself to make and unfortunately even easier to eat.

And then I went on to make a zucchini crust pizza.

The first photo shows the crust before its first stint in the oven.  It didn't turn out quite as crisp as I would have liked - think zucchini frittata, but the taste was good.  And himself was having steak so I had the pizza to myself with mushrooms and asparagus and tomatoes from the garden and onions and garlic and a little cheese.  Next time I will probably turn the oven up but it was a satisfactory experiment.  And there is plenty left for tonight and probably tomorrow.

This morning we went to the markets.  Flowers for the house - a regular luxury, sour dough olive bread (ditto) and a birthday present for my nephew in California.  This is scary.  I was not a good aunt and now I am a great aunt - five times over.  And I have never met my nephew's wife or their boys but I email with them LOTS and she makes my day on a regular basis.

When we came home from the markets the cats were in mad mode.  I can only assume that there is red cordial in their whiskas.  Jazz was running through the house at full pelt, leaping to the cook top, then to the fridge and climbing from there to behind the cupboards.  A feat he was very pleased with.  It is disconcerting to hear loud purrs emanating from behind the cupboards.  But lovely.  When he re-emerged Jewel ambushed him and the chasing games began again.  A hoot to watch.

So, I did the ironing and have done very little of a productive nature since.  One of the smaller portion's aunts liked ironing because it is 'quiet and clean' but I can't agree.  But she had five children and I would think that quiet and clean jobs were rare.

No gardening happened, but the weeds will wait for me.  They will grow true, but they will still be there when I get into the garden next.  And I am thinking of all the spring bulbs I want to put in .....

Wednesday 23 February 2011

Life and the Universe

Things are much more better since my last post.  I am still having some difficulties with my body, but much less.  Consequently I am also whinging less.

The garden is finally producing edible things for my delight.  And more each day.  Chutney making will be essential. 

In the trays there are cherry tomatoes (very prolific), some mellow yellow(s) - which are very sweet, a couple of black russians which have split due to the rain but still taste great and some red braggers - a variety I hadn't come across before this year.  And I will plant them again.

The herbs and the climbing spinach are also thriving.  The raspberry canes are rampant.

I have also continued to make curtains.  We had to buy more hooks today and I have been disinclined to hang the damn things, but there is now only one drop left to complete.

The first photo is the view of the back yard jungle I get from my sewing machine, and the second photo is drop the first in place.  The curtains they replace are made of green velvet which predated us in this house.  They are manky beyond belief and I suspect would disintegrate in the wash - so I haven't tried.

I have also been reading.  I have just finished a biography of Mary Proctor - Convict, Pioneer and Settler.  Truly amazing.  She was transported to Van Diemans Land in the 1820s as a teenager for the crime of receiving stolen goods (some clothing which she may or may not have known was stolen).  While in Australia she was present at a huge number of the significant events in our early history.  She and her husband (she married another convict) cleared land for farms in both Tasmania and Victoria.  She was living in Victoria when it was granted statehood.  She, her husband and their children were part of the gold rush and probably the Eureka stockade and a grandson rose to become Superintendent of Mining and was presented to the King and Queen.  An amazing story of an ordinary woman.

It occurs to me that I have been bad mouthing Jazz the psychotic.  Jewel has her moments too.  She is the one who wakes me at 2.30 to watch her play acorn and applaud her cleverness.  And it is she who follows behind me in the garden when I am planting bulbs and digs them up and snorts the blood and bone I add to each little hole. Crack cocaine for cats.   Nonetheless I love them both.  Jazz can now open the fridge - so we had to install a child proof lock and he has now taught that little trick to Jewel.

Nest on the top shelf - moulting mandatory

They are both ensconced in the wardrobe at the moment.  In the lower photo Jazz is reclining on the light over the fish tank - warm and entrancing for a cat.

Friday 18 February 2011

Whinge, moan, complain

I suspect this is going to be a self indulgent whinge so if you are not up to reading same, exit now.

This has (mostly) been a less than wonderous week.  My body is behaving badly and getting up and down (think chairs, bed and dammit the loo) is challenging.  It also hurts.

So I went swimming on Tuesday - which almost always helps.  I swam hard and fast (for me) and managed nearly 1.25 ks.  Came home and felt like death on a stick.  My daggy curtains are offending me so I sewed the side seams on one of the four lengths.  Went to bed.

Wednesday:  Rotten nights sleep.  Got up by Jazz a little after five.  Go to the loo.  Get stuck.  Say a few words.  Lever self up.  Because I am stupid I did a little weeding - only the weeds I could reach from a standing position.  Sewed the side seams of another curtain length.  Telemarketing calls from 'computer solutions'.  Two calls despite being on the do not call register.  Humph.

Thursday:  A woman from the MS centre calls and despite trying to be helpful left me depressed.  She was essentially suggesting that going onto some form of benefit through Centrelink was a good idea and that I should resign myself to being able to do less.  Dammit.  Sewed another curtain length.  Same telemarketers call again.  Three times.

Friday:  Weeded. Came inside and was quietly reading the paper.  Jazz leapt at me, fanged my knee and gouged my calf and ankle.  No idea what that was about.  He came down to investigate while I applied disinfectant and was fascinated.   Went to lunch with smaller portion, two sisters in law and favourite brother as middle brother is overseas being important.   Mushroom lasagne.  Yum.  Then I remembered why I dislike favourite brother's wife.  She was asserting that women of a certain age have no higher calling than being a grandmother.  I am childless.  Through discipline and will power she has lost 10 kilos.  I have neither and am overweight.  She has sewed curtains for eight or ten homes (she forgets) and people always admire them.  So my lasagne sat like lead in my belly and I came home feeling inadequate.  And sewed the final curtain length.

With luck tomorrow I will not be feeling so sore or so useless and will finish the damn curtains.

On a small high.  I just went to the loo and Jewel joined me purring in ecstasy.  Not hygienic but it had charm.  She is now in the kitchen playing with her favourite toy - an acorn shell.  She has many toys but in acorn season last year she trotted across the road, picked up an acorn and brought it home.  She tosses it round in the kitchen because she likes the noise or, on energetic days, ricochets it round the bathroom.  She has taught Jazz the joys of acorn as well but he plays rough and often breaks them.  It is just as well that acorn season is nearly upon us, because we are down to the last four or five.

Monday 14 February 2011

Suicide by cop

While reading my morning paper this morning I discovered that very early yesterday morning our police shot a man dead.  http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/man-shot-dead-by-police/2074772.aspx
And as I read further I discovered that the same man had been shot by police in September of last year in very similar circumstances.  And had apparently told police at the time of the first shooting that he wished they had shot him in the head.

While my heart goes out to the poor man's family and friends I am, if anything, more sorry for the police and their family and friends.  I don't as it happens have a problem with suicide and to open a new can of worms given our current laws about euthenasia sometimes it is people's only option BUT I don't think you should get other people be they police, train drivers or your family to do the deed for you.

Sunday 13 February 2011


Why did no-one tell me that blogging was going to be addictive?

I was already spending significant amounts of time exploring, and now I seem to have an excuse for spending more time in the blogosphere.  And I am continually awed and amazed by the calibre of blogs to be found.  Is blogging to become my newest obsession to join reading, gardening, the cats, cooking and, and, and...

Am I the only person out there who attempts to reason with cats?  And, needless to say fails.

And why do our two cats behave like four cats?

Jazz likes to sit in my chair.  If I attempt to move him he bites.  Hard.  Purring loudly.  He also likes to sit in the smaller portions chair.  If the S.P attempts to move him, he purrs and moves over.  He does not swing from himself's behind.  Nor does he chase him through the house swatting and spiking.  But purring.  Nor does he rake him under the bedclothes.

Jewel will not sit in himself's lap.  She loves mine, particularly if I am on the phone.  She comes if himself calls her, and treats me with ignore.  Jazz comes in when he is damn well ready.

Both of them recline in nests they have made in our wardrobe.  We cannot keep them out, and any clothing we extract to wear has a patina of black fur.  The doors are sliding ones, and Jazz is strong enough to open them.  I have tried wedging the door shut but he just worked harder.

Why do I never learn?

In common with many people with MS, heat and fatigue are big issues.  So this morning, after going to the Farmer's Market (bread, chocolate, apples and flowers) I decided to sweep the back deck.  And weed.  Four big bags of weeds later the perspiration was pouring off my face and I felt sick.  For an intelligent person I am, at best, a slow learner.

My fine motor control is shot.  Do I accept that?  Do I hell.  The photos above are tapestries/embroideries I took on to show my hands who was boss.  They are.  I swim to show my legs (which come along for the ride) who is boss.  They are.

And, an unrelated question which I feel sure someone knows the answer to.  For how long should a past person be referred to as the late? 

Thursday 10 February 2011

Why am I not rational?

As I type, my tummy is tying itself in knots.  Why?  Because in a little while I will be heading off to do a shift at Lifeline.  Something I have done for well over ten years.  And despite this, every time the anxiety levels rise.  I have rationalised it by telling myself that if it didn't happen I would be getting blase and should leave, but nonetheless .... And this is despite the fact that I find it incredibly rewarding and endlessly interesting.  Over the years I have spoken to some amazing and aweinspiring people.  Like the woman who rings from time to time who makes my facee hurt because I have been smiling so broadly.  And others who are facing things that would have me velcroed to the carpet under my bed.  The sexual fantasy callers are another matter - LL is cheaper than the dedicated sex lines - but they get short shrift.

So I will turn my mind to more soothing things.  Our tomatoes are finally ripening.  And we have picked a myriad of cherry tomatoes, a couple of  'Bragger' (new to us but yummy) and some black russians.  The climbing spinach,  the basil (three types), and the other herbs are thriving.  A good year.

And yesterday, in addition to the king parrots we were visited by corellas (two types), sparrows, wattle-birds, cockies, galahs, rosellas, currawongs and a magenpie.  Wonderful.  A surprising number of them like apple, but they much prefer green ones so they are a fixture on the shopping list.  

Enough waffle.  I should gird my loins.

Wednesday 9 February 2011

..shoes and ships and sealing wax...

Yesterday I went for a swim - and managed a little over a kilometre which I am pleased with.  It may have looked like the great white whale lumbering up and down the pool but I can't see me.  So there.  And I swim to reduce the pain and mostly it does.
Then I had a small reward and met a friend for a cup of tea.  She also invited a friend and a good time was had by all.
Home again, home again, jiggety jig.  By which time the smaller portion was up and had (joy and bliss) done the grocery shopping.  Not a task I enjoy.
For the rest of the day I read agreeable trash (Little Vampire Women) and thought about the things I should be doing.  Liking wrestling with the weeds in the garden.  Perhaps today.  Or perhaps not.  If I get down onto the ground I have HUGE difficulties getting up again at the moment and while I have crawled across the lawn to pull myself up on the front steps before it is not a good look.  But a number of companies have been sending me gardening pornography in the form of bulb catalogues, and if I am to succumb (I will) I need to clear a space for things to go.
And this morning I was greeted when I opened the daggy old curtains in the lounge with a pair of King Parrots - mother and baby.  Wonderful.  We haven't seen the king parrots for a few weeks and it was lovely to see them back.

Monday 7 February 2011

A brave new world

Good morning.

After exploring the blogosphere for a few weeks I have decided that it is time to bite the bullet and come out from hiding (at least a bit). 
I have been awed and amazed by the calibre of blogs I have been investigating, and over time hope to get somewhere myself.
So an introduction:  Over ten years ago now I was forced to give up work when MS meant that I could no longer contribute in a way which satisfied me (or probably my employer).  This resulted in a moral dilemma when I realised that a lot of who I was related to what I did.
So I started to re-invent myself (a work still in progress).  I took up voluntary work and am still with the same organisation just over 13 years later.  I play more in the garden.
I play with the cats.
I garden.
I cook - vegetarian food for me, and carnivorous dishes for my smaller portion.  My mama called him my better half, but I am taller.
And I read.  Lots.  And a wide range.  I read murder mysteries, and lots and lots of biographies.  And books of collected letters.  And diaries.  Like the elephants child I suffer from insatiable curiosity.
Comments welcome, but this blog is definitely a work in progress and will (I hope not only change but improve.)