Food Glorious Food

I feel like I need to make it up to you after the last blog post. So many words, no pictures.

So I figured, the way to a mans heart is through his stomach. Why should my readers be any different?

I know there are people out there that see food as a purely functional thing: fuel for energy and all that. Then there are those healthy, organic, you are what you eat types. Me? I’m an emotional eater. To me, food is an expression. Of how you are feeling, how you feel about others. I can connect most, if not all, of the important events in my life to food. I’m often told its a product of my southern European upbringing- we tend to show affection through food. We cook huge meals for loved ones, we bring cakes & biscuits, we are constantly offering more. Major life events- christenings, weddings, even funerals revolve around food. In the case of the latter its a way of those close to the mourning family to show their sympathy and support, by ensuring they have a proper meal prepared for them after the funeral. It’s probably why I often eat my emotions and why I can lift my mood with a macaron or lemon tart (or block of chocolate. Or…you get the drift). And its also why a bad meal can put me into a bad mood. If I’ve taken the time to sit down and enjoy it and its disappointing, it can ruin my day. I’m not a food snob though- I can get as much satisfaction out of a Big Mac as I can out of a three-hat degustation.

 

So in this spirit I’m sharing some of the culinary highlights of the past few weeks.

 

In the words of Faux Fuchsia, vegetarians look away now.

 

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Just a little snack. This, my friends is a Tomohawk steak from Costco. It’s like a T-bone on steroids. The meat is melt in your mouth tender and it only requires a bit of salt, pepper & a smudge of olive oil, nothing else.

 

Best thing about cold weather?

 

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Four words: Lamb shanks. Slow Cooker.

 

There is no great secret here- I googled a “lamb shanks slow cooker” and did a mish mash of the first few recipes that came up. Seasoning with salt and pepper. some red wine and vegetable stock, a few carrots and done. Served with mash (because to do otherwise is a sin punishable by death). I have a very close relationship with my slow cooker- we get along famously. It’s a Breville  and I love it because I can brown the meat in the pot (it can be put on the stove then straight back into the slow cooker). I bought it just after I had A and I used it constantly last winter. Looks like its going to get another work out this year.

 

After something more exotic?

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How about a chicken and preserved lemon tagine? This is from  Moroccan cookbook, which I now cannot find but will post the name of when I do.. The simple version is chicken thighs, potatoes, preserved lemon, pitted green olives, harissa, chermoula & chicken stock all go into the tagine and then come out a couple of hours later ready to transport you to gastronomic heaven. With some buttery cous cous on the side of course (If you’re one of those healthy types you could use quinoa, I’m not going to judge. Actually, that’s totally a lie.)

 

Comfort food more your game?

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These are the reason I married my husband. Look, M is a great guy and all, but his real talent lies in home-made pizza. Makes the dough from scratch and he cooks it in our wood fired oven. I can forgive a lot of a man that can make a pizza as good as this. But don’t tell him I said that. His bread is phenomenal too, but I’ll save that for another post.

 

Something sweet to finish

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If you’ve been living under a rock or you don’t have Pinterest (which is kind of the same thing), you probably won’t recognise these. But they are a big deal among the crafty set. It’s cake in a jar. I attempted them for A’s first birthday party. I cheated and used Betty Crocker vanilla cake mix, but I have been reliably informed that it wasn’t to any detriment of the taste (it was an easy crowd, what can I say?). They are twee but they’re also cute and the kids went nuts over them.

 

So there you have it. A preview of a few of the reasons why my clothes don’t fit and I now hold a gym membership. 

The Mother Load

Last Sunday was Mother’s Day here in Australia. This always produces an avalanche of thought on the role of mothers and their importance. Social media is flooded with people thanking their mothers, signing their praises and signalling their gratitude for being a mother. Another not so recent event was A’s first birthday. This is a big milestone for any mother, but in resonated with me as it coincided with my (part time) return to work. Its been a big year and if you’ve read this blog you will know that along with the many joys there have been a few challenges. But we survived the first twelve months relatively intact.

Mother’s day wasn’t always a joyous event. A couple of years ago, it was preceded by my three unsuccessful IVF cycles. Watching mothers being deified is crushing when its the only thing you want to be and the one thing you can’t. Its not that I think that we shouldn’t show appreciation for mothers, we absolutely should. I just think that we need to be conscious that the rhetoric that comes with a day like that can be a knife through the heart for many and often that rhetoric is empty and useless to the very mothers it claims to love. It is a little hypocritical to, on the one hand, put mothers on a pedestal for a day, then the rest of the year tear away at them in myriad of ways. From mummy wars, to poor childcare resources, to unsuitable working arrangements. The ways in which we can actually support mothers rather than the tokenism that one day of the year offers are many and varied. I’m sure many mothers would prefer affordable, accessible childcare over flowers and flexible working arrangements over a dressing gown. Often we separate mothers’ issues form women’s issues, when often they are one and the same.

Which brings me to my next thought, about our identity as mothers and wether we can be considered separate from that big part of ourselves. I think we often find it hard to identify ourselves as more than the parent of our children, particularly if you are a stay at home mum. A lot of who we used to be is lost in the transition and we often just call ourselves someone’s mum. When really we are much more than that. It seems to be a rising trend to take on motherhood as the whole of our persona and dedicate your entire existence to mothering. You are a “bad’ mother if you have interests outside of your child. If you have a desire to work outside the home or resume your career. Its also tied to being a “better” woman, if you’re a better mother. Which is offensive to those that are trying to be and can’t, and also those that have no desire to be at all. Motherhood has become a contest of who does more for their child, whose sacrifices are greater. This competition doesn’t interest me. I enjoy time out from my kid occasionally, so I guess that disqualified me early on. If I’m brutally honest, I do sometimes miss my pre-child life. I often feel that I can’t say that due to the difficulty I had in falling pregnant. But just because my journey to motherhood was more difficult, does not mean that I do not share the daily frustrations that someone who fell pregnant on their first try feels.

Everyone know that motherhood comes with a massive life adjustment: everything is turned upside down. I wasn’t nearly arrogant enough to think I could fathom what that would mean, but I was silly enough to think I knew what I didn’t know and that finding answers would be easy, if you knew what you were looking for. I know for many, their experience of first time motherhood can be scary and overwhelming but generally they get the gist by about 3 months. I feel like I have been at this for a year and only now am I starting to see some order among the chaos (but still no sleep. Sleep is for the weak, according to my daughter). This is one of the hardest jobs in the world. But, for me at least, the best.

Weddings, Parties, Outfits

I thought I would go for something a little lighter this time and finally post some pretty pictures, which I’m sure I promised a while ago. My photography skills leave a lot to be desired, but points for effort, yeah? This is my version of an outfit post, but I’m partial to the flat lay rather than the modelling of mentioned outfits purely because I am NOT keen on self portraits. Put simply, I suck at taking selfies. In this day and age that pretty much amounts to admitting you are unable to understand the postal system or open a bank account, it has become such an ubiquitous skill. But, alas, I do and it is my cross to bear in shame.

Last weekend was rather full on, with a wedding on Saturday and a birthday party on Sunday. Which required me to abandon my glad rags and dress like a civilised human being. Read: no leggings as pants. This called for a little creativity as I’m still not down to my old weight and I refuse to buy much until I am. So I “shopped my wardrobe”. I love that its a polite euphemism for “I dug into the murky depths of my disaster of a cupboard and pulled out old shit I forgot I had”. Case in point, this Review dress is three years old. Snug, but flattering.

Wedding Outfit

The shoes & belt are Ted Baker, they’re fairly recent (I bought them for A’s christening in September). I thought the soft pinks and neutrals were a nice palette for a late summer wedding.

Sunday’s get up was a similar mix of old and not so new:

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The picture doesn’t do the colour of the dress justice, its a deep grassy green. The dress is from Zara, a fairly recent purchase. The sandals were a bargain from Country Road, $22, all leather, during their sale. I may or may not have bought 4 pairs (different colours, of course). But the cardigan is a real stalwart- its from Cue and if my memory serves correctly, it’s about 4 years old. I also have it in grey. Leopard print (if its quality) NEVER goes out of style. Both incarnations of this cardi have been my fallback more times than I can recall. The true definition of an old faithful.

Todays outfit is a little simpler, but I am trying my hand at a more arty version of the selfie with my DSLR

Bonds dress, Tiffany & Co horseshoe necklace

Bonds dress, Tiffany & Co horseshoe necklace

This black and white stripe Bonds dress was a bargain impulse purchase from Big W on Monday. A well invested $25 even if I do say so myself. Paired with the CR sandals above, its a winner.

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