Category Archives: recipes

21 for 2021: week 7

Week 7/2021: week of 15 February 2021

21 for 2021 updateThis was my first “normal” week for about a month. “Normal” as in school was back and I was at work all week. None of those annoying public holidays to muck up my routine. Ha.

My first thing this week is the Change Journal, where I’ve been marking off two habits in chapter 7 since January —the pre-work routine (thing 20), which I have now completed for 32/66 days, and my yoga stretches, which I have done every day since 10 January. I’ve been thinking I need to make a start on the other chapters in the book or I won’t make my way through the book by the end of the year.

This week, I decided to start with chapter 2, Thanks, which asks you to note down something you’re grateful for every day for a week. I actually already do this. Every morning I note down three things I’m grateful for, and every evening I write down something I’ve been grateful for during the day in my Some Lines A Day journal. But I don’t really think about them and what they mean to me so sometimes it feels more like a chore than a meaningful practice. The Change Journal takes this a step further and asks you to write down how the thing (or the person) you’re grateful for enriches your life and what your life your life would be like without it (or them). So it goes a bit deeper.

I did that every day this week and concluded that it’s a good practice to maintain as it makes my current practice more meaningful, so I’ve added my version of this into my daily gratitude journalling.

Vegetable of the week

Thing 2 is to choose a different vegetable every week from the book In Praise of Veg and make a recipe from the book using that vegetable.

This week, I wanted to try Alice’s Sesame Cucumber Whack Salad (page 384), but I didn’t know what to have with it. I thought some fish might be a good accompaniment, and there was a fish recipe in the lemongrass section of the book, Lemongrass Fish Pops with Green Mango Salad (page 110). Obviously, it has a salad with it, which includes ingredients I have never heard of and/or don’t like and/or have never cooked with, including pomelo, green mango and banana shallots.

I figured I could make the fish dish (lemongrass check) and have it with the cucumber salad (cucumber check) instead of the salad that was supposed to go with it. Slabs had other ideas. He convinced me to at least try the green mango salad (I HATE mango!), and proceeded to purchase a mango (not green), a ruby grapefruit (not a pomelo but apparently close to it) and, well, normal shallots because what in hell are banana shallots anyway?

So I ended up making the fish pops (which is mashed fish with some curry paste and spices grilled on skewers of lemongrass), with the (not-)green mango salad and the cucumber salad. It was a lot of work, and a lot of food, and I didn’t need the cucumber salad in the end.

Mashed fish squooshed onto lemongrass skewers

My verdict: This is the first recipe from the book I haven’t liked. I liked the idea of it but I didn’t really like the way the fish turned out and I didn’t like the salad. I suppose that’s to be expected if you don’t like mango or citrus. Slabs, on the other hand, said he really enjoyed it so it wasn’t a complete fail.

The final dish

The cucumber salad was really yum though, and I’ll be doing that one again, maybe as an accompaniment to a curry or, as Alice suggests, with some soba noodles and some steamed fish, so the cook wasn’t a complete wipeout.

Cucumber salad

In a rather more epic fail, I decided to make the Ultimate Cheesy Garlic Bread Bake on page 38 on Sunday night, without having noticed that the recipe notes say “Begin this recipe one day ahead”. So Kramstable and I did not have garlic bread on Sunday.

If I ever write a cookbook (ha), I am going to make sure that in the header of every recipe that requires advance preparation is a large clock symbol.

Regular projects

There are several things on my list that I have made a regular commitment to doing in the hope that this will be more likely to make me do them. I worked on these ones this week.

  • Thing 5: Spend an hour a week working through my annoying undone things list. One hour on Saturday morning. I finished the last collage for 2020, printed it and stuck it in the book. That is now complete.
  • Thing 8: Spend an hour a week working on Kramstable’s videos. I did this on Sunday.
  • Thing 9: Write my mother’s life story. I normally go to see my mum on Thursdays but this week she had some personal issues that meant it wasn’t possible to talk to her about her story. I got her to identify herself in some photos and did a bit of internet research into some of her family members.
  • Thing 11: Complete the Compelling Frame course. I don’t have a specific time set aside for this (because schedules, who needs them), but I spent a couple of hours on Tuesday working through the third lesson, and I started the fourth lesson on the weekend.
  • Thing 17: Brainsparker gym*. I did the first lesson of Module 3 and learned about Fishbone diagrams

21 for 2021 summary for week 7

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 1 (1)
  • Things I progressed: 8 (2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 11, 17, 20)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 3 (6, 13, 18)
  • Things not started: 9 (3, 7, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16, 19, 21)

Blast from the past

Following on from my 10-year review of my blog, here’s one of my favourite posts from 7 March 2011. It’s actually the prequel to the flashback post I posted last week and the one I meant to post last week. Here is the correct link to “Pushing Papers (AKA on art and writing part 1)“.

When did I listen and what did I learn this week?

I’ve been reading the book Hollow Places: An Unusual History of Land and Legend by Christopher Hadley, which is about the author’s attempt to track down the story behind a legendary dragon slayer and the belief that there had been a dragon lair underneath an old yew tree in England. In the book, he refers to the practice of “grangerising”, which is when you take a book apart and rebind it with photos and pictures from elsewhere, including from other books, resulting in a much bigger book, or even additional volumes of the book. In one case, Christopher refers to a grangerised Bible, which ended up being 60 volumes. I kind of love the idea of making a book your own like this but, on the other hand, am horrified that people would destroy other books in order to do this.

The practice was made popular by (and named after) fans of the late-18th century print collector and author, James Granger, who, according to Christopher, didn’t actually engage in the practice himself. But the many “grangerites” did it to enough copies of his Biographical History, that I imagine the name stuck. One copy was grangerised to expand the original three volumes into 36.

And I think I don’t have enough book cases!

What did I do for the Earth this week?

I’ve been reading doom and gloom stories, feeling like nothing I do will make a difference and falling further into a “nothing will stop this” mindset, which isn’t helpful and isn’t achieving anything.

What I’m reading this week

  • Personality Hacker by Joel Mark Witt & Antonia Dodge
  • Burning Out by Katherine May
  • Hollow Places: An Unusual History of Land and Legend by Christopher Hadley

Habit tracker

  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 5): 5
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 4
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 5 work days): 5
  • Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 7): 5
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 7

19 for 19: week 6 update

Week of 4 February 2019

20190210 Sunrise Taroona Beach 1 edit

Happy Sunday

This was a big week. Not only was it back to school week but it was Kramstable’s first week of high school. Yes, I am the parent of a high school student! Where has that time gone? It doesn’t seem like eight years ago I was fretting over him starting Kinder and preparing him (and me) for his first day in the education system.

And now, here we were starting a whole new chapter. Only in this chapter, he will be on his own. Where at primary school I had heaps of opportunities to be involved with Kramstable’s class, from parent help in his classroom in the early years, talking to his teachers in the mornings when I dropped him off (before he put a stop to me taking him in to school) and going on excursions to places I would never have otherwise had the chance to go to, high school is different. I don’t imagine there’s anything like that, no chance to be directly involved and to see what he’s doing at school. (Though I do believe there is an online classroom that his teacher is setting up so that we will be able to see what his class is doing so I’m looking forward to that.)

He didn’t want me to walk with him to school at all. That time has long gone. I convinced him to let me come with him on the first day so I could take a photo of him outside the school, and then I’d leave him alone for the rest of the year. The rest of his high school life. That was the deal.

I ended up getting better than that because his friends’ mother wanted to take a picture of the three of them on their first day at school because we’d missed getting a photo of them on their last day of primary school. He agreed, we got our photos on the school grounds, and then, with very little in the way of goodbye, they wandered off into the throng of students to find the teacher who was pointing the grade 7s in the right direction, with not even a glance behind them.

That was my first, and last, high school drop off. I actually felt okay about it. I think I got all the emotions I was feeling out when he finished primary school and once that was out of the way, starting high school was just the next step in a process I had already come to terms with.

I think Kramstable treating it as nothing more than another school day helped too. If he’d been nervous or worried I’m sure that would have rubbed off on me. But he was very cool about it all. I left the school, confident that he’d be fine.

As I was waiting for the bus to go to work, I scanned my facebook feed. It brought up this photo from 2011. Eight years ago.

20190206 Snail IG

Eight years ago

Eight years ago, the owner of this hand started kindergarten. Today, he started high school.

So it was a big week, which ended with me coming down with a very unpleasant head cold that put me out of action most of Saturday. As a result, I didn’t get a lot done to progress my 19 for 2019 list. But that’s okay. I have a year to do it and I know some weeks will be good and others won’t be. Life happens.

This week’s baby step in taking better care of me (thing 6) so that I can do the things I want to do this year is to continue to focus on staying hydrated and doing my deep breathing. I picked up one of these klean kanteen water bottles this week, which I really like because it has the sippy top rather than a lid. I’m finding I’m reaching for it more often to take a drink, whereas with the screw top, just having to unscrew the lid was an extra step that sometimes I couldn’t be bothered to take.

20190210 New water bottle edit

Bright orange makes me smile

In Atomic Habits, James Clear describes this as the Law of Least Effort, and he says that we naturally gravitate to the option that requires the least amount of work. He says to create a habit you need to make doing the right thing as easy as possible and reduce the friction associated with good behaviours. Taking off a bottle top is a tiny thing, but it’s still something else I have to do before I can drink my water. (Yes, I could probably just leave the lid off, or use a glass, but that’s not so practical for carrying the water around with me.)

I’ve also been reviewing my breakfast options to see what works best for me. A couple of the things I’ve tried this week have been the Chocolate Coco-nutty Granola from the I Quit Sugar for Life cookbook and avocado on toast. The avocado is definitely the winner out of those two; though the granola is yummy, it’s not overly filling.

I haven’t done anything on the photo course this week (thing 1) and haven’t put any more photos into my folio (thing 2). I ordered an ND filter (thing 7).

I finished reading the book The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyce, which Kramstable got for Christmas. He wanted to watch the movie on Friday so I read the book in advance so I’d know what I was getting into. I’ve now completed six out of the 12 books I wanted to read this year (thing 5).20190207 The Boy in the Striped Pajamas cover

I printed three photo collages for my 2018 photo journal and made two more weekly collages (thing 11). I entered another 33 beers in my beer book spreadsheet (thing 12) and I’m continuing to get more familiar with Lightroom as I use it (thing 19).

Status for week 6:

  • Things completed: 3 (8, 19, 15)
  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things I progressed this week: 6 (5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 19)
  • Things I’ve started but didn’t progress this week: 3 (1, 2, 16)
  • Things not started: 7 (3, 4, 10, 13, 14, 17, 18)


Tassievore eat local challenge – feast day!

Yesterday was feast day!

I learned last time I held a Tassievore feast not to be too ambitious. I’d thought about including a dessert on the menu like I did last time, but decided in the end it would make things too busy for me. I could have made a cold dessert ahead of time, if I’d really wanted to, but I’m trying to cut back on sugar, so I ditched that idea too.

Last week I learned that proving my bread dough for too long and in too warm a room leads to bread that is edible, but visually unappealing. It basically spread out like a pancake. So this time I left it for a shorter time and kept it in a cooler room, and baked it at about 10.00 am.

20170528 Flatbread combo

Last week’s Loaf of Disaster

If you read my earlier post on the sourdough class I went to in March with Kate from Garden Shed & Pantry, you might remember the drama I had with the 12+ year old oven. We have fixed the problem with a shiny new oven, which is making cooking so much easier, and I’m glad we got it in time for this weekend.

The result was much improved. At least it looked OK.

20170603 Tassievore 14 Sourdough IG

At the class, Kate explained how the climate affects the properties of the flour, and the end result can be dramatically different in terms of texture if you use flour from a colder climate (like Tasmania) rather than the flour she recommends that’s from a much hotter part of the country. However, the challenge was to use Tasmanian produce, so I stocked up on some Callington stoneground flour that was designed for bread making, and looked at the whole thing as a an experiment.

I let the beef bones simmer away in the slow cooker for a few more hours, before straining it into a pot and letting it reduce. I have no idea how concentrated I’ve made it or what size portions I should freeze it in, but at least I now have beef stock.

20170603 Tassievore 16 Final beef stock

My plan was to serve:

  • Dips, carrot sticks and vegetables when the guests arrived
  • Pumpkin soup and bread as an entree
  • Roast beef with side dishes of pumpkin and beetroot salad, and honey-glazed carrots
  • Cheese, pinot paste and crackers for afters

I was originally only going to do one dip, the smoked salmon one, but as I had more beetroot than I needed for the salad I decided to do a beetroot dip as well. That involved roasting the beetroot, stick blending it and combining it with yogurt and garlic.

A lot of the afternoon was spent cutting up the pumpkin and the other beetroot for the soup and the salad. Cutting up a whole pumpkin isn’t something I do very often, and every time I do it, I remember why I don’t do it. I didn’t lose any fingers so that’s a bonus.

20170603 Tassievore 15 Pumpkin IG

I let the soup cook all afternoon, while I got the other dishes ready. For the chicken stock, I used what I had in the freezer. Whenever we have roast chicken I save the bones and, when I have a bag full in the freezer, I throw them in the slow cooker for 12 hours or so to make a basic stock.

My aim was to serve the beef at about 7.30. It needed about two hours to cook (I like mine well done), so it needed to come out of the fridge at about 5pm. A minor disaster hit when I couldn’t find the mustard I’d bought the day before for the topping.

Catastrophe averted when I found a jar of Tasmanian Rainforest mustard in the cupboard. This is from Hill Farm in Sisters Creek, and no one can remember where or when we bought it, but I’m very glad we did!

20170603 Tassievore 19 Beef Combo

Once the beef was in, it was simply a matter of remembering to put the vegetables in with enough time for them to be ready at the same time as the beef. I always forget that the beetroot takes a lot less time than the pumpkin when I make this salad, so I always end up with overdone pumpkin. One day I’ll learn.

The honey-glazed carrots included honey we got from one of Slabs’ workmates, who has his own hives. That’s definitely the Tassievore spirit!

The night was fun. I saw somewhere that it was World Cider Day, so Slabs had picked us up some from Wille Smiths.  I don’t know who decides these things but I’m not going to complain.

20170603 Tassievore 20 Cider IG

World Cider Day! Yay!

The bread was fine. It was a lot denser in texture than bread made from the flour Kate recommends, but still very good.  And the beef (with the dodgy red wine sauce – the reason I made the beef stock) was great.

20170603 Tassievore 22 Soup & bread IG

We had to serve the soup in mugs because we don’t have enough soup bowls

20170603 Tassievore 23 Beef IG

Mustard roast beef

20170603 Tassievore 24 Main IG

Main course

We concluded the night with a selection of cheeses from Pyengana and Udderly Tasmanian, a pinot paste from Grandvewe and the crackers I made on Friday, which went soggy overnight, so I had to refresh them by re-baking them.

20170603 Tassievore 25 Cheese IG

Demolished cheese platter

In the end I was too focused on getting all the food together rather than having a discussion about some of the questions that the Tassievore people suggested as conversation starters in relation to eating locally. Although we did learn that you can buy Tasmanian feta – as used in the pumpkin and beetroot salad. Westhaven does a goats milk feta, which worked really well in this dish (along with the Tasmanian walnuts, which I substituted for the pine nuts in the recipe).

I’m going to reflect on the questions that Tassievore has posed and put some thoughts together in another post, as I think this is already long enough.

Thanks to Sustainable Living Tasmania and the Tassievore Eat Local Challenge for putting this opportunity out there. It’s definitely something I’m keen to continue being involved with in the future.

The recipes
Salmon dip
Beetroot dip
Pumpkin soup: I have been using the recipe for years. I originally found it in the instruction book for a stick blender that broke years ago.
Roast beef: Adapted from Cape Grim Beef’s recipe
Roast pumpkin and beetroot salad
Honey-glazed roast carrots

Tassievore Eat Local – Weeks 3 and 4


The Tassievore Week 3 challenge was to support a business that uses local produce. I didn’t explore this as much as I’d have liked to over the week, mainly because I was focused on walking as much as I could for the Walk In Her Shoes challenge. Even so, since last year’s Tassievore challenge I’ve been more focused on supporting Tasmanian businesses and buying local produce. 20150320 Locavore box from Hill St The Locavore box from Hill Street Grocer is a great way to get hold of in-season veggies from Tasmanian suppliers. I also spent some time at Two Metre Tall Farm Bar – a business that is 100% committed to real food, real ale and that is completely committed to ethical and sustainable production. I wrote a post about Two Metre Tall in last year’s Tassievore challenge, and that sums up everything I love about them. 20150301 Summer fruits cider Moving on to Week 4, and the challenge was similar to last year: Feast with your family and friends on great Tassie produce. I cooked my own feast last year. It was a 5 course extravaganza that started at about 7.30 am and took all day.  I loved doing it, but this time an all day cook-fest wasn’t possible.

I decided to do a soup, a salad and a beef main course. Dessert would happen if it happened (it didn’t). The main was slow cooked osso bucco from Two Metre Tall. The vegetables I used were all Tasmanian-grown, mostly from the local market. I had a minor panic on Friday night when I hadn’t been able to find any locally sourced tomatoes for the beef dish, but the fabulous veggie growers at the market were there with heaps of tomatoes on Saturday morning, so everything was good. 20150328 Tassievore Feast 04A Combo I’d never cooked osso bucco before, and the advice from my friends was the slower and lower temperature it’s cooked at, the better it turns out. According to the recipe, I seasoned it with salt and pepper, dusted with flour and seared it before putting it into the slow cooker with the tomatoes and other vegetables. 20150328 Tassievore Feast 05A Combo In hindsight, I would have started it a bit earlier in the day – maybe 7 or 8 am – to allow a full 12 hours cooking, but it still turned out OK. A bit softer would have been better, but that’s a lesson to learn for next time. It still tasted great.

My other (entree) course was soup, inspired by the menu board at the pub when Juniordwarf and I went out for dinner during the week. Chicken and leek soup. One of the things in last week’s locavore box was a leek, but I had no idea what to do with it. Chicken and leek soup. Perfect! It wasn’t proper Cock a Leekie soup, because that has prunes and rice in it, and I’m not aware of any Tasmanian prune supplier or any rice that’s grown here. So I omitted the prunes and substituted Tasmanian quinoa (from Kindred Organics) for the rice. 20150328 Tassievore Feast 09A Stock The recipes I looked at involved using a whole chicken, so you basically make the stock with a whole chicken and, therefore, cook the chicken meat that you use in the soup at the same time. Then you take the stock and add the cooked chicken meat, plus some extra chopped leeks and chopped prunes, to make the soup. I don’t think I’d do it this way again, as I have a lot of bones and meat left over and frozen from chicken roasts that I use to make stock.

When I make roast chicken I usually cut the back bone out of the chicken before I cook it and spread it out on the baking tray (which reduces the cooking time significantly), then I freeze the back bone and all the other bones, and when I run out of stock I throw all the frozen bones into a pot with vegetables and make my own stock. If we have left over meat from a roast that we don’t use in a couple of days, I freeze that too, so I can use that in a chicken soup. I think I’d have had enough frozen roast chicken and bones to make this soup without using an entire chicken.

Never mind, I now have lots of stock and lots of chicken meat in the freezer. Even without the prunes, the chicken and leek soup with quinoa was a nice basic entree.

I made a similar roast pumpkin and beetroot salad with spinach and goats cheese as I did last year to go with the main course, together with one of my favourite Two Metre Tall ales that I’d been saving for this night. 20150328 Tassievore Feast 17A Combo And while I was waiting I made a tzatziki dip and some carrot sticks because I was feeling a bit peckish. 20150328 Tassievore Feast 18A Combo Juniordwarf made a sign for the night. 20150328 Tassievore Feast 19 - Sign IG I’m pretty happy with how everything turned out. I learned a lot about what to do differently next time, but for my first attempt at two dishes, I think it was a good effort. And everything (except the salt, pepper and olive oil) was Tasmanian.

Thank you to the organisers of the Tassievore Eat Local Challenge. The challenge is a great way to get people thinking about supporting local businesses and eating local seasonal food. Even though I haven’t participated as fully as I’d have liked to this year, it’s been great just to take the time to think about where my food is coming from and to try and source as much as I can from local suppliers. It’s something I hope to continue to do into the future.

Smoky Baked Beans with Chorizo

Last year Slabs, Juniordwarf and I went out for breakfast after spending a night in Hobart, and I ordered a dish of baked beans with chorizo.

I loved it and wanted to find out how to make it myself, so I looked for something similar online. The recipe I found was this one from the website

I meant to cook it last time we went camping, but my laziness got the better of me. Every so often, Slabs would remind me that I wanted to cook baked beans, and I’d think about it and put it off a bit longer.

This weekend we went camping with Lil Sis and Mr Tall and while we were making the list of meals we’d need to bring food for, I somehow committed to doing the baked beans for breakfast today. So I no longer had an excuse.

Because the recipe uses dried beans, I needed to soak the beans on Wednesday night then cook them on Thursday so they’d be ready to take with us on Friday. After having done this, I strongly dispute the recipe’s claim that you only need 20 minutes “hands on” to do it. But that might just be me – I normally need to take the time a recipe gives me, double it and add another half an hour to get an accurate time.

Anyway it was worth all the work. They were delicious!

Here is the recipe:

450 g dried Great Northern beans (I’m not sure what these are. I used haricot beans.)
1 cup diced dry-cured Spanish chorizo (The recipe says “be sure to use firm, dry-cured Spanish chorizo and not soft, raw Mexican chorizo”.)  
4 cups chopped onion (I’ve never measured onions in ‘cups’ before, but it was about 8 small-medium onions.)
8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 cups water
2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (smoked paprika is brilliant – it makes the dish. I don’t think there’s a substitute. You must use it!)
1/2 tsp paprika
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp tomato paste
3 tbsp molasses
1/4 tsp crushed chilli (Don’t be shy! Use more if you like chilli.)
2 1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp chilli powder (See comment about crushed chilli above.)
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

What to do:

1. Sort and wash beans. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans. Cover; let stand 8 hours. Drain.

Beans pre-soaking

2. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add chorizo; cook 4 min or until fat begins to render. Add onion & garlic; sauté 10 min or until tender.

Onions, garlic & chorizo ready to go

Add beans, water, & next 7 ingredients (through bay leaves); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 45 min or until beans are just tender.

Herbs & spices – look at the glorious colour of the smoked paprika!

3. Preheat oven to 180°C.

4. Stir brown sugar & the next 3 ingredients (through crushed chilli) into bean mixture. Bring to a simmer.

5. Transfer to oven dish; bake at 180° for 1 1/2 hours or until beans are very tender & sauce is thick. Remove from oven; stir in vinegar, black pepper, & chilli powder.

The final stages of cooking

Discard bay leaves; sprinkle with green onions & parsley.

P365 – Day 53 – bake-a-rama

Now that Juniordwarf goes to school, I only have one day a week at home with him.

What this means is that all the home/mum ‘stuff’ I used to do on two days I now only get one day to do. Last year we had organised activities on both days, so with getting ready, going to whatever it was, doing errands on the way home and whatever else we did, those activities ended up taking at least half of each day. By the time we got home from those activities, neither of us really ever felt like doing much for the rest of the day.

It also meant that I felt a lot less inclined to do any meal planning or cooking in preparation for lunches and morning teas, so basically I never did any of that.

Well this year it turns out that there is no organised activity anywhere that I’m aware of on our ‘home’ day, which is great. You know why? Because we don’t ‘have’ to be anywhere at all. We have the whole day to do whatever we want. If we have to do errands, we can finish them in an hour or so, and be back home before we know it, rather than have to extend the time we’re away from home when we go out to do something structured.

So I’ve decided that Tuesday is going to be our ‘preparation for the week’ day. We’ll do the shopping, bake some treats for morning tea, make anything we need for meals during the week, do the washing . . . and we’ll hang around, build forts, read books, tell stories, listen to music, go out into the garden . . . whatever we want to do. And we’ll have time to do, if not all of it, then most of it.

Today was the first day of this, and it was fantastic.

I may have overestimated what I thought I could get done and it’s true, I ended up still in the kitchen at 9pm cleaning everything up, but today Juniordwarf and I baked some ANZACs and some banana bread, we made savory toast for lunch, I made chicken stock, dinner and did the time-consuming stuff for tomorrow night’s dinner. We did the shopping, we went to the library, we had coffee (he had a babycino), we did two loads of washing and we played with the dog.


And you know what? Even doing all that stuff, I didn’t feel stressed, or tense or overwhelmed at all (except for the one time where everything had to come together at once at dinner time), and I had one of the best day’s I’ve had with Juniordwarf for ages. I didn’t waste time on the computer, and when I did go on it, I did what I had to do and got off, and I didn’t feel guilty.

It makes such a difference when we have no obligations whatsoever. Much as I’m glad we had the organised activities over the past four years, it’s nice right now for both of us to have a rest.

So in the spirit of the best cooking blogs, here are our recipes:

(Courtesy of the Central Cookery Book, by A.C. Irvine, 17th Edition, Published 1992 – the Tasmanian classic.)

130g butter
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 cup flour (we use plain wholemeal)
pinch of salt
1 cup coconut
1 cup sugar (we use dark brown sugar)
1 cup rolled oats
2 teaspoons bicarb soda
2 tbsp boiling water
6 drops vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
2. Grease 3 oven slides. (We use baking paper and we only need 2.)
3. Gently melt butter and golden syrup (do not boil or burn).
4. Sift flour and salt (I skip this step. Wholemeal flour doesn’t sift well.)
5. Add sugar, cocout, rolled oats and vanilla to flour and salt.
6. Dissolve bicarb soda in water.
7. Mix all ingredients together well.
8. Put out in small balls on oven tray, allowing room for biscuits to flatten and spread out during cooking. (Or in Juniordwarf’s case, squoosh some dough together and throw onto the oven tray.)
9. Bake in oven 10-15 minutes (I recommend watching them very closely after 10 minutes.)
10. Allow to rest on tray for ½ minute before lifting off with a spatula to cool on cake cooler.

Banana bread
(Courtesy of Superorganisermum. Except her recipe has blueberries and I didn’t include them.)

150g butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 ripe bananas, peeled, mashed (see notes)
2 cups self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2  cup milk
butter, to serve

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. 
2. Grease base and sides of a 7cm deep, 11cm x 21cm (base) loaf pan. Line with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang at both long ends
3. Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until pale. 
4. Add egg, in 2 batches, beating well after each addition.
5. Stir in banana. 
6. Sift flour and baking powder over banana mixture. 
7. Add milk. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined.
8. Spoon mixture into loaf pan. Smooth surface. 
9. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. (Ours needed over an hour.)
10. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Lift onto a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into 10 even slices.