Tag Archives: roles

Good catch?

19 Jan

That is what was suggested to me recently. I have also had other comments along similar lines. You know, do you have a partner? Why not? It has made me seriously consider how I should respond to these questions.

I don’t do intimacy, particularly the emotional kind. Some of this comes from my parents example. I could not name Dad’s best friend and while I could name Mum’s, there was no evident sharing of things that I would expect of that type of friendship.

I have had acquaintances that I have shared experiences with, I have even been married and had another 2 year relationship. What I have always found is that these people are not worthy of the trust required to have that emotional intimacy. I had it during my marriage but when things started to go wrong, he would raise these matters as reasons. This has been the enduring memory of all shared intimacy, when things get difficult, they are just thrown in my face. Therefore, why would I volunteer these things at any time?

So, how do you answer these questions without being offensive? No one is worthy? No one is to be trusted?

I see and have had relationships break down where assets are divided. Well, I have worked for and earned all I have and don’t feel inclined to share it in this way again.

Knowing all of this still does not help me to politely answer the question. I will just have to give it more thought.

Cooking and a busy life

7 Aug

I have been thinking about all those who have the busy lifestyle of today and how to fit in cooking with the demands of work and school. Many people find it easier to have fast food meals these days and as we know these are not the best for a healthy diet.

The simple recipes I include here don’t necessarily solve those problems so I have had an idea on how that can be done.

In order to attack childhood obesity children need to be involved in cooking and learning how it can be fun to experiment with flavour without necessarily complicating the process.

My thought is that the cooking probably does not want to be done on a weekday night. So let’s do it on the weekend when there are actually three night to choose from, Friday being one.

It doesn’t require cooking three nights. Even if you choose one and cook two or three dishes. Get the children to help, preparing vegetables, trimming meat, choosing flavourings, collecting fresh herbs etc, even choosing recipes.

Getting the children involved also allows for educating them in money and budget issues.

With everyone pitching in it is an opportunity for a family chat to catch up on the week and prepare for the one coming. These times are important and you may not be having it at present. This is a way to introduce it without pressure.

To decide how much to cook you just take the number of people in the family and multiply by 7, being the number of evenings per week. This is how many serves you need, so given that each of my recipes will give 5 serves, you can choose either two or three dishes, using different cuts of meat and you will have 10-15 serves for the week. With one serve each out for cooking night and  the rest in the freezer, you are ready for the week.

It doesn’t matter if there are more than you need for the week, having extras can be a bonus if something unexpected comes up.

When you are putting these meals in the freezer, there are two options; put all single serves in or in larger containers put daily serves. Tupperware heat n eat come in larger sizes too. The thing to be careful with in the second option is that someone may not turn up for that meal and once defrosted it cannot be frozen again and I would also be cautious about keeping it for the next day.

I hope this idea has some appeal for you.

Baking

11 Jul

This week I have been asked to provide morning tea for a working bee. Something I knew as a basic snack when growing up is scones. They are versatile and simple at the same time.

Plain scones are just 2 cups SR flour, pinch of salt and 3/4 – 1 cup warm milk to make a dough. They are best if hand mixed, not over mixed and lightly kneaded. Then press out to about 1″ thick and cut into squares. Baste with a little milk to give a glossy finish. Bake about 10 mins in hot oven.

They can be topped with anything really, cheese, vegemite, jam, they all need a spread first though, whether butter or philly cheese or anything else you think of.

Additions can be made just as you would for muffins. Make savoury ones with bacon bits, grated cheese etc.

Sweet scones have a few more ingredients. Cream a piece of butter and 1/2 cup sugar, add 1 beaten egg. Slowly add 3 cups sifted SR flour and 1tsp salt and enough milk to make a dough. Then add 1/2 cup currants or chopped dates. Bake as above. These are the ones that go with jam and cream, mmmm.

This is something cheap and easy for the kids school events or anything else where you are asked to provide something to share. There are no allergy risks and gluten free flour is easy to get. If it is to be a healthy snack, use wholemeal flour and bicarb soda.

They will be best if you use full cream milk but will also work if you have to use low fat.

If you use a Tupperware baking sheet then no greasing of trays is necessary and you can even use it to roll out your dough to save clean up.

Casserole

5 Jul

This is a great time of year for stews and casseroles. It is the middle of winter and they are great warming foods that make us feel cosy. The only difference between them is that stews are cooked on the stove while casseroles are cooked in the oven. I prefer casseroles as the longer, slower cooking seems to deepen the flavour.

Casserole is one of the easiest dishes possible. Pick your ingredients, cut them into cubes, throw them into the pot, add some bits for flavour and cook for an hour or two.

Choose your meat or chicken, even chops, roughly cut into 1″ cubes; small chops are fine and chicken pieces with bones too. Chop up an onion, potato, carrot etc. Put it all in an oven proof dish, add liquid; stock, water and stock cubes, some wine if you like.

Then some herbs, fresh is better, parsley, thyme, sage. Also tomato paste & garlic. Stir through 2-3 tabs flour to thicken the gravy, some like to coat the meat but it is not necessary.

For a different flavour add apple or pineapple and use fruit juice instead of water. Some apricot syrup with chicken is an easy way to make apricot chicken and you will seem like an expert.

Put the lid on and place in moderate oven, 180C. Cook for 1-11/2 hours. For a crispy finish add grated cheese for last 15 minutes with lid off.

It is a meal on its own or add greens like broccoli, beans or brussel sprouts.

I feel warmer just thinking about it. I hope it warms you too.

cooking secrets

29 Jun

This is a misnomer. There is no such thing. Anyone can cook if they want to. You can boil water so you can cook. It is not even confidence that gets you there. Just find a recipe and follow it. The only secret is in understanding the terms used and if you find a good basic cookbook it will explain them. My reference is my school cookbook and it should be yours too.

It is not necessary to produce what you find in a flash restaurant, in fact if you are cooking for me I would rather you didn’t as there is little nourishment in such meals and less satisfaction. I am all about meat and 3 veg. There are many things that can be done with them for variety and it will always be filling and nourishing. If I eat out it is a place where I recognise what the menu says and the waiter will look at me.

You can dress them up with sauces, gravy, jus (whatever you like to call it) and cover you mistakes, most of which will not affect the taste. You can add luxury ingredients like nuts, cheese or cream for variety and flash at a dinner party, garnish will do this too ie. parsley, curled carrot strips, grated anything sprinkled (carrot, zucchini, cheese etc), add a side of pasta.

Leftovers are great as bubble and squeak (shredded vegetables in the frypan and bound together with some beaten egg), actually this in not dissimilar to hash browns which are great with a variety of grated veggies, or mystery parcels (toasted sandwich filled with leftovers, baked beans, tomato and ham etc)

As you see it is only your imagination that limits what you cook. Just give it a go and you will immediately start saving money.

My feeling, my responsibility

27 Jun

It is a strange thing to find that I have nothing to say. Having published 30 posts it seems I have cleared my mind of its logjam and my head is now clear.

Actually this is quite true. I am much calmer for having expressed myself. I sleep really well most nights and recognise that most of my feelings about my family come from jealousy.

Everyone was talking about my brother the other day and I realised that what I was feeling was jealousy and it always had been. It is interesting that the same brother feels that in the family he is nothing. He explains it this way, there are four of us; the oldest, the youngest, the daughter and him who is nothing. I can tell him he is the comedian.

This means I have to take responsibility for how I feel. Confronting such feelings is not easy, especially when you have lived with them, un-acknowledged, for many years. It colours all my interactions with my family, I have to think about how I respond to many conversations. Again i am in the positions of looking withdrawn/aloof from everyone because I am considering my reaction and adjusting it as per my acknowledged negative feeling, to be more positive.

This all goes back to where I thought I should be the centre of attention and if I am not then I am not loved. What a stupid thought! Reverse it, if someone else is not the centre of attention, I don’t feel less love for them than whomever is front and centre. Therefore I am back to my initial thought from when I returned home. Wait to find out where I fit in. Patience. Just being there and showing love will get me to where I want to be.

Connecting with family

5 Jun

I have had mostly positive experiences with family lately. Only the birthday party has not been. Even then I saw it through different eyes. When I think about my aunties, they don’t really come to our family do’s anymore as they have enough of there own as families extend and the younger generation are married with their own children. I have to accept that I am the tolerated “spinster” aunt. May be I should become eccentric!

It was uplifting when my nephew was talking about me taking part in the birth of his child and his wife was asking me to be available as they are lacking confidence in the medical team. It was nice to be asked after his brother and wife wanted nothing to do with my skills.

I have put myself in the position of ┬ábeing tolerated by my family because I have deigned to come home. It is up to me to change that without pushing myself in. I figure if I am there and helping when I can then it will get better, won’t it?

I find it really difficult to be open to whatever they are offering without being hurt by the offer not being there. I need to lower my expectations, then maybe it will hurt less.

So, I will be patient and grateful whenever I get to participate. I would say it was my choice to not have a family of my own but really it was that I am not made out for that sort of relationship. That is life.