Monday, October 20, 2014

Of Priorities. A Food Post.

Well, what a glorious weekend that was! Champagne quaffing in the sun, and a lovely birthday garden party. There may have been mad hats involved. And certainly cake. I am refreshed, rejuvenated, and feel fully equipped to receive the Outlaws who shall be descending upon us from a distant land this eventide.


Of late, when it comes to food and cooking, I've made somewhat of a return to Old Ways and habits. The stuff that has historically and consistently worked for me.

salad bits from the garden. I should probably show you pictures of chocolate, melty things. I'd like to look at some of those. This is all I've got. Sorry.
Because I'm so busy, I'm trying my best to get organised with some of the details, (O to be a Virgo for at least an hour per week!) And what I find is that when I have the food side of things sorted, with meal plans, lists (!), and properly considered meals, everything else seems to flow a whole lot better. Particularly health-wise. And it also has a massive impact on our food budget.

Don't know if you've noticed a big difference where you are m'dears, but the price of food has shot up like a...shooting up thingie. And although I understand we cannot live in an artificially controlled economic bubble forever, (having all manner of goods and amenities shovelled into our endlessly open, hungry mouths to the point where we've taken a lot of cheaply produced things for granted), it's having an impact upon a lot of people I know.

It's also why I'm trying to grow some of my own food, (although there are myriad other reasons for that, including environmental impact, health, and wanting to cultivate a relationship with the land).

A mere few months ago, in the darkest, deepest depths of Winter, (ah! Winter - how I love thee!), I was in a flurried routine, resorting a good deal to toast and tea. Nuthin' wrong with toast and tea I hear you say! No, but it's not always a good idea to find yourself having toast and tea for breakfast, toast and tea for lunch. Toast and tea for afternoon tea. Day after day after...ahem.

Sometimes you need periods of time like that, but I was beginning to look and feel like the inside of an ancient teapot. In fact I was grumpy, tired, and blue. And a little bit round in all the wrong places. It was not sustainable. I could get my girl ready for school with nutritiously sound goodies, but for myself, I just mindlessly groped for kettle and toaster as I kept working away.

So, I've made a return to meal plans*, with a few hours during the weekend devoted to prepping and cooking meals and snacks ahead of time for the freezer, or fridge. After some weeks of this, I look and feel less like I'm composed of wheat and tannins. And I seem to have found that extra reserve of much-needed energy. So I feel more like getting up early (which is my natural rhythm) and writing before all the Other Necessaries.

But best of all, doing all this is like having a break from thinking about What To Make For Bloody Dinner every night! It's sorted, and shopped for already, (or picked out of the garden - as pretty much all our salads are). Don't have to think (even if the Bloke and I still need to cook). I can focus on Other Things.

Meal Plan For the Week
Monday: Indian curry (korma)
Tuesday: vegetarian lasagne
Wednesday: quinoa mediterranean salad
Thursday: baked fish with fennel, tomato, dill & basmati rice.
Friday: homemade mushroom and asparagus pizzas with ni çoise salad.
Saturday: big vegie paella
Sunday: dahl and brown rice (with lime and coriander)

Breakfasts, lunches, Snacks 
homemade "baked beans" (cannellini beans, passata, fresh thyme, oregano, parsley & bay leaves from the garden)
avocado or mushrooms with garlic and thyme on toast
"buddha bowls" (leftover rice or quinoa with avocado, legumes, herbs, & vegies. And tahini or tamari sauce)
frittata with potatoes & olives
pasta salads (Moon likes these for lunch)
homemade hommus and crudités
banana and raisin bread
fresh vegie juices
guacamole and corn chips or crudités
homemade mango and yoghurt "icy poles" (plain yogurt and a mango blended and then poured into ice lolly moulds)

So that is, well, that. All very sensible for a Monday, non

Do you do the meal plan thing? Or do you have any go-to meal ideas or anything that makes the necessary and obligatory a bit more delightful? Or suggestions in general? xx

* Now, I know there's a whole school of thought that considers these things way too uncool and list-y. Each to their own, I say! I tend to rebel against rules and routines myself, but I do find that my own cluttered and internal chaos needs a little steering at times, or grounding, (I'm better at big picture stuff than the details).
And I also understand that meal plans and food talk in general can be triggers for those with Food Issues and eating disorders. So to them I say this: I'm just getting myself organised and doing a family meal plan to save us some time, money (a big bonus, I find), and to help us stay healthy. It's as simple and pragmatic as that for me, and I do feel grateful for that simplicity. This ain't no prescription.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Bits and Bobs.

It's a simply stunning Spring day here at Crooked Cottage. Fridays tend to be my rushing about day, but I actually really enjoy the flurry of activity, (as long as it's not every day of the week!)

'Ere is a list of feathers, furbelows, and diversions that I've gathered throughout the past week...

My lilac is at last coming into flower! Just in time for my birthday tomorrow, which pleases me greatly, because lilacs are my favourite flower.
I'm so very excited that one of my moste favourite books ever is being adapted for screen! Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, by Susannah Clarke (have you read it? Have you read it?) is being tackled by BBC America, and will be a rather sumptuous-looking tv series. This calls for happy cackles and general glee! 

Madame Guillotine. This is a simply brilliant history blog written by Melanie Clegg, focusing (mainly) upon some of history's most intriguing women. Melanie is a blue haired goth, a historian, and historical fiction writer (of Posh Doom), with an infectious passion for her subject. She writes with such vibrancy, wit, and immediacy, you'd think Marie Antoinette was about to sit down and join you for some cake, and while she's at it, set the record straight about that damned affair with that necklace. Thoroughly addictive stuff. 

Speaking of Lady Authors, I love this author photo of Amy Poehler. Possibly the best author photo I've yet seen, (scroll down a bit). 

Still on the subject of write-y things, I was thrilled to hear earlier in the week that Australian novelist Richard Flanagan won the Booker Prize for his novel Narrow Road to the Deep North. And I also appreciated his comments about how he feels ashamed being an Australian in regards to our government's environmental policies. Flanagan is a genuinely lovely man, and a wonderful writer who cares deeply about the world.

Being familiar with the work of Rima Staines, I was delighted to stumble upon (on Twitter, in fact)  this project: the Hedgespoken Theatre! A travelling off-grid theatre, and gypsy-style "wagon", bringing the art and magic of storytelling and performance to communities far and wide. I adore this idea! I find it enchanting, and I hope this project comes to fruition, as it could bring so much joy and wonder to so many. 

And finally, I don't really buy "stuff" these days, (except books - but that's different...right?), but I indulged myself for my birthday, and treated myself to this little set. To me, they look very 1930's, which I love. Maybe I'll wear a mad hat with them, and perform a moonlight dance with my cats. Preferably to the strains of a piano accordion, by a campfire. Because I'm not a Crazy Cat Lady at all ; )

But right now, I must finish some work off, and then do something about my hair...because it's utterly mad at the moment, and I need to do things in public, so needs must. 

Happy weekend to you lovelies!