Pregnancy has led me to obsess over a few kinds of foods. Hot thai curry is still on my wishlist – I keep making it from my Jamie Oliver app on my iPhone. It’s a killer recipe, but I can never get it hot enough, having spent my whole life being super-frugal with chili. I will persist.
My other desire is to jump face first, open mouthed, into a large bowl of this particular popcorn. Ahhhhhhh. You can generally only buy it from health food or organic shops and it’s stupidly expensive for the amount you get. But I am weakening and by tomorrow will probably spending my last few dollars on some.
And dhal? The dish that I always forget how to spell and end up googling dahl, finding Sophie, Roald and all the dhal recipes by people who can’t spell either. I have only tried to make this once before and it was dire. This time I used this recipe with my confidence buoyed by it’s star rating.
It wasn’t bad!! I personally go for a creamier kind of thing, but it was a really good effort. Teamed with yoghurt and white rice, I give it 3.7 pregnant thumbs up. Next time I’ll add more coconut cream, a bit more ginger, more chili, and maybe some other lentils as well as the red ones? Any tips welcome…
Another year, another birthday. This time, M managed to make three and a bit entire days all birthday related. He had requested a birthday camping trip to Point Leo, so we left on Friday evening, and found a great spot. We were joined shortly afterwards by E, D and Small E – who is one month older than Small Z.
The night began well enough. I shall fast forward past the bit where Small Z went on sleep strike and pleaded to go home for two hours, M hid his head under the blankets ostrichlike and I melted down into a liquid version of my former self. Let us just remember the phrase, ‘this too shall pass’. And, of course, it did.
Saturday morning and the dads allowed E and I to have a kid free cup of tea in the caravan, before we hit the beach. Small E had his first go on a surfboard, a full size Mal, as dictated by D. M tried to take Small Z out on the surfski but all she wanted to do was hang out and play in the sand and generally wind down from the night before. M decided that some solo mantime was best for his psyche (this happens during birthday time like clockwork) and disappeared on a solo jaunt to Flinders.
Both Smalls went on nap-strike and so, on M’s return, we bunged them in the car. Small Z passed out immediately and we drove for a while before we headed to Red Hill Show. I got about 20 minutes sleep in the car as well, which saved my sanity and the health of those around me.
We reached the showgrounds at around three, which was great, as they had just stopped charging people 15 bucks to get in. There was still heaps going on – we saw dog jumping (seeing how high dogs could jump NOT people jumping over dogs), amazing alpacas, huge pumpkins, big sheep, good chai, woodchopping and gorgeous knitted stuff…and some drumming…
Finally I could stand on my feet no longer. I am much less fit for this pregnancy, although I also weigh less (which is why none of my old maternity clothes fit whatsoever). I was exhausto. We drove back to camp, and as Small Z had napped in the car our night was far less fraught, as well as being enhanced by the addition of Rach, Mung, Otis and Luka. We all made tortillas and then I passed out with Small Z at around 9.30pm…only to awake two hours later to the kind of red wine fuelled late night blathering talk of blokes.
Thank goodness for my iPhone and headphones. I was soothed into quiet hysteria by the fourth season of 30Rock. After a night of uncomfortableness and insomnia on my part, and gentle snoring on M’s, we all got up, chomped through some cereal and went back down to the beach (except for D, who snuck off to be solo surf man). I actually fully submerged and swam around – and my aches and pains immediately dissipated. I think this is indicating something, I just don’t know what… 😉
After lunch we packed up and all drove to Flinders, on M’s suggestion, where we got hot drinks and donuts and the kids played in the park for a while. An excellent end to the weekend, but not, of course, to the birthday – which continued on…
M’s birthday was actually today – Monday – March 29 – the same day as our esteemed friend Jen. (And, incidentally, Elle McPherson. A model Aries.) Small Z woke at 7am and M awoke to say that it had been the worst sleep in existence and that I was probably using about $7 a night running the fan I always have on for white noise. I lay there counting to ten, and was interrupted at about seven by him saying plaintively, “Wish me happy birthday?”
Reboot. Small Z and I gave him the cards we had made, and we all scrambled around in an effort to leave the house. We were taking him to Merricks General Store for breakfast. We were early (a birthday present in itself) and noodled on past the cafe to have a look at Shoreham Beach, where we have not been for a considerable time. Then, we headed back out…to eat.
Oh gosh. My cousin over at One Small Kitchen would be MORE than thrilled by our breakfasts at the Merricks General Store. And the ambience, the slightly warmed room. The loose leaf tea and vanilla poached plums that accompanied my muesli, along with fat blueberries, whole almonds and chunky banana. M’s bacon and eggs looked sublime, and Small Z got an expensive, but excellent, toasted sandwich and a babycino. I wanted to repeat the entire thing immediately.
We went home circuitously, via Balnarring playground and Tyabb op-shop. Small Z then fell asleep so we went to say hello to the World’s Largest Catamaran, where M has been busy building the interior and is currently focusing on the kitchen. It looks incredible. Tantalisingly together. Small Z slumbered on and we killed time and cruised back toward home until she’d had her obligatory hour and ten.
The rest of the day was spent fairly low key. Eating birthday cake on the porch. M got a lot of things organised that had been dogging him since we had moved house, and by the end of the day he felt like he was really on the cusp of a brand new year. Happy Birthday M! It’s your last one as a father of one!!
Maybe I am just a pigger pogger. Or a porridge freak. Or, perhaps both. More mornings of the year than not I have porridge for breakfast. Not in proper Summer. But if there is a bit of a chill in the air, I can justify the porridge. Last time we stayed at Loch with Small Brother I made him, Small Z and I porridge and my dad could hardly tear his eyes from the pot on the stove.
…or his decimated jar of rolled oats. “You’re going to eat ALL that?” he asked.
I didn’t get it. “That’s what I make every morning.”
Small Brother didn’t say anything, but I saw his eyes widen as he took it in. He is fit and proteiny and secretly thinks I am a carb ingesting freakshow. I didn’t even know what a carb was until we shared a house with our fit friends, D&E and one night they looked at my favourite fried rice…with potato in it, and said; “You put carbs with carbs?”
CARB SCHMARB. Say the words, people. RICE! POTATOES! PAAAAAASTAAAAAAAA!!! (They’re the only ones I know. Oh no, hang on. BREAD!) They are all the bedrock of my existence. And I’m assuming oats fit in there as well.
Now I’m all off track. Here’s the thing. I have given up looking at ‘how to make porridge’ recipes because they inevitably have the same effect on me as shopping for clothing by size. Frustration. Who ARE these freaks who cook HALF a cup of rolled oats with TWO cups of water? Que? This is what it suggests in my slowcooker book – the only one of my three that has a recipe for it.
My measurements? I use one cup of oats for me, one cup for M and half a cup for Small Z. Followed by five cups of water. Once it has cooked I stir through some milk and give it another shot of heat on the stove. I like brown sugar or honey on mine. Small Z goes for blackberries. And at the moment we’re chucking in sultanas at the start as well. Sorry, I meant piranhas.
I have noticed on the days I have WeetBix or eggs on toast that I start flagging by about 10.30. Porridge (this makes it sound like some kind of marital aid) can keep me going until after midday. Such is the level of our consumption that I buy the Home Brand oats because they’re about $1.30 for 900g as opposed to the Lowan’s 1kg for $3.60. Yes. OK. Our budget is tight. M dreams of buying bulk bags of organic oats – which are about $5 a kilogram. I dream of being able to get different kinds of oats besides just ‘rolled’. Over in the US I saw steel cut oats. Didn’t get to ingest them, but I imagine them to be sort of chunkier and robust?
Anyway, in my quest for a home environment where I can imaginatively pretend I have a housekeeper (or butler, I’m not fussy), I have an urge to wake up to a bowl of porridge. Hot, already cooked porridge. The last two mornings I have made it the night before in my new Pyrex bowl. I have used my normal measurements and, after some research, whacked it in the slow cooker sitting in a few cups of water. It has made the Most Creamiest Porridge In The World.
Unfortunately, M does not agree with my definition of creamy. He says it is like eating paste. I can see his point – and actually have almost had my joy superseded by thoughts that maybe it is more pastey than creamy. Grrr. I am going to persevere. Tonight I’m going to add in more liquid, and so it will be composed thusly:
1 and a half cups of rolled oats
4 cups of water
Handful of piranha sultanas
The above will be for Small Z and I, and M can have WeetBix, which is what he did this morning while Small Z and I pasted our innards. I have also exhumed my Teasmade, thus automating my tea intake. My imaginary butler is taking shape…