Friday, January 29, 2010


Early this morning I picked as many roses as I could and placed them all around the house. I love walking into a room that has a bunch of flowers, it just beckons you to sit a moment,

and roses remind me of this high school English recital

Juliet "O Romeo, Romeo, I wherefore art thou Romeo. Deny thy father, and refuse thy name, or if thou wilt not be but sworn my love, and I'll no longer be a Capulet"
Romeo "Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?"
Juliet "Tis but thy name that is my enemy, Thou art thyself though, not a Montague.
What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot, nor arm, nor face, nor any other part belonging to a man. O! be some other name: What's in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. So Romeo would , were he not Romeo call'd. Retain that dear perfection which he owes without that title. Romeo, doff thy name, and for that name, which is no part of thee, take all myself"
Romeo "I take thee at thy word. Call me but love, and I'll be baptiz'd, henceforth I never will be Romeo"

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

He is looking...

"But this is the one to whom I will look:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit
and trembles at my word."
Isaiah 66.2b
I've been digging in Isaiah lately, its so packed!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mice and things

Rebecca was feverish yesterday and ended up at the Doctor.
A part of the conversation went like this (she takes questions very literally)

Dr: Did you blow your nose much yesterday?
Ruby: No. (Pause) Yes. (Pause). Well a few times
(clearly unsure of how many times constitutes "much")
Dr: That's okay
Ruby: I remember. (Pause) It was three. (Pause, with the necessary expression). I think. (Pause) Yes. Once in the morning, that one was okay. Then I blew it at lunchtime... and then on the playground and that one was bad, there was alot of funny stuff in my nose.
Dr: Umm.

That minute was looooong.

Another not so funny story, it happened this morning, before I even had my tea.

I walk into the kitchen to put on the kettle and out of the corner of my eye I see a flash of tiny brown. I don't need to think, I've been through this before. I open the kitchen door to the garage and then open the garage door. I hope the smell of the outdoors and the inviting light will draw him out from behind my oven. I calmly pour my tea and wait.

Within 3 minutes he is out the door into the garage, but alas, he doesn't run outside but to the back - silly mouse. But at least I can lock up my house and leave him in the garage until my husband gets home. Since he is out of my domain, I'm happy.

Now I can enjoy another cuppa.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Chicken Parmigiana

Can you believe this was my first Chicken Parmigiana! It was so very good! I will have to remedy my oversight quite earnestly, as there were many sighs of pleasure around the table.

The stars:

6 boneless chicken breasts, pounded pretty flat
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 green pepper, finely chopped
2 tins chopped tomatoes (can use +-1 kg of fresh tomatoes)
a heaped tablespoon of tomato puree
1 scant teaspoon sugar
3-4 cloves garlic, minced/chopped
1/4 cup chicken stock
a splash of wine vinegar/wine

5-7 handfuls of Parmesan cheese, grated

Set oven to 180 deg Cel.

The stars route to fame:

Mix 1/2 cup of flour, a small handful of breadcrumbs (if you don't have breadcrumbs just leave out), salt and pepper to taste and 1/2-1 teaspoon of garlic and herb spice. Place this flour mixture on a plate press the flattened breasts into it to coat well on both side.
Set aside. Throw out remaining unused flour mixture.

Add a splash of oil to the pan and add the chopped onion & pepper. Cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Scrape all bits around and add the rest of the ingredients (except the chicken and cheese). Cook for 8-10 minutes.

In a clean pan cook the coated chicken breasts for about 2 minutes a side to seal with a touch of oil or olive oil spray & cook, over lowish heat (to avoid extra washing, you could do this first and then use same pan to cook the tomato sauce - hey, a girl's got to do what a girl's got to do).

Now for the fun bit (so far sounds like work but it isn't, its real easy stuff) - pour your tomato sauce in a ovenproof dish. Layer your chicken in it and cover with well with the cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another +-10 minutes until thickened and gorgeous.

Serve on a bed of spaghetti or rice, with some greens on the side. You won't be disappointed!
Since Parmesan cheese is so expensive I would recommend replacing with Mozzarella.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


So I have a flipfile cleaning roster - a room a page. It's not that weird. So I give my friends a laugh. I'm comfortable with that. So I was spoilt and never taught this stuff. I'm not complaining about all those years with no chores.

Then I got married and needed some hard-core help. Enter 'Home Comforts: The art and science of Keeping House'. This book covers every topic you can think of and some you never knew were necessary like 'Caring for Wool' (you quickly look that up when your expensive jersey comes out of the wash as Barbie clothing). The other book was given to me by my mother-in-law, 'Mrs Beeton's Household Management'. Mrs Beeton was a Victorian domestic goddess. This book is thick as a brick and so funny - very or-der-ly!

So Rebecca is obviously a first born and loves lists so these cleaning rosters are right up her alley.
She (unlike her mother, way back when) has chores. So she won't be shocked when she gets there. She has already asked if she can inherit these books one day! Fun-ny!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The holiday

Wednesday was back to school but we had a good break. Some highlights in pictures -
There was (besides a wonderful Christmas) gardening and swimming to cool down afterwards,

there was reading and baking and many many board games

There were our beautiful beaches, picnics, frizbee and ball games and then cooling down with home made ice lollies,

and we went to the ballet, to see Sleeping princess, which lead to many attempts of the 'piroutte' and 'battement tendu' in the week to follow...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The heat is on

Where did all the air go? It was 41 degrees when I picked Rebecca up from school.

This is just the ticket on a day like this... and super good for you. Watermelon is packed with goodness like beta-carotene & lycopene (carotenoids - very good for you, believe me), calcium, vitamin C etc (a long list of goodness... to hot to explain today) and the seeds can be discarded but I don't. Just blitz them real good and you will get the lovely benefit of good protein, vitamins and minerals (some people even roast them).

Watermelon juice

1 kg watermelon, peeled and cubed
200ml orange juice
10 ml bitters (a nice option, if not, no worries)
lots of crushed ice

Okay, this is it... place all (except ice, although sometimes I chuck it all in) in a blender and pulp
away. Top with much crushed ice and gulp down.

If you don't like the bits, then remove seeds and blend as above. Then strain and add ice.

Lovely! This makes the day's heat more bearable.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Our morning

We got Rebecca a proper big girl bike for Christmas with gears and what not, so this morning we went for a long ride (she rode her bike and we jogged) around the golf course near our home. It was only 7 km but it was hot, fortunately the last stretch was under ancient shady pine trees so that was a lovely reward.

We had these for breakfast when we got home. I baked them early this morning and left them to cool while we were out, a bit like the three bears going out while their porridge cooled.

A simple scone

450g bran rich self-raising flour (or nutty wheat flour)
a level teaspoon salt
100g butter
200ml milk

Sift dry goods. Rub butter in with fingertips till crumbly. Make well and add milk (this morning I added an egg to the milk for a richer taste), and mix lightly to blend. (I split the dough and mixed raisins into the one half). Place on a floured surface and cut out 5cm rounds. Place on a greased baking tray. Bake at 200 degrees for about 15 - 20 minutes. I served them with butter and jam.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Ring in the new

Happy New Year...

It's non-alcoholic champers!

Ring out the old, ring in the new
Ring happy bells, across the snow (or 30 degree heat)
The year is going, let him go
Ring out the false, ring in the true

Lord A Tennyson, In memoriam, 1850