Introducing the best rice in the world ! (imnsho)

OK, you lot – here’s another-y. I said I would post only SIMPLE recipes (because I can’t be bothered with fancy ones), and I meant it.

This is a 2-veg curry. It’s extremely delicious. What more could you want ?!

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EGGPLANT & CHICKPEA CURRY

(35’ from go to whoa: serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 2–3 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 small-medium eggplants, chopped
  • 2–3 cloves squashed garlic
  • 425g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1–2 tbsps curry powder or 1 tbsp curry paste
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • seasoning
  • 1 can (400 ml) coconut cream

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in large pan: when it’s hot, add onions and eggplants and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add garlic and cook for another minute.
  • Drain and rinse the chickpeas and add them to the pan.
  • Add all the spices, season with salt and pepper, and stir well. Cook for one more minute.
  • Pour on coconut cream and simmer with lid on for another 4-5 minutes.
  • Serve with Jazaa brand ‘Elite’ Pakistani rice. Only kidding ! – with any white rice you like. But Jazaa ‘Elite’ is the best rice I’ve ever eaten.   :)

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Not vegan, no; but …

Vegetarian.

Again.

I was vegetarian for 6 years, until I started feeling faint a lot; so I gave it up and went back to being an omnivore. But even then I wasn’t eating a whole big lot of meat. My diet has always consisted of many vegetarian meals, interspersed with the occasional chilli con carne, or baked spaghetti, or curry, or stir-fry with chicken.

Now, having just the other day been reminded (in a book review by Whispering Gums) of the wonderful pleasure in NOT eating animals that have been pretty brutally killed – and honestly, when you look at it like that, it’s simply disgusting ! – I was very easily persuaded to follow the pendulum back again in changing my eating habits.

I have not the slightest intention of proselytising, I assure you.

This means only that I shall, every now and then, post an especially yummy recipe. It will be, of course, vegetarian; but it will be one that omnivores would enjoy if they gave it a burl.   :)

Shall I start with today …?

Why not ?!

Let’s start small …

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Asparagus & halloumi entrée

Cooking Time, 15 minutes: Serves, 4

 Ingredients

  • 1½ tbsps olive oil
  • 2 bunches asparagus, woody ends broken off
  • 1 x 250g pkt halloumi cheese, drained, cut into 4 lengthways
  • 60g baby mesclun
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Method

  • Heat 2 tsp of the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the asparagus and cook, stirring, for 4-5 minutes or until bright green and tender crisp. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
  • Reheat pan over high heat. Cook the halloumi for 1 minute each side or until golden.
  • Divide mesclun and asparagus among serving plates.
  • Top with a slice of halloumi. Drizzle with the remaining oil and season with pepper.

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You will come to realise that almost every recipe I make contains either extra virgin olive oil or olive oil. I think it’s because Stringer’s sublime cooking skills always did – and why would I be likely to not do what he did ?   :)

Hold the phone !

Have just decided to add a second one, because it’s a kind of alternative and you would tell yourselves “Oh, she’s already posted this one – pfuh !” when you started to read it. But it’s actually quite different in all respects but one !

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Pan-fried Halloumi Salad

Ingredients

  • some mint and parsley, chopped roughly
  • garlic clove, diced
  • ½ lemon
  • ½ long red chilli, finely diced
  • 80g halloumi
  • tbsp olive oil
  • 2 roma tomatoes cut into wedges
  • sprinkle paprika
  • tsp raw sugar
  • some cos lettuce

Method

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  • In a large bowl add the chopped herbs, diced garlic and chilli, the zest of the half lemon and its juice and the olive oil.
  • Slice the halloumi into 1cm thick rounds and toss around in the herb mixture, setting aside to marinate for 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, arrange the tomato wedges on a baking tray; sprinkle with sugar and paprika, a little salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
  • Roast in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes until soft and golden. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  • Place a large fry pan over a medium-high heat; once at temperature, add the halloumi mixture to the pan.
  • Fry until halloumi is golden (about 3′-4’) then remove from heat.
  • Arrange the lettuce leaves on a plate, top with the cooled roasted tomatoes and then the halloumi mixture; dress with remaining pan juices.

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Believe me: this is VERY yummy indeed !

A bit of progress !

So. I’ve put another plant in The Front Bit:

It’s a gazania (top left) that hasn’t flowered since first I planted it as a teeny seedling in my very first Geelong rental. It turned out to have flowers of the most gorgeous dark bronze colour – none of which has been seen since I put it in a pot to take with me. I am hoping it will be so happy to feel the real earth again that it will say thanks with many blooms. Dream on, M.R.

The roses planted by Denuta are in their prime right now:

and I am betting that they haven’t had such a showing for many years. S’s pruning was the secret !

I told you I couldn’t take a shot that wouldn’t look like this. Sighh …

From the centre left: a grevillea, a dampiera, a … umm … I forget, at the back a bigger grevillea with different coloured blossoms, in front of it a eutaxia, to the right of that a prostanthera and behind another one the name of which has gone from what I laughingly call my mind. And I cleverly managed to frame out on the right a Silver Cloud. World’s Best Photographer strikes again !

I’m not too fussed about being so forgetful right now; because this garden isn’t worth looking at. In the future – I hope in the autumn – the little things will have grown and be worthy of at least a glance, and I shall know them all.

Besides, there are several gaps to be filled. S and I couldn’t decide how many plants I should buy; and it wasn’t possible to know until these were planted out. I MUST have a smallish callistemon (between the two left-hand poles, only one of which can be almost seen), as well as an Acacia aspera or Rough Wattle – native to NSW and Victoria and growing only to 2m max.

What’s happening in my garden

Here is the current situation.

As you stand on the small lawn rise between the two rows of units –

(the satellite view from Google was taken in high summer, as you can tell from the colour of the lawn) – my unit is the first on the left of the second block at the bottom. This means that I have a side yard for pot-plants and Boodie as well as a wrap-around garden that goes from in front of the side yard to my front door. Then to the right of the front door is the garden that’ll be just for natives. Well, that is – all except for the little bit at the end that actually goes with Unit 7; where Orlando has been graced by us with weeding it so as to allow its daisies to spring up. Dice Orlando: “Voglio solo le … daisies” – which is what happens to one’s native tongue when living among speakers of other languages, alas !   :)

So. We are standing looking at the unit, yes ? From the right-hand side, on the near side of the fence enclosing the side yard, is to be found THE CEANOTHUS !

It IS there at the back;, but you can scarcely see it against all that mulch. There will also be dychondra as a ground-cover; and if  S and I can find another part of that strip without pavement underneath (!), we’ll add something else. Note: MACS was originally built without the units, and the ground layout was totally different.

Next is the garden along the front of the loungeroom window, that is the continuation of that shot above:

 

The three rose-bushes had already been planted by Denuta, in charge of the gardening volunteers, and very pretty they are ! S and I added the three bacopas (bacopæ ?) along the front and the one at the end, and they look really good. I hope they’ll struggle against the chip mulch and win out, so as to make ground-covers.

Then we step back a bit, moving up a few paces onto the lawn hill, and see

what I call ‘the front bit’. This is largely occupied by (ugh !) a mirror bush – AN INVASIVE SPECIES ! I hate it; but my problem is that the little birds love it. It gives them shelter, and they fly in an out of it with much twittering and wing-fluttering; and as I adore them, I can’t remove the bloody thing.

I have planted at the near end (to my unit, I mean) two red geraniums that S gave me and a little lavender bush that I hope will grow to about a metre. The red and the lilac-colour actually look OK !

Then we look to the left of the front door to see the big empty, which will be planted with natives only. I have 9 ready to go, and am feeling somewhat alarmed at the amount of work ahead of me.

And last, here is a shot looking out of the front door – which you can just see set back on the right, above – to give what will, I hope, a better idea of the front layout:

How happy I would be if I had the smallest idea of how to take photos that clarify situations ! Sighh …

Anyway, that’s as of today, Saturday. The next changes will be to the empty bed, of course; and as I said to ST in a comment, it’ll show as lots of soil with some little plants dotted about.   :\

Open gardens

Had a ripper day yesterday: my dear friend S drove me about during an annual open gardens day, called “Through the Garden Gate”. I will confess up front that I didn’t last past the morning’s viewings; but that was partly because they had provided me with three epiphanies (sort of).

    1. I’ve gone off planting salvias in my empty front bed. There are simply too many people growing salvias; and I have no wish to create a déjà vu feeling.
    2. I MUST have a ceanothus ! This plant is about the most attractive to bees that I’ve ever seen.    :)
    3. I’m going (now) to have that front strip a native garden. Q.E.D.

Here are my favourite shots:

old-fashioned rose
they call it ‘court jester’
could it be a eucalyptus preissiana ?!
white boronia !
just one aspect of a huge garden
ceanothus – heaven to bees !

S and I have prepared the front bed with manure and then compost (her) and lots and lots of turning over and working it all in after having weeded – meaning daisies, too (me).

Now for a buying spree !!! YAAAAAY !!!

Oh AAAaarghh !

I was turning my knitting over when something – gave. WTF ?! I turned it back to find, to my utter horror, that a magic knot had just magically unknotted – ‘way down the project. What could I do ?!

As a temporary measure I quickly made an ordinary knot and prevented myself from bursting into tears of rage. It was, of course, my own fault: I must have been careless in making the magic knot so that it wasn’t over on one side and under on the other.

And then ? – what else ?: a huge frogging had to ensue.

Once the ghastly deed had been done I didn’t feel so bad about it. Odd, that: I still had to re-knit tons, so you’d think I’d be ropable …

Anyway, I’m now back to where I was – after all this time. And probably the carefuller (yes, I like it !) for it.

:)

I am embarrassed

If I had instant access to emojis I would add that one here. Imagine it, OK ?

I have given the small creature the wrong name.

How could I ?!

Well, I did.

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Line drawn under.

Now for the new name !

Australia’s marsupials are, by and large, extremely appealing animals; and the bettong is definitely amongst ’em.

So my new small friend and companion –

– who is NOT spoiled already, has, with our entry into Eastern Daylight Saving Time, become Mr B. Bettong. Or, if you prefer, B. Bettong, Esq., NFP. *

However, seeing as how we never use our moggies’ formal names, he is forever to be known as

BOODIE

and don’t you forget it !

(Don’t you just love it ?!)

 

* Neatly Folded Paws

So, this-morning, I’m …

… sitting in my recliner chair with my laptop on my lap (strangely), and Someone decides it’s HIS laptop:

Dunno how long he would’ve sat there, but  I feared what keys were being pressed under his furry little (_|_).  And I was right:

for although it was easy to shut down all the windows he’d opened and get out of aeroplane mode, I found I could no longer type and had to re-start the PC. Ah, life with A Very Young Cat !    :)

Then he simply got onto my lap (sans laptop) and looked at me. So I picked him up in my arms, and after about two seconds’ stiffening, he relaxed completely, curled up and went to sleep. I sat there holding him for 1½ hours !, during which time he did change position, but only to burrow his little face into the crook of my right elbow.

Gosh, life’s tough with A Very Young Cat.    :)

Eventually I woke him up, telling him that I was hungry; and we both had some breakfast. He managed to leap from the laptop

onto the dining-room table and sniffed at my toasted pita with butter and marmalade, wanting of course !) to lick the butter off; but I selfishly didn’t let him. Pfuh !

So it was obviously time to play:

and now we’re both exhausted. Sort of.

How can a wee moggy be so GAME ?