Category: domesticity

I am becoming ill with jealous rage !

Tonight I was watching a crocheting lady on YouChoob rabbiting on about her new “dreambox”. I mean like on and on and ON ..

Foolishly I decided to find out what a dreambox is.

How I wish I hadn’t !

Go here and look ..

Unless I win PowerBall or the Lottery (for neither of which I have ever bought a ticket) I shall not be able to afford one of these extraordinary and fascinating and WONDERFUL things. But come to think of it, I couldn’t even were I to suddenly come into a fortune: they’re made in the US, and sold there and in Canada and in the UK (for Europe). I have calculated that were I to persuade them to ship me the version I wanted, I’d be up for something like – oh, AUD8K.

[M.R. swoons away]

Absolute aural joy

Thanks to my friend ST’s excellent book review site Whispering Gums I discovered the writings of Tasmanian Heather Rose.

My first Rose novel was Bruny, and I could scarcely leave iTunes, once I started listening. So much did I like it that I sent an email to her publisher to express my absolute pleasure in this terrific novel. (I got an acknowledgement from the Publisher, but I doubt that my email was passed on ..)

To me, that’s a somewhat underwhelming grab, even if all those things are true: they seem, somehow, to reduce the book to something less than it is. I have, I must admit, no alternative to present to this (to me) unsatisfying statement. Just be assured that this is my favourite book since Truth*, and that’s saying something !

So, with 1 credit available on Audible, I searched under Rose’s name and came up with The Butterfly Man. Audible’s précis is attention-grabbing, and I very willingly rendered up my last current credit. I must confess here that I am avoiding Rose’s The Museum of Modern Love, simply because I read of it when I was in Cluny mode, and was put off. (No, there’s no way of comprehending how my mind works: heaven knows, I’ve tried ..)

It’s really difficult to describe this book. Maybe if I tell you that it caused me to wonder how in the name of all the gods someone can put together such amazing fiction – so intelligent, so fascinating, so creative, so .. appealing ! .. then you might get some idea of the effect it had on me. I listened to it with awe for Rose’s skill – but that came after the actual listening response; and that was utter enjoyment.

I’ve often discussed with other audiobook ‘readers’ the importance of a book’s narrator. In Rose’s case, both Bruny’s Zoe Carides and The Butterfly Man’s Humphrey Bower are – well, ideal. Perfect choices, happily for me and for their other audiobook listeners. In fact, it’s my firm opinion – yes indeed, they are all firm ! [grin] – that listening to Bower’s gentle Scottish accent provides a better all-round experience that merely reading the book could. Mais chacun son goût.

I don’t intend to start posting book reviews, many will be happy to learn; but I haven’t experienced such pleasure in ‘reading’ two books by the one writer since the wonderful Peter Temple – all nine of whose novels are up there on top of my list.

 

*Peter Temple is now and always will be my favourite writer in the world. The news of his death hit me like a blow and took me a long time to recover from. 

For cat-lovers

This is a straight steal by me: far from new, and probably watched a zillion times. But as I’ve been a cat-lover all my life, and this video made me laugh so loudly that Boodie got out of bed to come and see what was going down, I thought that maybe there’s a person (or two) out there who, like me, has missed this ..

Cats showing their people what they think of bad singing, basically.

They do it so much better than I ever could !

It’s about 10 minutes long; but no-one’s holding a gun to yore li’l haid ..

[grin]

The LAST new recipe

It’s all got a bit beyond me, this constant experimenting with new vegetarian recipes. My problem is simple, and probably incomprehensible to most cooks: I get stressed by the various timings.

Let’s say a recipe instructs me to “cover and allow to simmer actively for 8-10 minutes, and meanwhile prepare the tomato sauce”. What almost invariably happens is that I take too long to make the sauce and the [whatever], simmering away with gusto, has thickened down to the point of being glutinous. (No, not gluttonous – that’s moi !)

Multiply this by one, two or three other stages and you have a large, stressed and rapidly becoming enraged cooking person.

OK, so it don’t happen every time; and I have certainly taken to reading any recipe through exhaustively .. but as I’ve generally forgotten the opening sentence by the time I’m half-way through, that doesn’t help enormously. Sighh .. No: senility and increasing grumpiness combine to produce a steamy kitchen !

ANYWAY ..

Here goes for the last recipe I’d never made before.

Pay attention this way, Sue !   :)


Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Root Vegies mash

prep: 15′   cook: 45′   serves 4

Ingredients

    • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
    • 4 red onions, thinly sliced
    • 200g puy lentils
    • 2 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
    • 1 tbsp vegetable stock powder
    • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    • 350g peeled and diced carrots
    • 350g peeled and diced swede
    • 350g peeled and diced potato
    • 50g parmigiano, finely grated

Method

    • Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onions for 8 mins until softened.
    • Put a kettle on to boil. Stir the lentils, rosemary, stock powder and balsamic vinegar into the onions, pour in 1 litre boiling water, add seasoning, and simmer for 25-30 mins with the occasional stir until the lentils are soft but still have some bite.
    • Meanwhile, cook the root veg for 25 mins. (I can only imagine it’s really exciting if you get these two stages to match ..)
    • Mash the root veg with a masher. Add seasoning.
    • Use a slotted spoon to transfer the lentil mixture into a pie dish, top with the mash, then scatter over the cheese.
    • While it’s still hot, grill the pie to melt the cheese
    • Serve pie with cooked green veg. My favourite green veg is cabbage, but broccolini passes muster; and you should prepare ’em small. Use one of these

for cabbage, and not only will you shred it wonderfully fine in  no time at all,  but you will also festoon practically everything around you with little light green bits. Yesss !   :)


Astoundingly, this is REALLY tasty. Well, I think I’m surprised by the lentils part: I expected the bottom of the shepherd’s pie to be fairly bland, but it was extremely flavoursome. Of course, I should’ve said “is”, as there’s enough left over for even the largest and grumpiest of cooking persons to have several more meals out of it. Which is how I eat, basically. And I don’t get bored, either.

So that was it. From now on I shall simply rotate among the plentiful number of recipes I’ve made before and know I like. There are so many of these that already I’ve reached the stage of saying “Oh, I’d forgotten all about haloumi pasta ! Great ! That’s my next dinner !”.

Taking unnecessary travel a bit far

I am a bus traveller. I have no car, and am not on a train-line; so it’s buses for me. (When, that is, times are normal.) My bus pass is a ‘Myki’, for which I’ve set an online top-up control and thus is my life rendered painless.

In my Inbox this-morning I found this:

and thought “Hang on .. They sent me a new one, and I’ve even been able to use it !”; so I opened it with trepidation, expecting to be faced with some announcement from Public Travel Victoria that would require yet another series of phone-calls to Customer Service that always end with steam coming out my ears.

Once opened, the email said:

Isn’t that nice ? PTV wants me to know that they like me. Warm feeling all over.

[grin]

No, I haven’t !

I have NOT put a blue rinse through my hair.

My new gravatar looks very much like a grumpy old broad who has dipped her head in a basin of grumpy-old-lady blue dye.

Bugger !

It is merely grey, folks. There is still some dark stuff around the back; but basically I’m just – grey.

NOT blue.

Thinks: what if I had it whitened ..? Like Goanna’s – which looks great !

[thoughtful look ..]

Boodie on the wander

Looks like a little angel. Is actually a very small monster .. Well, OK, not that bad; but he was making my life a misery with wanting to escape. And then he found out how. Did my best to prevent it, but couldn’t block up the escape route. For a while I was intending to spend a painful amount of money on having a professional bit of cat-fencing-in done (which would’ve brought his cost, so far, to over $2,000, what with the vet fees); but before that came about, the solution did !

After yet another escape, I simply gave up. I opened the front door and went about whatever I was doing at the time. Boodie was back in an hour or two; rushed about excitedly and went out again. Came back in half an hour. Repeated the activity, and returned in about ten minutes. From then on I didn’t bother about anything: I knew that there was nothing to bother about.

Last night for the first time he went out into the dark before I’d gone to bed. I decided not to panic when he didn’t return for half an hour, and shut everything down, including myself; but I left my bedside light on.

At some stage he leaped onto my stomach from the ground – fairly likely to wake me up – and settled down to sleep. At some other stage he went out again. When he woke me up this-morning, the dent in the duvet told me he’d been asleep there for a good long while.

Made my teeny adorable cat happy. Stopped myself from being driven mad. Saved almost $700.

Yes, I do know cats are not meant to be outside at night for fear of their eating the local wildlife; but there isn’t any around here – except one very large goanna, which would in all likelihood eat Boodie in any confrontation – but he is not a confrontational moggy – and this is a very singular environment. I like it so much, here at MACS; and now I like it even more.

This is me being helpful, see ..?

Phil, the gasp-making knitter I posted about some days back, has herself posted about re-growing vegies – one of her many “gardening” activities (inverted commas to divide this one from those where she is actually out in the garden). Definitely worth reading, as it’s couched within writing about knitting !

This is of great interest to me: buying seeds is fairly expensive; and the whole process fraught with the difficulty of dealing with flying or crawling or hatching pests.

So I draw your attention — in the event that you, too, should wish to have in your kitchen some vegies that are much easier to produce than are their seeds alone — to this YouTube video.

You’ll find that it actually IS helpful, once you can get your head around the mechanically- (I s’pose I should say ‘electronically-‘) produced voice-over .. I find these largely entertaining, as they’re generally appalling with phrasing: I’ve heard some that have so puzzled me as to prevent comprehension of some sentences; but this one isn’t as bad as that. Promise.

OK, that’s it – my contribution to the Covid-19 time-filling agenda.

:)

This made me laugh like an idiot (shut up !)

I do like all the Covid-19 memes and jokes and spoofs that are going about: they often make me laugh – A Very Good Thing, eh ?

But this one ! – it was meant for a crochet site, so mine will have to do:

I laugh every time I look at it !   :D

And here’s another one, that’s just nice:

Whaddya reckon, eh ?   :)

P.S.: you probably need this – I did !