Thursday, 30 June 2011

Drab to Fab...

So sorry that Drab to Fab made a non-appearance last week - our internet was shaped due to excessive download and I was unable to blog! The HORRORS!

But, all back to normal this week...

Diminishing Lucy


Drab to Fab is all about making the choice to treat ourselves well, so that we feel good.

If we aim to treat ourselves well, to nurture ourselves, to treat ourselves kindly, we can feel fab, instead of drab.
Simple as that really.

So it's not about dieting, or about going from "fat to fit."

It's about any component of your world moving from drab to fab.

It's about renewal. About taking care of yourself, and doing things that make you happy, in whatever form that takes.

Today, I am taking a day off work to take some time out for myself. I am going to get my house in order and do some writing. My world is very over busy at the moment and I can sense my anxiety levels rising to horrible levels. I don't even know how to turn this around, so I am just going to take the opportunity for some time to myself.  To take my drab mood to the promise of something a little more fab.

All you need to do to take part is: follow Diminishing Lucy, link up any post of yours that suits, and then share the love by commenting on some of the other blogs that link up.

I'd love it if you grabbed the Drab to Fab button too? Pop the button in your sidebar, or in your post?












Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Man Flu - The Facts


Man Flu - The Facts...




1. Man-Flu is more painful than childbirth. This is an irrefutable scientific fact*.

*(Based on a survey of over 100,000 men.)

2. Man-Flu is not 'just a cold'. It is a condition so severe that the germs from a single Man-Flu sneeze could wipe out entire tribes of people living in the rain forest. And probably loads of monkeys too.

3. Women do not contract Man-Flu. At worst they suffer from what is medically recognised as a 'Mild Girly Sniffle' – which, if a man caught, he would still be able to run, throw a ball, tear the phone book in half and compete in all other kinds of manly activities.

4. Men do not 'moan' when they have Man-Flu. They emit involuntary groans of agony that are entirely in proportion to the unbearable pain they are in.

5. Full recovery from Man-Flu will take place much quicker if their simple requests for care, sympathy and regular cups of tea are met. Is that really so much to ask? Florence Nightingale would have done it.

6. More men die each year from MFN (Man-Flu Neglect) than lots and lots of other things. (Like rabbit attacks or choking on toast).

7. Men suffering from Man-Flu want nothing more than to get out of bed and come to work, but they are too selfless to risk spreading this awful condition amongst their friends and colleagues. In this sense, they are the greatest heroes this country has ever known.

8. Man-Flu germs are more powerful than all The A-Team combined. They are too strong for weak, nasty tasting 'lady medicines' like Lemsip, so don't bother trying to force them on a victim of Man-Flu.

Does your bloke suffer Man Flu? Do YOU inflict Man-Flu-Neglect?

This post is totally inspired by an email sent to me by my husband....

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

The penny drops...

My lovely husband has been a lean and slim individual his whole life. Lucky bastard.

In all of the photos that I have seen of him as a boy, he is small, slim and wiry.

As a teen he grew into a active and fit young man without an ounce of body fat.

When he and I met, in our twenties, he was muscular and lithe and fit. Lean.

In the entire time I have known him he has never changed the size of his pants; nor has he ever bothered to weigh himself on a regular basis.

For his whole forty plus years he has been a picture of health and metabolic perfection.





In all the time we have lived and loved together, he has been able to eat and and drink whatever he likes and never feel the effects of an expanding waistline. (And I am not kidding when I tell you that his "breakfast of champions" would be a chocolate donut and a toasted ham and cheese sarnie and a can of coke at 11am...bless him...)

He has always taken a great deal of incidental exercise and has played cricket with a passion. He is a natural and gifted athlete.

He has always supported me totally in my weight loss attempts. I think he has, at times, struggled to understand it, but he has unreservedly given me time and encouragement every single step of the way. (I probably can never thank him enough for his support actually - I have never felt pressured into losing weight at all. His support is a mark of the man his is, and how kind he is to me...)

He has listened to me ramble on about weight loss and exercise a lot; and whilst I think he has always sensed how hard it has been for me, at times, I suspect, in his head, he may have been thinking, like metabolically charmed people do: "Surely it's not that hard? Just stop eating chocolate and you'll lose weight? Just go for a quick jog and the kilos will disappear?"

Anyway, recently, since our Wii has been mended , the Wii Fit has seen some activity.

My lovely husband has been lured by the call of the balance board, to weigh himself.

It tells him he is "overweight". (I hasten to add here, he doesn't look it at all, but I sense he has felt a shift in his normally very fast metabolism and perhaps some thickening around the waist?)



Straight away, affronted by this, he takes steps to lose weight.

An exercise regime of Couch to 5kms is initiated and completed; and he cuts out the beers from his lunchtime menu.

He had taken to eating a muesli bar in the car for brekky, and having apples at his desk to snack on. He has been religiously utilising the Wii Fit for muscle and strength workouts and has invested in a fancy stationary bike on which he races intervals.

Evening meals are eaten earlier, and are smaller in portion. He has been requesting a lot more salads.

He has reduced the amount of coffee he drinks, and guzzles water and herbal tea.

And he is committed too. He has finished the Couch to 5kms program, and looks fitter than he has in a while. He has weighed himself consistently over a six week period. I am inordinately proud of him.

He was showing me his results this morning.

He is still termed as 'overweight'. He has fluctuated a bit, and over time, lost about 2kg.

He put his head to one side and said "I don't understand it. It's actually quite hard to shift weight, isn't it? All this effort and all this exercise, and eating healthily, and all I've lost is 2kg..."

No shit Sherlock.

My darling man, welcome, to my world...


All joking aside, his reaction to how tricky it can be to lose weight is a great prompt for me to really step our mutual weight loss efforts up a notch...



Monday, 27 June 2011

Cars Family Movie Pass Winner


Thanks so much for all of the entries to last weeks giveaway - an all season family pass to see Cars 2 valued at $80.

I truly loved writng that review - and to see so many entries makes me realise we are not alone in our love of all things Disney Pixar Cars!

And the winner of the family movie pass is.......

Brenda @ Mira Narnie


Brenda, could you please email me, and I will post out your prize to you directly!


 


A Deep Fried Cuppa...



I am over at Leanne's, the lovely blogger of Deep Fried Fruit fame.

She was one of my first ever followers. Hers was a blog I followed very early on and still love.  And she blogs EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Amazing.

We're having a cuppa -join us?



Sunday, 26 June 2011

Kids Curry...and a brilliant giveaway...

When we had guests to to stay recently, they commented on how easy it was now that the kids are happy to eat curry.

Olivia and Charlie and Lexie all really have gone through "stages" with their food preferences. Through the picky beige age and stage and the toddler food flinging stage I quietly despaired that they would ever eat 'adult' food. We persisted, and I am relieved that we did.

As a family we all now enjoy a few different curries together - this one is a particular favourite because it is mild and creamy so perfect for kids -  I made it last week in my new Microstoven from Kitchenware Direct

Creamy Chicken Peanut Curry

500g chicken breast, trimmed and cubed
1 medium onion, diced finely
1 red capsicum, sliced
3 tablespoons Malaysian Curry Powder spice blend - this is a blend of ground Coriander, Aniseed, Cumin, Cinnamon, Pepper, Star Anise, and Cloves. (I buy mine ready blended from an Asian grocer, or you can mix your own using equal parts the above spices.)
270ml can tin of coconut milk
1 teaspoon cornflour
1 heaped tablespoon crunchy peanut butter
1/2 cup of peas

Rice and poppadoms and cucumber slices to serve.

1. In a heavy bottomed non stick casserole, brown off the onion and the chicken in a tiny amount of spray oil.
2. Add the capsicum and stir to combine
3. Whisk together the spice mix and the coconut milk and a teaspoon of cornflour and the peanut butter, and pour into the casserole.
4. Stir whilst the liquid comes to the boil and thickens slightly.
5. Simmer very gently on low, either on the stove top or covered in a 150`c oven for 30 minutes.
6. Just before serving, add the peas and stir through.



I have used the Maxwell Williams Non Stick Microstoven for a whole host of recipes over the past few weeks - from the one above which a "new" recipe of mine, to some more traditional slow cooked casseroles.

(I am a fan of Maxwell and Williams kitchenware in general  - all of our crockery is the lovely plain white Maxwell and Williams basics...we were given it as a wedding pressie and I love it.)

I have, in the past, always used a slow cooker for casserole style meals, but ours really is on it's last legs. One of the downsides to a slow cooker, for me, is that I can never be bothered to brown off the meat first.

Now that I am using the Microstoven, our casseroles do, I hate to admit, have a better flavour, as I am encouraged to brown the meat off first, because this style of casserole dish makes it easy.

I have used it on the stove top, in the oven, in the microwave and in the dishwasher.

The above curry, for example, I made for the kids and I, on the stove top to brown the meat, and then I transferred it to the oven for a slow cook.

Then, later, I returned it to the stove top and added some additional chili for the lovely husband, for later.

When he came home, he heated the whole casserole back up in the microwave.

AND it's fully dishwasher proof. (All of my kitchen items MUST be dishwasher proof, otherwise I just don't end up using them ever...)

Whilst I am usually an advocate of gadgets with cords, but in this case, if you are in the market for a proper heavy bottomed casserole that has a multitude of uses, then this Maxwell Williams Non Stick Microstoven from Kitchenware Direct is brilliant. I was impressed. It feels and cooks like one of those very heavy and expensive casseroles made from cast iron and enamel. But it is much more reasonably priced.

It is an attractive casserole to dish up from at the table (as I tend to do when my in laws are visiting). And the clever thing we all noticed is that whilst the food inside is piping hot, the handles and the lid and the outside stay cool, despite just being taken out of the oven?! (I am not sure of the science that enables that, but I am finding it a very cool feature!)

I have one of these gorgeous Maxwell Williams Non Stick Microstoven (valued at $100) to giveaway to one of my readers, thanks to Kitchenware Direct.

All you need to do to be in with a chance to win is make sure you are following my blog, and leave me a comment telling me what you could cook in a lovely casserole like the Microstoven...








Australian residents only. Entry closes and winner announced  Monday 4th July
Disclosure - The review is all my own genuine opinion. I was not compensated or sponsored to write this post or review, but Kitchenware Direct did kindly supply me with a complimentary Microstoven.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Grateful for Mists...

View from our kitchen window - trees and mist...


I am grateful for winter and the excuse to hang out in my trackies and slippers every evening.

I am grateful for winter and the excuse to eat porridge and golden syrup for breakfast with the kids.

I am grateful for mist and the view from my kitchen window - some mornings this week, the ethereal atmosphere created by the mists has lasted until lunchtime at least. It's calming.

I am grateful for Downton Abbey on download so that we have been able to revel in the TV series without the annoyance of advertisments.

The downside of that is that we our internet download is now restricted and we are shaped....which makes me incredibly grateful for our normal lightening speed of internet connection. I now feel like a temporary IT pauper. (Indeed, this post make take hours, quite literally, to publish....)

I am grateful for Al of Pink Fibro fame for her sage advice on a pitch.

I am grateful to Maxabella for the incentive to post, despite speed restrictions.


Wednesday, 22 June 2011

How (not) to be classy...

You have heard me rant before about school parking issues. Nothing changes. No improvement. If anything, it gets worse, as you may gather from the detail of the "classy" activities witnessed below.

Now, apparently, the "classy" parents around school are upping the anti. Not content with a car park and an adjoining coffee shop, they want to create a different kind of impression.




So, after watching this unfold at school this week,  I give you a run down of how to be a classy parent -

1. Run a little bit late for school. Blame your children.

2. Drive slightly erratically at 60km in a 40km zone.

3. Slow down a little, maybe, as you approach the school crossing. Or don't bother to slow down - apparently this is optional.

4. Don't worry about indicating, this is optional as well, when you pull into a  cul-de-sac to turn around.

5. You could use the cul-de-sac to do a full turn, or you could just turn in the roadway, holding up all of the traffic. Yeah, good plan, hold up all the traffic.

6. This has the added benefit of blocking sight of the oncoming traffic from all children and parents who are trying to cross to the school gate.

7. If anyone dares look at you the wrong way for this, do not hesitate in giving them the finger. Honestly, they will be so appalled it is laughable, and it will give them a giggle. Go the finger. It's all class.

8. As you wait to turn around, light a cigarette. It will kill a few minutes. Oh, you have children in the back of the car?


Apparently this doesn't matter. One of the children is young enough to still be in a booster seat? No matter, light up anyway. 





9. When you finally pull into the kiss and drop zone, get out (still with fag in hand, obviously) to get the kids school bags out of the boot. Let the kids out but don't bother to kiss them goodbye. Watch them run away off into school.

10. When a concerned parent loudly wonders whether it is indeed against the law in SA to smoke in cars carrying children, give them a hair flick, straighten your puffa jacket, hop back into your four wheel drive that has never been off road in its life (but sees plenty of filth from the fags on the inside), and drive away, again, at 60km, despite the fact that its a 40km zone.

And finally, congratulate yourself that you are the classiest parent ever. Not.


You disgust me.


Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Anonymums Winner Announced...

Last week I reviewed the brilliant Anonymums book, and ran a giveaway for a copy of the book.



And the winner is....

Gemma at My Big Nutshell (Gemma, could you please email me with your postal address?)

Thank you to all that entered - we had a lot of fun reading all your dares! The book is currently on special at Booktopia for anyone who'd like to order their own copy (and you should...)

Monday, 20 June 2011

Do you want to lose 10kg?

My friend Sarah of Ah, The Possibilities is away at the moment.

On some glamorous house exchange in Bali I believe.

Lucky lucky girl.

And so, she has me guest posting for her.

Go over and have a read? You'll be glad you did....





And, stretch...

Source: via Lucy on Pinterest


Monday mornings.
 
I work out at 6am. Every. Single. Monday.Morning. Without. Fail.
 
The winter air is freezing, literally, at 5am, when I wake up and sip my coffee.
 
It is so tempting to curl back into my husbands back and snooze for another two hours.
 
But the coffee and the blogging before I creep out of the house at 6am is just enough of an incentive.
 
And at the other end of my workout - the incentive is the stretch at the end.
 
At 6.55am, when, over the last beats of loud music, someone calls "And......stretch..."
 
That is my bliss point.
 
It's during a stretch, when pleasure and pain combine, that I exhale, relived to be done, relived to have stirred at 5am, relived to have worked hard for nearly an hour, relieved to release those hormones. Relieved to have created a good start to the week.
 
The weekend sins absolved, a week of promise ahead.
 
"And......stretch..."
 
Tell me, how you start your week?


Sunday, 19 June 2011

Cars 2 - a review plus family movie pass giveaway!

The fab five have been unfaithful to our first love -  the drive in.

I feel bad, but we were invited to the fancy pants cinema locally for a sneak preview of Cars 2, and as it's been freezing down here in sunny old Adelaide, I relented and agreed to betray my beloved drive in for a more luxury cinema setting.



The irony was that we were off to see Cars 2....not in our car.

But wow. Just WOW. It was so worth it.

First off, I should tell you that we all LOVED the original Cars movie.

Lovely husband has a minor crush on the animated sexiness that is Sally, the cartoon love in the form of a  royal blue 2002 Porsche 911 Carrera.

My son, Charlie, is, of course a huge fan of the protagonist, Lightning McQueen (voiced by the lovely laid back Owen Wilson.)

Lexie and Olivia and I, whilst less obsessed with the cars, love a story of triumph, and whilst I was sad that Doc would not make an appearance in Cars 2 (as a result of the sad demise of Paul Newman, who was the gorgeous voice of Doc in the original Cars) I was still chomping at the bit to see Cars 2. And I fell in love with Finn McMissile instead, voiced by the endearing Micheal Cane.



As a family, we were not disappointed.

We saw it in 3D and were all utterly captivated.
Pixar outdo themselves with movies like this, they really do. If you (or your children, or, all of you...) have been blown away in the past by any of the Toy Story movies, by Finding Nemo, by Monsters Inc or by Up, then Cars 2 will not disappoint.

Memorable characters that are funny and heartwarming. Brilliant animations and voice work, Cars 2 will appeal to audiences of all ages.

Many "kids movies" make me want to stab myself in the eye with a fork. (Alvin and the Chipmunks, anyone?)

Cars 2 did not. I laughed and cried and I didn't want it to end.

It sends strong messages of friendship, of good triumphing over evil, and of loving yourself just the way you are. Mater is the star of the show, he really is.



From Japan to Italy to London and back to Radiator Springs,  Cars2 is filled with a whole new adventure, and it's amazing.

If you love the James Bond genre of movie, you will LOVE the clever way Cars 2 steps up a notch from the original. Car chases, a clever plot, witty dialogue and action scenes are amazing dare devil feats abound. Brilliant inventions and spy gadgetry, combined with another love interest in the gorgeous pink form of Special Agent Holly Shiftwell are thrilling. (This is why it works so brilliantly well for both kids and adults. We were ALL engaged equally.)



This is anthropomorphism at its absolute animated best.


I cannot wait for Cars 3, and neither can the children.

In between times, I have an all cinemas family pass to see Cars 2 at YOUR local cinema to give away. Valid for Birch Carroll and Coyle, Event, Greater Union, Hoyts, Movie Masters, Palace, Reading, Wallis and Village Cinemas, I think this will cover pretty much anyone, even the drive in! The family pass admits 4 and is valued at $80.

All you need to do to enter make sure you are following my blog, and then leave me a comment telling me your favourite car character from the original Cars movie. 

The winner will be drawn and announced on Monday 27th June. Open to Australian residents only.





Disclaimer - I was not paid for this review, but we were given a free preview showing pass so that we could watch the movie and preview it for you...

Friday, 17 June 2011

Grateful for a table for two...


Tonight I am grateful for a few things.

I am grateful to have my house back to myself after weeks of guests.

I am grateful for being able to curl up on my couch and fall asleep in front of Hustle. Just me and my lovely husband, in peace.

I am grateful for my three gorgeous children, whose goodness has overwhelmed me - they have made me so proud - their grandparents are suitably impressed.

In turn, I am also very grateful to my parents in law.

They have babysat for us a fair bit this week - the lovely husband and I have eaten out, just the two of us, in some amazing restaurants.

The intimacy and conversations that eating out affords - I am grateful for that.

I am grateful for a table for two.



What are you grateful for this week?


Thursday, 16 June 2011

Drab to Fab

Diminishing Lucy


Drab to Fab is all about making the choice to treat ourselves well, so that we feel good.

If we aim to treat ourselves well, to nurture ourselves, to treat ourselves kindly, we can feel fab, instead of drab.
Simple as that really.

So it's not about dieting, or about going from "fat to fit."

It's about any component of your world moving from drab to fab.

It's about renewal. About taking care of yourself, and doing things that make you happy, in whatever form that takes.

So Drab to Fab is ON!

All you need to do to take part is: follow Diminishing Lucy, link up any post of yours that suits, and then share the love by commenting on some of the other blogs that link up.

I'd love it if you grabbed the Drab to Fab button too? Pop the button in your sidebar, or in your post?










Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Mr Men and Little Miss DVDs - Winner announced...

If you look back here you'll see I did a recent review of the new Mr Men and Little Miss DVD's.

Their popularity is STILL going strong at our house.


And the winner of the giveaway who will recieve copies of both Mr Bump (Plus Other Stories) and Little Miss Naughty (Plus other stories) is:

Kel, from Anything, Everything and In Between

Kel, can you please email me and let me know your postal address?

Thanks to all that entered...watch this space - I have a stack more goodies to give away over the coming weeks, from Kitchenware Direct, Bright Star Kids to name but a few....


Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Masterchef (A Rant)

Being a chef is not a game show.

There, I said it.

Don't get me wrong, I love me a little bit of reality TV. "The tribe has spoken, it's time to go, it's time to cut the fat, I am sorry to tell you: you have been eliminated from the race............. PISS OFF CAN'T COOK..."

Seriously.

I am a tragic who is addicted to watching Masterchef, and I am left by my lovely husband to watch alone, so that I can shout abuse at the TV in peace.




Last year I got wound up in the production and service contradictions - is the food that is judged on Masterchef by Matt, Gary and George ever hot when they taste it? Do they judge the contestants food when it's cold? How is this ever an accurate indication of taste and texture?

And this year, I am really glad that the production team have seen the light and had some of these amateur cooks being exposed to basic but essential techniques such as sauces and fundamental baking. These foundation skills are the back bone of any good cook or chef. Less of the wank food art on a plate and more of the crucial culinary skills is a good thing, for the show, for the contestants and for the folk at home who learn to cook from watching foodie shows on TV.

But what is driving me mental this year is the way that the production team have upped the anti on the "meaningful" soundbites and emotional cry fests.

For fucks sake ladies and gents, you are admitting to the whole of Australia that you want to work in restaurants, and that working with food is your dream, and yet you are CRYING on national TV?

Hospitality, the food industry, restaurants and commercial kitchens are, in my experience, some of the hardest places on earth to work. It takes emotional and physical resilience. It takes strength of character and confidence. And if that confidence is tinged with a little bravado and charming arrogance, that's probably a good thing, for survival.



More than most, I understand how the traditions of cooking with family, generations passing down food related echoes, and food as a cultural mark of love is addictive. I can see how it may make a lot of folk link this to, and then crave, a successful future as a chef.

But being a successful chef is NOT the same as being a good cook.

Some good cooks can train long and hard to become good chefs, eventually.

And being a good cook is an accolade in itself, make no mistake.

Many chefs, I am sure, enjoy and have a love of home cooking.

But being a mediocre cook, no matter how "passionate" you are about food, not matter how much food is your "dream" is never going to make you a chef.

And being on Masterchef is not going to make you into a chef either. It may fast track you to people and places that give a great deal of foodie exposure. But unless you truly have what it takes, I am positive that no decent chef is going to put you on even as a lowly apprentice, unless you have the resilience and confidence and the heart to survive.

And all the crying at criticism, the cracking under challenge time pressures, producing shite food, getting emotional at the idea of being sent home - that does not show ticker to me. So many of the episodes see amateur cooks launch from disaster to disaster, with little focus and sloppy habits that I cover my eyes as I shout at the TV.

"But it's my dream. I've always had a passion for food. I am not ready to leave the compettion yet. If I am eliminated, I will be devastated. I want to follow my dream, and my dream is food...."

Cry, tears, yadda yadda. Snot, bleating, hugs from judges, more tears. Week after bloody week. It shits me enough to blog about it...

Is working in restaurants with food is really your dream? Look in any newspaper or on Seek, and apply for any of the hundred kitchen jobs that are being advertised. The industry is crying out for kitchen staff. Go, go follow your dream. Apply for those kitchen hand jobs - the industry is desperate.

But be warned - your dreams may will not pay that well, and the conditions are truly woeful. But off you go - if food is your passion, go for it.

The working conditions of all commercial food establishments is tough. Long long hours. Split shifts. Poor pay. Hot and cramped conditions. Incredibly stressful prep and service times. Long arduous clean downs followed by more prep. Steamy, noisy, greasy and loud.

I worked in commercial kitchens from the age of thirteen. I completed four years at uni (whilst still working in restaurants part time) which earned me my City and Guilds chef's qualifications, as well as a degree in hospitality management. I was then only then allowed to start on the bottom rung in a brigade in a high volume restaurant. I eventually did very well, and I survived. I lived on cigarettes, speed and adrenalin. But no stars for me. By the age of twenty seven I was totally burned out. Hence I feel I am in a position to shout at the TV and rant on my blog about the fluff that is Masterchef...






Masterchef is a great show. But I hate to think of all of the young people that it is conning into a life of foodie glamour, who do not view it as fairly trite reality TV, but who see it as a reflection of an tempting industry to work in. That scares me, as it is simply not an accurate portrayal.

Chefs in real life do not get flown to Malaysia or drive round Sydney in lots of black chauffeured cars. Chefs in real life do not meet celebrity chefs twice a week,  nor do they mingle and dine with the foodie aristocracy.  Chefs do not get book deals at the drop of a hat, not do they get hats or stars after their restaurant name without working bloody hard for a number of years, if they're lucky.

I've said it before, and no doubt I'll shout it at the TV again - being a chef is not a game show...

Do you shout at the TV? Tell me what you love and hate about Masterchef?



Monday, 13 June 2011

Apricot and almond tart...

At an utter loss as to what to serve up for desert last night, this was created - I had tinned apricots and half a packet of almonds....and it was lovely! Amazing what you can chuck together with pantry items!


Source: via Lucy on Pinterest


Apricot and almond tart

Ingredients


Sweet shortcrust pastry: (Makes 1 x 23cm tart case or 12 tartlets)
:
1 1/2 cups (250g) plain flour
125g butter, chilled, chopped
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon chilled water

Combine flour, butter and sugar in a food processor. Process until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add yolk and chilled water. Process until dough just comes together.

Turn pastry onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until just smooth. Shape into a disc. Wrap in baking paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Then use to roll out and line a 23cm fluted flan tin.

Bake blind in a 180~c pre-heated oven for 15 minutes.

Filling:

2 eggs
400g can of apricots. Reserve 6 halves of apricot, and puree the rest.
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup caster sugar
2 tablespoons ground almonds

Slice the apricot halves and lay on top of the cooked pastry tart case.

Beat the eggs and then add the sugar, the almond meal, the lemon juice and zest and the pureed apricots. Pour into the sweet pastry case and then bake for a further 30 mins.

Dust with a little icing sugar.

Serve warm with ice cream.

Tell me, do you have a fall back desert? Or a recipe entirely from the pantry? Share?


Sunday, 12 June 2011

Anonymous?

Whenever I generally think about things that are anonymous, it tends to be anonymous comments or anonymous leaks or letters. Spies. Covert. Secretive.

It's also generally considered to be a blanket term for members of internet subcultures: a way to refer to the actions of people in an environment where their actual identities are not known.

It has become increasingly associated with collaborative actions, often with the goal of promoting freedom of speech...

So, when I was presented with a book written anonymously by three Mums, called "Anonymums", I was torn.


What on earth could three Mums be writing about that meant that their real identities needed to be hidden?

Was the anonymous bit just a clever marketing rouse, to get me guessing?

Would it actually be really obvious to me who the three Mums (Mum A, Mum B and Mum C) were? Would I be able to pick it through their writing? Were they bloggers I knew, these Anonymums?

If these three anonymous contributors knew me (through my blog and via Twitter and perhaps real life too), why could I not be privy to who THEY were?

If they had ideas and concepts and experiences and truths that were compelling enough to get published, why not attribute their real identities to the work, to the tales, to the dares and to the opinions?

And in this era I find myself in, where seemingly every blogger and her dog is an "emerging writer", surely Mum A, Mum B and Mum C would  clamour to "come out" and be shown, to claim their day in the sun? Surely all published authors want a little bit of fame to go along with the publishing deal? (Or is that just me?!)




Some lovely ladies who I have met in real life and I were discussing this Anonymums book. It seems that one or two of them suspected me of being one of either Mum A, Mum B and Mum C. Not so, but I can understand why they may have wondered this. I too spent a lot of time in between chapters wondering intensely which Mum was who. Some details match so closely to a number of talented bloggers that I know, that it made the read a constant guessing game. (And I am still wondering.)

And the book itself? Oh my. What a surprise.

It was not what I expected at all. I anticipated girlish dares and typical Mummy blog humour. Which is great and all, but not what I got.


What I read was the truth from three different women on how sometimes being a wife and mother means you lose yourself, and how achingly sad and frustrating that can be. And in turn, these women share how they got back on track a little, through the act of some truths and dares.

It is a remarkably simple concept, and one that is executed well.

My only real criticism of this book? It's too short. I wanted more truths, more dares.

If you have ever felt tethered by your family, or guilty for feeling like a friend not a lover,  this book is must read.

If you have ever bickered over the divide of domestic chores, this book is for you.

If have have ever harboured fantasies of an affair, or lusted after a new red lipstick, you'll love this book.

If you have ever wanted to vent or felt guilty over being judgemental, this book will resonate with you.

If you have ever felt like being a parent has meant that you have lost some of yourself, this book will give you renewed hope.


I have a copy of the book to giveaway. All you need to do to be in with a shot of getting your hands on a freebie is to make sure you are following my blog, and  leave me a comment, telling me the best dare you've ever completed. 

For a podcast interview with MumA, by the Sydney Writers Centre, just have a listen here.


I shall pick a winner this time next week, so entries close Monday 20th June. Open to all readers - I am happy to post internationally.






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