Category Archives: food

Reverb10: Soul Food

December 26 – Soul Food

What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth & touched your soul?

(Author: Elise Marie Collins)

I started this post three times – the first time I stopped to make iced tea for my mum, and I just finished making a potato salad for the New Year’s barbecue at my sister’s house.

All food is soul food when you share it with those you love.

But sometimes the food you eat by yourself is just as nourishing.

I’m going to tell you about one of my guilty pleasures.  On Sundays, the baby has adventures with his father.  I get to do whatever I want.  Sometimes I go to the National Library to write.  Their cafe is awesome.  I can sit up against the thick, juicy stained-glass windows.  I drink coffee, watch the people and read whatever quirky selection is in the magazine rack.  Sometimes I write.

Once, I ordered banana bread.  It was nearly lunch, and I only wanted a snack.  When it arrived at my table, I was engrossed in an article about The Magic Pudding.  I looked up to see an enormous plate – two fat slices of banana bread, marscapone, and sticky date sauce.  I almost laughed with delight!  My snack had turned out to be a decadent dessert-for-lunch.


Soul food for one.



December 6 – Make.

What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

(Author: Gretchen Rubin)

Yesterday I made banana oatmeal muffins.  With, you know, mashed banana and rolled oats and vanilla yoghurt because I didn’t have the plain stuff.

It feels good to cook.  I forget sometimes.  But it feels good to use my hands.  There’s magic in the transformation of ingredients into food into meals.

A more permanent thing I’m making is a baby scrapbook collage thing.  Inspired by Leonie’s scrap-journal I’m filling up a binder with photos and cards and notes and reminders for the baby.  It isn’t beautiful on the outside yet, but it’s already full of magical stuff.


*8Things: Small Gratitudes

Usually Magpie Girl’s *8things are really hard for me.  I think ‘Oh, I’ll play!’ and I get stuck around 5 things.  But this week?

This week is awesome!

I have had a gratitude journal on and off for years.  Just three things, every day, I’m grateful for.  I do that here on Sundays (I think I’d bore you silly if I did it every day).  The only sort of praying I do most days is lists of things I’m grateful for.  I’m sure I could rabbit on forever.

So here are *8 Small gratitudes for today:

  1. Walking in the door after a long afternoon and thinking ‘I love my house!’  I don’t know why exactly, today it just hugs me back.
  2. My baby giggles a lot.
  3. After extensive research, knowing exactly where to get the best ice coffee on the south side of Canberra.
  4. The wind chimes in the garden, made out of flattened silverware.  The baby loves to hit them and listen to the music it makes.
  5. I made chilli jam!  OK, it may have turned out more like chilli toffee (it has set very, very firm) but still, my house smells great.  And despite the jam-making procrastination…
  6. I have a final draft of my assignment!  One last edit, then I’m leaving it alone.  It might not be done, but it’s as done as it’s going to get.
  7. Running in to Goddess Leonie in the mall.  (I bet you didn’t know Goddesses go to shopping centres too!)  Ostara is even more beautiful in sleepful person.
  8. Ryan will come home to a house where the laundry is done, the dishes washed, dinner made, and the baby bathed and peaceful.  I am (occasionally) the domestic goddess extraordinaire.

How many beautiful things are you grateful for today?

How to grow bugs

While the baby and I were getting acqainted, and figuring out how to feed and sleep, there wasn’t always a lot for Ryan to do.  So he went outside and started a veggie garden.  We always meant to have one, it just seemed like a daunting task to start.

Now we have two raised beds, another patch of broccoli and pak choi, and a lot of strawberry plants.  One of the first things we planted was a row of tomatoes.  They’ve been spectacular!  The plants grew as tall as me, and completely engulfed the silverbeet next to them.  They flowered and produced masses of fruit, and I started dreaming about pasta sauce, salsa and home made tomato sauce.

Sadly, it’s not to be.  After the first few tomatoes we picked, we started finding grubs.  Now there isn’t a tomato on the bush that doesn’t have grubs, or fruitfly, or both.  Today I’ve stripped off the green fruit and pulled up the plants.  From two buckets of green tomatoes, hopefully I can salvage enough to make a batch of chutney.

Oh well.  At least we know we can grow bumper tomatoes.  Next season we’ll have to learn how to protect them from bugs.

Growing things

For the first time in days, I have both hands free and nobody is screaming.  Ryan is in the new hammock in the backyard, reading with a sleeping baby on his tummy.   I should be sleeping, but instead I have made ham sandwiches with home grown lettuce and home-made plum sauce.  The plums grew in our backyard, too, and Ryan made the sauce.

We are thoroughly domesticated.  Our veggie patch will never grow all our food, but it’s growing all our salad greens and we’ll soon have a bumper crop of corn and tomatoes. We’re getting so much satisfaction in growing and cooking your own food.

Soon I’ll have the baby back so I can feed him.  There’s a quiet satisfaction in that, too.

Between the baby, and the garden, and our hiatus from the office, we seem to have grown a lifestyle our great-grandmothers would have recognised.  I like that thought.  I don’t think I’m destined to be a stay-at-home-mum forever, but there’s value in these quietly domestic activities that often gets ignored.

The baby has already outgrown his smallest clothes, and the lettuce in the garden is close to going to seed.  I don’t think this quiet domestic period will last very long for our family.  But meanwhile, I’m still getting a quiet satisfaction from feeding the baby and feeding ourselves.

*8Things for a Peaceful Holiday

This Sunday is the beginning of Advent, the Christmas season of waiting for the Christ child.  It is a weird and wonderful time to be waiting for my own baby to be born.  There is much uncertainty, because on Christmas Day I could have my new baby home, we could be in the hospital, or we could still be waiting.

For us, this will truly be a holiday season of less.

Rachelle at Magpie Girl has made a list of *8 Things for a Peaceful Holiday.  This is exactly the idea that sings to me at the moment.  What can we do to feel part of the holiday season?  And what can we happily leave out?

1.  There will be Christmas food.  Maybe not on Christmas Day though, and probably with little time for preparation on the day.  I’ve decided that finger food is the way to go, and I’m slowly filling up the freezer.

2. There will be a carol service.  My choice would be the midnight service on Christmas Eve, but who knows?  A big, boisterous Carols by Candlelight in the park would be fun, too, and probably cooler.

3.  There will be friends.  We are organising an orphans’ Christmas, of sorts.  But it’s very low key, and if our house is not appropriate on the day, somebody else has volunteered to host.

4.  There will be gingerbread.  This is the one Christmas food I make every year, for friends, for work… everyone.  This year, I’m not sure how I’ll go – on my feet in a hot kitchen in the middle of summer at 8 months pregnant.

5.  There will be a paddle pool.  Here in Australia, heading to the beach is an integral part of Christmas celebrations for many.  It’s not really an option in Canberra, but our neighbours have given us a giant paddle pool that can probably fit 6 adults.  I’m thinking we’ll all need water balloons and water pistols to take full advantage : )

6.  There will be decorations.  We’ve never spent a Christmas Day in Canberra – we’ve always gone home to family.  We don’t have a lot of decorations, but this year they are going up.

7.  There will be afternoon naps.  As the temperature rises, and my feet begin to resemble footballs, naps are a necessity.  This may be more about the ‘peaceful’ than the ‘holiday’, but I think it’s important enough to include.

8.  There will be Skype.  Almost all our extended family now have skype set up – some needed more coaching than others.  But living so far away, I’ve come to value it immensely.  To be able to share video as well as conversation with loved ones on the other side of the world is just amazing.  They’ve been able to see my growing bump, and I got to watch my brother try on the t-shirt I sent for his birthday.

There will not be:  A full 5 course meal, an endless list of Christmas office functions or mad travelling from one side of the country to the other.  For me at least, there won’t be squeezing Christmas shopping around increasing work hours.

So while Christmas this year could be any manner of uncertainties, and I will miss my family horribly, it should also be quieter, saner, simpler and more peaceful.

And if anyone offers you eggnog or mulled wine or sangria or a G&T… please have one for me : )

Are you experienced?

I was stumped by Jamie’s wish prompt this week:

What do you wish to experience?

So I asked Ryan.  Ryan wishes to experience swimming in chocolate, and when he’d thought about it for a bit, a good shower afterwards.  His final thought was that the chocolate should be molten, but not too hot.

I’m glad I married a man willing to discuss the logistics of chocolate swimming.

Now I can’t follow chocolate swimming with a serious wish.  But I could follow it with more food…

I wish to experience an absolutely amazing post-pregnancy meal.  Something with blue cheese and red wine and sashimi and all the yummy stuff that pregnacious people aren’t supposed to eat.  I know I’ve got a couple of months before this wish could come true, but in the mean time, we can all wish for a swimming pool of chocolate.