Recipes and typing

Hi All,

So many recipes to type out and so little time! I like to take recipe books out of the library and type out the recipes that I find intriguing or just generally scrumptious because I am tight and don’t want to pay for a glorified coffee table book. I have lots of delicious looking cookbooks littering the shelves of the bookcase and to be honest I have most probably looked at most of them once…when I picked them up and thought “hmmm that would be a good recipe!” I learned long ago not to let myself get hooked in by pictures of drool worthy food because very VERY rarely I am able to replicate the turrets of delight as represented on the pages in the books. Does anyone else remember Bernard of “Black Books” (a most acerbic and witty U.K. television series) fame getting bitten by the restaurant bug and insisting that Manny (his barely hominid milk fed gimp long suffering live in shop assistant) make turrets out of the soup…I have my pride and it is usually severely dented when being greeted by my representation of what the book is promising to entice me with. I find all of my recipes online now. I can’t honestly say that I am never tempted by cookbooks because that would be a lie…a great big fat fib…I am as easily swayed as the rest of you when it comes to a lovely brightly illustrated tomb full of glistening food that whispers sexily to you from the book stands and tantalises our base instinct to eat. Eating is for survival…we have elevated that base need to phenomenal heights in our desire to enjoy what we eat and in a lot of cases, make a massive great profit out of other peoples unwillingness to stand in front of a page in a cookbook and say “mine doesn’t look ANYTHING like that!”. Of course it doesn’t people…that picture is of oiled, waxed food that has been airbrushed, sprayed with water, hairspray ANYTHING that will make it glisten and gleam and is totally inedible at the end of the photo shoot. Back lit, front lit, overhead lit all sorts of “lit” to get our attention firmly focussed on the food and call us with its siren song. I say “forgedaboudit”…just cook what you like to eat. I was one of those (some might say bad) mums who only asked my kids to try things at least once. If they didn’t like it, I didn’t make them eat it. Life is too short for long standing wars with your kids trying to force them to eat something that they really don’t want to eat. Find something in the same food group that they will eat and make sure that they are getting all of their nutrients and pretty soon they will become adults and will suddenly start to eat everything that they refused when they were kids because they suddenly develop “refined palettes” and will hog down sea urchin roe, raw fish, tomatoes and all sorts of disgusting things that you won’t even try yourself. Forget trying to force your will on your kids…clever parents get their kids to do what they want with altogether different means. I do have a certain level where if you push my button you are going to regret it, but it takes a fair bit of pushing to get me there. Once I am there, however, make sure to run to the hills and don’t turn around for fear of turning into a pillar of salt because the Wrath of Mum is upon you! I think you have to be fair. It’s hard for us to remember being kids ourselves and how many of us can hear our parents in our words when we are yelling at our kids? I know I have been guilty of it and what are we achieving anyway? You get more flies with honey than with a stick and a honeyed stick is the best choice as far as I am concerned…let them taste of the honeyed goodness but should they push your buttons too far (and believe me…they KNOW when they are getting close to that range so deserve everything that they get) its stick time! Every child needs to have limits. I don’t agree with thrashing kids to within an inch of their lives. That was my childhood and my generation still had head masters thrashing you with canes. I do agree to people being responsible for their own actions and suffering the consequences of their own actions is probably the most important lesson that we can teach our children along with respect for others. That is more important to me than getting my kids to eat tomatoes when they really didn’t want to. I have more important things to do than wrestle a bit of tomato into a protesting mouth and they ate capsicum so were not lacking in vitamin C. The chief culprit of non-tomato compliance now eats them quite freely so rather than putting her off them for life, I gave her the choice to choose when to eat them.

Steve took these photos when he was waiting to go in to his Award Ceremony. This photo was taken from a walkway in the park at the Tailrace  just opposite the tail race centre. The water is the Tamar River

You can see how windy it was on Tuesday and you can see Launceton in the distance

This is the Tailrace centre and some of the landscaping surrounding it

This photo is looking back towards Riverside

The little stick sticking out of that grate is a live pine tree. There are several large Pinus radiata trees on site and a seed obviously washed into this grate and grew. Aren’t plants amazing survivors? This little fellow wont be going short of water in the near future

I decided to talk about food refusal because I am just about to tuck into a bowl of rice, veggies, kalamata olives, chick peas (home cooked) and chopped cherry tomatoes. I never used to like olives, chick peas or cooked tomatoes and now I am looking forwards to tucking in to my lunch. I wonder what it is regarding food tastes and how they expand to encompass things that you didn’t used to like when you were children. There have been scientific studies done about it and apparently children have much more specific taste buds than adults and our tastebuds have been dulled and so we tend to eat things that most children would shy away from. A lot of what adults eat is to do with what other adults eat and not wanting to look like a sook to be honest. Children will buck the system and damn the consequences (especially if they know that there are very few consequences and a big enough tantrum is going to get them off the hook…) where an adult will eat the unsavoury item of their disgust so as not to cause a scene. Perhaps it is more to do with knowing where you fit into society and society’s expectations than simple childlike wilfulness. I can hear the sparrows out the back fighting over the dog’s bones. They are stocking up for the winter perhaps but it’s just weird to see little sparrows fighting over meat. The dogs are sulking on the deck because Steve has gone into town. He won’t be back till probably after 10pm tonight laden with shopping and absolutely knackered after a hard day. I dare say the dogs won’t eat their tea tonight and Steve most kindly asked me if I wanted him to put the television on as he knows full well that left to my own devices the television would end up a desert wasteland thanks to me pressing something that most probably shouldn’t have been pressed. It is getting so people have to go to college just to learn how to use remote controls! I was in the library picking up my next book from the Mary Anne Schaffer list yesterday when I had to wait a bit because an elderly gentleman was using the online centre component of the tiny Exeter library and needed a bit of help from Helen the library assistant. I felt sorry for him and smiled at him so he knew that I would wait for him because he really didn’t know what he was doing. I shouldn’t have been so quick to feel sorry for him because the day is rapidly approaching that this middle aged technophobe is going to have to be forced (albeit kicking and screaming) into the 21st Century by having to learn how to use all of these remotes that seem to be littering the house all over the place (and that hold a fond place in Earl’s plastic loving heart). I know how that elderly gentleman feels and how hard his pride was hit to have to ask Helen to help him. I can’t actually make the television in the lounge room turn on, let alone change channels. I can use the television/monitor on the workstation because I have to be able to use it…it is part of what allows me to do this and to research. Isn’t it funny how we will stretch our comfort zones to encompass things that we otherwise wouldn’t touch with a barge pole so long as they are something to do with a passion or a much loved hobby?

Do you recon Earl is excited about his walk at Bonnie Beach today?

I wonder if someone famous sits on that little tree bourne bench? Why else would there be a large red arrow pointing to it?

A conflagration of alpaca’s. Just about every house in this vicinity has at least 1 Alpaca. These little guys were very curious about why we had 2 tiny alpaca’s on the end of ropes…they didn’t care about us (as was proven when we tried to give them some grass and they ignored us) and all eyes were on the boys

I really like the planting on this farm. They have used conifers in various sizes as the main representitive in their plant selections. These pines have been crown lifted to give clear access to the alpaca’s that wander around the property. The corregated iron on the lower right hand side of the photo appears to be for composting debris

More alpaca’s but these ones have white faces

Cute aren’t they? You can see that they are also impressed with the boys and the brown and white one at the front has blue eyes

I have been doing a bit of research on mouth ulcers. The Americans call them “Canker sores” but I think that mouth ulcers is a much more appropriate name because canker sores conjures up visions of plague victims to me! I haven’t had a mouth ulcer since I can remember. I know that I had a few when I was a child but for about 30 years I haven’t had to deal with this problem. I suddenly developed one the other day. I was most curious to find out what caused it and did a bit of research and discovered that they are not bacterial and are a result of stress, an iron or B12 deficiency (possible in my case) or food triggers. This last list item made me sit up and take notice because I have been craving tomatoes lately and have been eating them in large quantities. I checked the trigger list and sure enough…right under strawberries was listed tomatoes as a chief source of mouth ulcers. I wonder why? Most probably something to do with the acid in tomatoes but whatever the reason it’s too bad because I am going to keep on eating tomatoes until my craving subsides. I would rather have the odd mouth ulcer than give up a food that is keeping me on the straight and narrow at the moment. Relearning how to eat is a difficult task. I have a more than sneaking suspicion that that is the reason why most diets fail. Eating the way that we eat is 80% habit and the rest is the food we choose.  And despite being able to totally ignore junk food and live exclusively on steamed veggies (which I totally do NOT recommend people by the way…) it is the habit of eating that is usually my downfall. I couldn’t be an anorexic because I love food too much. I was able to lose a lot of weight previously by giving up just about everything and living on vegetables for years. I actually turned orange from eating so much beta-carotene and if people tell you that you can’t turn orange from it they are fibbing because I did! I actually started to look like one of the Simpson’s. My bad habit is portion size. I can eat almost any strict diet menu item so long as I can have a large portion of it. That was the secret to a 40kg weight loss back when I was in my 30’s… large quantities of vegetables and pretty much nothing else. I now know how to eat like that and that is where I am most comfortable eating but I know that this isn’t healthy and so am attempting to moderate my diet to encompass previously “forbidden” foods like seeds, nuts and grains as well as previously non-eaten foods like beans and legumes. I want to get healthy and weight loss is a secondary trade off should it eventuate. So far I am doing alright. I am eating when I am hungry and I eat my main meal at midday. The only craving that I am getting is for tomatoes and I think that might be an actual vitamin C craving due to a lack of fruit so I am eating tomatoes (and damn the mouth ulcers!) to my heart’s content. Dieting has become so complicated now that people are turning away in droves. Every new, latest greatest thing that we should and shouldn’t be eating makes us more confused about what is good advice and what is so much tosh. Life is hard enough without having to do weird things to lose weight. Our ancestors were not fat. If they were, they were sedentary and overfed like we are. We are subjected to manipulation of our food in a most impressive array of processes and so much of our food is denatured by the constant need to make a profit. We all forget that food is one of our most basic needs. Our body needs it and without it we start to fade. We need to feed our bodies nutritious healthy food or they don’t work properly and after years of eating steamed veggies my body is starting to protest about what it is lacking in earnest. I don’t want to end up suffering for what in the end was a pretty poor selection of food choices in an effort to satisfy my vanity.

I really like this driveway and the way that it has been planted out. I love symmetry and conifers and formal plantings and I personally think that you could do worse with a driveway to your home that looked like this

Even the boundary fence has a lovely line of conifers. I wonder if they were planted for aesthetics, for a wind break barrier or for privacy? I would imagine that bath is for the alpaca’s water

The boys sitting just inside a bus shelter. I had envy from my childhood when I saw this well made bus shelter. I remember running for the bus in the rain and feeling very indignant sitting in my wet school skirt watching the smug gits run from their water tight bus shelters the small distance to the bus…At least the boys were enjoying this bus shelter

Steve and I spent time today working to give our lecturer something tomorrow at our meeting. We did a fair bit of research and went hunting for some images to use in our report and started to notice a single image was being used over and over again. I wonder why the copyright trolls haven’t jumped on that yet and sued them blind? Perhaps it is freeware? The picture was a pair of hands holding a small seedling in a pot… Steve decided that he didn’t want us to get sued by copyright trolls and so we staged our own version of this image…who needs to filch other peoples images when you can make your own eh?


Hopefully none of the hens have escaped in the boxes in the back of the car as Steve is driving along. We snuck into the hen house last night after dark with torches and isolated our targets and they were quite easily subdued and stuck into Pingu’s old cage. This morning they were protesting, especially Yins sister who was complaining loudly about her situation along the lines of “do you know who I am!” I do indeed know dear, you are number 2 hen in the pecking order on Serendipity Farm and are just about to migrate over to Westbury where you will no doubt tell Florida all about your terrible previous owners who didn’t give you warm porridge on cold winter mornings and who never let you into the house even once! I dare say you will eye off Badger the 3 legged dog with some degree of alarm after having witnessed what Earl can do to a chicken and having run for your lives on several occasions when Earl has escaped. One thing that you won’t have any fear of is cats. No. 2 hen stares down cats and should a wayfaring cat jump over Florida’s fence and attempt to negotiate itself a chicken dinner it has something coming to it in the form of Florida’s new 4 girls. None of them are scared of cats and every single one of them will attack a cat rather than give up a bit of food. I don’t know about your princesses Florida, but these girls are street smart! I think I might finish up here for today. My rice, chickpeas, tomatoes (yum!) and kalamata olive meal is almost cold and I have to pat the boys who are sulking in earnest now. Have a great day/evening whatever it is when you are reading this post and if you are feeling in any way stressed, just get yourself a nice drink (alcoholic or caffeine based unless you are one of those abstainers and goodness only knows why you are visiting Serendipity Farm!), kick your shoes off, undo your waistband and sink down into a nice comfy chair where if you are me you will be jumped on immediately by a 31kg heifer…see you all tomorrow :o)


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Roz Takes
    Mar 09, 2012 @ 12:59:29

    Hi Fran
    Many congratulations to Steve on his Award Graduation Ceremony. Lovely photo by the way. Fran where are the photos of your Graduation?
    I too have many useless cookbooks but the only one I use frequently now is Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Meals. Of course it takes longer than his 30 Mins. but I find the recipes easy to follow and not pretentious like all the others. I also have a book by Flo Bjelke-Petersen for when I need good old country recipes.
    I note your item on tomatos and mouth ulcers.Did you know that they will also exacerbate arthritis? Then you need loads of celery to try to correct. Wonder if celery would help the ulcers.


  2. narf7
    Mar 09, 2012 @ 15:55:14

    I tend to head off to the internet whenever I get the urge to try new things. I bet that Flo Bjelke-Petersen book has some really good pumpkin recipes :o) I LOVE Pumpkin. I knew about the tomato-arthritis link but these tomatoes were so sweet, and so delicious, I decided to heck with it I am going to finish them off! Not sure about the celery ulcer cure but it is just about gone (coincidentally so have the tomatoes…)


  3. Kym
    Mar 09, 2012 @ 20:52:55

    After I had my second son I began to crave olives. I had not liked them before so it was a strange craving indeed. I was really worried that I had fallen pregnant again because I went out and bought a jar and ate the whole lot in one sitting! I couldn’t eat brown bread for many years after he was born, so he really stuffed up my system eh lol. It is only in the last 4 years or so that I have started to eat brown bread again, and he is 19 this year. Must have something to do with being 10pound 15oz lol. Stuffed me up for ages. No wonder I was so stressed about being pregnant again, and why I never was again lol. It is so hot over here again. No relief until next week by the looks of it. We only have three weeks left of school now, it has just zoomed by. My father in law is just as technologically challenged as you. When my mother in law passed away we had to show him how to use the remote to watch a movie and change channels! He seems to be okay now but anything new I have to go over and show him. He got a new blood sugar reading machine and it was a real doozy to set up. Took me about an hour, he was ready to take it back to the chemist lol. Anyway hope your puppies survived the loss of their beloved Steve for a few hours, what a pair of sooks eh. Mind you mine are just as bad lol. I agree with forcing children to eat stuff. I remember being very negative about beans, I used to gag at the thought of eating them. I had to eat them until one day I did chuck and then I was allowed to not eat them. I use to make sure the boys tasted everything, but if they hated it then I didn’t force the issue. Now they eat most things, even the furniture lol. Off to eat tea, take care and happy weekend 🙂


    • narf77
      Mar 09, 2012 @ 22:03:54

      Hi Kymmy, Have a fantastic weekend! The boys were “Sooky la-la’s”…I have hijacked that word by the way and Steve has been a sooky la-la in the last few weeks 🙂 We had to leave Earl here today with Bezial for 3 1/2 hours…he didn’t eat anything! (We did put the PC and the Javanese Finches in locked rooms so I don’t know if that really counts) he didn’t eat either of the leather couches so he got bones and treats when we got home. We are conditioning him to actually loving us leaving 🙂 I was the same with raw onion and olives I HATED olives…but I love kalamata olives now and will eat the others on pizza etc. You are almost due to have holidays and we have just got started on our year! Make sure to get that big cocktail glass out for the weekend. We get a long weekend this weekend and it is nice and cool here in the low 20’s Might even have a fire this weekend and we are dropping trees for firewood tomorrow. Wish us luck! We shouldn’t drop them on ourselves but the tree is close to the chook shed so hopefully we don’t squish any chooks! (would serve them right for not laying any eggs…)


  4. Kym
    Mar 10, 2012 @ 17:30:36

    Oh hurrah! Isn’t it nice when they start to grow up. Don’t get too complacent though, just when you think it’s okay he will do something to put you right back in your place lol. Its hoooooooooooooooooot here 😦


    • narf77
      Mar 10, 2012 @ 17:53:05

      Its lovely here, low 20’s and we are wearing jumpers. Might even have a fire tomorrow if it continues like this. Sorry about the heat over there but you will be nice and “cool” in winter where we will be freezing the proverbials off our brass monkeys so its swings and roundabouts isn’t it? Earl tried to eat the sofa…you and I both second guessed him there…sigh…oh well back to the old drawing board!


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