Wednesday, November 30, 2011

chocolate beetroot cake

beetroot choc

My husband loves "experimental" food. The mouth-frying chili chocolate (with ganache) at least had a bio-hazard symbol stenciled on top in icing sugar, but no amount of hypnotherapy can remove the memory of his profiteroles with maple syrup, citrus zest, and tuna. (Seriously.)

Thanks to Far Out Brussel Sprout, I just made a proper version of one of his, ahh, creations. A long recipe, but in the everything I could have asked: Moist, beautifully textured, with a deep rich flavour and a beautiful dark crimson.

Best of all was taking half to my sister's place. She'd just surgery for breast cancer, and sitting and having tea with her was good for us both.

She loved my cake.

edge case
what does "fold in" really mean?
almost ready
nice tin
chiaro scurro
you have permission to drool
purple spoons

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

in the middle of our street

I love that song, when I hear it and I think of my husband and all that he loves.

I think of all the kids whom I have feed at my table over the last eleven years and I think I am that mother in that song. I want to leave good memories, I want all those whom pass through my home to feel cosy and warm. My place has that feel even if it's not always that way when we are just the six of us. There is shouting, there are endless timeouts, there are battles over food, there is bickering and goings off to the garage to get away from each other. But ultimately it always comes back to glow.

I live at number 8. It's not a wonderful house: Its weatherboards clad and the tiles are three deep. I don't the have a picket fence and beautiful light-filled rooms with gleaming floorboards, or the minimalist cube extension, nothing that I see in Inside Out magazine.

I live in an OK rental house which we pay too much for. At present it has too many issues to even list. I will not have anything better than this place any time soon, prices in Melbourne are ridiculous.

Previously we were always able to move somewhere a little better than where we'd been before. Prior to living here we lived at number 10, right next door, with the white picket fence and gleaming floorboard. It was cute, it was great for us.

We had to move when our third born was about six weeks old. My landlord was moving in, I remember crying when she called. I was breastfeeding with the phone in the crook my of neck and I just cried and cried. Partly because we had to move from the cute place, but more because we had to leave the street. The landlord was brilliant, though, she gave us so much time and latitude she knew it was going to be difficult for us with such a tiny baby.

Then the house next door came up for rent and we knew the place well before the old owners had sold: We'd had working bees to break up concrete, we'd helped re-plant the front with natives, there had been multiple sleep-overs, our kids were sleeping in the bunk beds that the number eight kids had outgrown. We also knew about its problems. Even though it was more than we were paying for a better place we thought well lets try to get it, we wouldn't have to move out of our wonderful street and we would be spared huge moving costs. The space is larger (we were trying to be positive) but has some pitfalls, it's difficult to clean and has more than a few problems, a couple of major ones which the real estate would later just pretend didn't exist.

So I am still on this street and have been for ten years now. I love that kids can travel between houses, that we take kids off the others hands, that we are there for each other in good times and bad. They ride bikes together have water fights and jump on the communal trampoline, we older folks eat and drink and laugh and cry together.

The newish kids at number nine held a lemonade stand recently to raise the funds for a LEGO purchasing co-op with our kids. It was a lovely afternoon and the kids were thrilled to have made $10. My commie husband was also thrilled by their initiative.

This to me is community this is the sort of place we all ought to live in. I don't necessarily want a better house I want my neighbors to come with me if I ever have to move out. They are my community and my network, and I love them.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


also comb
comb over
we watched our neighbor robbing his bees, Aaron got stung on the nose
al fresco
al fresco dining with broccoli from the garden
lotta cream
some (big) ice cream, to round out dessert
sweet slice
big bite
rocky road pizza
the blackboard cannot be denied
stress-testing the tent via sleep-over
sleepout sleepover - reading
beatrix reads pippi longstockings

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

too much on my plate

I feel like a bit of a stranger here on my own page. I haven't felt able to write lately, too many worries and too much to do.

Last Saturday night I received a call from one of my sisters. When I saw her name on the screen at 9.32 pm I knew something was wrong. She sounded distressed - Mum had called her telling her Dad couldn't breathe.

My heart sank, the show I had been watching on my laptop was left playing, I strapped on my sandals as she was talking to me, she was already heading there as we spoke. I kissed my husband goodbye telling him my Dad can't breathe I have to go. My husband has lost both his parents in the last two years,and he has lost an Aunt and Grandfather and more recently a dear cousin with a young family. We've grieved too much recently. He kissed me hard as I left.

I got into my car and drove there faster than I would've. I imagined that this drive was one I would never forget. I was mentally preparing myself, repeating out loud please don't die now. When I arrived he was gasping for air sitting in the chair he always sits at: To eat dinner, to watch TV, to read the paper.

Every Christmas my brothers and sisters complain how we cannot all fit in that tiny living room anymore. That night with two paramedics and all of their things the space seemed suffocating.

I watched as the paramedics tore open syringes, tapes, bottles, things I didn't recognise. Wrappings everywhere. Their impatient requests for his medication, for room to be made, for the cat to be taken out, it was all frightening to me. They seemed as panicked as I felt, Mum seemed calm but when I held her she really wasn't. I told her everything would be OK, even though I didn't believe it.

I could hear them on the radio, they were trying to get an intensive care ambulance there and they were preparing for him to go into cardiac arrest. They pushed the table to the wall, careless with it, desperate for more space. The next thirty minutes were awful, my whole body was shaking. We stood in the road as they moved him from the one ambulance to the other, just watching. Then they shut the doors, and we couldn't even do that.

Again all I could think was please don't die now, there is too much that hasn't been said, time you haven't had to enjoy your life. I thought you have worked too hard, you thought you were stronger than anything. But I see now that you are just as vulnerable as all of us, then and there I realised we are just like machines we break down we fall apart, none of us are indestructible.

At least twenty of us waited in the Emergency room, grand-kids and nieces and partners and new boyfriends, only allowed in to see him two at at time. Desperate calls were made to missing siblings: At a wedding, at a river cruise. We all came together to support each other and be there for Mum and to let Dad know he was loved and that we were there rallying him to get better.

A week and a bit later and he has pulled through. Six days in the hospital, and he went back to work the night he was discharged. Against medical advice. He looks the same to me on Friday and seems like himself. My sister today tells me he says he doesn't feel like himself, that he is scared. This is more than I have ever heard him admit. Everyday I am afraid that he will have another heart attack.

I promise to be a little more lighthearted next time (no pun intended!) and show you some of our other goings on.