Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Getting it right....

As the Summer holidays draw to an end I always reflect on the holiday that has been.

Preparing myself mentally for the feeling of loss I have Every. Single. Time.

The loss of my constant companions.

I love the noise of the Summer holidays with my crew of five.

Listening to the slow drizzle of small humans into the lounge room in the morning to snuggle with each other on the couch to watch cartoons.

The same cartoons I snuggled on the couch to watch with my siblings all those years ago.

Easing into breakfast that is more like morning tea by the time the hunger calls them to the table.

Weet-Bix is devoured and so the day goes.......

Children around.

Mumma in the kitchen.

Meals driven by hunger....not by the clock and need to keep routines.

Pyjamas are the clothing of choice.

Bare feet.

Unmade beds.


And then WHOOSH.......

Just like that the house falls silent.

My Summer companions are back at school.

Every holidays I start with this nagging sense that because we have chosen to have a big family it means that I have to say 'No' to a lot of requests.

The disparity between the ages makes doing a lot of things really really hard.

Dragging the littlest around to activities that the older kids like is just asking for meltdown city.

It usually ends in tears.  Mine mostly.

I have talked to another friend- who is a mumma of many- of this conflict.

The feeling that the big ones give up a lot because of the little ones.

I think about it a lot.

I have talked to my mum about it.  Also an experienced mumma of many.

There is no denying the feelings are there.

What I looked for this holidays was what my lot gain by being in a family of many.

No matter our family- the size, the type, the way we parent- we all strive for this feeling of 'Getting it Right'.

We can't.

At least not all the time.

But we can try to give our kids the best we can.

And my kids genuinely enjoy being with each other.

On reflection of this Summer holiday just about to end...... I am happy that I have given my kids space, time & freedom to be.

To be a friend.

To be an explorer.

To be a thinker.

To be a scientist.

To be a musician.

To make mistakes.

To be a learner.

To be a cook.

To just be........

Perhaps they don't miss out on that much after all.

Summer holidays and hungry tummies means dinner time comes & a mad scramble to satisfy the Hangriness (hungry= angry)!
This is a quicky but a goodie!
I always have a supply of frozen Edamame. And i usually have various types of Tofu around too.
This meal is perfect as I can get it to the table in the time it takes the rice to cook- 15 minutes!
It is super nutritious and soooooo good!


  • 1 packet of frozen soybeans
  • 1 packet of marinated spicy tofu (from Asian grocer- or substitute with firm tofu)
  • 1 red chilli
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • szechuan pickled veg - or I used fresh Wombok
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • oil
Heat a pan or wok to a high temp.
Add a tablespoon of oil.
Add cabbage and garlic & chilli.
Fry till fragrant & cabbage is soft.
Add edamame.
Stir till edamame is defrosted.
Add tofu.
Add oyster sauce, fish sauce and sugar.

Heat through and serve with fluffy rice.

There were a lot of ball games at our place over summer...mostly driveway or beach cricket but I love this song and we listened to a lot of Jim Noir this Summer so it seems perfect:

Wednesday, 18 January 2012


Recently I spoke of my desire to make a few changes for myself this year.

One of my goals is to de-clutter.

I am aware that de-cluttering of my personal space will allow me to de-clutter my mind too.

Do you feel like me?

Are you overwhelmed by stuff?

Both physical stuff and mental stuff?

I know I am.

Whilst I LOVE all my bits & pieces and could NEVER EVER be a minimalist, I do see that a re-organisation of my physical space will allow me to reorganise my mind space too.

I need that.

I need to make some room in my head.

Some room for some quiet.

So when my lovely friend Bec invited me to join her in doing the 40 bag challenge I leapt at it.

I feel like I am going into rehab.

We are doing it together to keep each other honest.

I am sure we will have to have meetings too!

To support each other.  They may or may not involve coffee & cake....

I like doing things like this with others.

Do you?

Do you want to join in?

We are starting in late February.

Let me know if you are in!

Yesterday I had a cabbage love-in with Pip & Michelle about how much we LOVE cabbage!
I know this is not a universally held adoration. BUT us three would eat cabbage any ol' way. We LUBS it you see!
I made this recipe up last year & have made it quite a few times since.
My kids LOVE it too & ASK me to cook it for them! YAY!
I love it served with a crumbed Pork chop- because I love PORK & cabbage...a culinary marriage hard to beat.
But it is also great with fish, chicken or just on it's own! YUM.
I serve one wedge per person- so cut as many wedges as you have people. 
1 wedge = 1/4 small cabbage.


  • 1 head purple cabbage 
  • 1 orange (zest & juice)
  • 3 tablespoons baby capers
  • 3 tablespoons butter
Slice the cabbage into wedges- keep root intact to help cabbage keep it's shape.

In a pan melt half the butter till sizzling.

Add the capers and cook till crisp. Remove and set aside

Add the cabbage and the remaining butter.

Cook on a medium heat for about 5 mins or until you can see the cabbage is caramelizing.

Turn and do same on other side.

Now add the orange juice & half of the cooked capers to the pan & turn heat right down.

Pop a lid on and cook through till cabbage is soft (about 5 minutes more).

Remove lid and serve.

Sprinkle remaining capers and orange zest onto each wedge.

My boys have been spending lots of time playing music together.....it made me think of these VERY talented siblings. 

Monday, 16 January 2012

Family weekends

We spent the week unwinding.

No gaming.

Just old school family games.

You know I am all for rewinding.

Taking back childhood.

Slowing things down a little.

Sometimes the pace of life just gets too fast and childhood is one of the things that is getting faster & faster.

It's too fast for me and I am grown up!

It is important to me as a parent to find a balance between progressing with my children in our awareness and engagement with the ever changing world but allowing some time to go slow & be children.

I guess fundamentally it is what I do with my approach to food too.

I am happy to use some very modern gadgetry to help me but at the heart of it I like to use simple & excellent quality produce grown by people who care about producing food with love.

I try to use Organic products wherever I can.

I like most of all to buy my produce direct from the farmers.

Otherwise from Melbourne's other lovely markets.

Melbourne now has a wide range of farmers markets across the city where you can engage with the people who grow the products you buy.

We are so lucky to have this all at our feet!

It is one of our family's favourite weekend activities.

The kids love it as much as me & hubby.

They talk to the farmers too, asking them questions. listening carefully to what they have to say.  Learning important stuff.

We don't usually have a list of things to buy but just buy what takes our fancy- and usually A LOT takes our fancy and we struggle with our trolley and the five kids back to the car!

It is a whole lot nicer in every way than fighting our way through the ghastly stupidmarket to do our shopping!

Look at these pics of Saturday morning's farmers market at Collingwood Children's farm, where we did our shopping on Saturday.

Would you rather be stuck at the checkout or here?

I know where I would rather be.....

Hard to believe it is in inner city Melbourne isn't it!

You can find our more about Melbourne Community Farmers' markets here.

One of the reasons I was there this Saturday was to finally meet in real life the very gorgeous people behind Daylesford Organics. The business of Kate & Bren.

You may know of Kate from Foxs Lane. She of the magnificent crafty uber cool Vintage caravan and travels around Australia with her DIVINE family & tell us all about it in heart-wrenchingly honest style!  Yes her. OH me oh MY!!!!! 

Well, Kate & I have been writing little missives to & fro a while. It was certain we would meet one day 'In Real life'.  We share a slice of our souls I am sure.  

And now they were back in town & I was DAMN sure I was going to get to squeeze that Ace Ladycakes as soon as I could!

So we took our troops to meet that Foxy lady and her foxy family that day.

It was fantastic to finally hug.  

To squeeze that loveliness.  

And then we went home with dozens of golden loveliness in boxes from those Foxes (I'm getting all Dr. Seuss on you!) and I needed to make Mayo!

I had another of my gorgeous friends coming over for lunch (my beautiful friend Colette from Ut Si cafe & gallery )and was making a massive steak sandwich to share between lots of hungry adults. I needed a good herby Mayo to go on that steak sanga- and boy did those eggs make good Mayo! 

And then because Kate & I had had NOWHERE near enough of each other I invited them to come for dinner at our place that night after the markets.

It was one of the BESTEST ever days.......a day filled with things so dear to my heart. Music, food & LOVE. Shared with people I care about.

Happiness & LOTS of it.

I went to bed a very happy lady....in fact I am still smiling days later at the thought that it won't be long before our families get together again.
I could not have been happier to have these beautiful people at our table sharing beer, home made pizza, coffee & life.
Did you know how EASY mayonnaise is to make from scratch?
It really is.
I like to use the whole egg as I can't stand the waste.  And it is easier! No separating the eggs....
I grew up eating Mayonnaise that my Mum made.  It was always delicious.  And although it will keep in the fridge for a few weeks I don't recall it ever lasting that long!
You can add whatever herbs you wish.
I had some fresh Basil & lots of parsley so that is what is in this recipe and I used my own Mustard (recipe for that here).
This recipe makes about 3 cups.
I HOPE you NEVER buy shop bought mayo again!
  • 2 whole organic eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tspn salt
  • 1/2 bunch Parsley
  • 1/2 bunch Basil
  • 2 tblspoons Mustard
Add herbs, mustard & salt to food processor and blitz.
Add eggs, mustard & vinegar and process till combined.
Set food processor on to a slow speed and drizzle oil in a slow & even stream to the egg & herb mix until it is a nice thick consistency.
Put into a sterile container & refrigerate. 
It will keep in the fridge for several weeks.

And because tonight I have a date with Polly Jean I just HAVE to share an ol fave of hers with you: