Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Baking ... mini passover cakes

I have also been baking a lot lately as well - I think to make up for the fact that I don't cook dinner much as that is usually the time I am putting Chet to bed. Luckily for me the K-man has stepped up to the plate in that regard and has become a dab hand and putting together an evening meal.

I seem to often have a few oranges kicking about the fruit-bowl so was very pleased to come across a version of this recipe in Marion Halligan's wonderful rumination on cooking and gardening The Taste of Memory. I was also pleased to be able to take these mini passover cakes to a 1st birthday party recently - the mother of the birthday boy (who is Jewish) was very pleased to have something there reflecting his heritage.

2 oranges
4 eggs
100 grams almond meal
125 grams castor sugar
half heaped teaspoon baking powder

Wash oranges and boil for 2 hours - make sure that they don't boil dry. This can be done the night before. Sometimes I might add a lime or lemon but the end result is a little more bitter.

Pre-set oven to 180 degrees
Line muffin tin with baking paper or patty cake cases. I find this makes around 12 muffin size mini-passover cakes. You could of course use a normal cake tin if you felt like it.

Purée the boiled oranges, skin and all. I use a stick blender but you could use a food processor.

Beat the eggs, rain the sugar in slowly, beat for quite a while, then rain in the almond flour and baking powder. Add puréed oranges and stir with spatula until just mixed.

Spoon mixture into prepared muffin tin.

Cook for 40 minutes or until browned and cooked through. Everything in my oven seems to take a lot longer so I sometimes end up cooking them for nearly an hour.

They are quite sticky so I usually serve them in their baking paper cases - I like to think it adds a rustic look to the cakes.

Reading ...

I have been on a massive reading bender which has been nice but feels as though my brain is a bit scrambled. I read the Millenium Trilogy very quickly on my Kobo and decided that Scandinavian crime really has got something going for it. I even bought the DVD of The girl with the dragon tattoo, that's how into it I got.

I also just read Sex and Stravinsky by Barbara Trapido which initially struck a lot of chords with me - the opening sentence "The time is the late 1970s so everyone in the house looks hideous" makes it clear that the book deals the 70s (one of my favourite decades), and is also concerned with the way things look. Tellingly, one of the main characters ends up with an architect. The book is set in the UK but there is an Australian character as well as several South African characters and part of the book is set in Durban, where my grandmother grew up and my great aunt lived for most of her life. I am a sucker for a book that references places and things I know about and the more the merrier. One of the main characters writes stories about a girl called Lola who becomes a ballet dancer - something I and a million other pre-pubescent girls have dreamed about. I liked the mirroring of Josh's academic world with the world of the characters where nothing is as it seems, everyone is wearing a mask and life becomes a funny tragic comic opera. But, I didn't like how it all tied up so neatly at the end. Two of the male protagonists effectively swap wives, and their wives in turn swap lives and daughters. I am sure that this does happen in real life but it didn't feel quite real in the book, and all happened too smoothly and easily with no real ramifications for the people involved - or so it seemed to me.

But, on the subject of husbands swapping wives, I recently read a beautifully written memoir by Jane Alison, Sisters Antipodes. Jane Alison's family became inextricably linked with another family when the two families meet in Canberra in the 1960s. Jane's father was an Australian diplomat and her family consisted of two parents and two daughters, as did this other family, who's father was an American diplomat. The daughters from the other family were of a similar age to Jane and her sister, with one of whom even sharing a birthday with Jane. Jane tells the story of the meeting of the two families from a child's perspective - somehow, she isn't quite sure how and no-one ever really says, the decision is made that she and her mother and sister will go to the US and then South American with the American diplomat while her father will stay behind with the mother and daughters of the other family. And so it set up a lifetime of wondering why and how and of searching for identity as well as the meaning of family and in turn of fathers.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


and I know that October is sorely lacking in posts. This is mostly because we were away, it was Chet's birthday and we have all been sick. Am in the process of catching up ... it will happen at some point.

Thank you ...

to the man who told me I was lovely today as I was rushing to the train station at lunch time. You made my day. Had you told me this ten years ago I would have wanted to punch you in the face but I am older and fatter and more haggard and tired so these days I have more appreciation for the random compliment. I also think that perhaps you need glasses or were drunk which is fine too - nothing wrong with being drunk!

These days my compliments mostly come from Chet. He sometimes tells me that either I am pretty, my eyes are pretty or my glasses are pretty. However, he also said that some dinosaur bones in the museum were pretty so I am not 100% sure he has a grasp on the meaning of the word. Still ... better than nothing I suppose as I head inexorably towards 40.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Push me pull you

Chet has becoming very pushy lately. And I don't mean that he has become a stage parent ... He has developed a habit of pushing other kids, generally girls, and generally children that are smaller than him. We went to a third birthday party the other day and he pushed over a little girl and made her cry and hit the birthday boy over the head with a plastic plate. Admittedly the plate was purple, which is the favourite colour of both boys but still. Almost every time I take him to the park he goes to push a child and would do it unless I intervene. The other day he pushed over a girl from my mother's group, who he has known since he was about 6 weeks old.

I have to say that I am finding this new development quite confronting. I don't want him to hurt other children, and I also don't want to upset other parents. I don't feel that making him apologise to the other children is really going to change anything - I don't think he quite understands what that means and as a child I always hated being forced to apologise. So, I am left sheepishly apologising myself to the parent of the child concerned and trying to distract Chet by suggesting we go and look at the work going on at the train tracks. Fortunately the extension of the light rail that is happening at the train tracks at the bottom of the park is endlessly interesting to a small boy and there is almost always a digger or some men in flurou vests wandering about. I hope that the pushing stage ends before the track work does.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mama gave me a new haircut ...

I cut Chet's hair last week, not for the first time and certainly not for the last time but I really didn't do a very good job. Fortunately, at just under two he is unconcerned. It is the classic Mama hatchet job. I accidentally took too much off one side so had to try and even it out on the other side. It looks like a bowl cut at the front and a bit of a bob at the back. Poor boy - luckily he doesn't seem to mind. The K-man, on the other hand, seemed to be quite upset.

I shouldn't be surprised - the K-man was apparently legendary for his blond bob, beautifully blow-dried and never a hair out of place. He often talks about how lovely his hair was in the past (the blond bob was before my time) and indeed it was. Here is the very special K-man, in his long lost youth. Perhaps Chet will look like this in the not too distant future?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I just acquired a Kobo and am unreasonably excited about what really amounts to a small piece of plastic. But, a small piece of plastic that can contain 1000 books - how good is that? It comes preloaded with 100 books - all out of copyright, mostly Gutenberg Press titles - which is also very exciting. Finally, my chance to come to grips with Dickens and others. It doesn't work with Amazon but any e-book or magazine in the ePUB format will work with it which is one reason why I got it. And, it is relatively cheap, very simple and looks pretty good to me - although I would not say I was an expert on e-readers. We are preparing for a family trip to Japan in a few weeks and I am hoping to take most of my reading material (and Chet's) on the Kobo. This should lighten our luggage load considerably - I usually travel with at least three books and get edgy if I don't know where my next reading fix is going to come from. I have spent hours in cities in non-English speaking countries looking for bookshops with books in English, much to the frustration of my travelling companions. Now, I just have to download interesting reading material before I go and need panic no longer. It won't stop me from going to bookshops though - I just can't help it.

And, it looks as though Chet is also in danger of becoming a bookshop fanatic. When I pick him up from day-care he says to me "book shoff" in the hope that I will take him to Gleebooks around the corner from his day-care. He loves running in there, shrieking and searching for all the Thomas books. He often grabs a book, and lies down on the floor of the shop, in the aisle, and says "reading". How can I resist?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Note to self ...

Some Mondays it is just not worth leaving the house. I should have known it was all going to go to hell in a hand-basket when I woke up snotty and with a sore throat. I had thought I had been suffering a bout of hay fever but no, it seems that a cold is setting in. Then, the landlord arrived when I was in the shower and I could hear him banging around outside looking for the source of a mysterious leak we have been having. So, shower cut short, I get dressed and go outside to find that he can't find the leak and that it was all for nought.

Then I decide to visit Aldi to collect nappies and other supplies. I really should remember that unless the conditions are ideal then a visit to Aldi is ill-advised. The conditions this morning were far from ideal - I was sick, I hadn't had breakfast, it was just starting to rain and I had absolutely no money on me so couldn't fork out the $2 for a trolley which meant that I had to go in there with a very active Chet (who refuses to get in his stroller) and carry whatever I wanted to buy as well as make sure Chet didn't steal deodorant, bread or crackers or run out the door and into the road. Now it has to be said that I was not at my best. I was winning no mother of the year award this morning. I was tired, cranky and impatient and my poor little exuberant boy bore the brunt of it, with me rudely pulling him away from tantalising displays and hurrying him through at a rapid pace. The only positive outcome is that I spent less than I would have as I could only cope with getting the bare essentials.

Aldi done I envisaged a relaxing coffee and breakfast at a local coffee shop called Babycinos. This coffee shop caters towards mums and small people - there is a good kids menu and lots of toys for the small ones to play with while their mothers chat, or in my case, slump desperately over a cup of coffee. Things were going ok when Chet tried to grab a toy off another little boy who also wasn't having a good morning. He ran away with the toy, Chet followed him, tried to grab it again, and then little boy latched on to Chet's fingers with all his might. I ran over, as did the boy's mother but it was too late. Chet was bleeding (a little bit) and crying and the mother was remonstrating with her son and didn't even look at me for some time (I guess her day wasn't going so well either). Anyway, I took Chet and sat down with him and gave him a cuddle and some toast and he kept crying and saying "go home". Eventually the other mother came over and apologised on behalf of her son and then of course we all happened to be at the counter at the same time. Chet held out his hand to the little boy and said "hand hurt" and the other mother just looked tired and embarrassed. She said to me that at least her son hadn't broken any skin, to which I had to disagree as he had really sunk his teeth in and Chet had quite deep gauge marks and a small bleeding graze. Those toddler teeth are pretty sharp.

All the way home Chet just kept saying "watch Thomas" - which is one of his catch cries at the moment. And for once the answer was a very positive "yes, yes you can watch Thomas". I might even watch some Thomas myself - I don't think that today was a day meant for great achievement ...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Been reading ...

I have actually managed to read a bit lately. Not sure how, perhaps it is the welcome addition of Gleebooks to the local shops. Perhaps it is the fact that there is less on tv, or my appetite for tv is waning at the moment. Whatever the reason, it has been really nice to reacquaint myself with the joy of words on a page, as opposed to a screen.

One of the books I have read recently is Breastfeeding older children by Ann Sinnott. I am breastfeeding Chet at 22 months, and while I don't really consider that at 22 months he is an older child I guess I am probably moving into that territory. There were mothers interviewed in the book that were feeding children aged 6 and over and also tandem feeding long-term. An interesting point made by the author was that (of course) feeding a 4 year old is very different to feeding a newborn. A 4 year old would probably feed a couple of times a day compared to the 8-12 feeds required by a newborn.

Although I didn't agree with everything in the book - I am not sure, for instance, that it is possible to suggest that all positive aspects of your child's personality and development are down to having breastfed long term - it was certainly a thought provoking book. I must admit to feeling some unease about really long term breastfeeding but I guess with children you never know where things are going to end up. I do know that when I started breastfeeding I was more focussed on whether it was possible and on the logistics of getting it all happening to even think of an end date. And I guess for us we will keep on until such time as either of us wants to stop.

I particularly liked one of the author's final points: "Sustained breastfeeding is however not emerging in developed societies but re-emerging. Today's long-term breastfeeding mothers ... are not only picking up almost-forgotten threads but they are also the continuance of a line of rebellious women." p253. Bring on the rebellious women I say!

Naturally there are many ways of being a rebellious mother - those Mamabakers down the south coast made me laugh out loud with their antics - thanks Mama Mogantosh for reminding me that us mothers can be tired, rebellious, feminist and funny as all get out.

Further reading:
Mothers who breastfeed beyond babyhood
Can breastfeeding really be good for older children? Emma Cook meets mothers who keep going up to school age and beyond.
The Guardian, Saturday 9 January 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sharing ...

We have all been learning some lessons about sharing. Neither the K-man nor I are known for our ability to share but parenthood has forced us to re-evaluate somewhat. The K-man remarked the other day that he had never shared as much food as he had shared with Chet and indeed it is impossible to eat anything in Chet's presence without him demanding "mine, mine" with greater and greater insistence, until we give him a piece of whatever it is - cake, toast, banana, gluten-free cereal. And of course, how can we teach him how to share if we do not do so ourselves? Here we are sharing the couch and some granny blankets - one of which actually was my grandmother's.

Even the cat has been getting a lesson in sharing. Whenever she has the temerity to play with any of Chet's toys - she has a habit of flicking them under the couch - he rushes up and grabs them, again shouting "mine, mine". Poor Minx, she invariably gives up and jumps high up on the couch, out of harm's way.

I have been thinking that this insistence of ownership is the curse of the only child but the more I talk to other parents the more I think it is a developmental stage. I guess it could also have something to do with spending time in daycare where none of the toys belong to anyone and everyone gets acquainted with the concept of sharing on a daily basis. Let's just hope we can get past this stage and all learn to share with grace - even the cat!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Last week ...

was a bit of a shocker in some ways. I had pleurisy, albeit a mild case, and Chet was cutting some of his final 4 molars. I had two trips to two different Doctors, one for me and one for Chet, as well as an ECG to make sure my heart wasn't causing any problems (it wasn't). I had two days off work and watched the entire 4th season of The Wire which is fantastic television although watching episodes back to back like that meant that I had the characters in my head for the whole week.

I also had a receptionist imply that I was a bad mother because I was allowing Chet to move some decorative rocks from a pot plant in the waiting room. I mean really. He was moving them from the pot plant to a display stand and back again, very quietly, not causing any damage to the plant or anything else. I would have put them all back when we left but apparently this was not good enough for the receptionist who came around the desk and stood over Chet and grabbed all the rocks and put them back herself. I said that he wasn't causing any harm and that I would deal with it and she told me that I was the mother and shouldn't let him do it in the first place. I was really angry and told her "don't tell me how to mother" but all in all it was a very unsatisfactory encounter. I was a bit shocked that she wasn't charmed by Chet - in the past year and a half I have taken Chet with me to countless appointments and he has done worse things than move rocks around. Every time the receptionists have responded to him with encouragement and interest - one even made him a toy out of a specimen jar and some paper-clips - so I was quite taken aback to suddenly have this negative reaction. Especially considering that he could have been unplugging her computer, pulling patient files from the compactus, playing with the telephone, sticking his fingers in the printer and generally being an inquisitive toddler. The receptionist also said that there were toys for him to play with however earlier she had forcefully put the lid on the toy box making them inaccessible and subtly indicating that she didn't want him playing with them. What's a boy to do?

But, we also saw a chicken crossing the road in Dulwich Hill which cheered me up no end. Not sure where she was going, or whether she made it to the other side as she was being chased by someone, presumably her owner, but I was amused to see something slightly incongruous whilst playing with Chet in the park.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Well, just had the latest test results back from new wholistic doctor and discovered that while my thyroid isn't too bad (for once) my iron levels are very low, particularly my iron saturation levels. So, have started on Hemagenics Intensive care iron and vitamin B supplement (among other supplements including liquid zinc which tastes absolutely foul) prescribed by the doctor and almost immediately have started to feel less tired and more human. Wonders will never cease.

I think that perhaps the 20 or so blood tests I had last year may have contributed to my iron deficiency and may not have contributed a great deal in terms of knowledge as to what was actually wrong. As a result, I have also decided not to see two of the doctors I have been seeing - kind of doctor sacking by stealth I guess ...

So, perhaps blog posts will increase in the next little while. I certainly feel more able to manage things and hopefully will have more time in which I actually feel like doing more of the things I want to like my ABA Counsellor Training, writing my blog, reading, cooking, gardening and sewing. For the past little while life has mostly been about doing what is most important and what I can which has been looking after Chet and going to work and doing the stuff required to keep a house reasonably clean and it's occupants reasonably well fed. Can't say I have been doing a bang-up job, but passable I guess. So, here's to things looking up I say!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Loving ...

my KeepCup. I feel so virtuous trotting downstairs from work to get my coffee in it. I have felt vaguely guilty for years, throwing away all those take away coffee cups and now I don't have to.Re-usable, environmentally friendly and it looks good. What is not to like? I still feel mildly embarresed by my coffee order at the moment (soy decaf flat white) but feeling virtuous about my KeepCup overrides any lingering embarrassment. A win win situation I would say.

In fact, it has gone a bit green round here. I decided as a bit of a New Years resolution to make a concerted effort to remove chemicals from our home environment and to eat as healthily as possible. This, combined with a dairy free, gluten fee and yeast free diet has meant that the past few months have been a bit challenging but I am thinking very carefully before I buy food or cleaning products which is part of the battle I think.

To that end, I went to a workshop last night at the Watershed on Natural Personal Care, and very illuminating it was too. It was presented by a cosmetic chemist and she talked about the kinds of chemicals that go into beauty care products and gave us some recipes to make our own. I made an oat and honey scrub and some rose water toner and am looking forward to making more products. Chet even had an oat bath today - oats are very good for eczema and the dermatologist recommended creams I have been using on his skin contain oats so I figured, why not go to the source. And, he seemed to like bathing in oats so maybe we will do it more often.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The wheels on the bus ...

Chet woke up this morning making the hand actions for The Wheels on the Bus and singing along. This is great, although it is not a song I really know - I think they must have been singing it at day care. So, I have been forced to look up the words and try and figure out the actions to keep him happy. If I don't, he just moves his arms about like Peter Garrett did on stage circa 1983 and says "more, more". So more it is. I did find a website that has the words for rhymes of all kinds on transportation themes, so if you are looking for a rhyme about a plane for example, this is the place to go!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Alone ...

The rain has stopped, the sun is out and Sydney is putting on a beautiful summers day. I have taken three days annual leave from work and Chet is in his new day care where he is settling in well. I took this opportunity to grab some much needed alone time and to sort out some things I had been putting off for an eternity. I put him in the car so the K-man could take him to day care and he looked really brave and tried not to cry and waved just a little bit as they drove off. Poor little monkey ...

The house is really quiet, I was able to have a shower without having to talk to Chet while doing it and I can leave doors open as I please. I have done some washing and had breakfast in peace. It feels really strange. It has only been an hour and I miss him already.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cowpoke pants

Couldn't you see Chet in these pants? I could. He sure would look cute and he is a bit of a coyboy by nature ... We can't wait for him to talk properly as we are sure it is going to be very amusing. He is on his way, he can say Chet, cheese and cheers - all very important words for a small man although the distinction is perhaps only something a parent could hear. He is particularly good at 'cheersing' with his water bottle and will work a room, saying cheers to everyone and touching drinks. He is a hit at gatherings that's for sure. He has also been known to cheers us in the morning over breakfast. So, to win some kids clothing like these cowpoke pants by Brusselsprouts go to Georgie Love for more info on the giveaway. And thanks to Mama Mogantosh for the heads-up.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sleeping ...

Well it is nearly the end of January and the blog has been very neglected. Mind you, it is not the only aspect of my life that has slid by the wayside recently. I started ABA Training at the end of last year and just before Christmas put all my training material in a box and there it has stayed. And the clean-up of the house has stalled somewhat as well although I did manage to prune the hibiscus tree out the front - hacked some might say but at least passers by can walk on the footpath without being assaulted by it. Still, I have to say, that health-wise I am much better and despite having been off the air for most of January I am now back, baby I'm back (and yes I have been watching too much Seinfeld on our new digital TV!)

And Chet has been quite unwell as well. He came back from Toowoomba with a cold, we all did, but his was the worst. Then he was well for about a week and then came down with an awful cough and high temperature last week. He didn't sleep properly for a week as his coughing kept on waking him up and as a result I didn't sleep very well either. He started getting better on Saturday and even slept most of the night Saturday night but wouldn't sleep for an hour and half last night for no reason that I could fathom. Well, this afternoon the poor little monkey has slept for three hours, nearly three and a half. I finally got him to sleep around quarter past one and he is still asleep at four thirty. I may have to wake him up as he won't want to sleep tonight. But, since we are going to a bbq tonight he might have a later night anyway. I think I will just let him sleep - he must have been so tired. Let sleeping Chet's lie I say ...
Related Posts with Thumbnails