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Quote for the Day : New Horizons

“…You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore…”

— William Faulkner

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Tuna Loaf

As I have stated before, I am a bad vegetarian.  For 90% of the time, I eat a vegetarian diet.  But then for the other 10%, all hell breaks loose and I eat fish. I don’t feel good about it and I don’t make any excuses for it, other than the fact I have a really restrictive renal diet and so can’t eat all the proteins a vego would normally have in large quantities eg chickpeas, lentils, baked beans, nuts etc.

So I eat fish sometimes.  Which makes me a pescatarian I suppose.  Sorry, fishies.

Which brings us to today’s recipe, Tuna Loaf.  Not the most appetising of titles, I agree, but the proof is in the pudding, right?  Or, in this case, the loaf.  Tuna Pudding sounds even more gross, so let’s stick with loaf.  It’s an easy-to-make, cheap and delicious dish that tastes just as nice cold the next day.  It’s got a lovely, slightly crispy outer edge and it’s soft and moist in the centre.  The little pieces of gherkin add extra crunch and sweetness.  You can also make it with tinned salmon, which is really yummy (but I can’t have salmon so I have to stick to it’s poorer cousin, the humble tuna).  Try and always buy the sustainably fished tuna if you can.  Make up for some of that pesky pescatarian guilt!

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Tuna Loaf 

Ingredients

425g tin of tuna in springwater, drained
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 eggs, lightly beaten
5 spring onions, chopped fairly finely
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons tomato sauce plus extra for glazing
1/2 cup chopped gherkins
Salt and Pepper

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees C.

Line a loaf tin with baking paper.

Mix all ingredients together.

Press into the tin and press down with a fork.  Squirt or brush some tomato sauce over the top – in a fancy pattern or just haphazardly, I won’t judge.

Bake for approx 35- 40 minutes until top is golden and loaf feels firm.

Cut in to slices to serve.

Voila!

If you’re smart, you will argue for the end piece because it is crunchier and tastier and just the best bit.  You made it, you get first dibs.  It’s like a law or something.

Enjoy with a side salad or whatever vegies you like.  As I said, it’s nice cold too, and perfect for lunchboxes as it holds its shape quite well.

Hope you enjoy 🙂

PS  Yes, that is a ‘Moby Dick” plate in the photo.

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Spring Finally Arrives…

This has been a weird Spring.  Many people have reported on the Spring Deficit experienced this year.  Everything from people feeling more moody due to the extended SAD we’ve been subjected to throughout September and October (where is the sun?!) to business experiencing a down-turn in revenue (you try selling ice creams in the middle of a freezing cold, wet and blustery day that goes on for weeks!).  Neighbourhood plants have been very confused too – never knowing from one day to the next as to what season it is.  My garden (such as it is at the new house) is a bit hit and miss, with things that should be flowering NOT flowering, and things that should have stopped flowering STARTING to flower.

But, as of this last week, Spring appears to making some effort to show up.  We’ve had some lovely sunny days and temperatures have started rising.  My garden is responding to the warmer conditions and beginning to look a bit more colourful and I, in turn, have been whinging less and dressing more like someone who lives in Australia, rather than a native of Antarctica.   My beautiful pelargonium is finally in flower – isn’t she a stunner?  I’ve had this plant for years and have had many cuttings from her, all of which have flowered prolifically.  She’s actually a little more purple than the picture shows, and I think she is a Spanish Angel, but don’t quote me on that – the label disintegrated a long time ago!

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As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been busily re-potting a lot of my poor plants that have been very neglected during my move (and the months preceding it, if I’m honest).  Even my cacti were feeling a bit sad and unloved.  I re-potted them and in a matter of days they started to look happier and less, well, dead.  My little bunny cactus is much more sprightly looking now (if a plant can be sprightly!).  He is an off-shoot of my original cactus from a few years back, and is only a couple of inches high.  Adorable.

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My much-loved aloe is doing really well (he never lets me down even when I treat him badly and forget he exists) and is even sprouting a flower spike, which I take to mean he is happy.  I have given him a bigger pot and he is going great guns.  If he could smile, he’d be giving me a big, toothy, cheeky grin.  Possibly a wink and a “How YOU doin;?”
He’s just that sort of guy 🙂

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I even have a couple of sad little lemons starting to develop on my potted lemon tree.  It desperately needs feeding but I keep forgetting…

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My white geranium is blossoming too.  Love a nice pristine, white flower.  I also bought this one at the same time as my original bunny cactus, and it has been a regular healthy bloomer ever since.  I love geraniums – they are essential in a low maintenance garden.  So pretty and prolific and easy to take cuttings from.  They don’t die very easily, which is a bonus when you’re a black thumb kind of gardener like me.

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The aeonium cuttings I pinched from my rental unit are doing nicely too.  They are all in flower and just so pretty.  I’m glad I managed to salvage a few pieces when I moved out – they are such great plants and so easy to look after and keep alive!  Plus they grow so quickly and are very water-wise.

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Also in my garden area, but not something I have potted or grown myself…this little guy.  I believe he is an Australian Jumping Peacock Spider .  Isn’t he cute?  I didn’t get the best photo because he was so teeny-tiny and my camera is pretty rubbish.  Also, because he wouldn’t keep still and kept leaping about (as jumping spiders do).  He is about 5mm long and has a bright red and blue pattern on his butt.  The blue is hard to see in this picture, but it is very striking.  I love jumping spiders – they’re awesome.  I’ve never seen one like this before – or maybe I just haven’t paid attention (more likely).  I hope he is good at eating mosquitoes…

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So, Spring has sprung and is working its magic, not only on the garden but on me as well.  I  just function so much better in the warm weather and get a lot more done.  I think my house is going to be pretty hot in Summer, so I may be regretting those words soon.  Until then, I am happy to see the sun shining every day and feeling its heat in these old bones.

Hope your day (or at least your heart) is full of sunshine today 🙂

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Cauliflower and Feta Fritters

Everyone is so into cauliflower right now.  It seems everywhere I look there’s cauliflower rice, pizza bases made with cauliflower, and cauliflower mash to replace the good old potato variety.  I have a slight issue with this humble brassica – it gives me tummy ache – and I have to be very careful about eating it.  Sometimes I can have it and it causes no problems but, other times, it KILLS ME and leaves me writhing about in agony wishing for death.  It’s not pretty.
That said, I have been craving some cauliflower action for the last few weeks and thought I would give it a gentle try.  My renal diet is so restrictive and I am always looking for fruit and veg alternatives to give me some variety.  So, I made these fritters.  I was bad and fried them (I never fry anything) because the batter was fairly wet, but I used only a spray of oil.  They cooked super quickly and were easy to flip etc.  Very tasty indeed.  And only a slight tummy ache afterwards (note to self : give up on cauliflower!) which was totally worth it, and may not have even been related…  Try them for yourself – you could substitute any vegies into the basic batter mix, which is what I’m going to do next time for a more
pain-free meal! 🙂

Cauliflower & Feta Fritters

Ingredients

salt & pepper
olive oil
1 head cauliflower, trimmed into small florets

2 eggs
½ cup wholemeal flour
¼ cup milk
1/2 cup crumbed feta cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
½ garlic clove, crushed
2 tsp dried parsley

Method

Spread the florets of cauliflower out on a baking tray.  Drizzle with a little oil and season with salt and pepper (don’t go overboard with the salt – the feta has plenty in it). Bake in oven at 200 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes, until cauliflower is starting to char and become soft.  Remove from oven and allow to cool down.  Tip onto a chopping board and roughly chop.

Combine other ingredients in a large bowl and add cauliflower to form a batter. Mix well.

Heat a fry pan and spray with a little cooking oil.  Drop  spoonfuls of mixture onto fry pan and fry on both sides until firm and golden brown (this takes only a few minutes).  Place on kitchen paper to drain off any excess oil and repeat with remaining batter.

Serve with wedges of lime or some salsa or anything you like!  This recipe makes about 12 small-medium fritters.

Enjoy!

PS If you happen to be photographing your culinary efforts, I strongly recommend paying close attention to what you’re doing.  This way, you don’t trip over and throw the entire plate of fritters all over your freshly-mopped floor, like I did.  You wouldn’t know it from the photo, but my fritters were thrown far and wide across my lounge room in a spectacular display of clumsiness.  See?  It’s the cauliflower…it hates me 🙂

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Decorating FTW

I’m finally getting sorted in my new house.  I have procrastinated long enough, waiting to have all the storage display furniture I need in order to put things away and stop living out of boxes.  But, having come to my senses, I have decided that if I wait until everything is perfect and I have everything I need (or want), I will never get tidy have a home that I can actually feel happy to have visitors in.

So, with that in mind, I did a big clean up today and proceeded with some serious nesting.  My new console table in the entrance is great – it will enable me to store lots of stuff and it’s light and easy for me to move (with removable shelves).  I had wanted a sideboard/buffet for this area but had been unable to find one I liked or could afford.  In the end, I figured an “open” storage item would be better in my little house, and make things feel less closed in. I want to get baskets for the bottom shelf but am having trouble finding just the right ones, so at the moment it has IKEA boxes in it (not shown)
– they’ll do for now.

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I am going to have the big mirror mounted on the wall but, for now, it will just sit on the table.  It’s heavy enough to stay put.  I’ve tried to make all the knick-knacks and decorative pieces in the same sort of colour scheme/tone.  There’s artwork by my brother, a vintage child’s suitcase (rescued from a rubbish bin!), some op-shop finds, a stone gargoyle from a visit to the UK, tarot cards and a teeny weeny little vintage ivory elephant my Mum gave me.  I kinda hope the elephant is actually bone, not ivory…but it’s really old so I’m thinking it’s the less-than-p.c ivory.

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I think it’s all come together well.  I just hope I can get the rest of the house sorted and fit for human habitation and guests.  I actually hoovered and mopped the floors today!  Like a grown up person!  I did laundry and weeding and dusted and generally acted like an adult.  Hopefully this will not just be a passing fad for me.  I’m trying to be more domesticated.  I need to get a smaller vacuum cleaner for the stairs and second floor – lugging my big Dyson up and down the stairs is not great for my back.  I’m still suffering with a sore rib (it’s Costochondritis which is very painful, but nothing serious – just gotta give it time to settle down) and so I’ve probably done more than I should today.  I’ve lifted lots of heavy boxes and not rested at all so am expecting to be a bit delicate tomorrow.

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My craft room is still in a terrible state (hence the crafting lull I find myself in currently) but I am hoping to tackle that next.  I am dying to get stuck into something creative.  At the moment, the most creative I am being is moving boxes from one end of the room to another and figuring out ways to stack them so they don’t collapse on me.

Hope your day has been productive and happy 🙂

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Cosy Corner

Still nesting… I swear my little crow gets moved around at least 400 times before I find a spot for him.  He’s very fussy about where he goes (or, at least, I am) and doesn’t like to be somewhere that’s not in full view.  So, he’s sitting atop my brand new butler’s trolley / display cabinet thingy.  I love it – it’s so cute.  Room for books and knick-knacks and other stuff (ie junk) that needs to be quickly shoved into a drawer when people come over.

I don’t always buy brand new things – normally I am a hunt-around-until-you-find-it-second-hand kind of girl, but I wanted to have a few new things for myself this time.  Especially this piece – it’s quirky and colourful and just a bit different.  It matches with everything else and yet stands out at the same time. And Mr Crow seems to like it 🙂

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I’m still in a mess everywhere, but am resigned to being in that state for quite some time.  Setting up a home takes a while and I want to get things right, not just chuck stuff around the rooms and say “that’ll do”.   So I am doing little bits at a time – that way it is less overwhelming.  I’m still struggling with motivation about life in general right now (got a lot going on and my brain has decided to just not deal with ANYTHING) so putting stuff away and being tidy is not exactly a priority (I say that like it is EVER a priority for me).  But the more little cosy corners I have, the happier I feel.  Eventually, my whole house will be one big cosy corner – I hope so, anyway.

May your home be happy today and always x

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Quote for the Day : For Want of an Understanding Ear

“…The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of because words diminish them–words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within, not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear…”

–Stephen King

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