Archive | August 2012

AN AWARD, BOXERS’ NOSES AND A LURKING BIRD. AND STUFF …

Optie has honoured me with a Versatile Blogger Award, for which I am very grateful, thanks Optie. The way this works is that I accept the award and pay it forward by nominating 15 bloggers for the award. I can’t possibly do this as there are far more than 15 bloggers whom I adore and think of as extended members of my family, and with whom I have shared almost 5 years of my day-to-day existence.
The second condition of accepting the award is that I disclose 7 things about myself. I don’t know that you all don’t already know everything there is to know about me, but here goes:
ONE:
I don’t speak Italian.
If I did, I’d be able to conjure up all manner of lovely stories about the origin of food names. The pasta I used in this dish is called ‘Strascinati Pugliesi’ and I, drawing a logical link with the English word ‘pugilist’, immediately thought that the ‘pugliesi’ must mean ‘of the boxer’. I further imagined, rolling my tongue around both the pasta and the word, that ‘strascinati’ must be ‘stretched nose’. Ergo: ‘stretched nose of the boxer’. Witness this misshapen oblong and you’d have to agree that my logic was sound.


Anyhow, no matter what the noodle is called, I made a dish of baked pasta; with pork sausages, paprika and chili.
TWO:
I always make enough of a dish to serve as two meals.
One is for my supper and the other for lunch at my desk the following day. Many of my colleagues buy their lunches from a local restaurant or from one of the many takeaway franchises nearby. As I get older, I am becoming very frugal and am content with my home-made lunches.


THREE:
I have become the unwilling owner of a pigeon.
This may well be payback for the 13 dead pigeons I cooked not long ago. This live one was hurt when one of the dogs got hold of her and Our Alice brought her into my courtyard to convalesce. My uncle pronounced it a male, but was proved wrong minutes later when my feathered friend laid an egg. She’s completely ignored the egg and has taken to following my around from room to room, pooping as she doddles along and never taking her eye off me.


FOUR:
I don’t own a television.
I sometimes consider investing in one, but the thought of how many books I could buy for the price of a TV set always makes logic prevail.
FIVE:
I enjoy a peanut butter and chili sandwich.
Many people find this very odd, but see nothing strange in eating a bowl of peanut & chicken curry.
SIX:
I learned this week, courtesy of Facebook, that I am a librocubicularist.
My spellchecker is balking at this, but I am assured that it is a real word. I revel in my librocubicularism; living alone means I can be as self-indulgent as I wish and take tea and biscuits in bed along with my books.


SEVEN:
I don’t own a rabbit these days.
Big Red Betsy has gone to a petting zoo, where she has the run of a lovely big pen and lots of rodent friends. On arrival there, she promptly mounted another bunny and the bloke who runs the place has renamed her Big Red Robert.

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MIXED BULLOUS DISEASE AND A DESTRUCTIVE BUNNY

I’m blaming the weather for my lack of blog posts. My usual solution for writer’s block is to cook something and to concoct a story around the photo of the food. But the icy temperatures we’ve had, soup – that most un-photogenic thing – has been the order of the day. I can’t write about the great excitement that prevailed when, last week, we experienced snow storms around the country; it seems all everybody else has written about.
Wikipedia often sparks a bit of inspiration, but this morning’s random click generated only this piece of glum trivia:

Pemphigus herpetiformis (also known as “Acantholytic herpetiform dermatitis,” “Herpetiform pemphigus,” “Mixed bullous disease,” and “Pemphigus controlled by sulfapyridine”) is a cutaneous condition, a clinical variant of pemphigus that combines the clinical features of dermatitis herpetiformis with the immunopathologic features of pemphigus

Glove- and balaclava-clad, I took myself into my garden for a bit of Sunday morning pottering in the wintry sunshine and razor-sharp wind. Alas, even weeding was not an option; the weeds have all gone! Some of you may remember my pride and excitement at starting this little garden. In the days before the arrival of Big Red Betsy, I looked forward to spring and summer and imagined myself plucking great bouquets for my vases.

Total desecration has been wrought by my resident rodent …


My rabbit is, it seems, possessed by an evil spirit and she seems set to nibble and tug until nothing is left. This was once a rose bush that yielded generous Just Joeys …


My Zen birdbath, encircled by my beloved agave ‘roses’ is one of the saddest things I could imagine viewing:


And your hare doesn’t stop at plants; pots are smashed, boots are chewed, even my Persian carpets have been rendered more antique-looking than I wish for.

I’m beside myself with woe. I’m going to ask my butcher to take off the bunny’s head and prepare it for the pot. There’s a French recipe for rabbit stew in one of my mother’s notebooks. I’m going to study it in a moment. Just as soon as Betsy gets off my lap, where she is momentarily resting snugly from her obsessive foraging.

Oh, and a bird has moved in with an egg, but more of that later …

LOOK WHAT THE AUGUST WIND BLEW IN

Back from my ‘retreat’ for a while now and I haven’t had time to put up a new blog post. About the retreat I can tell very little; we were totally cut off from the ‘real world’; they even confiscated my camera, so I am unable to do the planned food review of the place. This can only be a good thing for my readers as a) the food was not easy on the eye and b) just looking at pictures of said catering would make the girth of the beholder swell. I returned with an insatiable craving for protein after all that starch.
Lamb chop, anyone?

A nice surprise awaited me in my inbox on my return; I’d gone for a job interview in early June and – after waiting a few days with no response – I’d completely forgotten about it, so I was delighted to find a formal offer for the job waiting in my email inbox. It’s a dream job, with an international publishing firm and I am project managing High School English Literature books. Nice work if you can get it *smug smile*.
There is little to report for Celia’s ‘In my kitchen’ challenge for August (see above reference to protein) as my days are running into one as I adapt to my new schedule. I cook enough in the evenings to provide for my supper as well as my work-lunch.

Here’s a picture of a beef curry:

Slim pickings for my first post after such a long absence, I think I’ll end with my gratitude- and wish- lists:
Today I am grateful for:
1. Warm shelter in the cold spell we’re experiencing
2. The privilege of landing a job that is challenging and enjoyable
3. An abundance of supportive friends around the world
4. Renewed communication with my daughter
5. Perky breasts and 50 days of sobriety
Things I am looking forward to:
1. Taking Our Alice and Karabo to the theatre (They’ve never been!)
2. The end of winter and the onset of spring
3. Buying and reading Jane Raphaely’s autobiography
4. National Women’s Day on the 9th of August
5. Pork chops and beetroot for supper

My blogging MOJO seems to be having an extended leave of absence, but I had to post this due to excessive nagging from certain quarters. (Christine and Rachelle, please take note!)

In the meantime, I will rely on the promise contained in this quote:

“The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there written in invisible ink and clamouring to become visible.” – Nabakov