Posts Tagged ‘food’

Right now I’m in the process of making sourdough bread. It’s part of my usual routine so not a pandemic hobby. Not that there is anything wrong with baking while you are stuck at home. I find it reduces stress. It’s just that too much baking makes one fat.

To combat this I am trying to increase my exercise. Twice this week I have walked to the local shopping centre-a least 25 minutes away on foot and back again with my little granny trolley. I don’t feel too scared by this as there are all these markers in the little shopping centre showing where to stand to keep your social distancing up and it’s not very crowded.

Today I went to pick up a parcel from the post office and then thought I’d get a few things from the supermarket. There was a queue to getting into the supermarket. It wasn’t long and I was inside in good time. We had to wash our hands with sanitiser and keep our distance. I headed straight to the toilet paper aisle and was victorious. I also scored two small bags of flour and a dozen eggs. I feel like beating my chest and crying out like a victorious Tarzan.

I was surprised by how much food was available and I had this queer feeling. One part of me just wanted to buy stuff because it was there and this is a pandemic and the other part was like all this food doesn’t make it seem like a pandemic. I had to tell myself that the food would be there next time. A lizard brain reaction maybe. Of course, some shelves were low or empty but now that people can’t panic buy there’s plenty. I should also say all the staff were very nice and polite and helpful. Ideally though I leave the shopping to Matthew.

My greatest challenge over the next few months besides not contracting Covid-19 and dying is not to get fat while housebound. So trying not to bake! However, my family are asking for homemade English muffins and hot cross buns and Anzac biscuits (oatmeal cookies) as well as sour dough bread.

We get Youfoodz meals delivered for most of the week and they are calorie controlled and then we cook or do something else-usually a freezer dive as we have frozen left overs meals. That helps a bit because if I totally got into cooking mode I’d cook heaps of things that I love to eat and my self-restraint ? Well there is no such thing!

However, I contrast this with many, many people in the world right now who don’t have food, or shelter or decent medical care. I might be stressed. I might be finding it hard to concentrate but I’m not in a bad way at all.

That might or might not be helpful thinking. My usual life and expectations have changed.

I’m still trying to work on the PhD (difficult) and keep my mental health in a good space. I try not to think of my publishing career and what will happen to the industry. My creativity has been squashed into a plastic bag and tossed into the back of the cupboard.

However, for those of you without books. There is a promotion of free dragon books on Bookfunnel Link

So go help yourself.

I just had a Darynda Jones book delivered this morning. I’m very tempted to start reading it right now. I was lucky enough to meet Darynda in early March as part of the ARRA signings. I like how she puts real life into her urban fantasy and her sassy lead, Charlie.

The other impediment to productivity is Gin the cat. He just plonked himself down on my lap after walking across the keyboard and wouldn’t shift. He just looked at me with those enormous eyes and stared. He also had his claws out so hugging him was like hugging a rose bush. I think it is revenge because the other day I accidentally locked him on the deck for the whole night and it rained.

IMG_1096Next this turned up in the mail. I’ll talk about this next time…


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image imageIt’s the end of the year and there are festivals and religious events throughout the land. In our family we celebrate Christmas. Not so much as a religious holiday although we recognise the origins. For us, me and my kids, it is a time for being together, of overeating and present giving. It’s also a time to pause and reflect on family or our achievements over the  years, the growth in our waistlines (me) and the growth in the grandchildren.


Christmas time in Dweebenhiem


I think about why Christmas became such a thing for us. When I was growing up, Christmas was a thing and then when my parents split it was part of the divorce settlement or something as it no longer existed in my parent’s hearts. My mum was lackadaisical and my dad well he tried in a drunken adult sort of way. I grew up too early. Christmas became a source of pain from the age of ten. Getting up to no presents under the Christmas tree, knowing that there was no actual magic and delight and just feeling the pain of being and feeling alone, unloved and unnoticed.

silver tree


So when it came to having a family of my own I made sure that Christmas was a special time. When I was married, my husband and I decided to have a few traditions that would be ours. Even though we split a bloody long time ago, a couple of those traditions still linger. It is our tradition since Taamati was born to have trifle. It’s a simple dish of canned fruit, sponge cake, custard and cream. Sometimes it had coconut and even jelly, but the essential components remained. These last couple of Christmases my son has taken over a lot of the dessert making and has made the trifle into a new food group. It is really strange to me that we don’t have trifle at any other time of year even though it’s quite simple to make. It’s just the thing we have on Christmas. We also have pavlova! Because we are gluttons! Then I started to make plum puddings and Christmas cake too. Oh god! Just thinking of all this is making my belly ache.


Tree decorated by the grandkids


We have tried to cut back on the food but it always remains the same with desserts I think. Taamati has taken to making those too. This year he lives in China and is only back on Christmas Eve so he’ll be excused from some dessert duties but not all.


The other tradition we adopted is that we have our celebrations on Christmas Eve. This goes back to me and my relationship with Tony. He was Italian and that is the traditional European celebration time. After I split from Tony, my kids asked me to keep it at Christmas Eve.  After nearly ten years they were used to that timing. It left them free to go to their partners’ family dinners on Christmas Day and I kept up the tradition of not cooking on Christmas Day. We just lie around watching movies and reheating food. These days I go with Matthew to visit his parents on the farm and share some turkey and salad and open presents. It’s a long haul – all the cooking—but these days it’s not too onerous. It used to take me three days to prepare. This year it was only two evenings.


My daughter also organised organic meats for the roasting and that’s very special indeed! We usually have antipasto-grilled vegetables, ham and other cold means,  prawns, tortillia de patatas, pasta, salads, cheese, olives etc etc. Then comes the main course, roasts meat of various kinds, turkey, lamb, pork, ham, chicken, with roast vegetables (potatoes, pumpkin, sweet potato), spinach and cheese sauce, peas, gravy etc etc…and then there are desserts …somewhat later in the evening.


One of my daughters said to me that I always made Christmas special when she was young and we’ve kept that up. It was magical and fun and that’s what has carried over into adulthood. I recall when I started to study and I had little money and made presents. I was still sewing clothes for the dolls on Christmas Eve. (Back then we did the Christmas Day celebrations). She still remembers coming out to all the dolls in new clothes and the basket bassinettes. I did that every year. My kids were still having stockings until their twenties. Now with the grandkids we keep up the tradition. The young ones get to open their presents  Christmas Eve and wake up to their stocking on Christmas morning. Usually there are lots of presents…heaps of presents because they are all combined.


So I treasure that the effort I put in meant something to my kids growing up and that they treasure it that much that they continue the tradition of making Christmas a special time. I love my family (and friends) and I love knowing that something I put a lot of effort into means so much to them and that if they keep it up their children will continue it on down through time.

Sigh. Merry Christmas everyone!

Oh and if you have  an new ereader and like dark fantasy then  my book Dragon Wine book 1 -Shatterwing is free!

Below is the blurb

Dragon wine could save them. Or bring about their destruction.

Since the moon shattered, the once peaceful and plentiful world has become a desolate wasteland. Factions fight for ownership of the remaining resources as pieces of the broken moon rain down, bringing chaos, destruction and death.

The most precious of these resources is dragon wine – a life-giving drink made from the essence of dragons. But the making of the wine is perilous and so is undertaken by prisoners. Perhaps even more dangerous than the wine production is the Inspector, the sadistic ruler of the prison vineyard who plans to use the precious drink to rule the world.

There are only two people that stand in his way. Brill, a young royal rebel who seeks to bring about revolution, and Salinda, the prison’s best vintner and possessor of a powerful and ancient gift that she is only beginning to understand. To stop the Inspector, Salinda must learn to harness her power so that she and Brill can escape, and stop the dragon wine from falling into the wrong hands.

Dragon Wine Book 2 :Skywatcher, the follow on book is also available in ebook and print.

Try the publisher’s website to the links to your retailer. Here.


Dragon Wine Series

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