Saturday, July 30, 2011

Osso Bucco

Saute a large chopped onion in a little olive oil. Use a large pot, you'll need it.

Push the onions aside & add some veal shin. Brown the meat well on each side, try not to burn the onions. The traditional recipe calls for coating the meat with flour, but I like the sauce to be a bit lighter. It will still be full of flavour.

Brown both sides but don't cook.
A little bit of caramelization will add nicely to the finished flavour but burnt onions taste bitter.

Add a splash of wine - red or white, whatever. Have a glass yourself!

Add one tin of chopped tomatos. Mix gently.

A dash of white pepper, my favourite. Now simmer very gently with the lid on for about 45 - 60 minutes. If you think it is too liquidy, then only partially cover with the lid to let some steam escape. I like to turn the heat off & let it rest with the lid on for about 10 mins before serving, this seems to make the meat extra tender.

Finished Osso Bucco served with steamed rice & greens from the vege garden.
Traditionally Osso Bucco is served with Risotto Milanese which is nice but very heavy, made with cream.


If you don't have anything nice to say, come & sit next to me.

So..I didn't get to the blogger meet up last Sunday because The Gentleman came down with some sort of fever/nausea/headachey/virus maybe thing. On Monday morning he whispered 'I can't breathe really well Mum, I think I'm going to suffocate.' Straight to the hospital, where we spent most of the day. We came home with the sun after the doctors had decided it might be some sort of virus thing, but take these antibiotics just in case. Poor Gentleman has been home sick allll week. Bored & cranky. Turning on his brother. It's getting ugly.

We finally picked up our car from the panel beaters on Wednesday, to have panels actually falling off it on the short drive home! After many tense phone calls our insurance provider is sending another assessor to check out the car early next week. No doubt he will also cop an earful about the meaning of customer service & quality workmanship. The car is sitting in our driveway because we don't feel safe driving it...

The chaos family has indeed had a run of bad luck lately, & frankly I am over it! I am normally a very cheerful optimistic (maybe sarcastic, but in a light hearted way, surely?) person but this shit is getting me down, man. Everyone is feeding off everyone else's crap mood in a downward spiral of illness, being time poor, cabin fever, not having space to themselves, etc, etc.

Yesterday I was so fed up with every one's crankiness, I cracked it. I was possessed with the 'like attracts like' thought that dirt in the form of germy dust & clutter was attracting dirt in the form of illness, bad luck & frayed tempers, & cleaned maniacally for about 8 hours. I scrubbed the bathrooms, I vacuumed every skerrick of surface I could reach, I changed the bed linen, dusted, cleaned the fly screens, cleaned off the top of the kitchen cupboards then washed & reorganised everything that was up there. (ie it's not back up there) I cleaned the window sills. I delved into forgotten dust trap hideyholes. When I could clean no more I cleansed the house from top to bottom (including it's surprised inhabitants) with blessed salt & water flicked with a large bouquet of basil. Then I sat down & had a glass of wine.

I should have followed up the basil with a smudge stick, because this morning I woke up to find that Monkeyboy had cuddled into my bed during the night, then wet himself, my bed & me. And then I had loud words with Mr BC over some damn fool husband-fail shit he said.

Off to scrub my entryway with 4 Thieves Vinegar now.


PS No, I am not bitter about not being at Blogopolis with the rest of the Aussie blog universe. I sincerely wish you all a great time, & I certainly plan on being there next year. Obviously I won't be driving. Please have a drink for me, you can see I need it.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Thank heavens this week is OVER!

What an inviting heading that is, I am sure to have swarms of people clicking over to hear me complain. But you know what? This week has been full on. Bear (bare?) with me while I whinge. No I don't have a pretty picture for you, go look at the manic picture of me in my profile. Am I smiling or gritting my teeth? You decide.

I will spare you the sob story of doing a shit load of laundry & cleaning the house like a freak while coping with the moon time from hell. Too much? OK, I will lighten up a bit.

Wednesday morning saw me accompanying The Gentleman & his class to the beach for a discovery excursion. The wind was fricken freezing & one of my little group was constantly doing a runner. The Gentleman loves the life aquatic, he cannot wait to get to high school & study marine biology so he can learn how to scuba dive, get his boat licence & go to the Great Barrier Reef for a weeks excursion. Perhaps they will let me be a parent volunteer then?

I raced home in time to race off to pick up Monkey boy early from daycare so we could race back to school & then go to the birthday party of the BC Brother's friend. The boys had a ball & everyone commented on how nicely our children all played together, considering the disparity in ages & the amount of children insisting on cramming into a jumping castle at once. Peer pressure made us all drink a few glasses of red wine so maybe it was the piss talking? Anyway there was no blood.

Thursday I did the Mega Grocery Shop Of All Time, while dodging old people*. (mental note: do not schedule grocery shopping on the day they pay the pension) Mr BC came to pick me up from the supermarket & I looked at our little Charade & realised that the bag laden trolley was actually bigger than the car. Logistics really does run in Mr BCs veins though, because he made it all fit in. Well done Darling!

Why the Charade? Our other car is still 'being fixed'. There has been much fuckery going on with our insurance, the panel beater & the mechanic which has resulted in a lot of poor communication & no actual fixing going on. Originally it was going to take a week tops, but it has been about a month, & the latest story was that the car would be ready next Monday. Why did Mr BC need to collect me like a chauffeur? Because I cannot drive a stupid manual, so shut up!

After this we went to pick up The Gentleman & the teacher had an impromptu chat with me, that resulted in another chat the following day where she apologised & we both shed a few tears. Gentleman, you need to learn to focus. That is all.

Crying was a running theme today, I spent the morning blubbering like I had menopause*, taking Monkey boy to the Paediatric Dental Specialist because he has 12 cavities. Which will require him to be put under a general anaesthetic for 2 hours so he can have 1 extraction, 11 fillings, 7 crowns & a spacer, at a cost of roughly $6000. It's not the money, & I know he won't be in too much discomfort. The cavities are the result of deep fissures/grooves in his teeth coupled with poor enamel, & if we don't fix them now he could end up with abscesses. We can't just pull the teeth because it would impact on his speech development & his second teeth need something to follow on. I just  know what it is to grow up with crap teeth, my tears are for the teasing he will probably endure with a mouth like Jaws out of James Bond. Poor Darling, he is only 3.

So today finished with me joining my Gunt Club Sistah & her lovely neighbours for a few bottles of wine on the front steps. This sounds waaaay trashier than it actually was, & it was exactly what I needed. Thanks Ladies!

Tomorrow it is another day of errands, hopefully some gardening, some furniture projects. Sunday I am really looking forward to lunch with my new friends from Hello Blogger Events, & frankly, this is my reward for a stressful week!

I would like to be more positive, but this is my blog fuckit, not performance management!
(OK I will try harder in future)

* I am not ageist, I promise. I just need more sleep.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Animal Magnetism

I am not what you might call an animal lover.

Don't get me wrong, I like animals, I enjoy their company. I both love & care for the ones that live with me. I am just not passionate about them. I don't for example, gush over someones new puppy. I don't particularly get into Lolcats. I'm not saying those cats don't deserve a cheezburger, I just don't feel emotional about it.

Lately, however, I have noticed with some surprise that animals seem to like me, & I don't know why. I noticed yesterday that that was the third currawong today to fly into our lounge room windows. Dumb arses.

Everywhere I go, there are crows. Lots of them. I live in an area that is home to many crows, they just seem a bit concentrated lately. There are also a lot of ibis in this area, & there doesn't seem to be too many of them around me. I came across some crows the other day, eating the guts of a large dead lizard through it's mouth. They looked at me as I passed but didn't stop. (Eewww!)

In the garden recently, Monkey boy found a young adult legless lizard. It looks like a black snake (an item of terror here in Australia, especially if your 3 year old is handling one) but you can tell by it's ear thingies that it is a lizard.

He also found a tiny frog, that he was determined to keep in this bucket. It is in there, really. Sadly it escaped later on, when no one was around...

These cane toads where caught in recycled plastic bags & frozen, before being thrown in the bin. An icy death is apparently pain free, & also cleaner for the hands & conscience of the killer..

This cane toad was found squashed into this disgusting state, & did not need the freezer..I don't think the crows would even have been interested actually.

Teenage daughter says that crows are my totem animal, but I don't necessarily follow a shamanistic path, or embrace the tiny smidgen of native American blood in my veins. Maybe it's time I did?


Monday, July 18, 2011

And the Brownies go to..........


(actually, just email your address so I can mail you a box of delicious
Donna Hay Molten Chocolate Chunk Brownies)

or, come on down if you want. :)

Thanks to everyone for entering!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Donna Hay Molten Chocolate Chunk Brownies - Product Review & Giveaway

Recently this blog joined the PR Friendly Aussie Blog Directory - go & check out the badge on the right side of this page. I was a bit conflicted about taking sponsorship & so on, it seemed like some kind of a sell out. But I really wanted to review some products & host giveaways without compromising my opinion, so I thought Well, I'll just see what happens...I can always decline a product, & if I review it & don't like it I am bloody well going to say so.

So rest assured that my opinions are always my own. Also, let me say for the record, that Donna Hay's Molten Chocolate Chunk Brownies are fucking awesome. Yes, I said it - they are AWESOME.

I am not one for short cuts or packaged mixes of any kind - but c'mon! It's Donna Hay!!

The instructions are easy, simply mix in 150g of melted butter, 2 eggs, & the extra packet of chopped up proper chocolate. Yes, proper chocolate - check it out. No cheap arsed manky choc chips here.

The instructions said 40 mins at 160 degrees, but knowing my oven runs hotter than most I turned the heat down & checked at 30 mins. I thought I had burnt them slightly but not at all - the packet says This brownie has a thin, crisp top that gives way to a fudgy, dense cake studded with molten pieces of chocolate. It is no lie, even after leaving it to cool for 30 minutes the chocolate was still molten.


Excuse me? It was supposed to be cooling?

Warmed up slightly, served with cookies & cream ice cream. OMG.

Also in Donna Hay's Home Bake line up is Vanilla Cupcakes, Chocolate Cupcakes, & Almond Macaron with Chocolate Filling (which I can't wait to try out). The range has no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.

Donna Hay was kind enough to provide me with an extra box of Chocolate Chunk Brownie Mix to give away, so if you would like to impress your family eat it alllllll yourself, please become a follower of this blog, & leave 1 comment below saying so. I am happy to mail it anywhere in the world but I can't be responsible for customs stealing it for themselves..

The winner will be drawn on Monday 18th July.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Dealing with Arseholes

Image from here.  I love Twisted Vintage Blog, but do not annoy
Mr Estancia De La Ding Dong by taking his images without credit.
This post has been percolating around my head for a while, so I thought I had better let it out before it starts festering.  It started as a post about Bully's, but really, the Arseholes I refer to are people who are stopping you being your true best self - the authentic, happy person who is meant to realise their full potential during this lifetime. The Arsehole might be your boss, a frenemie, your husband, yourself.
  • Be true to yourself, don't change to suit them. You know in your heart what is right & wrong, so don't buy into any controlling behaviour they are trying to exert over you.
  • Beat them at their own game. Is your boss constantly showing you up in meetings? Find a way to out dazzle her. Are you constantly doubting yourself with negative inner dialogue? Act on your instinct & prove to yourself that your ideas are worthy.
  • Replace the Arseholes space in your life with better things. You really don't need to waste another second playing the game with them. The energy expended in cringing, kowtowing & crying eats up your inner resources, & feeds the Arsehole - they need you more than you need them.
  • Be strong & gracious, keep it classy. As tempting as it might be, don't let their bad behaviour be a reflection on you.
  • Don't be afraid to call the authority's. Call HR, your bosses boss, a teacher, your higher self. You don't need to put up with fuckery of this sort, & the world of authori-tye is starting to understand that.
  • You might not need to actually push them off a cliff, but you deserve to get that Arsehole out of your life. Solitude is better than bad company.
I'm not getting all Oprah on your arse, but don't we all deserve to be the best person we can be without anyone holding us back?


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Holiday Musings

Minimalism is not my forte.
 I have just noticed how matchy matchy this is. Hmmm.

We are halfway through the school holidays & I am feeling schlumpy.

Car still at the mechanics/panelbeaters, bored children, & a revolving stage of stomach viruses & sinusitus for the whole family has left me a little tired.

This week, the boys have stopped being bored & have immersed themselves in the world of Harry Potter. They spend their days leaping around the house shouting Smelly Armpits! (Expeliarmus) Stoopid Fly! (Stupify) Rejecto patroleum! (oh whatever..)

They argue over who gets to be a Tormentor (Dementor - oh, wait...)

Everytime I am seen to lift anything, The Gentleman waves his lemon grass wand at me & booms Wingardium Levio Sah! If he would listen to Hermione regarding the correct pronunciation maybe it would work.


Does anyone else think Buckbeak is a ridiculous name for a Hippogriff?

Why do they still need house elves if magic can do everything?

Is Daniel Radcliffe the love child of Richard Hammond from Top Gear? (you know, the short one)

Seriously, how hot is Severus Snape?

Photo from here

Monday, July 4, 2011

Phew! Chair Emergency Resolved

I have blogged about this chair here & here. I hated it green..too Mama Bearenstein for me.

So, I painted it white. And I still hated it. I threw it open to the internetz, & the internetz came back with some excellent suggestions. Mandy recommended I paint it turquoise.

But it still didn't feel right.

Chania recommended that I dip it's feet in a different colour. I couldn't dip it properly without dipping the whole chair at once, so I painted them with a brush. I didn't like the first red I used, so I went over it with a few coats of a different red. Getting there, but still.....meh.

This brainwave was all my own - paint a gold circle on the seat.
I think I was hoping for a painted chair pad look.
Actually, I'm not sure what I was thinking....

Mel suggested I sand back the edges, so that when it gets banged up (which it would) I would be ahead of the game.
Don't you just love the friendships forged in the blogging world?
Mel lives on the other side of the world yet she knows my family so well...

I am not one for Shabby Chic, but once I started sanding I found it hard to stop. Was I punishing this ugly chair for being such a problem child?? I don't know, but was very cathartic. I sanded the shit outta that chair & loved every second of it!

And now, I think it's finally done. The sanding took the edge of all those layers of paint in more ways than one. I like the blue & white, with the bare wood glinting through. It looks like it might have been washed up on the beach, after a ship wreck.
Which ties in with the legs that look like lobster claws.

With no faded floral, white or pale pink there is no way it is trying to be Shabby Chic.
I love it's bent up, urban charm. I am ready to have it in my house!

I think it deserves to be loved.

Am I getting too personal about this chair?
Maybe we both need therapy..

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