Amazingly we’ve ticked over into 2020 and much less amazingly we saw the new year in with catastrophic bushfires across Australia.
It’s hard to know what to say about this really, when so many have said it better than I ever could. Perhaps start with this piece by Jackie French if you are keen to find out more (because a lot of readers aren’t in Australia and might not have a clear idea of what’s happening).
Here’s a bit of a January catch-up …
Cooking: So many things, as usual. One particular favourite is herby rice, which is good hot or cold sidled up against everything from curries to braises to a plate full of salad, to roasted tomatoes, to ratatouille. Here is how to make it:
Serves four as a side dish. Keeps nicely in the fridge for 2 days.
500g of basmati rice
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 cup of loosely packed fresh herbs
2 cloves of crushed garlic
salt and black pepper
Heat a large pot full of water and when it’s boiling add the rice and a teaspoon of salt.
Simmer until rice is tender (not chalky or mushy!)
Drain the rice and then tip it back into the pot.
Heat the olive oil and add the garlic and herbs. It will spit a bit but so would you if someone tossed you in hot olive oil. Stir for a minute or so.
Tip oil and herbs on top of the rice, season with salt and pepper, and stir well to combine.
Serve hot or at room temperature.
(Adapted from Lorenza De’Medici’s recipe for ‘Riso alle Erbe’ in Lorenza’s Italian Seasons)
And right this minute? I’m making Lamb Vindaloo, to eat with Herby Rice later on. I just marinated the lamb in their vinegary paste and fried it off and then simmered some onions and added the meat to them. Later I add more spices, water and when it’s close to being tender, throw in some big chunks of Dutch Cream potatoes and make the rice while they cook in the curry sauce.
Sipping: Lots of tea! I’m doing A Year Without Booze in 2020 so it’s tea, tea, tea for me. Also lots of mineral water. A bit of ginger beer. And some coffee too.
Reading: Lots and lots and lots of good stuff for my Creative Writing course. Short stories and poetry and more. I also read Charlotte Wood’s new book The Weekend over the break (I LOVED IT! Have you read it?)
Looking: At the haze through the orange tree in my garden. It’s not as smokey here today as it was yesterday, thank goodness. That said WE ARE FINE. Just a bit of smoke. Nothing compared to what some people have endured.
Listening: To the radio. We’re tuned to ABC News Radio at the mo.
Wishing: A mosquito had not bitten me ten minutes ago. Where even did it get in? Gawsh.
Enjoying: Each day.
Eating: These tomatoes on toast. They are so delicious!
Liking: The rain. It’s raining now! There is lightning and thunder too. It’s all on like Donkey Kong.
Loving: The poetry book I am reading. It’s by Mary Oliver and it’s called A Poetry Handbook.
Buying: Peaches, plums, apricots, lovely tomatoes. Hooray for summer produce!
Watching: ABC News 24. The Bold Type Season 3 (just finished it!) I am a bit slow to the party but I watched Lady Bird on the weekend. It’s so good! Then I watched Brooklyn which I liked too. How brilliant is Saoirse Ronan. I only just learned how to correctly pronounce her name – SER-sha. Such a pretty name and such a talented woman. I really can’t wait to see Little Women now.
Hoping: That it will rain all night.
Needing: To put my laundry away. Does that pile ever disappear? I think not. It’s like an extra member of the family, really. Maybe that’s the way it’s meant to be? Like a sort of pet?
I also need to get a nut for the axel of my market trolley because the current nut fell off and disappeared. Don’t want my wheel to fall off. Nothing worse than the wheels falling off. It’s an old wicker trolley from Vinnie’s and apart from the missing nut it’s perfect.
Wearing: An old cotton dress from Obus. I feel like I say that a lot, but it’s because it’s true.
Following: Pip Magazine! So much good info over there.
Noticing: That my youngest turns 20 next week. How on earth did that happen?
Sorting: Out my pantry. Halfheartedly to be honest. It’s a big job. Don’t want to rush into it. #snort
Getting: Excited about my book coming out! I got an advance copy on New Year’s Eve and had a little weep. It’s always amazing when a plan comes together and with a book you get to hold that plan in your own two hands. And it came from your own two hands too! (Via your brain!) Anyway, my book is available for preorder locally (March) and from NZ via Booktopia. If you are in the US it’s ready for preorder via Amazon for a June release. If you are in the UK it’s ready for preorder for June release on Amazon too.
Saving: Up. For Christmas. I KNOW! What a dork!! I just find that if I don’t start in January I get super stressed out by November. So it’s so much easier to tuck away a few dollars a day and not deal with the stress of funding presents and food and time off from work and things.
Bookmarking: Lots of good things to put into my Something Good For The Weekend post this coming weekend.
Coveting: A Bamix stick blender. I know, I know. I just want one though! It would be good for when I make blended soups because you can just stick it in and whizz it up. No messing about with the food processor (which I do now.)
Feeling: Like I want to make Tomato Kasundi. Do you ever feel like that? It’s a good time to do it, if you do. Perfect slathered under grilled cheese on some chewy brown bread.
Hearing: Drip, drip, drips from the lemon tree.
Perhaps you’d like to copy and paste the list somewhere and do your own ‘Taking Stock’? Here is a blank list for you …