Happiness is …

Happiness is a steaming hot bowl of scrumptious soup on a cold night.

Add a loaf of fresh crusty bread and you have a match made in heaven!

I’ve been making this soup a lot lately. Lots of vegies, beans and pearl barley, so it’s healthy as well as delicious. Great to come home to after standing around in the cold at netball training!

Easy to make, too:

3 carrots, 2 zucchini, 1 onion, half bunch celery, some green beans, all chopped small
10 cups vegie stock and/or water (I use a mix)
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 can mixed beans
1½ cups pearl barley
1 tub tomato paste
Herbs (I use basil, oregano, salt, Tuscan seasoning)

Saute the vegies in a big pot for 3-5 minutes, then throw in everything else, bring it to the boil and simmer (with lid on) for an hour.


The cat crept into the crypt …

… crapped, and crept out.

Possibly my dad’s favourite tongue-twister, judging by the number of times it got mentioned through my childhood – though for a long time I didn’t know what the cat did when it crept into the crypt, because my mum always shot Dad That Look, and he would just laugh instead of finishing the sentence.

It’s so annoying when you’re a kid and all the grown-ups are laughing at a joke they refuse to explain! Almost as annoying as opening your front door and finding the next door neighbour’s cat really has crapped on your doormat. Or thrown up on it, as our neighbour’s cat occasionally does.

Cats and their unsavoury habits came up over Christmas. I went to a social evening at the local church with a friend to make gingerbread houses. I was very pleased with my effort when I brought it home.

They provided a generous supply of lollies, so I went to town. Like my row of spearmint trees? And the cute little icicles?

I was quite proud of my candy-striped front door too, complete with door handle made with the top of a chocolate bullet. Only next morning I discovered my little brown door handle had fallen off and was lying forlorn on the doorstep. See it there? A suspicious brown lump, looking just like the next-door neighbour’s gingerbread cat had crept in during the night and crapped on the doormat.

Stupid gingerbread cat.

Should I be worried?

I think I’m in love with my kitchen appliances. Dearest Microwave, I never truly appreciated you till now.

I thought I loved you in the baby days, when you heated those bottles of milk so quickly, before the baby’s screams completely melted my brain. And the hours you saved me in sterilising the bottles! I adored you so!

But it is only now I realise your true beauty.

The other day I was making hot milk. But, with my mind deep in the throes of Nano, I mistakenly put the milk on for two minutes instead of one. I opened the door and the terrible stink of boiled milk assaulted my nostrils. And then I saw it …

Milk goobies!!

Eeeww. I haven’t thought about them in so many years because you don’t get them with microwaves. Back in the old days Mum used to boil the tripe out of the milk on the stove top to make hot chocolate. Although we didn’t even call it that, this was so long ago. We called it kai (not sure how you spell it). The milk got so overheated it formed a skin.

Can I just say again? EEEEWWW.

You’d take a sip and this hideous thing would cling to your lips and slime your mouth, like a slug sneaking into your hot chocolate. Oh, the horror! Just thinking about it makes me want to run around shrieking “ick! ick! ick! Get it off me!”

God, I love my microwave.

And then I find myself talking to my oven.

In my defence I have to say, it started it. It has a beautiful high-tech light-up display, my beloved new oven. It tells you the setting and temperature in spiffy glowing red letters. When the griller is on, instead of the temperature, it says LO or HI.

Small digression: I love having a griller again after years without one. The old oven died by degrees. First the light failed, then the griller would only work sometimes if you bashed the instrument panel just right, then it stopped working altogether and couldn’t be fixed because it was too old to get parts, so we did without a griller for years. Then the timer became temperamental and often jammed about five minutes before the end, so you only knew your cake or whatever was overcooked when a lovely smell of burning wafted through the house. When we still didn’t replace the oven, it finally decided to force our hand by having the element in the top oven catch on fire.

Aaanyway, it’s lovely to have a griller again. I was standing there admiring it … no, really just watching my pizza so it didn’t burn, and I looked at the display panel and the griller said HI. So I said “hi!” back.

Then I thought, hmmm, should I be worried that I’m talking to my kitchen appliances?

Maybe I only have to worry when they start talking back.