Saturday, 24 August 2013

saturday: noise and trees

It is impossible to sleep in at the household of Nic and Kate. I am usually awoken by one of three members of the animal world:

1. the hardies screeching their lungs out at 6:17am, the same time every day in winter. In summer it will no doubt be 5:17am.

2. Panda trying to get her paw in the space between our bedroom door and the parquet floor. Result: scratching and mewling noises that make me want to drown her in the pool. Cats are only friendly when they are starving.

3. Howard (renamed Howlie due to his penchant for throwing his head back and howling at the sunrise) and Chloe squealing and throwing themselves at our bedroom window.

Three grumpy-inducing options that were simultaneously going full tilt this morning.

But this morning nothing could keep the smile off my face, not even the cacophonous mixture of Spaniel, cat and hadeda. Things are finally working out with the Hub's job (a great source of anxiety for the last few weeks) and last night I ate a Moroccan meal and had the following conversation with the Hub:

K: "I think I'm going to order the veg tagine."
Hub: "Is that the gelatinous thingie?" *makes a brick-like outline with his hands*
K: "No, that's a TERRINE!" *screeches with laughter for 2 full minutes*

Man I love him.

To make your Saturday even better, look at these trees outlined by giant white canvases by Myoung Ho Lee from the Yossi Milo Gallery.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

what do you do when you're nervous?

I blush. Like a bloody tomato, excuse the pun. It's horrifying. Don't you find the more you think about it, the worse it becomes? Hopefully with age I will start to worry less and blush less. In the meantime, this is my absolute most favourite opinion on blushing from Oscar Wilde in a A Woman of No Importance:

I can usually feel the warm flush start in my neck and move its way up to the roots of my hair. And as much as I can feel it, everyone can see it. Sometimes I wish I had a better way of externalising my nerves. Like knocking my knees or tapping my feet. Those you can hide behind a lecturn or any handy piece of furniture. You can hardly hide your FACE when giving a presentation now can you? And I need to learn to get over myself. No-one listens to what the Red Faced Girl is saying, they are trying to ignore the RED FACE. 

Here are a few nifty solutions I've found:

- imagine everyone naked
This does not help at all. If anything, it makes the nervousness worse because then I can't concentrate (I wonder if Mr Blogs has a hairy chest under that trendy Polo shirt? Does Miss Soap wear a Wonderbra, her bangers are always so perky...)
- take a few deep breaths
Although it does slow the heart rate down, this only works before the scary event/presentation. I find it impossible to stop talking for long enough to breathe deeply and get the required result
- be prepared
This definitely does help, especially if your presentation/interview has the possibility of uncomfortable questions at the end. Knowing your stuff also builds confidence. Confidence equals reduced Red Face Factor
- psychological treatments and medication
No. Just no.
- organic remedies
Like Rescue remedy and Prozen (an all natural version of Prozac). I think I have become immune to these remedies after 5 years of hair-raising varsity exams, 3 years of being an anxiety-ridden, exhausted article clerk and then nearly 2 years of being a wife. That last one was a joke. Mostly.
- positive affirmations like repeating "I can do this."
This helped the Hub enormously when he wrote, and passed, his last Board exam. Me, not so much. Although I do like the way Sheldon Cooper is calmed by "Soft Kitty".

Friday, 9 August 2013

inspired by proteas

The most proudly South African of flowers.

And they last forever. And make the water go a weird red, Rooibos colour. They are South African after all, we can't have this clean and clear water business.

The pretty cerise colour of this Pink Ice protea inspired me to make another Pinterestesque board (have I just made up a new and brilliant word? I think I have).That and memories of a friend's 21st at his parent's protea farm in Montagu. Where we slept in the car and made a CD especially for the road trip from Cape Town. Ahhh those halcyon days of studentdom. If I had my wedding over I would definitely go for a bouquet with one protea in the middle.Sensational.

beautiful bride from the pretty blog // illustration by Roule' le Roux // guava sangria with a touch of sage // rose gold stacking ring from Popetto // framed prints from Ink and Spindle // soft pink wedding cake from oncewed

I have also been known to be inspired by pomegranates.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

patience is a virtue

"The real secret of patience is to find
something to do in the meantime."

Photo from Decor Pad
I found that quote in my work diary of all places. It has quotes at the bottom of each day, and some are really helpful. Especially if you're in a mind-numbing meeting where everyone is trying to outdo each other over how clever they are. And I have 2 choices to keep me patient: my work diary or the giant poster of Gary Player on the boardroom wall. So really it becomes a choice between my exponentially increasing To Do List or those quotes. You see why I blog in my free time?

If you know me well enough, you will know that I do NOT have the virtue of patience. I inherited this quality from my father, aka the Sergeant Major (Mom's words and not mine). When I'm trying to be patient - and usually failing - I look at the Twitter feed on my phone, day dream about France, pray (for an END TO ALL THE BOREDOM) and think about what to make for supper that night. My poor, long-suffering husband. At least he gets an inventive supper.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

food adventure: vegetarian curry

So many of you liked my veg chilli recipe that I thought I would post a few more veg recipes - cue my surprised face, I once made a coffee cake that could be used as a frisbee and I regularly almost burn the house down making POPCORN. My previous failures aside, there are definitely a sad lack of yummy and nutritious vegetarian recipes. I think a lot of people don't understand the need for a solid protein in a vegetarian meal, I'm afraid vegetables alone don't cut it.

I got this recipe from Woolies' Taste Magazine

1 butternut
2 cloves crushed garlic
3 chopped shallots (or one red onion, we all know my penchant for red onion)
1 tbsp butter
Olive oil
1 tbsp curry powder
4 fresh curry leaves
1 cup coconut milk
½ cup vegetable stock
1 cup red lentils

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Then peel and cut the butternut into bite-sized cubes (this will be a mission but trust me, WORTH IT!). Or if you are feeling lazy, buy a bag of pre-cut butternut cubes.
2. Toss with olive oil and crushed garlic - I crushed mine in my beloved granite pestle and mortar - the best investment if you plan on becoming a better cook.
3. Roast for 40 minutes, or less if your oven is a Smeg. I wish.
4. Drizzle some olive oil and a tiny bit of butter in a pan and chuck in the chopped shallots/red onion. Soften for 5 mins, then stir in the curry powder and fresh curry leaves. The original recipe says cook for a further 2 mins, but mine caught a bit (even in the epic Le Creuset pot) so keep a beady eye on it.
5. Add the coconut milk (here I put in a whole tin, because what am I to do with the half cup of coconut milk that is left wonderful people of Taste magazine?), vege stock and red lentils and gently simmer for 10-15 mins, or until the lentils are cooked.
6. Put a few cubes of roasted, garlicky butternut (which is delicious on it's own by the way) on a plate and spoon over the lentil curry mixture.

This is the first time I've cooked with fresh curry leaves, and they have a wonderfully deep spicy flavour without all the heat you often get when just using curry powder. I am also usually far too lazy to buy dried lentils, but these cooked quickly and are much cheaper than buying the tinned kind.

Happy (healthy) cooking!