Wednesday, 26 October 2011


My Boyfriend is filthy.
He hasn’t built a cave out of his own faeces yet, but if the occasion arises I’m getting to the point that I would be proud rather than disappointed. I mean a poo-cave would take energy, ingenuity and a dedicated approach.
None of these attributes are currently displayed in his approach to house work. In fact even calling it “an approach to housework” seems to be a little presumptuous.

I don’t think I’m high maintenance, but I’m willing to acknowledge that it is possible…perhaps my knickers are in a twist.
 I understand that my standards aren’t his, and that my chosen life style (featuring an absence of cockroaches, mice and being able to walk with stepping on food) may not be his ideal living situation.  
And that his cleaning suggestions, which have included bringing the hose through the window to clean the bathroom, are not always …. Shit.
However, no matter how I relax my cleaning roster (excluding washing the sheets- this is non-negotiable- which shall always happen on Thursdays… and sometimes Wednesdays if I’ve had a slow week…) my darling and I, we just can’t seem to find a balance.
I’ve yelled, I’ve pleaded, I’ve rationalised.
I’ve stooped to offering sexual favours… he was unpersuaded (Why would I do that I’m a satisfied man…).
 I’ve revoked sexual favours! (His response? He laughed... you’ll break before I do). Damn it he knows me too well.

So what does a girl do? I love my ape, but how does one train them?

This week something happened. I politely told him that it was “crap” that he hadn’t cleaned all week when I’d been ill and working and on teaching practicum. I said it. Just plain like that.
“the least you could do is the washing up”
There was the ticket… The least.  
I didn’t whinge or bully or yell, and it certainly wasn’t rationalizing.. I mean he’d actually completed the least he could’ve done quite successfully, that is SFA.
But no… the washing up was done. I had a little extra time for uni work, what a god send. I’m not sure how this new system will prevail but my goodness it’s nice to have a tool in my frustrated time-stretched belt.  It’s nice to know I have just a little bit of leverage.

I made a point of not saying thank you. I want “the least” to become a standard, an expectation. At least until he masters the art of building a poo cave, then I’ll know the possibilities are endless.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Put a Spring in your step Salad

So Im a big fan of Spring. In fact I’m a sucker of every season.
 I love that warm breeze in Spring pushing around all the leaves.  Walking in to town in a summer dress and finally getting to bring my favourite cardi out of the cupboard.
One of my favourite traditions is taking all my boots to the shoe repairman and getting him to check them over, repair them and wax them up for a blustery winter. That’s not to mention buying a new scarf, or sitting in the library as rain pushes down the payne.

Taking that first walk in cool sunshine and taking your jumper off anyway, you’re cold but you don’t mind so much because winter was such a long one! And seeing the heads of blossoms and bulbs start to burst with Spring.

But Summer ahhhh summer. I just adore it. I love feeling so hot that that I want to transport out of my body, envelope myself in water and sit open mouth in front of an air conditioner. I love the relief of a gin on a sweltering afternoon, or a glass of champagne when it’s hot enough to sit outside at midnight.
But the thing I love the most about the seasons is the food… Everytime the season changes it brings with it a new collection of vegetables, fruit and meat to adore. Spring lamb anyone? A pineapple? Vegetable soup? Sunday night roast? Food=Seasons. Enough said.
So this is my favourite spring salad recipe. That’s right I’m sharing again. God knows why... I think it’s because I just ate it for dinner and now I want more, and I’d like you to make it for me.
So first you are going to need some beetroot. I love home roasted baby beets- but tonight I couldn’t for the life of me be bothered so I went with the good old tinned stuff. Get the whole baby ones and cut them into quarters. Put them in your favourite bowl. Admire them, what royal food they are.
Next you’ll need a fat old brown onion, a little butter and a big glug of olive oil in a medium to hot pan, chop the onion into strips and let it cook along slowly. You want it to caramelise, cook right down til brown and sticky. You do this by not adding the onions til the butter and oil is hot, throw in a pinch of salt and pepper. You shouldn’t need sugar- some people use it but I think there is generally enough sugar in the onion itself. Turn the heat to medium and stir them as the cook down. At this point you’ll need to have chopped up two cups of pumpkin.
The pumpkin needs to be about a few centimetres long, but not more than a centimetre thick.  Good fork-ing size.  Throw the pumpkin in with the onion and let them hang out together. Keep an eye on them and give them a stir now and then, but they should go soft without too much effort.
From here on its pretty simple (it’s been so complicated so far right…) on top of the beets throw a couple handfuls of rocket. If you don’t like this peppery little beast, you can always choose a lettuce you like- minuet lettuce is a favourite of mine.  Then pluck a few basil leaves, I use a bout a handful all torn up- did you know you should always tear basil and not cut it? The way a knife cuts causes it to respond differently and changes the flavour, now we couldn’t have that.
Now add some olive oil and some candied balsamic vinegar if you have it- otherwise a splash of champagne or regular balsamic will do just fine. It is time to take the pumpkin and onions off the heat. If you have time chill them down, otherwise just throw them in- I’ve never been shy of a hot/cold salad. Add a few handfuls of walnuts… or pecans if you don’t like the tart taste.
Now here is the kicker. Crumble some goat’s cheese across the top.
I don’t know why we don’t eat more goats’ cheese. It’s delicious tart, sour and creamy. It’s a bit pricey if you don’t have a good local producer (we are a bit spoilt here in hippy loving Adelaide). If you haven’t bought it before give it a go, it’s better for you and easier on your stomach. Often people who are lactose intolerant can have goat’s milk products (including myself). Now give that old salad a toss!
I hope you like it, it’s so full of spring I adore it.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

So what are you going to do about accountability!?!

So it’s been a week (perhaps even a little more) and I know I promised to write and I’m behind ...but I swear I have been thinking of you. This week I’ve taken a keen interest in my health, I’ve even ventured back to the gym. True story.
Chatting to my sister on the phone the other night and I was telling her about my plans. Like most sisters heading into summer she was thinking the same thing, time to shed a few wobbly bits...
Much to my surprise after hearing about the changes I'd beeen making she spat out the words...”what are you going to do about accountability??”.
You should probably understand at this point that my sister in an international lawyer and her brain functions in a highly effective and clinical manner- even when it comes to her mouth and knicker size. So yes she was literally asking me “how are you going to record and track it, how are you going to prove your commitment”. Ahhhhh the legal profession.
So what am I going to do about accountability?
As I have said in the post before this eating and exercise change is out of love of my body not out a self hate or disappointment. However my big sis has a point… maybe I need a system.
So I went out and bought a lolly jar.
What’s that you say?  Lollies aren’t on diets? Ummm no they aren’t…. But guess what… they are on mine. See to be quite honest I’m not a big sweets eater but this little jar is in my cupboard as a sign that I trust me and if I want a peanut M&M… I can have one. I’m just choosing not to at the minute. So my jar sits there, leaving me totally accountable.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Physician Heal Thyself.

Today I made a decision.
I haven’t weighed myself in a long time; I’m just not a big fan. I know that once I weigh myself, I will obsess. I’ve been a bit fixated in the past and part of growing up for me was choosing to only measure myself by the clothes I wear, how I feel about my body and how healthy the food I eat is.
Lately that has not been a sufficient measure… things have gotten a little relaxed on the waist, arse and thighs front. And by relaxed I mean… fat.
Usually in this situation I would launch into a furious diet, find a trainer, draw up a schedule, deny myself alcohol or deliciousness.
Usually I start a journey of self-loathing that would successfully whittle my self-esteem down to slim.
Not this time. I’m just not doing it. I refuse.
Ok so I’m no longer a size eight, but I’m really proud of who I am and what I do each day. It takes immense amount of patience, love and dedication. Ok so I don’t like the way I look and I miss wearing my favourite things but, I’m managing a huge load at university and work, and keeping my relationship spiffy and my house (mostly) clean.
So this time I’m not going to get angry at myself, I’m going to remind myself that I love what this body does for me and that I need to take some more time loving it. I might need to put me first, not the house, or the study or my lovely time-consuming-often-inconvenient-and-unorganised boyfriend. Love you honey.
Off to the greengrocer I went. I bought everything I felt like, spinach, pears, apples, parsley, garlic and many other goodies. I went home and made a huge salad, sat in the sun and put my uni work aside. I just enjoyed Being for a little.
Then tonight I went old school and had an Epsom Salt bath. A favourite of mine, Espom salt is cleansing for the skin (or so I read) and I had a good old fashioned soak. Tomorrow I’ll make tracks towards the gym. This leaves just two things:
I solemnly vow to blog in love about my health progress once a week.
And secondly this, I hope that others will join. I’m new to blogging, but I’d like to make an offer. Share my blog with others and comment beneath (indicating where you shared it), In return I will send the first five of you (do the math.. there are currently only four of you!) a box of Epsom salts and candle bath pack, on the promise you have a long soak and consider that masterpiece you are living in, look how much it’s done for you, what it represents and reflects in your life. I bet it’s given you heaps, let’s give it a little love back.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Save My Soul Chicken Soup

SOooo I don’t share recipes easily. I’m serious. I have a real problem with it.
Before you go assuming anything, I want you to know that I am a generous person, I have time, money and laughter to share freely, but recipes... are…different. I only cook things that I have played around with and perfected, I have many recipe books but usually I just use them as a guide and cook by the heart. So sharing MY recipes is more than a little personal.

Giving this to you today is a gesture of pure love. I love to cook, it is the heart of the home I make,
the soul of the body I love and,
the product of the earth I live on.

You can tell I’m still struggling sharing this can't you.
OK so here goes it. 

I got the idea for this recipe from a darling friend, the larger than life Miss Pipi.
We often cook together over a bottle of wine, but we have very different cooking styles. Subsequently I love learning her ideas and exploring her reasoning behind the way she prepares food. I took her recipe and bastardised it to quell my winter desires.
Oh and one more thing... I don’t write recipes out properly… you didn’t honestly think I was going to make this easy for you did you??

Save my soul chicken Soup

What I love about this recipe is that it is lip smacking delicious, even the kids will polish off a bowl or three. Also it freezes really well and on top of all of this it’s incredibly healthy. YUM.

I like to prepare all my ingredients before I start cooking so you’re going to need to do some chopping first.
My rule with soups is that I never chop anything larger than the size I’d like to eat it off a spoon.
Three onions finely diced and three cloves of garlic in a pan with a big GLUG of olive oil and a few mean cracks of pepper. Only have the heat down low, our aim here is for the onions to go limp and smell gorgeous. No browning.

Now pour yourself a huge glass of wine and take a small sip. I’d recommend the Landhaus Grenache… lightly balanced with rich raspberry and cranberry elements, with a peppery finish it’s a great bottle for under twenty bucks.
Good. Puuurfect.
Chop the stems of a bunch of parsley as finely as you can. YES you heard me. STEMS. You don’t want the woody bits, just the bright green fresh bits. Small as you can, and then throw them in with the onions.
Stir stir stir.
Sip sip sip.
When it is all lovely and limp and the house is starting to smell like a proper Mammas house it’s time to add three litres of stock. I don’t make small amounts of soup... I mean what would be the point of that?
I don’t mind what kind of stock you use, for no reason I can pinpoint I like to use 1 litre of veg and 2 litres of chicken stock. My butcher makes his own stock and it’s very well priced, but if you are in no such luck and can’t make or buy fresh stock easily I encourage you to use the liquid stock over cubes. This is purely due to bias and general snobbery. I just think it tastes better.
Now Lid on the pot and turn the heat up high.
You have already chopped two carrots, two zucchini’s, a quarter of a cauliflower and the corn from two ears. You have stripped the skin off a bbq chicken throw away the filthy stuffing and coarsely shopped the meat.
Every time I buy a BBQ chicken I remember my Dad watching me piece one up for the family when I was a teenager. I must have been wasteful, because he looked at me and said “...anyone could tell from looking at that, that you’ve never lived through a depression.”
It has stuck with me. SO I implore you scrape the meat of the bird and then glad wrap the carcass and put it in the freezer. Another day I’ll teach you to make stock with it. promise.

So all of our chopped items are sitting prettily on the bench. As soon as it starts to boil throw it all in and turn the heat down just below medium.
Let it simmer. Drink your wine, pretend to stir it, ignore your boyfriend and enjoy the smell.
Pure Kitchen glamour.

We are almost done. Are you proud? I’m sharing really well.

Ok two minutes has passed and you add in a bag of baby spinach, two chopped birds eyes chilis (obviously you don’t have to add this, or you may add more- personally if I’m cooking for my freezer I add an extra habanero chili), toss in the leaves of the parsley chopped, a lemon juiced and a half a cup of parmesan cheese. You want the stinkiest parmesan you can find, ask your local cheese lady- often a good Asagio or Pecorino. It adds a bite and a salt to the soup that is addictive. Turn the heat off, you’re done. Serve up a big bowl, pour another glass of wine and enjoy it with the people you love. Just don’t give them the recipe.

Love Grace xx


So I find myself sitting yet again on the lounge room floor writing an assignment. Are these making me smarter? Better equipped? More employable? God I hope so. The problem with this is I had a visitor this week and he woke something up inside me. See I’ve been hibernating. Emotionally, physically and mentally, I’m starting to suspect that that is why I went back to university. I had something happen... well I had a lot of things happen two years ago and all at once.
Firstly I woke up and realised I didn’t love my partner and that I hadn’t for some time. Even though I was still in love with the idea of us, I chose to walk away from the relationship after five years. Then it was like my eyes opened and I saw all the wonderful parts of my life that I had let rot while I been in coupledom. My law degree had gone to the wayside, my ambition was spent and I was physically and emotionally exhausted (read fat and pale). I packed up my bag and returned home. This in itself was a big deal, I had never been at war with my parents, but I never felt close to them either. But move home I did. You would think at this point the story got better, I healed, I firmed up and I got work.
 Which I did.
Unfortunately my supposed dream job was soul destroying- not that it took much venom to ruin my self-esteem anymore. We have all come up against cruel bosses but I no longer had the stamina and I walked away from what I once though was my dream job.
I moved back to Adelaide and in to a home with my new boyfriend, I started a new degree and I put my physical myself on the back burner. And so it has been for two years.
This week a darling friend reappeared in my life. How I have missed you. We share a lot of commons. Or we did, he pushed forward when I faltered and now has a career that I would be better qualified for but that he is excelling at. I am so proud of him.
Seeing myself reflected has made me realise, I am many things, I want many things.
 I am starting to feel able to try again.
Firstly I am off to the gym tonight (I have already been to the green grocer) and secondly I am going to apply for that job. You know the one that as a child you just assumed you would have. It is six months til the application is due, that is six months to be reborn, to finish my current studies, to adore my boyfriend and practice my bravery.
Dear loving brave clever friend, please hold a mirror up to me more often.
Your support has awoken me.

Monday, 12 September 2011

I know I'm your girlfriend.. but WHO are you?

I like to think I know my boyfriend. It’s been two years, one tiny house in the city and many little adventures. I thought by this point I had my man down pat. We work together and live together so you wouldn’t think there was much I would miss. However I’m only just starting to realise there might still be little surprises in the everyday life. Who would’ve guessed. See this is particularly surprising given my boyfriend’s personality… he is (how do I say this lovingly)…highly structured. Yet not in any kind of logical sense (well not logical to me). Here is an example if my boyfriends has fish for dinner on Monday night then he won’t eat fish again until he has had chicken and then beef on the following nights. Oh yes my friends there is an order.
There is an order to everything. He only eats one type of cheese, one type of bread and drinks one type of milk, they have been deemed superior. Any other brands brought home are regarded with a curious amusement; they are put in the freezer or the bin. I mean what else could you possibly do with them?
So perhaps you can understand why I became comfortable in the knowledge that I could anticipate him. On the contrary I’m starting to suspect I know lots of things about him but that maybe that doesn’t mean I know him.
GOD Dammit I know him.
 I think.
But then I had a sleepless night and I decided to read a book to kill the time.  It occurred to me that I had bookshelves in the house with novels I had never read. I had a whole library of boyfriend books. I messaged him for a recommendation. And that is where the surprises started. The passion filled message that came back named the exact spot on the bookshelf I’d find it, the author’s full name and a plea to ‘hold past the first twenty pages’. Like any good girlfriend I became immediately suspicious. My boyfriend reads political books, military books, medical books. My boyfriend is… rather serious.
WHO is this boyfriend imposter?
But that was only the start.
It was a fiction book.
I’m serious. And not like a star wars man-ny fiction book like a fanciful beautiful novel about a young boy becoming a man and the adventure he goes on. And it was a good one. I was enthralled.. for at least eight pages, until this question got the better of me.
Who is my boyfriend?
And then last night it was confirmed.
 We were at our best friend’s birthday party. A night of cocktails, soul music and family. And this man came shimmying across the dance floor toward me. It was my man. My man doesn’t dance like that, well I’ve never seen him dance like that. I’ve never seen us dance like that. But most of all he wanted to dance with me,
 in front of all our dearest friends and family to soul music. My heart just went to melty mush. Yes. It was exactly like Dirty dancing.. except without all the sweet moves and more spinning and crashing into other couples. It was magic.

So there you have it. I’m living with a stranger.  I’m dating a really beautiful, familiar stranger and it has me wondering. Maybe during this part in our relationship, well do you know the part? It’s the part before children, the part being poor uni students with casual jobs in our late twenties. Maybe it isn’t going to be what I thought.  Maybe somewhere between the rotation of fish, chicken and beef maybe there are more adventures to be had.
I wonder what else there is to learn about my new boyfriend, maybe I’ll bring home a different brand of bread next week just for kicks.