Wednesday, 12 March 2014
If you have ever wondered how to make Thai Green Curry paste then maybe you would like to come and do a Cooking Class with me?
Bookings and other information is available by clicking on the Clever Clogs Cooking Class logo on the right of this page.
There are currently two dates for this class- Friday March 28th and Friday May 2nd.
Bookings are now open for the March 28th class.
Other class dates (with different dishes) will be advertised sooner to the dates.
Monday, 10 March 2014
This week on Instagram I was asked by someone about how I managed to get the breakfasts I get ready while managing my family & home.
My kids are not that young any more- the youngest is 5 and the others are 7, 11, 13 & 15. They aren't little bubbas who are constantly demanding my attention. So that helps a lot.
I have been cooking for a long time so I guess I am pretty fast at whipping stuff together. That helps too.
The weekends are a pretty slow affair at our house. Bodies lazily roll out of bed one by one. At any time it is a pretty relaxed household- but the weekends are super relaxed. My boys are not the super loud bouncy variety but instead pretty calm and quiet. And very very happy to spend days mooching around at home together. This also helps!
We are a household that does not do any extra-curricular activities so there is no rushing to go anywhere. Our family life is busy and enriching enough. And we all need a rest. Time to do nothing at all. Some of us have never learnt how to do 'nothing' & I wonder if this is a bigger problem in our society than any of us are really aware of.
Our family does a lot of 'nothing'. We plan very little and make sure we have a lot of unscheduled time. This also helps!
But I think it is my idle parenting that helps me most of all.
To me learning the difference of parenting how we want to versus what we think we should be doing is one of the hardest lessons of all.
I think us parents give ourselves such a hard time about 'how' we should be parenting instead of just doing it that we lose all ability to have confidence in ourselves at all.
It's ok to get it wrong. Boy do we get it wrong sometimes..... Just as our parents did before us. But that leaves us space to grow, to learn, to make changes. And perhaps most importantly of all to tell our kids that we made a mistake. To say sorry.
Is there a better thing to model to our kids than imperfection?
I'm just bumbling through this parenthood gig just like you and everyone else, trying to carve out a path that feels right to me. But more than anything I want my kids to know that my investment was in them and not in having a clean house & an orderly laundry.
I guess if I think about it I am an avid subscriber to the Idle parenting method. I haven't read Tom Hodgkinson's book but the snippets I read about it are very much the kind of parenting that takes place at our house.
We try not to overthink every single thing we do. We make mistakes. Lots of them. I don't want to spend every waking minute of being a parent thinking through every move I make to the point where I am actually missing out on the joy of raising my family.
I go with my general philosophy on life & sticking to the values I hold strong to my heart to guide me. If I can go to bed knowing that I lived my day true to me then I am happy. That often means going to bed with a sink full of dishes, an untidy floor and sometimes so many loads of laundry that I can't find the laundry floor because those things don't matter to me as much as living with meaning.
I trust my kids to make good decisions. That doesn't always mean always making the right ones- but that is part of life's journey. Getting it wrong is getting it right. Learning to pick ourselves up after a hiccup is such an important skill to learn. I want them to know that an untidy house doesn't matter half as much as being a good human being.
So, in our house- especially on the weekends I leave my kids to it and interfere as little as possible. I leave the mess that worries other people and get on with having fun, having chats, having laughs and cooking a delicious breakfast, that is sometimes not served till nearly lunchtime.
NB: For those of you who read last weeks post- PJ got the all clear!
I sobbed uncontrollably and made the vet cry too. But YAY!
The growth was some other weird thing that was NOT CANCER that I didn't hear through my ugly crying.
Savoury Chinese Custard with Mushrooms, Fresh Coriander & Chilli
This dish is based on the one in latest pages of Feast magazine.
Chinese savoury custard is very easy and super delicious.
It is light yet filling and can be topped with all manner of goodies.
It is a fab dish any time of the day.
It could be served for dinner alongside a big bowl of steamed greens.
Or as we have it- for breakfast alongside a big bowl of coffee.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
- 10 eggs
- 250ml good quality chicken stock
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 300g mushrooms, sliced finely
- 4 spring onions, sliced finely
- 1/2 bunch fresh coriander
- 2 red chillies (optional)
- 4cm piece of ginger, grated
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tbs Chines black vinegar (Chinkiang - form your asian grocer)
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 1 tbs Rice Bran oil
- 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
- white pepper
Preheat oven to 150C.
Whisk eggs, stock, a few good grinds of white pepper, salt and 1 tsp sesame oil in a large bowl. Transfer to a large ovenproof dish.
Stir in half of the mushrooms and 2 of the spring onions.
Place dish in roasting pan and fill the roasting pan with boiling water till it reaches half way up the sides of the oven dish.
Bake in oven for 40 minutes.
While eggs are baking, fry up the rest of the mushrooms in the rice bran oil with the garlic & ginger till the mushrooms are nice and brown.
Take off the heat and set aside.
When eggs are baked remove from oven and top with cooked mushrooms and the extra spring onion, coriander & chilli.
Serve with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
Oh my how I love Joan.
Here is her new track......
Thursday, 6 March 2014
A couple of weeks ago I solved the problem of why we have never ever had a Strawberry from our strawberry patch.
Sprung, Polly Jean!
If you haven't had the pleasure....meet our Basset Hound, Polly Jean (AKA The Strawberry Hunter).
Today she is having surgery to remove a suspicious growth in her mouth.
What happens next we are yet to find out.
My eyes have sprung a leak.
GG's Voom Balls:
Yesterday I totally hopped on the powerball bandwagon.
Not the lottery type but the yummy energy food type.
Good lord they are DELICIOUS and take about 10 minutes.
Morning tea for the kids, and for me too.
My recipe is based on this one but I made a few changes.
And they are named after the secret ingredient to Dr. Seuss's fabulous Cat in the Hat's clean up abilities.
Do you reckon if I eat enough I might start being awesome at cleaning up too?
In the meantime I will be awesome at eating these.......
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
- 400g pitted dates
- 200g dried apricots
- 200g sunflower seeds
- 100g chia seeds
- 5-6 tablespoons tahini
- 2 heaped tablespoons cacao (I used some gorgeous Grounded Pleasures African Red Drinking Chocolate powder (OMG so good!)that they gave me but ordinary Cacao will work fine!)
- 2 tablespoons shredded coconut
Blitz all ingredients in a food processor for about a minute - as this is quite a large quantity I halved the ingredients and did it in two batches.
Place a little mix into the palm of your hand and squeeze tight to form a ball.
Repeat and EAT- keep in refrigerator for a few days (bet they don't last!)
Yes our dog is named after Polly Jean Harvey.
Friday, 28 February 2014
I have had a bit of an up & down week so I am particularly grateful that we are the week's end. Tick
I got some things sorted with some deadlines I had. Tick.
I didn't do as much moving as I would have liked and I really noticed how it made me feel. Not so good. Cross.
I managed to get some cleaning done that has been bugging me. Tick.
I celebrated with some mates when my littlest independently left me to sit on the mat at school for the very first time. Tick.
I didn't get the laundry sorted. Cross.
I found this film that I really want to see. Tick
I sent some emails with some proposals that were a bit scary to send off & then had really positive responses. Tick.
I woke up with my friend next to me after him being away for a bit. Tick.
I found a way our family can give real help to Asylum seekers in Melbourne via Bike & Bike helmet donations. (click here for more info) Tick.
It's good to give ourselves a bit of time to reflect. It helps clarify things. It helps to see that there is way more good than bad.
Sometimes it is only giving ourselves time that we really notice that.
There is and has been quite a lot of bad around. Some in the news, some in government, some with friends. It is easy to let it swallow us really. It feels really big- all this bad. Really really BIG.
But if we stop to reflect it can help sift out the little things, the daily things, the GOOD things that so often go missing- but they are the things that really do matter. They are things so close to us that really have an effect on our day to day.
Ticks and Crosses.
Do you give yourself time to reflect?
Have you got cooking plans this weekend or other exciting plans?
I hope your weekend gets a really BIG TICK!
I am going to give Paola's ITALIAN BAKED RICOTTA CAKE a go.
|image via Italy on My mind|
I have admired her for a long time and her food & general outlook inspire me. Do visit her and see for yourself!
Loving Beck's new Album:
Tuesday, 18 February 2014
Today I hit the send button on a very important email.
I felt simultaneously sick & joyous.
I had a request a few weeks back from a reader who was keen to get some private tuition from me.
She is finding the pressure of delivering the family meal to be something that provides a lot of stress in her life & is looking for ways to reduce stress. Smart lady!
It was a lightbulb moment for me!
Well ok....it was more of a "Doh" slaps self on head type moment.
You know the ones right?
The ones where you are left wondering "Why oh why did I not think of this before?".
It just seemed so right.
For so many people the preparation of the family meal is a daily stress- and in amongst all of the other stresses it becomes the single one that seems to top them all.
The one thing that we judge our success as a parent on- unfairly.
I wrote a post about it a LONG time ago- it is still one of my most read posts and one that readers tell me they refer to in times of stress and one that they recommend to their friends.
You can read it here.
If I can help reduce that stress for people then that is ACE.
So.....for the last few weeks I have been designing a course of multi session private tuition sessions.
Here is the way it works......
I will go to the clients home & we cook together in their own kitchen using their own equipment & by doing so I teach strategies to help minimise stress & help them find their kitchen mojo in their very own space- eliminating the need to translate what you learn in a formal cooking class environment back into your own home. The classes are offered in a multi-session format, unique to each client.
Hopefully this will give them a new confidence to be able to change the focus away from cooking at home from being stressful to fun!
I have had such fun creating this package. I have learnt lots, got stuck lots, asked for help lots and then ploughed on & on and now I think I can say I am THERE & ready to go!
And I am busily designing other cooking session packages & other goodies too. Lots of hard work but super fun & exciting.
No doubt there will be some hiccups & bumps but that is how I roll- Lumpy, Bumpy & Real.
I have also made a super special gift for each of my clients to have as a memento at the end of the programme.
So this year I will be not only teaching at cooking schools and other venues (some soon! updates for those will be best found here or here) but you could have me teach you in your very own home!
I am super excited.
Now I just have to find a cute name for them........(stay tuned)
UPDATE: I have a name ~ 'GG's Clever Clogs Cooking Classes'
If you are interested in finding out more please feel free to email me at gourmetgirlfriend (at) me (dot) com.
(Please bear with me as my new website is under construction.)
Friday, 14 February 2014
Quite some time ago a lovely lady I am lucky enough to know approached me to be involved in an exciting idea that she wanted to make happen.
A dream of hers.
I fell in love with it immediately.
A project that's basis is finding joy in what we already have.
It isn't about buying new things, or having a fancy home but instead it's essence is seeing the magic before us every single day in all it's shapes and forms and individual ways.
It is about recognising that sometimes the least shiny things are actually the most sparkly of all.
It is about families of all shapes and sizes.
Using her words- 'It is about the universal language of every home'
I am so thrilled to be a collaborator in this project.
We are now seeking funding to be able to see it in print.
Many many months of planning, 26 writers, 27 photographers, and 3 artists across 4 continents have shared their expertise to create this project.
Today I am sharing the Kickstarter project with you that will enable it to come to life in print.
By clicking on this link you can read more about this beautiful project and maybe even help give it a 'Kickstart'
In the meantime watch this gorgeous film that also gives you a window into this very special project.
My heart ASPLODED when I saw this for the first time.......just as it will when I get to see Alphabet Journal come to life.
Labels: Alphabet Journal
Monday, 10 February 2014
Last week was TOUGH.
My littlest is finding the transition to school pretty hard going.
This comes as no surprise to me- he is a highly anxious child.
Step by step we will get there but for now it is hard yakka & pretty sad.
I also had a car crash on the way to school- my kids were in the car & another car came hurtling around a blind corner at eleventy million miles an hour on my side of the road.
I had to swerve hard & in doing so sideswiped a parked car. The offending car drove right on away taking no notice of what was happening as a result of his recklessness.
Not a great start to the day. No-one was hurt & the damage was superficial. But I couldn't stop thinking about how close it came to being really nasty.
The next day my eyes sprung a leak and I couldn't stop crying.
I felt swallowed whole. Things had gotten the better of me.
I got on my treadmill ran and ran and ran.
And then meditated.
And then concentrated on all the good in my life.
I don't want to not acknowledge the bad but I am trying really hard to focus on the good.
I have some really exciting things going on and am working hard. This is GOOD.
At the end of last year I had the most wonderful weekend with some beautiful people.
On one of day trips around town with one of my guests I found this print.
I had to have it in my home.
It totally resonated with me.
I think it is so important to acknowledge what is going on around us.
To stop and really notice things.
Stop comparing ourselves & feeling envious of others & instead find joy in other people's happiness & then work at creating our own.
Be grateful for small wonders.
Take notice of shonky & ooky stuff and instead of hanging onto it and letting it burden us, acknowledge it and make changes to turn it into something good for ourselves- even if that means doing some things that feel hard & a bit uncomfortable.
This is a little reminder that it is up to us to find and acknowledge the good.
Accept the Good.
This week I am making 'Accept the Good' my motto.
I really want to work hard at having a positive week.
I posted a picture of this print on Instagram and one of my followers told me a saying her Nanna always told her.
"Good, Better, Best.
Never let it Rest.
Until your good is gooder, and your better is best"
Do you want to 'Accept the Good' too?
This week instead of a song I am sharing a video from Emma Dean (winner of Masterchef 2013).
I LOVE it.
It's soooo GOOD!
take a look.....