Happy New Year to you all! Wishing you love, health and happiness – may it be a wonderful 2012.
This New Year’s / Summer break, I am in a very conscious state of mind to ‘slow it down’. I have a tendancy to run at flat out speed – it is in my nature & you can either love it or hate it & sometimes, I do both (often at the same time). I have taken an intentional few weeks off from the cooking classes and I am taking the time to catch up on the many things that lapsed over the busy December period as well as some super exciting ventures for 2012 (more on that another time) however the main reason for this conscious hiatus is family. I have taken a step back & am getting to know them all over again – it is a wonderful thing. I have never stopped being there for them but with the busy schedule that we all have during the year, it is almost like we are running from a- to b- without getting to play, without getting to laugh (or cry) and without getting to just ‘be’.
Our third child (our baby), starts school this year…………..do I need to say more or can you sense the mix of confused emotions I have whirring inside of me? I feel I am whacked in the heart each time we are lying down together reading her new favourite book or this week when she snuggled up with me on the sand at the beach to ask me all the hard hitting questions like (out of nowhere) “Mummy, if you were to die and you had only just died that second, would it help if I got a handsome prince to come and kiss you hard on the lips”? (I told her it was definitely worth a shot). There is also her daily outfit changes for her deepest love ‘Lola’ who is her soft toy bunny, who is as manky as all get out – an incredibly loved soft toy who has been stitched up more times than one would think possible. We might be off to the beach and ‘Lola’ appears in a bikini (of course). ‘Lola’ gets jammed in a cupboard that closed recently with an almighty ‘bang’ and after the tears (from Ettie, our daughter), she has her bandaged up quicker than any well respected surgeon. Ettie wont be able to take ‘Lola’ to school this year and yes, I know the heartache that this will cause for all involved (Yes it is likely ‘Lola’ might be found in in my handbag those first weeks -I was touched by Toy Story too you know!) and so again, I am whacked.
We have had some gorgeous day trips this summer. My Mother & Father In law visited from Tasmania over Christmas and on one of those days we spent a fabulous day travelling around the Mornington Peninsula. We stopped and had a very enjoyable lunch at Merricks General Store where the kids spent their spare moments collecting flower buds that had fallen from the majestic tree on the deck whilst I snapped away at their delighted faces and devoured a great pork terrine with a delicious glass of pinot gris.
On the same day, we visited T’Gallant winery which was stunning but we lifted the average age by a good 20 years and so didn’t stop long enough to ward off their better spending customers. We have been to the beach each and every day (rail, hail or shine) all the days but one (this was our pact to each other as school broke out). We have played more family games of Uno attack than one would have thought possible and on occasion, broken it in to two parts for those games that seem to roll in to mandatory holiday ‘happy hour’. We have enjoyed a few lovely nights on the deck, where we have entertained simply with friends, family or just (& delightfully) each other and there have been a couple of nights where we have moved on to the local for a spot of barefoot bowls – we pack some favourites to grill on the barbecue, a couple of salads, drinks at the bar, shoes off – what’s not to love?
This post isn’t really about food although naturally, this will take us to there in the end (it always does). When talking to Michael the other night about some of these magic moments, he said “isnt it a shame that we got so busy with life and stopped writing down all the beautiful things the girls do and say down on to paper” (we used to keep journals of all such but that went out the window with number three and full time work). Given how lazy I got with their journals, my special little place here in cyberspace seemed like a likely and lovely place to record it and nice to have family and food featured in my first post for the New Year – family & food is what my life is all about. I hope our girls read this one day and remember the lovely summer break we shared together. I will make it my aim to start writing in their books again (and at the very least, to start one for our poor neglected third child) and I will also do my very best to stick to my New Years resolutions of trying really hard to not be late for everything and to spend more quality time with my gorgeous Sister (the latter is way easier for me, trust me). I also plan to make these moorish toasted Pepitas at least once a week for the rest of summer or at least until we tire of them (I don’t see that happening any time soon). These are my new thing. They are what I love to nibble on. They have appeared at all of the above summer catch up’s & doings. They are perfect for all occasions ………………they are a canapé in their own right, great on a shared platter, they are a superb accompaniment to campari, beer or bubbles, a great ‘fix’ during an intense family game of Uno attack and excellent on top of crunchy tortillas or tossed through a salad. Experiment, enjoy and wishing you a wonderful summer.
Toasted Pepita’s (pumpkin seeds) with a hint of chilli
80 g Pepitas
2 tablespoons of caster sugar
1 ½ tablespoons of sea salt flakes
1 teaspoon of ground chilli
A pinch of cayenne pepper
Combine the pepitas and sugar in a frying pan and stir occasionally over low-medium heat until the sugar begins to melt. Add the sea salt flakes and gently shake the pan for a couple of minutes, until the pepitas are toasted. Remove from the heat and stir in the ground chilli and cayenne pepper. At this point, I transfer the toasted pepitas to a silicone mat or baking paper to separate them a little as they have a tendancy to clump together if left to cool too closely together.