Waiting for Agnes

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Briefly November 2, 2010

The beloved celebrated my proposed lull in sugar consumption joyfully. She whooped and cheered and generally took it as a vindication of her frequently imposed baking bans. Then she asked for a cake to take to work.

Inspired by a chocolate breadcrumb cake made by The Nanna, I made a version from a recipe I had scribbled down during one of my ‘I should write out recipes in a handy notebook’ moments. Seemed like a good idea – a sourdough rye breadcrumb and chocolate cake with almond meal. Actually dreadful. Dense, not at all sweet and oddly floury and dry. I may have made some error in the scribbling, or it’s just a crap recipe. Either way, it’s not worth repeating.

But the ganache is well worth a mention. Make this ganache and put it on everything.

Silky delight

120 grams of dark eating chocolate

60 grams of unsalted butter

2 tablespoons of really good honey (something flavoursome, manuka, organic, you get the idea)

Melt the chocolate gently in a bowl over simmering water.

Take off the heat and stir in the butter.

Lastly, add the honey.

Leave to cool and thicken, stirring regularly.

Spread generously on things.


Not an ambi-turner November 1, 2010

Filed under: No baking today,Parenting — titchandboofer @ 11:57 am
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I know it’s been very quiet here the past few days. On Sunday morning my neck underwent a mysterious transformation from being functional and largely unnoticed, to being a spasming, twisted menace. ‘But what did you dooooo?’ people ask. Nothing. Well, nothing remarkable. So irritating –  falling off horses, falling off motorbikes, hanging upside down from the trapeze, contorting and hula-ing have all failed to ever seriously incapacitate me. Yesterday, I glanced casually over my right shoulder as I was locking the car. And that was the last time I could look over my right shoulder. In the 36 hours since then I have been mostly horizontal on our couch, keeping my neck very very still and trying to keep the whining to a bare minimum. I have a range of movement that allows me to look left and a little downward, giving me a permanent and most empathetic-looking head tilt. Basically, I am Zoolander without Blue Steel.

I waited for this morning’s chiropractic appointment like a kid waiting for Christmas morning. I had never been to the chiropractor before and, completely ignoring the beloved’s advice, was having a happy delusion that he would gently manipulate my neck, expertly freeing the guilty nerve, and Voila! Cured I would be! He has always seemed very gentle: soothing phone voice, unhurried, smiles kindly at babies, that kind of thing. He even smells soothing. I’ve never seen the beloved come out of an appointment hobbling like Quasimodo and whimpering. Unlike me. Too paraphrase one of the torturer’s past patients – Jesus Fucking Chrysler. His first attempt at shifting my misplaced vertebrae gave me the I’m-seeing-stars-and-may-pass-out sweats. Seems ridiculous to be able to give birth to whole person with no drugs but be big wussy-pants about fleeting neck-cracking. He offered me a rest, but I felt that would just be prolonging the whole affair. Instead I got the beloved and small to come in and distract me. Beloved is mildly amused, the small one is hungry and tired. My boobs start leaking through the very glam treatment gown. And it still hurts like a bastard. ‘Voila!’ he says, or something like it. ‘I’ll see you on Wednesday!’ ‘Great’ I mumble, from my prostrate position on the floor, where my boobs and my eyes are leaking into the carpet. Neck is worse. Envisioning an eternity of pain, woe, being unable to pick up small or turn right, I wailed all the way home in the car. More accurately, I braced myself against the car door and the centre console and let tears drip miserably down my face, as actual wailing hurt too much. Have much more sympathy for people with chronic pain. 24 hours of pain has already turned me into a useless sniveller.

Fortunately, ten hours post-torture, am considerably improved. Still no turning right, but can lift up the small person without shrieking, can get up from the couch in under ten minutes and can contemplate a day without the beloved home to do everything and nurse me bossily. Can even contemplate going back to the chiropractor.

Have also had time to reflect on potential cause of terrible injury and suspect I may have jinxed myself. On Saturday night, after another good food day, culminating in a lush dark chocolate mousse from Chocolate Buddha, I suddenly felt awash with sugar. No Kidding, I hear. But not a little awash, not just I’ll-be-right-by-morning-pass-me-the-ice-cream, but oh-lordy-I’ve-eaten-so-much-dessert-in-the-past-few-months-that-my-veins-are-rivers-of-glucose. On the way home from lush dessert I decided that I’d detox for a month, with one designated treat day each week.

Obviously my body rebelled.


Surprise? October 26, 2010

Filed under: Things — titchandboofer @ 10:51 am
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Today is the beloved’s birthday, a day of presents, food, family, friends and being able to choose her own cake, no-matter how disinteresting (she has an odd preference for things with no icing). Invariably, today is also the day she rains on my present-giving parade. For the past six years I have made countless attempts to surprise her with a gift. I have succeeded precisely twice. Only one of those times was the surprise welcome. Every year I hedge my bets and try two tactics. A – Try and come up with thrilling, creative, affordable, manageable gift ideas. B – The basic “What do you want for your birthday?”. Helpfully, the answer is always a version of “I don’t know. There’s nothing I need. Don’t we have everything?” So noble. So selfless. So bloody irritating. Then, as her birthday draws nearer, she’ll occasionally make suggestions like “I do need socks for work”. Super.

Now, I do realise that all of this is sounding a little, um, how shall I put this…self-involved? It is, after all, her birthday. If she wants plain black, mid-length socks, size 5-8, who am I to try and foist excitement upon her? I could go on and on about how birthdays aren’t just about the birthday-person, but are about celebrating as a family and blah blah blah blah blah. But basically, it’s my blog and I’ll whine if I want to. It’s not that the beloved is dreadfully hard to choose presents for. She likes stuff. She just has an overwhelming urge to guess what her presents will be. For weeks in advance. And when they’re right in front of her. And not in a happy, squeally ‘Wow, it’s a pony!!!!’ type-way.

* * *

Early October 2008 – Achieved major coup: after several covert trips to golf store, successfully hid present of new golf bag and buggy in the house for weeks in advance.

October 26, 2008 – Bounce into living room like Tigger on speed. She’s going to be surprised!! Boing! The beloved takes one look at the box (yes, box, not constructed, just a regular, box-shaped box) and says ‘Oh. You got me a new buggy.’

* * *

October 25, 2009 – Pick up present at absolute last minute. Leave it in the car. Have carefully not mentioned it or anything connected to it.

October 26, 2009 – Bring wrapped presents to the breakfast table. Beloved takes one look at the box. ‘I guess it’s a Wii Fit’, she sighs. Sigh indeed.

* * *

October 19, 2010 – Discuss present options with the Nanna.

October 20, 2010 – The Nanna discusses same options with the beloved.

October 21, 2010 – Discard all present ideas.

October 22, 2010 – Go shopping with vague mental list of potential gifts.

October 25, 2010 – Put wrapped gift boxes on dining table last thing at night. The beloved sees them. I shout angry instructions to not touch, not speak, not even think of the presents. She immediately pokes one. ‘You got me shoes’.

October 26, 2010 – Magnanimously abandon birthday-related aspirations. The beloved, small and I have hours of fun with her musical card. Can anyone ever tire of the Mexican Hat Dance?