Jan 11, 2012

Summer Driving. Summer Dinners.

The ideal pair of driving sunglasses can be hard to find.  They need to be indestructible, light enough to be quickly pushed up and down on your face (in frustration more than due to changes in ambient lighting conditions) and double as a head band for when you make emergency trips to the servo after practically rolling out of bed....

As luck would have it, these Oakley sunglasses came my way via Mr SSG.  They're so ideal for the job, I swear I'm a better driver just for wearing them.  It could also be the confounders of light summer holiday traffic as well as my new and balanced tyres that have given me new found ease and confidence for my work commute but for the moment, I choose to believe in the power of my hand me down Oakleys.

Image courtesy of www.magnifyingaids.com

It's tempting to draw parallels between my new driving sunnies and those fit over sunglasses made famous by the Cancer Foundation shops (they're also perfect for stepping out after you've had eye surgery and still need eye dressings but that's a story for another day).  The resemblance is striking but alas, there's no room for a pair of specs under the Oakleys.

So now all I have to do is say goodbye to these 10 year old Versace sunglasses.  Oh the memories that Medusa head logo conjures up.
I know Madonna has recently done an ad campaign for the house and there is also an H&M collaboration but to me, Versace will always mean Jenny from the Block in her time with P. Diddy.  They are now respectively named Jennifer Lopez and Sean Combs and are also respectable parents (with other people) as well as perfume moguls.  I guess we all have to move on. My sunnies and I included.

SSG Manor has not just been a hotbed of reheated microwave meals from Costco.  We've also been doing novel things like cooking dinners from scratch.  It was only last night that I artistically placed this block of organic tofu on a blue chopping board and turned it into a stir fry.

I made a sauce based on soya sauce, mirin and honey.

And I even used a red onion for the colour and their milder flavour.

Does anyone else feel virtuous every time they eat a tofu based dinner?

But then seriously hungry a couple of hours later?

Which is why when it's Mr SSG's turn to cook dinner, he chooses something hearty like burritos.

My contribution to dinner was this ingeniously created sour cream whipped up from a leftover half carton of cooking cream, skim milk and lemon juice (or use buttermilk instead of these last two ingredients).  I found a how to guide here.  The basic rule is 2 tablespoons of buttermilk to every cup of cream.  After combining the buttermilk and cream, leave at room temperature for 24 hours, stir and refrigerate until required.  Given the heat, I just left mine out overnight and put it back into the fridge before work before taking it out again whilst the rest of dinner got prepared.

Summer dinners are relaxed affairs, aren't they?  Even if you're having to cook after work.  The sun's still in the sky, a favourite radio station in the background.  It's all about lighter food with intense colour, crunch and flavour.

Even if some of those components come about with a little help from Mr Old El Paso and his foil lined sachets.

Mr SSG's secret tips - add a chopped onion and a can of tomatoes for a bit more depth when frying the beef.

The improvised, home made sour cream was perfect.  There was no need for cheese or avocado.

Add your own Mexican Chilli Powder to taste and dig in.

What I love most about summer dinners though is the fruit on offer for dessert.  This is my first watermelon of the season.

They don't look as iconic without them but I don't really miss the black pips in watermelon.
I'd forgotten how beautifully pink the fruit is.  Nothing sets of a light summer tan (earned by only going about your regular activities and not sun baking - but does that make it any safer?) quite like it.  The smell of fresh watermelon is one of the surest signs to me that summer is well and truly here.  That sweet yet energising smell that promises languid evenings watching the sun set and also sun drenched mornings before the heat of the coming day really bites.


  1. I've never thought of adding canned tomatoes when frying my beef. I will have to try next time as I find that the Old El Paso seasoning is so salty!!

  2. Rhi_HummingbirdsSongJanuary 11, 2012 at 8:18 PM

    That sour cream tip is awesome! I always NEED it on tacos, and half the time I don't have anything in the fridge. Thanks lovely! x

  3. No problem.  I was amazed it actually worked.  Good cooking trick to have up  your sleeve.

    SSG xxx

  4. It really helped reduce that salty / dehydrating taste.  I also add a teaspoon of sugar with the tomatoes.

    SSG xxx

  5. Mr SE always seems disappointed when I make vegetaian food but thoroughly enjoys it. Your tofu recipe looks wonderful. No Summer here in Melbourne it seems at the moment - send us some sun please!! XX

  6. Lorraine @ Not Quite NigellaJanuary 12, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    Rip sunnies! Is that Paris Hilton or Amber Valetta in that Versace ad? I can't tell! :) And that reminds me, I haven't had any watermelon yet this summer!

  7. Tofu does make me feel virtuous and you are right it somehow always leaves enough room to fit in dessert too.

    Love the sour cream trick.  I use it in various things but never enough to use up a whole container.  We generally have cream around as the boy would drink it if I let him, so that solves that problem completely!

  8. I've stopped buying the kits and now by the pieces.  You can get a reduced salt version of the seasoning if you do it that way.

  9. It's Amber Valetta :-)

    SSG xxx

  10. Good to hear I'm not alone.

    SSG xxx

  11. Is it just me or do watermelons taste extra special in Western Australia? It's a long time since I lived there but I can still taste the flavour of those watermelons.

  12. Your stir-fry looks really great (and so does the after dinner snack)!

  13. arrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh now i want Burritos!!!!


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