Oh deer, how could I not put this Christmas mug into my trolley this morning?
It's 47 days until Christmas so I figured that if I wanted to get my money's worth ($3 to be precise, at Woolworths), now would be the right time to buy and then use a festive mug. It's 'new bone china' as well!
The uplifting weather that we've been gifted in Sydney seems to have given me a bit of housekeeping mojo (as well as some killer hayfever). In between sneezing and itching fits, I've been doing things like:
- finally replacing a dangerously frayed iPhone USB cable. Apple, you don't make them like you used to. I remember a time when the cables lasted just as long as the phones they charged. I invested in one of these Energizer branded cables for $20. They look pretty sturdy and I'm hoping the roping over the cable will help to make it last until the next series of iPhones get announced.
- soaking my heavily garlic scented plastic containers in a bleach solution. It's definitely killed the odour and I'm just doing a final wash in the dishwasher before using them again. I'm sure they look more sparkly clear and less cloudy too.
- I've made some progress in rectifying the shocking situation that is
waiting for America to votefinding your freezer devoid of any frozen batch cooked meals. Stepping sideways for a bit but America, I really hope you do the right thing at the ballot box today.
I started a pot of Windsor soup on the stove this morning in anticipation that it would get too hot to be slaving over the stove later in the day.
Of course, with all that crack of dawn planning in advance, it is now a sunny but cool day... so I also made a baking dish of Tuna Pasta Bake using Snoskred's recipe which can be found here. I like that her recipe features a sauce made from scratch that doesn't involve tomatoes or cans of soup. Nothing against tomatoes and cans of soup but because I usually have spag bol also in the freezer, it's nice to have a contrasting pasta dish also on rotation for variety.
The sauce is whole eggs, cream and your choice of seasoning. I used good old S&P, parsley flakes and a new to me ingredient, veggie salt that features various vegetables reduced to their molecular form before being combined with salt.
To the cooked pasta, add leeks and whatever vegetables you fancy. I used frozen corn and peas. Top with cheese and bake in a hot oven. My pasta started to brown early, mainly because I didn't spread my cheese evenly or thickly enough. To prevent burning, I sprayed some oil over the exposed pasta and covered the whole dish with a piece of foil to complete baking.
And voila, several dinners for the freezer!
Just touching base about Emily St. John Mandel. There were quite a few of us who enjoyed 'Station Eleven' (my thoughts can be found here) and I promised to track down other novels of her and feed back to the group.
I've just finished 'Last Night In Montreal' and it took me much longer than I thought it would. Lilia is a girl who seems to be always on the move. Part of this relates to the subconscious need to escape a past she doesn't quite have the full picture on and another component is the fact that her father 'kidnapped' her and ended up being on the run with her across Canada and North America for most of Lilia's formative years. The novel begins when Lilia's boyfriend Eli discovers that she's run away from him (amongst other things). A woman named Michaela sends him a postcard from Montreal reassuring him that Lilia is alive and well.
The rest of the novel time shifts across different periods of Lilia's life. Hazy memories of her early childhood with her mum and brother, more definite ones of her life on the road with her dad who is portrayed as quite erratic and unstable but actually did a sensible and good thing in running away with Lilia and the difficult (for me at least) to understand links between Michaela and Lilia. Associations that I'm only appreciating now as I write and after having read professional reviews of the novel.
Mandel's prose kept me reading even as I became progressively more confused about which point of Lilia's life I was actually reading about. I found it difficult to build a strong vision of of Lilia or Michaela in my mind which was disappointing when I compare this with my experience of 'Station Eleven'. There were several times when I found myself blindly turning pages just to find out the secret of Lilia's childhood.
I'm on a mission though and I am going to persevere and read more of Mandel's work.
Read anything that's really grabbed you recently?
Is your freezer full?