Friday, July 06, 2012

Inching Closer to the Dream: Release Date

1st November 2012

That, dear readers, is the release date for Drive Me To Distraction.

Along with the release date Momentum have sent the publishing schedule - which is a schedule of what happens when with the manuscript.  It made my little deadline orientated Capricorn heart sing with delight. Deadlines. Heaps of them.

Can it get any better??

Well yes.

THEN Momentum sent me the first round of edits.  I love edits.  Almost as much as I love deadlines.

Not being hard bitten or thick skinned, the first read of edits is always somewhat daunting. But I've made it through, the feedback and ideas are awesome (I mean SO, SO awesome), and are going to make great improvements to the book. (Not that it wasn't perfection in the first place, ahem).

Drive is being published by Aussie based Momentum - the digital arm of Pan Macmillian Australia. Writerly people, I highly recommend you submit to the them, you won't regret it :)

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Meal Plan Thursday: Kung Pao Chicken

Next week's menus.

Ham and Tomato omelettes

Baked Greek Fish

Kung Pao Chicken

1 tbs canola oil
2 whole fresh red chilli, deseeded, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
500 g lean chicken thigh fillet, cut into 3cm pieces
20 ml rice wine (Sake), (shaoxing or dry sherry)
1 1/2 tbs cornflour
140 g canned bamboo shoots, rinsed, drained,
200 g snow peas, trimmed
1/4 cup chicken stock,
2 tbs soy sauce,
roasted peanuts, unsalted
green shallots, thinly sliced

Heat a wok over medium-high heat.
Add oil and heat for 30 seconds.
Stir-fry chilli and garlic for 20 seconds or until fragrant.
Add chicken and stir-fry, in batches, for 5–7 minutes or until browned all over and almost cooked through.
Meanwhile, combine wine and cornflour in a small bowl.
Add bamboo and sugar snap peas to wok with chicken and stir-fry for 2–3 minutes or until just tender. Add stock and soy sauce and bring to the boil.
Gradually add wine mixture and cook for 1–2 minutes or until thickened.
Serve sprinkled with nuts and shallots.

Cauliflower Pancetta bake

Roast: Chicken


Beef Koftas

Lemon and lime madeleines

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Crop Rotation: Suburban Garden Style

In my vege plot I work on a six bed crop rotation system which is as follows:

Bed 1: Root vegetables
Bed 2: Legumes (peas, beans)
Bed 3: Onions
Bed 4: Tomatoes
Bed 5: Sweetcorn/Pumpkins
Bed 6: Potatoes

Why rotate your crops: because if you don't you end up with things like Root Knot Nematodes - which I have in a bed where I grew spuds, then tomatoes, then spuds, then tomatoes, then tomatoes, before I knew about crop rotation.  The bed is now next to useless.

So, whilst visiting Fagan Park at Galston last week I was interested to see their crop rotation system in their Eco Garden.
Its a sign
Bed 1: Lettuce, garlic, marigolds
Bed 2: Cabbage, radish, celery
Bed 3: Leeks, shallots, onions
Bed 4: Green manure
Bed 5: Snowpeas, beans
Bed 6: Spinach, beetroot, onions
Yes well I thought it was interesting ;)

Monday, July 02, 2012

Happy New Financial Year: May You Be Able To Heat Your Own House

And so the second half of the year begins. Don't ask me where the first half went, for us its disappeared into a blur of school routine.

The big news, here in Australia is that...

  1. Its the end of the financial year (tax time, groan)
  2. We are now being carbon taxed
With regards to 2. our Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, decided to make light of the controversial tax that will see (for starters) energy bills for all Australians jump by 15 - 20% (estimates vary - and that's before the price gouging has begun), by coming up with the following quote.
The time has come for Australians to judge the carbon tax for themselves - and realise "the sky hasn't fallen in", Prime Minister Julia Gillard says
I'm still reeling that she actually said it.  

I'm sure you are aware of the tale of Chicken Licken. Where a young and stupid chicken runs around in a panic because someone has told him the sky is going to fall down.

So, what Ms Gillard is patronisingly telling the country she leads, is that we've all been running around in a panic about the carbon tax (I'd have called it grim bitter resentment myself) and that here we are, its come into effect, and nothing is different.

Well no. Because none of us have got our electricity bills yet. We're not yet seeing the price gouging that's about to happen on every consumable product and service you care to think of.  It won't happen on the first day (well it might, but any company stupid enough to do it is going to get slaughtered by the Government and Journalists alike), it won't happen in the first month, but by Christmas and over the next few years the prices will creep up and up because the big companies will be passing on the tax, and having a red hot go at increasing their profit margins whilst they are about it.

I am not against the carbon tax per se.  It agrees with my stance on things environmental, but its the fact its been forced through by a Goverment whose balance of power is in the hands of a few individuals, who are running the country to their own agenda. Its because the tax will do little to stem the tide of pollution, and that everyday households will bear the brunt of increased costs.  Why would companies reduce their carbon footprint, when they can just raise their costs and let the consumer pay for the new tax?

So cheers, one and all.  Welcome to the new financial year.  May the carbon tax tread lightly on  your pocket, and may you be able to afford to heat your own house.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Using All The Things: Sunday Breakfast

We had some of that horrible no-brand white bread left over from Miss 8's party, so I decided to up-cycle it...

 French Toast

2 eggs
150 ml milk
1 tsp vanilla (if you want, I usually forget)
4 slice(s) bread, stale, old, crusts removed (not mouldy - just sayin, ahem)
Icing sugar and/or Honey

Combine egg, milk and vanilla in a shallow bowl.
Dip bread into egg and milk mixture, allowing it to soak for a few seconds so that some liquid is absorbed.
Heat a large frying pan/griddle over medium-high heat.
Add soaked bread and cook on both sides until browned.
Slice strawberries over each portion.
Sprinkle with icing sugar and drizzle each serve with 1 teaspoon of honey

Sunday breakfast