RIP my poor Sleepy friend

It's all bluff and bluster

It’s all bluff and bluster (photo courtesy ugmedia)

Today I found the sad remains of yet another Eastern Blue Tongue Lizard that Fuzzbutt  had broken.  This is something that happens on a more-or-less regular basis during the warmer months of the year. Just after dawn these giant skinks emerge from their hidey-holes to warm themselves in the sun. This habit of lying around gives them the local nickname “Sleepy Lizard”. I can tell you that their resemblance to snakes gives quite a jolt to a sleepy human enjoying an early morning alfresco coffee. They’re shy creatures that will try to get out of your way, but when cornered will play their big bluff. Puffing themselves up, hissing and sticking out that amazing blue tongue might scare off children and birds, but it only excites the dogs and cats who find them irresistible playthings. 🙁

Strawberries à la Hana

Strawberries à la Hana

This dish looks fabulous, smells as good as it looks and tastes absolutely delicious.  It is also quick, simple and easily utilised as the basis for several desserts, all of which look terribly fancy and complicated, but are actually very low fuss.  This photo was taken at Christmas where this dish, accompanied by a stack of pancakes, formed the backbone of brunch.

Pancakes of Doom

Pancakes of Doom

Pancakes of Doom

Those who have accepted an invitation to Easter Sunday breakfast will know what I mean by Pancakes of Doom (*cue thunderclap*). Festival is not Festival unless I have served my friends a great stack of fluffy pancakes.  It is the continuation of a pre-divorce Friday afternoon tradition of cooking pancakes for anyone who dropped in.  On occasion there were a dozen or more children (and nearly as many adults) tucking into the steaming stacks that were production-lined on two hotplates.  Sometimes I made huge thick fluffy ones for smearing with jam and cream, lemon juice and sugar, or drizzling with Golden Syrup. Sometimes I made savoury ones with potato and bacon. Occasionally I went right over the top and made stuffed with preserved peaches and custard, or caramelised apples, or bacon and char-grilled capsicum. Apparently people in the old neighbourhood still talk about it…

The Alpha Herb-Nerd Gains a Following

Angel-bee copying her Mum :)

Angel-bee copying her Mum :)

I don’t actually spend all of my time at nurseries. On this occasion I was taken (chaperoned?) there by Eldest Daughter so that I could help her choose some kitchen herbs suitable for pots.  You’ll be very pleased to hear that not once did I allow my inner smirk to show, nor did I chant (even soto voce) “One of us… One of us”.  This is spite of years of her rolling eyes and gentle snipes at my “habit”. I am, it would seem, the Crazy Cat Lady, except that my pets don’t keep the neighbourhood awake with their moonlight serenades. They smell better too (well.. mostly)

I have the habit of selecting aromatic plants by rubbing a leaf or blossom between my fingertips, then cupping my hands over my nose to concentrate the smell.  The most appealing aroma follows me home. So picture if you will, the scruffy, barefoot Bohemian (i.e. me) wandering around a huge display with a bemused would-be Acolyte in tow, pontificating about their growth habits and relative merits while occasionally stopping to… er… snort the Lavender and Rosemary.  It was most satisfying to see her fashionably bored expression dissolve into genuine pleasure as we shared a particularly delicious perfume.

Tiramisu (Coronary in a Cup)

Tiramisu and Coronary in a Cup

Tiramisu and Coronary in a Cup

My Beloved turned 40 yesterday.  He spent the day in the riotous company of friends.  I spent the day (and several before it) making sure that said company had something to eat.  The traditional birthday cake was spurned in favour of  an enormous Tiramisu .. and a smaller one just for him.  I wanted to ensure he actually got some this time.

There is ongoing debate in this household regarding the exact taxonomy of this traditional Italian dessert.  Is it a trifle? Is it a type of highly evolved cheesecake?  I say; who cares??  My version is rich, creamy and strongly coffee flavoured.  Very worthy of the name “pick-me-up”.  If you can, make it the day before and allow the flavours to blend.

For special dinner parties I make individual serves in Brandy Balloons or parfait glasses. The Junior Sorority refer to them as “Coronary in a Cup” .. a not-very-subtle reminder that Tiramisu could not be considered as “health” food by even the most optimistic diner. Although if Coco-pops, Nutrigrain and McDonalds can claim to be good for you; why not Tiramisu? It contains dairy foods ..