Charlie's Bird

living the dream with Charlie and Thandi and chirping all the way back to the nest.

Archive for May, 2013

Early vs late

Early morning blogging means my day hasn’t really begun yet, and I can indulge myself, my brain and pour my heart out. Blogging in the middle of the afternoon means I don’t stand a chance. I am between patients, you’ll get something rushed and impersonal. Saying that, its 15h30 now…

Tomorrow morning you’ll get my heart musings… and there are a few of those to come.

Winter food series

So, for today’s recipe, I am sharing with you my Lemon Meringue Pie. There is a long history to this tart, you see, my brother is much older than me and is one of those unfortunate fellows who the apartheid government conscripted in the early 80’s, and sent the Border (between what was then South West Africa (now Namibia) and Angola). Up there they were fed ‘rat packs’ – rationed packs of instant food, with one magic ingredient thrown in – condensed milk. He came back from the border a different boy, damaged in a way we never spoke about, but the same old boet was there, somewhere. How we knew he was still there was by the request he presented to our mom on his return, and it was this. Around that tin of magical condensed milk, the label had a recipe on the reverse. For months he and his fellow troops had been fantasizing over the lemon meringue recipe they found there, and his only request when he got home was that our mom make this for him. And so the legend of CAS’s Lemon Meringue Pie began…

Ingredients – 1 packet of tennis biscuits, less 2-3 (save those for that cuppa tea while you bake your tart), crushed

50gm melted butter

1 can condensed milk

125 ml  lemon juice (plus the zest, if you se fresh lemons)

2 eggs, separated

50gm caster sugar

In a standard size pie dish (I sometimes use the foil ones, particularly if I’m taking my tart somewhere, then I don’t loose dishes) mix the crushed biscuits and melted butter, pushing the mix into the base of the dish. Pop into the fridge while you prep the rest.20130529-134047.jpg

Pour the condensed milk into a bowl, mix in the lemon juice and zest, then add the beaten egg yolks, mix until smooth 20130529-134057.jpg

and then pour into the pie dish. Beat the egg whites until foamy, add a few drops of lemon juice, continue beating, then gradually add the caster sugar, beating until stiff peaks and glossy. 20130529-134104.jpg

Spoon on top of the filling and make cute peaks.20130529-134113.jpg

Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 15-20  minutes until starting to brown. 20130529-134120.jpg

Let cool down and then refrigerate overnight. (If you can wait that long!) Enjoy!

 

The end of this road

…and here I am. At the end of a long road, a road of tremendous highs, devastating lows, with an amazing Charlie by my side, and a miraculous Thandi with us. Today there were no eggs to be found. To employ a cliche or 2, we have fought one helluva fight, and now it’s over. I dreamed, I imagined, I hoped… But blessed I am.

Thank you to all of you, my readers, friends and family… you’ve been my amazing cheerleaders, thank you for all the encouragement and love.

2 YEARS

…she is 2! Good heavens! It’s astounding… and awesome… and been a magic carpet ride!

20130524-082406.jpgWe woke up just after 6 this morning, and after a refreshing bottle of milk, it was time to unwrap presents, and see her cupcakes, and just enjoy being a 2 year old. Shame, it is quite sweet, when you ask her how old she is, she still says 1, and then when you suggest that she’s 2, you are met with an outraged ‘No ways!’ Last night she told me she was going to be 3! Well, she will, but in another year’s time!

She has been spoilt for her birthday, with Lego, and puzzles, and clothes; a jungle gym is under construction; but the highlight for her is undoubtedly the little outfit Charlie bought her at the local Indian shoppe, check this out!

20130524-082422.jpgSo proud of this gorgeous girl! She fills my heart!

In other news, egg retrieval on Monday…

Winter Food Series

…not with the greatest pictures, I’m afraid, but today I present my Mushroom Risotto. It’s a winter favourite of mine, and I love serving with a piece of grilled, marinated fillet. Risotto is not difficult, but can be a nightmare to get just right. Once you’ve mastered it though, it becomes a very versatile and often impressive dish. Fear not!

Ingredients – 100gm butter

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves crushed garlic

1 cup Arborio rice

125 ml white wine

1 litre vegetable stock

20 gm dried mushrooms, rehydrated in 50ml hot (not boiling) water

10 ml dried mixed herbs (experiment here, I like thyme especially)

2-3 punnets mixed mushrooms

50 gm grated parmesan cheese

Drizzle of truffle oil

 

Method – melt half the butter over a medium-high heat in a heavy based pot, fry off the onion and garlic until it is translucent, then add the rice, allowing it to absorb the oils and get glossy. Lower the heat of the pan, to medium to low. Deglaze the pan with white wine, stirring until it is absorbed. Now the work begins. Keep your stock boiling(I tend to keep it in a glass jug and just keep microwaving it to keep it hot, or else keep it boiling in a pot on the stove top), slowly add a couple of ladles at a time, stirring until the stock is all absorbed.  After the first dose of stock, I add my rehydrated mushrooms, which I have chopped up. I also strain and add the rehydrating liquid. Add the herbs. Continue adding stock and stirring slowly until it is absorbed, before adding the next ladle. Add the chopped mixed mushrooms when you maybe have 2 more doses of stock to go, that way, they maintain some texture and colour. Check your rice, it should be firm, but cooked through, not squishy though.

017Once ready, add most of the parmesan, the other 50 gm of butter, and stir through, just before serving, drizzle with the truffle oil (Careful! Not too much, it’s potent!) , sprinkle the remaining parmesan and a sprig of fresh thyme to make it pretty. Serve immediately onto a hot plate.

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Shaken

…by so much sadness this morning. I arrived to news of a cyclist’s death  in an accident yesterday; personally I don’t know him, but my nurse knows him well, so is very saddened and then came the news that a patient of mine, who I delivered 2 months ago, lying in ICU after an attack on her farm… she’s not conscious, it’s all very sad…

You know Life is so so tenuous… We live every day, and I think most of the time don’t appreciate what we have… So this week I am going to count some of my blessings… I have a Charlie, who is my rock, my love, my completion. I have a Thandipants, who with one cheesy grin melts my heart. I have a wonderful family, blessed with dear friends, blessed with a home and financial resources to make my life easy. I am a lucky, lucky one.

Update 1

…ok, a late update, but here we are… 2 definite follicles, possibly a third. The dream lives to fight another couple of days.