It’s Good for What Ails Ya

Let’s start this post with the fact that I never get sick.  Well maybe not never, but very rarely.  I can count on my hand the number of times in my life that I have ever had a major illness.  And in the winter time I’m one of those annoying people that never picks up no other people’s colds.  I’ve never had the flu shot because, well, I’ve never had the flu. 

It actually gets to the point where I want to get sick so that I could take time off work! The idea of having a day or two where I could lie on the couch and watch TV and not feel guilty about it is very appealing.  Of course I have the kind of job where even if I was sick I would still need to go in so it’s probably a good thing.  

This worked out very well for me when I was pregnant as I got to finally use my sick leave for something, i.e. my obstetrician and other various health appointments.  Other than these appointments I managed to get through the whole pregnancy without taking any time off.  And worked right up to week 38.  (A the time I was very proud but looking back it was a bad idea.  For anyone reading this, you need more than two weeks to prepare for a baby! Take at  least four.  More if you’re struggling in the pregnancy!)

Back to the point.  One thing that does tend to happen is that when I do get sick (usually nothing more serious than a sniffly nose and sore throat) it just happens to fall when I’m on holiday.  That’s why I remember the last time; it was February 2013 when I was on my honeymoon in Vietnam. Bloody typical!

The wonderful locals who looked after us at breakfast, after a morning or two, noticed how horrid I was feeling and volunteered a wonderful drink to help me through.  A very simple, four ingredient wonder that soothed my throat, cleared my nose and also provided that special touch that you need most when you’re sick – the feeling of comfort and being looked after.  

For the remainder of our stay I had one each morning and it helped to set me up to enjoy the day and remember that I was on my honeymoon rather than moping about feeling sick and tired. 

I’m sure many of you have tried this before and I’m not breaking any new ground here.  But I’m writing about it because for the first time in two years I have a cold again.  This drink has been my staple for the past few days because I’m still breastfeeding and want to avoid cold and flu tablets.  


– Ginger

– Honey

– Lemon

– Boiling water

Mix up in the amounts you like.  I have about a thumb size of chopped ginger, generous tablespoon of honey and a quarter of a lemon.  

Who knows whether this actually reduces the length of the cold or its severity.  But it makes me feel better regardless! 


Tart Remains

One of the things I was really looking forward to about being on maternity leave was having dinner on the table every night. I felt it was my responsbility to make sure we had nutritious, wholesome meals. 

(I didn’t, however, feel it was my responsibility to clean the house; but that is another story and has nothing to do with the fact that I like to cook and hate to clean.)

It took a few months after we got home from hospital before I really started to get into the nightly dinner plan and cook; but now it’s become part of my weekly routine.  A few nights a week I’ll find some new recipe, another few I’ll prepare an old favourite, another might be left overs and hell, once a week we’ll splurge on some take away.

Usually I quite like browsing recipes in the morning and part of my daily “get out and about with bubs” involves picking up whatever supplies I need.  I never plan more than a day in advance because that forces me to leave the house.  Something I know is very important for my mental health and great stimulation for bubs too.

One day a few weeks ago, however, I just couldn’t motivate myself to leave.  It’d been a particularly rough night and dragging my sorry ass off the floor (yes I was lying down with bubs) seemed an impossibility.  We’d already had take away that week and I didn’t feel like something boring like eggs on toast.  I needed to figure out something with what was left in the fridge.  

I knew I had some asapragus that was about to go bad so I looked up a few asparagus recipes online.  One that popped up was an asparagus and goats cheese tart.  Now I am not the sort of person who has goats cheese in their fridge without a plan for it, but I did have fetta.  And I also had some puff pastry that had been in the freezer since goodness knows how long!

After a quick survey I also found the following: packet of bacon, sweet potato, pine nuts.  And thus my first “Tart Remains” came to be!

It was super easy to prepare and fit in well with bubs night time routine  This is how it went:

1. Give bubs his night time solids

2. Husband bathes bubs

3. While husband is bathing bubs:

 – Grease a baking tray and line with puff pastry

 – Preheat oven to 180 degrees

 – Fry up bacon

 – Cook sweet potato in microwave, piercing skin first

 – Blanch asparagus and trim ends

 – Arrange bacon, sweet potato, asparagus, fetta and pine nuts over puff pastry

 – Brush sides of puff pastry with egg

 – Put into oven

4.  Husband has now finished bathing bubs. 

5. Instruct husband to watch oven and take out tart after 15 minutes or when puff pastry is golden and yummy.

6. Take bubs and put to sleep.

It very rarely takes me longer than 15 minutes to put bubs down because I always put him to sleep on the boob at night.  If you think I’m doing the wrong thing then read this. If you still think I’m doing the wrong thing then we’ll just have to agree to disagree.  It’s quick and easy and it gives husband and I time to eat dinner in peace each night.  

Unfortunately I didn’t take a photo of the first one I made.  But last night I did it again only with a few different ingredients.  This time it was:

– Sliced turkey

– Asparagus

– Pitted Kalamata Olives

– Pine Nuts

– Rocket

– Fetta Cheese

I think I liked this one even better!


Adventures with Beer Bread

Since being on materinty leave I’ve had the increasing urge to bake bread.  Not sure where it’s come from or why.  I quite like to cook, and make cakes reasonably often.  But I’e never had the desire to do anything too complicated that might require kneading or “leaving to rise”.  My one attempt at making scones was a bit of a disaster as I couldn’t get right the amount of stirring time.  Too little stirring and you have lumps of flour.  Too much stirring and your scones are hard rather than light and fluffy.  Mine were hard as rock!

So it was quite a surprise when I started clicking on links involving bread related cooking recipes in my news feed rather than just scrolling past. Then I even started bookmarking a few.  Noting down some of the basic recipe ingredients, I thought I’d better buy some yeast to keep in the cupboard just in case the urge got stronger at a time when I couldn’t make it to the shops; I’d better make sure I had the tools in hand! I even bought a bread tin for the oven.

Then one day the following link caught my eye: How to make Beer Bread

There was no way I wouldn’t click on that! And to my surprise the recipe involved no yeast, no kneading, no leaving to rise.  In fact it was easier than most cakes I’ve made! (And in case you’re wondering, no I don’t work for Craftsy, no I don’t receive any money from Craftsy.)  I really did have all the ingredients in the fridge. Albeit the most important ingredient, beer, was in the outdoor fridge!

What appealed to me most (well probably a close second behind how easy it looked) was that it was a great base recipe to which you could add whatever you wanted for endless variety.  I decided to do it by the book for the first time to see how it would turn out.  For those in Australia, to save you doing the conversions, I used the following measurements (only some are different from Craftsy page):

– 3 cups plain flour

– 2 teaspoons of baking powder

– 1/2 teaspoon of salt

– 2 tablespoons of caster sugar

– 55 grams of butter

– 1 bottle of Crown Lager (375 mls)

It worked a treat! Was a lovely flavour and perfect to eat warm with dollups of butter (and maybe jam if you’re feeling indulgent) and a cup of tea.  For a week it was my afternoon treat while bubs was napping.

Then last week I tried again only this time I used the following:

– All ingredients above except 1 bottle of Peroni (330mls)

– Generous handful of bottled sliced kalamata olives (and a bit of the juice too seeing as how there was less beer)

– Generous handful or two of grated parmesan cheese

Here is the result.


Next time I’m going to try to make it sweeter, with some sultanas and perhaps some spices too.  And I’m even thinking of adding some vegemite and cheese at some point.  So many possibilities!