Overspiced

I am a big fan of flavour and spice, particularly chilli. In general I’d say I tend more towards the heavy-handed end of the spice spectrum when it comes to flavouring foods.

However it really is true you can have too much of a good thing.

This morning I was seasoning my morning bowl of muesli with cinnamon. Unfortunately in my pre-coffee haze I didn’t carefully check which end of the spice jar I was opening.

Instead of a healthy sprinkling of cinammon, I got 2 giant clumps of cinnamon, sitting happily on my yoghurt.

It was edible, but only just. I’m now sitting drinking my long-awaited coffee, and all I can taste is cinnamon.

First world problems, right?

Breakfast Hash

No DIY today, and I hesitate to even call this a recipe. Here’s one of my favourite breakfasts of late: hash with egg on top.

Breakfast hash

Just looking at it is making me salivate.

Basically it’s just a combination of whatever veggies you have on hand, mixed together in a bowl, bound with a little milk if needed. The most common things I include are:

  • mashed potato
  • mashed sweet potato
  • corn
  • mushrooms
  • onion
  • capsicum
  • carrot
  • snow peas
  • lentils
  • spinach
  • radish

…really, whatever you have in your fridge is going to work just fine (as long as you have some sort of vegetables in there). I always like to have either regular or mashed potato however, to help it all clump together.

Then the fun stuff: a bit of a grated cheese and some chopped bacon (completely optional). Mix together add a few spices (basil, coriander, chilli, paprika), then either fry or bake in oven (depending on how much time you have – my oven takes forever to heat up so I often go the frying route if I forget to pre-heat whilst doing all the prep).

Top with a fried egg and its a tasty, filling, veggie laded breakfast. No bread needed! And that’s a big thing coming from a bread-addict like myself!

If I manage to get my act together I may even try to prepare a big batch of this at the start of the week so all I have to do each morning is cook it all up – no chopping and stirring. Mornings are not my strong point so anything that makes them less painful has got to be a good thing.

DIY #2: Handbag strap extension

So my second “DIY” was pretty much as easy as my first. But hey, it involved going to Bunnings and making a small purchase, so that’s gotta count right?

I bought this awesome green handbag in Spain (sorry for the appalling picture, I only had the patience to take one shot). I have spent at least 2 years looking for a handbag that is oversized enough to house a laptop, a few books and a water bottle comfortably. My requirements: I don’t like too much structure, don’t like bling, must be silver hardware, must be colour other than black…..doesn’t sound too hard, does it? Trust me it is.

DIY #2: Handbag

Before purchasing it I spent an inordinate amount of time dithering over whether the shoulder strap was too short to fit comfortably underneath my arm. For some reason, so many of them seem uncomfortably short. Maybe I have a big glenohumeral – axillary distance?

Anyway, eventually I decided I liked enough about the bag that I could live with the length – surely an inch isn’t that much to squabble over. I secretly really hoped I could find some way to lengthen it, even just an inch or two, however.

Luckily attached to the zipper was a long green tassel (full of bling!), that I promptly took off, cut off a few of the tasselly ends and looped them together to make an extra “ring”. Mission accomplished.

DIY #2: Handbag

Not very pretty, but it did the trick and made the shoulder length perfect. I would have been perfectly content with this solution, however the other day one of the tassels broke, and I started to doubt its stability.

My solution: purchasing a metal clip from Bunnings.

DIY #2: Handbag

It matches the silver hardware perfectly, and adds even a little more length than the tassel did. I think it looks nicer too. If I really wanted to go nuts I could go back and buy another one for the other side too.

And the best bit? Cost = $2.76. DIY victory!!

DIY #1: “New” chair

One of my favourite things in the world, even above scoring a great bargain on ebay or in an op-shop, is finding fab furniture on the side of the street.

Of course it’s great because its free and reduces landfill, but what I really love is the fact that it gives you a chance to try something new; especially if you’re not sure whether it’ll work in your place, for free, with no risks. And if you don’t like it? Put it back out on the street and let someone else have a crack at at.

The other day I found this chair just up the road. It was hidden underneath a load of other detritus, but it looked structurally sound and passed the roadside “wobble” test, so thought I’d drag it down the road and give it a try.

After a good hose down, I moved it up onto my formerly bare verandah.

New chair

It seems to work quite well so far. At least its a nice place to sit while I put on my shoes (and my puppy jumps all over me).

Next thing to keep a lookout for: a little side table, bookcase or crate, so maybe I can sit out here and drink a cup of tea.

Note: this is the first in what I hope to be a series of little things I improve around my house. I know that dragging a chair down the road doesn’t really count as “doing” anything, but hey you’ve gotta start somewhere right?

Plu-what?

Until a few days ago, I’d never even heard of a pluot. Blissful in my ignorance of this apricot-plum hybrid, I idly perused the aisles of my local fruit & veg shop.

The first thing that caught my eye was a peach that looked like a miniature pumpkin (sorry can’t remember the name). Second thing was a pluot, which I initially thought was a nice big looking plum.

Pluot

After seeing the weird name, I was intruiged and bought 2. And the verdict? Yum. To be honest I think it tastes more plummy than apricotty, and if I didn’t know otherwise I’d just assume its a variety of plum.  But its nice and firm and juicy and sweet, so what’s to complain about?

Here’s some other ideas of what to do with pluots, other than gobbling them down after walking the dog and before procrastinating on going for a run.

Five ways with Pluots

Corny

One hot summer’s afternoon in early December, I joined Nadine for a late afternoon swim at Brighton beach.  It was about 30 degrees even as the sun was setting, but the highlight of this jaunt was not the deliciously refreshing water, nor the gorgeous sunset over the bay, the tantalising views of the Melbourne skyline.

No; the highlight was sitting on the warm sand scoffing down corn on the cob doused with chipotle sauce, that Nadine had kindly brought along.

Corn has to be one of my favourite vegetables ever. Sweet, juicy, crunchy – what’s not to love? And this new version doused with spicy sauce rocked my world.

Since then I’ve thought about that corn more than once. I’ve made my own, however the delicious combination of butter, salt and pepper paled in comparison to the spicy goodness of the chipotle sauce.

Does that make me unfulfilled?

No longer. Tonight I was browsing through the aisles of my wonderful local fruit & veg shop, and found a jar of chipotle sauce hiding amongst various condiments. Needless to say I snapped it up faster than you can say “yum”!

I was already planning on cooking corn for dinner tonight, but this addition really made my night.

Chipotle corn

Here’s the end result in it’s full glory: garden salad, corn cob and lamb cutlets. Happy camper here.

Chipotle corn