Half a packet of pricey goats cheese left over fromthis big meal. A couple of leeks in the crisper losing their enthusiasm for life. A bone-chilling winter's day at home with two toddlers and sandwich fatigue.
Tart for lunch.
Start with the flakiest, shortest pastry. Add a creamy filling and cheesy top. Toss in some virtue with bitter leaves doused in balsamic. Ignore the toddlers and pretend you're eating out.
Leek and Goats Cheese Tart (For Two)
Shortcrust pastry (frozen will do, but I'll give you my recipe next week)
3/4 cup cream
50g, or thereabouts, of soft goats cheese
Line a 20cm tart tin with pastry. Blind-bake at 180 degrees until cooked.
Meanwhile, wash leeks thoroughly, halve lengthwise, then chop roughly. Place in a heavy-based saucepan with a nob of butter and a splash of olive oil. Cook over lowest temperature, with the lid on, for about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure it doesn't stick. You don't want it to colour at all, if possible. Once soft and succulent, season and set aside.
Reduce oven temperature to 170 degrees.
Whisk eggs and cream until just combined. Add leeks and stir through. Place shortcrust case, still in tin, on a flat baking tray and fill with egg mixture. Dot the top with goats cheese.
Bake for 35-45 minutes or until just set in the centre.
Eat at room temperature with someone lovely. Salad optional. Seconds not.
The perfect lunchtime tart for two...with just a tiny bit left over for a late-night snack for one.
A chunky knit in blue. Winter warm and easy-wearing for my preschool kid.
I thought it was done, but seeing it on her today I know it's not. The pattern calls for a crocheted edge. That won't happen. What will happen is those sleeves will be ripped back then done over with some shaping and a garter stitch cuff. And it needs a real block on a sunny day, not the rush job I gave it in front of the fire. Perhaps I ought to rip back the bottom too and give it a garter stitch edge.
There's a few cousins above them, and a few below. These guys are bang in the middle.
They were born within the space of 10 months - one baby each for my sisters and I. In fact, Jack on the left was present for the birth of my Lola. (That's what happens when you're only a couple of months old and your mum is required for early morning "PUSH!" duty.)
They don't get together very often, but it's fun watching them when they do. The middle crew.
You can sense the excitement in the air. They're coming from all directions, making their way steadily from Singapore, country NSW and Melbourne for that most festive of occasions, Christmas in...June. The menu is being planned, champagne being shipped in, impressively large joints ordered from the butcher and chair shortage issues discussed in earnest.
While we adults reunited for a very special wedding a few months ago, the offspring haven't been seen in the one room together since way back here in September. This Saturday we'll be seated around a (very long) table once more.
Thank you for your kind and wise comments on yesterday's post. I'm taking heed, being open to the signs (thanks, Evelyn) and definitely keeping up the chocolate levels, Annie - you need never fear that. While the much-needed early night went missing in action, there was some sunshine today, and a phone call from a new friend inviting us out for a morning at the community garden. What a muddy romp we had. As good as a bracing walk, and far more fun.
I put the dimples aside a few days ago when minus-zero morning temperatures hit and I realised my big girl had nothing but short-sleeved pretty cardigans and cotton hoodies in her wardrobe. She's been patiently waiting for a new mama-knit for a while, so I quickly cast on something I hope will be short and sharp. It's the Raggedy Raglan and I'm using a bulky Spotlight yarn I've had in the stash for a while - cheap and cheerful, so I've no fear about exposing it to the preschool treatment. I'll hopefully be back on dimple duty next week and have something to show for my efforts.
There's a new book on the bedside table this week. Already I'm looking forward to what comes next. And that's always a good sign, isn't it?
I've been cooking and knitting and sewing, with not much to show for it.
I want to come to this space and write about it all, but I'm not sure how.
The job I've had for 10 years is changing before my eyes in the hands of a new manager. I'm trying to see it as the push I need to seek out other opportunities. But I've become so comfortable with this steady and stultifying mediocrity.
In so many ways, I'm like my almost-five-year-old, who has yet to learn that not everybody in the world has her best interests at heart. She and I, our first instinct is to assume the good.
I grabbed an hour today, an hour while small people were napping. Outside the rain was beating down and, while the fire roared, coffee was sipped and fabric cut. Oh, for more hours like this.
Some years ago, during a period when I was dabbling in playwriting, I worked with another playwright. Our workplace attracted lots of creative people looking for temporary work to tide them over between gigs. I've met many people who have aspired to a life in theatre, film or television, but this woman was the real thing.
Soon after the birth of my first baby in 2007, I went to see a play she'd written and was performing in at the Belvoir. It was called 'The Seed' and was an incredibly powerful autobiographical piece. I remember being so moved by the story, which seemed fantastical, and yet it was true. I remember also feeling removed from reality, a new mum on her first evening away from her babe.
Last night, I watched Kate tell her story again on the ABC's 'Australian Story'. What a remarkable, brave, humble and beautiful woman. And what an incredible life. You can watch it here.