The sandwich was distracting me.
I was supposed to be submitting things, sorting things, tidying things. All things related to the computer and to be honest, it wasn’t holding my interest quite as it should have.
The sandwich to my right however, was another story.
My whole-hearted attention belonged to two slices of bread and an assortment of delicious fillings within it. This dear ones, was a very special sandwich.
Truly, truly this was a kick arse sanga. Two pieces of dark rye sourdough with just the right amount of chew, Gouda cheese sliced thinly over and over to form a wall of delicate cheese. Prosciutto also sliced thinly due to its strong salty taste, meaning more of tasty hint, rather than a starring role. (There was to be no starring roles here, it was all about entwined flavours within the sandwich with no competition of flavours.)
On one side the subtle mayonnaise, creamy with a kick of tartness and just enough to lubricate each mouthful to reach the perfect level of taste bud comfort. The pickle…ahh, the pickle. The pickle really could have been a stand alone star, but here it had been relegated to sit amongst the layered slices. A fat pickle now cut into wedges of which were the perfect length for said sandwich. Not falling out of your sandwich at every bite as some substandard pickles will do.
Add in a forkful or two of locally made kimchi, and there you had it. Some lunch time goodness not usually seen at this level (for various lazy reasons.)
Nothing more, nothing less. The inside workings of a sandwich like this, are often those ingredients forgotten to backs of fridges, relegated to the condiment list, or perhaps hastily slapped together in methods that didn’t allow for the sandwich song to be heard. Not today though, oh no. Sing it did. All the way from the first mouthful, to the very last. Each bite a perfect distracting chew.
I had long since given in.
There was no computer work to be done now. Full attention was going to be given to this wonderous (and easily manipulated in one hand) lunch time goodness. It will was a distracting sandwich.
An assortment of delicious fillings
Light catching your son’s dinner. The steam absolutely mesmerizing as you know it will last fleetingly, just as that particular tilt of the afternoon sun will do.
Friends stopping to chat. Really chat.
Seed saving. Slowly wrinkling up, ready for storing, ready for growing another day.
Tiny exhaling pauses in the week.
Surprise coffee and cake spent with people who make you laugh.
Long deep talks with strangers who make you think long after the conversation ends.
Sourdough fruit loaf, which was supposed to be panettone, but when it came to the crunch you simply decide there are other things to do in life and you really… just couldn’t be buggered.
Gardening that makes the crooks of your elbows sweat. Not the regular kind of things you usually take note of, but you are today as it’s a kinda documenting life day.
Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it- FERRIS BUELLER
When you neglect your garden for a month over an incredibly dry period, the outcome is fairly predictable. Even so, it can still be a bit of a surprise at just how bad on a big scale it can all look.
With weeds running rampant, potted trees standing defiantly dead, and every leafy green edible gone to seed in an attempt at preserving itself for a later date. We did the most logical thing we could, and set to work.
Gathering shovels, hoses and unfailing enthusiasm, it was all bundled together with as many hardworking hours as I could manage to squeeze out of the day, to try to get this city garden back up to the functioning level it should be.
Several weeks later, while it’s still a work in progress, as I look around now, there are slow changes taking shape. No longer a backyard palette of baked brown, there are now green tinges that might just continue. With newly sprouted seedlings, tomatoes emerging from all corners, and two new editions that I’m tickled pink to be looking after.
From the dry overgrown mess that it had been, is growing something that often comes in many forms, and amongst the dedicated gardeners out there it’s also an old favourite… hope.
For the savvy pasta eaters amongst us, you might have been aware that it was World Pasta Day this week, and while I seemed to have gotten this far in life without having acknowledged it, for 2017 that was going to change.
It was time to pasta up.
With no clear idea of what to make for dinner besides a generic pasta dish, I decided to keep it easy. There are many reasons for this. The primary one? I have no interest in spending half a day cooking a dinner that will be consumed in three and a half minutes flat. (Obviously longer if the kids hate it on sight.)
But they didn’t, of course they didn’t. It’s pasta. Number one crowd pleasing dinner time plate. Have pasta, can cook. They key to a rocking simple pasta dish is a great olive oil, great parmesan and a toothsome pasta. If you have those three rockin’ things, well the rest of the dish is up to you.
Quick and Easy Pasta Additions
rocket, garlic and lemon zest
cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella
chilli, garlic and parsley
I needed to go back and to find a piece of my heart. It was still there where I knew it would be, I just needed to go back and find it again.
Rejoin the jigsaw.
Seventeen years it took me to get back to Italy. Seventeen years that had been filled with life, a deliciously full life, but now it was time to go back. This time I would be returning not alone as I had done in previous times, but with a family. My family that was ready to embrace all things Italian.
And weave a little of Italy into their heart beat.
Tomatoes that still have the taste of a season just gone. Cheese so fresh that to do anything more than a marrying of bread would be unwise.
This week is a pause while I lose myself between simple mouthfuls. La dolce vita calls.
With three days to go until Cinnamon Bun Day, I thought it might be a good time to refresh the sourdough starter and stock up on some of those all important spices, cinnamon and cardamom. A whole day designated for sweet nordic baked goodies? Yes indeed.
Over the blogging years I’ve done quite a few posts on variations of these delicious little morsels. If you are new to cityhippyfarmgirl.com and are keen to give them a try, or perhaps need a refresher on how to twist or bake them. There are a few posts to choose from.
I had set myself a goal. Swim through as much of winter as I could. As long as I got further into the year than I did last year, I would be happy. If I managed to get to Spring? Ah yes, that would be a cracker of an achievement indeed.
Each year that I’ve set this goal, I’ve gone just a little bit more, a little further into the depths of winter. Solstice, no problem. July done and dusted, and then August? I danced the joyous awkward dance of someone with freezing numb wet feet.
Now if I could get to August, surely I could get to September swimming in the cool water oceans wilds?
With a determined glint in the eye, and so I did. I swam through winter and straight into spring, and now that I’ve done it once, a precedent has been set. The challenge has been marked. This is something that I’m not sure I would have been able to do if I hadn’t been doing my sunrise swimmers project.
Having this connection to these wonderful people I think has helped me find something that I wasn’t even aware I was looking for.
Noticing the tomato plants, poke their head up again, after a brief winters sleep.
Stopping to actually chew food rather than gulp. Who knew that could be so enjoyable.
New adventures. While this space will keep quietly ticking on over, I’ll also be over on insta, hopefully giving a sneaky peak into a few other things that are also happening.
The soft scent of spring in the air, the air not as cold. Growing surprise jasmine that along with wild freesias, completely infiltrates the house with its soft fragrance.
New blossoms growing from sleepy branches.
And bees, so many bees. Get the morning light right, stand still and watch the whole garden come alive with tiny buzz of busy insects.
[“Often life’s pleasures pass us by simply because we don’t take a moment to focus on them… Make a point of noticing everyday something that uplifts your spirit or tickles your heart… Stop to breathe in the joy of this moment and then tell someone about it. Share your joy and revel in it. When your joy is savoured, and then shared, it is magnified…” ROBIN GRILLE]
A few years back my small boy had one of the best teachers I’ve ever had the good fortune to come across. Seriously this man was incredible. Along with keeping the kids up to speed with all the normal school curriculum, he used to throw in a few extras like a regular Dance Party, and Life Skills with Mr P. While I’m a huge fan of any dancing in a regular day it’s the Life Skills one that stuck with me. How it worked, was he wanted to teach the kids some of the things that he wished someone had taught him when he was a kid.
Pretty simple right? The kids loved it. They hung on every word he gave them and with the stories that were told, my son placed his young teacher a little further up onto his complete and utter hero pedestal. Was their parent support? You betcha.
Fast forward to now, and lately I’ve been thinking about my own life skills I’m passing on. Some are formed by osmosis, and others I have to make a concerted effort to make sure they are taught. For me making time for this important. It doesn’t always happen at the time I would like, but it’s still important.
While there aren’t set lists, (besides knowing your food, cooking, growing, reading and how to swim of course.) Those small moments in the day can often create huge amounts of opportunity for spontaneous life lessons. Things that come about after a conversation being had, an opportunity that’s jumped out, or perhaps it’s just something that might have been thought of as we are trucking along one day.
Different environments present different learning possibilities and while I would love to be showing my kids how amazing building your own rocket stove is, or the consequences of damming up a small body of moving water, for the moment I have to work with what I have.
There are so many things to be learnt in life, and I know I’m not ever going to even begin to cover them all. How could I when I’m still learning myself?
What’s important for me is cultivating an environment for questions. Eternal curiosity, creating big and little things, reading, making stuff, and always growing something. By doing this, hopefully it all just continues to build from there.
To those teachers whether within a school or life teachers who make learning exciting, passing on lessons in fun accessible ways, making kids/people just want to know more, are gold. Bloody gold. While I can’t replicate Mr P, I can offer my own version of lessons in life skills, and with that I’m hopeful those steps are something that my kids in turn will be able to build up from.
What’s on your list for necessary Life Skills?
How to have a conversation?
How to open a can without a can opener?
What kneading dough until smooth looks like?
Knowing what to do when there is nothing to do?
What to do with mushy bananas?
How to take a pallet apart?
How to sprout things?
How to light a fire without matches?
There is a soft scent of wild freesias in the air here at home. Not heady and over powering like a rose, or perhaps a lily. Instead, a soft subtle scent catching your senses. Giving a contented pause to thoughts with that long inhalation, and even a little slowing of the day.
With daydreams on pause lately, lists have been written, tasks getting crossed off and plans for a family adventure are nearing. Those wild daydreams are simply being relocated to another time slot.
And yet, after a mornings walk, coming home with a surprise bunch of incredible smelling freesias I had found scattered through the gully. It was impossible to not let the mind wander. Those wild daydreams had found a way to briefly sneak in again.
Nostalgic thoughts, and forward thinking thoughts. Daydreams that had been cast aside for another day, they were all still there, they just needed a little dusting off.
Wild freesias remind me of my mother. Collecting them from the sides of cold wind-swept hill tops. As kids, we would collect them in haphazard bunches. No concern for the length of stem, the amount of other gathered foliage, or perhaps leaving a little for another time. Grab it in large bunches, and then run back down the hill with the prized bunches in freezing cold hands. It would get you a guaranteed smile of love and affection. With eyes half closed, she would drink the soft delicate scent in. Perhaps for her too, that smell would take her away to another place, a place where dusted off daydreams roamed.
While commercially grown freesias are far easier to obtain, it’s not something I ever buy. It just wouldn’t be the same. Sure with the similar green stems and an assortment of coloured flowers, I could pretend they might be. But that soft scented evocative smell isn’t there at all, and that means those wild daydreams?
Well they just aren’t attached.