Love in a time of Pokemon

wattle || cityhippyfarmgirllove || cityhippyfarmgirl pokemon || cityhippyfarmgirl

I recently listened to a podcast with Alain De Botton on the topic of love. The first time I was interrupted 26 times before it came to the end. A concoction of three children and a mischievous whippet was the source of the interruptions.

Despite the stopping and starting, I didn’t turn it off.

I couldn’t turn it off.

The conversation was fascinating and I knew I would be listening to it a second time, if only to hear the lines I had missed the first time in their entirety. (I did listen again and was happy that I had. )

Alain de Botton’s way of describing our culture of romanticism, and also why you should be upfront with your own fault’s from the beginning of a relationship was quite wonderful to hear.

So is there magic in some people’s relationships? Or is it an incredible amount of work, effort and kindness that creates this thing called love of which isn’t made by two perfect single creatures with an ambition to live happily ever after.

Alains’ words had me musing for far longer than the podcast, that’s for sure.

[The conversation with Richard Fidler can be found here. Or the rather condensed version of what he talks about in his book, found here.]

But what does Pokemon have to do with love I hear you ask?

Well, over time my small people have spent many happy years with heart eyes for Pokemon. With the eldest two being marginally obsessed, the third was drawn in almost by osmosis by her older siblings. Pokemon, of course she shall LOVE it! they cried.

At the announcement of Pokemon Go, the small-sized ones pricked up their ears and declared…awwwwwesome. Can we get it on your phone Mama?

Nope, not a chance, I said without barely raising my head.

At least I didn’t really disappoint them there, they really didn’t think there was a chance at all of me actually saying yes to that, but it’s always worth a crack eh kids? And yes I still love you all, even though we aren’t getting it.

They then moved pretty swiftly straight on to the kids they knew with their own phones and the crucial app. Straight after school there is a small beeline as kids begin charging around pointing phones in trees. Hastily mumbled hellos to waiting parents and conversations continue, spoken in the garbled tongue of Pokemon.

I recently (happily) caught a conversation between two arborists up a 20 metre tree. With me unintentionally listening in on what started out as some typical tradey talk between two up-a-gumtree fellas and ending in talk of Pokemon Go, strategies on playing and the Pokémon they had managed to happily capture the night before.

I couldn’t stifle the laughing longer than a minute so had to come on inside, where my attention was instantly brought back to that mischievous whippet. All I had to do was follow the trail of chewed objects, she’d lovingly left out for me.

Luckily for me, as I picked through the wreckage of my lounge room, I already knew that any relationship was built on a fair amount of work, effort and kindness. Whether that be with the man I’ve chosen to create a family with, my three Pokemon loving children or that mischief-making whippet. Which I think, keeps things far more interesting than any happily ever after that Disney or Hollywood would have you believe.

loving this week

morning yoga



Loving this week

When packages that were long since given up on with knitted goodies from distant great-grandmothers and birthday presents for young cowboys finally turn up. I adore my grandmother’s knitting and I’m very aware that having a grandmother in her 80’s being able to knit beautiful clothing for my little baby daughter is indeed a very, very special thing.

Loving the shift in energy this week. One side is still tired, too busy, and with an aching back, but that’s not a very exciting side. The other side is an untapped creative well that has been fun to dip in to whenever a free moment has presented itself. Little Monkey wanting to tell me a story for half an hour was the perfect opportunity to be relatively still while I listened intently and crocheted for my Wednesday group.

Breathing in the ocean air. Crystal clear winter waters, that make you want to swim and splash like a mermaid.

Watching Monkey Boy come back from a new class. A class that I had held my breath through the duration in the hope that he would love it and he wouldn’t turn into a bundle of frozen nerves. Holding my breath seemed to have worked as his excitement afterwards was through the roof. Oh boy, that was a proud mama moment.

Listening to overhead black cockatoos make their dawn journey back to the park. Their lingering calls to each other crossing the skies as the sun creeps up.

“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

If anyone else would like to do a ‘loving this week’ post, (or simply write something in the comments). Please let me know, link back to this post and I’ll do a link up. I would love to know about those little moments in your week that have tickled your heart.


Some other lovely bloggers who have taken a minute to breathe in those beautiful moments.

Christine @ Slow Living Essentials

Kim @The Little Black Cow Blog

Gina @ ZazaSeaCow

Racheal @ Maven in Training

for the love of italy

You know that bubble of excitement you get some times? It starts at the pit of your stomach, spreading a warmth through out your body, and ending at the very ends of your hair strands. Every fibre of your body has just experienced that warm happy feeling, that if you could capture it in a glass jar, would surely radiate a pulsing soft yellow glow.

A whole bundle of descriptive happy emotions all wrapped up in that one glass jar. You might get that feeling on seeing a loved one, the simple touch of someone who cares, hearing something that truly speaks to you on the radio, giving something to another, or simply feeling a warm afternoon breeze coming down off the mountains.

For every different person there could be a hundred different reasons for generating that wonderful feeling. And the best thing about it? It usually takes you by complete surprise. There you are going about your business, and bam. Every fibre of your body has just been touched by that invisible soft pulsing yellow glow. Leaving your mouth smiling, eyes sparkling and your heart just that bit bigger.

There are several things that can quite often trigger these feelings for me. Without completely leaving my soul out on a canape platter for the whole world to snack on, I’ll mention just the one today.

Italy. Bella Italia.

Now for any long term readers, this isn’t a surprise. I’ve often written of my love of all things Italian. Italy runs through my veins like a good custard slice does. It’s part of who I am. Not because of an extensive family tree, but my branches have definitely self sown themselves in that Italian direction.

Reading this article (here) on Italian street food brought forward a wonderful array of delicious taste bud memories from my different times spent there. Piadinas in darkened bars eaten at late hours. Wedges of thick volcano hot foccacia eaten while strolling up and down the one street as a teenager. Towering gelato eaten on freezing cold days, eaten simply because we could.

And the one that stands out as the most novel of all?

Ending all night club dancing with a crema filled croissant at 4am. Not just any croissant, but one that can only be purchased from the early morning baker who opens a tiny portion of his centuries old wooden door through a darkened cobble stoned alley way to tired dancers on their way home. A crisp and flakey croissant, still warm from the oven with custard like crema that brushes past your lips far too quickly. The secret baker who made this sweet delight and will only open up to the friend, of the friend, of the friend, who knows where on earth that secret wooden door can be found again come the next Saturday night.


Watching Two Greedy Italians recently I was inspired to make something similar to their Lemon and Ricotta Tart. I had limes and I had ricotta and if I talked to The Monkeys in an Italian accent while I baked the thing… maybe just maybe I could be transported even for a minute or two, to the land of vespas, pizza and that crema filled 4am goodness.

I was willing to give it a shot anyway.

Lime Ricotta Tart

(the love child of this Lemon and Ricotta Tart and this Lemon Meringue Pie)

one can of condensed milk

half cup lime juice and one grated lime

3 separated eggs

300g fresh ricotta

one sheet of puff pastry

Mix all ingredients together, except egg whites. Whisk egg whites separately, fold into mixture. Grease pie dish, line it with a sheet of puff pastry. Pour mixture in and bake 40minutes at 190C.

Verdict?… Dead easy. Tastes a bit like a light cheesecake, and a bit like a not so sweet lemon meringue pie.

For the love and taste of it all.

I get a kick out of food.

There I’ve said it. I’ve hinted at it, I’ve alluded to it and now I’ve said it…

I get a kick out of food. Nothing makes me happier than making something, unsure of how its going to turn out and then being blown away by the results. To buy something from the shop and then get home and think…actually I can make that, then do that and make it taste sooo much better. I get a real buzz from that. I’m not interested at this point in my life in super fancy pancy foody creations. I need things that will keep my family fed and contented, (and healthy.) Down the track I’m sure, actually damn sure I will want to spend 6 hours creating a particular meal, but for the moment when my time and attention is taken up predominantly by two small kids I like doing the basic cooking and having fun with it. Being able to provide that food for my family makes me so seriously happy, I sometimes wonder there may be something wrong with me.

Do I sound like a bit of a nutter, going over minute details of a particularly tasty pastry. Or the subtle tones of a handmade chocolate with hints of pepper, tobacco, and orange? Probably…But I can’t stop… I love it.

Making marmalade yesterday by 7.30am, seeing how it has set beautifully, using the natural pectin from soaking the seeds, running my fingers over the labeled recycled jars in the cupboard…true happiness. Making sourdough, letting the smell waft through the hall, hearing my husband say I think I need to have one of those rolls after dinner…makes me smile with pride. Proud that I made them, and proud that even after dinner he finds the bread so enticing that he wants to eat a bit more.

For me cooking is a creative outlet, I find it a lot of fun to build something up out of simple ingredients. Its also fascinating seeing how different concoctions of things come out with so many different results.

Bought food can give me a kick just as well. A delighted smile, when I taste something I wasn’t expecting. Trying to work out what the ingredients could be and how they made it. Looking at something lovingly created and amazingly produced. From an artfully decadent Adriano Zumbo creation, to just knowing where my free range ham came from.

Having bought some ham recently, Mr Chocolate and I were raving about the taste. The taste… I can’t tell you how different it is to regular store bought ham. The ham tasted drier, the flavours more in depth, there is a layer of fat around the outside and every bone in my body wants to eat that said fat as I know it will just add to the flavour. Compared to the regular bought one that tastes watery, salty, and a little slimy, it truly doesn’t compare.

Its expensive at around $40 a kilo but I seriously don’t mind paying the price. Not because we are rolling in money as we are not. But because I know where I bought it, I know who cured it, I know where that pig was raised in a free range environment, and I know that when I put a slice of that delectable pig on my tongue it will just slowly dissolve. So for us, I would rather pay more for ham and just eat it less frequently. When it is eaten, its eaten mindfully and every mouthful is enjoyed.

Since making more foods from scratch, we have set ourselves up with a certain standard though. A standard that means more work in the kitchen, but really and truly most of the time I don’t mind compensating that. As it means I know what went in to the food, and how it was made, and I truly, truly enjoy it, we all benefit from it.

The kick I get from eating my sourdough bread, with my own jam or marmalade, home made pasta with a little lovingly made ragu, a tarty yoghurt with an apple crumble, and while watching The Monkeys eat a biscuit that has 4 simple ingredients in rather than a whole paragraph. It really makes my heart swell with pride and my taste buds sigh with contentment.

Simple things that I truly love and just make a lot of sense to me.

(Down the track, add my own produce from my garden, and having built our own house and oh!…)

How to make Pici and share some love

Pici is a hand rolled pasta from the Tuscany region. Like the orecchiette, it’s a labour of love…. but jeez, it’s worth it. Side track the kids and go and bond with your partner in the kitchen. Pour a glass of wine, roll some pasta  together and share the love. If you are by yourself, crank up some music and let your mind wonder to every lovely thing thats ever happened, and enjoy that wonderful you time.

This is how we spent a Sunday, well a couple of hours of it. Chatting and rolling, chatting and rolling.

The Monkeys had other things to do such as reorganise the book shelf, dismantle the pram  and build duplo towers as tall as themselves. It was so lovely just to talk and make pasta. The rhythm of the pasta rolling hooks you in, your hands doing the same methodical thing over and over until the benches are all covered in drying pasta. Your hands in a rhythm, lets your mind wonder. I love nothing better than a passionate discussion about something. Time to really dissect the topic and explore it. Rolling the pasta and standing in the kitchen let us do just that. Unlike the  chocolate making from another weekend before, this one had happy smiles all over it.

….and you could taste that love and happiness in the pici.


450 grams fine ground semolina flour

225 mls water (approx)

In a bowl, slowly add the water to the flour, to form a stiff dough. It should be quite smooth and not really sticky to touch. To get to that smoothness, knead, knead, knead. It can be quite a stiff dough initially. Pull off a small palm sized piece, rolling it into a snake approximately 2cm  thick. Then using a knife, cut small 3cm portions off. Rolling one portion in your hand and then finished off on the board. (so it’s now a long thin snake) Pressing down with a skewer stick, length ways, following the body of the snake. The skewer sitting in the middle, lift up and then gently rolling the pasta over, to form a hollow noodle. Lay the pasta on a sprinkling of semolina to avoid sticking, and let dry for awhile before cooking.

Serve it with a simple sauce. Let the pasta be the main part of the dish, and the sauce the accompaniment. A little olive oil, a little garlic, some cherry tomatoes, a good bit of some great parmesan….

Buon appetito.