5 things – Monday 23 November 2020

How was your weekend? We had one of those ones that was quiet but busy – a lot of catch-up from the week that was and an appointment or two here and there. In between were, as always, the farmer’s market at 6am on Saturday and a little pool time.

Anyways, without further ado – and because I haven’t long before I have to log in to the day job – here’s the five:

1.Whitsunday Dreaming

Sarah’s up in Airlie Beach on the Whitsunday coast (about 1000kms north of where we are) and the house is very quiet without her. I dread to think how quiet it will be when she moves out in January (gulp).

She’s up there with a couple of girlfriends to celebrate finishing uni. They’ve been snorkelling and gone out to have a look at Whitehaven Beach which was, she said, every bit as beautiful as Instagram promised it would be.

They hired a car that has been an absolute comedy – if you go left the open door light comes on and the glove box is held together with duct tape which gradually loses its stick as the day gets warmer. They’ve been up and had a look at some of the coast in it so it’s served them well – and has given them some laughs.

Yesterday they took a scenic flight over the reef – she said the pictures really didn’t do the experience justice. Now, of course, I want to go and have a look around up there…maybe next year after summer is done.

2. Banana peels

From the “I’m not sure how I feel about that” file comes banana peel cooking. It is, apparently, a thing – and not just from a reducing waste viewpoint.

Nigella has a banana skin and cauliflower recipe in her new cookbook (note to Santa – it’s at the top of my list where you can’t miss it) and it’s being used in everything from cakes and muffins to jam. If you’re interested in the nutritional benefits of banana peel – and why wouldn’t you be? – check out this article.

3. Word of the year

The Australian National Dictionary Centre (yes, there is such a thing) has announced its word of the year for 2020. It’s…wait for it…iso. Iso had to beat off some strong competition to win the gong. Iso was used during the year on its own and in conjunction with other words – iso baking, iso kilos and iso waistline, being just a few. Also in the top 5 were:

  • bubble
  • covid normal
  • driveway – as in driveway drinks, driveway parties and the driveway dawn service we all attended for Anzac Day
  • black summer – a reference to the summer of fires

In case you’re interested, the Scottish word of the year was lockdown.

4. Writing Update

I’m still plodding through the first draft of what I’m now tentatively calling The Lake. I’m still behind on my word count and need to hit 2000 words a day consistently between now and next Monday to make my 50,000 word target for the month.

I’m resisting the urge to edit as I go along and because I haven’t plotted anything (and still don’t know how it’s all going to end) at the moment it’s about getting a first draft down and then having another pass to bring things into order before I send it off for the first read-through.

I was reminded the other day by Timehop where I was sitting word count wise this time 3 years ago. The book would become Happy Ever After and it was the fastest book I’ve ever written.

5. Foodie stuff

Yesterday was stir-up Sunday so out came my trusty and tattered copy of Delia Smith’s Christmas and the Christmas cake was made. Grant decided that he was going to make tomato chutney at the same time – which meant, of course, that I had to constantly read the recipe for that for him as well as concentrate on what I was trying to do with the Christmas cake. Anyways, it’s out of the oven and in its foil and will now be progressively fed brandy through until it’s cut.

I also attempted sorbet for the first time and made two flavours – raspberry and lychee. The favours were amazing but I wasn’t happy with the texture – it was a tad icier than I would have liked. I think it has something to do with the sugar content but, as they say, practice makes perfect.

What else? I cooked these Hervey Bay scallops on a pea puree (made with frozen peas) and topped with chorizo which we had as a starter on Saturday night. They tasted nice than the photo looks. To follow was red snapper cooked en papillotte ie in a paper parcel with some fennel, white wine and lemon.

Finally I made these zucchini and feta fritters for lunch yesterday. I featured them in Wish You Were Here but they’re also in the new novel and the recipe will be in that.

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

21 thoughts

  1. As usual Jo, there is so much in your post that I could comment on. But about the banana peel. I saw Nigella on ABC Breakfast show today talking about her curry with banana peel. It does make sense when she explains it. Iso sounds to me like the perfect word for 2020

    1. ABC Life ran a feature on banana peel and banana peel recipes last week too. I absolutely would give it a go – especially in the curry…

  2. Those scallops are impressive! And go you on the writing! That’s all very impressive. I’d add COVID boring instead of Covid Normal….everything is still tainted but fingers crossed we can embark on our roaring twenties celebration – when literally ANY excuse for a party will do!

    1. It’s been tough this month balancing day job, writing and my RWA stuff – as well as life this month. But getting the words down really is important to me.

  3. Another lovely week Jo – and now I have to go out and raid the grandgirl’s sandpit for some shells to make my scallops on – you do set the bar high! I have plenty of newspaper/toilet paper for the fish though – so that’s a bonus! Fortunately I hate fruit cake so I don’t have to dig out the shillings or whatever it is that you throw in with all those bits of fruit (and those digusting glace cherries that everyone adds!)

    1. Yeah, I’m not a fan of the Christmas cake or the cherries (ugh) but Grant loves it and the things you do, right?

  4. I really, really hate food waste and pride myself on having only one (very) small compost bag each week. Still, using banana peels in cooking is a stretch for my comfort zone. You may need to sing me a few more bars! 😀

  5. Hmmm…I am a little bit skeptical about banana peel cooking! At my son’s house, they have chickens. The chickens eat the banana peels. I think I might rather get some chickens to reduce food waste than eat banana peels. The zucchini and feta fritters look soooo much more appealing (or, should I say a-peeling?) 🙂

    1. It’s super weird – I’m seeing recipes all over the place now. You know how you see something once and think eeeeew, then you see it again and then again.

  6. So much delicious in one post – although I’m not sure about the banana skins! Sounds like the new book is going great and I am loving all the recipes – perhaps you need to write your own recipe book as well (as if you haven’t got enough to do already!) Loved the word of the year – I find things like that fascinating! Hope you have an ace week x

    1. Hi Suzanne, they are scallop shells, I popped 2 scallops into each shell. The scallops come from an area a bit north of us and are sweet and very lovely indeed.

  7. The only way I’ve seen ISO used is as an acronym for “In Search Of” (for example: “ISO a tutor for my kids”). And, of course it was used that way well before Covid. I’ve never seen it used as a word in itself.

    Good luck with your word count… very impressive! I can completely understand your urge to edit.

    1. It’s such an Aussie word – short for isolation – but we have a habit of shortening everything. Everyone has been referring to iso as in being in iso or putting on isokilos or doing some isobaking.

  8. What a great 5 again this week Jo! Even I’ve heard and seen Nigella out and about talking about banana peel cooking! Now I want to got o the Whitsundays too 😦
    Iso is so Aussie 🙂
    Good luck on the writing – I finished your latest and am hanging out for more!! #lifethisweek

  9. Practice run for a kidless house. Interesting times ahead for you and G. It’s hard I understand. But we all did it, right? Loved that you are experimenting and always prepared to give new things a go. I am waiting, waiting waiting for lychees to be back in the supermarket here. They are one fruit I can eat and I suspect the year from hell for fruit picking etc is a reason they are in yet here. This time last year I served them at my 70th Bday. Can’t be far off!

    Thank you so much for linking up for #lifethisweek. I am glad you did and look forward to seeing you next week. The optional prompt is 48/51 Self-Care Stories #7 30.11.2020. Denyse.

  10. I’m not on Instagram much (as it’s not on my devices so I only check it on my computer every so often) but did see that Sarah was in the Whitsundays. I’ve never been to any of the islands around there and it looks stunning.

    Well done on NaNo. I didn’t even start this year. I did open my multiple partially started manuscripts and had a bit of a look at one so guess that’s better than nothing. It was a not-great week for me and I had to make some decisions about my uni course – I disliked one of the subjects and was undecided about continuing… as you probably saw on FB.

    I’ve actually never really had sorbet I don’t think and tend to imagine it being like a more solid slushie….

  11. That Delia Smith recipe book looks so delightfully old school! And I’m not sure how I feel about banana peels in recipes either. The zucchini and feta fritters look yummy though

    I’m laughing about that temperamental rental car – sometimes it’s things like that which really make a holiday memorable!

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