5 things – Monday 30 November

Okay, it’s the last day of spring (according to the calendar anyway) and less than 4 weeks to Christmas. I know, right? I can’t get to Sydney before Christmas but thankfully Sarah will so I need to get presents finished this week for her to take down with her.

Before I get into this weeks 5 things, an apology – I’ve been pretty slack on my blog reading and responding of late, but hope to be able to catch up this week. I’ve also behind on my blogging but again, hope to catch up this week.

Okay, that out of the way, here’s the 5:

1. Osprey update

Flying lessons are well underway for our little family of ospreys at the beach – not that you can really tell from my pics. Anyways it’s looking very much like mum and dad osprey are getting ready to kick the 2 youngsters out of the nest.

2. Dumplings

It’s a sign of what this year has been like when I say that on Saturday we out for dumplings – as in proper dumplings – for the first time this year. And they were good.

It was also the first time we’d been to Brisbane CBD this year – and it felt a tad weird to be out and about in the city. I haven’t been to Sydney at all this year (I’m usually down there every 4-6 weeks) or Melbourne (I usually manage a couple of long weekends) so decent dumplings haven’t been on the agenda.

Anyways, cravings have been satisfied. We even managed to pick up some Hokkaido cheese tarts to bring home. As a side note if you haven’t tried these, you absolutely have to – one of my Instagram connections made the comment that these tarts would be what you’d eat in heaven, and she could just be right.

3. Christmas Partying

We had our first and only Christmas party of the year yesterday – the thank you lunch for Neighbours Aid volunteers at the coast’s quirkiest pub, The Banana Bender at Aussie World. Neighbours Aid is a charity that operates a number of op shops on the coast – 7 at last count – and my husband and daughter work for them.

Sarah organised most of it and volunteers potted tiny succulents as thank you gifts; with each store having their own table for “bubble” purposes.

It amazes me each year to hear about the projects that the profits support – in the case of Neighbours Aid it’s mostly about supporting education through the provision of meals, clothing or directly funding schools and teachers in developing countries. In the last 12 months, these 7 op shops and their volunteers have helped raise over $650,000 for their projects. Not bad, hey?

While the party was held in The Shed – modelled on a shearing shed – the pub itself is full (and I mean full) of memorabilia and bits and pieces and I loved these two light fittings – one fashioned from beer bottles and the other from cocktail glasses, shakers and wine buckets.

4. Writing Update

It’s the last day of November so that means the last day for NaNoWriMo and, as at the time of writing this post, I have just 400 words to go to meet my target of 50,000 words for the month. I think it’s safe to say that I’ll get there.

Of course that doesn’t mean the story is done – I reckon there’s another 25-30,000 words in this but I thing I’ve finally hit on my ending…although knowing me, that could change.

In other news, early next year to align with the release of Escape To Curlew Cottage I’ll be re-releasing Wish You Were Here, the first of the Brookford books. I’ll take the opportunity to release an ebook of the recipes that were in that book for those who have already bought it or who are signed up to the newsletter.

The new cover is looking great – here it is side by side with Escape To Curlew Cottage.

5. Kitchen Diaries

Very little happening in the kitchen last week – partly because I was kept super busy and partly because we were out all weekend.

I’m at that point though where I really need to get my hands into flour, so hopefully will do so this week.

What I did make was this Red Lentil Red Curry Coconut Dhal. It looks like nothing but tastes amazing. It’s meat-free and while I had it for lunch (4 days running) it makes for a good supper too.

I put sweet potato in it that we’d had roasted for dinner (I did extra so we’d have leftovers for the dhal) but you can also use pumpkin.

What you need

  • 1 cup red lentils cooked in 3 cups of water using the directions on the packet
  • 1 sweet potato cubed and roasted
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 400g tin diced tomatoes
  • 270ml tin coconut cream
  • salt (or fish sauce) to season
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of samba (optional – if you like it hot)

What you do with it

  • Fry off the onion in a little vegetable oil for a few minutes over a medium heat until its softened. Add the curry paste and fry for a few more minutes.
  • Toss in the lentils, the tomatoes and the coconut cream. Gently simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add the sweet potato and salt (or fish sauce) to season and stir through. If you’re adding samba do it now or drop a dollop in individual bowls to serve.

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

5 thoughts

  1. Congrats on reaching your NaNoWriMo goal! Your food pictures look so yummy. We are on day four of Thanksgiving leftovers so anything that doesn’t taste like turkey makes my mouth water. Regarding your lentil soup: can other colors of lentils be substituted? I don’t know what the differences are between the colors, but I have a big bag of green lentils and no red.

  2. They’ll be fine, it will just give it a different c olour – sort of muddy looking but should still taste good. I hope you had a great thanksgiving.

  3. Yay you for smashing your NanoWriMo goal! Woot! It must be the British person in me but whatevs, I LOVE those new book covers – they’re the real deal! Can’t wait to read. I can catch up on your back catalogue now because I am finally dragging myself into the 21st century with a kindle. I haven’t had dumplings since lockdown and am getting serious withdrawals. Must rectify the situation. Now that the borders are open, fingers crossed it won’t be too long before we’re catching up over some vino and dumplings 🙂 Have a great week!

  4. Hi from Rottnest – sitting in a cafe to get some wifi juice (and a flat white) so thought I’d pop over for some gratuitious food and fun – wasn’t disappointed! It looks like your week has been fabulous and well done on hitting your November writing target – that is a HUGE achievement!

  5. My, haven’t thought of cooking lentils in years. Used to be a staple in my repertoire of recipes. This dish looks pretty amazing to me. Give me all the sweet potato!!

    The cover art on your new book and the rerelease is very cute. Warm and inviting. Good job on the writing for NaNoWriMo. If I can ever get my behind in order over here, would love to join a writing challenge.

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