DOGGIES & DROUGHTLANDER

It’s a beautiful winter’s day here. The sun is shining through the windows and warming up the very clean floors. While I was having a lovely Sunday lie-in this morning, my wonderful husband got up and vacuumed and steam-mopped all the living, dining and kitchen area. He moved all the furniture and cleaned under them as well. So I made pancakes, because they all love them and we haven’t had them for a while. The reason the floor really needed a good clean is due to our newest family member. Adding to our menagerie of two elderly beagles (Boo and Obi), our 2yo Siberian cat Milly, our Eastern Bearded Dragon Norbert, Samurai Fighting Fish Bilbo and our two nesting lovebirds Peach and Mango, we have recently welcomed Audrey, the Miniature Dachshund puppy. Audrey, who has recently completed puppy training and can sit, stay, drop, roll over and shake hands, is alas not toilet trained because her Mummy, my 19yo daughter, has no idea where to start with it. Therefore we are on the constant lookout for puddles and poops and sometimes the house smells like a puppy toilet. Nevertheless, she is quite adorable and she also has a purpose. She will be trained as a therapy dog to help her Mummy with her anxiety, depression and OCD. In the meantime, she has brought her a lot of love and joy, and for that we are quite thankful.

TAY AND AUDREY

 

I’m also at a loss tonight because no more Outlander on Sunday nights, after that amazing Finale last week! So now we are officially in Droughtlander! It has been a long week for me, sick on the couch and bored. So bored, in fact, that I actually broke up the next book in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series – Voyager – into possible episodes for Season 3, just for fun. I learned something important from that exercise. I re-read these books regularly and I do not skip a single word. They are a luxurious read full of lushly drawn characters, incredible world-building and tangled plots. Pages upon pages are spent on descriptions of the scenery, the weather, the sights, smells and feel of a place, taking the blank canvas of the reader’s imagination and painting a detailed picture. More pages are expended on the thoughts of the character in whose POV she is writing at that time, until you feel that you are inside their head, that you know that person intimately. Conversations are peppered with descriptions of the tone of voice, the facial expression, the actions of the character. It creates a visual in the reader’s head, unique to each of us. But when predicting what might be included in each episode I realized that the scenic descriptions that take pages upon pages can be achieved by the sets and locations where the scene is filmed and they are absorbed in a simple glance (thanks to the Emmy Nominated Jon Gary Steele and team). Those thoughts that are so wordy in the book, are dealt with using voiceover, facial expression and added diaglogue. The dialogue itself can take page upon page but takes little time at all when performed by the talented cast. And so, the perception that there is too much in the books to include in a show is too simple a concept, and the end result is that I not only deeply appreciate the incredible storytelling of my favourite author, but also the phenomenal talent it has taken to bring it to life on the screen. What an enormous job! And they have done it so well.

OL FINALE(Copyright Starz)

 

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Why hello there 2016!

So I started my blog and then didn’t blog for 6 months.  My bad!  Let’s see how I go this year!

ONE WORD

The hectic days of NaNoWriMo in November, followed by the even more hectic days of December as the year came to a close, encompassing the end of the school year, Christmas and all the preparations and celebrations it drags with it, are over. We have held 2016 by her tiny feet, slapped her new pink bottom and heard her birthing cry. Now it’s time to plunge in with both feet, hands in the air, one eye closed against the fears and doubts, one eye open to the possibility of adventure and excitement. I don’t do “Resolutions” but I do have “Goals” although they are usually the same each year – lose weight, get fit, catch up with the filing, be a better friend, get my finances under control, take more time for my art. But I do choose One Little Word to live by for the year. This year it is DARE. This year I DARE to finally put myself out there, to complete the incomplete, to conclude, to take risks and be brave. By the end of this year, when she is an old crone taking her last hacking breath, I intend to be proud that I had the courage to put myself out there and tried to reach the stars. And so, my friends, WATCH THIS SPACE. Because this year, I am going to be DARING!

DARE 6

 

FRESH & DELICIOUS

I have decided to try and branch out with my meals this year.  You know how you always stick to the same repertoire?  This was my New Years Day dinner and it was delicious!  I didn’t have the makings of a real Vietnamese salad so I just used shredded lettuce, carrot and cucumber, some sliced spring onion and a squeeze of lime juice.  I put the chicken balls on top and drizzled on some kecap manis.  Yum!  It is now going on the list!  My friend Helen suggested it would be healthier not to roll in the sugar, but it gave a fantastic caramelised finish and I think it balanced out the salty/sour/sweet balance you need for Vietnamese, however it does make a bit of a mess!   Try it without if you like.

CHICKEN BALLS
Vietnamese Chicken Balls

INGREDIENTS:

500g Chicken Mince

3 tbspns fish sauce

1/2 small onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (or 2 tspns minced garlic)

2 tspns minced lemongrass

3-4 tbspns chopped coriander

1 tbspn chopped mint

1 1/2 tspn cornflour

1/2 tspn salt

Few grinds fresh black pepper

Sugar for rolling the meatballs (about 1/4 cup)

1. Mix chicken with rest of ingredients except for sugar in large bowl. Mix gently because if you overwork the meat, meatballs will be tough.

2. Using slightly damp hands, roll mixture into golf ball sized meatballs. Put on a plate and refrigerate for half an hour.

3. Preheat oven to 200C.

4. Take meatballs out of the fridge and line a pan with baking paper.

5. Roll meatballs in sugar and place on paper.

6. Bake for 15 minutes, giving the pan a shake a few times to get even browning.

 

NEW FRIENDS

We made some lovely new friends as the year came to a close and shared New Years Eve with them as well.  Mel is a fantastic photographer and took this gorgeous photo of our Siberian Milly, who turned 2 on Christmas Day.  I hope to share more wonderful times with her and John over 2016!

MILLY NYE
Milly NYE 2015

I hope you all have a wonderful New Year!  Pop in to see my Outlander updates, excerpts from my writing and more from my life.

Tracey xxx