Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Miso soup

A few posts ago I wrote about the sad fact that the last few months had seen me expand. So it was back on the Weight Watchers programme for me. Dear oh dear.
So far, progress has been slow but steady in the right direction, hooray for me. I'm still to get to the measurements where I will  deem it worthwhile to devote an inordinate amount of time to making myself a complicated skirt (I go by measurements, not weight, and the whole weightloss thing sprung from a project to make myself a skirt, and shocked myself with the measurements).
For the first two weeks or so I stuck pretty closely to the WW programme. This was enough to recalibrate my ideas about portion size, which was one of my problems I admit. I love eating good food, what can I say? Apart from that, I am also observing the following strategies:
1) Giving the "c" foods a wide berth - chips, chocolate, cheese and cake. Not that I ate chips and chocolate all that often, but when I do, I don't seem to have an "off" button. Meanwhile, cheese and cake played a role in my undoing.
2) Limit snacking to one piece of fruit between meals. That's it and that's all, and only if I'm hungry.
3) Eliminating sugar from tea and coffee.
4) Walking at least 30 minutes every day - Dash the Dog is enjoying this one, and he's lost weight too.
5) Being very careful about my wine intake - one small glass only, and only at weekends.
6) Switching to skim milk.

I've found soup to be my main lunch time choice through all this- lots of vegies, not much fat. I'm enjoying miso soup quite often, like the one above. Delicious and filling, I don't feel deprived at all after a bowl of this. It's really easy. Here's what I do:

My miso soup

1 tablespoon miso - I'm using red miso at the moment, but will probably experiment with other miso types in due course
1 tablespoon soy sauce
50-100g firm tofu, cut into small cubes
2 bok choy (or other greens - silverbeet, spinach, snow peas etc) shredded
2 spring onions shredded

Boil 300mL of water in a saucepan. Pour a bit of water into a small bowl and let cool a little. Whisk in the miso to thin it out a bit and then pour into the saucepan. Add the soy sauce. Bring to the boil again, then take off the heat. Add the tofu, greens and spring onions, and let it sit for a minute or two to heat through.

This is one of those recipes you can change according to what you have - noodles, grated carrot, grated pumpkin, finely diced zucchini. You could try anything really.


Friday, August 10, 2012

The Ovine Olympics

Sorry I couldn't get a better picture, but I couldn't resist posting this photo of our local identity Sheepie S Sheep. There he is on the bike, racing around the track mown into the grass. It's a bit hard to see, but his mate, the Pig is sailing. Olympic rings in the background (The IOC hasn't gotten onto him with their logo police yet).  This photo was taken yesterday afternoon. This morning, Sheepie is on the gold medal podium, with the Pig taking silver.  Sheepie's been out every day of the Olympics representing Australia in just about every sport. He lit the torch. He's been in the swimming. Sheepie never fails to make me laugh. This blog seems to have taken on an ovine theme lately. Our little lamb is now a week old and is thriving on a mixture of handfeeding and the occasional feed from Mum Susy when we can hold her for long enough for the lamb to latch on. Mum Susy loves this of course!
We've been casting about for a name for the lamb. I had Maggie in mind, in honour of the fact that my favourite flowering tree, the Magnolia is flowering at the moment. They are really beautiful this year too. Kate from Slow Living Essentials. suggested Mintie, which makes me grin. It looks though that I'll be overruled by the rest of the family.Her name is to be Olympia, in honour of the Olympics. That seems as fitting as any, so Olympia it is..

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Name that lamb

This is me, fresh from a few hours' gardening - digging, pruning, gathering sheep droppings for the compost etc - which accounts for my dishevelled appearance. I'm holding my new constant companion, a five day old female lamb.
She got into the spirit of things, and was literally at my heels the whole time. I do feel sorry for her. While the other lambs are with their mothers, she spends her time all alone in the paddock. So while she is relatively small we are giving her lots of cuddles. At night we bring her into a little enclosure that we have near the house. There are foxes about, and we'd hate to lose her.
Anyway, she needs a name. Any suggestions?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Nice lemons!

Still not much happening in the garden at the moment, but I thought I'd share a picture of my lemon tree. Doesn't it look lovely? So lovely that I've kept the lemons on it for the moment. They look better there than in a bucket in my pantry waiting for me to do something with them.
This lemon tree was the only productive thing on our 5 acres when we bought this place nine years . It's been a pretty good tree since, but this year with all the rain we've had, the lemons are fat and heavy with juice. The best ever crop.
The tree looks are bit sparse at the bottom. This would be because the sheep gave it an unscheduled prune a few weeks ago.
Speaking of sheep, our little hand-fed lamb is going great guns. Mum Susy continues to be a write-off as a mother. Very weird, because her mothering instincts to date have always been fine. Who knows? We don't.
Today is fine but the August winds are blowing hard. I had plans to be outside but I've changed my mind. I can work outdoors in the rain, no problem. In fact, I quite like it. But wind sets my teeth on edge.

Friday, August 3, 2012


The last few days have seen the birth of three lambs - one to go. Above is a beautiful little boy, born to the ewe with the most personality, the Woolly Jumper.
Yesterday morning we woke to find Susy had also lambed, but for some unknown reason, she has rejected this lamb. Doesn't want a baa of her (sorry, couldn't resist a pun!). She's an older ewe and she's had a few lambs now. Maybe she's just over this whole lambing thing.
Fortunately, the lamb is strong. We've been hand feeding her every couple of hours. She's eating well, and already knows that a pair of human legs equals food.
The plaintive cries though are pretty heartrending. We have her in a little enclosure with Mum. The lamb is trying to feed from her mother, but Mum is completely ignoring her. 
Gee, nature is cruel.
So we are all acting as surrogate mothers. I predict this lamb will be a pet for years to come. Any suggestions for names??

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Continuing a Grand Tradition

Continuing the Grand Tradition here at Spades and Spoons of Inconsistency in Blogging. After an active (for  me) June, I went on to have an unproductive July. Here's why...
As the name implies, this blog is mainly about gardening and cooking. In both departments over the last month, though, things have been less than inspiring.
In the "Spades", or gardening department, it's been quiet. The renewed vegie patch has been planted with green manure ready for spring. I have also planted this year's garlic, and have a few lettuces and silverbeet in there. Apart from that the order of the day has been pruning - 100 grape vines, fruit trees and some rose bushes. Try as I might, I can't think of one interesting thing to say about pruning. I've already blogged about how to prune a grape vine. I don't think I'm doing the fruit tree pruning "right" so I'm loathe to blog about that - I don't want to give out uninformed advice (hey, but it hasn't stopped me before!). And that's it out the back. No material there.
As for "Spoons", my kitchen capers have been curtailed by a run-in with the tape measure. I don't weigh myself as a rule. But I had a suspicion that I'd been putting on weight over the last few months by the fit of my clothes. Anyway, early last week I decided to start on the Beignet skirt from Colette patterns. With multiple panels, a lining and 12 buttonholes, this was going to be the most complicated skirt I'd yet attempted. I have some beautiful corduroy I bought in New York, and some lovely material for a lining.  I was psyched for a major work here. I was going to take my time and do everything properly, as opposed to my normal rush jobs (which aren't that fast either).
In line with this philosophy, I uncharacteristically decided to actually take my measurements. My weight and shape are normally pretty stable, but as I mentioned, I noticed my clothes were "filling out", so I fronted up to the tape measure.
Sigh. It seems that the last few months jobless and with plenty of time to bake and eat my way through David Herbert's Best Ever Baking Recipes had me indeed at my "baking weight", as suspected (whatever that is, as I haven't weighed myself.).
No way was I going to make the investment in time and material in the Beignet skirt at this weight. Plus I felt that I had to change my habits before things got completely out of hand.  There was nothing for it but to shelve my sewing plans, and dig out my Weight Watchers materials from 2002. I lost about 10 post-baby kilos with Weight Watchers then. I love food and cooking, and hate diets, but I could live with WW. Nothing for it but to go back on the program.
The thing about WW though, is that to be successful , I have to "dumb down" my cooking quite a bit. The WW is good nutrition, but it doesn't accommodate too much in the way of fancy, or complicated cooking, and certainly not baking. So it's plain food around here for the time being at least.
So, there you have it, a dearth of subjects recently  for a gardening/cooking blog. The other thing is that until I shift the weight (or the centimetres) there won't be any clothes sewing. I have a few home dec projects I could do, but the interest factor in them is pretty minimal.
Still, spring is around the corner, and things will be hotting up in the garden. And though I don't wish to turn this into a weight-loss blog, I could post some of the low-fat cooking I've been doing, if I find a dish interesting enough. Maybe.