Monday, 26 October 2009


Lengthy periods of unofficial unemployment/underemployment seems to be a reoccurring theme in my life this year. I have the kind of job where one week they can't get enough of me, and the next week they tell me they'll 'call' me when they need me next. Which sometimes isn't for three weeks. Financially, it is rather irksome, but in truth I wish I didn't enjoy it quite so much. Maybe then I'd find a new job. My housemate, KC, said to me the other day: "I think that maybe you're just not supposed to work." I think she's definitely right, the employment gods are clearly urging me elsewhere. I just don't know where yet.

I did not make Mr Rabbit, only the cushion against which he is nestled.

Perhaps I shall be a cushion maker. I have made not one, but four (!) cushions on a real sewing machine using my own hands over the last couple of weeks. Some of them even have zippers, although I soon realised that such feats of manchesterial dexterity are better left to more experienced sewers.

Those last three cushions were easy. But this one took months to make. I'm not even sure if I even like the colours anymore. Instructions to make one of yer own are here. And yes, that is Elvis's chin up there. Isn't he darling?

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Hippy Beans

So, among other things, this blog was supposed to be a space for me to document notable things I've cooked, thus reminding me that a day that ends in a delicious home cooked meal is a day not wasted. Instead, it seems to have turned into a photo album of baby things. Curious that.

Anyway, last week my dear friend Katy gave me a very early, very generous Christmas present: the Leon cookbook (thanks, Katy!). It's pretty fabulous, full of lift outs and cut outs and pop outs and all kinds of novelty fun, but also some very useful information on ingredients (did you know that Australian stringy-bark honey is perhaps the most environmentally friendly, pure honey in the world? Or that microwaving a lime for 40 seconds before juicing it will make it much, much juicer?) and some fantastic, whole-foody recipes, including this one.

I've adjusted it quite a lot based on my personal preferences and skint budget, so my version uses kale instead of baby spinach (for health reasons - kale is supposedly ultra super good for you) and omitted the addition of a punnet of cherry tomatoes (that just seemed wasteful). I also played around with the spices a bit, adding some ground coriander to deepen the flavour.

This recipe is actually more vegetable than it is beans, which makes it feel extra wholesome, and means it makes for a very balanced meal already, just served with bread or rice. I love cooking huge pots of stewy goodness that would be more than enough for a family of six, but feeds the two of us for several days. And I love cooking burrito-y style things served with a plethora of little bits to add, like toasted tortias, coriander, lime wedges and avocado. Something about little bowls of goodness makes me happy, and remind me of how eagerly I would grate the carrots and the cheese whenever my Mum made tacos (from an Old El Paso packet, of course) back in the day. Topped with a big, delicious German beer - or more appropriately, a Mexican one - this is the ultimate feel good meal.

Serves at least six, or two for one dinner and several lunches.

Olive oil
1 large eggplant, cut into large cubes
2 red capsicups, cut into large cubes
1 tsp ground cummin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic
3 red chillis, or 3 tsp sambal olek, or to taste (this much will make it pretty burny on your tongue)
2 tins tomatoes
1 bunch kale, cut into 2cm wide shreds
2 tins beans (I used one tin of black beans, one tin of mixed beans, but go for whatever combo works for you
1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce (the secret ingredient, apparently).

Warmed tortias
Lime wedges
Lots of coriander leaves
Grated cheese
Sour cream


1. In a large frying pan, heat
a glug of olive oil, and fry the capsicum and eggplant chunks over high heat until tender and charred in places. You will probably have to do this in batches. Set aside.
2. In a large stockpot, heat another glug of olive oil and fry the onion untill transparent. Add the garlic, spices, chilli and kale and fry, stirring constantly for one minute so that the kale gets coated in oily goodness.
3. Add the eggplants and capsicums, tinned tomatoes, beans, and sweet chilli sauce, stir thoroughly and bring to the boil.
4. Reduce to simmer. Allow to simmer for half an hour with the lid on the pot, then half an hour off.
5. Serve with bread, rice or full mexican fixings.

Like Baby Butterflies

Germinated lettuces (either rocket, baby spinach or mizuna. It's too soon to tell).

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

My Brilliant Idea Tuesday: Part deux

Take a colorful blanket, a cool drink and a good book, and picnic in your garden (or a nearby park).
Imagine you are on a relaxing holiday (if only for an hour) and enjoy the sunshine.

The book is the very fun, slightly naughty The Buddha of Suburbia which I am reading for my rather infrequent book club.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

My Brilliant Idea Tuesday

Since Tuesdays are often the bleakest and most uninspiring day of the week, I've decided to install a new ditty here at Quincey: My Brilliant Idea Tuesdays. Sometimes the idea will be an original of mine, sometimes I'll fleece it sneakily from elsewhere. Regardless, it will hopefully wake up and hit us like a new, exotically spiced tea, or a zesty, unexpected fragrance, or a glowing candle on a gray day, or a fresh, evocative new song. You know what I'm saying. Inspire us, people.

Budget, Rental Friendly Picture Framing

(click on photo to see it big)

Picture frames are expensive. Nice ones are tough to find, and you have to hammer holes in walls to hang them up - impossible if you're renting - or buy those pricey 3M sticky ones which I know for a fact are not fail-proof.

So, instead, why not experiment with different, more affordable ways to frame photographs, art or post cards on your walls? Try using ribbons, lace, or hand drawn frames on paper, and simply blutac them directly onto the wall on the outside of your pictures, or onto the edge of the images themselves. And if bluetac is against the rules in your house too, then...I'm sorry. Maybe try using 3M double sided tape?

Monday, 12 October 2009


Difficult to photograph, but unbelievably uplifting.

My nasturtium baby

My tomato babies.

In truth, I have six nasturtium babies and 17 tomato babies, but these ones were the prettiest and I like to play favorites with my children.

Still to plant:
Lettuces (spicy, Italian and Asian mixes).
Rainbow chard.
Zucchinis and squashes.

If only it would stop raining so I could actually plant the rest of my garden family instead of staring longingly at the packets.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009


Yesterday, we briefly adopted a baby magpie. Tom found him, not moving, in the middle of the road on our street just before a hailstorm hit. We think he fell out of his nest. We fed him lots of fresh earthworms from our garden and gave him some water, and he seemed to perk up a lot, although he couldn't fly and walked with a fairly comical but painful looking waddle on his huge oversized feet.

I think he really liked us; he kept jumping onto Tom's shoulder and refusing to budge (I didn't let him on my shoulder because I have a major fear of bird wings flapping near my face). He was very fluffy and soft and made the cutest noise when he was hungry; kind of a 'peeeep, peeeeep'.

We took him to a nice family who look after injured birds and they promised to take good care of him. We named him 'Jefferson'. We miss him a lot.