All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…


3 Comments

The day has finally arrived!

quotescover-JPG-43

Well, the day has finally arrived. In just a short few hours my support worker will be picking me up to drive me to the train station, where I will board a train that departs for Melbourne, and then…I will be on holiday! For one whole week I will be able to gallivant around Melbourne doing all sorts of exciting, bizarre and wacky things. Art galleries, museums, aquariums…they will all be my oyster! I will get to take random photographs of street art, architecture, the hustle bustle of city life and (of course) the occasional selfie! For seven days I can do whatever I like – or rather, I can do whatever my anxiety and extremely strict budget ($15 a day) allows!

Meadhbh is super excited about the trip. She’s been squealing and babbling for days about all the things we can do in Melbourne. She doesn’t understand the budget may interfere with some of our plans, so there may be a chance she’ll be let down throughout the trip, but it’s nice to have her happy and excited. Audrey, too, is longing to walk the galleries of the NGV (National Gallery of Victoria) and check out the numerous laneways that mark Melbourne as the place to be. It’s rare for Audrey to be so excited about something, so it’s nice to know she can get giddy and overwhelmed, instead of being the staunchly stoic person she usually is. Shay, meanwhile, is gagging at the mouth over the sheer number of “quality totty” (his words) that he’ll get to check out (read: perve on) throughout our adventure. Despite his misogyny, it’s wonderful to have him focused on something positive, rather than endlessly pointing out the negatives which is his standard.

Vanessa, however, has been in overdrive. Over the last few days, in the lead up to our holiday, her abuse has been escalating. She’s been quick to point out all the bad things that happened to me in Melbourne, bad things that I will be reminded of as I roam the city and revisit locations from my past. These triggers are things I know she will seize upon; they will cause her to abuse me, to bombard me with critical comments and hurtful words, but I’m hoping my anticipation of her abuse will allow me the strength to ignore it. After all, I’m determined not to have anything (especially Vanessa) ruin my holiday.

Because I don’t have a laptop or smartphone capable of accessing the internet (abject poverty, remember!) it’s doubtful I will be online much over the next several days. I may visit an internet cafe if time (and money) allow, but don’t go expecting many updates or photographs over the next seven days. Know that I will be okay. Know that I will be having a good time. And I promise I’ll update you all on my adventures upon my return. And yes, you can expect a plethora of photographs to decorate your screens when I do have internet access again!

I have a few finishing touches to add to my packing, so will sign off now. Suffice to say, I am exceedingly excited, and can’t wait to board the train!

Wishing you all a happy, safe and healthy week. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do! ;)

Advertisements


7 Comments

Finally, something to look forward to!

The last time I left Wodonga – the town I reluctantly call home – was in November 2013. I have wanted to leave it again ever since.

You see, I’m not the biggest fan of this rather desolate, uninspiring town. There is nothing to do. Nothing to see. Nothing to become passionate about. There are only a scattering of shops selling the same mundane, unessential items and an arts scene so miniature it barely registers. For a place to mean something to me, it needs to challenge me, it needs to inspire me, it needs to take my passion and multiply it ten fold. London does this. Inverness does this. Vancouver does this. Wodonga does not. All Wodonga does is suffocate me. All this insipid, uneventful town does is squeeze the passion from my soul leaving nothing but a hollowed out husk of nothingness.

So, it is with great relief that I can announce I will be leaving Wodonga.

Alas, not forever.

Just for a holiday.

But it is a holiday I’ve been waiting over eighteen months for, and a holiday that I cannot wait to begin. Last week, after months of trying to make it work, I finally got my finances in order (with a lot of help from my parents) to afford a seven-day break to Melbourne. I leave on the 19th August for seven days of fun and frivolity in the capital of Victoria. For seven whole days I get to explore the city, bathe in its culture, soak up its arts and feed the passion that has gone hungry for far too long.

I will be going to the art galleries. I will be going to the museum. I will be going to the ocean. I will be going to Lord of the Fries! I will be going to a gathering on the 21st that will challenge my social anxiety to its core. I will be doing anything and everything my heart desires; everything that it has wanted to do, but Wodonga has prevented, for the last eighteen months.

I cannot wait!

And I’m not the only one.

Meadhbh has been exceedingly excited ever since I booked the accommodation. She’s been throwing in her two cents worth about what we should be getting up to. She’s eager to spend time looking at the awesome street art that decorates many of Melbourne’s alleys and laneways. She’s keen to window shop all the elegant clothing stores that she knows we can’t afford to buy anything from. And she’s made me promise we’ll go to the aquarium to wave at all the fishes, penguins and turtles.

Audrey too is excited about the impending excursion. She, more than me, feels culturally hungry due to the dearth of options available in Wodonga. She loves art and everything to do with this avenue of life, so she cannot wait to roam the corridors of the NGV again, soaking in all the fantabulous art that is on offer. Shay, is keen to check out all the hipster chicks and professional totty (his words) that populate this international destination. He believes there is far more feminine talent on offer in Melbourne than Wodonga and is eager to perve on as many people as he possibly can. Whilst Vanessa, ever the abusive sociopath, is looking forward to reminding me of all the pain and torment that I’ve experienced in Melbourne throughout my years there.

And she’s right. However excited I am about visiting Melbourne, however overjoyed I am at being able to spend some time away from Wodonga, it is not going to be easy. I will be bombarded with memories of not only my abusive relationship but also the years I spent homeless, destitute and forgotten on Melbourne’s fair streets. Those memories may overwhelm me at times, so I’m going to have to be careful, to be alert to triggers and potential minefields, but I refuse – stubbornly so – to let this impact on my first holiday in over a year and a half. Melbourne has been bad to me – but for many years, it was good to me. And it is these memories I hope will float to the surface. After all, I need – nay, deserve – to have a good time.

For it’s been far too long since happiness visited me.

Nine sleeps to go…

 


7 Comments

Ten things that never fail to perk me up…

Well, the journey has come to an end. Today marks the final installment of the Ten Times to Be Happy challenge and, truth be told, I’m a little sad. I’ve enjoyed sharing my happiness over the last ten days, and hope that you’ve enjoyed joining me on my journey. Today is all about things that cheer us up, as I share ten things guaranteed to brighten my mood on even the darkest day.

~1~
Literature

Books

My first memory of being on this earth was walking to the library alone. My parents, in their infinite awesomeness, would watch from the front door of our house as I walked the two hundred yards to the local library. Once there, I would fill my satchel with books and then rush home to begin devouring them.

In the intervening years I have developed a passionate love of both libraries and the books contained within them. I cherish good literature above all else. It fills me with joy. Reinforces my hope for a better, more kinder world. And fills me with happiness like nothing else can.

“She would have liked to sit upon a rock and listen to words, not of any man, but detached, mysterious, poetic words that she alone would interpret through some sense inherited from sleep.”
~ Patrick White, Voss ~

~2~
Serena Ryder

serena19

With a tremendous vocal range, intelligent lyrics and a knack for getting the best out of the guitar, how could you not fall for this Canadian singer-songwriter? Her music has been the source of tremendous solace throughout my life, scoring several pertinent moments (e.g. my breakdown, my homelessness) and filling me with joy on even the darkest, most brutal of days.

Would you mind if I pretended we were somewhere else
Doin’ something we wanted to?
‘Cause all this livin’ makes me wanna do
Is die ’cause I can’t live with you
And you don’t even care.

Would you mind if I pretended I was someone else
With courage in love and war?
I used to think that’s what I was
But now this lyin’ hurts too much
And I don’t know what for.

I’m weak in the knees for you
But I’ll stand if you want me to
My legs are strong and I move on
But honey I’m weak in the knees…

Would you mind if I walked over and I kissed your face
In front of all of your friends?
Would you mind if I got drunk and said
I wanna take you home to bed
Oh, would you change your mind?

~ from ‘Weak in the Knees’ ~

~3~
Scotland

Skye

The heart stopping landscape of the Isle of Skye.

When I was a child, growing up in the small village of Portlethen, on the eastern coast of Scotland, I was more concerned with being a brattish schoolboy – playing practical jokes on my family and getting into as much mischief as I could – than being aware of the country I was living in. But all that changed when my parents took us on a day trip to Loch Ness, a couple of hundred miles west, in the heart of the Highlands. I can vividly remember gazing through the car window at the luscious landscape all around me, feeling a pull on my heartstrings that indicated all was well in my world.

After moving to Wales when I was eleven, I felt like a part of my soul was being ripped out. I missed Scotland with an intense passion, and couldn’t wait to return. Several years and one hypomanic episode later, I did, returning to my childhood love of the Highlands with a twenty-six mile hike down the shores of Loch Ness. From there I went to Fort William, where I experienced the grandeur of Glen Nevis and breathtaking Glenfinnan, on the shores of Loch Shiel.

Every day I spent in Scotland made me feel complete. The country fills me with a passion unlike anything else on this earth. I feel connected to Scotland. I experience physical pain when I am away from it. It is, without question, my home on this earth. Living in Australia, being so far from my home, fills me with sadness. But I have made my home a shrine to this magical, mysterious country. Maps of Skye, of Loch Ness, of Torridon adorn my walls. Photographs of the Highlands, of the islands, of the cities, decorate every nook and cranny.

Scotland, its people, its culture, its folklore, fills me with a happiness unlike anything else on this world. It soothes my soul. It completes me.

Caledonia
by James Hogg

Caledonia! thou land of the mountain and rock,
Of the ocean, the mist, and the wind-
Thou land of the torrent, the pine, and the oak,
Of the roebuck, the hart, and the hind;
Though bare are thy cliffs, and though barren thy glens,
Though bleak thy dun islands appear,
Yet kind are the hearts, and undaunted the clans,
That roam on these mountains so drear!

A foe from abroad, or a tyrant at home,
Could never thy ardour restrain;
The marshall’d array of imperial Rome
Essay’d thy proud spirit in vain!
Firm seat of religion, of valour, of truth,
Of genius unshackled and free,
The muses have left all the vales of the south,
My loved Caledonia, for thee!

Sweet land of the bay and wild-winding deeps
Where loveliness slumbers at even,
While far in the depth of the blue water sleeps
A calm little motionless heaven!
Thou land of the valley, the moor, and the hill,
Of the storm and the proud rolling wave-
Yes, thou art the land of fair liberty still,
And the land of my forefathers’ grave!

~4~
Doctor Who

doctorwhoowls

Even owls like Doctor Who! :)

My favourite television series – bar none! It has been part of my life since 1988, cheering me up and filling me with confidence for over twenty-five years. The good Doctor never fails to lift my spirits and his confidence in the face of danger pushes me to victory against whatever demon has decided to raise its ugly head.

My top five NuWho stories that never fail to cheer me up:

1. Utopia
2. Vincent and the Doctor
3. Partners in Crime
4. Human Nature/The Family of Blood
5. The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang

“I am and always will be the optimist.
The hoper of far-flung hopes and the dreamer of improbable dreams”
~Eleventh Doctor~

My top five Classic Who stories that never fail to cheer me up:

1. Remembrance of the Daleks
2. City of Death
3. Doctor Who and the Silurians
4. Inferno
5. The Evil of the Daleks

~5~
Blog Comments

comments

It’s funny how such a simple thing can fill me with happiness and perk me up on overcast, depression filled days. Just the sight of that orange notification button causes my heart to flutter. I hover the cursor upon it, overflowing with curiosity for what post has inspired some beautiful soul to share their thoughts with me. And then smile sweetly as their words stoke my heart, filling me with joy and contentment.

“In the midst of feeling completely desperate and totally compelled to hurt myself, I came across a picture of your safe box then followed the link to your blog. Just reading the facts about you has calmed me down enough to not. Thank you.”
~ from Anna, on About Me ~

~6~
Smoking

roll-your-own-cigarette

Rolling your own cigarette. One of the most gloriously relaxing pastimes imaginable! :)

I don’t know whether it’s because it’s on my mind at the moment, given we’re in day two of my quit smoking campaign, but smoking a cigarette is one of life’s only joys. I don’t know whether it was simply the inhalation of relaxing chemicals or the glorious routine of making the cigarette, but smoking never failed to lift my spirits and put a smile on my face. But that’s all in the past now. I’m not allowed to smoke again. I’m determined this time!

“After some time he felt for his pipe. It was not broken, and that was something. Then he felt for his pouch, and there was some tobacco in it, and that was something more. Then he felt for matches and he could not find any at all, and that shattered his hopes completely.”
~ J.R.R Tolkien, The Hobbit ~

~7~
Binge watching television series!

24:  LIVE ANOTHER DAY:  Cast L-R:  Michael Wincott, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Giles Matthey, Benjamin Bratt, Yvonne Strahovski, Gbenge Akinnagbe, Kiefer Sutherland, William Devane, Kim Raver and Tate Donovan.  24:  LIVE ANOTHER DAY is set to premiere Monday, May 5 with a special season premiere, two-hour episode (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co.  Cr:  Greg Williams/FOX

Binge watching 24 is one of my favourite, most cherished pastimes!

I’ve been doing this long before it was fashionable to do so. Back in the day I used to binge watch Alias, 24 and all manner of British dramas and situation comedies. On my days off work I would settle in with whatever show had taken my fancy and, for several hours, immerse myself in the fictional world. But now everyone does it, and they think they invented it. But they didn’t. I did! :p

“Too much of a good thing can be wonderful!”
~ Mae West ~

~8~
Runrig

Runrig

I first discovered Runrig when I purchased the album The Stamping Ground. It was one of those on-a-whim purchases that we all make from time to time. I don’t know what drew me to the CD. Perhaps the colourful artwork. Perhaps the fact it was filed in Scottish Folk/Rock. Perhaps it was just a moment of destiny; one of those instances of happenstance that change your world. From the very first listen of the CD I was hooked. The music spoke to me like no other musician had ever done. It touched my heart, filled me with hope and soothed my troubled soul.

Runrig are my favourite musicians. They have been producing heartfelt folk/rock music for over forty years. Their music features heavily on the soundtrack to my life and it never fails to lift my mood during moments of darkness and depression.

There’s thunder clouds
Round the hometown bay
As I walk out in the rain
Through the sepia showers
And the photoflood days

I caught a fleeting glimpse of life
And though the water’s black as night
The colours of Scotland
Leave you young inside

There must be a place
Under the sun
Where hearts of olden glory
Grow young

There’s a vision coming soon
Through the faith that cleans your wound
Hearts of olden glory
Will be renewed

Down the glens where the headlands stand
I feel a healing through this land
A cross for a people
Like wind through your hands

There must be a place
Under the sun
Where hearts of olden glory
Grow young

 ~ from ‘Hearts of Olden Glory’ ~

~9~
Friendship

friendship

I miss my friends. I miss spending my afternoon sharing a jug of beer with Grace. I miss playing pool with Kathy, hiking the Canadian wilderness with Annie and indulging in kinky, slightly perverted, acts with Samantha. I miss how my friends made me feel; happy, contented, invincible. Being alone is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Not even giving up cigarettes comes close to the pain and distress one feels when they know they are spending their life alone; unloved, uncared for, forgotten.

Although I have several online friendships, all of which I am thankful for, it isn’t the same as having people you can spend time with in real life. There isn’t the camaraderie, the instantaneous gratification or sharing of wit that is part and parcel of real life conversation.

If I had three wishes granted to me, my first wish would be to have friends. Not many. Just one or two. That would make me happy. It always did.

“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.”
~ Elbert Hubbard ~

and

~10~
Spanking!

HNI_0035lp

A picture Meadhbh (and I) drew. It apparently depicts us being soundly spanked! :p

Hey! Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it. A good spanking has the power to lift anyone out of the deepest, darkest quagmire. Don’t believe me? Then toddle off to your significant other (or BFF or bestest, most nonjudgmental friend) and request they put you over their knee for a sound spanking. Done? Your bottom’s all nice and toasty now? See. Your spirits have lifted, haven’t they? Told you they would! :p

“Of course it hurts, it’s a spanking. How else would it work?”
~ Breanna Hayse ~


Leave a comment

Ten of my favourite photographs…

Today’s installment of the Ten Times to Be Happy challenge is all about photographs. Photographs that fill us with joy. Photographs that render us speechless. Photographs that have our minds buzzing with all sorts of happy chemicals. As is my prerogative, I’ve decided to split today’s challenge into two parts. The first part being ten photographs that I have taken:

and the second part being ten photographs from established professionals:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


2 Comments

Ten of my favourite foods…

And we’re back. After running out of internet credit two days ago there’s been a slight pause in the Ten Times to Be Happy challenge, but I’m stocked up on GB again and raring to go with day eight: ten of my favourite foods.

Now, I’m not a very adventurous eater, nor am I a person who considers food to be something magical and delightful. Food, for me, is a necessity. It is something I must eat to stay alive. But saying that there are things I prefer eating above others…

~1~
Poached Eggs on Sourdough Toast

The best breakfast in the world. Ever. Nothing beats the poached egg on sourdough toast. Not even bacon.

poachedeggs

Ingredients

2 teaspoons white vinegar
4 eggs, at room temperature
Bread, toasted, buttered, to serve

Step 1: Pour cold water into a large saucepan until 8cm deep. Add vinegar. Bring to the boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low (water should still be simmering around the edge).

Step 2: Crack 1 egg into a shallow bowl. Using a wooden spoon, stir water to create a whirlpool. Tip egg into water. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes for a soft yolk or 3 to 4 minutes for firm. Using a slotted spoon, remove egg from water.

Step 3: Skim foam from water. Poach remaining eggs. Serve eggs on toast.

~ from Taste.com.au

~2~
Jacket Potato (with butter and cheese)

My idea of comfort food. I’m a huge fan of the humble potato. Especially when cheese is melted atop it!

jacketpotato

Ingredients

Sebago potatoes
Cheese (to taste)
Butter (to taste)

Step 1: Preheat oven to 200°C. Scrub potatoes with a brush. Pat dry with paper towels.

Step 2: Using a fork, pierce potatoes in about 6 places. Place directly on oven rack in the centre of oven. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until tender when a skewer is inserted into the centre.

Step 3: Cut a deep cross in top of each potato. Using a clean tea towel to hold potato, squeeze base gently to open up top. Add your choice of topping and serve.

~ from Taste.com.au

~3~
Pesto Pasta

Simple. Easy to make. A refreshing, delectable meal.

pestopasta

Ingredients

375g dried linguine pasta
1 cup fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Shaved parmesan cheese, to serve

Step 1: Cook pasta in a saucepan of boiling salted water, following packet directions until tender. Drain. Return to pan.

Step 2: Meanwhile, process basil, pine nuts, garlic and parmesan, scraping down sides occasionally, until almost smooth.

Step 3: With motor running, add oil in a slow, steady stream. Process to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Step 4: Add pesto to pasta. Toss to combine. Serve.

~ from Taste.com.au

~4~
Coconut Rice

Is there anything better than rice? Of course there is. Rice that tastes of coconut!

coconutrice

Ingredients

2 cups Thai jasmine-scented white rice
2 cups good-quality coconut milk
1 3/4 cups water
2 heaping Tbsp. dry shredded unsweetened coconut (baking type)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. coconut oil, OR vegetable oil

Step 1: Rub oil over the bottom of a deep-sided pot. You will also need a tight-fitting lid.

Step 2: Place rice, coconut milk, water, shredded coconut, and salt in the pot and set over medium-high to high heat. Stir occasionally to keep rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning.

Step 3: Once the coconut-water has begun to gently bubble, stop stirring and reduce heat to low (just above minimum). Cover tightly with a lid and let simmer 15-20 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice. To check, pull rice aside with a fork. If most of the coconut milk-water is gone, go on to the next step.

Step 4: Replace the lid and turn off the heat, but leave the covered pot on the burner to steam another 5-10 minutes, or until you’re ready to eat.

~ from Thaifood.about.com

~5~
Lasagne

Ever wanted to pretend you were a loveable cartoon cat?

lasagne

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large brown onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1kg beef mince
160ml (2/3 cup) red wine
2 x 700ml btls passata (tomato pasta sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 x 250g pkt dried lasagne sheets

Besciamella (bechamel sauce)
125g butter, chopped
115g (3/4 cup) plain flour
1.5L (6 cups) milk, warmed
40g (1/2 cup) coarsely grated cheddar
55g (1/2 cup) coarsely grated mozzarella
40g (1/2 cup) finely grated parmesan
Pinch of ground nutmeg

Step 1: Preheat oven to 180°C. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 6-7 minutes. Increase heat to high. Add the mince. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up any lumps, for 4-5 minutes or until the mince changes colour.

Step 2: Add the wine. Cook for 4 minutes or until the wine has almost evaporated. Add the passata, tomato paste, oregano and thyme. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 30 minutes or until sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper.

Step 3: Meanwhile, to make the besciamella, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until foaming. Remove from heat. Stir in the flour. Place the pan over medium heat and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly, until smooth. Place the milk mixture over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat. Add half the cheddar, half the mozzarella and half the parmesan. Stir until well combined. Stir in the nutmeg.

Step 4: Spread about 2 cups of the mince mixture over the base of a 3L (12-cup) capacity, 5cm-deep, 21 x 32cm (base measurement) ovenproof dish. Arrange 3 lasagne sheets on top. Spread with 2 cups of mince mixture. Pour over 21/2 cups of besciamella. Top with 3 lasagne sheets. Continue layering with remaining mince mixture, lasagne sheets and besciamella.

Step 5: Bake for 30 minutes. Combine remaining cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan. Sprinkle over the lasagne. Bake for 20 minutes or until tender and golden. Set aside for 15 minutes to stand. Serve.

~ from Taste.com.au

~6~
Potato Bake

Second only to the jacket potato in the comfort food stakes.

potatobake

Ingredients

Melted butter, to grease
1 x 300ml ctn thin cream
125ml (1/2 cup) milk
1.25kg sebago (brushed) potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced
2 large brown onions, halved, thinly sliced
100g thinly sliced prosciutto
60g (3/4 cup) finely shredded parmesan

Step 1: Preheat oven to 170°C. Brush a 2.5L (10-cup) capacity ovenproof dish with melted butter to lightly grease. Combine the cream and milk in a saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes or until heated through.

Step 2: Arrange half the potato slices over the base of the prepared dish. Sprinkle with half the onion. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over half the cream mixture. Continue layering with the remaining potato slices, onion, salt and pepper and cream mixture.

Step 3: Cover with foil and place on a baking tray. Bake in oven for 1 hour or until potato is tender. Scatter prosciutto over the potato bake and sprinkle with parmesan. Bake, uncovered, for a further 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and the potato is very tender.

Step 4: Set aside for 15 minutes to cool. Serve.

~ from Taste.com.au

~7~
Potato and Rosemary Pizza

You may overdose on carbohydrate, but at least you’ll die happy!

potatoandrosemarypizza

Ingredients

Dough
4 ½ cups organic plain four
1 ¾ tsp salt
1 tsp instant yeast
¼ cup olive oil
1 ¾ cups ice water
oil for brushing

Potato and Rosemary Topping
½ cup mozzarella, grated

¼ cup parmesan, grated
4 kipfler or dutch creams, peeled, boiled whole and sliced
1 sprig rosemary
sea salt + pepper
sprinkle of nutmeg

Step 1: Mix all dry ingredients together in bowl with a wooden spoon. Mix oil and water into the flour till all flour is incorporated. Continue mixing until the dough is of a slightly sticky consistency and sticks a little to the bottom of the bowl, but not to the sides. If dough IS sticking to the sides of the bowl, more flour is required. If it is not sticking to the very bottom, a little water (one to two teaspoons) should be added but make sure you add a little at a time. You can mix by hand or machine.

Step 2: Flour the bench surface before turning dough onto it and then shape into a rectangle and slice into six pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, flouring hands to stop sticking, then coat the surface with oil and wrap each ball in food grade plastic wrap. These will keep in the fridge for a maximum of three days and about 30 days in the freezer.

Step 3: Stretch dough to two centimetre thick and ten centimetres in diameter circles, or stretch to fit the pizza pan. The best way is to stretch to a smaller circle and then toss in the air, but a rolling pin will do the job, if not as well! If the dough is very elastic and keeps springing back to its original form, let it rest for a further 10 to 20 minutes to allow the gluten to relax.

Step 4: Scatter the cheeses over the pizza and place in the oven at 230°C until the cheese has just melted. Take the pizza out of the oven and add the sliced, par cooked potato, rosemary leaves, and a little more cheese. Season with salt and pepper and nutmeg and replace in the oven until the dough is cooked.

~ from Poh’s Kitchen

~8~
Spanakopita

The most adventurous food on my menu. But with something so delicious, how can you resist?

spanakopita

Ingredients

1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 bunch shallots (spring onions), finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1.2kg baby spinach or silverbeet
2 tablespoons chopped dill
250g feta cheese, crumbled
150g full-fat ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons grated kefalotyri or parmesan cheese
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
12 sheets filo pastry
120g butter, melted

Step 1: Heat oil in a frypan, then add onion, shallots and garlic. Cook for 1 minute until softened, then add spinach and half the dill. (If using silverbeet, remove leaves, and chop before adding; discard stalks). Cook, stirring, over low heat for 1-2 minutes or until spinach has wilted. Drain in a colander and cool, then combine with cheeses, egg, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Step 2: Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush a 2 1/2-litre baking dish with butter. Lay one sheet of filo on base and sides and brush with butter. Repeat with 5 more sheets. Spread cheese mixture over top. Cover with remaining filo, brushing each sheet with butter. Trim excess pastry with kitchen scissors and tuck edges into sides of dish. Brush top with butter and score in diamond patterns.

Step 3: Bake for 45 minutes or until golden. Rest for 10 minutes. Warm remaining butter, add remaining dill and, when serving, pour over sliced spanakopita.

~ from Taste.com.au

~9~
Chicken Schnitzel

Chicken. The only way it can be improved is to slather it in herbalicious breadcrumbs!

chickenschnitzel

Ingredients

2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup plain flour
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
550g chicken breast schnitzel (uncrumbed)
Vegetable oil, for shallow-frying

Step 1: Combine breadcrumbs, parmesan, lemon rind, parsley and garlic powder on a plate. Season with salt and pepper. Place flour on a plate. Whisk egg and milk together in a shallow bowl.

Step 2: Coat 1 piece of chicken in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg mixture. Coat in breadcrumb mixture. Place on a plate. Repeat with remaining chicken, flour, egg mixture and breadcrumb mixture.

Step 3: Heat oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook chicken, in batches, for 4 to 5 minutes each side or until golden and cooked through. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain. Serve.

~ from Taste.com.au

 

and

~10~
Chocolate Caramel Slice

Because we all need something sweet in our life. And with this delicious dessert, there is nothing sweeter!

chocolatecaramelslice

Ingredients

1 cup plain flour, sifted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
125g butter, melted

Filling
400g can sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons golden syrup
60g butter, melted

Topping
60g copha, chopped
125g cooking chocolate, chopped

Step 1: Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a 3cm deep, 28 x 18cm (base) lamington pan.

Step 2: Combine all base ingredients in a bowl. Mix well. Press into prepared lamington pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until light golden. Remove from oven. Cool.

Step 3: Make filling: Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, whisking, for 8 minutes or until golden. Pour over cooked base. Bake for 12 minutes or until firm. Cool completely. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours, or until set.

Step 4: Make topping: Place copha and chocolate into a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until melted. Pour over caramel. Refrigerate to set. Cut into squares to serve.

~ from Taste.com.au


2 Comments

Ten historical moments of epic magnificence…

In today’s installment of the Ten Times to Be Happy challenge I’ve been tasked to pick ten of my favourite historical moments. For a history nerd, the difficulty isn’t thinking of historical moments, it’s in picking just ten from the millions of possibilities. But let’s see how we get on!

~1~
Callanish Standing Stones
2900 – 2600BC

The Callanish Stones (or Clachan Chalanais or Tursachan Chalanais in Gaelic) are an arrangement of standing stones placed in a cruciform pattern with a central stone circle. They were erected in the late Neolithic era, and were a focus for ritual activity during the Bronze Age.

Callanish

~2~
“I have a dream”
28 August 1963

I Have a Dream” is a public speech delivered by American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. in which he calls for an end to racism in the United States. Delivered to over 250,000 civil rights supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington, the speech was a defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement.

~3~
The Beaumont Children
26 January 1966

Jane Nartare Beaumont (aged 9; born 10 September 1956), Arnna Kathleen Beaumont (aged 7; born 11 November 1958), and Grant Ellis Beaumont (aged 4; born 12 July 1961) were three siblings collectively known as the Beaumont children who disappeared from Glenelg Beach near Adelaide, South Australia, on Australia Day, 26 January 1966.

Their case resulted in one of the largest police investigations in Australian criminal history and remains one of Australia’s most infamous cold cases. The huge attention given to this case, its significance in Australian criminal history, and the fact that the mystery of their disappearance has never been explained, has led to the story being revisited by the press on a regular basis. It is also viewed by many social commentators as a significant event in the evolution of Australian society, with a large number of people changing the way they supervised their children on a daily basis.

beaumont children

For baby boomers growing up in the late 1960s, and for those who came after, the subsequent police investigation into the abduction and probable murder of the Beaumont children has been both repelling and haunting. On the fortieth anniversary of the children’s disappearance, many questions still remain: What happened to Jane, Arnna and Grant Beaumont at Glenelg on the day they disappeared? Who was the man last seen with the children that day? Why has there never been a public inquest into the children’s disappearance? What links are there to the abduction of two young girls from Adelaide Oval in 1973 and the infamous Family Murders in the early 1980s? Are the Beaumont children still alive, as many still believe, or buried in some unmarked spot?

The mere mention of the words ‘the Beaumont children’ brings so many memories of that time flooding back. For those who have come after, and know only the half-truths and the urban myths, there is a yearning to know more – to understand the unimaginable and try to answer questions that may never be answered.

For over four decades now, we have all been searching for the Beaumont children.

from ‘Searching for the Beaumont Children’
by Alan J. Whiticker

~4~
Feminism
1837-Present

Charles Fourier, a Utopian Socialist and French philosopher, is credited with having coined the word “féminisme” in 1837. The words “féminisme” (“feminisme”) and “féminist” (“feminist”) first appeared in France and the Netherlands in 1872, Great Britain in the 1890s, and the United States in 1910, and the Oxford English Dictionary lists 1852 as the year of the first appearance of “feminist” and 1895 for “feminism”. Depending on historical moment, culture and country, feminists around the world have had different causes and goals. Most western feminist historians assert that all movements that work to obtain women’s rights should be considered feminist movements, even when they did not (or do not) apply the term to themselves. Other historians assert that the term should be limited to the modern feminist movement and its descendants. Those historians use the label “protofeminist” to describe earlier movements.

The history of the modern western feminist movements is divided into three “waves”. Each wave dealt with different aspects of the same feminist issues. The first wave comprised women’s suffrage movements of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, promoting women’s right to vote. The second wave was associated with the ideas and actions of the women’s liberation movement beginning in the 1960s. The second wave campaigned for legal and social equality for women. The third wave is a continuation of, and a reaction to, the perceived failures of second-wave feminism, beginning in the 1990s.

feminism

“I hate men who are afraid of women’s strength.”
~Anaïs Nin~

~5~
The Battle of Bannockburn
24 June 1314

The Battle of Bannockburn was a significant Scottish victory in the First War of Scottish Independence. Stirling Castle, a Scots royal fortress, occupied by the English, was under siege by the Scottish army. The English king, Edward II, assembled a formidable force to relieve it. This attempt failed, and his army was defeated in a pitched battle by a smaller army commanded by the King of Scots, Robert the Bruce.

bannockburn

Scots Wha Hae
By Robert Burns

‘Scots, wha hae wi Wallace bled,
Scots, wham Bruce has aften led,
Welcome tae yer gory bed,
Or tae victorie.

‘Now’s the day, an now’s the hour:
See the front o battle lour,
See approach proud Edward’s power –
Chains and Slaverie.

‘Wha will be a traitor knave?
Wha will fill a coward’s grave?
Wha sae base as be a slave?
Let him turn an flee.

‘Wha, for Scotland’s king and law,
Freedom’s sword will strongly draw,
Freeman stand or Freeman fa,
Let him on wi me.

‘By Oppression’s woes and pains,
By your sons in servile chains!
We will drain our dearest veins,
But they shall be free.

‘Lay the proud usurpers low,
Tyrants fall in every foe,
Liberty’s in every blow! –
Let us do or dee.

~6~
The Glencoe Massacre
13 February 1692

Early in the morning, in the aftermath of the Glorious Revolution and the Jacobite uprising of 1689 led by John Graham of Claverhouse, a massacre took place in Glen Coe, in the Highlands of Scotland. This incident is referred to as the massacre of Glencoe, or in Scottish Gaelic Mort Ghlinne Comhann or murder of Glen Coe. The massacre began simultaneously in three settlements along the glen—Invercoe, Inverrigan, and Achnacon—although the killing took place all over the glen as fleeing MacDonalds were pursued. Thirty-eight MacDonalds from the Clan MacDonald of Glencoe were killed by the guests who had accepted their hospitality, on the grounds that the MacDonalds had not been prompt in pledging allegiance to the new monarchs, William and Mary. Another forty women and children died of exposure after their homes were burned.

~7~
The 1745 Uprising
1745

The Jacobite rising of 1745 was the attempt by Charles Edward Stuart to regain the British throne for the exiled House of Stuart. The rising occurred during the War of the Austrian Succession when most of the British Army was on the European continent. Charles Edward Stuart, commonly known as “Bonnie Prince Charlie” or “the Young Pretender”, sailed to Scotland and raised the Jacobite standard at Glenfinnan in the Scottish Highlands, where he was supported by a gathering of Highland clansmen. The march south began with an initial victory at Prestonpans near Edinburgh. The Jacobite army, now in bold spirits, marched onwards to Carlisle, over the border in England. When it reached Derby, some British divisions were recalled from the Continent and the Jacobite army retreated north to Inverness.

1745uprising

which culminated at

~8~
The Battle of Culloden
16 April 1746

The Battle of Culloden was the final confrontation of the Jacobite rising of 1745 and part of a religious civil war in Britain. On 16 April 1746, the Jacobite forces of Charles Edward Stuart fought loyalist troops commanded by William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands.

culloden

Culloden
by Andrew Lang

Dark, dark was the day when we looked on Culloden
And chill was the mist drop that clung to the tree,
The oats of the harvest hung heavy and sodden,
No light on the land and no wind on the sea.

There was wind, there was rain, there was fire on their faces,
When the clans broke the bayonets and died on the guns,
And ’tis Honour that watches the desolate places
Where they sleep through the change of the snows and the suns.

Unfed and unmarshalled, outworn and outnumbered,
All hopeless and fearless, as fiercely they fought,
As when Falkirk with heaps of the fallen was cumbered,
As when Gledsmuir was red with the havoc they wrought.

Ah, woe worth you, Sleat, and the faith that you vowed,
Ah, woe worth you, Lovat, Traquair, and Mackay;
And woe on the false fairy flag of Macleod,
And the fat squires who drank, but who dared not to die!

Where the graves of Clan Chattan are clustered together,
Where Macgillavray died by the Well of the Dead,
We stooped to the moorland and plucked the pale heather
That blooms where the hope of the Stuart was sped.

And a whisper awoke on the wilderness, sighing,
Like the voice of the heroes who battled in vain,
“Not for Tearlach alone the red claymore was plying,
But to bring back the old life that comes not again.”

~9~
Sabina Spielrein
1885-1942

Sabina Spielrein was a Russian physician and one of the first female psychoanalysts. She was in succession the patient, then student, then colleague of Carl Gustav Jung, with whom she had an erotic relationship during 1908-1910, closely documented in their correspondence from the time and her diaries. She also met, corresponded, and had a collegial relationship with Sigmund Freud. One of her more famous analysands was the Swiss developmental psychologist, Jean Piaget. She worked as a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, teacher and paediatrician in Switzerland and Russia.

In a thirty-year professional career, she published over 35 papers in three languages (German, French and Russian), covering psychoanalysis, developmental psychology, psycholinguistics and educational psychology. Her best known and perhaps most influential published work in the field of psychoanalysis is the essay titled “Destruction as the Cause of Coming Into Being”, written in German in 1912. Although Spielrein has been mainly remembered on account of her relationship with Jung, she is now increasingly recognized as an important and innovative thinker who was marginalized in history because of her unusual eclecticism, refusal to join factions, feminist approach to psychology, and her death in the Holocaust.

Sabina Spielrein’s relationship with Carl Jung was explored in the motion picture ‘A Dangerous Method’:

and

~10~
An Unearthly Child
5:16pm, 23 November 1963

Doctor Who first appeared on BBC TV at 17:16:20 GMT, eighty seconds after the scheduled programme time, 5:15 pm.

And now it’s over to you. What are some of your favourite historical moments?


2 Comments

Ten places I’d love to visit…

~1~
Newfoundland, Canada

Newfoundland

Sadly, I didn’t have the opportunity to visit Newfoundland during my Canadian odyssey in 2000. But no matter, it gives me an excuse to return to this magical land to explore this rugged, inspirational province in greater depth and detail.

~2~
Rome, Italy

Rome

I’m jealous of Louise, my first girlfriend, because she’s been to Rome. Grace, too, has spent time in the Italian capital. Up until this point in my life I haven’t had the opportunity. But I’m damn sure that at some point in my life I will. I’m determined of that fact.

~3~
Shetland Islands, Scotland

Shetland Islands

During my month-long sabbatical in Scotland in 1999 I wanted to go to Shetland, but couldn’t afford the ferry cost, given I was a poverty-stricken backpacker. One day, I’m determined to visit these far-flung isles, especially after seeing them light up the screen in the television series Shetland.

~4~
Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu

Like Rome, I have long wished to walk the grounds of Machu Picchu. One day I will make it to Peru to do so. And I will take in the majestic table mountains whilst I’m there! :)

~5~
Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona

During my hospital stay earlier this year my support worker brought me the Lonely Planet guide to Spain to keep me entertained. She knows how important it is for me to visit this cultural, gastronomical, mecca. And like all the other places in this list, I’m sure one day I will!

~6~
Grand Teton National Park, USA

Grand Teton National Park

Sare, a blogging friend, sent me a postcard from this location when she visited it a few years ago. Said postcard takes up pride of place on my fridge, beckoning me to visit every time I go to get some milk. One day I shall.

~7~
Isle of Barra, Scotland

Barra

One of the few islands in the chain that makes up the Outer Hebrides that I haven’t visited. I’ve always wanted to.

~8~
Antarctica

Antarctica

I’ve been fascinated with Antarctica since I was a young wee thing. I think because I’m pathologically drawn to cold, desolate locations.

~9~
Paris

Paris

A city I’ve wanted to visit since it featured prominently in the Doctor Who story City of Death. When Highlander also filmed in this magical city, I was determined to visit it one day. Something I probably should have done whilst living in the UK, as it’s quite a journey from Australia! :)

and

~10~
Shakespeare and Company, Paris

Shakespeare and Company, Paris

And whilst in Paris I would have to visit this quaint, beautiful bookshop. Which is, without question, the only bookshop I have dreamt of visiting.

What about you? What places on Earth would you most like to visit? And why do they burn so bright in your mind?