May 24th, 2015

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Finally, there is a chill in the Brisbane air. It seems an eternity of steamy hot days and uncomfortable nights have plagued us into the beginnings of Autumn. But now, nearing the end of May, the real Autumn has just stood up. I love Autumn in Brisbane. The big blue clean sky, the nip in the air, the syrupy warmth the sun pours out in the middle of the day. And the doonah is finally on the bed. It’s the perfect weather for creating.

The knitting needles have reappeared after a year long sabbatical in the cupboard, the deck is ablaze with beautiful potted colour, and the urge to write and read great books has curled in my lap like a favourite pet that has returned home after a long trip away. 

It has been a week of giving and receiving. I had the pleasure of gifting a painting to one of our lovely vet nurses, who has looked after my babies so well over the years. With a bit of secret squirrelling, I painted her beautiful animals into a nursery scene and made her a bunting and softie to go with it. I also received some beautiful hand made candles from a lovely friend and they smell divine! I am so grateful.

Speaking of gratitude, this past week, I have returned to the meditation cushion. I have been doing Vishen Lakhiani’s Envisioning Method. Vishen is the founder of Mind Valley and I love his technique. You can find more about it here:

http://mindvalleyacademy.com/featured/how-to-meditate

This week I finished Holly Goldberg Sloan’s ‘I’ll Be There’. I adored this book and will be following it up with the sequel, ‘Just Call My Name’. In the meantime, I have started reading her ‘Counting by 7s’. This book received great reviews so I am looking forward to sinking my teeth into it this weekend.

I also started Murray Middleton’s short story collection, ‘When There’s Nowhere Else To Run’. This book was the winner of The Australian/ Vogel’s Literary Award. His writing is so engaging. I come out of each story feeling like I have met new friends. His stories linger, and I often find myself thinking back and wondering about the characters I have left behind. 

Another reading highlight this week was the arrival of Magpies Magazine, which is full of reviews on books for children. It comes out five times a year and it’s lovely to bury myself in the childrens book world and discover all the latest gems.

As for my own book, it’s been languishing a little as the paints and ink pens have hit the desk and I am illustrating again. With plans to redo my website soon, I am conjuring new illustrations to decorate all that white space. I have a plan and once the artwork is done, my story will be back on the front boiler again and come next week, I should see the story simmering away nicely again. I’ve just rolled over the 15,000 word mark, so onward and upward. 

Among the books and mags and snippets of writing, there has been autumn flowers and hearty food liberally sprinkled throughout the past week or so. My favourite recipe this week was a chicken and zucchini soup I made. My recipe is here:

Chicken and Zucchini Soup

3 chicken thigh fillets – chopped but not too small

Celery chopped to braise

Carrot chopped to braise

1 onion chopped to braise

2 cloves of garlic minced

1 green chilli

1 litre of chicken stock

4-5 zucchinis chopped

(You can add any veggies you like)

Sprinkle of salt

Teaspoon of curry powder

Butter

Method

On a mid heat in a large pot – braise chopped celery, onion and carrot in butter until onion is translucent. Add in garlic and stir for a minute.

Add in chicken and cook 1-2 minutes.

Add stock, chopped zucchini, curry powder and salt and  mix well. Cook on mid heat for 5 minutes or so and then turn heat down a little. Continue to cook until chicken is cooked through and zucchinis are soft then simmer. Add some corn or maize flour to thicken. 

To serve: I don’t puree this soup. I prefer it chunky and so mix it all together well once I have added the maize flour. 

Add a dollop of sour cream to serve. 

Enjoy!

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