When I first moved across the seas to Australia it was only for a year...Everything was left back in our home for our return 12 month later. We arrived with a suitcase each and a couple of small boxes. After unsuccessfully looking for a furnished home the budget had to stretch to making an empty house livable. Down to one reduced income it gave me an opportunity to concentrate on necessity and to look at purchases in a different way. We were living the dream experiencing life on the other side of the world... albeit on a shoestring budget, but we managed... (thank you Ikea!).
So that year was the year that I got to go back to basics. I was so fortunate to be able to spend time with my then three year old. We had a ball. Walks and picnics along the river, trips to the museum and library, playing in the parks - all free. I relished that precious time and often reflect with a lot of gratitude on how circumstances enabled me to take time away from my career and concentrate wholly on being there for Sibs.
I think that was the year that I really learnt how to cook and bake. It's not that I didn't know my way around the kitchen before, it's just that I think I had seen cooking as a means of just getting a meal on the table. With the luxury of time on my hands I began to enjoy just making things.
Instead of the numerous cook books that graced my kitchen shelves back in rural Yorkshire my suitcase contained just one - The Recipe Book. In it I had scribbled some favourite recipes and included a few torn out ones from magazines.
I soon realised that many of the recipes were very British. Not much call for stews and casseroles in the Brisbane heat! So I picked up those free magazines that supermarkets put together now and again and worked my way through them. It wasn't that long ago, but there was no iPhone or iPad and the only laptop we had was used by Neil most of the time so it back to old fashioned print.
Talking of necessity buying we of course bought a barbecue and spent many a balmy evening on the back deck enjoying a meal whilst watching the possums jump around the trees. No real need for any recipes for that.
Over the last year or so I've sourced most new recipes from blogs and websites viewed via the ipad. I have a nifty little stand for it in the kitchen and it's so compact and easy. However, every now and then I'll have a browse through the old recipe book and revisit some old favourites. It takes me back to the kitchen in our first Australian house. If Sibs is with me she will always talk about the time that she was once helping to bake a cake and managed to tip a full mixing bowl of wet ingredients over the floor. Yes, I remember that day...it was the day we were expecting the agent to do a house inspection and she was due to arrive just at that instant!
The other day I fancied something with my morning cup of coffee so I went back to the book and found this recipe for peanut butter and oat slice.
These freeze well too. I cut them into muesli bar size and wrap in foil, then they're ready to take straight from the freezer to put into lunch boxes or taken as a snack out and about. I know they are not the healthiest things but as a treat now and then they taste good - and you know exactly what's in them.
As I was taking some photos of my recipe book look what was hidden amongst the scraps of papers in the back?
Little Sibs in her cot having a nap about 10 years ago.
Now I wouldn't find that searching for a recipe on the ipad...