Tuesday, August 19, 2014

When we were in 'Flance'

I have a few memories from our trip to what TWO refers to as "Flance" to get out here. It comes with pretty pictures, so it won't be entirely boring for people to read/look at.  Or so goes the hope. Most of my experiences in France seem to relate back to food or knitting. I was most pleased that my belly coped so well with being away from the comforts of home and that I was able to enjoy some of the delights that southern France had to offer. 

Here is a pictorial representation of what I got up to, when it comes to food, while there. 

First day we were there we went to a giant supermarket to grab supplies and for a bit of a stickybeak. I think going to a supermarket in a new country is a great way to really get a sense of what the culture is like. What sort of things are commonplace? 

The things I found that I enjoyed, apart from the entire row of alcohol that seemed to never end were the following:

Rainbow pasta: Rainbow pasta

I'm sure that this exists elsewhere in the world. But I've yet to see it in Sweden and it was really really pretty. Shame I couldn't eat any of it, what with the whole wheat is the fructan containing devil that wants to destroy me from the inside out. 

And the wall of sausage: 

For the Love of Sausage

So much dried sausage. We took home a giant dried duck sausage that was enthusiastically enjoyed by all members of the family. It is a big shame that it is all gone now. It was ever so good. 

The first southern French meal we enjoyed was confit duck with cubed potatoes cooked in duck fat and a salad. Can I just say now *drool*? It was amazing. Crispy duck, crispy spuds and some lovely salad. All washed down with a local red wine. I was in heaven. 
Confit duck. NOM!

Our adventures continued at the local market on Sunday. The boy, Kristin and I went to get some ribs and vegetables for our evening meal. We found both without difficulty. We also found a ginormous piece of beef that we just had to buy. We cooked it up as it came, on a giant bone. Sealed both sides in the pan and then into the oven to finish up. It was perfection in steak form. You can see just how enormous this steak was. I think it must have been close to 10cm thick. It took up the entire pan!

Enormo steak is enormous

While at the market, Kristin and I got ourselves an espresso from the only coffee van at the market. The sugar packets were very cute.

Toulouse Market sugar

And we were given a complimentary biscuit. I ate it, even though it was a wheat laden treat. I survived this small test of the fructan group. It was worth testing too. Delicate and light biscuity goodness. 

French market coffee

I did thoroughly enjoy my long weekend in Toulouse. I think I might find my way back there sometime to visit again and get some more duck! We brought home two tins of confit duck. They are sitting in our pantry now. We are thinking they might make an excellent Christmas dinner this year. Most years we have a roast chicken and watch Kalle Anka. But maybe this year we will eat duck and watch the duck? Could be good. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Tex-Mex low carb mince -FODMAPs friendly


Our household has always been enthusiastic about Tex-Mex food. For my 23rd birthday the boy got me a Mexican cookbook. It was really good but was really written for a US audience who have ready access to Hispanic grocery stores. However, we took a fair bit out of the book in terms of flavour combinations. 

I made up this recipe for mince when adapting one of the recipes from my book. I use very approximate measures for the spices and taste as I go along. It is actually a very quick meal to prepare. We serve it with a salad and TWO gets corn chips with hers. I occasionally have corn chips with mine too, depending on how high my FODMAPs load has been that day. Corn is moderate when it comes to FODMAPs and should be limited. 


500g minced beef
garlic oil
2-3 tablespoons cumin
2-3 tablespoons dried oregano
3 bay leaves
1/2 - 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2-1 teaspoon dried paprika
1 large dessert/tablespoon tomato paste
a little bit of water (yay for accurate measures)
a splash of balsamic vinegar
salt to taste

To serve: 
Baby spinach leaves
Red capsicum/bell pepper chopped
coriander leaves
cucumber slices
lactose free sour cream (if available)
grated cheddar cheese
lime wedge, if you so desire
corn chips, optional


Fry the herbs in garlic oil on a medium/high heat in a frying pan or saucepan until aromatic. This takes a few minutes. 

Add the beef and brown it up. 

Splash in the vinegar and add the tomato paste. Stir through and if it looks like it could do with some moisture add a bit of water. I usually just add a little bit at this stage, usually from my kettle.

Reduce heat way down and let it simmer with the lid on for 20-30 minutes or until you are ready to eat.

Always before serving I check to make sure that the taste is right. I usually end up adding a bit of salt at the end and maybe a little more vinegar. I'm a bit of a fan of sour food. 

Serve in a bowl with your salad items underneath and mince piled on top with sour cream and cheese. 

You can even serve this with some of my FODMAPs friendly salsa but it won't be quite so low carb as it currently is. But it will no doubt be tasty. The salsa has a pretty similar herb profile and I love it. 

Enjoy! I know I did. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Broken seed stitch socks

Socks are my go to knitting project when I don't want to think about anything complicated. I recently saw this cool pattern on a facebook group I'm in for knitting. Broken seed stitch is both easy and pretty. 

So I made a pair for my friend Anni for her birthday. It's a while before she'll have a chance to wear them, but they should be nice and warm for the upcoming winter. 

I'm looking forward to handing them over soon. I think it might be time for a rice paper roll dinner at ours again. 

anni's socks
ravelled here

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Making playdough

Saturday morning playdough cake
TWO has had some form of bought playdough in the house now for a year or so. But as is the way with all the playdough in the world, it was getting dry and sad recently.

We were getting towards the end of the holidays from dagis and I was still pretty immobile, so playing in the park and adventures outside were out of the question. 

So we made some of our own and as is my wont, it was dyed with bright colours. 

I used a recipe I found on the playgroups Australia website and it worked really well. I added a few drops of peppermint essence to the dough too. 

Here's the recipe if you don't fancy following the link:

1 cup salt
2 cups plain flour
1 tablespoon of oil
1 tablespoon cream of tartar
2 cups water
food colouring

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Heat, stirring continuously until the dough becomes thick and pulls away from the side of the saucepan. Take out and knead. Split into small balls for dying and mix through dye in each. I made 6 because I had six pots leftover from the store bought stuff. Store in airtight container.

Playdough morning

We had a great time making different cakes and shapes. So my objective was achieved, entertain madam in a manner that allowed me to sit down and rest my knee. The colours got all mixed up and it's not necessarily the prettiest looking dough anymore. But It's still good for making things and when it's done its job I can just make some more. Cheap and cheerful. Huzzah.

Cherry on top

Monday, August 11, 2014

My cousin is having a baby, so I got to sew and knit

TWO is very specific about the clothes she likes to wear now. She is particularly enamoured with stripes, blue and black. Which is great in one way because it means that our shopping trip yesterday to pick her up a few things for this autumn went well. There are a lot of stripes at the moment and she found some new bright blue pants that will see her through most of the autumn. 

The downside is that all my patterned fabric that I love is not considered worthy and she outright rejects so much of the cute stuff I have to offer her. 

Here comes the benefit, my cousin is about to have her second baby in a few weeks and I was able to use some of my new favourite elephant print fabric to make a pair of big butt baby pants. But I decided to change things up a bit and added a waistband and cuffs in ribbing. I'm really happy with how they turned out and hopefully they will look fantastic on the small person in the upcoming Australian summer. 

altered bbb

And due to my somewhat immobile status of late I've had a lot of time to knit. I bought some cotton/lyocell mix yarn in France and thought it would be perfect to make a facewasher. I found a gorgeous fish pattern on ravelry and sat and watched some Stephen Fry documentaries on youtube while knitting it up. It took almost no time at all and I'm really happy with how it came out. 


Friday, August 08, 2014

FODMAPs friendly dessert - goat's cheese, pine nut and golden syrup parcels

Goat's cheese pine nuts and golden syrup- yum!

I recently bought some gluten free puff pastry at the supermarket and it has been sitting in my freezer, waiting for me to find a use for it. It's also lactose free, perfect for FODMAPs. 

I also had some goat's cheese in the fridge that had to be eaten. I double checked the Monash app to see if it was safe and was ever so pleased to see that it was indeed safe on FODMAPs and I could go nuts.

This recipe I'm about to share is one that a friend used at a dinner we had years ago that I remembered fondly. But it included puff pastry and honey, so I wasn't sure I'd ever be able to use it again. But with the gluten free pastry and my new homemade golden syrup I figured it couldn't hurt to try. And I was rewarded. I ate this last night and I can report that today my belly is still happy with me.


1 sheet of gluten free pastry
goat's cheese
pine nuts, toasted
golden syrup 
milk for brushing


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C 

Toast the pine nuts in a frying pan

Spread out the pastry on some baking paper on the oven tray

Cut into rectangles and place a piece of goat's cheese at one end

Take 1-2 tablespoons of the toasted pine nuts and sprinkle them over the cheese

Take 1-2 tablespoons of golden syrup and drizzle over the cheese/nut combo

See the lovely drizzle action there? YUM!

Fold the pastry over and seal using milk and brush the tops of the parcels with a little more milk

Into the oven for between 20-30 mins. I based my decision on when to remove them by a browned top and golden syrup leaking out the sides. 

Allow to cool for a few mins before serving. Remember the cheese inside is hot. Tasty, but hot. 

And here is a crappy photo of what it looked like on my knee last night as I ate it in front of the TV. 


Saturday, August 02, 2014

Islands, knees and pushing it too hard

My visit to the rheumatologist just over a week ago was fantastic. She was attentive, took a proper history, drained over 50ml of fluid from my knee and added in some cortisone to help with the swelling. She set me up with a plan to keep my knee functional and I felt good about the plan.

I perhaps pushed the newly "recovered" knee a bit hard in the last two days and paid for it yesterday with some swelling, which if I'm entirely honest, set me to panicking. I have no desire to have a hugely swollen and non functional joint for any longer than necessary. And I need to remember that just because it looks normal, or a close approximation thereof, it is not currently normal and needs to be treated with some care. 

The first mistake I made was to go and visit Brännö on Thursday, an island in the archipelago off the coast of Gothenburg. We walked quite a bit and climbed on rocks and paddled in the water at the little cove we found ourselves at. It might have been a bit much.  But check out the overcast, but still lovely view we had. 


I sat and watched a group of five geese eat their way across the shoreline while TWO and the boy went and climbed the rocks at the side of the cove. It was all rather lovely to be outside, enjoying the breeze and the warm weather. 

The day was exactly what I needed mentally. We were unhurried, relaxed, well fed and TWO behaved brilliantly throughout the whole day. She collected shells and threw them in the water, searched for crabs, paddled in the water with me and had a brief snooze in the pram as we walked through the unexpected rain shower back to the ferry. She was entirely convinced that the ferry was actually a pirate ship and was very excited about that fact. We even got to pick some wild blackberries that were growing at the tram stop. I collected them in my hat and we have just a few left in the fridge. 

Tram stop haul

Yesterday was possibly a step too far after my island adventure, when I walked with a friend to visit a cafe. We ended up walking about 4km and I'm guessing that wasn't the best idea because I felt the knee start to swell as we walked. Fortunately, rest and ice seem to have done the trick and brought it back down. 

My lesson has been learned. I need to exercise, but not that much. It is so difficult to go from running between five and eight km semi regularly to not being able to walk even half that distance without setting off the knee into a swollen rage.