Monthly Archives: September 2006

Soups

As may be apparent from many previous food-related posts, I LOVE soup, cream soups, vegetable soups, fancy soups, simple soups – see my post and associated recipes on Mesocosm Soups for soups-as-a-meal.

As I sit here sipping my Esmeralda (vodka, Bickfords lime cordial, lemonade) it occurs to me that the only food-related item that tempts me when my appetite is on an illness-induced low (as now), or when I am uninspired or bored, is a soup. Recently, the only meals that have excited me at all are soups (we have eaten many other meals but as far as I’m concerned they’ve fallen into the “fuel” category – plain baked pork chops with vegetables, straight-forward bbq’s, simple pasta dishes).

Following please find my recipes for my Leek and Potato Soup, and my Chinese Chicken and Corn Soup.

Note:  I have NO fucking idea why my font sizes are all phucked up; I’m using exactly the same template/format I always use … GAH.  Probably has something to do with introducing the concept of TABLES or somesuch.  Harrumph.

Leek and Potato Soup [Potage Parmentier]

I adore all forms of Potage Parmentier –  Leek and Potato Soups and others in that genre.  Easy, quick and simply scrumptious.  I like my L&P to be very green, very smooth and thin [like thin cream]; nothing worse than a thick floury lumpy bland white mass. 

For a Potage Bonne Femme: as per this recipe with the inclusion of 1 large or two medium sweet carrots – not woody and old ones – peeled and chopped finely.  Add with the rest of the vegetables. This gives an orangey colour and a sweeter taste.  Yummy.  Other root vegetables can be added depending on taste – a Potage Bonne Femme basically refers to any homey vegetable soup made with cheap but nutritious root vegetables. Continue reading

Chinese Chicken and Sweet Corn Soup

Very easy, with a little bite due to the chillies and ginger – I often increase amounts to really get the sinuses going and warm diners up in the winter, it’s up to personal preference.  Does not lend itself to freezing, but lasts up to three days in the fridge and seems to get even better!  You may need to add a little water to dilute soup as you get to the end.

For a heartier meal, you could add some cooked rice vermicelli to the diners’ bowls before ladling in the soup. Continue reading

Misc.

Every day or so I’ve sat down here trying to write an entry but nothing much comes to mind; and then even if it did I was totally incapable of typing anything. As for writing emails and such, fuhgeddaboudit. My brain’s in a state of boiled oatmeal-ishness, bland bland bland. Durrrrr. So this entry is going to be a trifle bitsy.

Abigail

It’s been almost three weeks now and I still miss her terribly. I see her everywhere, want her all the time. I don’t want another kitty yet (despite the continuing presence of the orange cat*) but I know that I will, soon – I can’t be without the little buggers. Crazy cat lady, here. So I’ve been looking up reputable Maine Coon breeders in the eastern states – NSW and Qld – and making queries as to available babies … so maybe at the end of this year, beginning of next.

* The orange cat is still around, but has been renamed to Erik – as in The Red. Suits his raping, pillaging nature (he’s a cat so that’s a given; oh well). “Pixel” simply didn’t fit, and we mostly called him “that orange bastard”, “Paisley” (a natural progression of “that orange bastard”, from the point of view of Northern Irish politics), “Mister Cat”, “dumbass”, etc. I came up with Erik and it seems to have stuck.

Steve Irwin was a dickhead

I do not wish to speak ill of the dead, and I feel immense sadness for his wife and kidlets, for them it is a shocking tragedy. To be honest though, and going against the tide of popular opinion (for which I fully expect to be called an unfeeling arsehole), I can’t help but feel that the man was a total dickhead. He took stupid, stupid risks; he got way too close to wild, dangerous animals and so ran the risk of getting hurt, most likely fatally; and he was, rather than the conservationist and environmentalist he’s made out to be, an exhibitionist, a sensationalist, and totally contemptuous of animals and nature.

As soon as I read the reports of his death, I knew – from both the reports and knowledge of stingray behaviour – that he’d got too close, he and his crew had been hassling the creature, and it acted in natural self defence. That kind of behaviour – hassling an animal until it is driven to defending itself – shows a total lack of respect and therefore a great deal of contempt; attributes that are too often seen in the modern world toward the natural world and why the environment and biodiversity is in such a shitty situation. As for educating the masses – no this is NOT the kind of treatment that should be encouraged.

I recall seeing only one Steve Irwin TV segment, and I had to switch off after a couple of minutes at that; he was teasing and taunting a spitting cobra and as the animal repeatedly reared up and spat straight into the man’s eyes, Irwin just casually douched the poison out with a squirt of a water bottle and carried on. What a total bullying bastard; that kind of act does not a conservationist and environmentalist make, even if it does make for good ratings with the LCD in the dumbarse USA.

Give me David Attenborough; now there’s a man who has furthered knowledge and appreciation of animal and plant life on this planet, and always with the total respect and awe owing such treasures. And, after 50 plus years in the business, continues to make programmes that are beautiful and entrancing (and oh, educational as well, how ‘bout that?).

Migraines, frozen shoulders, no food please

The last few weeks have been totally pants, health-wise. I really really hope I get a break soon, this is getting incredibly boring and tedious. Pain, pain, every day, and as usual, at extremely high levels that won’t respond to the increasing doses of high-level painkillers I throw at it. And if I don’t take the meds; well yes, let’s say I do notice a difference, best described as AAAAAARRRRGHEEEEEOOOOWNOOOOOOOOFUUUUUUUUUCKKKKKKKKKKK.

On top of “the usual” I’ve had a frozen shoulder; I don’t know what eejit coined that term because “searing burning shoulder” is much more apt. Except of course the “frozen” refers to the fact that you can’t move the shoulder/arm without the aforementioned searing and burning. Ouch. It’s been a constant round of heat-packs for the shoulder and neck, and ice-packs for the migraine. Oh yeah, the migraine continues into it’s nth week, complete with visual weirdness – think cubist effects, floating spots and sparks and blobs in flashing neon colours. Fascinating. Anyone know of some good migraine meds?  I think it’s time I got into some of them as well. Although I think my bedside drawer may well explode if another card/bottle of prescription drugs is introduced …

All this has been accompanied by a total lack of interest in food; a worrying trend for a foodie. I do not want to cook, have no interest in planning meals and I certainly DO NOT WANT TO EAT. Yeccchhhh. I only know of one sure-fire method of bringing on an appetite, it just happens to be illegal*; any ideas?

….

*Cannabis drug for MS filed for approval in the UK

A recent report by BBC News (6 September 2006) caused great excitement – for me, anyway – as an under-the-tongue spray called Sativex, based on THC and cannabidiol can now be given to patients suffering from MS in the United Kingdom. License applications have also been filed in Spain, the Netherlands and Denmark, the BBC reported.

And hopefully, Australia too, soon, although that is probably way too much to hope for given ultra-conservative governments (regardless of party affiliation). Cannabis does have a proven, positive effect on many diseases and conditions with muscle and joint problems. Cross fingers that something might be available for EDS sufferers one day.

Abigail, RIP

This is really difficult to write …

… our beloved fluff-ball Abigail died on Monday.

It all happened so quickly that I’ve been in shock, and am so sad; the pain of missing her is unbearable.Tuxedo and I have been hit hard by this loss.Many of you may be scoffing “what a drama-queen, it’s just a cat” but she was far more than “just a cat” to me.She was my buddy, my mate, my constant companion.Being bed-ridden and house-bound a large percentage of the time, my darling Abi was always by my side, cuddled up to me, keeping me company and helping me through many bad days of pain and misery.She was so very very sweet, had such clever and funny ways.She was a truly special beastie. She was three and a half years old.

What happened?Saturday 26 August she was off her food and a little subdued – not lethargic but just a little quieter than usual.Sunday she became lethargic, and I decided to take her to the vet first thing Monday.We had to go out that evening, we had tickets to the Ben Folds & WASO concert (which was an amazing show – more on that some other day) and when we came home her breathing and heart-rate had both sped up and she looked extremely unhappy.I was worried … but became even more concerned when in the early hours of Monday morning she was in even more distress.By 6 a.m. she was panting and barely able to stand up and walk by herself; she would lie in one position for a bit then scrabble with her paws and letting out a pitiful scream/yowl, fall over onto her side.I didn’t know what to make of it … I just had to get her to our fantastic vet as fast as possible.

The vet surgery opened at 7.30 a.m. and we were there on the doorstep; Tuxedo had made up a bed for her of pillows and towels in a laundry basket (Tuxedo had to go to work at 7 a.m. so was unable to come with me though he dearly wanted to – bloody bloody fucking work!).The vet (Dr A) was not due in until 9.30 which was very bad news for me, so I left my baby in the capable hands of the vet nurse and went to my parents’ place to wait for Dr A to call me, rather than going all the way back to our place on the other side of town in peak hour traffic.

At 8.30 Dr A called me. The nurse had called him in early. It was bad news; Abigail was as we knew in terrible distress.He told me calmly that, from x-rays and tests he’d already done, it was possibly pneumonia, lung failure, or heart failure.He then delivered the blow; there was absolutely nothing to be done, there never had been.Abi was dying.She was suffering tremendously and he had to euthanise her.I barely got the words out – could I come and say goodbye?Yes – but to hurry.I called Tux and after three attempts finally got through.I gave him the news; one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do.We had both known, before I left with Abi that morning, that things weren’t looking good for her right then, but this?

Dr A – who was still in his pj’s and slippers when I got there, what a dear man – came out and showed me the x-rays, explaining what I should be seeing in a healthy cat and what I was actually seeing.Her lungs and the area around her lungs and heart were obscured by fluid – whether pus, mucus or blood he couldn’t tell, but it was bad.He guided me into the operating room, where Abi lay on a table, swaddled in towels and blankets, on oxygen and a saline drip.She was struggling to breathe; each attempted breath was accompanied by a writhing of her body and a scream.Her eyes were wide and she didn’t see me.

Tears had been flowing down my face since I’d got the call from the vet, now I burst into sobs as I held my kitty’s head and stroked her, talking to her, telling her what a great little mate she was, how special, how much we loved her.And then, while I held her, my head laid on hers, Dr A gave her the injection and she just sort of … flowed away.I cried and stroked her beautiful soft fur and huge fluffy tail over and over.Then I left her.It was all over before 9 a.m. Monday morning.

Monday I howled on and off all day.My darling Tux skived off work around 10, came home and hugged and hugged me.This last week has been so hard; I get the weeps on and off – something reminds me of her, or I think I hear the jingle of her bells. I miss her so much, she was so much a part of my life and my day, such a comfort and companion.Without her I feel desperately, horribly lonely, on my own in the house all day.I’ve also been incredibly ill the last few days; a savage migraine and extreme neck and back pain – just the time when Abi was always most attentive and cuddly.

The autopsy showed she’d died of heart failure – cardiomyopathy, which is apparently not uncommon in young cats and Maine Coons are particularly susceptible (unless breeders screen their stock and breed the gene out) and can be as rapid as in Abi’s case.She was cremated and we will get the ashes back next week.I’m going to bury them in the rose garden at my parents’, where Rocky and Bella are also buried.

Goodbye my darling puss.You were a most special, beautiful, big-hearted cat, the best little feline mate a person could have.Thank you for choosing me that day at the shelter.

Rest in peace, baby.

Abigail, 16 January 2003 – 28 August 2006.