How I spent my weekend.

(Remember this photo. I’ll come and talk about it a bit later.)

Whew! What a weekend! I drove over half of Melbourne! Though I’ve got to say that this new job is just like blogmeets…. you meet so many lovely people.

On Friday night I had a varoma demo in Glen Iris, which is just 10 minutes away. The varoma is the steaming unit that sits on top of the thermomix if you want to make steamed puddings/veggies/fish/dim sims/stuffed chicken breasts etc. I make a warm pumpkin, chicken and cous-cous morroccan salad, with lemon and coconut steamed puddings for dessert, along with the pizza, soup, sorbet etc. The varoma demo is one that we do about 6 weeks after someone has taken possession of their thermomix, when they know all the basic functions and how to drive the thing; then I come back and demonstrate how to get the most out of the steamer.

This particular couple are Foodies. Particularly the husband. He’s all over the Cuisine… unlike my good self, though I enjoy doing demos there because I pick up quite a bit from him as he’s talking. As part of their demo they invited a couple who were very interested in looking at the thermomix because their son has just been diagnosed with lymphoma, so of course they’re looking to cut out any and all preservatives and chemicals from his diet. I didn’t realise that the men were both dentists. When that little fact came out, I laughed and mentioned that it was Evan15’s Hapsburg jaw that originally got me thinking about becoming a consultant. My customer looked at his friend and said, “Come on! I’ve done my part…. now it’s your turn to contribute!!!”

On Saturday I had a couple of deliveries to make, one in Frankston and one in Berwick. They’re close together (so I thought) so I scheduled them one after the other, loaded the car up and off I went.

The first stop was Yvonne. She’s a very good friend of foodnstuff’s,  and we met at the demo where I originally bought Uma. (Uma’s my thermomix… Uma Therman-momix….) She didn’t buy when I did, but after observing foodnstuff making anything and everything in hers, she decided to bite the bullet and get one and she chose ME as her consultant. I was rapt! So I drove up there and had lunch with the both of them and Bev, who also bought a thermomix at the same demo foodnstuff did. (It all sounds very incestuous, doesn’t it?)

It was a beautiful lunch. It was at a meticulously set-out table, with no galumphing teenage boys or animals anywhere in sight. Though honesty compels me to admit that there was a one-legged magpie that hung around the kitchen window waiting for Yvonne to feed it some titbits. Yvonne’s house is serene and lovely and she’s an absolute delight. We ate and drank and had a lovely time, until I looked at my watch and realised that I was supposed to be in Berwick in about 20 minutes. That’s when I discovered that it was a little further away than I realised.

I had no idea how to get there from Frankston. I assumed there’d be a turn-off at the freeway but the street directory was unclear on this point. I was sitting in the car wondering what to do, then decided to just drive along to Cranbourne, then pray for road signs.

My goodness there’s a lot of housing estates around Berwick and Cranbourne! All with very high falutin’ names like “High Acres Rise” and “Rolling Hills Estate”. (I’m just making those up but that was the general flavour.) Fortunately Vicroads had done their job well and I got there a little late but without any dramas. I walked into a house almost the complete opposite of the one I’d just left.

The grandchildren were over, so they were running around. It reminded me of when my kids were little, because there were 4 children under 6. Sippy cups, nappies and squeals everywhere! The husband was watching the football on tv with one of his daughters, another daughter dropped in to pick up a couple of the kids and  in summary there was noise and activity all over the place. I was demonstrating how to take the thermomix apart and then we started to cook some soup in it, with little kids wandering in asking questions, wanting something to eat and drink and then needing temperatures taken and panadol administered. It was full on! It made me laugh because this is precisely what my life used to be like 15 – 20 years ago and I was completely oblivious to what a whirlwind it looked like to anyone not also in the “little kid mode”. I don’t know how I did it…

When I got home I had half a tin of coconut milk to use up (from the lemon and coconut steamed puddings from the varoma demo the night before) so I decided to make the coconut chicken from the ‘Budget Busters” cookbook. And yes, dear readers, I KNOW that this book sounds right up my alley! But remember the photo above…?

Remember the lone capsicum that I grew? The one that appeared really late in the season and I decided to leave it and see if it would ripen and turn red? It was in the boys’ wicking bed and was just under the eaves, so I hoped it’d be protected from frost. The recipe calls for red capsicum so I thought the time had come to see if it had worked. So pleased to include this in our dinner! I’ve saved the seeds and I’m hoping to have a similar triumph over Mother Nature next year, though with a lot more capsicums than just one.

Incidentally, does anyone know if it’s worth my while to try and overwinter this plant and let it grow next year, or should I just rip it out? Has anyone grown capsicums two years in a row from the one plant?

ANYWAY, now we come to the demo I wrote about last time. The one with all of the food intolerances, remember? It was fantastic.  Mary, our hostess, was a lovely lady who was so into cooking. I arrived and her kitchen was full of food and things were bubbling away on the stove. I was wondering if she knew that I was there to give them a 6 course meal, but it turned out she was cooking for the men and grandkids (who were in another room watching the soccer) and I was going to be cooking for the ladies.

I usually make the most delectable garlic, spring onion and parsley dip, but with the other ingredient being cream cheese that wasn’t suitable for this demo. So I made hoummus instead. I’m always a bit leery about making hoummus at demos because everyone likes their own way of making it, or at the very least they have their own brand of hoummus that they always buy and if mine has more or less garlic/lemon/tahini/whatever they might not like it. So I got Mary up to make it. She added the seasonings just the way she would normally and it was all good.

It turned out that there wasn’t an egg allergy after all, so I was able to make the sorbet and custard as usual, but I’d brought the ingredients for the egg-free custard and we decided to make a jaffa custard instead of the usual lemon custard I make at demos.

Oh. My. Word.

It was just the normal custard recipe (cornflour, egg, milk, sugar) but on the advice of my customer Sam *waves to Sam* we added some cocoa and some orange zest. It was delicious!!! I’ll certainly be making this again.

This demo was a fair way away, so David18 drove me. He’s got less than 20 hours left to get his licence and now that he’s going to get my Dad’s old car he’s suddenly motivated to get those hours up. It’s lovely driving with the boys one on one. We get to quietly chat and they tell me things that I might not otherwise get a chance to hear when we’re in the middle of the usual hurley-burley of life. He did a bit of holiday homework and then just chilled, playing games on his laptop and waiting for me to finish. He’s a good lad.

And now it’s the holidays. This morning I’m going to get my first ever filling, more than likely. My tooth has been feeling a bit weird, so I’m assuming that the time has come for me to get more than a theoretical knowledge of the drill. Then the rest of the holidays are there for the taking….


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5 Responses to How I spent my weekend.

  1. Jayne says:

    Lordy, what a busy time of it all but yay on the happy during each demo 🙂
    Enjoy the hols!

  2. Ellen says:

    Thanks for the early morning LOL – your weekend sounded crazy, foodie and fun. Enjoy the holidays and welcome to the filling club.

  3. foodnstuff says:

    It was indeed a great day and thank you for your often hilarious input. Glad you finally got to Berwick safely.

  4. Liz says:

    Yes I have overwintered a capsicum plant and it fruited earlier with more fruit in its second year. It survived last winter which I think was possibly a bit milder than this one but I still think its worth a go. My advice would be to just leave it, don’t prune it, feed it or anything until September and give it some liquid fertiliser then and see if it starts growing again. Mine survived one winter but I think one overwintering was its limit as it started to look pretty sick by late Autumn.

  5. Miki says:

    Yes, definitely try to overwinter the capsicum – I always get 2-3 years out of my plants, and as LIz says you get more fruit the next season, and earlier, because the plant is more mature. You may find the leaves fall off (as mine sometimes do if its particularly cold) but it will reshoot in Spring. I sometimes cover with a frost blanket. You have nothing to lose by trying anyway.
    Cheers Miki

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