Dale, Ralph, David and Jeremiah At My Table – With Marcella #118 (of 466)

This blog started out focused around my table. That’s not to say that all posts had to be about food, or my table, for that matter.

In the past few months, the focus of my writing has been on rest, down streets, in books, and sometimes less frequent than I’d have liked. In short, my focus has been ‘all over the shop’!

This is not to say that nothing has been happening at my table. I’ve had a lot of ‘visitors’ – just not many of the ‘present’ or ‘live’ kind – though I’ve enjoyed many games of Scrabble with my brother at my table (he, you’ll be pleased to know, is both live and present).

At my table, I have been keen keeping company with several men. Dale (or Ralph – I’m never quite sure which name he’d like a friend to address him with) has been providing much food for thought in recent weeks. Dale Ralph Davis has written two books on the Psalms – each book covering 12 Psalms. The first, ‘The Way of the Righteous in the Muck of Life’, I read some time ago. The second, ‘Slogging Along in Paths of Righteousness’, I finished yesterday. I’ve read both while consuming my porridge of a morning.

As I’ve kept company with Dale (or Ralph) and his examination of the Psalms, I have therefore also kept company with David (writer of many of the Psalms). It has been very helpful to spend time with the words of one who has trusted in, and cried out to, his God. Those words have encouraged me to ‘keep company’ with the same God.

This morning, I moved onto another book by Dale (or Ralph) – a collection of sermons he preached on the book of Jeremiah. I look forward to keeping company with this intriguing prophet for some breakfasts to come.

Today, I fancied some soup. I had swept up some autumn leaves in the back yard of the apartment block where I live – and I fancied something simple and warm for lunch. I turned to Marcella Hazan’s chapter of Soups.

Her ‘Chickpea Soup’ required no shopping on my part. I had a tin of tomatoes and a tin of chickpeas. I had some beef stock. I had some garlic. I had some fresh rosemary in the garden.

It was took little effort to make the soup and little effort to invite my neighbour to join me. After keeping company with men who were not present and, in the case of Jeremiah and David, not live, it was good to have a live, present, woman sharing a meal with me – at my table.

Chickpea Soup

Chickpea Soup

Lunch Today: #118 ‘Chickpea Soup’ with Phillippa at my table.

Time Out from Marcella – With Margaret Fulton, Weight Watchers and Marcella #117 (of 466)

You may argue that my ‘time out’ has been time out from blogging. Since my last post, 17 days ago, I’ve been back at work, speaking at an evening on Mentoring Women, speaking at a Women’s Weekend Away, and hosting various visitors staying in my home. I’m probably ready for some more time out. Meanwhile, I have fond memories of a ‘time out’ visit to a cafe in Sydney’s CBD, where my order was delivered according to the animal on my table – not a table number. Nice touch!

A sheep?

A sheep?

Regular readers may also have noticed that I’ve been on a break from my cooking adventures with Marcella Hazan’s ‘Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.’ This was partly due to a few weeks of relative hibernation – and I rarely cook her recipes just for me. It was also due to a concerted and, so far, successful attempt to shed some kilos and once again fit into my clothes (I am 3 kilos lighter).

Thus my cooking has revolved around Weight Watchers recipes. It has been interesting – but nowhere near as tasty as Marcella’s recipes!

A visitor staying, a desire for a simple ‘poached pears’ recipe, and a two-month look at Margaret Fulton’s cookbooks on The Cookbook Guru, had me turning to Margaret’s recipe for Poached Pears. Hers included a macaron-like stuffing of pistachios. I was lacking in time and pistachios, so I skipped the stuffing. Her poached pears had very little sugar in the poaching syrup (some recipes online called for 2 cups of sugar!!) and worked beautifully. A simple scoop of vanilla ice cream on top was all that was needed.

Poached Pears

Poached Pears

Two nights ago, I experienced a glimmer of hope, a light at the end of a tunnel of weakness, a taste of the old energetic, hospitable life I long for once again. I had four students, from the college where I’m working this year, come for dinner and a chat about the future possibility of them living, working and sharing God’s love in other parts of the world. They each had their eyes set on different corners of the globe. We chatted and dreamed as we shared Italian food together. I cooked Marcella’s ‘Chicken with Lemons’ (this is the third time I’ve cooked this!) and her ‘Potatoes with Onions, Tomatoes and Sweet Pepper’ as a side. Simple and delicious!

Steam from the pan fogging up my camera!

Steam from the pan fogging up my camera!

I’m not up to a repeat performance anytime soon – but it was good to keep the hospitality flame burning!

Wednesday Night: #117 ‘Potatoes with Onions, Tomatoes and Sweet Pepper’, with four students and their dreams, at my table.

Time Out – With a Book About Walking

One day, I would like to think I could write a book about walking. Not hill-walking. Not walking the Camino de Santiago. Just plain, old, walking of the streets of one’s neighbourhood or city.

I’m not sure if it should inspire or demotivate me, but I have been reading a book that is just the kind of book I’d love to write! ‘The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris’, by John Baxter, has been my reading companion during the last few days of my current time off work. (Thanks to this guy for the recommendation!)

Love this book! Love my local library!

Love this book! Love my local library!

I feel a natural affinity with John Baxter. When I came upon the following quote, I felt we could well enjoy a coffee and a chat together after a long, city walk – or at least, a knowing nod as we passed each other on the street:

‘But even in infancy I recognized my natural habitat as urban. What I wanted under my feet was asphalt, not grass.’

Earlier readers of this blog may recall the growth of my love for milk and nails – as their purchase required heading into town where people were and things happened!

If I was to write a book about urban walking, I might include the aforementioned quote from Baxter – to give readers a taste of who I am.¬†To give them a taste of who I am not, I might include a quote from the Sydney Morning Herald last weekend. Dumas, in an article about ‘The plan to make Sydney a walking city again,’ cites Dr Megan Hicks:

‘The thing about city streets is that you always have this conflict between wanderers and purposeful walkers.’

I may never be known as a ‘wanderer.’

Daily Prompt

Time Out – With a Parcel Full of Birds

In a recent post, I shared something of my fear of birds. Two days later, a parcel arrived for me. A ‘Time Out’ care parcel from a good friend. A parcel that just happened to have a lot of birds in it!

Not the living kind, I was glad to note – as are, I’m sure, those of you who began reading this post understandably concerned about the welfare of living, breathing birds potentially wrapped in brown paper and tied up with string.

I don’t think my friend had read the post about birds by the time she had posted her parcel – but the irony was sweet. As were the contents – which included some blackbird wall-transfers and some paper birds to hang on a decorative branch. I am yet to find a decorative branch – but have not stopped looking yet.

Here are the interesting, thoughtful array of contents:

Birds and Other Things

Birds and Other Things

A ‘To Do’ booklet, a pack of Ransom Letter Tattoos, a Reading Challenge for the year, a Matchbox Garden, a pack of Tissues with an important message, some Scrabble tiles and – birds in various forms.

The parcel also came with the family’s updated sibling-to-parent height ratios and assurance of prayer. Lovely!

The next day, I took myself, my trusty map and a book about walking in Paris – and walked for an hour around some more streets of Sydney. I finished off at a another cafe from the book of cafes I’m working through. I was delighted to see there, a continuing Scrabble theme.

The Grumpy Barista

The Grumpy Barista

That night, I had a visitor staying with me and she obliged me with a game of Scrabble and two games of Bananagrams.

Scrabble tiles, birds and kind friends¬†are everywhere! And I’m rather happy about that.

Daily Prompt

Time Out – With a Crossword (‘Crossword’ starts with ‘C’)

Coffee and Crossword both start with 'C'

Coffee and Crossword both start with ‘C’

Compose a poem in which every line starts with ‘C’?

Can I?

Consideration tells me that I can as, just yesterday, I walked

Crossword in my pocket, folded neatly with my map, and loyalty

Card for coffee purchase.

Coffee, that is, once the streets were walked:

Crisscrossed, then crossed off.

Challenge for the day:

Complete.

Counsel, later that day,

Came with help to make sense of ‘across’ and ‘down’

Crumpet and Chocolate

Cracked eggs to make an omelette.

Completed a most excellent novel in between steps, tears and mouthfuls.

Can I tell you about the book? Tomorrow?

Daily Prompt