The Solace of Simplicity – With Marcella #69 (of 466)

I am presently in need of simplicity.

Thus, I have been having dinners of leftovers from the freezer, making much use of the humble egg on toast and loving the return to porridge for breakfast each morning.

I haven’t made much headway with the Marcella project in the past week or so. So, after tiring of food eaten out (a little too rich) and food eaten from the freezer (a little too microwaved), I thought I’d give Marcella’s much-praised ‘Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter’ a whirl.

Simplicity itself! Open a tin of tomatoes and plop them into a saucepan. Peel and halve an onion and plop that in. Slice off a chunk of butter and plop that in. Simmer gently for 45 mins. Boil some pasta. Remove onion halves. Pour sauce over pasta.

It was delicious! So perfectly tasty and simple.

Last Monday I had made use of my first ever batch of Chicken Stock and made the Malouf’s ‘Golden Chicken Soup with Coriander, Garlic and Parsley’. I had three friends join me and we enjoyed every spoonful of it. Chicken soup truly is good for one’s body and soul.

My soup was not so ‘golden’ and for the life of me I couldn’t locate where the coriander came into it – until the next day I realised that there was a call for a blob of ‘Taklia’ at the end….I’d missed that. Taklia is a paste with coriander and garlic. Still, it was yummy as it was.

Golden Chicken Soup with Coriander, Garlic and Parsley

Golden Chicken Soup with Coriander, Garlic and Parsley


I’ll try revisiting ‘Saha’ before this month is out and the Cookbook Guru moves on to another book.

Tonight, though, I will be having the leftover pasta and sauce from last night – microwaved and all!

Last Monday: #69 ‘Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter’ with just me at my coffee table.




A Friend in Need – Indeed!

In my younger years, I could never quite grasp the proverbial affirmation that ‘a friend in need was a friend indeed.’

I wondered how a friend that had needs could be much of a friend to me – certainly not to the extent that warranted an ‘indeed’

Or was it that a friend that is there for me when I was in need was a friend indeed?

Or was it that a friend who was to help me in my time of need would have to be a friend in deed?

Anyway, all this to say that in the last couple of days I have had some friends in my need and they have been friends indeed and in deed!

Friends sent a new magnetic fridge poetry set to replace the one I had lost in an episode with no poetic justice to speak of.

There's only one 'friend' and no 'indeed' in the set.

There’s only one ‘friend’ and no ‘indeed’ in the set.

They sent the poetic magnets via friends who offered ears (to listen) and a beautiful meal (to eat).

A friend dropped by earlier today with cheery pink flowers from her garden.

My housemate (admittedly without prior consent, but later willingly) supplied the requisite tin of tomatoes and tablespoon of tomato paste to add to this soup:

Poetry and Soup 003

Spicy Tomato Soup


Inspired by the Cookbook Guru to explore the cookbook of the month, ‘Saha’, I made the ‘Spicy Tomato Soup’ for dinner last night and had leftovers just now for my lunch.

I actually remembered to take a photo of it (long-time readers of this blog will know that I’m trying to make an effort here) and I thought that I was being all ‘foodie-arty’ by adding a garnish of parsley….but then realised that I must have been subconsciously inspired by the blog post with photo that I had seen this morning. Take a look and judge for yourself.

Tonight I have a friend coming over for a simple dinner of chicken soup. I made the stock last night, from the recipe in ‘Saha’. It was made from the frozen (and defrosted) carcasses and bones from past ‘Marcellan’ meals.

I’ve never made chicken stock or chicken soup before.

I’ve heard it’s good for you in times of need 🙂


“Excuse me, young man, might this be a ‘hipster’ cafe?”

An old friend was booked to fly into town for a day visit today. We have an old-fashioned friendship. We have been writing letters for thirty years now. Old-fashioned hand-written letters. We’re ever so ‘vintage’. So vintage that we’ve never called each other on the phone and so, when she had to contact me at the last-minute to say she couldn’t come, an elaborate system of various modes of contact ensued.

So here I was with an empty day before me. Something to do with my ‘vintage’ friendship, gave cause for my temporary housemate to exclaim ‘You’re quite the hipster!’ and this from a girl who was much closer to the age and form of this cultural phenomenon.

I decided to embrace this well-meaning misdiagnosis and attempt to be a ‘hipster’ for just one day. Today, that is.

Could I be a hipster?

Could I be a hipster?

Now, at the end of the day, I’ve put some lentils on to boil and will take some time to reflect upon this short-lived cross-cultural experience.

Returning home from my weekly pilates class, I searched the internet for tips on how to be a hipster girl and found some helpful advice. I was apparently off to a good start! I had worked on my fitness, but not in a way that was too challenging. All with the added bonus of wearing my hair in ‘messy bun’.

Messy 'just woke up' hair

Messy ‘just woke up’ hair

Earlier that morning I had been pleased to see a post from The Cookbook Guru about their new cookbook for the month, ‘Saha’. I pulled it off my bookshelf, determined to locate a recipe that would make use of the overabundance of parsley I had in my garden. With plans to make the Malouf’s ‘Lentil Tabbouleh’, I was delighted to discover that I had inadvertently ticked a few more ‘hipster’ boxes on the checklist. I was going to make something vegetarian (let’s ignore the sausages that will appear alongside the salad!) and it was going to be with parsley from my ‘organic’ garden.

Organic Garden

Organic Garden

But that was for later in the day. First, I had to venture out in the world and try to pass for a ‘hipster girl’. Let’s just say, right up front, that I probably failed to pull this off.

My boots should have been ‘military style’. They weren’t.

Sensible (not military) boots

Sensible (not military) boots

My tights should have been coloured or floral. They weren’t.

Is black a colour?

Is black a colour?

Though I had a bag, it should probably have been brown and slightly beaten. Not red and from Marks and Spencer. There is a fake ‘vintage’ clock in the photo and ‘organic’ roses from my garden, so perhaps I get some points?

I could fit an LP record in that satchel!

I could fit an LP record in that satchel!

According to my research, I mustn’t ever venture out without a camera and a book in my bag. I happened to be re-reading an old favourite, so that probably earned me ‘recycling’ points. Though my camera wasn’t ‘vintage’ and so I believe that brings me back to zero.

A recycled vintage book

A recycled vintage book

Armed with a WordPress challenge to conduct an interview (real or virtual) and (after a last-minute decision) not armed with my fake black-rimmed hipster glasses (remnants from an ill-advised 3D cinema experience), I caught the bus into town to visit a ‘hipster cafe’.

I did a quick scan of the establishment before committing myself, and found that it fit many of the required criteria. There were an abundance of skinny-jeaned, poncho-ed, bearded, satchel-bearing customers. There was concrete, steel and recycled timber as far as the eye could see. A blackboard ironically declaring the cafe to be ‘Established 2014’ clinched it for me and I confidently approached the counter to order.

The ‘How to be a Hipster Girl’ guide had instructed that I ‘speak with an air of confidence’ and not be afraid to use sarcasm. So the following cross-cultural exchange ensued:

Hipster: Sorry, we’re all a bit ‘spaced out’ today – recovering from this morning!

Would-be Hipster: What happened this morning?

Hipster: Oh, just loads of people coming in?

Would-be Hipster: For coffee?

Hipster: Yeah, it’s like they planned it or something!

Would-be Hipster: Mmm (pausing to silently give thanks that I left my planning diary at home – close call!)

Hipster: What’ll you have?

Would-be Hipster: A Long Black, please (proud of my confident ordering in hipster language).

Hipster: Oh, an Americano?

Would-be Hipster: Mmm (now not so sure I’d entered into a real hipster cafe)

Hipster: Where are you from?

Would-be Hipster: Oh, I’ve lived in this city for a while, but originally from Australia. We call it a ‘Long Black’ there and I’m always delighted to see it on blackboards in this city (regaining confidence).

Hipster: Oh yes. We do use smaller cups here, like they do in Australia – because bigger cups are just, well, they’re just nasty!

Would-be Hipster: Mmm.

I finished my ‘hipster interview’ with an order of one of their sandwiches with sides of salads with interesting pulses contained there-in, then sat down at a table where I was afforded a clear view of the rest of the cafe.

Hipster Lunch – note interesting salad on left


My sandwich arrived and as I ate I was delighted to overhear my hipster-waiter-friend declaring to the bearded customer next to me that the coffee was ‘Natural – it’s like the farmer just takes the seed and throws it out!’

I stayed until the moment where an elderly, suited, silver-bearded man sat at the table on the other side of me, whereby my mind could not cope with the counter-cultural considerations that presented.

So I left.

I briefly toyed with the idea of staging a protest against skinny jeans, as the hipster guide had said that protesting was an essential part of the hipster culture.

My protest

My protest

But I was a little scared of starting something I couldn’t stop. So I figured the most enjoyable effective way to protest was to strut to my favourite tea-drinking establishment and leave hipster culture far behind me!

Being true to myself

Being true to myself

I returned home to boil some lentils, harvest some (organic) parsley and make what I trust will be a delicious salad. I’m taking it to my friend’s house tonight where there’s nothing hipster to be found. Nothing whatsoever.

Unless a vintage Scrabble board counts?