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tkd & pork crackling

I have a feeling this might be quite a convoluted story. In fact I think my husband might say it’s one of those Kumars at 42 kind of tales. 

In fact I know he will but bear with me.

I have a friend and for the purpose of this exercise let’s call him Ox Man. Ox Man is big. I mean reallly big. I barely reach his belly button. And he’s tall and he’s strong and he cooks like a beast. I mean in a good way. The best possible way. If you eat the roast pork he makes you will declare your undying love to him and his family. And if you, by chance, happen to taste the pork crackling he makes you will sell your wife and children to have a piece of it again. 

  
But this weekend just past we went to their lovely home for an Easter Egg Hunt and brunch. One of my children, I won’t say who, I’ll just say it was the birthday boy, had a conversation in the car that went something like ‘…Mum will Ox Man make crackling today? No son, it’s only 10.30am. But mum, why not? It’s the best…’. Wait why am I telling you this? Stop making me lose my train of thought!

  
  
Anyway so we stuffed our faces with bacon and eggs and birthday cake and chocolate and flopped like fat buffaloes all over the backyard. An hour later when I felt I could finally move again I decided to show off some of my new moves. No, not ‘those’ moves you filthy animal! My taekwondo moves. I’ve learnt holds and throws and jab crosses and insteps kicks and even something that looks like a proper donkey kick. (I’ve been training for about six weeks now and I’m so broken it’s taken this long for my fingers to even work again). 

   No, I’ll probably never be this good!

 
I asked Ox Man to grab one of my wrists, any hand, any wrist, come on Ox don’t be a wimp. So he did. I assure you he wasn’t even using 1% of his full strength. And before I could even do my cool defense move, sorry, my highest defense, he fell to the floor begging for mercy. Now I am strong, I really am, and I was pretty insulted. Dude come on, seriously, grip my wrist properly… And. He. Did. 

And I could not move a muscle. No. Not an inch. Not a centimeter. Not a millimeter. Not an atom’s width. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. I could not release his grip. And he wasn’t even trying…

On the way home it hit me. HARD. Here is a man I’ve know most of my adult life. He is one of the gentlest, kindest men I know. We were in a safe environment surrounded by our husbands and wives and children and there was no real danger. But what if it was not a fake, pretend, I’m so cool show me what you got, situation? What if it was in a dark alley and a man was really out to get me? What would I do? How would I escape…?

It became abundantly clear. A man really is stronger than a woman. I’m all for women’s equality and all that but there are some things you have to accept. A man really is physically stronger than a woman

  
So my question to you is this… How would you explain physical limitations to your daughters? How would you teach your sons to be be kind and gentle, irrespective of their size?

What would you do to ensure your own safety? Would you take a self defense class? I am. And I know in a REAL situation my first reaction would be to get the hell out of there. But if I was wrist locked or arm locked or neck locked, I hope I’d be able to give him something to remember me by. (Preferably private parts that ached for a year or ten, a split lip, permanent scratch marks on his face and the desire to run to the other end of the earth the next time he saw me). 

It’s been on my mind. I’ve learnt a big lesson in humility and strength and in my own limitations. But one thing I haven’t learnt is how to replicate that damn crackling. Ox? Oh Ox Man, where are you?? Come on mate stop hiding, I swear I’ll go easy on you this time!

  
Dee x 

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why would you go to an irish woman’s house?

To eat curry of course!! And what a mighty fine rogan josh it was. Made lovelier because I didn’t have to cook it. (Not that I’ve ever cooked a curry from scratch but still!!). 

So allow me to introduce Lisa. This lovely dear friend who cooks with passion and loves with heart. And has her own amazing blog where she Junk’d the Junk and had inspired many a yummy meal at our house. 

 

And she even wrote a guest blog post for me. She gives me a lot more credit than I’m due, but thank you gorgeous girl. One day I will hit you up for that rogan josh recipe but in the meanwhile I’ll just pop over next time you make some! So without any further ado here’s Lisa…

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If you are meant to be shot – you won’t drown!

Let me explain. I’ve a new old friend. I’ve known this woman for a few years and I feel like we had been on the cusp of a friendship for some time. Recently though it’s changed from an acquaintance into something more. 


Why the title of this this post? Well its simple, this new old friendship nearly never happened. My new friend became seriously unwell and was in a coma for some time last year. However being the tough nut fighter that she is, she did the virtually impossible and survived. I’m very glad that she did!


Lovely Dee who is beautiful inside and out. The most generous girl you could meet– if you say something like “what a lovely bracelet” it’s off her wrist and on yours in a flash. I’m very proud to call you my friend. 


Anyway enough smushy stuff already, onwards and upwards and all that. 

We went to an Italian / Lebanese charity cookery class, demonstration and feast a few weeks ago. It was so great. The demonstrators Marta and Tina were funny and engaging.


Their food was amazing. There was Panzanella, Gnocchi Potato and Bean Soup, Hommus, Baba Ghannouj, Parmigiana, Chicken Taouk, Roast Potatoes & Rosemary, Tabbouli, Tiramisu and Baklava. I rolled home.


The atmosphere was chilled and comfortable, the company was excellent and it was for a great cause, fundraising to support the School of St Jude in Tanzania that provides free education to children, who are not able to access private schools. You can find out more about it here www.schoolofstjude.org  


The stand out dish of the evening for me was Tina’s Baba Ghannouj. Look I know I know – Aubergine aka Eggplant is not something I ever got enthusiastic about. That was before. Tina she has changed my view on these shiny purple veggies – no longer are they the slimy oily things I dislike. They have been transformed into one of my very favourite ingredients. I’ve made this dip four times since the cookery class and Hubby#1, Children#1, 2 & 3 and myself are all elbowing each other out of the way to get to the bowl. 

So here it is Tina’s amazing Baba Ghannouj. 


Ingredients

2 Aubergines

2-3 big tablespoons tahini 

1-2 cloves garlic

Juice of 1 large lemon

1-2 tsp salt

1 tablespoon olive oil & some to garnish

Pomegranate seeds – or chopped flat leaf parsley to garnish

  


Heat your oven to the highest temp. I rub a little olive oil all over the skin of the Aubergines. Put the onto a grill tray and put into the hot oven for about 10 minutes – turn over and put back for another 10 mins. The time really depends on your oven. You want to blacken the skin and cook the flesh inside. Then peel the skin off and set aside to cool and drain for about 15 mins. 


Meanwhile crush your garlic cloves and juice the lemon. When the aubergines have cooled drain off any excess liquid. Put all of the ingredients into a food processor and whiz until smooth. You can do this by hand either just mash up with a fork and use some “elbow grease”. You can add more tahini, lemon, garlic to your taste. We like it with a good bit of tahini in my house.


Now to make it look pretty to serve, scoop in into a bowl, make a well in the centre and drizzle the olive oil over the top and scatter over the pomegranate seeds or chopped parsley. It’s so yum. Serve with flat breads, vegetable stick or crackers. I also like to put great big spoons onto a salad as a dressing. Enjoy. Thanks Tina for the introduction to Baba Ghannouj.


Here we all are enjoying the feast after the Italian-Lebanese Cookery Class. Notice how all the plates are empty – everything was gobbled up. Just shows how yummy it was!