the missing purple ingredient

So, for the last 9 weeks, I’ve been on what I’ve renamed the Wonder Bride Diet but more commonly known as the Australian Womens Weekly 21-Day Wonder Diet. First up, I had never had skim milk before and I’ve also never been on a fully fledged diet before (thanks to Mum’s genes) and therefore had misconceptions about the value of them and questioned if they really worked? Inspired by wanting to look my best in Vera but by no means in a sacrificial mood or wanting to commit to lent of not eating tasty food altogether, I came across this so-called diet-book at a friend’s house. Her mum had purchased the book at the local shops because first and foremost she thought that the recipes looked good. Flicking through the book, it quickly engulfed me and the next day I bought the book on ebay.

Most of the recipes are fabulous, so tasty you wouldn’t even know they were “diet” food.  I had some girlfriends over for dinner and cooked a fish dish and had them asking me “have you taken a break tonight from the bride diet as this can’t be in the book? !” The basic premise is for 21 days you only eat 20 grams of fat per day with three regular meals and two snacks and the claim is you can lose up to 10 kilos. 30 minutes of exercise per day is encouraged to aid weight loss but is not described as essential. You do need to be somewhat organised to cook the three meals a day as it’s by no means a lite ‘n’ easy route with frozen meals and breakfast in a clear packet but a diet with an abundance of fresh fruit and vegies, a good source of protein and even a bit of carbs as it allows you both pasta and bread albeit it’s rye.

Now, I pride myself on having an extremely well-stocked fridge and pantry most weeks as pre-wonder-bride-diet I often liked to stand in front of the fridge at the end of a weekday and drum up a meal on the spot from the assortment of food available. My man would sometimes roll his eyes as we pushed the trolley around Coles and I placed (what I termed “basics”) in it which could include Plaistowe Dark Cooking Chocolate (in case I wanted to make spur of the moment Caramel slice) or vanilla and chocolate mini meringues (in case people popped around for dinner and an Eton mess dessert was needed). Given my love of cooking I also felt that I had a quite thorough knowledge of most ingredients be it spices, flours, pastas, herbs, sauces or cheese.

So did I feel stumped Week 1 when looking over my shopping list I noticed the word sumac. At first I thought it may have been like semolina or then like a pistachio. Enlightened after a google search I realised that my hunt was to find a purple spice often used in Middle Eastern cooking. My man and I hit up Coles then Woolies scouring the spice aisle trying to find this thing called sumac. We asked bewildered store assistants who queried “is it like cumin” or “is it like basil” and all this left me was feeling even more stumped than before. The recipe said it wasn’t an essential ingredient and could be substituted for something else but this just made me want to hunt it down even more.

It was in a tiny grocer store in Chatswood on a little shelf in a small bag that I finally discovered sumac. It tastes a bit like poppy seed and has a very faint taste but I feel very satisfied that I can now add sumac to my cooking repertoire.

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Published in: on March 23, 2010 at 12:06 pm  Comments (3)  
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Time in a bottle

It’s no secret that I’m in countdown mode as in 18 days, I will be saying “I do”. A couple of people ask me everyday, “How’s the organisation going?” or “What have you got left to plan?” and the truth is zero. I am a known organiser, a quasi-event planner some would describe me as, who loves to organise anything and everything and in 7 months with my man, I have planned a 100 person Sydney based wedding with not one bridezilla moment or really even breaking a sweat. And all that’s left to do now is to mark each day off with my blue texta on my calendar and look forward to the day with excitement and anticipation.

I looked back on the 7 months today and reflected on one of the parts that I really loved doing and that was finding one of the readings that would be read out in the ceremony on the day. I had already chosen one of my sisters to do the reading and began my research quite early on as I wanted to find something that was well written, unique but personal, not long-winded or soppy and bottom line about love.

It seemed like an easy task to do as there was plenty of wedding readings, love quotes, love lyrics and love letters around. I read poetry by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, looked at sonnets by Shakespeare, heard lyrics written by John Lennon but all in all, I could not find the reading that felt just right. I visited abebooks – a site dedicated to rare books and looked at love letters that men had written to their loved ones in the 17th century while they were away at sea and I even looked at the Oxford dictionary meaning of love to see if the reading I was searching for was to be derived from the most basic meaning.

I finally narrowed my search down to three potential readings; one from a well known book, one which I discovered from watching a movie and one randomly found from a google search. All three readings had purpose and in two minutes were each able to give meaning and translate to the love that was shared between my man and I.
One night, we sat together on the couch and read and re-read out loud each one trying to decide which one it was to be.

This isn’t the reading we have decided to go with but I feel it is necessary to end this post by sharing it with you as regardless it is still a reading that I love. It’s called Time in a Bottle by Jim Croce.

“If I could save time in a bottle, the first thing that I’d like to do is to save every day ’til eternity passes away, just to spend them with you. If I could make days last forever; if words could make wishes come true; I’d save every day like a treasure and then, again, I would spend them with you. If I had a box just for wishes and dreams that had never come true; the box would be empty, except for the memory of how they were answered by you. But there never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to do, once you find them. I’ve looked around enough to know that you’re the one I want to go through time with.”

Published in: on March 23, 2010 at 7:35 am  Comments (1)  
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