A Villanelle About Beef Stew

I was hungry, okay?? It was late at night, and I was trying to write a villanelle, and I was hungry and looking at rhyming words for you, and I came across beef stew, and then I had the sudden urge to figure out what the difference between soup and broth and stew was, and then I decided after looking at an image of beef stew on google, that I would incorporate it somehow into my villanelle.

In the end, I didn’t even use ‘you’…still, I like this villanelle much better than my first one.

Your anger is a bit like beef stew
Chunky hunks of anger that you chew on deliberately
Chopped-potato-feelings that you sardonically, constantly review

Carrot slices of resentment crop up sometimes, long overdue,
Adorned with spicy regretful filigree
Oh yes, I’d say your anger is a bit like beef stew;

Sharp with wrenched out scents that rang true
As you roughened your throat indignantly
with chopped-potato-feelings that you sardonically, constantly review.

A simmering broth of emotions that you keep close in lieu
Of releasing like the scented herbs, stirred viciously
Together, (y) our anger is a bit like beef stew

Full of garnishes to stew
over, replete with mistakenly
chopped-potato-feelings that you sardonically, constantly review.

Sometime I will learn to
revel in it more palpably:
Your anger is a bit like beef stew;
Chopped-potato-feelings that you sardonically, constantly review.


Parental Supervision? Nonexistant

My parents are in Australia for 5 days, ostensibly for a conference, but also to have a little celebratory holiday. Thus, I am in charge of the household: my 5 year old sister (bossy, thinks she knows best, argumentative and stubborn as heck) and my tweeny brother (moody, hates me, doesn’t listen to anything, stays up on the computer until he falls asleep in front of it), as well as the chook and the cat. This means I make my sister’s lunch and get her mostly ready in the morning, and then look after her after school and cook dinner and clean up and everything.
On the first day, my response to cooking was as expected: completely unprepared and frazzled. How on earth do you do it every day, parents?? I ended up making terayaki chicken instead of the oyster sauce, because it is meant for beef (for one thing), and also I don’t like oysters. It said 10 minutes on the packet…it took me an hour and a half to make this meal. (also, I started with grating the veges, but that was too small, so then I chopped them, and they ended up too big. Also, I managed to burn the sauce of the terayaki, so it’s quite dry). Trying to manage three pans and a pot of rice, and a busy-body, non listening little sister all at once is hard!Then I cleaned up and mopped the floors a bit and let the rice pot and saucepans soak. I re-iterate – how do you find the time, effort and desire to do this every day??!!??
Dinner was delicious in the end, though. I had to freeze some, there was so much chicken! (1.2 kg)
The next day: I was making dinner and dessert (slice thing) and trying to make my sister tidy up all at the same time…I forgot the egg. Which is okay. I do that all the time.
But I also forgot the SUGAR. 170 GRAMS OF SUGAR. (I had to add treacle and sugar on the top and hope it would caramelise. It did, partly. It’s mostly edible…)
I should not multi-task.
Dinner, on the other hand, came out fine.
On the menu today: Pizza and salad – scrumptious food, oh, glorious food! And not burnt, either. πŸ™‚ My sister helped grate the cheese, and taste-test the salad.
LivnΓ© Ore's photo.
What I found so annoying, though, is that my brother refuses to touch anything I’ve made. So instead of eating delicious pizza and salad, he decided he’d make his own, making a huge mess while doing so. It’s also really unsustainable, because he had to defrost the base in the microwave (I had defrosted the others naturally) and turn the oven back on, and use new dishes…and now he expects me to tidy up after him.
Only three more days to go! But I think this has been a really good lesson in realising just how much work everything is (and I haven’t washed the house or done the laundry or the dishwasher yet!), and that I definitely need to appreciate what my parents do for me more.
I wonder, does anybody else have siblings who behave like this? If so, my sympathy to you. It sucks.
– Let’s call me Lily

The Story of the Nougat Cookies That Weren’t

Today I was going to post a review of His Last Vow to complete my reviews of Sherlock Season 3….except it turns out it didn’t magically write itself (are you surprised? I was so surprised! Authors always tell you to let the idea brew….well, mine must’ve been simmering for so long it evaporated). Instead, here is a stream-of-consciousness-style recollection of Thursday night and Friday morning. Enjoy!

The nougat cookies that weren’t.

You see, I had this recipe I picked up from a book by our dear friend Nigella Lawson, except I didn’t have nougat. And I wanted to try the recipe then and there, even without the nougat, because Dad was making borekas, and the oven was hot, and that’s always a good time to bake something (have you ever tried doing it when the oven is cold? I wouldn’t recommend it).
So I decided to substitute the nougat with chopped up almonds and dried apricots and halva…and then I looked at the recipe and thought – oh, this would taste so good if I replaced the white flour (which I’d already halved in amount so that I could use wholemeal flour and be more healthy) with almond meal! Except there wasn’t any almond meal, so then I reconsidered, and thought – hey – I love coconut! Thus, I had another rummage around and came up with coconut shreds and coconut flakes, and also rolled oats. So I added those instead of the almond meal which was instead of the white flour.
Then I added chocolate chips, because CHOCOLATE CHIPS. Also, I may have (definitely did) replaced the espresso powder with more cocoa, because there wasn’t any of that either. And,err, I didn’t like the amount of sugar, so I put in less and added some treacle that I found instead – it turns out we’ve had treacle and never used it for anything for a couple of years now, but as it’s in a tin can thing – you know, like the golden syrup ones (I thought it WAS golden syrup at first) – and as I found it, I felt pressured to include it in my recipe. So I did. Then I added the ingredients that were actually a part of the original recipe (an egg, baking soda, butter…) and mixed.
After considering the time (11pm) I realised I couldn’t be bothered making the dough-mix-thing (it certainly didn’t look like dough) into cookies. Rather, I improvised and scooped the mixture into a square tin, coming to the conclusion I could make a slice instead. Shoved it in the oven and waited for 15 minutes…then another 15 for it to cool down…ate a slice; addicted! I swear I finished half of it myself. In one day. Except when I took it to school the next morning I couldn’t very well brag about how amazing my nougat cookies came out.

Because they SO weren’t nougat cookies any more!

And that, in case you were curious, is what I do at 11pm at night when I’m craving something sweet and trying to follow a recipe…

Now, I have two questions, dear readers!

  1. What should I call this slice that I made?
  2. Any tips on how to write a villanelle poem? It’s homework for English, and I feel as though my attempts are being especially pathetic.


– Let’s call me Lily

Late Night Baking: Display Number One

As a result of deciding at 10pm two nights ago that I wanted to do something with the blackberries we found and picked while driving back home from our beach holiday, I agonised over 5 different recipe books because I only had 320 grams of berries and most tarts/pies used 450 or 900 (and I was already replacing the type of berry).

I finally just made a regular crust, refrigerated it for 2 hours, and mixed cocoa and sugar into the blackberries for the filling.
By then, of course, I was too tired to wait for the tart to cool down before I ate it; I went to bed πŸ™‚
So, these past mornings I had a scrummy tart with ice-cream for breakfast. It’s the first time that I’ve made anything from berries, as they are quite expensive here in New Zealand, so what we buy we eat fresh.

Here’s a resolve-destroying picture: ice cream for breakfast is so forbidden usually, right?


The Misadventures of a Preoccupied Mind

“Let me explain. No, that will take too long. Instead, let me sum up: I forget things. Important things. This extends to baking.”

“So? Is that any reason to treat those poor Anzacs like that? You’ve just thrown them all in the bin, and they’re not even burnt! Wasting food is wasteful.”

“Yes, Captain Obvious, I knew that. And they’re in the bin because I accidentally used salt inside of sugar -”


“In my defence, they weren’t labelled!”

“Yes. That’s why you taste-check if you aren’t sure what something is. Common sense; have you heard of it?”


“Mm hmm. A whole batch of cookies, rendered inedible due to your ‘skills’. This is worse than the pancake debacle of Year 7. Sheesh.”

“Oi!! Those pancakes tasted fine, thanks!”

“You were meant to make a healthy breakfast. Chocolate chip pancakes don’t count. Especially if you forget to let the mixture cool and end up melting the chocolate and adding – what was it, half a bag? – enough to turn the pancakes brown.”

“They were authentic chocolate pancakes, it was on purpose!”

“No, it wasn’t.”

“All right, no, it wasn’t but still…”

“No excuses. Anyway, that’s not even mentioning your vendetta against eggs.”

“I do not have a vendetta against eggs.”

“Well then, explain why you regularly leave them out of recipes, huh? They never did anything to you, and you abandon them to the fate of omlettehood inside of putting them in pancakes and muffins.”

“They taste fine without eggs, stop being melodramatic.”

“Listen, you once made scones with no baking soda, I think I’m required to -”

“Shut up.”

“Really, I don’t see why you don’t let me -”

“Seriously, shut up. These chocolate chip cookies will turn out divine.

“What are they made of?” (hesitantly)

“Butter: unsalted, sugar, sweetened condensed milk, flour, baking powder, chocolate chips, an egg…oh, dammit to hell!”

“What? What did you forget now?”

“I added an egg! Why did I add an egg? How can I be so stupid!!!


“There shouldn’t BE an egg in chocolate chip cookies. I give up, you’re right. You bake. I’ll just eat your stuff passive-aggressively.”

“All right.”

These aren't mine. They look nice, though, don't they? (wistful)

These aren’t mine. They look nice, though, don’t they? (wistful)

This was just because it’s really early in the morning and I decided to bake some stuff, and the chocolate melted in my chocolate chip cookie mixture…also, yep, I have done ALL those things, I am incorrigible, I don’t even know why because I will have the recipe book RIGHT THERE in front of me, but oh well. Yes, I’ve known that pancakes and muffins taste fine without eggs πŸ˜›

I’ve never had an actual conversation like this, though. I tried to make it realistic (ish?), which is why there are repetitions and minor sentences and such. If you listen to someone talking, it actually sounds very boring and, yes, repetitive, as people rephrase questions and integrate them into their answers, and start with ‘umm’s and ‘er’s. Dialogue sucks – I don’t know how authors do it (or any other part of writing, actually.)

– Let’s call me Lily

is calling it a day (the cookies turned out nice anyway, although I haven’t tasted the muffins [which have an egg in them this time – yay!] yet…)

Journal Update Entry

Exams finished (the practise ones, and just for me, since they were all lumped into 3 days, which wasn’t too fun, let me tell you) on Wednesday. Thus, yesterday I had the time to finally book in a dental appointment.

A couple of months ago I went for my yearly check up, and the dentist had to give me some new fillings (even though I brush my teeth twice a day, regularly and thoroughly….). However, my teeth remained really sensitive for ages afterwards – so that I couldn’t chew or drink water without my teeth aching – so I went back, where I was told that it was an expected side-effect of getting ‘white’ fillings, and to come back after a month if they were still sore.

Which is what happened.

Meaning that I had to have my fillings replaced because the original dentist didn’t do them properly,and that meant they had to drill much larger and deeper holes, and replace my fillings with huge silver ones, which don’t look very attractive, unfortunately. I was also anaesthetised, which I really hate, as the actual needles are painful when you’re being injected, as the numbness always lasts 4 hours or so for me.Β  And I can’t eat/brush my teeth etc on one side of my mouth for the next 24 hours. So that was great.

Today, I made cookies!

They were supposed to be chocolate chip cookies, but due to unforeseen circumstances ended up being transformed into cupboard cookies. Basically, I added an egg to the recipe because I was determined not to forget (which is what usually happens – I now know that pancakes, cakes and muffins generally taste fine without eggs in them :)) only to realise that one of the reasons that I love the choc-chip recipe is that it DOESN’T have eggs in it…so then I went to town and used up all the left over pebbles and mini marshmallows from my little sister’s birthday party, and added almond essence and chocolate chips and raisins and coconut flakes.

They taste alright, actually. Although, sadly, even though the marshmallows were special ‘baking’ ones, they all melted and disappeared completely 😦

She Is Ready To Go…

To school.

That’s right, my little sister turned 5 years old today, is is starting primary school on Monday! She’s very, very, very excited – in fact, we’ve had to launder her uniform already, as she keeps wearing it πŸ˜›

The party, on the other hand. Phew, am I glad that it’s over.

  • Approximately 15 kids ranging from 3-5
  • and their parents,
  • AND extra guests

who all needed to be entertained for over 4 hours!

On top of that, there was my mother, who always panics and overdoes everything, and the intermittent rain…

As well as the less-than-ideal behaviour of Herself, who was being sulky and mean – not sharing, yelling, eating all these lollies before the party/during the party before lunch, hiding in a corner because nobody was paying attention to her (i.e. not listening and obeying her every command; instead they were playing and doing stuff they were meant to) and so on.

And another child, who was quite rude, pushy, and ruined one of my sister’s presents already – not to mention opening half of them himself.

And another child, who is terribly sweet, but speaks, I swear, maybe 5 words of English? She’s Russian, and her family recently moved to New Zealand. I wish I could speak Russian. Her poor father doesn’t speak much English either, and I think most of the conversation went over his head – especially my mum, who tends to get very loud and excited.

There was a bouncy castle, because my mum caved when my sister asked, and balloons and banners and decorations, and the kids all got to decorate their own cupcake, so the house is an UTTER mess, with marzipan and icing and sprinkles and pebbles and marshmallows, and playdough and bits of Barbie Lego (ARGH! What annoyed me were the presents! All pink cards and pink clothes and pink Barbies and dolls and sheesh, gender discriminatory much? You could go for neutral Lego – why buy Barbie Lego? It is not in any way better!) – and I’ll be recruited to clean up.

At the end of the party, there was facepainting (me), because one wasn’t permitted on he bouncy castle with a painted face. It was hilarious, because one boy asked for “Hulk Smash!!!!!” How does he even know who the Hulk is? The comics and the movie aren’t exactly age appropriate for 5 year olds! There was also a Spiderman, Batman, and lots of flowers and love hearts and butterflies. And a house; that was unexpected.

Foodwise, there were two enormous cakes: chocolate cake and a Tiramisu, both homemade (one for the kids, and the other for the adults). And sausages and 3 types of salad and buns etc. My mum likes to go overboard with things, did I mention? πŸ˜›

Now – unleash the hounds, let slip the dogs of war!!! I have to study. In fact, all my exams are right after this weekend – wish me luck! ( although it possibly won’t save my maths grades anyhow)