At present I am continuing to sort through my house with a view to getting it rented and putting my things in storage under my Mum & Step-Dad’s house. At the risk of sounding like someone who is up with the fairies, it is turning out to be a very cleansing and cathartic experience. (And I have hardly even started). It is also turning out to be something that is freaking people out as much as the kids and I donning backpacks and going travelling for 12 months. I have had a lot of strange comments when I mention that I will be selling some things and even throwing some things out. For some reason getting rid of possessions is something that is hard for people to understand. For me it is happening for a few reasons – firstly the idea of packing, moving, storing, then moving back and unpacking all within 12 months or so is a really overwhelming and exhausting process to contemplate. So it made me really think about addressing what I own from a viewpoint of “what do I really need?” Then there is of course the factor of raising extra funds for a trip that I was not really financially prepared for. Those were the two initial reasons for getting rid of things that I own – to ease the packing and unpacking and to raise a bit of money. But now I am also looking at it as a process of lightening the load, realising that I could live with a lot less and also realising that in the past I have bought things that I simply don’t need.
Getting rid of my cake things was the easiest thing to do and I ended up giving away almost as much as I sold primarily because I was happy for things to go to a good home to people who would use them. When I return I will certainly continue baking as I can’t imagine not creating sweet things and I have all sorts of ideas bubbling away in my head about vegan creations but that is something I can contemplate whilst I am away. But continuing as is was simply not an option anymore. I have a house literally filled with books. As my first exercise of getting rid of things, I had an owner of a Used Bookstore come in and help himself to some of my books. I could not take part in the process as I initially felt like I was selling a big part of my identity. I sat at my desk and cringed as he put more and more books that he wanted to take on my kitchen table. I was appalled at the amount he was taking. When he left though I was shocked to realise that I still had a houseful of books. I walked around the house scoffing at the books that he did not take and wondering what the hell was wrong with him that he did not take my copy of Duncton Wood, or my James Herriott collection or the Tess Gerritsen series. Then I did something really interesting. I went through the books left and put in a couple of boxes the books that I wanted to keep, that in my mind, they made my life a better place by having them and one day I would like the kids to read. These included the beautiful Marlena de Blasi series, Denis Lehane’s Angie & Patrick, my beloved Brontes and Sidda from the Ya-Yas amongst others. I filled 2 boxes with books that I could not imagine not having in my life. I then looked around my house and realised that I still had a house-hold of books that I genuinely don’t need. They are there because I love being surrounded by words and paper. But I certainly don’t need them.
From that moment I looked at this process differently. What I am doing right now is literally lightening my load. I am learning what I need and what I think I need. In a way I am going through a process of simplification. For a year we will be living out of backpacks and when we return I will hopefully have learnt that it is very easy to live with a lot less. I may well go and hit myself over the head with a few incense sticks after that little ramble, I am not sure if it make sense, but right now learning about what the kids and I truly need feels right.
I broke a very long period of abstinence this week by renewing my love affair with the Tenterfield Baker and his Turkish Bread. It is like a very addictive drug. I was doing just fine until recently when I was driving down our main street when the smell from the bakery hit me and all resolve went out the window. I started acting like a child who has just heard the My Whippy theme song floating on the afternoon breeze. I have not actually had bread or pasta for about 3 months but I honestly thought fuck it. That bread smelt so damn good. As soon as I walked into the baker and saw the Turkish bread laid lovingly on the counter I was a goner. I mean, who was I kidding, as if I would actually walk into the bakery for a little looksee. I knew full well that I would emerge from the bakery cradling my Turkish Bread like it was a very precious new born child. When I got home I almost snapped at Rissie when she proclaimed loudly – “God I love Turkish Bread Momma – cut me some really big pieces.” Archie just walked in and took half of it. I really resent it when my children like precious food items such as olives, dukkah and Turkish bread – at moments like that I would rather they be fussy little cretins who only eat vegemite sandwiches. I wanted to shout loudly – “Out damn children, the Turkish Bread is MINE, MINE, MINE. In god’s name go eat some bloody rice crackers.” I didn’t though as that would have been greedy and selfish. All they left me with was a piece that was enough to make a sandwich. To do it justice I tried a new dip and sautéed some mushrooms. To say it was good was a bloody understatement. Oh Tenterfield Baker – where have you been for the last three months of my life?
Butterbean dip & Mushroom Turkish
1 x 400 gram butter beans
2 garlic cloves – peeled and crushed
¼ cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon mild paprika
Salt to season
Place the butter beans, garlic, lemon juice, oil, cumin and paprika in the food processor. Season generously (depending on your palette) with salt and depending on the desired consistency you might need to add a little water
Healthy sautéed mushrooms
Slice large handful of mushrooms and sauté in water, just like you would oil or butter. Season generously with salt and pepper. When tender and start to sweat mushroom juices they are ready.
Sliced vine ripened tomatoes.
Slice heavenly Turkish Bread, liberally spread butterbean dip and top with sliced tomatoes, top with a generous amount of mushrooms.
Sit in silence for a while whilst you contemplate how amazing food can be.