In the Guest House: A Festive Christmas Punch

Here is our dear friend, Lozzie, with her deliciously deadly version of a festive Christmas punch. Innocently pink and prettily topped with strawberries. Drink at entirely your own risk – Lex.

A very festive tipple
A very festive tipple

 

I have recently acquired a love of punch – the alcoholic fruit drink popularised by 70’s cocktail parties, usually served in an ugly glass bowl.

It could be a summer love affair, brought on by the warm weather and long days that make me want to conjure up a jug of fruity goodness. Designed for a crowd, it’s like a convenient cocktail, with an element of virtue (you know the antioxidants, of course…) that’s perfect for justifying an afternoon tipple with friends.

Packed with antioxidants (ha)
Packed with antioxidants (ha)

I thought Lex’s recent birthday would be a good opportunity to debut a punch that I’m planning to make Christmas day. Lex was initially quite reluctant to try the punch, however with a little (very little) arm-twisting, she eventually agreed.

A jug was made and glasses were poured.  The tart, fruity and refreshing punch was delicious and deceptively alcoholic.

The following morning Lex described it as “not so much a punch, as a punch in the face”…and I had to agree that splashing the remainder of the 50% Absolut vodka bottle in the jug was probably not the best idea. Maybe don’t drink the punch if you have to be a sensible parent the next morning. Maybe only drink it if your responsibilities are limited to lying around on the couch calling feebly for water and cheese on toast.

It was while watching Room on the Broom with the boys, after a yummy breakfast of turkey and cranberry jaffles, that we decided: for future events involving alcohol this festive season, we would partake of coconut water, vitamins and hydra light powder prior to drinking. Surely, this would serve to balance the health scales and result in no painful hangover effects such as we were currently suffering?

A good plan until Lex tasted the coconut water and declared it to taste like ‘water that has been in someone’s mouth who has been eating coconuts’.

Without further adieu…

Festive Christmas Punch (or Punch in the Face)

1 bottle sparkling rose

1 cup grapefruit juice

½ cup vodka

¼ cup red wine

2 oranges (juiced)

1 cup strawberries

1 cup soda water

Mix liquids in a big jug or other vessel, add orange juice and sliced strawberries. Stir and pour.

Please note:       * If you don’t want a punch in the face, omit the vodka.

* For a tamer version, add more soda water.

Cheers dears
Cheers dears

Be merry!

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In the Guest House: Kale Slaw

Quick note from Lex: Took a little cajoling but I finally convinced Mr Dickson to write this down. It does tickle him that so many people are growing kale but when questioned about what they’re doing with it, they’re either very coy or the answers don’t seem all that…delicious. Anyway, here he is.

P1060143

“Bacon!”

This recipe does not have bacon in it. It’s just that when I hear people espousing the virtues of: Kale! I want to ask them if they have heard of: Bacon! Bacon tastes good, kale does not.

Kale has this peppery (maybe) over the top green flavour that I can sometimes tolerate and other times makes me gag a little.  Apparently it is a super food and therefore really good for you.

I hear about kale’s health giving properties but I don’t really take in the science, I just hear that this leafy green vegetable may possibly undo some of the damage I may or may not have done to myself so far.  I know that this is not really the promise offered, but I’ve entered an age where my sense of mortality is compelling me to investigate the healthier alternatives in the hope of minimizing the effects of prior negligence.

Bacon tastes good. Kale does not.
Bacon tastes good. Kale does not.

That and it grows like crazy in the garden and you have to find something to do with it before it goes to seed and or the aphids get at it.

So I give you: Kale Slaw.

Ingredients:

10 Large kale leaves finely sliced – I use around a 2:1 ratio of kale to carrot but I often add more carrot if I don’t think it looks right.

1 Medium carrot grated

1/2 An apple grated

1 Spring onion finely sliced

2 – 4 tablespoons of THOMY mayonnaise, let your conscience guide you. I like the THOMY brand the best and I won’t guarantee success without it.

A pinch of salt and pepper

Some garlic chives.

Maybe a squirt or two of lemon or lime juice.

Combine all ingredients, bar mayonnaise, in a bowl. Mix well, then mix in mayo to taste at the end.

It’s basically your coleslaw recipe with kale in it instead of cabbage. Surprise!

I especially enjoy ‘filleting’ the kale. I like to imagine that I am on Master Chef and that this is a technique that only I employ – basically you drag the knife up either side of the stem from the bottom – the stem is discarded. I like to use the heavier leaves from the bottom of the plant for a texture more akin to cabbage so it is important to slice the kale finely so you don’t have to chew through these leathery straps of kale.

"Filleting" the kale
“Filleting” the kale

Enjoy. And if you don’t like it maybe you could sprinkle a little something on top. Maybe some “Bacon!”.

Kale Slaw - with fishcakes and roasted kipflers.
Kale Slaw – with fishcakes and roasted kipflers.

If you enjoyed this post and want to see more of our daily life then you may want to follow Two Houses on Instagram or Facebook. Subscribe via email (see the side bar) to save you missing out on new posts. Because let’s be honest our website is not very organised and it takes years to find anything. Have a nice day!

In the Guest House: Freezer Rich

Just a quick interruption from Lex – This week we’re happy to introduce The Guest House, our spot for guest bloggers. First up is Rosebud. Old friend, talented cook and relatively new mother of one.  I’ll shut up now and let her expand on this, as only she can.

Freezer Rich

I’m so rich today.

To be specific I am “freezer rich”.

As you can no doubt imagine, this is when you’ve filled your deep freeze with pre-made meals.  I’d say one week’s worth is the minimum to qualify as rich.  These days, to me, being freezer rich is way better than “cash rich”, or even “clothing rich”. Whoa.

These days, to me, being freezer rich is way better than "cash rich"
These days, to me, being freezer rich is way better than “cash rich”

But let’s back up a bit – I’m now seventeen months into motherhood and the first fourteen of those months no one slept. Rory, our son, the love of our lives, a most precious of babies was such a complete arsehole at sleeping. I can say this now with a smile on my face because he has slept through for 12 weeks straight…that’s 84 nights, my friends.  He was one of a special breed of child that heard your head hit the pillow like it was a huge brass gong – instantly bolting wide awake screaming.  A paranoia set in about any sound that might wake the baby. We even trained the poor dog to never leave her bed so as to avoid the trotting noise her claws made on the floor and we’d have the TV so quiet we spent all evening whispering “what did they say?”. Basically every night he slept like shit and woke angry and often.  You know what?  I’d be angry too if I had interrupted sleep.

Rory, our son, the love of our lives
Rory, our son, the love of our lives

“Gaaard don’t whinge!” I hear you say. “He’ll grow out of it!”, was also told to me. “Lots of babies don’t sleep, at least he’s happy and healthy.” Yes yes yes, all valid points. Geeeeze.  Trust me I told myself these things many many times and then shuddered with guilt but this really didn’t diminish the feelings of aloneness, sadness and utter disbelief when the offspring woke crying yet again at 2am and 3am and 4am and hello struggle town for another day. My default setting most days was “get through”.  It’s just so exhausting and then the knowledge that you must shop for, make and feed the family some sort of meal other than toast is a drag beyond belief.  Not to mention the damn unfolded washing that breeds (to be fair, hubby does all the washing – bless) and the dog in desperate need of a walk.

Wow. Rant much?

The flip-side is, I’ve found that the torture of sleep deprivation created in me a strong survival instinct and forced us as parents to get smart, get organised and get healthy-ish…mentally and physically.  That or I was so tired I believed my own hype….quite possible.

On a side note, Rory keeps getting smarter every week. It's really a lot like the horror movies where the creature/alien gets more terrifying because it LEARNS... Now he's opening zippers!? What? Oh god AND reaching the bench!?
On a side note, Rory keeps getting smarter every week. It’s really a lot like the horror movies where the creature/alien gets more terrifying because it LEARNS… Now he’s opening zippers!? What? Oh god AND reaching the bench!?

Back to food and the true happiness, satisfaction and relief for anyone that is to be found in being freezer rich!  It’s not just fish fingers and puff pastry hiding out in there. We delight in stacks upon stacks of healthy homemade curry, stew, soup, bolognaise, sausage rolls, stock, pulled pork meat, salmon cakes, ragu…you name it – I’ve frozen it.  Withdrawing from the freezer-bank can be done in a slow trickle or a sudden removal of everything in just a few days.  The latter is usually because one parent is sick, away, being a sook or we are off for a mini holiday and I’m being a tight arse and don’t wanna buy every meal while we’re away.

Producing these bulk meals usually occurs on a rare Monday all at once. This works for me as it’s more economical time-wise with chopping veg and also having ovens on etc. Being economical with time is a novel idea though with a one year old running around pulling your pyjama pants down twice while you’re stirring stew (this happened) and also systematically removing every item in every drawer in every room. *breathe in breathe out*

Lately sharing the frozen wealth is a big thing for me too.  New parents need hot showers and good coffee and lasagnes and someone to sweep the floor and naps and big pats on the back.  How much better would you feel, if you’d just changed the thirteenth shitty nappy and breastfed your human parasite for the tenth time, to remember the steak pie in the freezer?  Do I hear a communal sigh of understanding?  Go fill a new mum’s freezer now.  Seriously do it.

Can I give a tip? Labels labels labels. Labels are essential. Many brown meals look alike. I'll say no more.
Can I give a tip? Labels labels labels. Labels are essential. Many brown meals look alike. I’ll say no more.

Lex and I did cook up a storm in my 39th week of pregnancy.  She flew all the way across the country fully believing that the baby would know she was in town and promptly emerge for cuddles.  The baby did not emerge for cuddles till two days past it’s due date and Lex’s departure, but we did cook cook cook and that stockpile of meals lasted weeks into new motherhood.  Weeks I tell you!

So here’s a recipe that’s always a favourite in our house.  It’s super easy, healthy, vego and freezable. Tick tick tick tick.

Chick pea curry

2 cans of chick peas
Greens chopped (I use broccoli stalks) approx a cup
1 carrot finely chopped
Large bunch kale or spinach finely chopped
2 onions chopped roughly
2 cups of stock
2 teaspoons chilli powder or paste (teaspoon or tablespoon depending on how hot you want it)
2 teaspoons garam masala or whatever curry powder
Shitload of turmeric
1/2 teaspoon of cardamom powder
1/2 teaspoon of coriander seeds ground
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
Salt and pepper
1/2 almond meal
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup shredded coconut
3 garlic cloves chopped
Teaspoon of Ghee

Melt ghee over medium heat and fry onions till softened (6-7 minutes)
Add all herbs, spices and the garlic and stir till fragrant.
Add carrot, greens and leafy veg and fry approx 5 mins till spices have coated.
Now add drained chickpeas, stock, almond meal, chia and coconut.
Turn temp up and bring to the boil then drop again to let simmer for 20 mins adding a bit of water if required.
Season at the end and serve on rice or quinoa… or freeze!
Easy!

Chick pea curry...
Chick pea curry…