30 March 2014

i could make you smile, in the morning i'll make you breakfast

First, let me use a lyric from Staind's damn-that-holds-up-well-there-goes-my-snide-attitude 2001 song It's Been A While to ruefully acknowledge that I haven't posted on this blog in some time.

It's been a while. 

In case you've been living under a rock, a metaphorical rock that represents your own sufficiently full life with its own things that you are perfectly entitled to focus on instead of me (but hey! Me!) here's your "Previously, in HungryandFrozen! The Musical: The TV Series" intro before I go any further. In my last blog post I'd already come out and broken up with Tim (a sad side-effect of being gay: really can't marry that guy. A positive side-effect of being gay: I'm gay!) And now to add to that I've moved into a new house and also quit my job. 

The last thing happened for a number of reasons (most of which were along the lines of "it's not you, it's me") but really crucially because I want to focus on my writing and my cooking and My Cookbook, which I just haven't been able to do to even a squillionth of the level that I'd like to be. I say this a lot, but like, having my own cookbook published is one of the most incredible things that has and can ever happen to me, and sometimes I forget I even have it, because I just don't get to think about it or promote it or talk about it or even just write about food in general. So if anyone out there has some cool part-time work (I'm good at marketing and sassy group emails, bad at lots of things) that they feel like letting me know about, I can't recommend myself hard enough. Like, my last day is really soon and I have no idea what I'm going to do. It could very well have been a really stupid move, I mean, I need to pay rent and I can't assume I'm going to just land on my feet, but...it felt right. So that's where I'm at. 

This recipe is really simple and I know people have been talking about Bircher muesli for ages, but I'm not trying to claim any authority on it, more just like...this is what I made for breakfast and the light was all dreamy and it was delicious and you could make it too. The push in this direction came from my sweetness-y friend Charlotte, who in turn got it from her friend Kimberley, and it sounds like it has evolved along the way with each new person's bowl that it's made in.

Oats though: so filling, so good for you, in ten minutes I'd undoubtedly eaten more healthy things than I ate all of last week. Hand on heart, it is one undeniable heck of a pain to remember to make it the night before, but if you get into a routine or put a reminder on your phone or tape post-it notes everywhere (Trab Pu Kcip springs to mind) you should get there. I actually made this at 2am and it was totally do-able. I was completely sober, I'd been knitting and watching TV shows and tidying my room and it was all of a sudden really late to be doing such activities. I was just drifting off to sleep when the thought of Bircher Muesli jolted me awake. Eventually I sternly told myself to get up and make it because damn it I'm a food blogger and an adult and as ever, think of how happy you'll be tomorrow when you get to instagram it in the swoony morning light. And also eat a nice breakfast. So I did.

how i made bircher muesli

3/4 cup rolled oats
grapefruit juice
thick plain yoghurt
an apple (I used a variety called Smitten because damn that's a cute name)
pumpkin seeds
pinch salt
Any other bits and pieces: coconut, nuts, dried fruit, so on. I used a handful of this preloaded "raw mix" or something from the bulk section at the supermarket, it has coconut and sunflower seeds and like three goji berries per kilo so they can throw an extra two dollars on the price.

Before bed, place the oats in a bowl and cover - just - with the juice. You can honestly use any juice you like here, apple is standard but I both had and like grapefruit. I also mix in a heaped spoonful of yoghurt at this point - I like to think it helps make the oats particularly tender. Grate the apple into the bowl and stir. Go to bed.

The next day, stir in a pinch of salt (if you forget this bit, that's fine - I just do enjoy my sodium) pile on some more thick yoghurt, sprinkle with whatever bits and pieces you like, and there you have it. Breakfast. 

The oats swell and almost dissolve into the liquid, becoming much lighter than you might anticipate. Their mild beige flavour is perked up by the tart yoghurt and bittersweet grapefruit, with little bursts of apple and the soft crunch of nuts making it less like obligation-paste and more like an abundant bowl of serene joy.

Moving out of my old flat was nonstop exhaustion for every particle of my body, and I'm going to miss it. But I love my new space and it has that same happy-to-be-here haven feeling as the old one. And my new flatmate Caroline made donuts from scratch on Friday. I think that's almost more important a factor than living with someone who pays rent on time.

See? Instagrammable. I was barely even trying with this one. 

In case you're like "yes but Laura say the word gay again and also talk about yourself some more" (I don't know, I say this to myself a lot, it's plausible you might too) I was recently lucky enough to have a piece published on The Wireless about coming out. Lots of people said lots of nice things. I felt both brave and like I was hardly worthy of the word, which I guess is actually how many of us feel about small and large things in our life. Mostly just glad though.

So anyway, now that I'm finally 100% completely almost unpacked, you can anticipate, with earnestly shining eyes and earnestly clasped hands, a lot more blogging from me.

PS: Speaking of significant things happening in my life, the Pretty Little Liars season finale, what whaaat? If there are any fans of the show out there who want to talk about theories and character development and representation of women and shiny shiny hair then hit me up. Because I can talk about this for days. Can I put that on my CV?
title is from: Siren Song by Bat For Lashes. It's gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous. As per usual with that one.
music lately: 

Donde Quiera Que Estes by Selena featuring Los Barrio Boys. The first 20 seconds are unpromising but then it gets soooo good. And what I'd give for Selena's fringed leather jacket. 

Darlin' by Emily Wells. I love her record Mama so much. I got to meet her in New Orleans and we joked about fizzy drink and kombucha (I'd never even tried the latter but was hoping for the best.) The song is still great even without that pointless anecdote. 
Next time: the return of I Should Tell You interviews, alriiiight! With Anika Moa! Double, nay, quadruple alriiiight!

14 March 2014

well, I just want to say that it happened

One last, fast blog post at this table, in this house. 

The bowl and the spoon I get to keep though. 

Very soon I'm moving out to a new place. On Monday I made Tim and myself a roast chicken that I'd covered liberally in soft butter mixed with hoi sin sauce - it was incredibly excellent, sweet and crispy and salty. But for the final meal I alone had in this house, I felt like berries and cream. Not that there's any actual significance to this, it really is just what I felt like. And probably for the best, imagine if I'd had a sudden craving for proper Beef Wellington or three whole pavlovas or something along those complicated lines while trying to pack everything up into tenuously tensile boxes.

cream rules everything around me 

Frozen berries, left to sit in sugar for a while, with cream poured over. It's not a recipe, it's not even what many would call dinner, but it is wonderful. The slowly defrosting berry juice absorbing a little into the sugar, making a gritty syrup, the cream mellowing the children's chewable vitamin C tang of the still-cold berries as it pools pinkly around them.

This weekend Tim and I are going to have one last party at this place - which might sound bananas for a couple who have just broken up, but it seems right to get together with our friends and acknowledge everything and say farewell to this wonderful apartment where we've had so many amazing parties and times. Rather than vaguely fraying off into separate directions. It feels generous to put a full stop on it, to say well, this chapter might be ending, but it happened. Not saying this is what everyone should do, but it works for us.

Also we have lots of partly-drained bottles of alcohol so it's easier to invite round lots of people to help us finish them. It's both stoically convivial and also saves us one more decision.

"Le Portfolio De Spice Girls Femme" - while packing I found this notebook that I purchased with my own pocket money in 1998 specifically for drawing pictures of the Spice Girls in. 

Next time you see me it'll be in my new place, where for the first time since January 2006, Tim and I will not be living together. Interesting times. I'm also looking forward to nuzzling into my new place till it feels like home. For all this talk of new chapters and stuff a lot will not change but it will be bittersweet and strange and undoubtedly tough and excellent in ways I haven't even considered.

Oh! In case you're like Laura, what is up but also what is going down, what's with all this aggressively poignant talk of moving out? Kindly see my previous blog post. On that note, Julie Andrews sweeping her arms wide open upon a hill demonstrably alive with the sound of music could not convey the gratitude I feel at the utter radness of so many people after my last post. Some super lovely words have been said by both friends and strangers to Tim and I and it's just...so kind. I mean if anyone was to be properly horrible about it then I'd know they weren't a nice person to begin with, but it's still monumentally heartwarming to be softly blanketed in so much niceness. Especially when I've been packing my stuff into boxes all week and still haven't really finished in the slightest and it's a bit like one of those dreams where it's suddenly xmas day and you haven't organised any presents or you need to catch a plane to Paris in ten minutes and you don't know how you're getting to the airport. Also, in the interests - for once! - of this not being one-sided, I'd like to reiterate that Tim is also going through a lot and continues to be so great, we're gonna be best friends for life, despite being in a hugely challenging situation, and not just because he got to keep all the White Stripes vinyl, but because there's no other way we could be.

Fresh fringe trim and tinted brows: it's amazing how such simple things can have a great effect on...well, my selfie productivity, if nothing else.

Anyway, time for me to move (ditheringly around the flat with breathtaking inefficiency and as soon as the movers arrive realise exactly what I should have packed and how.)
title from: Nearly Midnight, Honolulu by Neko Case. Tim and I and what felt like every friend we have went to see her in concert last night and it was one of the very, very best gigs I've ever been to. Her voice just makes my blood fizz in my veins...oh and also the crowd was really cool and not pushy and she started bang on time which this grumpy lazy so-and-so appreciates hugely. 
Music lately:

Antonique Smith, Hold Up Wait A Minute (Woo Woo). This broadway babe (and also recognisable as Faith Hill in the movie Notorious) has a killer voice the size of a killer whale. This song is so snappy and sassy and I love it.

Watercolours' new EP Portals. Hot damn it is dreamy.
Next time: well we'll see what I come up with once I manage to unpack my boxes of kitchen stuff, yeah?