5th February 2015

I was over at Mum and Dad’s for dinner this evening.  There is nothing like home cooked food.  Fresh asparagus, meat cooked on the BBQ, and fresh fruit for dessert.  Yum!  While Dad got the BBQ ready I popped up to the chemist to get Dad’s script refilled.

I really do like Mum and Dad’s pharmacist, he knows his stuff and is a lovely man to boot.  He and his family have been here for years, he came over from Senegal to go to university.  I couldn’t stop for much of a chat, just enough to enquire about his daughter.  She had gone back to Senegal on her gap year to visit her grandmother.  Met a boy and fell in love.  She was now heavily pregnant and ‘stuck’ there until she had the baby.

She was good, though he was nervous about her and would much rather that she was here in Sydney with the rest of her family.

I had to wait while Carl filled the script and I noticed that there was a good stock of surgical gloves so grabbed a couple of boxes, one for Mum, the other for Grace.  I think though I’ll get Mum to hold on to Grace’s along with all the food I brought.

Oh, and in other news.  Richard asked me to go to Waitangi Day festivities with him on Saturday.

31st January 2015

It’s been an interesting day.

Mum asked me to take her to the supermarket to help her get what she might need in case she and Dad go into isolation.

The weird thing was not that she asked me to take her.  It was that, when we were half way through, she said she was going to get some UHT milk and didn’t come back.  I had to leave the trolley half full with groceries, in the middle of the supermarket, to go look her.  I found her 20 minutes later in one of the other shops in the mall buying something for Ella.

I managed to convince her to go back into the supermarket to pay for her groceries.  Once we had them in the car I took her for a coffee.  I think Mum would have liked a shot of something stronger in hers.  When I asked her what happened, she was reluctant to talk about it, saying that I would think she was being silly.

I told her that nothing about Ebola was silly.

She said she was fine until the trolley was half full.  Then she realised what it all meant, that we all could be in danger.  Her and Dad, her children and her grandchildren.  That it was easier not to think about it.

I couldn’t pretend, that it was all rosy.  Potentially it could be quite dangerous, but it was better to be prepared than bury our heads in the sand and get caught short.  Not ignoring it was the far safer thing to do.

But, I could tell she wasn’t really listening.  I might be easier for me to get them prepared than to get Mum to think about it again.  Otherwise they might not do anything.

After I dropped Mum off, I stopped by Juliet’s place to give her the flowers and the card.  She looked good, pleased to be home, but still haunted by her experience.  I invited her and the family to the flat for a BBQ, movie and a spa.  Juliet suggested a swim in the ocean instead.  She said the smell of chlorine reminded her too much of the ward.  We agreed to meet at Coogee at around 3pm for an afternoon dip before dinner.

29th January 2015

I was in the supermarket on my this evening on my way home from work, and I overheard a bunch of university students arguing how long meat could be keep in a freezer.  The debate was over mince.  Budget mince.  Blergh.

So glad I am not a poor student anymore.  It is nice to be able to buy good quality meat and fresh organic fruits and veggies from the local market.  (Which reminds me I must get up early and go this Saturday before it get’s too hot.)  I will definitely miss that if I have to go into isolation.  I’ll miss fresh everything; meat, fish, chicken. *Sigh*

Maybe the electricity won’t go out straight away.  Maybe it won’t go off until later… it would be pointless to deny myself good food if I do have electricity.

I think I might stop off at the supermarket on my way home from work tomorrow and get a nice piece of eye fillet…

28th January 2015

In the news this morning they had an update on the three MSF volunteers that were on the flight back from Casablanca.  The two that had vomited on the plane had been tested for the Ebola virus and the results had come back negative.  However all three would remain in quarantine for 21 days.

I sent a txt to Ethan this morning to tell him to stockpile some food for him and Katie.

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This was his reply:

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22nd January 2015

I gave one of the bean recipes a trial run on the stove this evening.  It was quite tasty and so easy to make.  When I get my little gas stove I will try out one of the other recipes, maybe the lentil recipe.  I think though that some of my spices might be a little stale.  I can’t remember the last time I refreshed them, it’s been such a long time since I’ve done any real cooking.  I must pop up to the spice store on the weekend, I might even treat myself to one of their beautiful wooden spice chests.  Maybe that will inspire me to cook more.  Perhaps I could invite…no, no, don’t be ridiculous.

Juliet gets out of quarantine soon.  I’m so looking forward to being able to give her a big hug.  I might see if she wants to come over for dinner, watch some soppy movie and have a spa.  So we can have a proper catch up.

Last night, I talked to my sister for the first time in ages.  She has been so busy with the kids.  Man they are growing up fast!  It seems like only yesterday Ella was born, and now she is three.  Where did the time go?  Poor wee mite hasn’t been well and Grace had to take her to the doctors, which turned out to be a bit of a challenge.  Normally GP’s are pretty quick to prescribe antibiotics or some other form of medication, but yesterday Grace was told to give her lots of water, plenty of vitamin C and ensure got plenty of rest.  When Grace pressed for something similar to what her son was prescribed a month ago, the doctor replied “supplies are being ‘prioritised’ and it’s best for nature to take it’s course.”

While I think that doctors are often loose and free with their prescribing of antibiotics to adults I think sick children need help with their immune systems, especially if they have been suffering with a persistent cough like Ella has.  Definitely need to look into that one.  Maybe it has something to do with what is going on in West Africa.

21st January 2015

My camp cooker arrived to  today.  It is so cute.  I had it sitting on my desk when Richard (from IT) stopped by to talk to me about how my research was going and how we were going to display the data.

He made a comment about my having the gas cooker and how he didn’t think that I would be into ‘that sort of thing’.

The cheek!

I go camping.  Admittedly with running water and flush toilets and slightly more glamorous accommodation than a tent, but I know how to rough it.

He was interested in why I had brought it, so I told him about the scenarios and potential isolation and the need for a camp cooker.  He casually mentions that there is a better one.  One that uses gas, kerosene and auto-unleaded fuel.

Nuts.  I wish I had spoken to him yesterday.

Oh well I guess I will be buying another one today.

After that we got to talking about camping and the outdoors it turns out he spent most of his childhood in the NZ bush with his dad so he’s a bit of a outdoor/camping nut.  And he’s very passionate about environmental issues.  I guess we both were a little surprised today that we had that in common.

Smart and kinda cute.

Stop it Sabine.  You work with him!

20th January 2015

I found the camp gas stove that I was after today online.  I paid a bit extra to have it delivered tomorrow.  I am quite excited about getting it.  I might even get some two minute noodles just to try it out.

I’ve spent all evening online again this evening trawling Jamie’s website for good vegetarian recipes that predominantly use tinned vegetables, tinned fruit or dried beans.

I have to say I have learnt quite a bit.  Between Jamie’s website, Wikipedia and a few other websites I have increased my knowledge of the protein content of beans, pulses and legumes.

I had no idea that the protein content of chickpeas was 19g (per 100g), or that black bean’s protein content is 22g and the good old broad bean (Fava bean) is a whopping 26g of protein.  And all the recipes that contain the beans look AMAZING!  I was quite nervous about the ‘quality’ (I know, I’m a food snob!) of my meals.  And true I might need to make some minor modifications on dried rather than fresh spices/herbs and the seared tuna may be tuna from a can, but I have to say I am rather impressed.

I’ve also discovered just how important spices are.  Not only do they have culinary value, some of my favourites have medicinal properties.  Turmeric is considered a top anticancer agent, helping to quell the inflammation that contributes to tumour growth; fungi and bacteria, and the occasional vampire are no match for garlic; coriander (anxiety) and ginger is fantastic for the stomach.

Another friend recommended I look into coconut oil and coconut water.  I know there is a lot of hype at the moment about coconut oil, though I’m impressed at the versatility of it.  A solid at room temperature it can be used in baking, used as an oil for cooking, as a body moisturiser.  There is even anecdotal evidence that coconut pulling can help with teeth.  I might just add a jar to my grocery list.

19th January 2015

Damn. Damn. Damn!

I’ve just had a realisation.  There was a power outage in NZ today, due to some fairly inclement weather, what if there is panic in Australia due to Ebola cases and people decide not to go to work.  I might not have electricity.  Which means no fridge and no cooking.

What the hell will I do with all the meat in my freezer?

I know what I will be doing with the ice-cream. hahaha

I need to completely rethink my food options and recipes.

I will have to find recipes that have tinned or dried meat options or some other high protein substitutes like beans and pulses.  I guess I can use cured meats like salamis or beef jerky.  Do I even have recipes that use jerky?

And if I can’t use my stove or the oven.  What on earth am I going to cook on?  I will have to go to the camping store and get one of those portable camping ones with the small gas canisters.  On second thoughts I will just order it on line tomorrow and get it delivered to work, that will save me some time.

So annoyed at myself for not thinking of that sooner.  Come on Sabine, this is what they pay you for at work.  Grrrr.

18th January 2015

All this food research makes me hungry!

And I’ve eaten dinner already.

Jamie’s website has turned out to be a wee treasure trove of recipes and information.  I do like Jamie Oliver, I know that lots of people think he’s an annoying twat, but you can’t fault his genuine enthusiasm and passion for food.  I love his food philosophy, that he started a food revolution, and took on American and British school dinners.  And won.  Hard to believe he was once the dorky chef who burst onto our screens 15 years ago and institutionalised the word “Pukka”.

After a very distracted search (there are some superb recipes on the website) I’ve found several easy recipes that I can make that will last a couple of nights.  Good old Beef Stroganoff.  I’ve not had that in ages.  Not since university.  Jamie’s recipe is definitely a step up from the horrid packet mix and chuck steak we used to make when we were students.

And Kedgeree, Nana’s favourite.  I remember the last time I stayed at her place she made it for me.  It is definitely soul food.

This one sounded interesting too, sausage gnocchi with beans.  I do like a good port sausage.  I will have to get up early on the weekend and head to the market to get those.  While I’m there I might get new herbs for the kitchen garden.

Best of all the supermarket will have all the ingredients I don’t already have.  I only have to get couscous, lemons, passata, and plain yoghurt.

Is it weird that I’m looking forward to cooking while I’m in isolation?

17th January 2015

I’ve spent all day thinking about food.

What would I need?  What recipes would I use?  What else can you do with tinned chickpeas??

I really need to spend some time finding some decent recipes so I can make something half decent with weird tinned vegetables.  The thought of eating vegetables out of a can… Blergh!

Just because I’m in isolation does not mean I have to lower my standards!!

I’m pretty sure Jamie Oliver has some good recipe ideas for people on a budget.  And I know I’ll able to follow the recipe.  It’s almost “Cooking for Dummies” Anyway it might be easier to plan out meals rather than get a whole lot of food and have it all go off in the fridge.

Which reminds me, I must  book a restaurant for dinner on Saturday night…