Saturday, 21 April 2012

Some Jay glory

Winter is gone. In actual fact it never did quite arrive and Spring just waltzed in. But this seems to have completely confused all my precious flora and fauna. The blue jays for one were around all winter and now they are here in flocks. 
The best way to lure Jays - peanuts!
I usually wait with much anticipation in early May for the beautiful blue creatures, but they got here a few weeks ago. Or, like I said, probably never left. I wonder what this means for them? Anyhow, this little post is not so much a musing of their plight but more of my efforts to take pictures of them in all their glory. 

The picture that started it all, I am going to be working on this for a while

It is a work in progress, and I am scouring the website for any information their might be in my efforts to photograph them in flight. 

Eerie landing shots - I kind of like the effect of the contrasting shades

This must be accomplished with my limited paraphernalia as I simply refuse to spend money on anything other than essentials right now. If you must know it is more out of need than a matter of principle. 

My personal favourite

I am also for once quite grateful for technological advancement, and digital cameras in particular. I snapped nearly 198 shots, that with a film camera would have cost me an arm and a leg, perhaps even my head in the current climes! Not to mention I will not be posting this for at least another month.

Just look at the form, the colours...
I love birds, fuzzy sleepy heads, angry faces and all, but I do believe they are most beautiful doing what we admire them most for, flying. Perhaps we will all look our best if we were doing what we are all meant to be doing. Pity it isn't as simple for us humans to figure out with the slightly more evolved brains.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Peace or piece?

Some days are better than others for me and weekends for a housewife are no different from the work week. Sometimes it means more work than the so called work week. So when Good Friday rolled around we hadn't make concrete plans to do anything for the weekend I cooked lunch (the way us Sri Lankans cook no matter where in the world we go) and decided to hit the eliptical for 30 minutes. I don't get to do this often, in fact it is only the third time this year that I actually made time to exercise (I know, I know!). Since Hubby was home I thought I would take advantage.

Just as I came down to the basement and got on the machine both Offspring and Hubby came down too. The former decided to jump around the couch sending my heart rate way higher than the exercise alone did and Hubby was calmly checking maps for a drive!! What?! Seriously, can you not watch the kid for half an hour while I burned off the fat that I have been lugging around for three years? I was a bit ticked off and finally I said, "can't I have just half an hour of peace?"

My Offspring quickly jumped on the couch, reached out to me and said, "here you go Amma, here's a piece for you," and handed me a piece of his play-doh!

I may not get much peace right now, but the pieces my kid hands out reminds me to smile and thank God for the little Blessing.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Food for thought?

Staying home with the Offspring has resulted in me living in a la la land of my own. I experiment with cooking, having finally discovered that it does help live in denial of reality, if not relieve stress. My posts of late have had a lot to do with food. Today, as I carried a bag of groceries to the car I was wondering about the heavy bag of  food for two adults and a half pint. We as a family are guilty of throwing out food, food that can probably feed at least two children comfortably for a day.

The West African food crisis is only one of many reasons I feel so guilty. It isn't just about food, it is about the inequality that has prevailed through time. Reading about the current situation in West Africa really pains me, partly because I always wanted to work among these people. I wanted to be a doctor and serve people. I mean really serve people. I wanted to go to them, not wait around for them to come to me.

I realize now that even if I had become a doctor like I wanted to I would probably be paying off debts incurred to get through school. If I had got through that I most likely will be caught up in the bureaucratic bullshit involved in working with these people. If I had gotten through all of that I would most likely be watching these people die every day while I still had ate at least one hearty meal a day.

I have been reading a lot about the causes for the inequality, why I get to cook a meal that would clog our arteries while these people starve for want of a morsel, but none of the literature has a solution. I sometimes wonder if the solutions are edited out of what I am reading...The sense of helplessness is at times overwhelming.

I think it's time to return to la la land. It is all I can do for now. Or is it?

Monday, 2 April 2012

Moju inspiration

Inspired by the moju that turned out so well I cooked a whole meal. I figured if I used the some of the spices from the moju recipe I might be able to get the flavour of fried rice that I so love. And I did! It was the cloves. I never use cloves in my cooking because I never knew what it could do. Now I do!

Seeing how the rice turned out I just kept going and put together a whole meal that any self-respecting Sri Lankan living overseas would appreciate. It is still way below the standards of a meal cooked in clay pots using spices ground on stone over a wood burning fire. Sigh.

I blew my nose and drank copious amounts of cold water to calm the heat from the meal. Now that is Sri Lankan cuisine to me.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Moju magic

I love spicy food. I have been asked often why I eat food as spicy as I do. I don't know why. But then I do come from an island that was colonized by the British partly for its spices. So I guess we people have a spice gene that needs satiating. One of my favorite foods from the good old homeland is moju. I must admit that until I met my beautiful author friend I didn't know what it was called. She and her husband can cook up a storm. I have been fortunate enough to have tasted their's and my friend's mother's cooking. Moju was a regular dish on their menus.

I tried cooking moju from recipes that I found in books, the internet, word of mouth...nothing worked. It just did not taste as good. In my desperation to simulate the sweetness of the dish I even tried using dates. Sometimes it is just simple ingredients, as I discovered when I read through a fool proof recipe.

I asked my dear friend if she had a recipe that she could share. It is not that she would not share it with me, but what I have found is that most brilliant cooks do not have recipes for foods like this. Especially one that someone as anal as I could follow. But my lovely friend's mother did! Or perhaps she painstakingly went through it in her head to give me ingredients and quantities. I am convinced that is what happened. Thank you Aunty. I wanted to cook it for the Christmas lunch we were having last year, but it never happened. I finally got around to it late last week.

I started work by assembling all the ingredients. Something I don't always do, but I wanted to do the recipe justice.

All prepped, nothing was left to chance, down to the two piece of 1" rampe

I added only what was called for. I did panic a bit when there was no quantity listed for the small red onions and capsicum, but it turned out okay, I think...

If those aren't pretty colours...

And Aunty W, you are my hero! As my Offspring would say, it was um um um :).

Moju a la Aunty W