I love my children but they do seem to create an awful lot of mess, require a lot of time and attention, and sometimes they break things. Precious things. Like my computer. I have struggled to get into the rhythm with a new computer, which partially explains my silence lately, but it has made me think about my reluctance to change.
I’m a home body. I like to be in my own familiar space in the kitchen or in the garden, reading a book or getting into some art or knitting with my kids. My attitude to moving away from my lovely home to a new country has not been great. I’ve spent far too much time focusing on all the things that aren’t the same. Too much energy has been wasted being annoyed that things are different here. I will confess that I never had a desire to come to America. I was curious about some of the cities but there were other countries much higher up on my list to visit or return to.
Sometimes a friend just says the words you need to hear right at the moment when you need to hear it. I have some very wise women in my life and one of them, my friend Jenny, said the words I needed to hear to adjust my homesickness attitude. So I have had a good look at my attitude and as Jenny promised, things have turned around for the better for me very quickly.
So now, dear America, I apologise for my small minded attitude. I am adjusting my ways and I have come to realise you are indeed a great country. I feel incredibly blessed to have this time here in San Francisco and soak in the beauty of California. After 6 months here I am beginning to feel this is my home away from home. I have got into a rhythm with where I shop, where to get the best coffee, where to get freshly baked bagels. I have my run I do each weekday. Good friends I have made through the kids school. A welcoming church to go to on Sundays. I have taken up a class at the Palo Alto Adult School and I’m even considering taking on a chair or co-chair at the school PTA. And every day I’m just surrounded by beautiful trees, gardens, the hills and the gentle California sun. It isn’t daunting for me anymore to head down to San Jose or north into San Francisco. The roads and places are far more familiar now and it is a good feeling.
Grocery shopping was very hard for me at first but now I have just adjusted some things that I cook and our eating habits. We tend to eat much less red meat here and much more seafood because it is more affordable. I have stopped feeling frantic about the overly sweet bread here and embraced the bagel which is not sugary. I have even started embracing drip coffee.
I can’t help but think that I’m being tested here. Have I placed too much emphasis on building a new home and not enough on making my home where I am? Then I start thinking that I am working on my attitude so maybe then I can return to my house back in Brisbane but that takes me back to square one! Anyway, enough navel gazing. I just felt I needed to shake off all my whinging and declare this new home of mine pretty darn fine and confess I have this song stuck in my head!
This land is your land
This land is my land
From California to the New York island
From the redwood forests to the gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me
We have had Joel’s parents visiting us this last week and it was sad to say goodbye. The kids are growing up so very fast and I want the grandparents investing in their lives. We spent a year living with my parents which was an incredible experience for the kids and they have really missed being able to wander downstairs and find some peace and quiet with Grandma and Grandpa. We are fortunate that both sets of grandparents are healthy, active and able to travel over to visit us.
So this last week was some day trips to Monterey, Big Sur, Muir Woods and into the city to see the sights with the in-laws. I will never get tired of seeing these places – just so beautiful. Joel and I got some time to get out and about child-free thanks to Grandparents babysitting. An incredible dinner at Evvia in Palo Alto. I was told that no matter how full I was from dinner, I had to order the Galaktoboureko for dessert. Vanilla bean semolina custard wrapped in filo pastry served piping hot with a creamy scoop of house made pistachio ice-cream and a drizzle of rosewater syrup. I think this is the best dessert I have ever had!
If you follow Tea For Six on Facebook then you would have seen our feasting at Tartine, Bi-Rite Creamery and the gorgeous Nopilito (as well as meeting NIGELLA!!!) San Francisco knows good food and it was lovely to go and enjoy it without 4 children in tow for a change.
One other food I have embraced here in the land of the free and the home of the brave is turkey. I have been using minced turkey in place of other minced meats eg. turkey san choy bau, spicy turkey mince for tacos and this recipe for Lemon, Turkey Polpettini. What a ‘polpettini’ is exactly is simply a meatball. Sounds better then ‘meatball’, doesn’t it? My kids absolutely demolish these for dinner. Serve with a mound of oven baked chunky chips, lemon wedges and a salad.
lemon turkey polpettini
(adapted from Allan Campion and Michee Curtis’ book ‘In The Kitchen’)
100g day old bread
250 ml milk
500g turkey mince
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 cloves garlic, crushed
zest of 1 lemon
60g grated parmasen
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
plain flour for dusting
Break up the bread into small chunks and soak in the milk for 15 minutes. Strain, discarding the milk, and squeeze out any excess milk. Place the bread into a large bowl with the parsley, garlic, lemon zest and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper and mix everything together well – best to just get your hands in and give everything a really good mix.
Wet your hands a little (thanks mum for teaching me this trick) and take small scoops of the mixture and roll into small meatballs. Roll the meatballs in a little flour.
Heat a large frypan on medium heat and add a good splash of oil. Fry the little polpettini until evenly brown and cooked through – about 5-6 minutes. These can be kept warm by placing on a tray in a 160 degree oven.
Serve with lemon wedges.