Tied in knots

This is my first post on my new blog page! Some of you may remember me from my previous incarnation as The Red Cat Food Store. It’s just over two years since I closed the door on that adventure. A lot has happened since then, so much that I won’t be able to cover all of it here. Over time I hope to fill in some of those blank spaces but right now I’m focusing on the here and now (with a little look backwards).

Over the summer school holidays I took my kids on a “family road trip adventure” it was their first time out of the state of Victoria. We drove from Melbourne to the Glenworth Valley in New South Wales. We spent about a week there camping at a festival called Lost Paradise. I was helping my brother make pizzas at the festival. We all had a great time.

My plan was to drive home to Melbourne via the coast of New South Wales, something I’ve never done. Instead we headed north to Byron Bay to make more pizzas at The Discovery Park! The kids had a great time with their cousins’ swimming, playing in the water park and riding on the pedal cars.

While staying in Byron Bay we went to Crystal Castle, a beautiful place to visit. I bought a small aquamarine crystal there. When I got home I decided I wanted to wear it as a necklace. I thought about various was to do this and did some research on google and Pintrest. I found a few things that I liked and one in particular caught my eye. It was a macrame net surrounding the crystal that then became a necklace.
I bought some was waxed cotton and started to try and make my own. I started out with black cotton but found it was too dark against the pale aquamarine and I struggled to tie the stone onto the net I was creating. I remembered my daughter had a larger piece of amythest so I found that and used it instead. It was easier to hold and work with than the little aquamarine.

Having successfully finished the amythest necklace, I tried again with the aquamarine. I used four strands of waxed cotton and tied a square knot in the centre. Then I tied two strands together with half-hitches to make a secure knot. I found I needed to keep trying the net on the stone to make sure it fitted well. I finished off with a four strand plait and put it on.

After wearing my necklace for a few days, I found it twisted. This really annoyed me so I undid it and tried again. Because the aquamarine is slightly triangular I decided that three sided net would work better. This time I used only three strands of cotton. I tied then in the centre with a double square knot, then created the net using half-hitches. Using three strands on each side I knotted them using an overhand knot and plaited the remaining cords until they were long enough to go around my neck.

I’m happy with the result finally and can’t wait to make another one.


Eggs and Dukkah

A while ago, I had breakfast at a cafe near my home.  I was in the throes of winding up my shop, late getting the kids to school and I’d raced out of the house without even a coffee or anything to eat . Those of you who know me well, know I don’t go anywhere without having at least one coffee. Some of the mums from school were heading to The Old Milk Bar Cafe, a recent addition to the neighbourhood, for coffee, so I tagged along.

Feeling rather hungry, I decided I’d try the smashed avocado on toast with a dukkah egg. It was a taste sensation! A perfectly soft boiled egg, peeled and rolled in dukkah, then perched on a mountain of smashed avocado. The marriage of soft runny egg yolk with the avocado and spicy dukkah was one made in heaven.  I could not get the flavour out of my head. I had to try it again at home.

When I did, one serve was not enough, as soon as I finished the plate (and licked it clean) I made another and devoured that too.

Since then I’ve made this regularly for my lunch. I’ve varied the combination, which seems to be fairly flexible as long as there is plenty of dukkah.

My favourite being: a slice of good sourdough bread, toasted, rubbed with garlic, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and topped with half an avocado and tomato.  Peel the soft boiled egg (yolk still runny) and roll in dukkah.  Place the egg on top of the tomato and sprinkle with more dukkah and oilve oil.  I like to dice the tomato and dress it with red wine vinegar and olive oil, mix in a handful of fresh chopped coriander and season with salt and pepper.
I’ve use fresh basil when there is no coriander in the garden. The yolk has to be runny so it can combine with the vinegar, olive oil and dukkah. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it…

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