There are things I can no longer do. I cannot twirl without losing my balance like a drunk. I cannot sleep for more than three hours at a stretch. I cannot see piles of plates next to a sink without being overcome with a need to wash them all- right this instance- and possibly twice. And I cannot regulate my own body temperature.
Now that we’ve got something around-about-the-dimensions-of-a-melon inside, these are some of our daily hilarities. The Hungry One (aka, the world’s most fastidious man) has no qualms about this new need-to-be-clean. I think he’d be happy if this part of the nesting instinct lingered forever (quick caveat- I’m not a particularly scrubby person, but I am fine with stacks. Stacks of clothes, books, papers- these gather and grow around me- well, they once did. Now they’re being toppled and filed and recycled and shredded with the speed of dodgy CEO in a downturn).
Here are some new tricks at the zoo; the shortness of breath. This is also a good one. An exploratory toe or two from the stowaway up near my ribs was a novelty to start, but now it feels occasionally like there’s a hippo who has sat down, hard on my chest. Combine that with the empty sudsy heaving from persistent heartburn ‘oh yes- you’ll get that around about now’ says the midwife- and I’m a right treat to have lunch along side.
Then there’s the cotton wool brain. My first expedition ‘down under’ back to the beast that is Bondi Junction Westfield (aka The Death Star) was supposed to catalogue a swift ticking of Life Administration items. 1) Change my Medicare Card. Oops. Five years ago, not long after a nice day with a long white dress I changed every piece of legal documentation over from Milner to Haschka. Except my Medicare card. Which means that The Hungry One’s son is going to enter the hospital as ‘Baby Milner’. 2)There was a birthday present for my dear Pa to buy. 3) There were forms to lodge for resumption of health insurance- which required me to produce the boarding pass I left the country on, three years ago. Now that was a fun search mission (see earlier confession about shredding papers deemed excess). 4) And there was one of those massive ‘stock the cupboards, we must prepare for nuclear winter’ food shops to do, when you just move back into a place and discover the pantry is bare.
All of these were manageable, until I could not for the life of me, remember where I’d parked the car. Around and around I walked, hefting a belly and a heaving trolley filled with pomegranate molasses and obscure spices I’d convinced myself we couldn’t live without. Above my head was a ticking clock of parking fees. And my temperature was rising. Hotter and hotter and more and more flustered I became in the dark pit of an underground, gently sloping, double helixed car park. There may have been saltwater welling in my eyes- possibly a technique to moderate the flush on my face. And possibly because I’m also not very good at modulating my emotional responses these days. And then, like a mirage, there it was. I’ve never been so glad to see an oversized, borrowed, 12 year old white four wheel drive in my life.
This is exactly the kind of soup you want to eat when you or one of your guests is hot and flustered. It’s cooling and calming. It’s relaxing and mildly sweet. There’s the gentle interplay of melon and cucumber, with the freshness of mint. Lest it all sound a little like a cocktail to you, know there’s a definite savoury slant from the spring onions and garlic yoghurt.
It’s a doddle to whip up in a blender or food processor and store in the fridge for a light lunch or elegant starter. A few rosettes of smoked salmon or trout in the centre add a little more protein, but if you were after a strictly vegetarian route then just hazelnuts add a nice element of contrast.
Eat it when you’re safely back at home, with your legs up, counting the weeks until you can see your toes properly again and your husband gets a sensible version of his spouse back from the brink.
Chilled Honeydew, Cucumber and Mint Soup
Serves 4 as a starter/light lunch
1/2 honeydew melon, cut into rough 1 inch chunks- seeds and rind removed
1 x 2cm thick piece of soft white bloomer loaf (or 3/4 cup of soft white bread crumbs)
1 cucumber (around 300 grams), cut into rough one inch pieces
1/4 cup of mint leaves
3/4 cup of Greek yoghurt
3 tbsp good quality olive oil
2 spring onions/shallots, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbsp roasted hazelnuts, skins removed and halved
Salt to taste
4 pieces of smoked salmon or smoked trout
Here’s how we roll
1) Place in a food processor, or a bowl with a stick blender the torn bread and honeydew melon flesh. Blitz until smooth.
2) Add the cucumber pieces. Blend until smooth.
3) Add in 1/2 cup of yoghurt (reserve the other quarter for garnish), half the mint leaves and two of the tablespoons of olive oil (reserve one for drizzling at the end). Blitz until smooth.
4) Taste the soup and season with salt and pepper. Place in the fridge to chill until serving.
5) To make the garnish grate the garlic clove into the remaining yoghurt. It will taste aggressive. Portion the soup into bowls. Cut the remaining mint leaves into ribbons. Garnish each bowl with a spoon of the garlic yoghurt, some mint ribbons, diced shallot and hazelnuts. If you fancy, add some wafts of smoked salmon or smoked trout to the centre. Drizzle with good olive oil and serve cold.
Forty Weeks of Feasting
Each week mad websites and baby books will tell you how big your baby now is in comparison to a seed, fruit or vegetable. It starts as a poppy seed and goes from there. To make this process a little more palatable, join me as I bake my way through. Here’s the journey so far.