At a New Year's party, I met Lillian, who is enthusiastic about everything, and apparently has a wonderful garden, also chickens, whom I am going to meet soon. But yesterday Lillian, who is Chinese, invited me to watch the Chinese New Year lion dance and eat lots of delicious Chinese food, which I did, as a truly excellent alternative to painting doors and shelves.
I really love community events where enthusiastic people share their passions, and lots of people cook great food. There is such great energy about this, such a sense of involvement and shared experience. Afterwards Lillian toured me through the Asian grocer and told me all the best things to buy there. She was buying lemongrass stalks which she keeps in a glass of water and uses the leaves and stem, and when the bottom of the stalk begins to sprout roots, she plants it in a pot. In 2013 I attempted to overwinter lemongrass in the laundry in a pot, and it worked beautifully. In the winter of 2014 I left the lemongrass outside to see what would happen. What happened is it died of hypothermia. So now I know - bring the lemongrass inside in winter. But instead of shelling out $15 for a pot of it at the nursery I paid $1.50 for a stem and will plant it out when it roots. Hopefully.
During a long hot walk home I decided that what I really wanted was chocolate milk. This doesn't happen very often, but if you want chocolate milk, then nothing else will do. I don't keep chocolate milk powder at home because it would last about two days, plus many cocoa products are farmed using very dubious practices such as forced child labour. I sometimes make my own chocolate syrup, which is delicious, but again, mysteriously disappears.. so generally, if you live in our household, you have to make your own from scratch every time. This is not at all arduous, but it tends to keep levels of child-chocolate-milk-making down to about once a week or so. Also, SO much cheaper than bought chocolate milk powder, even when made with fair trade, organic raw cacao powder..
Into a large glass put two rounded teaspoons of cocoa powder and half a teaspoon of icing sugar (I like my chocolate milk bittersweet - jiggle the amount of flavourings until it suits you perfectly). Add a shot of boiling water from the kettle, stir. Add vanilla essence (I have some wonderful home made vanilla syrup gifted by a friend. I am so getting the recipe for that).
Add milk and icecubes. If the weather is cold, make it into hot chocolate by heating it in a small saucepan. Make more every time you get fed up with painting. You know you deserve it! This year I am hoping to buy less from the supermarket and make more from real ingredients at home. Less packaging, more real food. And so often, as with this chocolate milk, could it be any simpler? I think the big food corporations are having a lend of us..
And, ta da - painting finished. Here are the elegant white doors. When the elegant white shelves are dry I will pack all my things back in and show them off as well. Painting is a terrible pain, and I am covered all over in paint, but now the house is a vision in white..