Friday, May 29, 2015

Recipe: Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup

Simple, easy and
ready in no time!
I have long been a fan of 'kumara' since I spent some time many years ago living in New Zealand.  I came across this recipe for Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup, tried it, and have made it every winter since. It is simple, easy and ready in no time which makes it a fantastic mid week meal!  Enjoy... 


1 tbs olive oil
1 brown onion, chopped
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp ground cardamom
3-4 large sweet potato (kumara), peeled and sliced
3 cups chicken stock
400ml can coconut milk
1 tbs lime or lemon juice
salt and black pepper to taste

1.  In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion
       and ginger, cooking until soft.
2.  Turn the heat up to high and add the cardamom.  Stir to coat the onion.
3.  Add the sweet potato and stir.
4.  Add the chicken stock and cover.  Once boiled, turn the heat down to a 
     simmer, covered, for about 10 - 15 minutes, until the sweet potato is soft.
5.  Puree the soup with a stick blender or food processor.
6.  Stir in the coconut milk and juice.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4.

Bon Appetit!

Photo Cred: Superfood Magazine.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

A Different Kind of Mother's Day

As Mother's Day 2015 looms, I am pondering my first Mother's Day without my Mum.

I have a new appreciation for what it is my girlfriends who have already lost their mothers have experienced.

It was only recently that Mum passed away - the week before Easter - so 5 weeks now.  She had been sick for the two months prior: a month of testing, followed by a month of knowing she'd be leaving us soon.

Everyone has their time to go and at 78, I would say that Mum had a pretty good innings.  She lived a life that ticked all of her boxes - wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and SO much more, but those first 4 are what she prided herself on the most.

But even at 78, as her child, it still feels too soon. 

Mum and I didn't have a close mother-daughter relationship.  It was just the way it was.  She was still my Mum though and it leaves a profound gap with her no longer being here.

It's true.  Reality does bite.  For the most part, I feel I am fine and at peace with Mum now in Heaven.  I still have moments though - and I never know when they're coming! - that the realness of Mum no longer being here hits me like a brick to the face.

In my haste of grabbing a couple of quick items at the supermarket recently, I was confronted when turning the corner of the aisle to almost take out the Mother's Day card display!  I remember thinking in what would have been about 2 nanoseconds,

"Oh yeah, must remember that",

"Oh wait, I don't need to this year" (which was VERY confronting and I could feel the tears welling so then thought...)

"Stuff it, she is still my Mum no matter where she is, I'm buying a card" and just like that, the first card I actually looked at was written in the most appropriate way for me to 'give' to my recently deceased mother.  Uncanny how things work.

Navigating the concept of death and Heaven with 4 and 5 year olds has also been an important part of my grieving process.  To explain in a format that little minds will understand where Grandma has gone, why she had to go and how we will recognise her ongoing presence with us has shown me just how beautiful and special death can be.  It slows you down and it makes you realise that a 4 and 5 year old are at times capable of teaching more than they are taught.  Their acceptance and their faith is unmatched.

Though the year of 'firsts' following a loved ones death always brings its challenges, I must admit, it will be my family and my faith that will continue to make this coming Mother's Day a truly special one.  Simply because Mum is no longer on earth does not mean she is no longer with us.  No matter where Mum is, she is still our Mum.  Our family will joke that she may have less input on the day, but with our faith, I actually can't be so sure!

Happy Mother's Day Mum.
I took this photo the day you passed away
 - the only rose blooming in your front garden xxx