Archive for May, 2008

John Robert Dobbs

May 22, 2008

John Dobbs was much of the inspiration for my starting this blog and he has been such an encouragement. He would not imagine how excited I was to be featured on his Hot Posts! His blogs have blessed, convicted and inspired me over the last 2 years or so and I have shared them with so many friends, both real life and internet. John has been a spiritual mentor and a support for me. I doubt he even realises this as he has an widespread internet ministry that is an amazing blessing to so many people. I have loved getting to know him better on Facebook, Twitter and over the last month or so on his live chats on Ustream at Big Poppa’s Coffeehouse and it’s been a delight to get to know his wife Maggy too on her rare appearances on Ustream. She is a darling. She sent me her white chocolate bread pudding recipe which I will feature on here soon.

Their 18 year old son John Robert was killed yesterday in an accident. More on it here. Al Sturgeon has written about it here. I cannot imagine their pain. John and Maggy are Katrina survivors (and you can read about that here). John’s mom and stepdad are both having treatment for cancer. How much more? Please pray for John and Maggy, that in the depths of their pain and despair that they will find comfort in God’s unceasing love.

Miss N walked in as I was reading my email this morning. She had heard and watched John on Ustream a couple of times over the past few weeks, and chatted briefly there too. She held me while I cried and I kissed her beautiful face and reminded her that God just gives us today and that we need to spend it well, and that there is nothing more important than family and love.

John and Maggy, know that people in Australia are praying for you. Love you both.

Zucchini fritters and Ephesus

May 20, 2008

When I was growing up in conservative South Africa in the 60’s and 70’s, Istanbul seemed the epitome of exotic and part of a world I would only glimpse from afar.  How small the world has grown now!  In 2006 we spent 10 weeks in Europe and a couple of days in Istanbul and one in Ephesus on our Mediterranean cruise.  I have friends who moved to Istanbul a few years ago.  Hi Steve and Karen!  And we have wonderful Turkish food here in Sydney (on Mother’s Day I chose to eat here).

C and Miss N at Ephesus

The day we spent in Ephesus was especially memorable.  We had had an organised tour to Ephesus booked, but the wonderful librarian on board ship assured me we didn’t need one, so I cancelled it.  C found our “tour guide” for the day when Rashid, a taxi driver, kindly rushed to point out to C that he had left his ATM card in the machine in Kusadasi just after we had disembarked.  (Of course I could be cynical and say that his kindness was prompted by the incentive of business from us, but I don’t think it was).  Rashid was a great guide – and amused us by producing a fair dinkum Aussie accent that he had perfected by watching “The Castle” which his cousin in Melbourne had sent him on DVD.  We had bought one of those 5 Euro (or was it 8 Euro?  I know they don’t use Euro in Turkey and all the currency conversions got complicated)  guide books in Kusadasi and got Rashid to drive us to the top entrance to the ruins and meet us at the bottom gate a couple of hours later.  We could have spent all day there!  How special to be in the amphitheatre where the apostle Paul had probably preached and walk the street where the silversmiths who caused the riot (Acts 19) had had their stores. 

Miss N at Ephesus

We were picked up at 1pm by our Rashid and we asked him to take us somewhere for lunch.  His family has a hotel in Selcuk (closest town to the ruins) so, of course, we went there where we had lunch on the rooftop balcony.  It has views of the St. John Basilica where the apostle John is buried (according to legend).  One of the ancient wonders of the world (or the one column of it which remains)  – the temple of Artemis was down the hill – and we had the place to ourselves!  John supposedly wrote “his” gospel on the hill you see below (which is where the St John Basilica is on the right behind the column).  

Ephesus was special – no wonder the apostle Paul spent 5 or 6 years there and John spent the last years of his life (apart from his exile on Patmos) there. Turkey is such a juxtaposition – the ancient ruins of the temple of Artemis dating back a couple of centuries BC, sixth century church ruins, Isa Bey mosque erected in 1375, fortress from the middle ages but begun in the fifth century – all on the one hill!

Temple of Artemis at Ephesus

Of course, there is a carpet shop downstairs and we bought a rug which now graces our entrance hall.  So pleased we resisted the hard sell in Istanbul! They also treated N and me to bags made from old woven table tapestries.

Our lunch was memorable – a selection of vegetable dishes from their kitchen, among them a sublime eggplant and tomato dish, tabbouleh, cacik (Turkish tzatziki), and a wonderful yoghurt and samphire (type of seaweed)  dish.  C and N had lamb and chicken kebabs too – N still talks about her chicken kebab (which was only very recently surpassed by one at Sofra on Mother’s day) 

We love Turkish food.  I make the following zucchini fritters a couple of times a month, and serve them with a yoghurt sauce, and some extra salad (last night’s was radicchio and rocket).  Both these recipes are from Turquoise by Greg and Lucy Malouf, a stunning Turkish travel/cookbook I received for my 50th birthday recently.  Enjoy!

Zucchini fritters with dill

600g zucchini 
sea salt
1 small onion, grated
1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
100g feta, crumbled
1/4 cup finely chopped dill
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 eggs, well beaten
1/3 cup plain flour
2 tablespoons rice flour
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil

Grate the zucchini coarsely and put into a colander. Sprinkle lightly with salt and toss, then leave for 20 minutes to drain. Rinse the zucchini  briefly, then squeeze it to extract as much liquid as possible and pat dry with kitchen paper.

Mix the Zucchini with the onion, garlic, feta, herbs and eggs in a large bowl.  Sift on the flours, the season with pepper and stir to combine.

Heat a little oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium until sizzling.  Drop small tablespoons of batter into the hot oil and flatten gently.  (I cook mine oil free in a Scanpan – I make mine very flat – like pikelets).  Cook for 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.  Drain on kitchen paper and serve piping hot. (Makes 16).  Serve with Cacik.

Cacik

1 clove garlic
sea salt
500g thick natural yoghurt
2 Lebanese cucumbers, seeded and grated (skin on)
1/3 cup finely chopped dill
1 teaspoon dried mint
squeeze of lemon juice

Crush the garlic with 1 teaspoon salt, then beat with the yoghurt, cucumber, and herbs in a large bowl.  Season with salt and lemon jice to taste.  Chill, covered, until ready to eat.

Love Wendy

The Comforter has come – sweet potato risotto

May 1, 2008

It’s distinctly wintry in south eastern Australia this week.  Snow fell in Orange (about 3 and a half hours away over the Blue Mountains) on Monday – rather early as it was still April.  Time for warming comfort food!  I made this  healthy but satisfying risotto last night.  Risotto is almost nursery food.  It’s sophisticated but there is something very satisfying about bowl and spoon food (which is the kind I mostly cook!)  Kerri asked me on Twitter for my risotto recipe.  So here it is –  it’s not really a recipe – more a method.

 

Saute 1 small chopped onion and 1 sliced leek in 1 TBS olive oil and 1 TBS butter.  Add 1 small sweet potato, quite finely diced (sweet potato needs a fair bit of cooking so it needs to be finely diced,  or you can precook it in the microwave) or butternut pumpkin.  Stir in 200g arborio rice and stir for a minute or so until all the grains are glistening.  

 

Have about 750ml of hot stock ready.  I used home made vege stock but I usually use Plantaforce (an organic vege concentrate).  Add about 2 cups and stir cook it on a medium heat, stirring frequently.  When the stock is almost absorbed, add more, about a cup at a time.  Keep taste-testing the rice to see when it’s done.  There should be a bit of a bite left in the grain – you don’t want mushy risotto.  You probably won’t need all the stock.  Season with freshly ground black pepper and salt.  You may not need salt if your stock is salty (and most bought stocks have salt as a main ingredient – read the label!)

Stir in about 1/3 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and serve with extra Parmesan at the table.

Serves 4.

We can’t eat risotto morning, noon and night.  Or chocolate.  But we are promised a continual Comforter who will never leave us. 

“And I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.”

John 14:16

What is your favourite comfort food?

Wendy