Friday, February 25, 2011

Lemony Snickert

According to Maggie Beer, wonderful South Australian cook and 'I wish she was my grandmother' lady, you either have a sweet palate or a sour palate.  Hers is sour.  So is mine. I love lemon lime tasting food.   And chemotherapy is making me want it even more (partly I think because my taste buds are a bit shot).   My son also has a lemony palate.  He is quite interested in licking the cut side of a lemon and making a Lemon Face. 

So I have been doing a bit of lemon \ lime cooking.  

Last week I made this simple cucumber lime relish thing.  Just diced cucumber, chopped mint, some salt and pepper, a tiny bit of chopped red chilli, and a good slashing of lime juice.  It went beautifully with a Northern Indian chicken curry I made.  ('Making' at the moment also includes buying pre-cooked from Tartine up the road.  Much as I love to cook there are limits to what I can do when everything smells slightly gross.) 

Then I made this polenta lemon cake from Nigella Lawson's Kitchen. It took a while for me to get into this cookbook.  I think it was something to do with the font and layout -   picky, I know but it just didn't grab me.   But revisiting it has paid off.   Nigella describes this as a cross between one of those polenta-ey Italian cakes and an English lemon drizzle cake.  A truly jolie laide cake.

Even my daughter loved it:

And the cake would not have been possible without my favourite new implement. I can barely believe I have survived without one for so long.  A Microblade, invented by a clever American and the only thing for zesting. I confess, I am in love with this thing. I clean it carefully and put it lovingly back into its plastic case.   You can also use it for parmesan and coconut.

It seems a bit odd to be writing of lemony recipes when there is so much devastation in Christchurch.  I have been there a few times, for conferences, and once on holidays where we stayed here. I am not sure if it is even still standing. 

(The Northern Club, Christchurch) 

My heart is very heavy for all New Zealanders today and for all those who have lost loved ones and may be waiting for terrible confirmation of more deaths.   It is almost too much for one country to bear. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Hair Question

When I was diagnosed with BC, my very first question to the surgeon was 'Will I lose my hair'.  (Not - will I die (no) or is the surgery complicated (yes)).  And then to my oncologist, it was 'Will I lose my hair?'.  And then to the oncology nurse, it was 'Will my hair fall out and if so when?'.  And then the same question to the Internet.  Which gave me 99,500 answers.  And the answers were all the same (an emphatic unequivocal yes, within 2 to 3 weeks of chemo starting). 

I have had 8 weeks now to prepare myself for the hair loss, and I cut about 20 cm off my hair four weeks ago.  But even so, when I endured my first round of chemo, and didn't feel quite as bad as my vivid imagination made out, after two weeks just a little tiny part of me deep down thought: maybe I will be the one rare person whose hair doesn't fall out.  

I have been obsessively studying other people's hair.  Have you noticed how newsreader  hair always looks like a wig?  I have.  In fact anything which is very styled and neat and clean looks a bit wig like.   I know I should say I couldn't care less what other people think of my hair or lack thereof.  But that is just not possible to do all the time.  

But reality bit this week and my hair has been coming out in horrendous handfuls.    So there is nothing for it but to cut\shave it all off.    Which I am doing today.  

 (me with hair and daughter) 

And then there is the question of what to do next.   I feel very strongly that whilst what I want is important, there is a little matter of my family who have to look at me. 

And you can be certain that my family does have opinions.  And quite strong ones. This is what my daughter said about it (verbatim) 'Mummy you have to get a wig otherwise I will COMPLETELY FREAK OUT'.   
And then there are clients at work.  I don't want to shove my condition in their face.  

So off to the wig shop I went to be served by the nicest nicest lady who said things like 'But you are gorgeous, you will look amazing with no hair' (not true but her sincerity was impressive).  She sold wigs to Kyle Minogue and Delta Goodrem when they had cancer.  And I do like mine.  It's not the same as my real hair but I think it will do.  

The other option of course is scarves. 

I was a big wearer of scarves in the 1990s.  Today I have dug them out and ironed them.  Yesterday I went online and bought a Dolce and Gabbana leopard print scarf on sale.  Supposedly authentic but for $60 I have my suspicions.

(Furla scarf bought in Venice 10 years ago)

(Gucci bought 14 years ago)

(two Hermes scarves given to me by my mother years ago.  Not sure these colours are that flattering but anyway). 

(some Vixen scarves) 

And I think I rather like the idea of being a bit gypsy like and giving my scarves a new lease on life.   And I am glad now that I didn't copy Ally's idea of framing my Hermes' scarves.   Time will tell whether I will be able to wear a blue and green scarf with horses on it on my bald head.


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