Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Happy Housewife

I have a confession. I never used to be very houseproud. When I lived alone, it seemed silly to bother about prettifying a house when it was just me. When I got married, my husband moved in to the place I already owned. With both of us working full time, and my husband adjusting to life in a new country, not too much got done then, either. It was pregnancy, and the knowledge that one day we would have to leave our one bedroom flat that spurred us to action. While I was pregnant, and the twins were tiny infants, my lovely hubby (with a little help) redecorated the bedroom, living room, and office. Everything was redone in magnolia, because apparently, neutral is best when it comes to selling a house.

Since having kids though, something seems to have changed within me. I have a longing to make a home, and to make a well-organised, cosy, and pretty one. I want to look at paint charts, finger fabric samples, learn how to sew, find storage solutions that actually work. I want to find lamps that give off a pretty glow, and mugs that make you smile when you look at them.

Many of these things will have to wait until we're settled elsewhere, but there are things I can do here and now. To all intents and purposes, I'm a housewife (I only work 2 days per week), and I've found I like having the time to clean, and think before I go to the supermarket, and having a different day for different tasks. I've also found I feel much better on the days I keep busy than those where I have a slobbing about day and do nothing except take care of the twins.

Not that there's anything wrong with slobbing about occasionally, but really, it's much nicer to do it in a clean and well organised home.

I'm no Stepford Wife. My house is never pristine, my kids are allowed to play, and at any given time you may find toys, stray crumbs, or leaves they have brought from outside decorating the living room floor. My hubby leaves pens, and sheets of sports statistics lying around. I usually have some knitting or crochet, a book, recipes, or some girly lotion or potion lying around. You see, my aim isn't to make a show house, it's to make a home - a home that feels comfortable, and welcoming. A home we can all LIVE in.

When all is said and done, I want our home to feel like a hug.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Recipe - Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Pineapple Sauce.

Sometimes I like to get a bit experimental in the kitchen. Some recipes are banished to the bin, never to see the light of day again. Ocassionally though, I come up with a gem, like this delicious pork with a sweet pineapple and ginger marinade. I served it with sweet potato fries (there are awesome recipes for getting your sweet potato fries really crispy on Pinterest, go and take a look), and stir-fried green beans, bell pepper, and onion. This recipe is quick, simple, and delicious. Give it a try the next time you're having some pork.

Ok, first of all, this is enough to give a piece of tenderloin big enough for 2 hungry adults a good soaking. If you want to do it for a family, you may need more marinade, but all amounts are easy to adjust.

Pineapple Marinade

1 cup pineapple juice 
1 heaped tsp of grated, fresh ginger
2 tsps dark soy sauce
2 tsps barbecue seasoning
Tobasco to taste (I used about 8 drops)

Mix together in a dish that's suitable for holding your pork. Put pork in, and make sure it's mostly covered (doesn't need to be totally submerged). Refrigerate and marinade for at least 4 hours. You may want to turn the pork half way through, for maximum tenderness and flavour saturation.

Take the pork out of the fridge a little while before you want to cook it, and pre-heat your oven to 180 celsius (around 360 fahrenheit). How long it will take depends on how big your piece of pork is. The bit I used took about 35-40 minutes. You're sensible, you won't serve people half-cooked pork, I have faith in you ;) Remove pork from marinade and place in a suitable oven dish. Cook. Take out of the oven, cover in tin foil to keep warm, and let it rest while you do the sauce and veggies.

Place the marinade in a small pot, and bring to the boil. Mix about 2 tsps on corn starch with a little water to make a smooth paste. Stir this into the marinade to make a thick, glossy sauce. Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon. This stops the sauce from being TOO sweet.

Slice the onions and bell pepper, and stir fry along with the green beans. I used frozen green beans, and it worked fine. Add a little soy sauce, and a healthy pinch of ground ginger. I also stirred in about a tablespoon of the sauce, so the vegetables were lightly coated and gleaming, but this is optional.

Slice your pork, arrange prettily on a plate, and spoon over the sweet, tangy sauce. An abundant pile of stir fried vegetables, a little mound of crispy, comforting sweet potato fries...

That, my friends, is dinner.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Lord, Let Someone Want This House As Their Home.

So, the flat has been on the market for a few weeks now. We've had 3 viewers, and another due this week. When you look and see how many hits the place has had on property websites, it's hard not to get disheartened. Four actual viewings doesn't seem much when so many people have looked at the property online. In saying that though, I'm trying to remember it only takes one person to buy the place, and to stay positive.

With the viewings themselves, it's a hive of activity. It's trying to get things out of sight, and out of reach of the twins. It's swept floors, and a shiny bathroom, and a fresh clean kitchen. It's laundry all put away, and not sitting in the drier. It's getting the kids fed and, if it's an evening viewing, bathed, before the viewers come. It's cleaning, it's tidying, it's wondering how on earth you'll get it all done..

Then you do, and then it's waiting. It's waiting for the people to arrive. It's waiting to try and gauge their reaction to the place as they walk round. After they go, it's waiting to hear from the Estate Agent. Will this be it? Did they like the place? Will they make an offer? It's hard sometimes to keep a balance between being hopeful, and not getting your hopes up.

All I can do is pray, and trust that God's timing is perfect. Things only seem to be taking longer because I am so eager to move, and most of all, because I am deeply tinged with human impatience.