A dinkum daughter

My name is Kym Hamer, I am 46 years old and I have just cooked my first BBQ.

Yes yes I know. As a dinkum Aussie sheila, I ought to be ashamed of myself for not mastering this patriotic part of my culinary repertoire before now.

It’s not that I’ve been blind to the art of BBQ – I have actually been around BBQs most of my life but it has always been someone else pricking the snags and flipping the burgers.


My introduction to BBQ-ed vittels started early in life – but Opa (back middle) was in charge of the cooking.

And quite frankly these BBQ bastions have been happy for me to do my part by plonking a few salad leaves artfully in a bowl and scattering a few condiments around, so who am I to argue (with glass of wine in hand)?

But the weather was looking good…

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…my outdoor setting had been re-oiled after a long and rather exposed Winter…

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…so Aussie-K came over for a barbie.

Of sorts…

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To be honest, my turkey and chilli burgers stuck a little and would probably have been better served by a hotplate…

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…but they tasted delicious alongside the lime and chilli mayo, salad and warm ciabatta straight from the oven. And wine of course.

(I would not want you to think I was some sort of kitchen maestro or anything so I must confess again, this time to not making the ciabatta myself.)

And we topped it all off with a slice of shop-bought (just keepin’ it real here peeps) lemon tart, fresh berries and cream.

So on this Mother’s Day, with our respective Mums on the other side of the world, chatting in the sunshine and eating good food together was a perfect way to spend the afternoon.

As was ticking my long overdue BBQ baptism off the list.

Mum would be so proud…5KYM

Happy Mother’s Day Mum from your fair dinkum Aussie daughter.

14 Sleeps To Go…Is Home Really Where The Heart Is?

My sister has been travelling for work in the last week and she’s been posting some amazing pics of her drive through North Queensland (Australia) on Facebook.  The winding roads along the coast from Cairns and inland through the range, hugging the mountain sides and meandering past quiet beaches, brought back memories for both of us not only of the time we lived there as kids but also of the many visits back post our parents’ separation.  And it made me ask myself, how many places can have a hold over one’s heart? 

This week, I’ve been interviewed for a blog called Seen The Elephant.  The author is an American woman I met through J, who has lived in both the UK and Japan before returning to the States where she now lives in New York.  Her fascination is with people like herself, who move away from their ‘home’ country and choose an expat life…away from family and all of those indelibly established traditions, friendships, habits and opinions that we combine to create our ‘life’.

For those who’ve never felt that longing to emigrate, it probably appears that we ‘throw it away’ to embark on some new adventure with little obvious reason to do so…and becoming an expat definitely creates both physical and emotional (at least for a time) distance as both sides deal with the rising crescendo of unanswered questions like ‘Why did you leave?’ ‘Why don’t you want to stay close to your family and friends?’ and ‘(When) Are you coming home?’

How do you explain that you have found ‘home’, a place to belong somewhere else?  The place that fulfills you like no other, in spite of all the pieces of your heart held captive by other times and places?  Where, for some unknown reason, you ‘fit’?

When I left Melbourne six and a half years ago, I could never have imagined the journey ahead. Maybe what drove me was that yearning to belong, to find my true self unencumbered by the expectations and pressures of the life I’d established for myself.  

And from things I read and people I speak to, the permutations and combinations of reasons are as endless and varied and ever-changing for all of us. For some, the search is a lifelong one.  And when we do find ‘it’, it seems less to do with one particular thing but rather a melting pot of environment, circumstance and new choices that, if taken on their own, would never be enough.

But truth be told, there probably is no ‘answer’ for me or anyone else…just that eternal rollercoaster of peace and restlessness and peace again as we alternately push against our boundaries and bask in moments of rare contentment.

Easter Parade

We’ve had a fairly restful Easter up here on Kingston Hill and as I’m watching the sun still peek through the clouds at 6pm, I’m finding it hard to believe that I’ll be back at work tomorrow morning (lady-of-leisure-ness is so NOT over-rated!)

But in reflecting on our weekend of me ‘n’ J just hangin’ out together, I think we have managed a number of high points which I thought I’d share with you:

1. The return of Ashes to Ashes Series 3 on Friday night (Gene is back, the fashion is still questionable and we still have no idea how it will all turn out)

2. The return of Doctor Who on Saturday night (and whilst not quite ready to relinquish the top spot in my timelord affections to anyone other than the rather lovely David Tennant, I have to say I like this new doctor’s quirky gangly-ness)

3.  Watching Frost/Nixon on Saturday night (which we have been threatening to do for ages – completely fascinating!)

4.  Having our first BBQ of 2010 on Sunday (shamefully late I know but we hope to get in the groove from now on in)

5.  Finally finishing the Rupert Everett bio on Sunday (a personal goal of mine – it was going on a bit and I was torn between finishing what I started in case there was a cracking ending or bailing and wondering did I miss something – fyi it was a combination of the former and the latter which I will leave you to work out)

6. Learning how to play Monopoly Deal (card game version of the board game – much faster and furious-er) and playing several mini ‘tournaments’ over the weekend – J is ahead 2 ‘sets’ to 1…grrrrr maybe not such a high point? 

and last but by no means least…

7.  Sleeping til we’ve finished (a little piece of everyday heaven)

and I still haven’t cleaned my windows or ‘redone’ the garden…

Sigh…what a perfect weekend…


No Raindances Please…

It’s Easter Sunday and we’ve gotten off our backsides to rectify some rather uncharacteristic behaviour that has shadowed us thus far into 2010…

…we are having our first BBQ of the year!

Yes it’s true.  What with…well…weather (no raindances please) and the busyness of life in general, we have not ventured into our small patch of ‘great outdoors’ to fan the flames of BBQ bliss this year.  But we are rectifying that oversight this afternoon and J’s already out there fanning said flames in anticipation of our guests’ arrival.  We have mountains of meat and the obligatory salad-y accompanients and I believe there is even a small trifle for dessert.

So there you have it.  The sun is shining and the bbq is smoking…but enough of this gas-bagging.  I’m must be off peeps…I’m already 1 G&T behind!

Last of the Summer Wine…

Well, here we are at August Bank Holiday Monday and the official last day of summer here in the UK and the weather has put in a simply splendid show of sunshine to remind us all that summer was actually pretty good over here this year. 

It’s 26C, and whilst I submitted myself to a rather unruly burst of spring-cleaning this morning, I followed this with a couple of hours of luxurious reading under the trees out the front…and we are bbq-ing in earnest tonight to give this English summer of 2009 a proper and fitting ‘cheerio’.

So it’s a toast to farewell Summer…goodbye to tomatoes and blackberries and rosily,sun-kissed cheeks and noses…and to welcome the brilliantly-hued and softly sunshine-y days of Autumn…

26 Sleeps To Go…BBQs & Spectator Sports

It turned into a sunshine-y weekend in London and on Saturday afternoon, I joined about 17 others (including J) at a belated house-warming/engagement/watching-the-rugby/salute-to-summer bbq on the roof terrace at A&A’s. Fab weather, fab food & fab friends – a fab all-rounder…

(We so wanted to hold on to the bbq-ness of Saturday that we actually had our own bbq-for-2 at about 10pm last night. Yes, sad but true.)

And how about that tennis eh? You know, well-done to Roger Federer and all that but I must admit to a bit of emotional ‘tear-welling’ for Andy Roddick – so brave and humble in accepting his runner-up trophy (although how a big silver tray – difficult to display/a significant dust-collector – can be of any use to a bloke, I will never know…who ever thought of that as a fitting reward for 14 days of hard core tennis? I guess he could put his cheque on it….) I did really want him to win (my ‘fighting for the under-dog’ tendancies emerging) but at 14 games all in the 5th set I have to admit that I just wanted it to be over – spectator sports are simply exhausting!

And there’s news from the patch: This weekend I picked a small handful of dwarf french beans. Half a dozen tiny green tomatoes have also appeared and we are expecting courgettes (zucchinis for those in the know) any week now – let me tell you I cannot wait to bbq them as kebabs with peppers and halloumi (a wicked Were recipe garnered from Saturday’s food-fest).

26 sleeps to go…and it’s all happening…

BBQ, BBQ, Wherefore Art Thou…

Some lovely spring weather has ‘sprung’ over the weekend inspiring all sorts of unseasonal behaviour…smiling, sunglasses and shirtless men (the latter seems to be a phenomenon related to sunny, cloudless skies and unrelated to the actual temperature!). For me, it was a weekend of fervent gardening (aka re-potting survivors and adding some newcomers to the fray that is my assortment of plant pots), a few gentle G&Ts (aka gin & tonics) in the late afternoon and, of course, a BBQ dinner.

Our BBQ fare is really an ensemble arrangement: with me being a non-red meat eater, some sort of marinated chicken usually features, ably supported by veggie sausages or burgers. The division of labour is equitable too: I make the salad and then settle down with a glass of wine or other delightfully alcoholic beverage whilst J proves that men can actually multi-task by drinking beer as he manages ‘the BBQ’. It’s evenings like this, watching him prod the snags (aka sausages) with drink in hand, that I really do consider myself fortunate to have an Englishman in my life who loves a BBQ even more than this little Aussie sheila…so there is never a need to nag him about the need to uphold this great Australian tradition in Ol’ Blighty…