Sunday, April 28, 2013
SOFTLY, SOFTLY, SWOFTY…THERE’S A SSWOSY IN THE ROOM….
I heard an interesting snippet of useless information on television a couple of months ago. It’s not an uncommon occurrence, I know, but this particular morsel of worthless trivia caused my ears to perk. I’m not sure how my ears perk; but they did; and often do. The next time I become aware that I’m about to hear intriguing snippets of valueless trifles I’ll stand in front of a mirror to witness the actions and reactions of my ears! I might even set up a camera to enable the phenomena to become general viewing. I could make a fortune on YouTube! The possibilities are limitless!
Failing that, it certainly will be an interesting pastime if any or all of the following meanings apply. I’ll be kept amused for a while, at least!
Perk meanings: 1. To stick up or jut out: 2. To carry oneself in a lively and jaunty manner.3. To percolate: 4. An incidental benefit awarded in employment; fringe benefit etc. 5. Gain or regain energy.
To simplify; My attention was immediately put on high alert when I heard the “interesting snippet of useless information” as described below – in my own words…
Apparently, being a Cougar is old hat nowadays. Count your lucky stars Demi Moore; you escaped before becoming old hat! No! No! I didn’t say “old bag!
The Cougar has been replaced by the ”Swofty – Single Women Over Fifty”!
I wonder what I am.
I fitted the Cougar mould back in the mid to late Eighties when I had my obligatory fling with a young Italian stallion who visited this wonderful Land of Oz from Italy's Emilia-Romagna area.
I could still be classified as a reasonably young filly back then, but,unashamedly, I must admit, he was just a colt.
However, cut me some slack; hold your horses; shut the stable doors! I was only doing what I was told I should do.
Back in the early Seventies when the Fiat 124 Sport Coupe was released the Fiat Motor Company urged everyone to have an Italian love affair. Actually, Fiat didn't "urge" one to do as they bid...we were ordered to do so!
I didn’t follow their sage advice at that time, but I made up for my 1970s’ inability to do so a decade and a half later. I just put my own slant on it…I chose a human over a car!
The Sixties might have been Swinging, but the Seventies were Sexy! And even though my enjoyable Italian interlude was during the Hiatus Eighties, the timing didn’t hamper a thing; it enhanced it, if anything!
Henceforth, when my Italian affair had galloped its course after 18 months or so, my penchant for being a Cougar didn’t dim. Although not purposely on the prowl, future paramours who crossed my path – and I theirs – were all younger than me. Some by a only couple of years; others by more.
With my mind going into overdrive as I write (and I imagine your minds are, too – I may have started an avalanche of thoughts), does all of what I mulled over above mean now that I’m in my sixties I can start swinging again?
What a wild thought; and one worth cherishing, and perhaps considering! I'll set aside the pondering for another day.
Hmmm…well…I’m cherishing the thought...and the memories (relishing even), even if you aren’t! I don't care - they are my thoughts. I’ll claim them!
Every young lady out “there” - those like you and me; we who still are capable of kicking up our heels, even if only in our minds; those of us who trip and fall into this category; every one of us in our sixties or thereabouts should now be known as a “Sswosy – Single Sexy Women Over Sixty”!
Okay! Okay! Calm down!
I know my imagination is running riot; this is nothing new; it’s not as silly an idea as you might originally have thought it was. Hang loose for a moment; chill out - give my whimsical whim time to sink in. After all, you and I (or some of you, and definitely me, and those others who can only wish) were part of the fabulous Swinging Sixties when the Revolution began – that has to mean something!
And let’s face it; the Sixties were lots of fun – if you can remember them!
Butternut Lasagne: Peel a couple of large butternut pumpkins; cut into ½-inch chunks (about 1-1/2 to 2 kgs worth); toss in x-virgin olive oil, 1tbs chopped sage leaves, 1tbs lemon thyme, 1tbs fennel, ground black pepper and salt; spread, single layer on lined baking sheet. Roast 40-50mins until begins to brown. Puree in processor with grated nutmeg. In bowl, mix puree with 2c ricotta, 1c grated parmesan and 2 large eggs; test seasoning. Grab 24 or so al dente spinach lasagne sheets; brush with oil. Make about 4 cups béchamel sauce - adding some minced sage, lemon thyme, garlic and nutmeg to the milk. Butter a 9x13-inch pan; spread sauce over base; place layer of lasagne sheets on top; spread with some puree; sprinkle with grated mozzarella and parmesan; repeat layers; finish with cheese and béchamel over noodles; cover. Bake in 190C oven, about 1 hour; remove cover; bake further 15mins.
Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Sage and Brown Butter: Cook 100g peeled red-skinned potatoes and 200g kumara, both cut into 3cm cubes until tender; set aside to cool slightly; let moisture evaporate; mash until smooth; remove any lumps; season; add 1c plain flour; mix together with rubber spatula; gather dough into a ball. On lightly-floured surface, knead gently until smooth. Divide into 2 portions; roll each into log, 2.5cm thick; cut into 3cm pieces. Shape the gnocchi by rolling a piece of dough down the outer side of the tines of a fork, using your thumb to create an indentation on the other side. Bring a large, wide saucepan of water to the boil. Cook gnocchi in batches until they rise to the surface, about 3 mins. Remove with a slotted spoon; transfer to a large plate. Melt 125g butter in pan; add 2tbs shredded sage leaves; cook until butter browns; add gnocchi; toss lightly to coat. To serve - drizzle with the butter; season with black pepper.
Ravioli de Zucca: Preheat oven to 190C. Cut 1 small to medium butternut pumpkin (about 1kg or so) in half; scrape out seeds. Spread 1tbs molasses in the cavity; season. Place cut side down on roasting pan; cook in oven until very soft, about 1 hour. Cool to room temperature; scoop out flesh into food processor; puree until smooth; then spread on baking sheet; return to 190C oven to dry; about 10mins. The consistency will be like mashed potatoes; scrape into mixing bowl. Heat 2tbs unsalted butter in saucepan over med-low heat until it begins to brown. Immediately remove from heat; add 1tbs molasses and 2tsp balsamic vinegar. To the squash, add 1/4c mascarpone, 2tbs freshly-grated Parmesan, 1/4tsp each cinnamon and nutmeg. Season, to taste with salt and pepper; mix well. The recipe can be made ahead to this point (makes 2 cups filling,) Cover well and refrigerate 4 hours or up to 2 days. To fill the ravioli: Lay out a sheet of pasta dough on a lightly-floured board. Cut into circles with a 3-1/2 inch pastry cutter. Put 1 tablespoon squash filling in the center of 1/2 the rounds using either a pastry bag or a small spoon. Leave a 1/2-inch border all around the filling. Moisten borders with water; top with remaining rounds of dough. Press all the air out, and seal firmly by pressing all around with fingertips. Lay ravioli out to dry on a lightly-floured board or baking sheet and lightly flour the tops. Repeat until you run out of dough and/or filling. To cook: boil in lightly salted water until tender, about 3 minutes. Reserve ¼ cup of the cooking water. Sage Brown Butter: While raviolis are cooking, in a large sauté pan, melt 4tbs butter with 8 fresh sage leaves and a pinch of salt until it foams and becomes light brown; reserve. On med-heat toss the cooked ravioli in the sage butter; then transfer to a serving platter or dishes. Add the 1/4c reserved cooking water to the pan; swirl with any residual butter. Spoon the butter sauce over the ravioli; then finish with a generous grating of Parmesan and bittersweet chocolate (optional)