Small world syndrome

There’s never a good time to crash into a sporty black car on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. When you’re running $5-a-minute late to get Sprog 1 from after-school care is a particularly bad time. It was Melbourne Cup Day, 2009. The owner of the sporty black car was driving home to celebrate his big win. He was furious, but fortunately didn’t swear at me, because he turned out to be the dad of Sprog 1’s kindy classmate. Sprog 1’s birthday party was two weeks later and I was mortified when he arrived at the front door. We can laugh about it now …
I live a life crammed with coincidence. It gets a bit freaky sometimes. On our recent European sojourn, we had tea with Sprog 2’s soccer teammate in the shadow of the Sagrada Familia. When I started my script-writing course, an old work associate was in the class. We live near each other, so he gives me a lift home every Tuesday. Handy. Two women I worked with at Cosmopolitan magazine 15 years ago have kids at the same infants school as mine. After my old boyfriend dumped me, we ran into each other constantly. The pub, the mall, the park … Actually, that wasn’t a co-incidence, it was stalking.  
At a school mums’ dinner last week, we started comparing concidences. Two mums kicked it off with the discovery they share the same doctor several suburbs away. Another mum called Tanya, who’s married to a man called Mark, recalled her surprise when a new boy joined the class earlier this year … who had a mum called Tanya married to a man called Mark. Then Tanya and Mark and Tanya and Mark stumbled upon each other at a party on the other side of town. I offered up a mum from Sprog 2’s kindy class who turns out to be the sister of a girl I worked with 20 years ago. They also have a brother who I randomly befriend at a series of sweaty parties in my youth. Things got really weird when the kindy mum visited an old friend, who talked about meeting two lovely little girls called Sprog 1 and Sprog 2 on the beach in Newcastle. The kindy mum asked if, by chance, their mother was called Alana … Ah yes, she was. Sadly, such co-incidences don’t run to my lottery ticket number matching the one pulled from the barrel, but I live in hope.
Moral to the story: it’s not a small world, it’s a miniscule one. I keep that in mind when strangers piss me off. You just never know who their friends might be. 


TONIGHT’S MENU: Husband made an enormous vat of soup and an equally enormous vat of spag bol on the weekend, so we’re still trawling through those. The soup was delish, it’s a Jamie Oliver recipe. Give it a go. It’s great for those frigid summer nights (what’s with that?)

Leek & potato soup with taleggio

INGREDIENTS: 1 small onion, 1 stick celery, 2 medium leeks, 1 knob butter, 750ml vegetable stock, 2 small potatoes, 1 small bunch fresh thyme, 75ml creme fraiche (or sour cream), 75g taleggio cheese (my Woolies has it in the gourmet cheese cabinet).

METHOD: Peel and roughly chop the onion. Trim and roughly chop the celery. Trim the leeks and halve them lengthways, then cut across into chunks. Rinse well under cold running water and put aside to drain. Place a deep pan on a low to medium heat and add a knob of butter. Once the butter has melted, add you chopped veg, a lug of olive oil and a splash of water. Cover with a lid and cook for 8-10 minutes or until the vegetables have softened. Fill another pan with vegetable stock and bring to a gentle simmer over a medium heat. Peel the potatoes then grate them onto your chopping board. Add to the pan of simmer stock to cook for five minutes. Pick the thyme leaves from half your sprigs and put to one side. Add the stalks and the rest of the sprigs to the stock. When the potatoes are cooked through, fish out the stalks and sprigs using tongs. Pour the stock mixture into the pan of softened vegetables and bring everything to the boil. Stir in the creme fraiche and let it bubble for a few minutes. Chop the taleggio into chunks. Take the soup off the heat and stir in the taleggio. Give the soup a good whizz with a hand blender until its creamy and smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Jamie serves it with toasted cibatta rubbed with raw garlic and olive oil, but I think a nice cob of bread and butter is easier and just as good.

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