It seems to me that as the kids gets older the gap between sport seasons gets smaller. This year cricket finished, and almost the same week, soccer practice started. Surely we used to get a month off between cricket and soccer.
Or maybe it is just the unseasonably warm autumn that we are having in Sydney. It doesn’t feel like soccer weather yet. The poor lads are out there playing a winter sport in 30+ temperatures. I don’t think they mind. It’s only us parents who stand around on the sideline bemoaning the weather. And just wait till the end of July, when it’s properly cold. Then we will really whinge!
Our soccer team has been together for five seasons now. As the years progress, the difference between the best player and the worst on the team is becoming more apparent. At least to those of us who are watching them. I’m pretty sure the boys are not as aware, which is largely thanks to our excellent coach. The club has noticed, and this year, the club wanted our team to attend the grading day. We declined, saying that we wanted to stay together, therefore we didn’t need to be graded individually.
The whispers – and goodness, no one gossips quite like sporty parents – continue. The general consensus is that next year the club will enforce grading for us, with the aim of cherry picking our best kids out for the Division One team. I can understand that the club wants the best team they can possibly field in Division One. However, if they asked the parents in our team, particularly the parents of our two best players, and the club would discover that those parents, and those kids, don’t want to change teams. There is a value in mateship and being part of a team that overrides the desire to win.
The boys in our team, now Under 11s, go to five different schools, and only see each other during winter. The first practice of every season tends towards a version of chaos that can only be described as ‘boy hugs’. They wrestle each other, and roll in dirt, and kick balls around madly, and tackle each other to the ground. All while laughing and yelling. It’s brilliant to watch – a real display of mateship.
Last week, I overheard two of them talking about food, and it was roll-your-eyes hilarious.
“Oh my God, I went to Nanna’s last week and she made the WORST sandwich.”
“What? Like, peanut butter or something boring?”
“Nah. So bad. She used frozen bread!”
“Yeah, and then she put fake butter on it.” “What the hell? What is fake butter?”
“You know, like margarine.”
“And then she put frozen canned tuna on it.”
“Seriously? That’s gross.”
Those poor inner west hipster food snobs. And only ten years old! In some ways, it’s not surprising that they have high standards. We often take them out for lunch at some fairly nice places; and we cook a wide range of food at home. The upside of this conversation is that our kids are adventurous eaters, and one of their favourite foods are tomatoes. We grow them in our garden, and as much as I’d love to say that this recipe used home grown tomatoes (like Scott’s did), it’s not true. The kids eat them off the vine as they play in the yard, so our homegrown tomatoes never make it inside. Here is a basic tomato soup with homemade (not frozen) bread.
Summer Tomato Soup
- 1kg very ripe tomatoes
- 1 jalapeno
- 1 onion
- 1⁄2 garlic bulb (5-7 pieces)
- 1 litre chicken stock (or vegetable stock for a vegan option)
- Sour cream (to serve)
- Parsley (for decoration)
Peel the garlic. Peel and slice the onion into quarters. Clean the tomatoes and cut out any ikky bits. Place all of this into a roasting dish and splash a bit of olive oil over it. Roast for 20 minutes at 180oC.
Puree all the roasted ingredients in a blender. Pour into a large pot and add the litre of chicken stock. Bring to the boil. While this is cooking, hold the jalapeno in tongs and char it over a flame. Chop it up and add it to the soup. Keep the seeds in if you like it hot, otherwise, keep them out for a more mild heat. Boil for at least 15 minutes to let the flavours all infuse, then serve.
Optional: If you want it to be slightly creamy (and indulgent) add a dollop of sour cream and swirl through. Add a few leaves of parsley floated on top to decorate before serving.
Sage pull apart Loaf
- 3 cups flour
- 1 sachet yeast (7g)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1⁄4 cups of warm water
- Pinch sugar
- Pinch salt
- Cup of grated cheese
- 10 sage leaves
This is a very basic bread recipe. You can use it plain like this, or roll it out as pizza bases, or use it as a base for more interesting breads.
Mix everything (except the cheese and sage) together and kneed for a few minutes until it forms a good dough. Place in a bowl, covered with a tea towel for at least an hour.
Roll out into a large square shape about 2cm thick. Scatter the sage leaves and grated cheese over the top, then roll it up like a sausage. Twist it a few times, then leave to rise again for 20 minutes.
Bake for 15 minutes until a crusty brown colour. To serve, break it open and slather with butter.