Archie’s stressed. Apparently, it’s my fault.
He’s tracking how he’s going with his degree and he’s a little underwhelmed. I’m responsible.
He was in a flap yesterday about an assignment he had to visually present and he fell apart under the pressure. ‘Mum, you know I’ve got this presentation’.
‘Oh, that’s great, you’re good at dance’.
‘No, I’m not mum. I can’t dance’.
‘You can dance, Archie, you’ve got great rhythm’.
‘No, I don’t mum, even the teacher knows I’m useless’.
‘Well, I don’t believe it. You did all that dancing on stage as The Pirate King’.
‘That’s irrelevant, mum’.
‘Well if you could dance then, you must be able to dance now’.
‘No, I can’t mum, and whatever I did back then doesn’t count. It’s irrelevant’.
‘But you did so well…’
‘But you’ve always been able to dance and you’re…’
‘Mum, you have no idea. You’re just my mother, that’s all. Did you know that when you booked me into this course that you were booking me into a music degree? And did you know that I’ve had no professional music training? I didn’t even do music at school. And so how did you expect me to pass? Don’t you know that if I finish the course but don’t pass every subject I won’t get my degree and it’s all just been a complete waste of time?’
‘Well who says you’re going to fail?’
‘I’m failing mum. And it’s because you put me into a course where I’ve got no idea what I’m doing. I’ve nothing to draw on’.
‘Well you auditioned and they accepted you. And you’re loving it, right?’
‘Yes, it’s great. But I’m just telling you. You shouldn’t expect me to do well’.
‘Well of course I expect you to do well. If you’re struggling you should ask one of the teachers to help you’.
‘You don’t know anything mum. This is uni, not high school. I’ve already been to one of my teachers and he just shrugged and told me to read a book. That’s not helpful mum.
‘So when’s your next assignment due?’
‘Can I help you with it?’
‘It’s on the basic steps of choreography mum, you know nothing’.
But I did have five years of ballet with Mrs Warwick. With my limited dance choreography experience I told him how the steps are taught one by one and usually the steps for the feet are taught first and when they are mastered other body part movements are added like the hands, head and torso. I took him through the assignment question and something happened and he understood what it was he had to do. He finished the task, presented it today, and can you believe, he thinks he did okay.
And that would be my fault!
Archie was burnt out after his choreography assignment and came home very hungry. I’d had a busy day with my precious Rosie being diagnosed with a fractured pelvis so dinner was slim pickings. I had some chicken legs so roasted them tossed in vegetable oil, sea salt, Chinese five-spice powder and freshly ground white pepper. I cooked them in the oven for 40 minutes and meanwhile made a black vinegar caramel dipping sauce and decided to serve them with some fresh wok fried greens and rice.
And Archie didn’t say, ‘Irrelevant, mum’
Seasoned Roasted Chicken Legs with Black Vinegar Caramel and Wok-Fried Greens
Degree of Difficulty: 3/5
Cost: Chicken legs are very affordable. This is a great family meal for less than $20.00 for a family of five.
- 1 tbspn vegetable oil
- 12 organic chicken legs
- 1 tbspn Chinese fives spice powder
- 2 tbspn sea salt flakes
- 1 tbspn white peppercorns, freshly ground
- rice to serve
- greens to serve – I used 2 leeks, a bunch of shallots and a bunch of coriander, tossed with black sesame seeds
Black Vinegar Caramel Sauce:
- 1 cup white sugar
- 3 tbspn water
- 1/2 cup black vinegar
- 1/2 tbspn light soy sauce
Heat oven to 200C Fan-Forced or 22oC non-fan forced.
In a large shallow baking dish place, pour vegetable oil. Add chicken legs then toss in oil. Add Chinese five-spice powder, sea salt and white pepper. Toss to combine. Place in oven for 45 minutes, turning occasionally.
Meanwhile, cook rice according to directions on packet.
Black Vinegar Caramel (adapted from the Spirit House cookbook)
In a small saucepan over high heat add sugar and water. Stir occasionally. Bring to the boil and continue to boil until it turns deep brown. About 5 mins. (Don’t stir during this process as sugar can re-crystallise). Stir in vinegar and soy sauce but be careful because it can splatter. Bring back to the boil and stir until it thicken slightly.
Meanwhile, heat a wok with 1 tbspn vegetable oil and heat until shimmering. Add 2 finely chopped leeks and stir-fry until softened, add a bunch of chopped shallots and stir-fry until just wilted. Add 1 tspn sesame oil and 1 tspn black sesame seeds. Remove from heat, stir through some coriander leaves and serve with chicken legs and rice and pour over black caramel vinegar.
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