Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘food’

(as an antidote to the long posts)

  1. I find I get inordinately offended if anyone implicitly questions my honesty and honour.
  2. I inadvertently ate some fresh chillis at lunch. Now I am all spacey and concentrating is a particular challenge, but it also feels like I am incredibly focussed and skillful. It’s a very strange intolerance that I have.
  3. I just found a tiny muscle under my jaw that is tight on the left hand side, but not the right. Evidence that my back/neck issues are also jaw related, something most practictioners have never picked up on.
  4. Reading the free papers available at train stations makes me depressed. Reading WIRED magazine, or a proper broadsheet paper does not.

Read Full Post »

As an anti-dote to the Things that are Weird posts, since there are (of course) more good things about living here than weird things.

1. The light quality. It’s so much softer, more restful. Still bright, but not scorching. Love it.

2. Clouds. I’ve always loved looking at clouds, I even have a Flickr set devoted to photos of them. The clouds here are fantastic. They scud across the sky, or hang there as a gigantic sky sculptures.

3. Plants. They are green and lush and just everywhere. Wildflowers tend to be the flowers I love – foxgloves, sweet pea, blackberries (OK not a flower, but I love looking at them), and ones I am recognising and coming to appreciate.

4. The cafe downstairs from work with the lovely Italian men who call me Bella, and say Bourgiorno to me every morning and make my toast and coffee without me needing to say a word. They also the best steak sandwich on the planet. Tender, juicy, right balance of ingredients. It’s been a goal to find a good steak sandwich for years. Yay Italian cafe that is a restful place in the morning just before work! Wish I could take them with me to all future employment situations.

5. Summer is lovely. I don’t care what the popular opinion is, summer is really pleasant, like a few months of the nicest September or March days in Sydney, not too hot, lovely breezes, long twilights.

4. Berries! I didn’t really get the love of berries in Australia. With the exception of fresh blackberries. English strawberries are divine, raspberries are to be consumed whenever possible.

5. Most people speak softly. This has reduced my incidence of noise sensitivity which is fantastic. One less stress point is a very good thing.

6. Variety of ingredients. Sydney – Newtown has a better selection of places to eat, but England has a much better selection of ingredients, which are easier to access. Perhaps this is why I am doing more cooking here. Which is also a good outcome.

7. In my opinion the discourse around sustainability is more balanced and advanced. This is probably the subject of a future post. Or one in a related blog if ever I get it up and running which will focus on policy/sustainability rants, rather than muddy-ing the two together.

There’s more, but 7 will do for now.

Read Full Post »

Happy faceOne of my favourite subjects!
(The photo at left is not something I ate this week, it’s an old photo, but, there were no photos this week as my camera is not working. Hopefully only needs new batteries)

There were lots of food experiences this week. Nom!

Monday was a bank holiday. I’ve just finished reading a series about an English woman who ends up living in Liguria, Italy, which was peppered with tasty food descriptions. So I couldn’t resist cooking up a meal of antipasti, and inviting some friends over to share.  Crumbed sardines, roasted marinated baby eggplants, cherry tomatoes filled with pesto, roasted zucchini/courgettes in tomato jus (which I made up from the scopped out cherry tomatoes centres), chorizo, pork pate, baby spinach leaf salad.

All accompanied with some griddle bread, which was suprisingly easy and very tasty. I made the dough up at 6 pm and let it sit while I finished the other dishes, then pulled off hunks of dough, flattened them by hand on the bread board and did two at a time in the fry pan. we ate at 7.30. They were still a bit moist and chewy in the middle, but cooked. I’d highly recommend this if you need something to accompany dipping type foods and don’t have any biscuits or breads to hand. (Note I put in much less salt than this recipe calls for. Salt is good in bread if you need to store it for some time, otherwise you can use much less).

Last night I did a roast chicken with veges and salads for another couple of friends, including home-made gravy. I’m now officially confident in my ability to make a really yummy roast dinner and will stop asking Jed if it’s tasty. I’ve always been really confident at cooking East Asian foods, thanks to the year in Thailand, and Italian foods, thanks to growing up in Sydney, but traditional English/French style foods were a bit of mystery to me. I used to call up my sister whenever I needed to do a lamb roast to ask her how long it needed to cook. However, as I now own a copy of The Cook’s Companion by Stephanie Alexander, having watched how a trained chef friend and her husband used to throw together a Saturday afternoon lunch this gap has mostly been filled, and cooked many roasts in this country, I am happy that I can turn out a very good roast and gravy.

Jed made (under my direction) a simple apple tart from apples that a colleague picked from her allotment tree. Not surprisingly they were really, really crisp and fresh. Also, not surprisingly there were a couple of worms inside the apples. Truly fresh and natural apples.  The planned tart turned into an upside down crumble as I forgot to defrost the shortcrust pastry and so we made a biscuit base instead. Still, really tasty.

There’s lots of apples left over, so I’m thinking baked pork with juniper berries and apples later in the week, as I found a recipe for that in the foraging book that Jed bought me. we have a cabbage to use up as well, to might try to become proficient at braised apple, cabbage and cider vinegar.

Otherwise, we tried out the other local Italian place on Thursday night and were happily impressed. Had supper with Scruffy and Bec in a hippy organic pub in Brighton on Saturday. (and had Domino’s pizza on Friday night, but don’t tell anyone. shhhh!)

While on the subject of food, here’s a list of food blogs that I regularly read, which you might find interesting, or a good source for recipes:

Read Full Post »

I’m a big fan of writing lists. Of dreaming and planning how things could be better. Tinkering around the eges as well as making big changes.

Last week I found the list I wrote last July of things I’d do ‘Upon turning 30’. Here’s reflection on the results:

  • QiGong Exercises – I found a book that detailed Tai Chi type excercises. I’ve done Tai Chi in the past and loved it, but I’m no so good at actively finding a school and showing up for classes. I want the perfect teacher and situation to show up, or I like to think that I will become immediately able to practice such things at home. Not happened yet. Maybe one day. Or maybe I should just start…
  • Yoga – ditto above. Love Yoga, it’s really good for me. I once had a wonderful teacher and a regular practice and then I moved and it fell apart. Really, really need to pick this one up again for all sorts of reasons, not least that I couldn’t sleep last night because my shoulder was really tight and painful.
  • Swimming – ditto the first three. It’s good for me, and I mostly enjoy it, but getting motiviated to find a regular time, getting out of the house vortex after I get home, buying swimmers, and looking after female waxing requirements means this is all too hard.
  • Regular removal of stuff – this was quite successful. Moved myself to England with 3 suitcases and 14 boxes of stuff. there’s been some purchasing since I got here, but realistically I’m now better at getting rid of stuff and have less stuff overall. I even managed to find a decent home for almost everything I used to own. Yay planning!
  • Seasonal cooking – this has been fantastically successful and is even easier here, as the impulse to cook is stronger now that the lure of King St is so far away.
  • Notes on UK/EU – I assume this was future job related. Didn’t happen. I do have a slim Moleskine notebook which I am slowly filling with notes of fun and interesting things to do in England. More socially focuessed, less professional.
  • Notes on Sustainable Production & Consumption and Product Stewardship – again I assume this was future job related. Didn’t happen, but that’s OK
  • Drawing/Art – this fell away in the last half of last year, and hasn’t really picked up again. I suspect I have an inverse relationship between stress and creative output, and last year was insanely stressful.
  • Money! Money! Money! (implement Your Money or Your Life) – I had my financial life reasonably settled and well on track to being fantabulous when I left Australia. Understandably, this has slipped quite a bit since I’ve been here. I’ve been busy setting up all sorts of things, emotionally, and I’ve neglected the financial side. There’s too many details to get my head around, it’s a bit scary. Not having a guaranteed income hasn’t helped either as the structures I’ve developed for my finances rely on regular fortnightly income.
  • Cycle charting – this came from a book I read last year, The Pill. I made the intention to start paying more attention to physical and emotional swings throughout the month. Quite useful and enlightening.  I’m a bit more gentle with myself, acknowledging that my baseline emotions do actually subtly change on a relatively predictable weekly basis, and that “blankie days” should be enjoyed rather than ignored. I highly recommend the concept, and the book as a tool of self-awareness.
  • People, not things – hard to know how this one went. It was a strange year in relation to people.
  • Contemplation, and pursuit of, La Dolce Vita – getting there. This is probably a life goal, rather than something to be attained in a year. Especially last year.
  • Cycling – hmmmm, see first 3 points.
  • Get better at food: unjade palette; bring lunch from home; get routines set up – tick for the first one. Cross for the second, although I’m not sure this will ever happen, I like a fresh cooked hot lunch; Maybe for the 3rd, depends what I meant by routines. What I have become better at is experimental cooking to use up stuff in the fridge. I’m rather proud of that practice.
  • Details are important – I suspect this one related to people and their lives. Still not good at this one, could do much better at remembering important information and dates about friends and relations and following through on actions that would help and indicate love and affection. On the other hand, I really, really needed to not worry about other people’s details this year, as I sorted out the deluge of details in my own life.

I’ll update the list for being 31 in a separate post. I need a little while to decide what might be important in this coming year.

Read Full Post »

I probably need to not write these on the following Tuesday afternoon as most of it escapes me, but here goes.

A better working situation

Work got better this week, possibly because we lost another contractor and so now they’re not actually overstaffed and I’m picking up her overflow of work. Or, I stopped being mildly stressed out and hibernating about life and responsibilities and actually started to drive this process. Or I realised that this place is not like my previous workplace (duh!) and that my former boss was fantastic in the way she gave feedback, I’m not going to get that here and I should just use it as a chance to practice other skills.

Reflection and growth

It was a week of reflecting on the past, the future, the current and trying to establish what has changed and what needs to change. Some of this has been, and continues to be rather difficult and exhausting. By the end of the week I was in tears while talking to Jed “just… wanting… it… to… stop.” I’ve done so much growth and change and work on myself over the past 2.5 years that I was hoping for a bit of a break. Apparently no. Assuming that it’s going to get easier when you move to an entirely different country is a rather silly assumption. Add to this that communication and working on our stuff is part of what makes Jed and I work, and we’ve both made a concious commitment to not sweep things under the carpet, then it is very silly to assume it’s not going to be exhausting at time. Worthwhile, definately, but also exhausting.

On the plus side I can feel patterns and assumptions I’ve been carrying for years starting to untangle and be voiced. Fears of failure and not being good enough and people being disappointed with me if I say what I really think and feel are slowly being addressed. Untangling a whole new ball of emotional wool, discovering a couple more issues onions that I need to get to the centre of, which I’ve done before and can do again and I know that at the end of it these particular submerged fears will be less problematic. Just the getting there is tough.

There was some cool stuff that came out of this reflection.

I drew up a timeline of the people and ideas and stages and events from the last 2.5 years, which was an interesting excercise in where I’d been and what had drastically changed.

I realised that one of my behavioural patterns developed during a very specific period in my twenties and if I could catch the first stages of that behaviour and remember that it wasn’t always like this then maybe it could change.

I’m working on convincing inner me that I am actually an adult who’s allowed to be heard and doesn’t have to be invisible anymore.

And Jed and I started to plan out a future where he gets to be the thing he’s always wanted to be and I get to practice all the things I’m really good at. That’s been quite exciting, and means that very shortly I’ll be getting out big pieces of paper and coloured pens to write and draw diagrams and plans and lists, one of my favourite things. We’re also getting closer to working out what we need to do to move to London for a year. By Christmas.

Stuff we did (or where’s the photos! and you’ve not mentioned the lego yet, for once)

What with all that reflection and growth we didn’t really do a lot of ‘things’ this week. Although I forgot my camera, so there’s no photos.

Friday night Jed got carded at the local supermarket for the alcohol he was trying to buy, but was refused as he didn’t have photo ID (32!!). I didn’t have any ID either. So we went to our local and laughed with them. Then a bat was discovered in the pub and we both had a lovely time helping to shoo it out and generally just watching it fly around. They are truly stunning. I can understand why you’d instictively be scared, but a bat is never going to hit you because of it’s sonar.

Saturday we went to Brighton for brunch, just because Redhill has not-even-close-to-Newtown-standard cafes and I was seriously craving such a venue. We eventually found a place that did crepes, with the right sort of staff, decor and music, and had a lovely breakfast. At 12.30. Then shopping. CDs, window shopping, and lego (see, told you!), which means my medical centre is almost, almost finished.

Sunday we went to Kew Gardens with one of my oldest friends and her boyfriend. Wandered around lots of trees, looked at fish, had tea and cake, climbed through a very large replica badger sett (and avoided collecting any of the myriad of children that were also crawling around inside the drakish tunnels), sat in front of the Japanese garden section, and then went back to their place for a late BBQ. Lovely! The National Garden photographer of the year exhibition was on, so we also got to look at gorgeous photos. So gorgeous that Jed bought the book so we can keep looking at them.

Read Full Post »

not yet opened

After purchasing the Cafe Corner last month, (all photos of the model as now here) and getting out the lego that was shipped over with all my belongings, I’ve re-discovered the fun of lego model building. And discovered that I’m not the only one. There’s, not-surprisingly, entire communities out there, commonly called Adult Fans of Lego (AFOL).

I’ve spent some time over the last few weeks browsing various blogs and flickr sets looking at what other people have built based on the specifications for lego buildings inspired by this particular set and getting ideas (and I accidentally found this post via a completely different blog, it amused me lots, I feel like I’m making a similar confession). I’ve also realised that I’ve previously had a much more expensive, equally creative and yet bizarre hobby, aka the SCA, so if I choose to spend money on lego there’s no real problem. Oh, and there’s a pick-and-mix option on the lego.co.uk site, and a lego designer software which allows you to design a model, price it and then request a custom shipment. My first one should arrive this week. On the wishlist for birthday and Christmas are the Greengrocer and Fire Station sets.

By Tuesday I’d worked out that I had enough pieces from medical related lego sets I received as a child to build a quite decent medical clinic based on these specs. So, most of my spare time this week has been spent doing that. It’s gone through about 3 re-builds so far, as I’ve played with decoration, placement of the stair case and internal walls. The delivery this week will get me a black tiled roof, and enough pieces to hopefully finish it off. Well, except for a basement and a small access ramp I want to build…

Wednesday Jed and I went on the first of what might become regular weeknight a’ventures. We decided on dinner in London, specifically chinese dumplings and a colleague recommended a place in the Chinatown that made their dumplings in house. It was fantastic! Exactly what we were after, to the extent I declared it was nice to have “real food” at the end of the meal. Very reminscient of beloved dumpling places in Ashfield, and sitting on metal stools around communal tables in Thailand. We had two plates of pork and bamboo shoot dumpings, steamed and fried, a small place of soy chicken, and a small plate of bok choy. With rice and bubble tea/iced pineapple drink. All for £30. Heaven!

It was a wonderfully warm evening, and the sun was still up So we then wandered around China town. I introduced Jed to durian, as the smell of it was deliciously wafting across the courtyard. We bought two fortune cookies for dessert. Mine read “your dreams will soon come true”, I’m hoping it refers to a meaningful job. We ran around inside a Korean sweet shop, and came home with random boxes of chocolate biscuit-y things, and some black sesame glutinous rice balls. Nom!

Friday was games night with friends. Introduced them to Settlers of Catan which we recently acquired. Jed bases his strategy on observations of Mat(my former flatmate)’s tactics and we’ve decided that the development card deck is now called the “Mat wins” deck. It amuses us. Unfortunately the robber piece has also been renamed “the gimp”, which seems to amuse everyone except me.

Saturday I went to a friend’s birthday party in nearby Wallington, in which I got off the bus waaaay too early and had a nice walk from one town (Purley) to the next past gardens and fields. This map should give you an idea. I got off the bus halfway up Foxley Lane/A2022. I walked to Wallington, the next town NW of there) Only two blisters to show for it. On the other hand, my friend, the lovely Dee, lives so close that we can plan regular tea or beer catch ups, I just have to get off the train 3 stops earlier. This is really cool, as it was the one thing that was really missing. Regular chats with someone who’s not Jed.

Sunday we went Blackberrying up on the Common, picking a small ice cream container’s worth to make into a dessert later this week. It was warm and sunny, perfect for picking blackberries which were warm and juicy, although probably at their best in another week or two. Also perfect for getting the requisite blackberry scratches and unobservantly standing right next to a tall stinging nettle plant and getting stung on the back of an elbow. Which I did. All of which brought back many childhood memories. Including that nettles stings are nowhere near as bad as bull ant bites, or as icky as leeches, so I could just deal with it (all three of which occurred to me on one regular family camping trip up the back of the Hawkesbury).

A really nice weekend all up.

Read Full Post »

Tuesday-itis

Shared tastes

My energy is all over the place today. I blame Tuesday-itis.

We have a team dinner after work today, and we’re leaving the office at 5.30, so i realised I can come in 30 mins later and decided to have a bit of a sleep-in.

You’d have thought I’d have learnt the “be careful what you wish for” lesson by now, but apparently not. Since I actually made it up and out of the house in a decent timeframe, even with 20 mins extra sleep. I’d be later than usual, but not too much later.

Until I reached the train station and went to buy my morning banana, and realised I’d left my wallet at home. One 20 min round trip later I was tired, zombiefied and well and truly later for work than I have generally been.

Stoopid wallet!

Since then my schedule has been out of whack. Had a strange breakfast on the train of a pastry and a small coffee and juice, instead of sitting at the cafe with the lovely Italian men, eating marmite toast and a larger coffee while reading the paper.

Worked for 45 mins, then went to the team meeting (never a good thing on a tuesday), then a quick lunch. Now it is 2pm and I’m eating my 3.30 pm snack.

Wacky day!

At least I can blame it on Tuesday-itis, it’s more common for me than Monday-itis. I suspect it’s because on Monday I am quite rested from the weekend and (generally) happy to be at work. Whereas Tuesday I’m experiencing some form of jetlag from two early mornings compared to weekend wake up times, definitely more dopey on Tuesdays.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »