If You Always Do What You've Always Done...Then You'll Always Get What You Always Got

Monday, 1 July 2013


It's been 18 months.  I've changed a lot, and learned a great deal.  One of the things I've learned is that I am not strong enough, at least right now, to deal with the criticism and judgment that comes with being a blogger.  I would like this to be a hiatus rather than a full stop, but we shall see.  Thank you to those who have supported me and encouraged me over this journey.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Getting My Flanders On, Part 2: The Pantry

I have several friends gallivanting around France, Italy, Spain, the UK...  And what did I do this week?  Well, among other exciting things, I organised my pantry.  (In the breaks between drooling over their travel/food photos.  You know who you are).  This - the pantry - had been on my To Do list for a few weeks, after an Incident that left the herbs and spices in total disarray.  I knew where the breakfast spices were, but aside from that, mayhem.  And I have been aware for some time that the fruit and nut area was catastrophic.  Usable, in the kind of "I need almonds... I know they're there... Yep, found 'em" type of way, but far from organised, and hiding some items that had been put there and forgotten and then superseded in importance.  I am also aware that the pantry is one area I feel needs to be ordered, and I was quite logical before, but that is possibly a bit too obscure.  When I say, for example, that the sugar goes in the sugar area, I think it's quite obvious from the other sugars in that area.  But not everyone sees that, and admittedly, dried fruit has a high natural sugar content, and chocolate is ... sweet...  Anyway, I organised and cleared out and cleaned my pantry.  And then I stuck little labels on the shelves.  A la Ned Flanders (explained here, if you need it).

I am being brave and showing the mess that was.  You probably can't grasp the UnOrder of the herbs and spices.  Trust me on this.
And in other kitchen news, I bought new bowls for breakfast.  And soup.  And risotto. 
The top one is my favourite.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Pasta with Sardines

This is so totally out of order it's niggling at my brain.  Partly, this is because I recently did a cleanup of my phone photos.  And now I can no longer find (as in, I'm pretty sure I deleted them because they no longer exist) the photos I took of the meal I was meant to post about today.  So I'm just going to have to make that one again (ooh, tough) and tell you all about this other one instead.  This was part of my carb-loading before the City2South run. 

From the Jill Dupleix book Good Cooking: the new essentials, it's really meant to be Bucatini with Sardines.  I tried to find bucatini.  I don't think the food stores in my local area have heard of it.  Well, maybe they have, but the closest I could find was fat spaghetti.  Not very fat, mind you, but not the super skinny stuff.  And as the little blurb at the top of the recipe reads along the lines of make do with what you've got, I thought (slightly) fat spaghetti would have to do.
400g bucatini (fat spaghetti)
sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, smashed (my favourite way)
1 tablespoon salted capers, rinsed
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes or cayenne
2 anchovy fillets, chopped
300mL passata, or 400g tin tomatoes, drained and chopped (I always buy diced tomatoes so I just used the whole thing)
300g tin sardines or tuna, drained (I used sardines)
1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted (forgot to put these on)
1 tablespoon roughly torn parsley (very approximate measurement here, and I put it all on my plate)

Cook the pasta - you all know how to do this.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a low heat, and add the garlic, capers, chilli flakes and anchovy fillets, stirring.  Add the tomatoes, stirring well, and simmer for 5 minutes.
When the pasta is almost ready (this was the first time ever I put the timer on to cook pasta), drain the sardines (if not done already) and roughly chop.  Add to the sauce and gently heat through.  Drain the pasta, reserving a few spoonfuls of the water, and add the pasta to the sauce, tossing well.  If dry, add the reserved hot pasta water.
Scatter with the toasted pine nuts (...or not...) and torn parsley, and serve in warm pasta bowls.  Or just, you know, bowls.
In the book, it says it serves 4.  Ha. Ha. Hahahahaha.  I had one large serve the night before the run.  I had a recovery-carbs meal - another large serve - the night after the run.  It served 3 of us for dinner on the Monday (not girly serves, either).  And another 3 serves later... And we're up to 8.  I added bits of protein to each option, but still - double the expected amount.  Wow.  Next time I would probably reduce the amount of pasta but keep the sauce the same - I like to have a bit more sauce in the ratio.  But this is a nifty way to eat some unattractive fish without thinking about it!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Movie #39 - New In Town

I've actually done many New Things today, but none have reached the stage worthy of a blog post.  So you get my thoughts on a movie instead.  And now I realise I've just been writing about a different movie.  Take two...

We were still in the mum's choice romantic comedy group.  I think this was the closest to the centre of the genre out of those I chose.  Mum watched it first, then I watched it another evening.  So I'd heard her laughing as I was heading out one night, and she'd told me some of her thoughts.  Neither of us were all that impressed, but I don't think either of us had very high expectations, either.

1. Renee seems to have become the new Meg Ryan.  I don't think this is such a good thing.  (Note, Renee - branch out!).
2. This falls into a few categories.  Romantic comedy is just too broad.  It does have romance, and it is funny, so I'm not disputing that categorisation.  But digging deeper, we find the Company Executive-type Sent to Ditch Employees scenario, then of course (I imagine these must go together) the Company Executive-type Outlook Change coupled with the Whole Town Needs to Band Together scenarios.  See how I don't consider these things spoilers?  Predictable.  We also have the variety of romance that is like Pride and Prejudice - nothing wrong with that, of course, but again - predictable.  Of course they're going to clash at the start.  Of course they're going to have a little bit of attraction.  Of course they're going to fall in love, find that love fraught with difficulty and overcome it against all the odds.  (Sorry - do we need a moment?). 
3.  My favourite of all these plot categories (at least, here) is the Whole Town Needs to Band Together one.  It takes a while to build, and then we have the requisite montages, but I find it the most satisfying.
4.  I like that these look, and sound, like real people.  The Minnesota accent.  The normal faces and body shapes.  The skin that looks like it's living in a cold dry prairie.  And the community does the type of things that communities do.  
5.  My overall impression of the movie was that I would like to visit Minnesota.  Very much.  I know you probably need a few moments to recover from your laughing fit there, especially if you really know me and how cold I get (today, for example, I have been icy all day - it got to a mere 18C), but I really love the cold.  And if you're in an actual cold place, then you're allowed to be cold, and people aren't stupid about it so they dress for it and use things that keep out the cold and heat the air.  Heaters.  Yeah.  And the scenery!  The snow that covers everything and blots out all the unnecessary stuff that litters our lives and our vision.  And lots of flat, wide, open spaces.  Dotted with evenly-spaced telegraph poles.  Yes.  I realise I would probably die of cold and/or stupidity if I wasn't accompanied by a guide at all times - or maybe I would just suffocate under a mountain of doona, quietly, overnight - but this is something I would like to do.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Photo Trip #2 - Story Bridge Maroon Lights

Last night I was on duty for Evensong, which I love.  And the cathedral has a fabulous view of the Story Bridge, which surprised me by being pink, then red, then blue, then red, then- I decided to head out and take some photos this evening.  At first I was going to go to the Riverside/Eagle St Pier area, but I figured if I caught a train to Fortitude Valley I would get a better view.  So right.
I left at 5 (home by 6:30) and took my photos from Bowen Tce.  I took some on my normal phone camera, and one on Instagram, and several on Hipstamatic and Oggl.  I was pleased that my suspicion of the best lenses to use on Hipstamatic were correct, and I had fun editing all the Oggl shots.  Note that I have spared you all the photos...  The sky colours in this one are part of the appeal - and are inspiring me to try another photo trip soon, just for the sky colours.
I wasn't the only one taking photos, either!  Someone else was standing at the start of the path across the bridge with an upheld camera.  I think this is my favourite from this evening.
Go QLD!!!

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Fete de la Musique

Yesterday was Fete de la Musique.  I love this day.  [If this is the first you've heard of it, every year on June 21, musicians perform all over the world for free.  The idea is to bring music to the masses, celebrating the diversity of local music, and giving musicians a chance to show their abilities and enthusiasm].  For the last couple of years, I've been involved both as a venue (I was the one who asked at a cathedral council meeting if the cathedral was involved, so I got to be the organising person), and as a performer.  But this year, the cathedral couldn't be involved, as it clashed with the Synod Eucharist, so I had the day to myself.  I could go wherever I wanted and see whichever acts I wanted!  Oh the excitement. 

Well, it wasn't quite as free as that makes it out to be.  I had a hair appointment mid-morning.  And it was raining.  After the hair appointment I went into town, and after checking out all the options, I bought myself a coffee and sat down at the Queen St Mall stage.  Playing at midday was Bec Laughton and her band - they were great!  Very upbeat, and with lyrics that weren't the repetitive drivel you hear in many songs around these days.
I visited a friend who works in a store in town, then before heading home I also saw Hannah Rosa playing under an umbrella a little further down the mall.  Her music too was something to make you stop and listen, but totally different from the band.  Wintry music, just right for a rainy day.  No shelter for audience there though, so the pillars at the entrance to the Myer Centre were propping up several listeners.  I wasn't quick enough with my camera to catch a dad with a little girl of about 2 or 3, the girl leaning forward intent on listening.  This is just one of the things I love about this day. 
I did feel really sorry for everyone meant to be performing outside.  Even with shelter, it was rather chilly - Bec Laughton could see steam when she sang! 

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Outfit #152 - Clash of the Pinks

I still wanted to wear the not-really-mine-because-it's-on-loan pink scarf.  And I figured this pink knitted top would be lovely and warm.  At least I didn't go with red or something, because this combination was just a bit too much for my eyes when I had to look at it.  Thankfully it was cold enough that the jacket stayed on for much of today, shielding the eyes.
Dress: Country Road (op shop). Top: Kookai. Scarf: David Jones (on loan). Stockings: Target. Boots: Sandler. Earrings: Cose Belle.
I really had to wear these earrings today.  In a recent tidy-up I went from having a pair to having only a lonely one, and was so happy when I found the lost one caught up in a rug.
My first girl after school really liked this outfit.  Especially the stockings.