March 2014 Archives
First up, the wrapper on an Ali Baba kebab ..
And then this selfie camera ..
Had a pretty productive weekend.
(we also had our first fogs of the year this weekend)
Yesterday was breakfast at Edgar's (Pulp Kitchen was too crowded to get a table). I had the eggs bendict which was ok, but the bread was a bit of effort (too tough).
Stu had the rosti stack (which I was looking at too) which was pretty good.
Did some food shopping after that, and then I hacked a bunch of portals while Stu got a hair cut, converting most of Civic for the Enlightened :)
Most of the rest of the weekend was spent clearing out piles and piles of paper. Three in-trays *full* of paper cleared out, filing cabinet drawers tidied, *kilos* of paper thrown into recycling. I even vacuumed the pool and put its cover on, although I didn't get to vacuuming the house.
This was really sad, since just that morning there were 2 Terabyte drives for sale in JB for $99 ... this is like two and a half thousand times the price!
Tonight's dinner was very simple - just a pack of bacon bones, some split peas, an onion and a carrot thrown into a slow cooker with a bit of water, and come back in six hours. And I took Julie Goodwin's suggestion and chucked a handful of frozen peas/corn in right at the end. Super simple and very tasty. The sweetie wanted thirds - must have been good!
Last Friday night we headed up to Sydney, staying at Mum's.
Saturday morning Mum and I went to have a look at my flat. It'd been six and a half years since I had last seen it. Sadly tenants just don't take care of things.
Like the vanity - which had had so much water left on it over the years that it had gotten into the chipboard and swelled it all up and made it look disgusting, and the door was missing off it too.
Or the light fitting in the second bedroom. Who the hell loses light fittings? And lots of stuff stuck to walls - I thought that was pretty much forbidden for tenants everywhere??
Or the vertical blinds, which I had in the two bedrooms and the lounge room. But they're a crappy design and have a really thin bit of plastic holding them on, so if people let them swing about in the breeze from an open window or door, which tenants seem to do because they don't care, they break. So now there's dodgy curtains in all three rooms. *sigh*
Not to mention holes in doors, smashed tiles etc. It was all a bit upsetting.
For the rest of the day Mum and I decluttered drawers and a shelf in the study - chucking out lots of stuff, reorganising things, and trying to sort out the hundreds of dvds Dad had made from shows he'd taped off tv. Also David came over and we had another go a fixing the letterbox light, but something very weird is going on so he couldn't fully fix it. At least now the light will come on when there's mail, but Mum has to go to the workshop to reset the light.
In the evening we headed to the other side of the world (ok the other side of Sydney) for George's 40th birthday party. There was heaps of food and it was great to see lots of people I knew again, some of whom I hadn't seen since leaving Sydney (or even longer).
Rob and Alison had these super cool lenses for iPhones (although designed for iPhone 4s, so I had to hold them in place on my 5). I liked the fish eye and macro lenses. Might have to get me some :)
Then there was cake cutting
And Pippi Longstocking impersonations.
We stayed til near the end, which meant we got coopted into helping clean up. A good fun night.
Then Sunday morning we came home.
While Coo may have exploded and burnt down, Iori is still open for business, so the sweetie and I had dinner there the other night (after meeting Libby at the Wig and Pen for a beer - twice in two days - shocking! :) ).
I had some very nice teriyaki wagyu and the sweetie had a huge eel tasting platter.
We had a lovely chat after dinner with one of the waitresses who was from Japan and had only been in Australia for like eight or nine months.
Cousin Dan was in town for a training course, so we met up at the Wig & Pen (as you do) for a couple of beers (as you do). Then we went to Asian Cafe for some dinner. Stu got prawns in Yu Xing Sauce, Dan chose the shredded beef Peking style, which rivalled the Dumpling Inn's version, and I chose five-spice and honey duck. All delicious!
And we felt like dessert, so got some fried ice cream :)
After dinner (watching lots of pretty flashing lights from the fire at Two Before Ten) we were waiting outside PJ's for the sweetie to hack some portals.. but PJ's called us, so we had another beer while the pretty lights finished up and went away.
It was great to catch up with Dan again, even though we'd only seen him a few weeks ago, but under sad circumstances.
This week I finished reading "Deadly Décisions" by Kathy Reichs. As usual a good read, and as usual far too many coincidences!
Walking past Sentinel the other day I saw a sign out the front advertising display units. After a minute or so of should I or shouldn't I, I decided to go up and have a look. I had a look through all the north facing units on the north side, but only one of them really grabbed me - a lovely two bedroom unit with spectacular north-facing views and sunshine - even the second bedroom has a small north facing window. But as much as it would be awesome to live there, we just wouldn't fit. Even if we turned the second bedroom into a small study, we still wouldn't have room for all our furniture (which we bought a lot of for this place specifically) and fish tanks .. oh well ..
Looking down into the lap pool area
Bright lounge/dining room - but I doubted our dining table and buffet would fit, or our lounge for that matter
This had one of the biggest kitchens of all the units, with the laundry in a cupboard up the back right
Looking from the doorway through the second bedroom and living room
How awesome would it be to wake up to this view every morning?!?
Excuse fingers .. but view!!
And I snapped one out of the back of the place to see the south view
I actually lay awake in bed for quite a while that night thinking about it. The location is fantastic, but the place would be just too small for us. And really our place has most of what we want, except maybe proximity to work and somewhere to keep chickens ..
This was a recipe I got from another cookbook I bought recently - a cheesecake cookbook!
It was called Black Forest Slice - chocolate bottom, a baked cheesecake mixture with cherries, and a jelly top. I didn't have quite the right shaped pan so it was a bit thin. If I made it again I'd try a different pan, cut up the cherries a bit smaller and not make the jelly topping at the beginning like it suggested (it was getting quite solid before I was ready to put it on the cheesecake which still hadn't cooled down).
Looks pretty disgusting but tasted ok
We took it to Annie's for dessert (went over to give Immy her birthday presents and had a roast pork dinner there)
And because we hadn't seen enough of F&C the night before, we met up with them at Gundaroo for lunch at Grazing.
The food was delicious, and we want to go back and try some of the other things on the menu!
Went over to F&C's for a tasty German dinner.
After dinner tried some of my Monkey Shoulder scotch that I got for my birthday, and also a bit of "Ardbog" - an Ardbeg that was very heavily peated, so hence the name. It was yum :)
My first time at Ace Sushi at the Belconnen Markets. Tried the takoyaki. It was pretty average - no noticable bits of octopus
After the Multicultural Festival, we saw an ad for Creme Brulee Magnums and *wanted* one.. but the Caltex that was advertising them didn't have any :(
A couple of weeks later we saw that the shop across the road had them. So over the course of a week or so we tried all five :)
Up at stoopid o'clock on the last Friday of the balloons to see the Skywhale in flight and say hi to Neil. Had breakfast before the crowds, although being a Friday morning the crowds (and number of balloons) was a lot smaller than a weekend.
(continuing with the back dating)
The other week we tried out the Altitude Cafe in Belconnen.
There was a moment of confusion as we didn't know if there was table service or not (why make things so confusing?). But when we got deep enough into the place and noone had looked at us hopefully, we finally saw a sign, right at the end of the store, on the counter, saying order and pay at the counter.
I went for the Caesar Salad.
I have to say it was very *weird* for a caesar salad - with tomato, cucumber and parsley thrown in.
Location: Altitude Cafe, Belconnen
Lettuce: cos, but in a four-leaf clover configuration
Croutons: just some toasted stale bits of bread, nothing special
Bacon: decent amount
Parmesan cheese: reasonable amount
Egg: two poached eggs, one on each corner
Anchovies: none! win!
Sauce: ok, on the side
Extras: tomato, cucumber, parsley, and chicken (not complaining about that chicken, usually you pay extra for that)
Went to Samiuz Belconnen for lunch today with the intent of using an Entertainment Book voucher to "buy one get one free". Except that they don't take them for the lunch menu, because they claim the lunch menu is already a "special" and the vouchers can't be used with any other offer.
Even though the lunch menu is for a smaller amount of food, so it's not really a special - just spending less and getting less.
The whole thing made me furious, and not wanting to fork out extra money for food I didn't want to eat (I had no intention of eating two lamb shanks at lunch today) I left.
Never to return.
The upstairs two foot tank has only had three black neon tetras in it for the longest time. I thought it was time to repopulate the tank. So I got five rummy nosed tetras. I've never had these before, but Luc had some at CIA and they were very sweet little fish - they school better than a lot of fish. They've also proved to be great dither fish, and the black neons which always used to hide up the back now come out.
Last year it was snails, this year it was rhinos.
My mother used to work in this building. Like forty years ago. Before I was born. It was a bank then. One of those things that you never think to take photos of until after it's gone, so I took some photos of it.
Sydney is *finally* getting a smart card system for its public transport. They're calling it Opal. I wondered how it was going to work with the outer suburb stations that aren't permanently manned. Turns out they're not barriers, just places to swipe. This turned up at Como in early February.
With all my travelling to Sydney (and working in the CBD for the first time ever), I decided to go on a mission to find the best takoyaki in Sydney.
The one that's winning so far is from Sushi and Grill on York Street. Actual chunks of octopus!
Not the best of photo of the takoyaki on the left and some croquetty type things on the right.
Mum's pretty much stopped feeding the birds but still puts out water in the bird bath for them. They love it.
Guzman Y Gomez opened in Belconnen Mall I think at the end of last year. Early this year I tried it out for the first time (I'd been to the city one a couple of times and found it quite good). This time I thought I'd try something different - the Kid's Nachos, to see how it compared to Mad Mex's kid's nachos. As it turns out they were awful. They were very dry and the only sauces available to add were all too spicy (even the one that was meant to be mild). I'd have their mini burritos again, but wouldn't have the kids nachos again.
So we've had this Coles green bag for years. It was only just recently that I noticed the typo .. hehee
This was the little Nanoblocks Neuschwanstein castle I got for Christmas from Annie. How cute is it!
The little teeny pieces are quite difficult to work with and once attached it's quite hard to pull them apart.
There were quite a few leftover pieces too.
Yeah so I've been a complete slacker. And then some.
Tonight since getting home all I've done is sort out photos for blogging.
Sixty-two new photos to blog. Not to mention the older ones that still haven't been blogged yet.
So I'll see what I can do. In between Mighty Planes and Revenge and my washing.
So last weekend (well really the weekend before.. sorry, I've been a slacker) we went down to Bermagui for the weekend. We had a slow start and left Saturday morning and didn't arrive till nearly 4pm.
Cheese!! I wanted to stop here and try cheese .. maybe next time..
A crappy photo of the Wallaga Lake bridge, which was recently used as a film set for Angelina Jolie's upcoming movie "Unbroken". The bridge is meant to be in Japan!
When we arrived at Bellbird Cottage B&B we got out of the car and it was all BELLBIRDS! They were peeping all around the bush and it was a lovely welcome!
The B&B is delightful. They only rent out one (very large) room and it's downstairs and has its own entrance, so it's very private and has a wonderful bush outlook.
I was sitting on the toilet for this photo.. :)
On the first evening they bring down a cheese platter as a welcome, so it was lovely to sit and nibble cheese and look at the bush and listen to the bellbirds.
We chillaxed for a while before heading out. Unfortunately we were a little too late for the seaside fair, so we had a wander around Sculpture on the Edge.
This was probably my favourite - it's made with the tops of milk bottles and old bicycle tyres and has solar powered strings of led lights mingled through. I would love to have seen these at night.
Wandered down to the wharf to find some dinner. The cafe was booked out, so we got some fish and chips from the outside servery.
It was about 7:45 at this point, and there were fireworks scheduled for 8:45. It was threatening to storm on us, so we went and found somewhere that we could park with a view of the fireworks. This is the spot we found.
The fireworks were actually really good for a small country town
Had a pretty good night's sleep.
In the morning they brought down a fabulous breakfast with a yummy variety of food. In fact there was so much food we couldn't finish it all, and I packaged up the leftovers for our lunch!
Then it was off to meet up with some people at the beach. It had been raining in the morning and it did look a little miserable to start with, but the weather cleared into quite a nice day.
Came back to Bellbird Cottage and chillaxed and listened to the birds and sipped some wine. Lovely!
Then we met up with J&H and D at Il Passagio down at the wharf for dinner.
A very nice salt and pepper squid
Polenta chips - crispy and yummy
Quite a nice steak
Good panna cotta
The next morning was another amazing breakfast
Saying goodbye to Bellbird Cottage - we hope to be back one day!
Went via the foreshore to hack some portals
Stopped by some cliffs and took photos of birds
Scratching himself on the wing?
Stopped at the rather green Blue Pool.
And headed home via Cooma.
Stu fell in love with this place overlooking a beautiful valley and across to Brown Mountain.
Fred Piper Memorial Lookout. On a clear day you can see the ocean.
Glider south of Canberra
Hume Solar Farm
And then we were home. A bit tired from what seemed like two days of travelling, but it was lovely weekend nonetheless.
So what else has been happening?
On Tuesday night we went and tried the bar under A. Baker. We had a beer each, which were local beers. As we were sitting there I noticed a Clonkilla wine on the shelves. So I asked the bar tender if all the drinks there were Australian (excepting maybe the spirits of course). But he said that the majority of drinks were in fact Australian - certainly the wines and beers, and where possible from near the Canberra region. Even a lot of the spirts were Australian, although they did have some imports for the Scotches and Tequila. We'll have to go back some time and sample some other stuff.
After a drink we met up with Stu's old friend Katie in Dickson for dinner. We got a selection of bits and pieces that included dumplings and pork buns and peking duck.
Last night we went with Neil to the "Mapping our World" exhibit at the National Library. It was good but a bit too crowded - really hard to get up close to read the info boards. And it probably should have been called "Mapping Australia" because that's what it mostly focussed on. It finished off with a lot of Captain Cook and Matthew Flinders' maps of Australia.
Then we came home and watched The Shipping News.
I had a terrible week for sleeping. Sunday/Monday/Tuesday I simply couldn't get to sleep and was a zombie most of the week. On Wednesday I was desperate and took everything in the house that might help me sleep, including magnesium, a "sleep" vitamin pill, a valdoxan and a shot of scotch. It had the desired effect and I got to sleep very quickly for once. Although I woke up at 5am. Sigh. Thursday night after drinks was also much better, although woke up at 4am with hurty so that ruined that. Last night I finally got a good night's sleep - getting to sleep early and waking up late.
This morning Lisa blogged an entry that contained pictures of Charlotte pretending to be on the phone, and wearing her high-heeled shoes. I said I was pretty sure every parent had photos like that.
Here was mine :)
On the weekend I made two lasagnas in two nights.
The first was one I got out of a cookbook I bought recently - a salmon and zucchini lasagna. It turned out quite well, and the sweetie wanted seconds.
The ingredients laid out
And measured out
Assembling - layers of pasta, zucchini, salmon, and a ricotta/green onion/mint/white sauce mix
A rather delicious meal!
On Sunday night I ad-libbed with the other half of the pasta sheets. There was mushroom and lamb mince and bacon and cream in the fridge, so I put it all together.
All the ingredients
So top left is boiling water to cook the pasta sheets in - for about 30 seconds - til they soften and absorb a bit of water. Only do this as you're about to put them into the dish otherwise they'll stick together.
Top right is the "white sauce". Not a true white sauce. I sauteed two large portabella mushrooms (chopped finely) in some butter, then added about 300mL of cream and 300mL of milk with about three teaspoons of corn flour to thicken it. Let that simmer gently for a while. Add some cheese for more thickness.
Bottom left is the meat sauce. 500g packet of lamb mince, browned, then added a tub of tomato paste and some water, and some mixed herbs. Add some cheese for more flavour.
Then layer (top to bottom):
Mozzarella cheese/tasty cheese
Bake for about half an hour
Oh my!! This thing was so amazing. But you might have noticed how much cheese I put into it - it was rather dripping in cheese fat. But maybe that's why it was soooo good!! :)
What's been happening.
At work I've been fighting a really weird network problem trying to figure out what the heck is going on and not getting anywhere.
Thursday night I watched Grease on tv. On Friday night we went to the Dumpling Inn for dinner then did our food shopping. Watched Se7en with the sweetie, although I was getting really tired by the end of it and was struggling to stay awake.
Saturday morning we went to Ellacure for breakfast. I had eggs benedict. Sadly the bacon was over cooked (is that even possible??) and the eggs a tad overdone too. Definitely not the best eggs benedict I've ever had. The waitresses were lovely and service was prompt, however the place was packed so it was forty minutes from arriving to getting our food.
Saturday night after dinner I went over to Kit's for drinks as she had a friend over. Stayed up a bit too late.
Today Potty and family came and picked me up and we all went out to the Hall Markets, which I'd never actually been to before.
Other than that, mostly jigsawing. Barely did any housework this weekend, although Stu achieved lots, so at least one of us had a productive weekend heh.
The jigsaw that is ..
The other jigsaw we've completed recently was this horrible thing TJ brought in. Took us weeks.