July 2014 Archives

New Toy

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We went and picked up Stu's new toy yesterday.  I think he likes it :)

Stu's new car

Zone 3

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Yesterday as a team building exercise, we ran around shooting each other... :)

So.  Much.  Fun.

:)

Laser tag

There were fifteen of us all up, so we split into three teams of five.

I did pretty badly the first game, being quite cautious and hiding in good places.  But the problem with that was there weren't too many people around to get, so I didn't get many points.  I came 14/15

Laser tag

The second game I did a lot better - walking around a lot more and getting more people.  This time I came 7/15 :)

Laser tag

Definitely something we're all interested in doing again (and hopefully it won't be in five and a half years - it's been that long since the last time I played it!)

Recent Jigsaws

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Some more recent jigsaws

Mt Rainier jigsaw

Cradle Mountain jigsaw

Lighthouse jigsaw

This was a very simple thing to do for a midweek meal.  And there were yellow split peas that had been in the pantry for ages and I wanted to use them up.

So a couple of packs of bacon bones, a diced onion, a couple of bay leaves, some yellow split peas and some pepper.

Pea and Ham Soup

Chuck it all in the slow cooker and cover with water.  Slow cook on low all day.

Pea and Ham Soup

Whoops, bit of air exposure after a day of the split peas absorbing the water.

Pea and Ham Soup

Pull all the bones out (*carefully* so as not to lost bits of vertebra in the soup), let them cool slightly, then pull off all the meat.

Pea and Ham Soup

Chuck it all back in and stir til thick.

Pea and Ham Soup

I thought the soup needed a little something extra, so made up these parmesan croutons.  Just some chopped bread sprayed with a little oil, some grated parmesan on top, and bake at 180C for 10 minutes.

Parmesan croutons

Yum!

Parmesan croutons

They worked well together and the sweetie went back for seconds of everything :)

Pea and Ham Soup with Parmesan Croutons

Random Breakfast

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I swear Marc and Jo are such a bad influence on me.  This morning Marc was telling me about what he was planning to cook for breakfast, which made me start drooling.

So I got ready and raided the fridge to see what I could do.

Let's see what we can do with all this ..

Bacon, eggs, potatoes, cheese, tomatoes, more cheese, milk, butter, more cheese and thyme.

Random breakfast

How about we fry up some tomatoes in butter (I used a tad too much butter, oh well)

Tomatoes in butter

Now how about we scramble some eggs with some grated cheddar cheese, ricotta cheese (that's been in the fridge for ages and really needed finishing) and milk.  I won't tell the sweetie about the ricotta in there yet until he's tasted it.

Cheesy scambled eggs

And since thyme worked so well last week, and I'm *still* getting through it, have some thyme as well

Cheesy scrambled eggs

Now for the potatoes.  I'm thinking cheesy hash browns.  Because the world is better with lots of cheese.

Cheesy hash browns

What's that over the back you ask?  Well it's a pickling gadget Stu bought online from Japan but has never actually used.  I want to try and squeeze some water out of the potatoes with it.

Potato drying

It sort of works, but doesn't go down far enough

Potato drying

So I'd better finish it off with paper towel (and then add a couple of handfuls of pre-grated cheese)

Potato drying

Right.  So everything is ready.  Let's start cooking!

Bacon on a medium heat, turning regularly until crisp.  Tomatoes on very low heat to warm them up while everything else cooks.  Cheesy scrambled eggs on a medium heat, stirring occasionally, cheese and potato on a highish heat.  I probably added slightly too much cheese.  Nahhh never ;)

Random breakfast

And finally everything is ready!

Random breakfast

Serve up and convince the sweetie to get out of bed before it all gets cold :)

Random breakfast

RDO

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On Friday I took an RDO - a Random Day Off.

Stu did too.

I took the opportunity to clean the garage.

Six hours!

I really should have taken some before photos, so you could really see the difference (there's a few here).

So yeah, pulled everything from along one wall out, cleaned, tidied, organised.  Then in the middle moved a stack of stuff outside that needs to be thrown out, recycled or freecycled.  In fact I also listed a bunch of things on Freecycle, and most of it went on Saturday! Win!

So there's a lot more space in there now, and it's a lot cleaner.

Garage cleanout

Garage cleanout

Garage cleanout

So after a super productive Friday I did pretty much nothing on Saturday.  Mostly just sat at my computer wasting time.

Have seen balloons (and frost) a few times this week.

Frost and balloons

On Monday morning it was *cold*.  Freezing in fact.  The ice was so thick on the tub of water out the back that I have no idea how thick it actually was.  It held up a potplant with no effort.

Freezage

There was slight freezage of the pool that morning, but just a few crystals.  Same with this morning.

George came by yesterday and said hi to the fish.

George and the fish

I had a craving for slow cooked lamb shanks last weekend, so bought some when we went shopping.

This is a bit of a hack of Stu's original recipe.  Well actually I really have no idea what his original recipe is, but it involves tomato and worcecesestershire sauce.

So this is what I used for this one.

Lamb shanks, half a pack of bacon (leftover from the breakfast raclette), a few potatoes, an onion, half a head of garlic, a couple of parsnips (cause they needed using up), tin of diced tomato, a goodly slurp of worcestershire sauce, tomato paste and chicken stock (left over from the coq au vin that needed using up)

Deviled Lamb Shanks

Chopped potato, parsnip, onion, garlic

Deviled Lamb Shanks

Bacon!

Deviled Lamb Shanks

Chuck everything into the pot

Deviled Lamb Shanks

And cover with the wet stuff

Deviled Lamb Shanks

Come back six hours later.

Of course I always forget to document the end.  But this is how it was served - meat pulled apart for sharing among three, brown rice, peas and corn, and mushrooms cooked in butter.

Deviled Lamb Shanks

The Stus went back for seconds, so must have been ok :)

Last Sunday was such a lovely day that I felt kinda bad that we'd stayed indoors the entire day.

So the sweetie and I went for a walk around Palmerville.

And I took lots of photos of the sweetie and black cockatoos and stuff.. 

Palmerville walk

Palmerville walk

Palmerville walk

Palmerville walk

Palmerville walk

Palmerville walk

Palmerville walk

Black Cockatoos

Black Cockatoos

Black Cockatoos

Black Cockatoos

Black Cockatoos

Black Cockatoos

Black Cockatoos

Black Cockatoos

Black Cockatoos

Black Cockatoos

Black Cockatoos

Black Cockatoos

Black Cockatoos

Black Cockatoos

Black Cockatoos

Black Cockatoos

Mr Bug came over for dinner afterwards - slow cooked lamb shanks - nom! The Stus had a good long catchup, and we watched some of The Wind Rises.

APN

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Did you know phones have a thing on them called "APN", which stands for Access Point Name, and is a configuration set to make mobile data and MMS work?

I didn't.

Until it didn't work.

Backtracking a little.

On Monday night while watching Cities of the Underworld, I saw an ad for Optus that lets you get additional sims for $5 each that you can use on other devices using your main data plan.  And I thought *brilliant* !! With that I could play Ingress on Stu's old phone without having to setup a wifi hotspot on my iPhone (which has been destroying my battery).  (As a side note, as soon as I saw that ad and told Stu how cool it would be, he said, oh, Ingress for iPhone came out today.  I decided I'd rather destroy the old phone battery not mine).

So yesterday I went into Optus to get one.  I figured for $5 there'd be no service, they'd just give you a sim and tell you to go online to set it up.  But no, you actually sit down with them while they set it all up.  That must cost them a lot more than $5!  Whatevs.  Turns out you also need one of their new data plans, so had to switch over to that.  Anyway ten minutes later it was all going.

Except Stu's phone was still locked to Vodafone.

So popped up to the Vodafone store and asked what's the process for unlocking it, and they said you just go online, put in the IMEI, and get a code to unlock.  Simple.

Unlike doing it on an iPhone.

So did that when I got back to work and that worked fine.

The phone could now connect to Optus, except the mobile data wouldn't work.  I looked in the settings and found this:

"Connection failed due to incorrect APN setting"

I googled it and found plenty of other people having similar problems.  But none of the APN settings worked for me.  I got super frustrated with the whole thing, and was facing having to go back to Optus today to get it sorted out.

Then I was talking to @StuartCRyan and he's like "have you tried "connectme"?"

!!!

It actually connected!!

So here's my APN settings for Optus on a HTC One X:

Name: Doesn't matter, but I called mine Connect Me
APN: connectme
Authentication Type: Not set
APN type: default

Everything else was defaults or not set.

Thanks Stuart, you made my night!

Thoroughly demoralising week at work.  Still got issues with the app that went out last week.  Painful.

Thursday night a small group of us went out to 2 Yummy again - two weeks in a row!

Friday after work the sweetie and I had a drink at Capitol Bar and Grill.  I'd been there before when it was still just the Rydges hotel, but it's gone all funky now.

Capitol Bar and Grill

Capitol Bar and Grill

Then we went and fed Potty's fish and picked up some frozen stuff on the way home to cook for dinner.  Watched Downfall with the sweetie which was pretty good.

Saturday morning said goodbye to our old dishwasher and the new one got delivered and installed.  After lunch we bought the sweetie a new car.  Then did our food shopping and came home.

I made a white chocolate caramel slice out of my Women's Weekly "squares and slices" book.  Had some of that after dinner, was pretty yummy.

White chocolate caramel slice

Caramel slice

I also cooked some duck breasts with roasted veggies for dinner.  I've never cooked duck breasts before.  They turned out pretty well!

Duck breast

Watched 12 Monkeys with the sweetie, and then a doco on Queen.

This morning I cooked an imitation breakfast raclette, cleaned the kitchen, downloaded and blogged some photos, and put dinner on to cook a bit after 1pm.

So a very foodie weekend that's for sure.

But the sun is out.  I know we should really get out and get some exercise and some vitamin D ....

My favourite dish at Pulp Kitchen is the Breakfast Raclette, which consists of "bacon, potato, spinach and bechamel sauce with melted raclette cheese".

While talking to Marc and Jo online this morning I got inspired to make my own version.  It needs refining somewhat, because I really had no idea what I was doing.  The sauce was plenty cheesy, but since I didn't have any raclette and since I don't know what I'm doing, it was nothing like the sauce at Pulp Kitchen.  And I also undercooked the potatoes somewhat.

So I'll just have to keep trying til I get it right.. right? :)

Butter, flour and milk for a bechamel sauce.  Mozarella and paremesan cheese.  Some potatos, bacon and a chili cheese kransky for the sweetie

Breakfast raclette - without the raclette

Get the potatoes onto boil first.  Wondering if thinly slicing them then baking them in cream like I do with my potato bake would work better?

Breakfast raclette - without the raclette

Starting the bechamel sauce

Breakfast raclette - without the raclette

Prepping the bacon and kransky

Breakfast raclette - without the raclette

Cooking up the bacon and kransky

Breakfast raclette - without the raclette

Bechamel sauce ready for cheese

Breakfast raclette - without the raclette

I grated a pile of mozarella and a pile of parmesan but didn't end up using quite all of the mozarella

Breakfast raclette - without the raclette

Everything puttering along

Breakfast raclette - without the raclette

Once the cheese has all melted it should flow smoothly.

Breakfast raclette - without the raclette

I cut up the potatoes and tried to brown them a little, but I should have taken the kransky and bacon out first.

Breakfast raclette - without the raclette

All mixed up.  Doesn't look like much.

Breakfast raclette - without the raclette

Just piled on top it looks a little neater.  The fresh thyme worked quite nicely too (still going through the box of it I got a month or so ago)

Breakfast raclette - without the raclette

Very yummy, but *very* filling!

Asparagus Caesar

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It being freezing at the moment, I'm not feeling much like salads with dinner.  Also, with the craziness of work I wanted comfort food for dinner.  Read, lots of cheese!

This is a recipe I got out of a "Four Ingredient" cookbook.  It has five ingredients.  Although technically the paprika is optional.

So this two bunches of asparagus, juice of one very old lemon that's been in the fridge for month, some melted butter, a pile of grated parmesan cheese, and paprika

Asparagus caesar

Coat the asparagus in butter and lemon juice

Asparagus caesar

Chuck on all the cheese and sprinkle a little paprika on top

Asparagus caesar

Bake for 15-20 minutes

Asparagus caesar

Yum!  Have made this a few times now.

I also did a tomato bake that night - tomato, oil, herbs, mozarella cheese. Love that recipe too.

Tomato bake

And did I mention I wanted comfort food that night?

I grated some extra parmesan cheese and baked it for a few minutes at the end with everything else.

Parmesan chips

Birds

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Galah at Aranda Oval

Galah

Magpie lark at the Lighty

Magpie Lark at the Lighty

Pelican being chased by a raven at Lake Ginninderra

Pelican and raven

Pelican and raven

Pelican and raven

Galahs just chilling by the side of the road

Galahs

Craptacular

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I had a thoroughly craptacular day today.  Following on from the craptacular month I've had.

Spent most of the day fighting with, and getting epic stressed over, a problem that probably didn't have anything to do with me, but I still ended up fighting with and stressing out over.

And then the dude didn't turn up with our dishwasher cause he put the wrong day in his diary.

*sigh*

So the week at work started out ok, got worse, got hopeful, release went ahead anyway, a moment of panic on my behalf, a moment of panic on everyone else's behalf, and finally an early mark to go to the pub for Connor's birthday.  Phew.

But going back a little.  Last Sunday night I decided to use up the last of the potatoes we had in the house, and some leftover sour cream and some past its use-by date thickened cream to make this potato bake.  It was a bit of a case of "would you like some potatoes with your cream and cheese?" and it became our entire dinner.

Potato bake

Tuesday I tried out Le Wrap's nachos.  There were ok, but nothing special.  The cheese was a little cold when I got it, so had solidified and glued all the chips together.  Salsa and guacamole and a bit of salad on the sides.

Le Wrap Nachos

Thursday I snapped this using Dad's telephoto lens from Aranda oval.

Black Mountain Tower

Neil has been doing various winter drinks over the past few weeks.  There's been hot cider (with or without rum), mulled wine and last Thursday there was hot mead.  I'd never had mead before.  It was very drinkable warm!

Mead

After work Friday, met up with the sweetie for a drink at A Baker.  I was surprised how uncrowded it was for a Friday night.  There was a DJ playing, but the music wasn't loud, so we could chat which was nice.  Then we went over to J&Y's for drinks and nibbles.  We chatted for ages before discovering their extensive collection of eighties music, so we put on a stack of songs from 1988/89 and Y and I sang our hearts out.  It was like singstar without the microphones or words.  Lots of fun :)

The weekend was pretty quiet.  We went on a mission to buy a new dishwasher yesterday (our old one blew up just before I went to Turkey, did I mention that?).  Was successful in that mission.  In the evening we enjoyed an incredibly rare Saturday night to ourselves and watched The Wind Rises, which was sweet and sad, as per most Miyazaki films that I've seen!

Today the mission was food shopping and feeding Potty's fish.  We mostly bought food from the edges of the supermarket, which always looks like we're pretending to be healthy (it doesn't show the six different kinds of cheese we bought!)

Pretending to be healthy

Tonight I cooked a roast pork and I'm still quite full.  I also forgot to properly document it.  Oops!

Before shot

Sort of after - missing crackling

A few weeks back, Seven 2 stopped showing When Weather Changed History at 7:30pm Tuesdays, and started showing a show called Cities of the Underworld.  The first one I saw was on (or under) Sydney.  It was quite fascinating and I hadn't even heard of a few of the places they went to.

Since then I've also seen one on San Francisco and then two in Turkey.  Soooo cool seeing all the recent been-theres :)

Kazza's "Boring Life Of a Geek" aka BLOG

IT geek, originally from Sydney, moved to Canberra in 2007. Married to "the sweetie", aka Stu. Prolific photographer, Lego junkie and tropical fish keeper.

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