trixtah: (Default)
One of the nice things about going home this Xmas time was going to Daikoku Ramen, which, as it says on the tin, is a ramen shop that makes the real thing, in downtown Auckland, right next to the Britomart transport depot (the old GPO).

Daikoku Ramen

It's been there since the late-80s - I went there occasionally when I was at university the first time round. The place used to be heavily patronised by Japanese and Korean sailors back in the day (it's literally metres away from the docks), and of course now with the huge upsurge in immigration from east Asia, there are plenty of people who go there for a taste of home.

The place has barely changed. There is still the huge pot of stock simmering away on the stove, with mysterious items in it, and a stream of water constantly running from a tap to replenish what is lost in the steam. The cooks are big friendly Japanese guys with not-exactly-immaculate aprons on. The noodles aren't those slippery wriggly soft ones from a vacuum pack, and are cooked fresh every time in their own basket dunked into boiling water. The decor is bare-bones, to say the least, although the early-80s style oddly-shaped wooden seats have been replaced with more conventional metal-framed seats with padding. You can still sit at the bar by the kitchen area, on the benches that have coloured stripes to mark which is your half. The only notable addition to the menu is edamame, because naturally that was unheard of in NZ back in the day. Oh, and cold noodles - must give them a try, since I've liked hiyashi chuka when I've made them at home.

You can get all different styles of ramen, shoyu, miso, Hokkaido style. You can get extra corn, pork, wakame, mung bean sprouts, menma (bamboo) added to your ramen. There are side-dishes, including very tasty gyoza. On the tables are extra soy sauce, chilli oil, vinegar and shichimi togarashi.

If you like ramen, it's the only place to go in NZ. :-) And a great place to get a healthy and tasty meal for around $10 (or a bit more with additions and side dishes). Open 7 days for lunch and dinner!

trixtah: (Default)
Breakfast
2 Vegemite toasts and tea

Lunch
20-25cm baguette-style sandwich with proscuitto, marinated sun-dried tomatoes, marinated eggplant, bocconcini cheese and lettuce.
Berry friand
Soy latte

Dinner
Stir-fried veges and tofu with peanut sauce and soba noodles (same as I had the other night - still sauce left over)

Achievement du jour



Yes, I did 200 squats (no weights, but I'm going to start working out with those again, without doing silly amounts of reps like these). It would have been sooner (ie. three weeks) if I'd been a little more consistent. Still, not bad, and I have thighs for a reason, obviously. :-) The next things to knock off are 200 situps (eh, I just need to devote some proper effort), and 100 pushups (this may require some time).

Food log 5

Jun. 21st, 2009 11:42 pm
trixtah: (Default)
Breakfast
Two Vegemite toasts and tea

Lunch
Smoked salmon scrambled eggs again, on toast (using up the last of the salmon, but only two eggs this time)

Dinner
Curry with potato, kumara, pumpkin, eggplant, cauliflower, beans, broccoli and fresh home-made paneer, with rice

Sundries
2 cups of tea - soy milk and sugar as usual
1 soy latte with 2 sugars (I keep trying the coffee at The Front in Lyneham, and because it's Piazza D'oro and has been on a container boat for half a year, and is burnt every time they make it - 5 different "baristas", and they all burn it - it's shite every bloody time. Never again, I'll just go home for a coffee fix if I'm doing laundry.)
The fudge brownie I bought from the healthy food shop yesterday - too sweet and not chocolately enough.


Food log 4

Jun. 20th, 2009 11:53 pm
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I woke up this morning knowing what I wanted for lunch, which is not the norm. I had to have smoked salmon today.

Breakfast
The usual - two toasts and tea

Lunch
I ate late, so I had three scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and torn Italian parsley, on toast. Lots of butter and some extra-virgin olive oil in the scrambled eggs, because that's the way you make scrambled eggs taste utterly fabulous.

Eating later than usual definitely means I eat more. Still, that normally means I don't want a heavy dinner on top of it (it's rare I'll skip a meal altogether).

Dinner
Stirfry red pepper, broccoli, beansprouts, beans, bamboo shoots, cauliflower and crumbled firm tofu with a peanut sauce (about 1/4 cup, and the consistency of tahini - it was watered down a bit with soy sauce, rice vinegar and tea, but it had sesame oil and a dash of sugar as well.)
Soba noodles

Sundries
One glass of rosé wine
Two cups of tea with milk and sugar

I bought a piece of chocolate fudge cake from the healthy food shop, but I really wasn't going to be eating that after my adventures with nommy smoked salmon scrambled eggs. It was very satisfying.

Food log 3

Jun. 19th, 2009 10:39 pm
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It's the weekend, which means teh booze, and more crap. Or more ornate tasty meals. :-)

Breakfast (yes, it's boring. Some of us are creatures of habit)
Tea with sugar and soy milk
2 pieces of toast with Vegemite

Lunch
Large sushi box - 4 nigiri, 1 egg nigiri, 4 large salmon hosomaki (or small futomaki), 9 pieces sashimi (tuna, salmon, white fish), espresso-cup-sized portions of wakame salad and octopus salad, and one inari.
Soy latte with 2 sugars

Dinner (I was starving)
Vegie burger (bun, lettuce, tomato, egg, pineapple ring, beetroot, tomato sauce)
1 scoop of chips, of which I ate most of them. In fact, most of them before I walked in my door

Drinkies
2 largish glasses of rosé wine (less than half a bottle)
Tea with sugar and soy milk (well after the wine!)


PS. Dear Telstra, you can stop shaping my internet any time now!!!1!

Food log 2

Jun. 18th, 2009 11:29 pm
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I think I mentioned something yesterday about "healthier eating" for me involving more veges and protein? Well, that hasn't happened today. I was going to get a particular ingredient for a dish I have been craving all day (peanut butter, which is something I never consume unless it's cooked into something else), and completely forgot it when I went to the supermarket this evening. By the time I got home, my give-a-fuck-meter was running low, and I totally did not want to rework my dinner plans. So I ate generic crap instead.

Breakfast
2 pieces of wholemeal toast with butter and Vegemite
Tea with soy milk and 1 sugar

Lunch
Egg sandwich on wholemeal bread, with mayo
Small muffin
Soy latte with 2 sugars

Dinner

1½ cups of white rice with salmon furikake seasoning
Similar amount porridge made with 2 tbl dried fruit and seeds, with soy milk and about 1tbl honey

For what it's worth, that adds up to 1850 calories, with 67g of fat (low for me, I think, it's about the RDI) and while it looks like carb central, there's actually 66g of protein in there (20g more than the RDI, but just enough if you go by the .8g per kilo of body weight formula, which is fine for general maintenance. I used to go by 1.5g when was doing weights. Anyway, I'll make it up in the next little while).

However, once I refuelled myself, and talking of protein, I made paneer. Why didn't someone tell me earlier it was so easy? Ok, I bought nice organic milk, so it was a few dollars to make, but it's still cheaper than buying the prepared stuff.

paneer

Also, comments are now off on LJ. I've still got invites for DW, if you want 'em, or you can do the OpenID thing with your LJ account. I'll still crosspost, and if the grand experiment doesn't work out, no worries, I'll just resurrect commenting on LJ again.

Food log

Jun. 17th, 2009 08:44 pm
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I've been reading the Shapely Prose back-posts, as I may have mentioned earlier, and one of the things that has struck me is how people who have been fat most of their lives often get brainwashed as to how much people in general actually eat, or how much they exercise. Also, I've been amazed at just how little food people on diets are allowed to consume. 1300-1500 calories a day? Holy shit. And it goes to show that the strictly thermodynamic concept of calories consumed, energy expended, and the left-overs being converted to storage (fat) is really not the story at all. How else to explain how women who eat 1300 calories a day and exercise can be still well over 100 kilos, when people like me, who stuff their faces, are just somewhat "overweight" (according to BMI standards. I just call myself "average")? Or are we all liars or delusional? Or is it the fact that our genetics make us metabolise food in wildly divergent ways - some are "burners", some are "storers", and what's healthy for you is quite possibly not healthy for me (at least in terms of the number of calories consumed)? If it isn't obvious, I go for the latter explanation.

So I'm going to do a food log for a week. I think people who might look at themselves as having unhealthy eating habits because they are fat or overweight might need to think about the fact that fatness is often decoupled from what anyone might conceive of as an average way of eating. Sure, as some fuckwits say, you didn't find fatties in concentration camps. Anyone can starve down to emaciation. But someone's point where they start losing weight might be 1800 calories a day; others might find that point is 1200 calories a day; or, conversely, even 2400. But subsisting on 1200 calories a day in order to maintain some arbitrary "ideal" weight is not sustainable, nor is it particularly sane.

I've been eating quite a bit lately, since it's cold. I also feel that I'm towards the chubbier end of my weight range, but I don't know what I weigh. Since my clothes still fit (if a little snugger), I would say I'm about 80-odd kg. That makes my BMI 28. My waist is about .76 the circumference of my hips (and probably about .5 the circumference of my bust, heh). I've never been on a diet, although at times I make efforts to reduce the amount of crap I consume and eat "more healthily". This consists of me cooking for myself more and eating more veges and protein, rather than restricting calories or portion control. I'm exactly mid-cycle right now, and I am not doing very much exercise (I'm doing a wee bit, but I should actually be doing more). I also hardly drink water, not even the fizzy stuff, at this time of the year. Anyway, leading off, here's what I've eaten today.

Breakfast:

2 pieces of wholemeal sourdough toast with butter and Vegemite
Cup of tea with one sugar and soy milk

Lunch:
(slightly strange because I was running off to an exam, but the pie shop didn't have any chicken pies, which was my first choice)
2 pieces of cheese-on-toast
2 gherkins
Tea as above

Dinner:
Madras curry made from a few tbl of curry concentrate (spices, tomato, coconut cream), root veges, cauli, beans, fried tofu
White rice
All up, at least 2-2½ cups of rice and curry.

Snack:
(still hungry - feeling cold and light lunch)
2 pieces of toast with butter and plum jam
Tea as usual

trixtah: (Default)
Well, I'm not squeamy about spiders (unlike bugs), but I do confess to having been a little startled when a huntsman spider scuttled across my lounge floor half an hour ago. While I'm normally fine about picking spiders up and putting them outside, this one was just a bit too large for me to want to pick up raw, if you like. Yay spare Chinese food containers, but the bugger did move - I managed to nab him before he got under the couch, and now he is safely ensconced outside.

Kind of on the topic of Asian food, although Chinese food containers hardly counts, I'm really enjoying the re-invented Tasuke in Civic, which has recently morphed into a ramen bar. The ramen is nice and tasty, although not quite the best I've had, and the side dishes are suitable and yummy. And they still have quite a bit of their old range of food if you want to order something non-noodley. But nothing in the sushi line, as far as I could tell.

Finally, and apropos of nothing at all, except for the random web-reading I've been doing lately, I love Carolyn Hax's advice column in the Washington Post. Here's a random sampling of some of her more recent stuff (from the weekly chats rather than the advice page):

Carolyn Hax: The appropriate division of labor in any emotional partnership is to do your best to keep your partner happy and comfortable, as long as it's reasonably doable and doesn't involve changes to one's fundamental self.

True or false: The partner who cares less about Valentine's Day should be the one who makes the effort to please the one who cares more?

Carolyn Hax: See above. It's actually a versatile little guideline. There's a lot of wiggle room in the way two people might define what's "reasonable," but that's where actually liking each other comes in handy. It's incentive to find the middle.
_______________________

Washington, D.C.: What's more important in a lasting, long-term, healthy relationship -- love or compatibility? What should be focused on and nurtured?

Carolyn Hax: Both. And probably a half-dozen other things. Your question is like asking what a person needs more, food or sleep--when deprived of either, we die.

Love vs. compatibility: Wait -- can you really "nurture" compatibility? It's my understanding that either you have it or you don't.

Carolyn Hax: Not true. The base has to be there, but a lifetime of decisions can thereafter drive a couple far apart or keep them generally side-by-side, depending on the way those decisions are made.
_______________________

Alexandria, Va.: People always say that you have to make yourself happy. What goes into that? How does one make themself happy?

Carolyn Hax: Short description of a long process: Figure out the things that make you feel confident/fulfilled/energized; that give you a sense of purpose or accomplishment; that tap into your natural abilities and strengths; and that -don't- put you at the mercy of any one person, and orient your life around those.

Often, this requires another step--concurrently or as a precursor--of reducing the role in your life of things that make you feel worthless/empty/exhausted; that require skills that don't come naturally; that feel like a waste of time; or that put you routinely at the mercy of others.
_______________________

Midwest: Seriously, is it SO hard for people to call someone they're dating??! I would worry less about not seeing him and more about the fact he can't seem to even ring you to say good night for 1.5 minutes before bed. EVERYONE has 1.5 minutes before bed.

Carolyn Hax: I know it sounds ridiculous, but yes, for some people, it is SO hard. We are not all the same person with the same thoughts, tolerances, comfort zones, priorities, appreciation for gestures, and habits or modes of expression. Some people live by the 1.5 minute call. Some people hate the phone. Some people would be happy to place a 1.5 min call, but know the recipient is incapable of hanging up after just 1.5 min. Some people think they're going to call but want to unwind for 1.5 min first in front of the TV, and then fall asleep in front of Law & Order.

Some people just operate on trust that their feelings are enough, and that means not having to punch an affection clock every day.

This is why compatibility is so important. When it's not there, you have two choices: have the strength to accept someone's differences as part of the deal, or bang your head against the wall wondering why s/he isn't more like you.


She's fab, and I love the way she handles everything from the sublime to the truly ridiculous.

trixtah: (Default)
For Take Five, by the Dave Brubeck Quartet. (Note the number of thumbs up)

I would totally have been a hepcat in those days, if there was such a thing as a dyke hepcat. Alas, I think I would have had to be have been the arty type wearing a beret and smoking cigarettes in a holder. Not sure if I could have carried that one off.

Here's Anita O'Day singing Sweet Georgia Brown from Jazz On a Summer's Day. Love the outfits, most definitely including Miss O'Day's.

Ella doing Summertime. There really are no words, other than OMFG.

Dakota Staton with Willow Weep for Me. Alas, not a real clip, but I can't leave her out of a discussion on jazz.

I'm not a huge fan of Nina Simone in general, but some of her tracks just make the hair stand up on the back of your head, like I Put a Spell on You. And who doesn't like My Baby Just Cares for Me or Black is the Colour of My True Love's Hair.

In other non-news, I made myself a roast chicken as a treat last night - I haven't cooked one myself for years, and meat thermometers really do make it brainless. Also, I make the best fucking gravy, if I do say so myself - I've never used a packet and I never will. Also, lunchtime BLTs made with happy pig bacns and afghan plum chutney (which I am still eking out) are just fab.

Om nom nom nom.
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I actually managed to wake myself up at a decent hour this morning and took myself off to the farmers' market at Epic. I got tasty happy pig bacns (the BLT is getting itself ready as we speak), mung bean sprouts, soba and fried tofu from the Sprout Lady, sourdough rye bread, fresh lemon pepper pasta, some asstd veges (no beans, alas - I'm so growing those next year), some real cider (it's a teeny bit drier than I like, but it's the real thing, and I can add a tidge of apple juice to sweeten it. $20 for a 750ml bottle is pricey, but I've paid that much for cider in Hereford), a lemon polenta cakey, and some hot chai to wander around with. The chai is great because they use plenty of cardamom, my favourite spice.

It's a perfect day to have had a nice wee bike ride - sunny and slightly cool. Wow, summer seems to have decided it's OVER with a bang.
trixtah: (Default)
I've seen a squillion methods of cooking rice lately that are just ridiculous. It's extremely easy to get perfectly cooked rice.

  1. Wash your rice in a sieve or colander. This step isn't always necessary, but getting rid of the loose starch does give a nicer result. Also, if the rice is from countries where they're not so much into thorough processing, it's good to check for pebbles or suchlike.


  2. Put the rice in a pot, preferably one with a reasonably thick bottom, although it doesn't matter too much. It does need to have a lid that fits.

  3. Add water, to around an inch or 2-3cm above the level of the rice.
    |-----|
    |-----|
    |°°°°°|
    |_____|
    

  4. Put the saucepan of rice on the cooker and turn the burner to high to get the water boiling. Regulate the temperature to achieve a gentle boil without too much mad bubbling. Don't put the lid on!

  5. Just as the water hits the level of the rice, and you can see little steam vents in the surface, then put the lid on and turn off the heat. Leave for around 15 minutes.
    |     |
    |-----|
    |°°°°°|
    |_____|

  6. OMG, it's done! Remove the lid, fluff up the rice in your colander if desired (I don't bother), and serve.


Troubleshooting hints:

  1. Ick! My rice is still wet at the bottom! If the rice is mainly cooked, you may have put just a wee bit too much water in, or not let it sit long enough, or your lid is too loose. Either discard the gooey rice if there is plenty of the edible kind, or if the rice is still a little al dente, put the lid back on and put the burner onto its lowest setting and gently heat the rice for up to 5 minutes (less if your burners don't go very low). Turn it off again and let it sit for another 5-10 minutes.

  2. Uh-oh, my rice is still crunchy, and there is no more water at the bottom. You didn't put enough water in at the start, or your lid is useless. It doesn't have to be tight or heavy, but it should fit. Boil the kettle and add 1/2 a cup to a cup (or more) of the boiling water to the pot, depending on how crunchy your rice is. Gently heat on the lowest burner setting for up to 5 minutes, as in the troubleshooting tip above, and allow to sit with the lid on for another 10 minutes or so. If your lid is hopeless, put some tinfoil securely over the pot and wedge the lid on top of that.

  3. Brown rice is a PITA. It certainly can be, but it's very nommy for the right occasion. I tend to double the amount of water I add (so 2 inches/5cm above the rice level), and thus boil it for longer with the lid off. I put the lid back on when there is still a small amount of water over the rice, and I leave the burner on - on fairly low - for 5 minutes before turning it off. The rice then has to sit for at least another 20-30 minutes. Follow the above troubleshooting routines if there are still rice imperfections, although I tend not to worry about minor sogginess at the bottom - I just mix it in with the rest of the rice.


The base method works really well for all kinds of white rice, and requires minor tweaks to work with brown rice. Also, depending on how fresh or starchy or sugary the rice is, the results can be a tiny bit variable. But I find this method pretty foolproof.
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Following along in the track of such sites as MyFolia, Ravelry et al, a cooking site! Why did this take so long? http://www.opensourcefood.com

Similar interface to the above, and it's obviously very early days. Lots of tasty food around (not things like grill some cheese on some bread and shake some bacon bits over it, unlike some sites), though.

A slight quibble with the registration, though. The "what gender are you question" is compulsory, which I think is odd on a non-dating site. I contacted the site owner to see why it's there, and to lobby for it to changed to optional, at least. We'll see what happens.

Fuds meme

Nov. 2nd, 2008 10:04 pm
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From various odds and sods around the traps:

Read more... )

trixtah: (Default)
Ganked from [livejournal.com profile] micheinnz .

This is a follow-up to the Omnivore's 100, a listing of foods that one has eaten. Given the amount of red meat the other list featured, I expect to do better in this one.

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Italicize any item you'll never eat again.
5) Asterisk any items you'd be willing to try but have not yet.
6) Mention the original source
7) Post only behind an LJ cut!
And better I was... )
ETA: 95/100. Not a surprise. (and I started counting up the ones I had eaten before thinking I could actually count the ones I hadn't, and subtract. Duh!)

trixtah: (Default)
Had a very pleasant weekend. A great night out with [livejournal.com profile] saluqi at a concert put on by the Australian Chamber Orchestra in Llewlleyn Hall at the University. They've done it up well, and I thought the sound was better compared to the last time - neutral, but full and clear. The orchestra was fab. Really well-balanced, and they played with plenty of oomph. It took me a wee while to get over the facial contortions of the guest cellist, Stephen Isserlis, but he certainly played well.

They started off with CPE Bach, which was lovely, did a couple of nice small pieces by Ravel, rumpty-pumped through a selection by a Mendelssohn contemporary called Woldemar Bargiel (Isserlis told an entertaining story about the piece, but it didn't grab either of us), and then finished up with Bartók, which I really enjoyed.

Regarding the Bargiel piece, it was evidently written by a 19-year-old, since he seemed to chuck in the cool embellishments of the time, including some interesting pizzicato passages, which [livejournal.com profile] saluqi reckoned was like speed metal guitarists playing with their teeth. With that in mind, I've got the perfect track to illustrate our findings - a nice mashup of DnB and Slayer called Angel of Theft (hee!) by "Player" aka Amon Tobin:



....and it's now the third time I've lost the second half of this post, so I'm giving up. I might be motivated to write about our unfortunately-overpriced dinner out, the most clever Afghan in Canberra, the satisfactions of mowing lawns, and the annoyances of gastroscopies finding nothing wrong with you. Some time. Maybe.
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It started off with a cold shower (almost literally, so I heated up a kettle of water and had a basin bath), but the rest of the morning proceeded assez bien after the flatties dropped me off at the bus interchange. grizzlings ) Have I mentioned I dislike maze-like suburbs that all look the same in the dark?

However, part of my and the CDL's lunchtime conversation was reminiscing about the nice meal we once ate in Auckland - I like having extravagent meals (as in more than a $100 per person) out once every few years, and there have been some memorable ones. So here is my list of my most memorable meals in terms of "extravagent eating out" (I've had other cheapy memorable meals; that'll be a separate list):
  • A 5-course Japanese meal at what was the Pan Pacific hotel in Auckland, with my ex lover D around 1990. It was fantastic (although since it was the first non-sushi full Japanese meal I'd eaten, I dunno how it'd stack up now). We felt like we were enacting a scene from I Heard the Mermaids Singing at one stage, when one of the small dishes of tasty things they bought out consisted of 2 very large octopus tentacles (at least 2 cm in diameter and about 20cm long) complete with suckers (but no skin). I had to eat it first - D utterly refused to take a bite initially - but it was really nice. Beautifully marinated and melt-in-your-mouth consistency. The cocktails in the bar downstairs were nice too. I also had another wonderful meal with D, at the Harbourside restaurant in the old Ferry Building in Auckland, but I'll talk about that elsewhere.
  • Dinner at the Providores in Marylebone, Peter Gordon's fusion cuisine restaurant. Fusion seems to have become a dirty word for many, but I like it if it's well-executed. There's plenty of other modernist cuisine that succeeds in being peculiar and unappetising. Good fusion is neither of these things - I'm not into the "art for art's sake" school of cooking. Anyways, I went there with my ex V, and we managed to spend over a hundred quid. I suspect the wine list was partially to blame. As was the dessert menu (the panna cotta was to die for).
  • The degustation meal at the now-defunct Dijon's, here in Canberra, not long after I first arrived here, with my former OGF and her boys. 7 courses and matching wines. Bloody awesome food - I even had some wee slivers of venison - and the waiter hadn't received the message that the matching wines are only supposed to be 1/2 glasses. Thank god I wasn't driving.
  • The aforementioned dinner with the CDL at the Soul Bar in the Auckland Viaduct while we were attending the Auckland PolyCon. The building is on the site where my old friend N used to live illegally in the old Auckland Electric Power Board building (living anywhere in Central Auckland was effectively illegal up until about 15 years ago, except for council flats and a few swanky old apartment buildings). Anyways, Soul Bar could definitely be posey, I think, but it was a relatively quiet night (or we were there too early for the cool people), the food was fantastic, including oysters and whitebait fritters, the view was nice, the wine good, the company was fab, and the service was unobtrusive and good. It all added up to perfection.
See, all that talking about food cheered me up. I'd like to see other people's memorable meals lists if you fancy compiling them! :-)
trixtah: (Default)
...you know you want 'em.

Via [livejournal.com profile] laputain and BoingBoing (I think), The Black Oven - "Immaculate confections succumbed to northern darkness".

Who can resist such recipe descriptions as:

Frostbitten Molasses Cookies Entombed with Ginger - "Boiled down to its very essence, metal is nothing more than a mixture of molasses and alienation. By that definition, these cookies are black fucking metal. Packed full of grim and evil spices, they will leave you feeling despondent and isolated within their stronghold of flavor." Sounds great!

Le Petit Gâteau des Légions Noires-Traditional cupcakes inspired by untraditional black metal - "In a perfect world everything would be as stark and void of color as these cupcakes. They are baneful in their absolute disdain for your tastelessness, and are true misanthropes as far as baked goods go."

Apparently the Call of the Wintermoon Lemon Curd Cookies are "are best enjoyed while basking in the self-righteousness of your own obscurity". Indeed.

Go and enjoy!
trixtah: (Default)
A good article in the Guardian today about the fact that "food miles" is overly simplistic as a method of calculating what environmental impacts a specific food has.

What's best to eat is organic, in season, and local, of course. That's fine at the moment, but I would not be happy to return to the traditional Irish diet of mutton, potatoes, cabbages and maybe the occasional leek in the depths of winter. If I ate mutton. If the cabbages didn't require irrigation here in Oz. Or the potatoes, for that matter. Not to mention the various agricultural machinery used to grow the food.

It'd be nice to have a list of what's in season around the world, how it's farmed (bio-dynamic, organic, natural fertilisers, grass-fed, all chemicals all da time?), whether the farm workers were paid appropriate wages for their location, and whether no forests were clear-felled to provide the growing area. Until that happens (and imagine how hard it would be to collate that information and verify it), we can only do the best we can. As wimpish and imperfect as that seems - nothing is ever going to be perfect in that respect (leaving aside apocalyptic scenarios involving the removal of most of the world's population).
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I don't run a server of my own, but if I did, it's likely I'd use FreeBSD. I'm quite happy with Ubuntu on my laptop at home. But I did find a very compelling comparison on the merits of BSD vs Linux here.

[My sexism alert wasn't so much tripped due to the relative gender balance on each side. Yes, I'm pathetic.]

And really, there's nothing else I want to report about my week so far. It was long and tiring, and featured CEOs, spam, video conference resource booking fuckups, PMT and Goddess Hatchet Jobs™.

There was nice food last weekend, though. The Bear was finally able to drink her birthday wine after over a month of crappy stomach stuff, so we had to have something suitable to go with. I don't eat red meat, and the CDL isn't much on pork, but I managed to get inspiration for a nice pasta sauce.

I made it with a veal stock (veal chop and mince (tastee doggie treats after!), dried porcini, celery, onion, light garlic, bay leaves, white peppercorns, sea salt and a slosh of red wine - all boiled for about an hour, then strained and defatted after resting a bit), a pile of assorted mushrooms (@200g+ of oyster mushrooms and other weirdnesses) wilted in butter, a bit more fresh garden garlic, some duck breast (yay CDL inspiration) sautéed with olive oil and cherry tomatoes smushed into a pan with a bit of crushed dried chilli. Add the mushrooms to the duck and tomato and a cup or so of stock, a sprig of fresh garden thyme and a bit of chopped Italian parsley, and simmer for about 20 mins, adding more stock to keep it moist and simmering before allowing to reduce to the final sauce consistency (the mushrooms were very tender, but retained their shape). A bit more parsley just before serving, and the sauce went fab over the ricotta ravioli, with yummy salad leaves 'n' light dressing and wood-fired crusty bread on the side, and complemented the Central Otago (I still can't get over Otago as a wine region!) pinot noir beautifully. Of course, now I can't remember the wine-maker. D'oh!

BTW, it'd be easy to turn the sauce into a vegetarian rendition. With the stock, omit the veal (of course), use more dried porcini and supplement with a couple of shiitakes (not too many, because they have an overpowering flavour), and maybe a dsp of barley miso. The duck breast was far from being a compulsory ingredient (although it did go beautifully, and we could have had a bit more) - mushrooms, garlic, cherry tomatoes, stock and herbs make a fine sauce.

Yay team cooking and provision-providing efforts, though. It makes for much contentment. :-)

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Trixtah

January 2016

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