nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Ladybirds)
I work on level 23 of a 26 story office building near the waterfront. Because there's another road parallel to the one my building is on that is a good seven stories or more above road level by my building, I rarely notice how high I am. Except when I see seagulls gliding below my window. One day I'll get a photo.

Cooked lots over the weekend (I forget what we had for dinner on Saturday night but also boiled a chicken for stock that day, gumbo using some of the stock and shredded chicken for dinner on Sunday), and cooked again tonight. I made this, but forgot to add the parmesan and butter to the polenta, so it wasn't as creamy and was a bit more lemony than I really prefer (I used half a cup of stock and some lemon juice and some water to make the polenta). Oh, and I used pork mince instead of lamb mince.

These things aside, it wasn't too bad. If the polenta was creamier, I think I would have liked it more. The flatmates seemed to like it though.

Note to self: do not leave prepared ingredients by the coffee-maker. You'll forget them.

Last weekend was the annual DCM bookfair. Normally, it's early September, but they had to shift it this year due to the Rugby World Cup and not being able to get a big enough venue during that time period. Worst weather we've ever had for it, I think. It was absolutely freezing. [profile] purplesparkler joined us for her inaugural trip down and we ran into [profile] darthsappho there. Both of them joined us for lunch at Leuven. I managed to get a small pile of Pratchett (for the first time ever) and Pegasus in Space which I was actually looking for, and picked up Connie Willis' To Say Nothing of the Dog, Paul Gallico's The Lovel of Seven Dolls" (which is creepier than I rememebered - and that's saying something!).

Work hasn't been too bad lately. I am gathering all the information I need to give to my responsible partner for my legal exec registration. But somehow it keeps getting put aside so I can do chargable work...

Am still having trouble installing Alice: The Madness Returns on Annabelle. I eventually worked out that I needed to upgrade my system, and figured I'd just go straight to Windows 7, but no, that didn't work. Have finally got XP Service Pack 3 installed (which it should work on) and am still having issues. I'll try again this weekend.

This week I have read two thirds of (and finished) The Bonehunters by Steven Erickson. Reading the Tor commentary is helping me pick out more aspects, although they're a couple of books behind — they've just started House of Chains. I also read Deceiver by C J Cherryh today - big contrast in writing styles!
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Yay! (penguins))
Friday I posted my [livejournal.com profile] kiwifandomsfest fic here.

I also read Rivers of London (also published as Midnight Riot I believe) by Ben Aaronovitch, which is a contemporary fantasy murder mystery set in London. I thought I knew where it was going, but it's a delightful romp and lots of fun, and then it took a right turn and ended up somewhere completely different. The copy I read was borrowed from a friend and I think I might have to buy my own. I'm also looking forward to reading the sequel Moon Over Soho and the third, Whispers Under Ground.

Yesterday, I went out to Indoorpendence, the Ultimate Frisbee development tournament at Te Raupraha Arena in Porirua with my league team, Dirty Creature. We won a couple of games, lost a few, and — importantly — mostly held together as a team for the day. I have no idea how well we did overall, but I understand that [livejournal.com profile] rincewindtvd (one of our A-graders) got male MVP for the tournament, which is excellent. Well done to him!

I had to head off early, though. Unlike previous years, when my work mid-year has been the night before Indoorpendence, this year it was the same day. Different venue from last year too; we were at the Wharewaka this year, and it worked really well for our function, as the band and dancefloor were near the tables, so it was really easy to move back and forth between them.

Wine is one of the things that I have trouble pacing over an evening. I have a certain number of glasses and then it starts tasting funny, so I know I've had enough wine and shouldn't drink anymore of it that night. I hit that point probably around 10 - 10.30pm last night, about when the dancing started and switched to water. Function packed up about midnight, and thirteen or fifteen or so of us headed into town and ended up at the Library bar, where we had a couple of cocktails, and I got home about 2.30am. No hangover, however, due to the spacing of the drinks and the amount of water I drank.

When getting ready, I took one look at my stilettos and decided I couldn't face wearing that type of heel, rummaged in the back of my wardrobe and dug out a pair of old silver shoes with really solid heels that I haven't worn for nearly ten years. Apart from the soles being so slippery that I had to take them off to go up and down our stairs, I was fine. Didn't have to take them off all night, even.

Today I have also been productive. I sorted in date order and put away a pile of filing that I've been stacking up for about two years. Just in case you get the wrong idea, I had previously looked and dealt with it all but put it in a pile instead of putting it in the folders where it belongs. It did take a few hours though.

I also cooked dinner for the first time in about a week. I was home late most nights last week and either [livejournal.com profile] tamarillow and [livejournal.com profile] maudlinrose had cooked or we fended; I didn't have the energy to cook. Tonight, however, was a different story.

Dinner was a roast vegetable red curry that I make once or twice a year. For dessert, I decided to try one of [livejournal.com profile] exiledinpn's favourites: tarte tatin. Like the last version he made, I used the Masterchef NZ recipe. Most of the reviews I read of the recipe indicated that they'd put it on the stove top for less time than recommended and it therefore wasn't as rich.

tarte tatin commentry )

Back to work tomorrow. Bother! How did I manage to put all my low-heeled shoes in for repairs at the same time?
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Armageddon or Tea?)
Over the course of this last week, I have concluded that what I had last weekend was probably a minor bout of the 'flu rather than a cold. Mostly because while my nose pretty much stopped running on Monday, I still had to come home from work around half eleven and spend the rest of the day in bed, and it took 'til Friday before I felt that I didn't need a lie down after work. Plus, I looked at flu symptoms on the Ministry of Health website and could tick most of them off (not, interestingly, the cough nor the body aches).

Gaming on Thursday night was lots of fun. GM's non-sentient characterisation of the week was a grandfather-clock. Still not as entertaining as the time he broke the game being an oak tree. Ended on a cliff-hanger, of course ('most everyone back in England and my coke-addict seventeen-year old changeling who grew up in the fantasy world back in England and apparently pregnant) and now I am really looking forward to next week's game.

Last night, having managed to drag myself away from the internet, I went to bed and reread Fate by Mary Corran. I last read it back when I was in high school and I had completely forgotten just how rampantly feminist it is - reminded me quite strongly of some of the Darkover books. [livejournal.com profile] tamarillow is discarding it, but I don't think I will keep it either - I doubt it meets my reread once in five years criteria. Besides, I always liked Imperial Light more.

Today was sunny and warm enough that I opened the deck doors in the morning. Didn't see many birds, but heard a lot, particularly tuis singing and the kererū flying. I swear kererū are the only birds I know of that sound like their wings are rusty! Got my summer cotton sheets mostly dry outside, too.

[livejournal.com profile] maudlinrose and I wandered into town where I bought a sports bra that will do (the underwire on the bra I was using having poked through) and she bought other stuff. Caught the Wilton and walked home from there rather than catch the Mairangi (25 minutes instead of 10) and that was lovely; air was crisp and cool, but there wasn't any breeze and we got home about an hour before sunset.

Now, unsurprisingly, I am sitting on the couch in the lounge, catching up on Bujold ML emails, editing metadata and reading fic, and it is warm enough in here that I don't need a jersey and we are cooking kumara in the fireplace for dinner.
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Neon cupcake)
Long weekend is almost over. Had [livejournal.com profile] callie over on Friday night, discovered that mixing average vodka and apple sourz together for shots improves both, and the resulting hangover took out most of Saturday. Note to self: do not drink good riesling (or good anything else for that matter) before drinking apple sourz or if the drinking is to get drunk.

Haven't done much else over the weekend. Went out for a walk on Sunday, lit the fire a couple of times, did laundry, checked a lot of meta data, cooked a bit...

Actually, I did have another go at getting my preferred sleep cassettte tape digitalised using Audacity, but gave up—for the amount of annoyance getting it right will cause me, I think it'll be better just to pay someone to do it. I have the original, and I won't be able to replace it when it wears out—it was hard enough finding a replacement some eight or nine years ago. New Zealand people, any recommendations?

I read some of the gay romance ebooks I picked up recently (the ones with an actual publisher rather than being self-published with obviously photo-shopped covers). They were terrible and not in the awesome way. I read them anyway. Most of the slash fic I read is better (it's better than most of the harlequins I read too). Maybe some fic writers should branch out.

...and the cooking. Despite my distinct preference for Annabel Langbein's style of cooking (I can only say that the meals are clear, somehow), I've made a couple of things from Tessa Kiros' books and one from Stephanie's Cook's Companion this weekend.

Dinner last night was fish in a chopped tomato/celery/parsley/garlic mixture cooked for an hour and a half or so in the oven. Flavour wasn't as deep as I'd like and you could taste the celery, but hey, food. Doubt I'll make it again, or if I do, I might add some tomato puree or tomato sauce and make it a bit less pure tomato flavour (I'm not a fan of raw tomato or plain cooked tomato).

Dinner tonight was a pie I've made a few times: a rich steak pie that is essentially casseroled for two hours on the stove top before even putting it in the pastry shell. I added carrots and dried mushrooms that had been soaked for half an hour in brandy to the filling mixture. I made the pastry as well. It was excellent and I will have some for lunch tomorrow.

I also made a chocolate cake from Stephanie's Cook's Companion for dessert. I forget its name, but it had a bit of rice flour in it, and has chocolate brandy buttercream icing. Used [livejournal.com profile] maudlinrose's Kenwood Chefette for most of the mixing and it's strange (for one thing the bowl spins, rather than than the beaters rotating and the beaters don't stay up very well when they have mixture on them for another). I don't need to use an actual mixer very often, but when I do I wish the ceramic bowl on mine hadn't cracked (Kenwood no longer makes ceramic bowls and replacing it will be a bitch).

Anyway, the cake: a nice dense chocolate cake with excellent icing. Good with plain yoghurt or cream. Cake's more effort than I can usually be bothered with—it's nice, but nothing spectacular. The icing is really good though (but could have done with more brandy).

Unfortunately, no frisbee tomorrow as it clashes with German. I must go for a walk at lunch to wear it off.
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (with laptop)
After the downpour last weekend, I noticed my curtains were disgusting and mildewy and what I had thought was dirt on my ceiling was actually mould. This weekend I have washed my curtains (still somewhat gross, but so much better) and wiped down the ceiling. I feel much better about my room now. I have also won a dehumidifier on trademe, and will get that picked up sometime this week. It's the same as the one we already have, so I know it will be decent.

Still working my way through Calibre. I now have all my ebooks loaded into it (I think) and am going through it, checking metadata. I am being quite restrained for me and am not insisting that the cover loaded into Cailbre match the cover on my copy, if I own it in hardcopy. Yeah. I have a lot of ebooks - this is going to take a while. Especially since I keep forgetting to make sure that I don't load .rar or .zip files.

Have not yet managed to choose a blackwork pattern to bookmark at work, but have stitched a couple of tiny patterns on [livejournal.com profile] maudlinrose's and [livejournal.com profile] tamarillow's aprons - a drunk green ant on [livejournal.com profile] maudlinrose's and a slightly more sober blue beetle on [livejournal.com profile] tamarillow's. I used waste canvas for the lines, since I cannot stitch straight on plain fabric without it. I will probably put a ladybird on mine. Pictures below the cut.

Blackwork insects in colour )

Didn't cook anything remotely exciting this weekend - I made chicken stock and a Tuscan vegetable soup (with some of the stock), and that's about it. Used about half the stock in the soup and have frozen the other half in two-cup lots. I do like having home made stock to use. It's one of the really good throw in your old vegetables and simmer for two hours soups, and it tasted really good and hearty with lots of flavour. Chuck in a bit of bread at the end for thickening and away you go. I will probably have it for lunch for the next couple of days. No pictures of the soup, because ait doesn't look particularly attractive.
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Neon cupcake)
So it turns out that sometimes I can make chocolatey things that are too rich for eating in one go. I made a chocolate fudgy mousse from Stephanie's Cook's Companion for dessert last night (it a) not having cream, b) not needing cooling then icing, and me not having all the ingreidents for [livejournal.com profile] exiledinpn's flourless chocolate brownies). It doesn't have very many ingredients - chocolate, 4 eggs, unsalted butter and a tiny bit of sugar.

I served it in [livejournal.com profile] maudlinrose's big wine glasses—the ones that hold about half a bottle of wine each. The mousse would have been maybe a quarter of the glass; none of us finished it. Done again, I would serve it in something much smaller to more people, possibly with a tiny amount of vanilla ice cream.

The mousse followed a delicious mushroom risotto. I got a half-full supermarket bag of mushrooms from one of my workmates, so I still have some to play with. Guess what we're having for dinner tomorrow night?

And boosting the signal: LiveJournal's DDoS and Russian Politics. This is why I'm not as enraged about livejournal's outages as I would be otherwise.

If you're thinking about shifting over to dreamwidth, I have a couple of codes to give away—let me know if you're interested.
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Neon cupcake)
I've been a bit distracted with non-internet things the last week or so. Last weekend, after going to play Settlers VI again, I had the bright idea to find, download and start playing Settlers II.

I never got past level 4 of the Roman campaign when I played it as a kid, and I wanted to see if I could manage it now. Sadly, once you get past how pixilated the graphics are, it's proving to be just as addictive as ever. And I have now made it to level 5, so I have already done better than I did the last time I played it. [livejournal.com profile] maudlinrose was going to start playing it, but it is too old for Windows 7 (and I have to fudge a little to play it on XP).

This is pretty much all I did yesterday, aside from doing laundry and cooking dinner. Salmon fillets were on special last week, so we got some when grocery shopping and I cooked it as Mum did at Christmas (did the same salad, too - chickpeas, onion, roasted kumara and potato, wilted spinach, raisins and other stuff). I still really enjoyed it but it could have probably done with five more minutes in the oven. I don't get salmon to play with very often, so next time it will be something else.

For dessert I made [livejournal.com profile] papersky's spiced peach tarts that are based off the description Bujold gives in A Civil Campaign - something else I've been wanting to try. They weren't as spiced as I imagine they should be, and I always envisage tarts as being more flan-like than cake like, but they were still good.

More sweet things today: [livejournal.com profile] purplesparkler came around and made her amazing cinnamon scones that are cooked in butter and sugar. We also had comrademojo and his girl up for a bit this afternoon, too. They didn't stay for dinner though.

Tonight, since [livejournal.com profile] purplesparkler requested something with cheese, I made a family friend's sloppy chicken enchilada recipe— this is essentially a chicken lasagna. It was as excellent as ever (and the taco sauce I improvised worked out well enough too). I remain disturbed by how gluggy creme of chicken and creme of mushroom soups are when taken out of the tin—the creme of chicken soup retains the shape of the tin until squashed.

The other thing that distracted me for a couple of days is now rather funny, but at the time was rather painful. Gaming was at [livejournal.com profile] stephanie_pegg's on Thursday and [livejournal.com profile] purplesparkler and I went over for dinner. I must've shifted back a little far in the second-hand wooden chair, the glue broke on one of the legs, the other leg on that side of the chair snapped off and next thing I know I'm on the floor having banged my head quite hard against the wall and with a sore arm.

Banging my head against the wall meant I had a headache for a couple of days, and the sore arm actually meant I'd caught the underside of my upper left arm on the chair and I now have a bruise the size of my closed hand there. It's all rather dramatic and looks far worse than it actually feels. I figured that all this would be amusing after the headache went away and it is. Accidents happen, I bruise dramatically and it's not like I got concussion or anything from it (and if I had, there's ACC).

The entertaining part is that I can't see the giant bruise unless I'm both raising my arm and looking in a mirror. But I raise my arms to stretch in many other places and the reactions I've been getting...
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Changling 59 (hair and green))
Turns out that none of us particularly care for thai green curry made from the Continental range green curry paste. [livejournal.com profile] tamarillow found it too hot, I found it too sharp and [livejournal.com profile] maudlinrose found it both too hot and too sharp. As such, if anyone local would like a mostly full jar of the paste, it's going free to a good home where it will be willingly consumed. Let me know if you want it.

Fortunately, the green curry wasn't the main part of our meal. I made the thai fishcakes that I've made many times before and decided that I should use up the remaining fish and coconut cream with a just under half mixture. I didn't mind the green curry once I got used to it, but I do prefer red curries.

Today I also made these black pepper biscuits. There's hardly any pepper in them, they were quite fun to make, and I think they would be excellent with chilli instead of black pepper. Oh, and it makes heaps. I must find where I put my print out of the recipe, because I generally try not to use my laptop as a recipe book.

Also I cooked stuff on the bbq both nights, so that makes me happy.

For all that I have managed to cook and bake and do laundry and ironing and whatnot this weekend, I have spent a remarkable amount of time napping. It's been lovely and sunny, so yesterday I napped on and off on the deck in the sun, and today I napped on and off on the floor of the lounge in the sun (until it got too hot). Had hardly any energy yesterday and only a bit more today. I just hope that it doesn't turn into the chest infection that sent one of my authors home on Thursday and kept her off on Friday (at doctor's orders).

There is nothing quite like sliding into fresh clean crisp cotton sheets, unless it's sliding into warm soft fuzzy flannel sheets, and last night I got to do the former. Clean sheets are one of the small joys in life.
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Neon cupcake)
But I have started German at Wellington High (it was the only one that fit my schedule and also the tutor teaches at Vic and at the Goethe Institute), and it is on a Tuesday night, 5:30 - 7:30pm, and that means I don't get home until at least 8:00pm (and that only because I cheat and taxi from the end of Lambton Quay - the extra $30 a fortnight is so worth it).

I made pancakes tonight instead. [livejournal.com profile] tamarillow and I had them for dessert an hour and a half ago; [livejournal.com profile] maudlinrose went to bed instead, for she has the plague. Lemon and brown sugar, mmm.

Dinner, an hour or so before the pancakes was also very good: a green salad with a balsamic vinegar/olive oil/geranium oil dressing; boiled then barbequed corn on the cob; and barbequed pork steak with a red berry sauce. Used up the frozen raspberries from the freezer in a half receipe. It tasted good, but was a bit of a pain to make - if I do it again, I think I'd want to use a full recipe so I don't feel the need to get every single drop of berry sauce when I strain the seeds out...

Am currently reading Guy Gavriel Kay's latest, Under Heaven. Am reasonably impressed so far about half/two thirds of the way in. If he doesn't screw it up, I think it'll end up on my to-buy list.

(this entire post was an excuse to use the new icon)
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Girl with red hair)
So, of course, I have taken the opportunity to do lots of laundry, cooking and baking. I should have done some cleaning, too, but I got distracted (and there's still time).

Dinner last night was barbequed seasoned steak on a bed of boiled green beans mixed red and yellow capsicum stir-fried on the bbq hot plate, topped with a caramelised onion mixture, and boiled then barbequed corn on the cob. It was excellent, and I am finally getting the hang of doing porterhouse steak on the barbeque to our individual preferences (although I think [livejournal.com profile] tamarillow would like hers slight more well-done).

Dinner tonight will be yet more steak that has been marinading in a teriyaki sauce for most of the afternoon, on baked potato, with a side salad of roasted carrots and beetroot. I hope to have made enough of the sauce that I can heat it and pour it over with some of the meat. EDIT: Not enough sauce - in future, I will make extra and cook it on the bbq with the meat. Also, use vegetable oil instead of peanut oil. Continue to use extra pepper. It was very good regardless.

The baking included gingerbread and two batches of the molasses cookies I mentioned the other day. The gingerbread looks glorious and the second batch of the cookies looks good (not quite as amazing as the first batch where the dark brown sugar didn't mix in properly and there were bits visible in the cracks on the top of the cookie).

The first batch of cookies looks fine, but tastes somewhat odd due to my accidentally putting in 1/2c cider vinegar instead of 1/2 tsp cider vinegar (in my defence I was on the phone to my grandma at the time and most of my lactose free recipes use about 1/2c if they use vinegar). I endeavoured to save them by adding extra sugar and flour, but I don't think it worked so well.

They don't taste bad per se, but they're not good. [livejournal.com profile] maudlinrose reckons its the aftertaste. [livejournal.com profile] thesane has suggested icing them, and I might try that - maybe ginger or cinnamon? I don't know. Most likely, they'll be thrown out. Oh well, that happens sometimes.

and just because I can—photos of cicadas )
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Stars (lights on a string))
Firstly, for the gamers out there: RPG Now is offering a bundle of games here, the proceeds of which are to go to the New Zealand Red Cross Earthquake relief fund.

Secondly, Wellingtonians: if you do baking at the weekend and bring it to Civic Square between (I think) 7am and 9am on Monday morning, they will truck it to Christchurch for the people there. I understand that it should be packed into ice cream containers and labelled. No links, I'm afraid, but I'll forward the email I have at work home and make sure all the information is correct. My main concern is finding a spare ice cream container or two...

In other news, I started German classes on Tuesday night in preparation for going overseas next year. Very organised of me, I know. And tonight I made the most awesome dairy-free molasses cookies and the recipe can be found here. Only difference is that I used treacle instead of molasses. They will be made again.

EDIT: Baking link is here.
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (with laptop)
It is a hot sunny still summer day here. Metservice says it is 22 degrees C - I thought it was warmer, but I guess not. The cicadas are a wall of inescapable sound that almost drowns out the DVD I'm watching, and I am currently lying on the floor in the lounge on the theory that it's cooler...

We did an Amazon order recently and part of mine was a complete collection of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers DVDs. I am currently watching The Barklays of Broadway (which I had not previously been able to find) and it's in colour - I wasn't expecting that. Seems odd to watch them in colour.

Although one thing I notice about watching some of these older movies is that I'm much more aware of who the actor is, rather than the name of the character they're playing. Possibly it's because the characters are much more of a type, possibly it's because I haven't seen enough recent movies with the same actor in them to be as aware if people are being typecast and be more aware of the name than the character.

I will barbeque for dinner: pork steaks marinaded in a bit of basil pesto; corn on the cob; a salad of some sort; and something else, but I'm not sure what.

EDIT: Dinner ended up being the aforesaid pork steaks marinaded in basil pesto; a green leaf salad with yellow capsicum, corn sliced from the cob, potato, kumara and onion roasted with sweet smoked paprika and cumin and pesto and oil dressing, corn on the cob grilled on the barbeque; and a bit of sliced boiled potato also burninated. Dessert was the lemon curd and gingernut souffle that I've made a few times.

The cicadas have not yet stopped.
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Snoopy Christmas)
Exciting news - I'm an aunty! My sister gave birth to my nephew around 8am this morning. He's two weeks early, but already 8lb8oz. Both parents and child are doing well. I haven't received any photos yet, but this is very cool. This is the first nephew/grandchild/great-grandchild in the family.

Today, [livejournal.com profile] tamarillow and I were on pre-service coffee at church, so after the service we wandered to the Te Aro Community Centre and bought a tree, which was delivered this afternoon. [livejournal.com profile] maudlinrose has photos of it here. It's in our usual Christmas tree style of decorating, which is to say all the ornaments and tinsel. I also put all my Christmas music on a USB, so the stereo is currently working its way through 1.66GB of Christmas music.

Seeing as I'm out or home late all next week, I volunteered to cook tonight as well. I made a mushroom and red wine sauce to go on the steak (it was yummy), barbequed the steak and the onions, and also made a spicy bean salad (who would have thought that sweet chilli sauce and cumin went together?). The dressing on the salad was a bit to vinegary for me, but [livejournal.com profile] tamarillow liked it. I think there are plans to turn the salad into quesadilas for dinner tomorrow night.

Dessert was flambeed stone fruit with clove mascapone cream. It was very nice, and it's fun setting things on fire. The fire was cool.

After a not particularly brilliant week, weather-wise, it's been nice to have a day of lots of sunshine. I have left my windows open and the lights off, and it's about the right temperature at the moment.
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (I have a sign)
This weekend has mostly been about food and the making thereof. We had friends around for tea and scones, followed by dinner last night.

[Unknown site tag] made the scones and I was flicking through assorted cookbooks to try and find a second recipe that didn't use white flour (since we'd run out), and from The Joy of Cooking (1979 edition that used to be my mother's), I found a recipe for corn puffs that we had all the stuff for. Next time, I'll reduce the salt content by half, but they were easy and tasted really good with butter. A make again afternoon tea snack, best served straight out of the oven.

Dinner was the brown rice, butter and parmesan risotto from one of Tessa Kiros' books, with a green salad and lemon curd and ginger souffles. Souffles were done before the ristto, so we had dessert first, as I didn't want them to sink. They turned out pretty well. I've made all these before, so there was nothing exciting about them.

I have also made three batches of my standard shortcrust pastry this weekend, as I also made mini-samosas. They taste delicious dipped in sweet chilli sauce, but are definitely a weekend project, what with the pastry and the rolling and the making up and all. A dozen and a half are currently in the freezer to freeflow before bagging, we have leftovers for lunch tomorrow, and ate them for dinner tonight as well.

As well as all this (as if everything else isn't enough, you say), I attempted lentil cake things, which didn't work out. They're like a really thin fritter, and I just couldn't get it thin enough to fry easily. In the end, I gave up. Oh well, it was worth a go.

As for my other creative arts, I did most of the crossstitch for another Christmas decoration gift, a few stitches on the dragon, and drew most of a page for the book. I take these into work and scan, so eventually I'll post the images before I start stitching and they're gone forever.

Read most of the book on the history of the Bayeux Tapestry which S. loaned me. A tad too art-history for my taste, but interesting nonetheless. I hadn't known previously that the wool was dyed before it was spun, for example.

Started a reread of UnLunDun, and and was distracted into five of the Pangur Ban (the white cat) books that are books [livejournal.com profile] tamarillow loved when she was a child (this is why I didn't get to frisbee practice on Saturday). I can see why, and if I'd read them as a child, I would have loved them also. Now, I read them, and why, hello, Christian allegory, nice to see you again. Apparently there's a sixth, but [livejournal.com profile] tamarillow has never found it nor read it.

Also read Pegasus, which is Robin McKinley's new one. It is very much the first half of a book (even more blatantly than Beguliement by Bujold is), and reminds me of Dragonhaven which came out a couple of years ago.

Finished a rewatch of the second half of Princess Tutu since I mainlined it last weekend, and felt the need to take it somewhat more slowly.
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (A lady's armour)
Made pad thai for dinner tonight. If I had been using chicken breast (as recommended) rather than chicken thigh cutlets - bone in, it would have been the quick and easy dinner promised. Or if I'd previously roasted the peanuts and/or defrosted the meat. With hardly any additions (an extra cutlet, an extra egg), it stretched from two to three people. No leftovers, alas, but it would be easy enough to size up.

As it was, the prep took quite a while and the cooking hardly any time at all. I used the only new tip from the Vietnamese cooking class we did for our team midyear, and stirfryed the chicken by letting it sit cooking in a single layer, and then flipping each piece. Another time, I might actually chop the peanuts individually rather than use the mortar & pestle (or use the food processor), and serve it with lemon or lime wedges, brown sugar or with a bit of extra chilli for those of us who like their food a bit hotter.

I think it might have been a bit spicier than the pad thai you get in restaurants, but it was still within [livejournal.com profile] maudlinrose's tolerances. Certainly wasn't as bland/subtle as a I'm used to from cheap asian restaurants... It was good, and I'll probably make it again.

Work has been busy ever since I got back and looks to get busier still. Tomorrow I might have the chance to do some work that came in last Monday. In the meantime, I am trying to avoid distressing my workmates by coughing all over my desk, which means drinking over the recommended dosage of robotussin, lots of cold water, and lots of flavoured hot water. I am going to avoid frisbee until it's gone - again.

My local government election voting papers arrived the other day. I will have to think about them.
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Changling 91 (purple laces))
Tonight is our annual birthday dinner. We are all dressed up, look gorgeous, and are ready for a night of fine food, fine wine, and excellent conversation at the Boulcott Street Bistro.

I love this tradition of ours.
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (music (Amadeus))
Friday night, [livejournal.com profile] maudlinrose and comrademojo and I went to the Up Close and Personal with Dvořák and the NZSO at the Wellington Town Hall. It was really interesting - the conductor kept stopping the music and getting one instrument to play its part. He did this layer by layer, and then the orchestra played it the whole way through. The main thing I took out of it was to listen from the bottom up; find the bass layer and and you can hear the rest from there.

After that, we ended up at Cafe Eis for ice-cream (I had pistachio and truffle), before we realised we'd missed the bus we planned to catch, that there was still half an hour til the next one, so comrademojo and I dragged [livejournal.com profile] maudlinrose to The Hawthorne Lounge, which she was initially dubious about, but didn't take long to appreciate. We started off with cocktails on the menu, and then got the bartender to make stuff it. They were good. Mmmm, have to go back there.

Went to the DCM bookfair on Saturday morning and there was even less that I was interested in that there have been previous years. I spent about $30, of which about $10 are gifts for people. Most of what I picked up was marked with the higher price tags, and several of those were replacement copies in better condition of books I already own. Probably the books I'm most excited about are Dark Angel and The Chosen, books 4 and 5 of the Night World series by L J Smith - in the correct UK edition. I'm missing books 8 and 9, would like a replacement book 1, and am still waiting for book 10 to be released. It was due out in 1999...

I also went out on Saturday evening to Alessan's birthday bash. It was good to see people, but I didn't stay late, what with the early morning that day and having ended up at The Hawthorne Lounge on Friday night. I aim to go to bed at a sensible hour tonight.

Dinner tonight will consist of a Gabure, which is a French soup made from a bacon hock, onions, carrots, tomatoes, garlic, potato, and several other things. It does take four hours to cook, so it's definitely a weekend food. Smells good. I'll chop the leeks before I go to frisbee and add them when I get back - that part takes about ten minutes. The messy part is removing the meat from the bacon hock after it's been simmering for three and a half hours.

This is sort of a half-mixture. It was going to be an actual half mixture, but as it turns out, I'd like a pot half way in size between the 10L or 12L stock pot and the 3L saucepans, and thus added more water as it boiled down, and some things in the wrong order, and more beans... oh, well. It looks like a fairly forgiving soup and I'm interested to see how it turns out.

Just now, we have finished watching part 1 of Sherlock - A Study in Pink. Too me, it had the same feel as Star Trek: Reboot does towards TOS. There's a respect for the canon, but also a wilingness to adapt as necessary. And hey, a competent John Watson. That's worth watching. Also, I totally hadn't realised that it was a three-part mini series. I can usually manage to watch a mini series, but fail at more than, say 13 episodes of something. And if I manage one season of something, I usually fail part way through the second. I realise Sherlock has a season coming up, and I make absolutely no promises about my ability to watch it all...

...also, just as with Alice in Wonderland, I don't like the Sherlock Holmes books very much.
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (H2G2 - Style & sense)
My plans for this weekend involved doing as little as possible, and maybe some housework. Accordingly, in the way of vaguely useful things, I have only done the laundry, cleaned up the kitchen (twice) and gone for a walk. Oh, and I've cooked.

Dinner tonight was in reverse order- dessert first (mostly because of timing issues and starting late). Dessert was gingernut and lemon curd souffle, done in four individual ramikins. It was really easy, and really delicious - the base was crumbed gingernut biscuits, and the egg whites had icing sugar and lemon curd mixed in, and all this was cooked for ten minutes in the oven. I look forward to trying the lemon tiramisu from the same photocopied piece of paper that my mother sent me.

Dinner consisted of vegetable samosas. I was going to do garlic wilted bok choy, but I couldn't be bothered in the end. I used a mixture of savoury short and filo pastry, that being both what we had and lacking enough savoury short pastry. It was fairly time consuming - you had to chop the vegetables very finely - and by that, I mean about the size of peas, cook the starchy vegetables, and then make up the samosas and cook then for another twenty minutes or so in the oven. I definitely preferred the savoury short pastry to the filo. One day I am going to use filo pastry that I have not had to defrost first and it is going to be awesome

One option - if we had more freezer space - would be to make them up ahead of time, and then they would only have to be defrosted and cooked. I wouldn't be adverse to doing this, but I think I would need a reason to want to serve them. As it is, I've tried them now, they're good (and there are some left over for breakfast), but really, easier to buy.
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (what are you reading)
The cold I had last week turned into a nasty hacking cough last weekend due to the dancing and singing at my work midyear followed immediately by going outside into the cold night air and getting home at 2.30am, and a full day of frisbee at the Indoorpendence development tournament on the Sunday. I went to work on Monday (and had to keep explaining that I felt better than I sounded) and some of Tuesday (and had to keep explaining that I felt better than I sounded), before seeing the doctor and getting sent home for the rest of the week.

Accordingly, I mostly avoided cooking and cleaning until the flatmates told me that they didn't care, whereupon I made up for lost time. In between sitting and reading in front of the fire over the last three days, I have also done ridiculous amounts of laundry, done my woollen handwashing, kept the kitchen mostly clean, and made a start on cleaning the barbeque to put it away for winter.

As Wednesday night was grocery shopping night, I refrained from going out and had shredded chicken toasties for dinner. Thursday, since I was home all day and had the time, I decided on pie that requires a couple of hours casseroling on top of the stove. It's awesome pie - red onions, garlic, beef, butter, a bit of brandy and I chucked carrots in this time, in a rich self-gravy, cooked until tender before being moved to the pastry shell. I made the pastry too.

I discovered when I went to put the pie in the oven, that that not all the burned sugar had been removed from the floor of the oven by dint of smoke billowing from the oven. Having temporarily fled the kitchen and closed all the doors from it to have a giant coughing fit, I went in briefly to open all the doors and windows, and retreated to the bathroom to soothe my lungs in steamy warm air. Eventually, I returned to the kitchen and cleaned the oven. Then the pie to go in. More smoke came out, but not nearly in the same quantities as before and by then I didn't care enough to do anything about it. Cleaning the oven (again!) is on the to-do list for this weekend.

Last night, I avoided using the oven, and made blue bayou gumbo for dinner. Flavours include onion, garlic, smoked paprika, thyme, basil, cayenne, allspice and. Not having any spicier sausages, I used sweet-chilli kranskys (the recipe stated that the heat of the dish depends on the heat of the sausages you put in), plain shredded chicken - which deshredded a lot in the soup, and fish. It was good. I had leftovers for lunch today. [livejournal.com profile] maudlinrose thinks it was about the right heat. I think it could do with being a bit spicier, particularly the next day. Maybe I'll add a wee bit of chilli next time, if we don't have spicier sausages. A half recipe, which I did, was supposed to serve three for dinner. We had enough for four...

[livejournal.com profile] maudlinrose and I occupied the rest of our evening by watching Hot Fuzz, and two Donald Strachey murder mysteries - A Shock to the System and On the Other Hand, Death which are actually kinda fun and I think we have another one yet to watch.

Today I have completed my re-read through the Dresden Files, finishing with the new one, Changes and rather want the next volume soonest. Talk about a cliffhanger - I want it more than the next Liaden book, but less than CyroBurn (at least in part because I know when CyroBurn is coming out). I have also mostly caught up on my borrowed-to-read pile (I have a book and a half left). I still sound worse than I feel.
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Moving bouncy)
My parents woke me up around 9.30am this morning to say that they were leaving now and could I unlock the door so they could get out? This was easily achived, but by then Jemima was whining for her breakfast and I was too awake to go back to sleep.

Currently, I am trying to a) work up the enthusiasm to go down to the garage to get more firewood (actually necessary); b) decide whether I can be bothered making Diana's Chocolate-Caramel Brownies to take into work tomorrow (probably a good idea); c) make lactose-free apple cake for gaming tomorrow night (maybe). I should also have lunch.

For sometime we have been planning to have an electricity-free drill to test our preparedness for an emergency. We're not doing this with complete thoroughness, I have to admit - the experiment is planned to run from 3:00pm - 3:00pm, the fridge freezer is staying on, and we're not going to turn off the water. Given that the sun goes behind the hills shortly after 5:00pm and a southerly is expected to come through later today, this should be interesting.

other things that happened in the last two days )

Now I should actually do things.

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