a mish mosh of life’s adventures

Yesterday I took an RDO to renew my drivers licence as it expired today. My last photo was taken five years ago (though my fingers thanks to work want to type 60/12 instead of five years), I was wearing a high school music shirt, I was on the left side of the frame and I didn’t have braces.
new drivers licence

SE QLD has had a lot of rain the last 36 odd hours. This is what our backyard looked round noonish today. (photo by Ryan Sodziak)
flooded backyard

I picked up my Food Connect box yesterday arvo and I haven’t posted a photo of the last box, here is the box from last fortnight and from yesterday.
Food Connect Fortnight 2

Food Connect Fortnight 3

I’m off to the orthodontist tomorrow and I’m at a point where I really just want this whole metal mouth experience that has been going on since 1996 (more than half my life) to be over. I know that I am on the last stretch now and I only have about 12 months ( sounds less than saying one year) to go with braces and then I can get an implant but I want it to have been over by now. I want to move to new horizons but it is impractical to move from Brisbane when I have to go back to the orthodontist in the city every 4-6 weeks. It is like the pause button has been pressed on one part of my life but not the other parts.

Mum left for Central Australia today, she is going to spend the next 2-3 weeks tripping round the centre looking at all things interesting. It was only a few weeks ago that she came back from her big trip round the South of Africa.
Mum arriving home from Southern Africa

The Townsville trip was really fun. I had a great time hanging out with Sam, exploring Townsville, getting lots of work done, paying the final money on our Bali trip and generally having fun.
Here are my bags waiting for the taxi at my parents house.
Off to Tsv

The view from my room πŸ™‚ It was very pretty looking out over the boats.
the view from my room

And here is Sam at the Watermark on Friday arvo just before I left.
Sam at the Watermark

My Amazon order arrived today πŸ™‚ Full of some books for me and some books for Matthew. I am looking forward to spending some time reading in the next few weeks.

I am now up to watching the fourth season of The West Wing – I have watched three seasons in about three weeks… Just plain good drama. I love it.

It was Charlie’s birthday at work the other week. Charlie and I sit with our backs to each other on a connected desk. During the day, I sometimes swivel round on my chair and say “Hi Charlie Girl”. Charlie just laughs. Charlie had said she didn’t want a cake for her birthday so I made biscuits instead. They went down very very well and I now know that offering pretty biscuits to people will get me just about anything I want.
Charlie's Birthday Biscuits

I really like this quote that is floating round the net at the moment.

Until you dream, there isn’t a mold. Until you speak, there isn’t a promise. And until you move, there isn’t a path

a little noodle soup

a little noodle soup for dinner

This is what I made for dinner tonight. Partly cleaning out the pantry before I move next week, partly just feeling like a change. I was sort of inspired by the noodle soup that Nigella made on Nigella Express last night. The whole express thing was the best thing. I put a pan of water on to boil with a few strands of saffron and some vegetable stock, added some chopped up leeks, cauliflower and carrots, let that simmer and then added some broken up rice noodles, dried mushrooms and a dash of tamari. A few more minutes and then I had a lovely bowl of noodle soup (and two more bowls for lunches).

A perfect bowl of soup that was both light and full in flavour. Perfect to eat for dinner whilst reading the daily papers.

Caramel Chocolate Baked Cheesecake

For my birthday at work I had a few requests for the cheesecake I had made before for other birthdays. Yes I am blogging about my birthday oh almost a month after it. Oh it was so delightful.

This is the photo of the wind. I had the photo all planned out in my head. My cake stand on an upturned vase covered by a scarf. It all looked so good through the lens and then as I pressed my finger on the shutter, the wind lifted up the scarf and the cake stand went over the balcony, the cake went onto the table and I just sighed. After nipping down stairs to pick up the broken cake stand, I took the photo again in a slightly more simple manner.

Birthday Cheese Cake

The recipe is almost exactly the same as the cheesecake recipe I have posted before but I added a tin of caramel (either Top’n’Fill or Caramel or a tin of condensed milk converted to caramel)

Caramel Chocolate Baked Cheesecake
Crumb Base
1 250g packet scotch fingers
bit of all spice
50g butter/marg
50g copha
2 tbsps or so of cocoa if desired

Melt the butter/marg and copha together.
Crumb scotch fingers till they resemble fine breadcrumbs. Stir through the all spice and cocoa if using. Stir in the melted fat mixture. The mixture of dairy and vegetable fat is used to give a better “crumb” and how it holds together. Press in to the bottom (and sides if desired) of a greased 20cm spring form pan (line the bottom with foil) and chill in the fridge whilst making the filling.

500g cream cheese
1 x 380g tin caramel
bit of lemon juice
bit of vanilla
4 eggs
2/3C sugar

Cream the cream cheese and caramel till smooth. Add in the vanilla and lemon juice. Beat in the sugar till smooth and then beat in eggs one at a time till mixture is smooth. Pour on top of the base and cook in 160deg oven for 40 mins or until cooked. Run knife round edge of spring form pan and cool overnight.

idea very loved from Smitten Kitchen
50g butter
100g+ chocolate – dark or Cadbury Energy or Lindt 70% etc – Mix it up with a few different chocolates, increase the flavour or use up those half used blocks…
2 tsp honey
You could also very easily add some flavours here such as peppermint extract, mmmm.

Melt all ingredients together in a bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Pour over top of cooled cheesecake and place in fridge for 30mins to set the chocolate topping.

When cutting this cake (due to the chocolate topping) if you want a clean cut you must dip the knife in a glass of hot water after each and every cut.


Sunday Cooking

Le Creuset Love

On Sunday after spending the last 36 odd hours in bed resting to avoid the beginnings of a cold get any worse I made Chicken soup. It started off with the roasting of chook and some carcasses I had in the freezer. Once the chicken had roasted I stripped it, saving the meat to go into the soup later on and the bones for the stock. I sweated some onions, carrots and leeks in the pot, then I added the chicken bones/skin, water and some sage and let it simmer gently for an hour or two. Then I strained it and strained it again through cheesecloth. Then I let it cool and cracked an egg white into it and brought it back up to heat to clarify it. I read about using the egg white to clarify it in Michael Ruhlman’s book The Elements of Cooking which I am reading with much joy at the moment. I ended up with the most glorious stock, just this delightful chicken flavour. I froze half of the stock to use at a later date and left the other half in the pot and added an assortment of diced vegetables, macaroni and the chicken and let it all simmer again.

When it was all cooked I had this pot of the most delightful soup I have ever made with enough for about 7 meals πŸ˜€ I like it when I have lots of leftovers πŸ˜€


One thing I have truly loved about moving out of the family home is how much more I cook. I do the bulk of the cooking now (it means I don’t have to always wash up :D). Sure I dislike our stove with a passion, it is soooo inefficient, the oven does not know at all what even heat means, it likes burning the bottom of baked goods and it on the small side so finding biscuit trays to fit has been a mission. Still as much as I dislike the stove, I still love it as it lets me cook. The bummer is that I am not taking any photos of what I am cooking, I know I should and that I should start playing with my flashes to provide the lighting as when I have finished cooking it is dark, dark, dark outside and the ceiling lights in our flat leave little to be desired.

Whilst some nights I don’t feel like cooking after coming home from work and I end up having a sandwich or a salad for dinner, most nights the thing I want to do most after a day at work is to potter round the kitchen or sit on the kitchen bench stirring the pot with a cup of tea or glass of water beside me whilst listening to the ABC or some Jazz. One of my staples has become a lamb and lentil dhal of sorts as well as of course a good old pasta ragu.

Last night I made mushroom risotto for dinner and well both Andrea and I had seconds. It was good, so good. Looking forward to having the leftovers for lunch at work tomorrow. This morning we had blueberry pancakes for breakfast just because I didn’t feel like having cereal or toast πŸ˜€

I have decided that one of the the things I will do when I am flat hunting next time is request a test run of the stove πŸ˜€ well at least a thorough inspection of it’s capabilities. πŸ˜€

bit of a wrap up

Yesterday was the Queen’s birthday public holiday and I spent most of it at my parents sewing, I have finally finished the top of my 21st birthday quilt. I turn 23 in September…… IT looks so good and I can’t wait to see it on my bed.

Today is Tuesday and I flexed the day off to give me a four day weekend πŸ™‚ What a day I had, I started off with a long list of jobs to do this morning and now at 21:40 I can cross most of those jobs off. I have changed the address on my drivers licence, bank account, organised insurance (I’ve only been here a month and a dew days…..), re-arranged my wardrobe, did some shopping, took a bunch of cracked lids back to Tupperware for replacing. The only thing I haven’t done is my ironing which I am about to do and to process the photos from the two most recent gigs I have gone along to.

Tonight for dinner I made a delightful salad. It was fennel, salad leaves, beans, carrot, dried cherry tomatoes, some lightly fried capsicum and toasted walnuts with a lemon and Shiraz vinaigrette and a rasher of bacon. It looked good and tasted good, the only thing I might have added was some apple for a bit of sweetness. Since moving out I have experimented a lot more with my cooking as if is a flop it is only a flop for one person or maybe two if Andrea is eating with me. The pork/ginger rissoles were not the best but the dhal I made last week was soooo good. Andrea commented tonight that I am so good always making dinner and as I said to Andrea, it is just because I am too cheap to buy takeout. Friday night I made a tasty apple and walnut loaf which I will make again in the coming days and tweak the recipe a bit before posting it here.

I am very slowly getting used to having the internet again. It is not weird I just don’t have the desire to check out all the sites that I was checking out before I moved out.

Oh I also should probably mention I got my hair cut two Wednesdays ago, I had about 3″ taken off it, about half my hair or more thinned out and I have a bit of a side fringe. It is so weird, my pony tail is sooo skinny compared to how fat it used to be. I like it just not used to having so much lightness with this sort of length.