Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Holy Moly

You know work is too quiet when people feel the need to have an argument about evolution versus creation. *sigh* People get so passionate about it, like the louder the volume they talk, the more people are going to change their minds. I think not.
For the record, I am on the evolution side, and am an atheist. This does NOT mean that I think that people who believe in God or creation are bad (although churches like Hillsong and their ilk give me the irrits, too much money for their own good, they buy things like Ice rinks... this is related to religion how?) I am quite happy for everyone to have their own beliefs, as long as they don't try to shove it down my throat, and I will do the same. I have many good friends and relatives with beliefs all along the spectrum, and we are quite happy to get along.

These were some of the arguments that my colleagues came up with:

"No one has actually seen evolution happen, so it can't be true"
... so, seen God lately?... anyone..anyone?
"If Evolution is true, why has it stopped?"
... HUH? I didn't get the email about that, I would have thought one would have been sent around to let us know!

And that is the only blog you will see from me in regards to this subject. As I said above, I have no intention to inflict my opinion on anyone

Friday, November 26, 2004

Recipe of the Week

Normally I post my recipe for the week on Thursday's and I did actually have a nice recipe for Thai style chicken soup painstakingly typed out yesterday. Spent about half an hour agonising over converting litres to fluid ounces etc, double checking no freaky differences for ingredients between here and the US etc etc. Left it for a bit without publishing, came back to publish it, and it came up with an exception report. I tried to go back, but all that I had typed was gone... GRRRR... Hubby b said that I took it very well, which means I didn't try to hurl said computer out of window!
I decided to go with a different recipe, I am typing this at work, so didn't want to lug in the big recipe book the soup was in. I decided to go with another Thai recipe I do, this one I learnt at the local community college, where I did an eight week course in Thai cooking. Today's recipe iiiss... drum roll.... Sweet chicken in green curry paste. I know it can seem like a hassle making up your own green curry paste, but believe me, it is worth it. You can make the paste up days before you need it, and the flavours intensify into extreme yumminess.
So, without further ado, here it is:

Green Curry Paste

2 Tbsp of lemon grass, chopped (usually you can buy a jar of this already pre chopped, if not, chop away on the fresh stuff)
3 large cloves of garlic, chopped
1 medium brown onion, chopped
1 whole coriander (cilantro) plant, chopped (that's right, all of it, leaves, stems, roots)
1 Tsp of lime rind, grated (use a zester for this)
8 fresh green chillies with/without seeds (depends if you like hot or not so hot)
8 black peppercorns (or 1 Tsp of coarsely ground peppercorns)
1 Tsp of ground coriander
1 Tsp of ground cumin
1/2 Tsp laos (or galangal) powder (not crucial this, so if you can't find any, leave it out)
1/4 Tsp of ground cloves
small quantity of oil

Slowly add ingredients into blender with small amounts of oil, until all ingredients are blended into a smooth paste.
Place in a sealed container and refrigerate for 4-5 days until the paste matures.

Sweet Chicken in Green Curry Paste

3 Tbsp of above green curry paste
800 g (28 ounces) chicken thigh fillets, cut into bite size pieces
3 Tbsp of oil
1 fresh green chilli, cut into thin strips
2 cups of coconut cream
2 Tbsp of fish sauce
1 Tbsp of black sugar (can use palm or cane sugar)
1/2 cup of bamboo shoots
1 cup mini eggplant, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp fresh basil, mint, or coriander (cilantro) leaves (whatever takes your fancy)

In a large heavy based wok or saucepan heat the curry paste and chilli with oil over a medium heat. Add coconut cream and heat until it simmers.
Add chicken and bamboo shoots and cook over a low to medium heat until the chicken is cooked. If liquid becomes too thick, add water.
* Taste at this stage, to see if enough paste to your liking. Can add 1-2 Tbsp more paste if required.
Add fish sauce and sugar. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add eggplant and cook for a short time. (eggplant should not be mushy).

Serve with steamed rice, garnish with fresh herb leaves

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Recipe talk

Those of you who read this site (c'mon, I know you're out there), will have noticed that each week I post a recipe. What I also do, is post the link to the Carnival of the Recipes. For those of you who haven't heard of this, each week you can send a recipe to the following address:
recipe.carnival(at)gmail(dot)com. A whole bunch of people do this, and take turns publishing all the links for everyone to peruse. It's a great resource for recipes, have seen lots that I want to try. One wrinkle I have had to deal with is the differences between Australia and the US. I knew I had to put in both grams and ounces, and both Celcius and Farenheit, but what I hadn't considered was the different words the countries use for the same ingredient!

Last week I posted a recipe for Anzac biscuits. I knew Americans called them cookies, but I thought they might use that word interchangably with biscuits... oops, not the case, me wrong! When I went to the page where all the recipes were posted (a wonderful job done I must say by Bou of Boudicca's Voice fame), my biscuit recipe was in the bread section, not the cookie section. Huh?? A few comments revealed the reason. In America, biscuits are like a bread thing, that you can have with roast meals and dip in gravy etc. Oh my...
Hubby b and I had a great laugh imagining people dipping anzac biccys (a reasonably sweet biccy) in gravy, and going "Yuck, that's bad! Those Australians sure have weird taste!"
I quickly amended my site to have cookies in brackets, it was moved to the cookies section, crisis over. Phew!
Will enjoy learning what other differences there are!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Touch Footy

Well, it's Tuesday, so that means I've got Touch Football tonight. I really can't be stuffed to be honest, have felt like I've been falling asleep half the day. Not a good look to do that thing where you are sitting down, and your head starts doing the tilt forward, you then realise you are falling asleep, and snap your head back. I'm awake, I'm awake!!
Anyways, I've been playing touch football for a little over a year, not the best player, not the worst player (although closer to that side of the scale I must admit). What makes it harder is that I play on a guys team. That's right, I am the only girl on the field! Am I nuts, you say? Well, it's touch football, not tackle, so I'm not likely to get hurt. Also, I would love to play on a mixed team, but can't find enough other girls to play. It's a good way to get some exercise, those guys can certainly run and they tend to run at me when I'm in defense, they see me as a soft target. Which I am if I'm on the wing, but in the middle I can hold my own.
I play with hubby b, and some other friends of mine. We have fun, mostly get beaten, fun all the same. It is a thrill when I do make a good play, and I see the look in the other guy's face (oh, she can play?) .... hehehehe
So, I'll end up playing tonight, and will feel good that that I did, better than sitting on my bum at home watching tele!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Recipe of the Week

This week's recipe is a classic Australian recipe. Anzac biscuits first came about in WWI. Loved ones needed to come up with something to send the soldiers that could last, and came up with this recipe. They were originally called Soldier's biscuits, but then changed to Anzac biscuits. The recipe was based on a Scottish recipe using rolled oats.
At any rate, this is a very popular biscuit here, and even though they keep well, it is hard to verify this, as they get eaten up so quickly! Another bonus is that they are dead easy to make!
NB. For all you people from the USA out there, biscuit is the Australian word for cookies.

Anzac Biscuits (Cookies)

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup plain flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup dessicated coconut
1 Tbsp golden syrup
125g (4 oz) butter
1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 Tbsp boiling water

Set oven at moderately low (140 deg c, 284 deg F) and grease baking trays.

Mix oats, flour, sugar and coconut in a small bowl. Melt golden syrup and butter, mix bicarbonate of soda with boiling water and stir into butter mixture. Stir into dry ingredients, mixing well. Drop teaspoons of mixture on to prepared trays, allowing a bit of room for spreading.
Bake for 17 minutes. Remove, wait a minute or two to cool slightly, then move to a wire rack and allow to cool fully.

Enjoy, they'll be great, mate!

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Birthday blues

I work in a helpdesk/call centre and have for quite some time. I've just got into work and received an email from our manager which I would like to share. It's made my blood boil a bit (mind you it is about 1/4 to 6 in the morning, so it doesn't take a lot!)
When someone on our team has a birthday, it is traditional to get them a cake, to make their day a bit special. I know I've always appreciated this, and it is a nice personal touch, a thank you if you will for the work that is put in on a daily basis.
Well, this is what has been sent around:


We are going to celebrate birthdays on a monthly basis. Cake for morning tea on the last Friday of each month to acknowledge the birthdays during that month. Also to say thank you to you all for your efforts and hard work."

HOW impersonal is that, just group birthdays! Not only do you not get anything on your "actual" birthday, you get lumped in with whoever else has their birthday that month! Grrr, that makes me angry. How special, NOT. I like how she tacked on the end, oh also to say thank you.. yeah right, thank you, my a$$!! If it was a cost issue (as the team leader usually goes down the shop and picks up a cake from the bakery), we could take turns making cakes at home, usually much yummier and cheaper anyway.

Not a good start to the day....

Monday, November 15, 2004

Movie Review - Collateral

Saw Collateral late last week. Not as good as I thought it would be, but not a bad movie. I've read reviews about how they made Tom Cruise's hair grey so he would look older. He didn't look any older, he looked just the same, but with grey hair. Sometimes he had a freakish resemblance to Richard Gere, which didn't win me over. Sooo not a fan of Richard Gere.
Jamie Foxx was good in it, it's the first movie of his I've seen, and I thought he did a good job. I cared about what happened to his character, whereas Tom's character was just bland. Likewise for Jada Pinkett Smith, she didn't get to do much.
Usually I like all Tom Cruise movies, but this one it was like he didn't want to be there, didn't show much of a range of moods, tried but failed to look menacing.
Ah well, we got in on discount tickets, and it was fun to go to the movies, we don't go often enough.

Deck time

Well today is the day we are supposed to finally have our deck built. Although it has been fun to jump the metre from the back door, it will be great to be done. For such a simple thing it has taken a couple of months to get organised. It had to go through council. It is just an open deck, less than a metre high, but it had to get approval. *sigh* This alone took 5 weeks. Finally came through, so we rang the deck people and they said, "oh yeah, should be able to do that in a couple of weeks time" Fair enough, I guess, I didn't really expect them to drop everything and come running... "Really, you're ready to go... Hang on... (in background).. Mike, Amanda is ready for her deck, quick, to the Deckmobile!"
So they came out and dug the holes for it last Wednesday, council had to come out and inspect the holes on Thursday (yep, that's a hole alright), and they were due to start the actual deck on Friday. Called them Thursday, and they said they weren't coming on Friday, but on Monday they would send out *two* teams, and would be able to *mostly* complete it.. hmm.. we'll see how it goes.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Recipe of the Week

This week's recipe is one I have been doing for about 8 years. It is insanely simple to make, and very yummy. Hubby b counts it as one of his favourites, and is most put out if we don't have it once in the week. This is a great one to do on a work night, as there is minimal preparation.
I obtained this recipe all those years ago from our Sunday paper. They had celebrity recipes, and this one was provided by actor/dancer Paul Mercurio (most famous here for Strictly Ballroom, which was directed by Baz Luhrmann, who is more famous for directing Moulin Rouge and Romeo and Juliet).
Anyways, I tend to serve this along with mashed potatoes, steamed corn, and peas. Goes down a treat, even if I do say so myself!

Cajun Chicken Drumsticks

Serves 2

4 chicken drumsticks
1 Tbsp plain flour
2 Tsp onion powder
2 Tsp cayenne pepper (this can be varied, lesser amounts if you don't like hot food)
2 Tsp paprika
2 Tsp garlic powder
2 Tsp ground coriander
1 Tsp salt
3/4 Tsp ground cumin
3/4 Tsp mustard powder

Preheat oven to 200 deg C (392 deg F)

Combine all ingredients, except the chicken, in a clean, dry and intact plastic bag (ie, no holes, or powder goes everywhere!!) Add chicken and shake thoroughly to coat chicken evenly.
Cook on a lightly oiled baking tray. Before putting in the oven, put a knob of margarine or butter on each drumstick.
Cook for 45 minutes. Once done, serve out and pour a little of the juices over the drumsticks, and the mashed potato too if you are so inclined.


Remembrance Day

They shall grow not old

as we that are left grow old

Age shall not weary them

nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun

and in the morning

we will remember them.


Today is Remembrance Day. A day to remember all those who fought and died in war. At 11am today I will pause, along with those around me, for a minute of silence. We will remember that this day in 1918 the first World War ended after four years of fighting. Australia lost over 60000 people in this war, the war that was supposed to be "the war that ended all wars".
I deeply appreciate the sacrifice that these people made, Remembrance Day has always been important to me. I am sad, thinking of all the waste, but proud of our soldiers. I also spare a thought to consider all the families that were affected, not many were left untouched.
So please everyone, please observe the minutes silence, and remember them.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Knitting disaster... damn dogs!

Anger, much anger folks. Why, you ask. Let me explain.
I came home today, and spied something strewn about the floor at the end of the hall. Damn, I thought, what's Bill gotten into. I walked closer, and recognised knitting. GAAAHHH!!
Let me explain further...
I have not knitted since I was about 10. So to say I am a novice knitter is quite an understatement. Anyways, my sister in law is pregnant with their first, and I had been racking my brains for a gift to give them that would convey how excited I was for them, and how much I care for them. I came up with the idea of knitting some baby clothes for them. How hard could it be, I'll knit them a cute beanie (sp beany, beanie?). I find the pattern, go to Mum hat in hand (figuratively speaking of course), asked her to show me the basics again. Since then, things had been going quite well, with much concentration and many hours put into it. Up til today, I was 3/4 the way through it, and was planning to give it to them on the weekend. Up til today that was..... the balls of wool were nicely strewn throughout the lounge and family room. The actual knitting is mostly all there, but about half a row has come off. Not too bad you say. Not for your more experienced knitter, no. I however, have only mastered knit, purl, and no fixing up mistakes.
So, my options are, pull it apart and start again, or go back to Mum and see if she can fix it for me. Yes, I know the second option is the sensible choice, but I really wanted to do this myself. Also, I will not live this down from Mum. I can hear it now.... "ooh ah, you had the knitting where the dog could get at it.. hmm.. perhaps you should have put it out of reach", "ooh, K. (sister in law), that's a pretty beanie, that's the one Amanda's dog had a little munch at, but I'm sure it's fine now" ....
Needless to say, I'm not talking to the dog at the moment, he is definitely in my bad books!

It's a neeewwww home!

To begin with, let me give you a bit of background on our home. About 5 years ago, we moved into a single story house in Castle Hill (north west suburb of Sydney, about 40 mins out). We bought it because we liked a lot about it, it had a fireplace and a pool, and backed onto a park. Yay for us! Once we moved in, we wanted to change everything. Not so yay. Our rose tinted glasses had hidden from us some interesting features. For example, the kitchen looked like it had been built by the previous owner, who had illusions of grandeur about his home handyman skills. It was solid enough I guess, but not overly level. Also, they must have been a short family as the benches were quite a bit lower than normal. This was great fun for hubby b, who is about 6" 2' in height. Trying to do the washing up became lower back exercise!
The next thing we found was that the bathroom benches were also put in by the same guy, dodgy quality. After a while living there, the floor started making ominous creaking noises, had visions of going straight through to the under house section!

After a few years we decided to do something about it all. As there were quite a few things we wanted to change, we had to toss up between renovating and rebuilding. After a few months trying to chase builders for a quote for renovation, and finding out that they were either dodgy or too expensive, we went for the rebuild option.
We looked around at many many many homes at Homeworld, finally settling on a house built by Mirvac. So far, so good. The next year or so we were on the merry go round of amending plans, and trying to get through council.
One of the holdups was that we wanted a fireplace in the new place. Mirvac had a wobbly over this, as this was not standard and they weren't really sure how to do it... *sigh*. They sorted it out, but then council had it's own wobbly. It turned out that our bad weird neigbours, (as opposed to our just weird neighbours, this is another story..) had put in a complaint about it, as they didn't want us to have one. So, council would only let us have it if the chimney was a good metre higher than standard, to meet the strictest possible regulations for chimneys. To put this in perspective, this would normally occur if the house next door was up the hill from us, and the smoke would blow straight into their house. Our situation is that we are level, if not a bit higher than them... another *sigh*.
Anyway, after much stuffing about, we finally got approval and went ahead with the building. We had visions of going to visit and being pleasantly surprised by the progress, and all going smoothly. HA! Nothing could be further from the truth. I think they were trying to set the record for most amount of time taken to build. We had independent inspections done each step of the way, and thank goodness we did. There was not a single inspection where there was not a list of things that needed to be fixed! This was quite a shock for us, as Mirvac is a very well known company here, built all the housing for the Olympic village, so we thought they would be much more professional.

After quite a few stuff ups, and a lot of following up with Mirvac, (eg. no really, we still want the right balustrade put in, you know, the one we PICKED!), we are now in our new home! Hoorah!

We have been in two months almost, and it feels like home already. Now we just have to get the deck done, the pool resurfaced, the landscaping done, the curtains put in.....

Friday, November 05, 2004

Star Wars ramblings

Luke: Is the dark side stronger?
Yoda: No, no, no. Quicker, easier, more seductive.

From the movie I remember that Yoda was very quick on the No. It was almost like Luke had stumbled across some Jedi secret. "Stronger? No, pfft... who told you that... no really.. who?"

And I still can't get over the fact that on the DVD for Return of the Jedi they took out the original Anakin at the end, and put Hayden Christensen in his place. IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE!! If you were going to do that, you'd also put in Ewan McGregor for Obi Wan, wouldn't you? WOULDN'T YOU... gaaaah Bad George Lucas, bad. Oh, and it is sucky that he kept the updated movies, and didn't have an option to play them as they originally were.

Aaaah, now I feel better, I think I'd better have a lie down

Recipe of the Week

So, each week I will be posting one of my recipes, as this is one of my main hobbies, and well, I like to share!
This week's is a salad which is very good with BBQ's, but goes well with many things. I like it 'cause it is a bit different from normal salads in that it doesn't have any lettuce leaves in it, and is a bit spicy. It also contains my very favourite ingredient, garlic. Can not get enough garlic.. yummm. We work in grams here, but the ounces conversions are in brackets. In any case you don't have to be exact with it. So without further ado, here it is:

Snow Pea Salad with Hot Chilli Dressing (or as my hubby calls it, "The spicy crunchy salad")

Serves 4

2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 Tsp Olive Oil
200 grams (7.1 ounces) snow peas
125 grams (4.4 ounces) button mushrooms
1 red capsicum
4 shallots
2 cups snow pea shoots
1/2 small red chilli, finely chopped (I must admit that normally I put a whole one in, but it depends how hot you like it.
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 Tbsp sunflower seeds
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
12 drops Sugarine liquid (or any artificial sweetener)
1 Tsp sherry
1/4 cup water

Trim snow peas. Slice mushrooms, capsicum and shallots and place in a large salad bowl with snow peas and pea shoots.

Dressing: heat oil in a saucepan. Add chilli, garlic, and seeds and fry for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add all remaining ingredients, and mix well.

Immediately spoon dressing over the salad ingredients and serve.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

This is me

What makes a blog successful and worthwhile

From the following article:

"Blogging is a time consuming activity, and people eventually get tired of investing in an activity which yields no returns. A good return on the time invested in maintaining a blog is the critical factor ensuring the continued survival of a blog. Blogs which produce monetary returns for their maintainers not only motivate bloggers to keep going, but also let them invest more time and resources in producing content."

Now, for me this really doesn't seem to be the case. The websites I go to, in the main part, I don't go looking to spend money. The only ones would be amazon.com or to pay bills online. Mostly I read blogs for entertainment and to have a look into the lives of people all around the world. For me blogging is about being part of a community, not looking for a way to make a buck!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

These are my two dogs Bill and Ben, could they be more cute?

New word definitions from the Washington Post


Funny play on words, my personal favourite is:

Arachnoleptic fit: (n.) The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

The inaugural Aussie Wife post!!

Well, how exciting, my first post! For the past few months I have been reading other blogs, and I finally decided to give it a go myself.