Thursday, March 31, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes #33 - Thai style chicken soup

This week, I've gone with a soup to submit for the Carnival. It is a bit spicy, a lot yummy. Hubby and I tend to have it when the weather gets a bit cooler, or if we have a cold. You know, the whole chicken soup if you are sick deal.

Any questions about ingredients, feel free to leave a comment


1 tbsp oil
1 leek, sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
500g(17 ounces) chicken thigh fillets, thinly sliced
1 litre (4 cups) water
3 chicken stock cubes, crumbled
1 stem lemon grass, halved
400ml (14 fl oz) can coconut milk
2 tsp sambal oelek
1 tsp fish sauce
1 small red capsicum (pepper), sliced
4 green shallots, chopped
juice of one lime
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)


Heat oil in pan, add leek and garlic, cook, stirring, until leek is soft. Stir in curry powder, cumin, and ground coriander, cook, stirring until fragrant (this is not long probably about a minute). Add chicken, cook, stirring, until chicken is lightly browned.

Stir in water, stock cubes, lemon grass, coconut milk and sambal oelek. Bring to boil, simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes. Add fish sauce and bring to boil again.

Remove and discard lemon grass. Stir capsicum, shallots, lime juice and fresh coriander into soup.

This tends to give 2 meals for two people. Hubby and I tend to have it for dinner one night, then take in the leftovers for lunch the next day.
Can be served just by itself, or if you want, with toast to dip into it. Either way, enjoy!

Bit quiet here

I've been a bit quiet on the blogging front this week, I know.

No real reason, just a bit creatively dry at the moment.

Things that have made me sad this week:
  • Paul Hester
  • Terri Schiavo
  • Michael Jackson (I know innocent until proven guilty, but he certainly seems to have a history of people accusing him of this stuff!)
  • Mellie Helen going on hiatus, for reasons unknown (hope she is ok)

Things that have made me happy this week:
  • As always, my hubby (hello, my love)
  • My vege garden is going great, lebanese cucumbers are going nuts, as are the baby capsicums.
  • Spending time with friends on a picnic on the weekend.
  • Friend's little daughter holding my hand as we walked down a path at the picnic
  • Read a good book, "Across the Nightingale floor", by Lian Hearn

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

How very sad

Paul Hester, drummer of Crowded House, killed himself on the weekend. Apparently he hung himself from a tree at a park near his home.

Crowded House were so popular here, so well loved. Paul always seemed happy and was very entertaining.

Apparently he suffered from depression and had recently broken up with his girlfriend. I have no idea of the scale of suffering he must have had to do this to himself, considering that he has two daughters.

I am sad for him, but I am even more sad for his daughters. What a loss.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Relaxy day

Today has been a very relaxy sort of day (yes, I know relaxy is not really a word). For the first time in a very long time, Brian and I got to sleep in past 9 o'clock. Well, not strictly true. I got up about 8 to check my emails, but then I went back to bed and slept for a couple of hours. For me, that is sheer luxury.

During the working week I am normally the first up, and make sure I put the kettle on to make us a cup of tea. On the weekend, Brian is normally the one to make the tea, which I very much love him for. After tea, Brian then cooked us brunch on the barbie, consisting of bacon, eggs, sausage, and toast, very yummy indeed.

The rest of the day has been spent in pure relaxation, consisting of Brian playing Starcraft, while I put our footy tips in (no, I didn't choose his tips, just put in what he wanted), followed by lolling about on the lounge, chatting, having a few drinks, reading, and generally marvelling at how funny our dogs are. Benny, for instance is channeling the spirit of a cat, and has taken to lying along the windowsill in the sun on top of our lounge.

Free Image Hosting at

Billy, our other dog, has been snoring, and twitching ... "you chase those rabbits buddy!"
Tonight, we may order in pizza, or cook toasted sandwiches, nothing too swish. Then, I predict we will watch a DVD, I'm leaning towards 'While You Were Sleeping'.

Just a perfect day really.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

New contributor

Now you may or may not have noticed, but now on the left hand side, it lists not only me as a contributor, but Brian.

What's that aboot?, you say (in a really bad Canadian accent!)*

Well, my hubby Brian is contemplating joining the Aussie Wife team, so I signed him up as a member.

Make him feel welcome peoples, or I'll track you down, and make you eat brussel sprouts! *shudder*

* no, neither of us are Canadian, we just think it is a funny line from Kate and Leopold.

Carnival of the Recipes #32 - Basic Pizza Dough

This week I bring you the pizza dough that I make regularly. It may seem that making your own dough is a hassle, but it is sooo much nicer than the pizza bases you can buy from the shops.
Recipe, like last week, comes from Delia Smith's How to Cook, Book One, although I've paraphrased it a bit, and chucked in a few of my own comments.

Makes a 10 inch (25.5cm) pizza base - serves 2


6 oz (175g) plain white soft flour (if you can find breadmaking flour use that instead, that is what I tend to use)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried yeast
½ golden caster sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
4 fl oz (120ml) hand-hot water (this is not as hot as you can stand, just a tad over luke warm is what you are going for here)

To roll out:
2-3 tbsp cornmeal (polenta)

Preheat the oven to its lowest setting


Begin by warming the flour slightly in the oven for about 10 minutes, then turn the oven off. Sift the flour, salt, yeast and sugar into a bowl and make a well in the centre of the mixture, then add the olive oil and pour in the water. Now mix to a dough, starting off with a wooden spoon and using your hands in the final stages of mixing. Transfer to a flat work surface. Knead the dough for about 3 minutes or until you get bored. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl and cover with clingwrap that has been lightly oiled on the surface facing the dough. Leave it until it looks as though it has doubled in bulk (Delia reckons about an hour at room temperature, but it really depends on what temperature your room is! In winter here, I tend to put the bowl on a tray near to the fire, to give it a bit of a boost.)

Once the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 230°C (450°F). Next, tip the dough onto a work surface that has been sprinkled generously with cornmeal to prevent it from sticking (I also find that the rolling pin needs a bit of plain flour sprinkled on it). Knock the air out of the dough (that's the fun part!) and knead it for a couple of seconds. Then grab your rolling pin and roll the dough out to a circle (or something vaguely resembling a circle) that is approximately 10 inches (25.5cm) in diameter.

Voila! You now have your very own pizza base.

What I do from here, is spoon on some pizza sauce (usually it's just tomato paste with some herbs chucked in), put on the toppings of your choice, and then sprinkle some cheese over the top (the cheese I buy is a mix of cheddar, parmesan and mozarella).

Then all you need to do is cook in the oven for 10 minutes, and enjoy.

Serving suggestion: serve this with a cold beer, and preferably eat in front of the telly, watching some footy.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Carnival Host

Hooray! I've been given a go at hosting the Carnival of the Recipes! April 8th is my date (which also happens to be my wedding anniversary!)

Now I just have to come up with a funky way to present it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Doggie woes

A month or so ago we took our dogs to get groomed at our local vets. We'd been going to this vets for a while, and seeing as we had never been happy with other groomers we'd tried, thought we'd give them a go. We figured that they'd be more professional as the vets were endorsing their services.

We were wrong.

Our dogs are quite hairy being Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, and my husband told them that we just wanted them trimmed, not shorn, as they look ridiculous with their little bandy legs if there is not much hair on them.

Went to pick them up, and the groomers in their wisdom decided to shave their coat on their back and sides to about 3mm. Hanging down on either side of their stomaches, they had left about 4 cm of hair, in a kind of fringe. grrr

Legs - shorn
Ears - a bit of hair left on them
Tail - no discernible difference

I didn't say anything when I picked them up, as I figured it wasn't like they could stick the hair back on!

Later that night, Benny, our older dog, jumped up onto my lap, but gave a bit of a yelp doing it. Now this is not the bravest or smartest dogs, sometimes he just overextends himself, is a bit of a dope. So, I didn't take too much notice. Until that is, my hand came across a matted area on his stomach. We turned him over, and noticed that there was a gash just under one of his legs. Looks like the groomer nicked him quite badly. Now there is no way they could have missed this, as he would have made an almighty noise when it happened. What pisses me off, is that they didn't tell us about it.

We'd had other issues with this vet when Ben had kidney stones, competent enough, but really bad communication skills.

This sealed the deal, we are not going back there.

Oh, and one other little legacy they left us. Billy's (our number 2 dog) nose started getting all scabby and yuck, so we took him to our new vet, which a colleague of mine referred us to. Looks like he has ringworm. Apparently the most common way of getting this is from a cat. The only time Billy would have been near a cat is at the vets ... when he was being groomed.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes #31 - Oven baked Risotto Carbonara

The carnival is up, hoorah! Thanks Flying Space Monkey.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Friday finally

Man, what a long week it has been this week. We've been shortstaffed at work, and will be for the forseeable future. I have been taking about 60 calls a day, a lot of them frickin' password resets (actually I don't mind getting those, they are easy to do).

And this morning this dude decided to have a go at yelling at me, in a very strong asian accent, which meant I only caught about a third of what he was saying. Ended up transferring him to my service coordinator, 'cause I sure wasn't getting through to him. Poor guy, he ended up being on the phone with the dude for an hour!

I am soooo looking forward to finishing today, and the weekend. Going to the gym with hubby (been incredibly lazy in that regard, haven't gone for the past few months), then a night in together. Nice.

I told hubby he could have anything he liked for dinner, so we will be having Cajun chicken drumsticks, with steamed corn, and mashed potato.

Following that, we are going to watch one of our favourite movies, 10 Things I Hate About You, love that movie.

Some quotes that always make me laugh:

Joey: (holding up two pictures of himself) Which one do you like better?
Bianca: Hmm, I think I like the white shirt better.
Joey: Yeah, it's more...
Bianca: Pensive?
Joey: Damn, I was going for thoughtful

Walter Stratford: Hello, Katarina. Make anybody cry today?
Katarina Stratford: Sadly, no. But it's only 4:30.

Ms. Perky: So, I hear you've been terrorizing Mr. Morgan's class... again.
Katarina Stratford: Expressing my opinion is not a terrorist action.
Ms. Perky: The way you expressed your opinion to Bobby Ridgeway? By the way, his testicle retrieval operation went quite well, in case you're interested.
Katarina Stratford: I still maintain that he kicked himself in the balls.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes #30 - Oven baked Risotto Carbonara

**Edit: Actually this is the 31st Carnival, I stuffed up the title. I'd change it, but I don't want to screw with the link. Sorry folks, my bad**

This is one of the staple meals I cook in winter time, it is just really good comfort food. And if you serve it with a green salad, you don't have to feel unhealthy at all!
I love risotto, but I'm not such a fan of stirring for half an hour. This is my all time favourite risotto, 'cause as you can see from the title it is oven baked. It is easy, and filling.

Serves 2


8 fl oz (225ml) arborio rice (or any other risotto rice you have)
4½ oz (125g) chopped bacon
1 oz (25g) butter
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
1¼ pints (725ml) chicken stock
3 oz (75g) finely grated Pecorino cheese
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
1 heaped tablespoon crème fraîche
salt and freshly milled black pepper

You will also need a round ovenproof dish with a diameter of 9 inches (23cm), 2 inches (5 cm) deep,placed in the oven when it's pre heated.

Pre heat the oven to gas mark 2, 300°F, 150°C


First of all, in a large, hot frying pan over a medium heat, fry the bacon in its own fat for 4-5 minutes, until it's crip and golden, then remove it to a plate. Next add the butter to the pan, then the onion, turn the heat down to gentle and let the onion soften in the butter for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the stock in a small saucepan. Then return the bacon to the frying pan and, after that, stir in the rice and move it around until all the grains get a good coating of the buttery juices. Now add the hot stock to the rice, along with some salt and freshly milled black pepper. Let it all come up to a gentle simmer, then transfer the whole lot to the warmed dish, stir it once and then bake, without covering, on the centre shelf of the oven and set a timer for 20 minutes.

When the time is up, gently stir in the Pecorino, folding and turning the rice grains over, then set the timer for a further 15 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the egg, egg yolks and crème fraîche together, then remove the risotto from the oven and gently stir in this mixture, making sure it is well mixed.

Note: This recipe contains raw eggs.

Recipe comes from Delia Smith's How to Cook, Book One

Image fun

I've been using Hello for putting photos up, but was finding it annoying to use, a bit clunky. So I followed Harvey's advice (has lots of good ideas for newbie bloggers), and got into ImageShack. It's free, and easy to use. Then I found that my pictures from our digital camera were way too big, a bit over 2mb, and ImageShack only lets you go up to 1024KB. So, how to compress? After consulting with Harvey again (thanks mate!), and using good old Google, found a good site on how to compress images if you use IrfanView.
So, here you have it, my first ImageShack image, the first in my series "Amanda bores you with tales of her vege and herb garden".

Lemons take a long time to grow, months and months I tell you. Our lemon tree used to be in a pot, but now we've settled into our new home, he got planted out in the garden where we have a fledgling vege and herb garden. To see the big picture, just click on the piccy below

I feel ill

On the way to work today, either a cat or a possum (it was still dark, so I couldn't see) ran under my wheels. There was nothing I could do, it happened too quickly. I felt him go under at least two wheels. There were cars all around me, and the animal was in the lane next to me, so I couldn't go back to see if he was still alive. I hate it when animals get hurt, I just feel sick now. :(

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

A monk??

Ummm... wouldn't my being an atheist be a bit of a hindrance here?

The Monk
You scored 23% Cardinal, 51% Monk, 50% Lady, and 37% Knight!

You live a peaceful, quiet life. Very little danger comes you way and
you live a long time. You are wise and modest, but also stagnant. You
have little comfort, little food and have taken a vow of silence. But
who needs chatter when just sitting in the cloister of your abbey with
The Good Book makes you perfectly content.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
You scored higher than 27% on Cardinal
You scored higher than 74% on Monk
You scored higher than 37% on Lady
You scored higher than 30% on Knight
Link: The Who Would You Be in 1400 AD Test written by KnightlyKnave on Ok Cupid

Thanks got to Caltechgirl and Boudicca for the link.

Unbelievable this sentence got reduced

Oh man, I'm pissed off. This guy, Matthew Staines, lit a 10 week old kitten on fire just for the hell of it. The kitten was found with 2nd degree burns and later died. The guy was sentenced to a minimum eight months in jail. He appealed and they have now reduced the sentence to 100 hours of community service.

I truly believe this guy belongs in prison. He tortured a helpless kitten. The RSPCA and other groups are rightfully outraged. What sort of message is this sending to the community? There's no mention of this guy seeing a psychiatrist or anything, surely burning an animal alive is an indicator of some sort of mental disease.

Survivor - Palau

Well, no surprise this week, Kim got voted off. She never gave her all to the tasks, no loss there for the Ulong team, except this is the fourth time they have lost the immunity challenge, seem to be in self destruct mode.

What was amusing was seeing James' ass get whupped by Coby the hairstylist in the immunity challenge. James is a self confessed redneck, and I'd always pictured rednecks as wiry, but really strong.

Most classic was James' response. "I can't believe I was beaten by a homosexual" in a slow drawl, followed by some comment about how gay guys go to the gym a lot. Not that there is anything wrong with that :)

Angry bed positions (not what you think!)

Another classic by Mil, this time about positions you lie in in bed to let the other person know you are pissed off at them.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

What Mood are you in?

Basically I'm at work ...

You Aren't In the Best Of Moods

While you aren't full on depressed, things aren't going your way.

You may be hurt, angry, frustrated... or all three.

Not to worry - you'll be feeling fine in no time.

Blogger grumble

Blogger is giving me the irits today. I have a link to Boudicca's Voice over in my fave links, but for some reason it has chucked a in front of her address. But when I go to the template, it displays correctly as just, and if I go to my page, and display page source, it shows correctly there too. grrrrr!

Any ideas anyone?

Answers to Interview Numero Uno

And here they are folks, Bou's answers to the interview.

1.Ok, if you could meet one person in the entire world, living or dead,
who would it be?

I think I'd like to meet my GGGGG Grandmother, Letitia Hutchison. I did
a post on her for the 4th of July here (the entire story):

It's a curiosity thing. She gave a horse to our side in the
Revolutionary War (making her a Patriot for the Daughters of the
American Revolution, of which I am a member), but her husband was a
Loyalist, a Crown sympathizer. I've wondered if she was really that
strong of a woman. "Screw you, I'm tired of the Crown, I'm doing MY
thing" or if it was a case where they were playing both sides of the
fence since he actually fought on the other side. He was with
Tarletons' group, a group so savage, that when the Red Coats lost, her
husband was refused amnesty into the US. He was exiled to Jamaica and
then back to England. She stayed and raised her kids. So I've often
wondered. I really do think based on what I've read that she was a
strong damn woman standing up for what she believed in. I come from long
lines of strong women on both sides of my family.

2.Is owning a giant hamster a hassle, like does she go rampaging through
the house?

Ya know the big problem with those monster hamsters is they want to
chew. They're no longer content chewing on small pieces of wood. My
kitchen table looks like breakfast! And the poop! What a mess! I keep
tripping over the gargantuan droppings. There must be some way to potty
train Giant Hamsters. Geez!

3. Are you a night or a morning person?

Night person all the way. I tell people, mornings are good for only two
things and they both involve a bed.

4. What did you have for breakfast this morning?

This is going to be such a disappointment to everyone. I eat cardboard
and sticks. Well, not really. I eat a mix of two different Kashi
cereals in the morning, which kind of tastes like cardboard and sticks.
It's high in fiber and healthy. I think the optimist in me thinks every
morning, "Hey! If I start the morning out healthy, I'll eat healthy the
rest of the day!", but then. around 10:00, I eat chocolate and it's all
down hill from there.

5. Are you the type of person that sleeps cuddled up to your hubby, or
do you retire to your own side of the bed when going to sleep? (If that
is too personal, I can ask a different question...)
It's not too personal. I'm more of a night person than he is, so it's
not uncommon for me to go to bed after he's already fallen asleep. I
won't wake him up to cuddle. Also, I just do not sleep well at all.
Throughout the night, I'm up every 1.5 hours, looking at the clock or
thinking. I toss and turn a lot. That is not conducive to sleeping
cuddled with someone. It would be kinda rude. And. he's not a cuddly
kinda guy when he sleeps either. He prefers his side of the bed. So it
works out well.

Cool, thanks for that Bou. Now, who else wants to be interviewed ... tapping foot impatiently ...

PS. Looks like Blogger's comments are up and down more than a hookers dress, so if you would like to be interviewed, and can't put in a comment, send an email my way, amanda(dot)cole(at)gmail(dot)com

Monday, March 14, 2005

Interview Numero Uno

And here it is folks, the very first in my Interview meme series.
First up we have Bou of Boudicca's Voice fame.

1.Ok, if you could meet one person in the entire world, living or dead, who would it be?
2.Is owning a giant hamster a hassle, like does she go rampaging through the house?
3. Are you a night or a morning person?
4. What did you have for breakfast this morning?
5. Are you the type of person that sleeps cuddled up to your hubby, or do you retire to your own side of the bed when going to sleep? (If that is too personal, I can ask a different question...)

Answers to go in the comments Bou, or you can email me if you like, either way.

Anyone else who would like to be interviewed, I have four spots left, come and get 'em!

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Go the Eels!

Hoorah! The Eels won their first match of the seaon, downing the Tigers 28-12. Go you good things!

Carnival of the Recipes #30

The Carnival is up, Pam did a glorious job, love the graphics.

Interview Meme

That lovely lady at Not Exactly Rocket Science interviewed me for a meme that's going around. Check it out here
Now, in the spirit of keeping this thing going, I need 5 interviewees, so volunteers, please?
Come on, you know you want to!

The deal is I make up the questions, you answer them, simple as that.

**UPDATE** Looks like Blogger's comments have died at the moment, so if you like you can email me at amanda(dot)cole(at)gmail(dot)com

Oh, and we have our first interviewee, Boudicca from Boudicca's Voice. Hmmm... will have to start thinking up tricky questions...

Friday, March 11, 2005

Abort, Retry, Ignore?

A classic take off of "The Raven", titled "Abort, Retry, Ignore"?

Beer and pizza tonight :)

Well, the NRL (National Rugby League) season for 2005 kicks off tonight. Hooray!
Although I don't mind watching the tennis in Summer, I much prefer rugby league.

The team I support, Parramatta Eels (stop sniggering those of you in Sydney!), has had a rough trot the last couple of years (in other words, they've played completely crap), so we're hoping for a better effort this year. Of course, it would help if they sacked the useless coach, Brian Smith, he reaaally needs to go.

Anyways, one of the good things about footy, is that the traditional accompaniments are pizza and beer! So, of course, unfortunately, I will be compelled to eat pizza and drink beer tonight. Mind you, I think I will be able to bear up under the strain :)

Although we do get pizza delivered from time to time, I have also been known to make my own, dough and all. Took me a couple of tries, but I'm happy with how I make 'em now. Not to go too much into it, but it really matters what temperature liquid you put into the dough, too hot and the yeast will die; which means no rising of the dough, flat as a pancake.

So tonight, it is home made pizza with our favourite toppings. I've heard that over in the US, pineapple on pizza is akin to sacrilege (or just plain weird), but it is quite common here, yummy.
So, pizza topping tonight will go as follows: pizza sauce (a tomato paste with oregano and other herbs in it), pepperoni, ham, pineapple, shallots, cracked pepper, pizza cheese (a mix of cheddar, mozzarella, and parmesan), and if I am feeling daring (read: can be bothered), I'll grate some nutmeg over the top.

Damn, I'm hungry now.

The beer, well there are lots and lots and lots of beer here (seriously, lots). Australians drink heaps of beer, and we have plenty to choose from, both local and imported.
On the imported side, I am keen on Corona, with a wedge of lime jammed in the top. However, being imported, it is also on the pricey side, about 60 bucks a carton. So we tend not to get that too often.
Today what I'll probably pick up is Carlton Premium Dry, which is a dry Melbourne beer, very easy to drink, and a lot easier on the money side too.

Shoulda seen this coming, I'm thirsty now. :)

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes #30 - Fish Burritos

Burritos ... yummmy. This, however, is not your average burrito recipe. It uses fish, instead of beef, chicken, or lamb. Different? Yes. Worth it? Oh, most definitely yes.
This is a great one for when the weather starts to warm up, it has a real summery feel. Mind you, that won't stop me cooking it, even though we are in Autumn here now.

This is a Bill Granger recipe, taken from his book "bills open kitchen". Bill is a bit of a legend in my mind, I've got a couple of his books, and have had a lot of success cooking his recipes.
As we do with all burritos, we just lay out all the ingredients, and let people help themselves. It is easier this way, plus you get to laugh at your friends when they put too much in the burrito, then try to fold them up to eat! :)

As always, if there is something that doesn't make any sense, feel free to let me know.

Fish Burritos

Serves 4


50g (1 cup) roughly chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves and stems
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 small red chilli, seeded and chopped*
1 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
zest of 1 lime
80ml (1/3 cup) olive oil
750g (1 lb 10oz) snapper fillets, or other firm white fish, skin removed, and cut into strips (important here that it is a firm fish, otherwise it tends to disintegrate while cooking)

to serve

lime cheeks (or if you are not ultra hip like bill is, you can call them slices or wedges)
8 tortillas (cooked as per instructions on the pack, preferably ones you can just chuck in the microwave!)
cucumber salad (recipe below)
lime mayonnaise (recipe below)
baby cos lettuce leaves (or whatever salad leaves you like, I find baby rocket is great)


Place all ingredients except the fish in a blender or a food processor and process until a paste forms. Place the fish in a bowl, add the paste and stir to combine. Leave to marinate for 15mins. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a high heat until hot, add some of the fish strips in a single layer and cook for 2 minutes. Turn and cook on the other side for 1 minute, or until the fish has been cooked. Remove from the pan and continue untill all the fish has been cooked. Place on a serving platter and garnish with lime cheeks (sices/wedges)

To serve, place bowls of cucumber salad, lime mayonnaise and lettuce on the table, along with the fish and tortillas.

Cucumber salad


1 telegraph (long) cucumber
250g (1 punnet) cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
4 spring onions (scallions) sliced
handful of corainder (cilantro) leaves
1 tsp lime juice
1 small red chilli, seeded and sliced finely*
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp caster (superfine) sugar


Peel the cucumber and slice in half lengthways, remove the seeds with a teaspoon and slice into 5mm (1/4 inch) pieces. Place the remaining ingredients in a bowl and toss to combine.

Lime Mayonnaise


250g (1 cup) whole egg mayonnaise
finely grated zest of 1 lime
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp sea salt.


Place all the ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Refrigerate until needed.

*make sure you wear gloves, otherwise ouch!

Touch Footy

At touch footy tonight, we are playing a team called "Wombats". For those of you not up on native Australian wildlife, wombats look like this.

Here's hoping that our opponents take on the characteristic waddle, and are of a more rotund stature than ourselves ... and if they start to burrow, so much the better. :)
They have also been known to bite, so I'll be keeping away from their heads, just in case!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Survivor - Palau

So Jeff was voted out by the tribal council on Survivor. It was the only sensible decision to come to, but damn, what a shame. It turned out that after he left the island he had to have surgery on his ankle, so good thing he didn't stay on.
That Kim chick has really got to get a grip, and start playing the game, or if Ulong go to tribal council next week, she will be gone. It will be interesting to see if she tries to cuddle up to anyone else, now Jeff is gone.
And whoa, on Koror, Caryn really isn't trying to win friends and influence people. She really layed into that Katie chick, who rather than taking offense, seemed to find it all quite amusing. No guesses who she'll vote for if they are next to go to council.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

What's in a dream?

I'm off work today. Got a cold, had it the last couple of days, so thought I'd take my hubby's advice and rest up today. Mostly I'm just really tired. We had about 12 hours in bed last night, but both of us woke up heaps during the night. Nevertheless, I always feel guilty when I call in sick to work. I could be physically incapable of moving, and I would still feel bad about not going in to work. And it is not even as if I like the work, or that my absence will affect anyone really.

And is it just me, or do you get weirder than normal dreams when you are not well.
The last couple of nights, I have had many weird dreams, usually with an undercurrent of fear or panic.
Last night's dreams:

Dream 1:
Somehow, hubby and I had forgotten that we'd already got a driveway (nice brick paved). So we got out our landscaper and got him to concrete another one in, but for some reason we had to choose between two colours. The weird part? The two colours were the colours of the two skins Daffy has for her blog! (Hmm... maybe been reading blogs a bit too often lately??) Now the sensible colour would have been the brownish one, but no, we had to go with bright blue. So there I am, standing upstairs, looking down at our bright blue driveway, feeling terrible. Then it gets worse. The landscaper has not only done this to the front yard, he has gone to the back and made it all one big deck, no gardens whatsoever. And it is blue also (I do love the colour blue, but have no tendency to landscape in it!). We also now have two bbqs, one, our old one that we junked just before we moved,is over near the pool, and the other one, the new one we have, is near the house to protect it from the weather. Oh, and our backyard is about 3 times bigger than it used to be, and the house looks really far away.
Wake up from that one.. "What the hell?"

Dream 2:
We are going to some new units nearby (these don't actually exist by the way), to visit my brother and SiL). However, whichever lift we go into, instantly goes into freefall, and we go flying to the bottom of the building, not knowing if it is going to crash and kill us or what. It turns out that we don't, it just hits the bottom quite hard. The dream then reloads, and back we go into the lift.

Dream 3:
This leads on from Dream 2, in that we are now in my brother and SiL's flat (a place that doesn't remotely resemble their actual flat). I go to look at my nephew (he is now a week old), but the baby in the bassinette looks nothing like him. He is about three times the size, and is covered in brown fur. My brother and SiL are so proud.

Dream 4:
Last dream of the night, hubby and I have a big fight. I can't remember the details, all I can remember is that I get angry really quickly, and unreasonably, and that it is not his fault.

Whew, no wonder I'm tired. I'm going to have a lie down.

Monday, March 07, 2005

The Gender of my brain

Well there you go, healthy little me. Although I am not so sure on the level headed part of it ;)

Your Brain is 60.00% Female, 40.00% Male

Your brain is a healthy mix of male and female

You are both sensitive and savvy

Rational and reasonable, you tend to keep level headed

But you also tend to wear your heart on your sleeve

Thanks go to Bou for this link

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes #29 - Shephard's Pie

This is a dish I cooked yesterday to take over to my brother and SiL tonight. They are coming home from the hospital with their baby today and it is part of the food package I have put together for them. I've cooked this one quite a lot, and it is quite popular. I cooked it once for some friends of mine when they moved house, and they were much appreciative. The one I cook uses beef mince instead of lamb, so technically it is Cottage Pie, instead of Shephard's pie, but hey, everything else is the same.

Serves 6


1 Tbsp olive oil
2 small onions, chopped
500g (17.7 ounces) lamb mince
1 Tbsp plain flour
1 x 440g (15.5 ounces) can tomatoes, drained, juice reserved
1 beef stock cube, crumbled
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup frozen peas (I use a frozen pea and corn mixture, cause I like the sweetness of the corn, but up to you what you want to go with)
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
4 large potatoes
freshly ground pepper
milk and margarine


1. Preheat oven to moderate 180 deg C (356F). Heat oil in a heavy based pan; add onion. Cook over medium high heat until soft. Add mince. Cook 10 minutes or until well browned and almost all liquid has evaporated. Use a fork to break up any lumps of mince as it cooks.
2. Blend flour with a little reserved tomato juice until smooth. Add sufficient water to remaining tomato juice to make up 1 cup. Blend into the flour mixture with crumbled stock cube.
3. Gradually add liquid to mince mixture, stirring constantly over medium high heat. Add the tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, peas and carrots. Mix well. Bring to the boil and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes.
4. Cook the potato however you normally do when making mashed potato. I tend to steam ours, but you can also cook them in a pan of boiling water. Whatever takes your fancy. Now the recipe I originally got this from says to blend the potatoes with sour cream and pepper. This is not how I normally make mashed potatoes, and I am not a huge fan of sour cream. So to make the mash, I mash the potatoes with milk and margarine or butter, and cracked pepper to taste. If you do wish to use sour cream, the recipe calls for 1/4 cup.
5. Place the mince mixture in a deep, ovenproof dish. Top with potato, using a fork or spatula to spread it evenly.
Bake for 15 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Serve with a salad or with vegetables of your choice.

** Original recipe before I made my alterations came from Family Circle's book "Popular potato recipes" (1993)

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes #33 - Thai style chicken soup

This week, I've gone with a soup to submit for the Carnival. It is a bit spicy, a lot yummy. Hubby and I tend to have it when the weather gets a bit cooler, or if we have a cold. You know, the whole chicken soup if you are sick deal.

Any questions about ingredients, feel free to leave a comment


1 tbsp oil
1 leek, sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
500g(17 ounces) chicken thigh fillets, thinly sliced
1 litre (4 cups) water
3 chicken stock cubes, crumbled
1 stem lemon grass, halved
400ml (14 fl oz) can coconut milk
2 tsp sambal oelek
1 tsp fish sauce
1 small red capsicum (pepper), sliced
4 green shallots, chopped
juice of one lime
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)


Heat oil in pan, add leek and garlic, cook, stirring, until leek is soft. Stir in curry powder, cumin, and ground coriander, cook, stirring until fragrant (this is not long probably about a minute). Add chicken, cook, stirring, until chicken is lightly browned.

Stir in water, stock cubes, lemon grass, coconut milk and sambal oelek. Bring to boil, simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes. Add fish sauce and bring to boil again.

Remove and discard lemon grass. Stir capsicum, shallots, lime juice and fresh coriander into soup.

This tends to give 2 meals for two people. Hubby and I tend to have it for dinner one night, then take in the leftovers for lunch the next day.
Can be served just by itself, or if you want, with toast to dip into it. Either way, enjoy!

A not so chilly chilli

So, what with the baby and all, I decided to cook the parents a couple of meals for when they get home from the hospital. That way, they don't have to bother with cooking for themselves for a few days.

On the weekend, I'd cooked up some Siciliana pasta sauce for a dinner party, so I cooked up double, to give half to my Bro and SiL. The other things I wanted to cook for them was a chicken in green curry, and shephard's pie. Well, I started cooking yesterday afternoon, and I did manage the chicken curry, but didn't get to the shephard's pie.

I made up the paste for the green curry, success! Well, apart from squirting myself in the eye with lime juice. I was zesting the lime, and it squirted up a bit of juice from the skin straight into my left eye. Let me tell you, that hurts. Nothing like a bit of citric acid to wake you up. It quickly passed though, and I thought, amusing, I can post that on the blog as a cooking tip, don't lean head to close to the lime when zesting.
Little did I know that that pain was just a taste of what was to come.

Now, I'm not a complete rube, I know you are supposed to wear gloves when cutting up chillies. But, apart from one or two occasions, I've never had a problem cutting them bare handed. The other occasions I got a bit of a burn, which went away reasonably quickly after dunking my hands in icy water.
Not this time.
I had to cut up nine green chillies for the recipe. Once I finished, a stinging started in my fingertips. Geez, I thought, musta been a strong hot chilli, that smarts. Thinking not much of it, I went and ran my hands under the tap. Ah, that's better. Not quite.

A couple of minutes later a searing pain ran through my fingertips. Damn, it hurt. I grabbed an ice pack from the fridge, and finished making the chicken curry, alternating between cooking and cooling my hands on the ice pack.
Thus began five hours of burning pain. Five.hours.
I had relief if my hands were in a bowl of iced water, but as soon as I lifted my hands out, the pain would leap back up with glee.
By the end of four hours or so, I was in tears. The pain just wasn't going away, and I had to get to bed. It took another hour or so, and three Aspro clears, then directing the fan at the end of the bed to my hands, but eventually the pain abated, and I was able to get to sleep.

So, here's a warning to you folks. If cutting up a chilli, watch out for your fingers.

This morning I woke exhausted from not enought sleep, and my fingers are stiff. Amazingly I can still feel heat radiating off them, but at least the pain has gone.

Golly, I'm a guest blogger

Hi guys, today I get to be a guest blogger over at Mellie Helen's site, so go on over and have a read, if you are so inclined.