Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes

Carnival of the Recipes is up. This week, Triticale is our host. You can find it here. He has gone with an elemental organisation for the recipes. Go, see, cook!

Boot Camp

Well, I've finally decided to take my exercise regime up a level. For quite some time I've been unhappy about my weight, and over the last few weeks have increased my exercise, and a more healthy diet. What I've learned ... weight does not come off as fast as you want it to, if at all. Now I know that it is a long term process, but I found something the other day that sounds promising, so I decided to do it.

Boot Camp.

What's boot camp? Well the gym I go to runs group fitness sessions 3 times a week, in the wee early hours of the morning.
Their definition of boot camp?

"You have chosen a serious but FUN program that is designed to challenge you to achieve your own serious results" (emphasis theirs). Serious results people, not just namby pamby, frivolous results.

What sort of things will we be doing?

"The instructors will select activities including running, jumping, carrying and callisthenics that will push you beyond your comfort zone to itensity where you will feel you are achieving true results"

... wondering if this will be like Survivor challenges ... hmmm.. probably harder I'm thinking.

Am I daunted? Plenty. Am I determined, you betcha.

I'm not real sure what to expect, friends tell me I'll be yelled at by the instructors. eg "YOU'VE GOT NOTHING, MOVE IT, MOVE IT."

We'll see.

Two things which made me a tad apprehensive. Personal trainer who I've had a session with before, her take when I said I was doing it: "Ooh, good luck, I don't envy you"

And the signature of the Enlistment Officer for boot camp, which had two little sayings:

"NEVER NEVER GIVE UP" (fair enough, would expect that)
'pain is weakness leaving the body' (WTF??)

So, first day is next Tuesday, if I don't post it will be because I can't lift my arms high enough to tap on the keys ...

Saturday, September 24, 2005

There is a season - turn, turn, turn

Well, I learnt something today, and it is only 6:50 in the morning!

I always knew that America's seasons didn't change on the same date as us, but I'd never got around to looking it up. But, as I was reading Golly Blog Howdy, the first line said "Today at 3:23pm PDT, Autumn arrived." Holy crap, I thought, there is an exact time as well as date for the season to turn?? So, I googled it, as you do, on a Saturday morning when you really should be seeing if you can go back to bed and get more sleep. And I found the following:

Vernal (Spring) Equinox March 20 1233
Summer Solstice June 21 06:46
Autumnal Equinox September 22 22:23
Winter Solstice December 21 18:35
Times are in Universal Time (I say as if I know what that means ...)


So, there you go, now that is precise.

Here, the seasons turn at the beginning of months, like so:

Spring: September 1st
Summer: December 1st
Autumn: March 1st
Winter:June 1st

I guess I could add in times as well, but is always midnight.

And thus ends the lesson. :)

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Caesar Salad

This is a recipe that I picked up when I did an Italian cooking class over a space of eight weeks at one of the local community colleges. The teacher was very big on telling us this particular recipe is closer to the traditional Italian caesar salad, as the dressing isn't creamy as such, and you don't add chicken. Chicken bad! Up til then I didn't know anyone could be passionate about how to make a caesar salad!

* Note: this recipe contains raw eggs

Ingredients

2 small Cos lettuces (or should that be lettuci)
3 slices of thick bread (pick something with a bit of weight to it, like ciabatta)
6 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp garlic (chopped fine) ... about 1 good thick clove
2 eggs
sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper and salt
8 tbsp olive oil (use 4 at first, then add more if needed)
4 tbsp lemon or lime juice
150-200g (5-7 ounces) parmesan cheese (grated or shaved, up to you)
6-8 anchovy fillets (optional, but I think they really do add to it)

Method

  1. Wash leaves under cold water and dry. Cover and chill (ie. put in fridge! While you are doing that, get a large salad bowl, and chuck that in the fridge too)
  2. Trim bread and cut into large croutons (squares). Cook in hot vegetable oil. Lift and drain (ie take out of pan with spatula thingy and try not to take too much oil with you. Perhaps put them on some paper towelling to soak up any excess oil).
  3. After browning croutons, add garlic to oil for a short time and then put the croutons back in. Mix 'em up a bit, then lift, drain and let cool.
  4. When ready to make salad (and not before! Don't try to do this while you are still in the bath or anything!), plunge eggs into boiling water (off the heat) for 10 seconds. Remove and put to one side.
  5. Take the large chilled salad bowl out of the fridge. Rub inside of bowl with cut garlic. Break lettuce leaves into serving size pieces and scatter in the bottom of the bowl (ie. rip it up, bung 'em in)
  6. Add pepper and salt and olive oil and toss, coating all lettuce.
  7. Break eggs into bowl and toss. Add lemon/lime juice and toss. Ensure all dressing is mixed well with lettuce.
  8. Add cheese and anchovies (if used) and toss lightly.
  9. Scatter croutons on top and serve chilled ('cause it is just going to taste crap if you try to heat it up in the oven!)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Take Away Resolution

Despite that fact that Amanda is the Best Cook Ever, and that we have the Oppressively Large Mortgage, we've decided that we should have take-away once a week, or so. Part of the reason is that I usually work late, so I only cook on weekends, and not always very often then (since I can do a reasonable BBQ or roast, but only one person can be the Best Cook Ever). Sounds like it will be pizza tonight, from the local "gourmet pizza" place.

But, now for the bad news - it ought to be Survivor night in Australia (it was for the last season), but they moved it to Friday. Where is the sense of TV tradition? This is bad news because Survivor goes well with pizza - there's nothing like watching the pretty TV people whine about not having enough food, while you get pizza delivered to your door. I can recommend it.

BTW, if you're looking for a nice breakfast or brunch food, I can really recommend the corn things with avocado salsa recipe, from a couple of days ago. I had some leftovers for breakfast the next day - best breakfast ever. Especially when you don't feel like the alternative best breakfast ever - the big breakfast - eggs, bacon, tomatoes, sausages and mushrooms, cooked on the BBQ because they don't make a frying pan big enough to hold it all.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Haloscan question

Ok, does anyone else find in Haloscan when you go to Manage Comments and click on the Post ID it just shows you the comment, not the post that it is for? It's driving me nuts wondering which of my posts comments have been for, especially if they are older posts ...

just wondering ...

Simple sweetcorn cakes with avocado salsa

Today at work we had a team lunch where everyone brought in a dish. I was feeling a little pressured in this, as the girl who organised it sees me as some sort of uber chef due to the fact that I make my own pizza dough and grate nutmeg instead of buying a container of the stuff already grated ...
Anyways I decided to cook a Bill Granger recipe that I had made once or twice before with some success. It's from his book called bills open kitchen. Now don't let the fact that they are called cakes fool you. These look more like pikelets (wondering to self now if in the US they are called pikelets ... hmmm). Umm.. if no pikelets, perhaps small hotcakes (pancakes). Perhaps I should have taken a picture.
Anyway, anyway, they turned out fine, even if I did burn a couple. Hubby and I peeled off the burnt bits and ate them, still quite yummy.
So, without further ado, here is the recipe

Sweetcorn cakes

Ingredients

525g (2 2/3 cups) fresh corn kernels, cut from 3 large corn cobs
1 small red onion, chopped
2 eggs
15g (1/2 cup) chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves
125g (1 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
1 tsp baking powder
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
vegetable oil, for frying

to serve
avocado salsa (below)

Method

Preheat the oven to 120 deg C (250 deg F/Gas 1). Place 2 cups of the corn kernels and the onion, eggs, coriander, flour, baking powder, salt and pepper in a food processor and process until combined. Place in a large bowl, add the remaining corn and stir to combine.

Heat 1 tbsp of the vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium to high heat. When the oil is hot, drop 2 heaped tablespoons of mixture per sweetcorn cake into the pan and cook in batches of three for 1 minute each side. Drain on paper towels and keep warm in the oven while you are making the rest of the cakes. Serve with the avocado salsa. Makes 12

Avocado salsa


Ingredients

2 ripe avocados, stones removed and diced (the avocado that is, not the stones!)
15g (1/2 cup) coriander (cilantro) leaves
2 tbsp lime or lemon juice
2 tbsp finely chopped spring onions (scallions)
dash Tabasco sauce, optional
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Method

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and stir very gently to combine.

sister madly waking up the dead ...

Hubby is out to dinner with a work colleague tonight, leaving little old me at home alone. Alone of course except for the dog-a-logs Benny and Billy, but its hard to count them sometimes as you can't really converse with a snoring Cavalier!

So I'm indulging in a little me time tonight, doing what pleases me. Yes, there is housework to do, especially as we are having friends over on the weekend. To assuage some guilt there, I've stacked the dishwasher, and will turn it on later.

Tonight I've gone through and read through some of my favourite blogs, only commenting on one, as I couldn't think of anything to add to others. I was happy to see that Caltechgirl still likes Survivor, and will be watching the upcoming series. Alas, with the time difference she sees it first, so I have to be careful to look out for spoilers.

After doing that had a soak in a nice hot bath, whilst listening to one of my favourite CDs of all time, Temple of Low Men by Crowded House. The title of this entry is one of their more obscure lines. At the moment the last song is playing, and it is the best on the CD, "Better be home soon". I must have listened to these songs a zillion times. Whenever I hear that last song though, it takes me back to when I worked at the cinemas.

The song was in the soundtrack to a movie I doubt did well in the States, but did quite well here, called The Sum of Us. It's a very Australian movie in that it shows a lot of shots of Sydney Harbour for no real discernible reason other than it is very pretty. Russell Crowe plays a gay guy, who lives with his Dad. Who has a stroke. And this is a comedy .... it's better than it sounds truly. Anyways, Better be home soon is on the soundtrack to the movie, and is the last song to play. I remember standing in the back of the theatre, waiting for it to end so I could clean, and being absolutely blown away by the sound quality of the song. In most part this was due to having heard the song before on car cd players or portable cd players. But it is such a beautiful song and to hear it coming out of top class speakers was just amazing. Neil Finn's voice just struck a chord in me, I could have listened to it over and over again. Which as the movie showed a few times a day, I did.

Funny how little things like that stick in your memories ...