Monday, April 29, 2013

Loving this week {April 2013} - celeriac fries


The 'loving'this week' posts are all about the little moments in your days and weeks that have tickled your heart.

This week, I have renewed my love affair with celeriac. We may be losing summer fruit, but with the change of season, we are gaining winter-appropriate vegetables.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Individual vegan dark chocolates with lavender cream filling

Sometimes, I make something that is so exciting, so fun, and so enjoyable that it takes all of my energy not to pepper the associated post title with exclamation marks.

This is one such occasion.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Chilli spiced ANZAC biscuits

Chilli in ANZAC biscuits? I know. What sacrilege. What was I thinking?

Before you declare me un-Australian, let me assure you that I made regular ANZAC biscuits too. In fact, I set out to make regular ANZAC biscuits. It's just that towards the end, I found myself wondering...what would a chilli version taste like?

It turns out, a chilli version is rather wonderful.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Books and films - some highlights from the first four months of 2013

It's been a while since I've talked about books and reading, and on only one previous occasion have I talked in any focused way about films. Today, I feel like talking about both. I'm hoping you feel like reading about them.

My reduced focus on books stems, at least in part, from my reading exploits being available to view on my Goodreads Books page. I figure that those of you who are interested can follow along that way, and then I don't need to bore the rest of you on a regular basis. At the same time, it seems possible that non-Goodreads users might like a summary of books every now and then.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Incaberry oat breakfast bars

A week or so ago, I was delighted to see incaberries turn up on Orgasmic Chef and Hotly Spiced, blogs written by the charismatic Maureen (Orgasmic Chef) and Charlie (Hotly Spiced). I tried incaberries last year after seeing them at a local independent supermarket, and loved their tart-sweet taste.

Maureen and Charlie received their incaberries from Australian distributors of the product. After I left a comment on Maureen's post saying how much I'd enjoyed incaberries last year, and how much I'd love to play with them in baking, she kindly alerted the incaberry company to my comment. They, in turn, kindly sent me a sample of my own so I could experiment away.

This chain of events almost leads me to christen incaberries as berries of kindness. Thank you, all.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The incredible delights of som tam

You all told me. You sung the praises of the green papaya salad that is som tam, with its lime and chilli and sweetness and spice. You told me it was a classic dish, and that I needed to try it.

And you were all right. Very, very right.

I don't know how authentic my version of this salad is (probably not very), but it was enough to win me over. In fact, it was enough to make me swoon. My mouth danced. My soul danced. My memories of this salad are still, right now, dancing.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Asian spiced tofu with green tea soba noodles - and Mr Bite saves the night


Some time ago (really some time ago), I bought a pack of green tea soba noodles from a nearby Asian supermarket. After buying them, I put them in the pantry and did...nothing.

This week I took them out, inspired by a desire for tofu and a post-run craving for noodles. I marinated the tofu in a mix of garam masala, soy sauce, lemon juice and maple syrup, added some vegetables, and tossed it all through the beautifully green noodle strands.

Except, actually, I didn't do it quite that easily because 2 minutes into the noodles' 6 minute cooking time, we had a power cut.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A post that wasn't, but then was: Finding the positives in humanity

I wasn't going to write this post. I was going to sit quiet for a few days, allow the horror of Monday's Boston marathon events to settle down, and hope for a gradual return to normality. I figured you didn't need another blog post, Twitter update or Facebook comment about what happened. I'm sure we all feel the same. It is awful. There are no words.

And yet, here is this post. I guess I couldn't not. To not say something seemed, somehow, worse than saying anything.

So I'm going to say it. I am angry. Horrified. Upset. Sad. Grieved. Angry. Confused. Lost for reasons, for understanding. And did I mention angry?

I am really angry.

To me, and to many others, the Boston marathon sums up so much of what makes humanity great. It doesn't matter if you're a runner or not, or if you're American or not - it is an event of community spirit, of endurance, of effort, of support, of triumph, and of perseverance. It is a multinational running event known the world over. It is something great. To have that interrupted and shattered...we lose part of what makes humanity good, and we gain something that makes humanity terrible.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Fitness Fridays (on a Monday) - Bunbury Three Waters Half Marathon

In the very rough system that drives my Fitness Friday posts, I would have posted on a fitness-themed topic last Friday. However, as those of you who follow me on facebook may have seen, yesterday was the Bunbury Three Waters Half Marathon. I have been training for the event since the start of the year, and my superstitious self didn't have the confidence to post about it two days ahead of time. I also couldn't bring myself to do a fitness post on something else as, frankly, everything else seemed trivial last Friday.

And so, we have a post today instead.

Finish line from afar (courtesy of Mr Bite)

I first mentioned this half marathon when I did my post on 2013 goals. In 2012, I'd hedged my bets, setting a goal of doing a half marathon (21.1km) or a shorter distance. Coming out of injuries in early 2012, I went for the shorter distance, a 14km fun run. This year, there was no hedging! I signed up for this race way back in November last year, giving myself lots of time to prepare.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Perugina 51% dark chocolate and 70% dark chocolate, and a week of small mishaps

It's been a week of minor mishaps. Only very minor, you understand, but just enough to make me aware of the amusing, bumpy, and at times inexplicable nature of modern life.

A solution for modern life.

I discovered that my work phone was no longer ringing audibly when someone rang me. I had thought I was missing a surprising number of calls - instead, I was just not hearing the calls. Quite a nice arrangement, except for needing to call everyone back myself.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Raw Thai papaya salad

When I had lunch with Mel at The Raw Kitchen Cafe, I was introduced to the edible joy that is green papaya. I'm not even sure I'd heard of green papaya before then, never mind had the privilege of tasting it. 

Green papaya

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Happy Birthday Mr Bite

When you're young, your own birthday is really the only one that matters. With age, getting older becomes that bit less exciting, and being the centre of attention becomes that bit less appealing. Given I have never really liked being the centre of attention, we're now at the point where I'd like to reduce the scale of my birthday to, say, a 1 on a scale of 0 to 10.

In contrast to the above, I have found my excitement about other people's birthdays to increase in my adult years. Heaping extra attention and enthusiasm on people I care about? Yes, please.

I need to work on my icing lettering skills
(even aside from the name adjustment on the bottom line!)

Yesterday was Mr Bite's birthday, and I was very excited for it. Like last year, he wanted pizza with family and the exact same chocolate mudcake I have made for three years now. Unlike last year, his birthday fell on a Monday, which meant we separated out his family celebrations from his actual birthday day.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

In my kitchen - April 2013

I am linking this post in to Celia's monthly In My Kitchen event at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

In my kitchen, there are sugar snap peas snow peas (thank you, Hannah, for educating me!), another vegetable re-discovery thanks to Aussie Farmers Direct. The last re-discovery was corn on the cob.

I had forgotten, or perhaps never knew, how enjoyable these are. Crunchy, sweet, no preparation time, and good straight up, cold in salads, or warm in stir fries.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Plum muffins (vegan and streusel topped)

I finally got those plum muffins I was dreaming of.

As it turns out, they really are the muffins of my dreams (and I have made a lot of muffins in my time). They don't have an exotic ingredient list, they aren't particularly different to other plum muffins around, and they're not really new or creative. They are, however, really really good.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Loving this week {March 2013}

I am linking this into cityhippyfarmgirl's 'loving this week' post for March. It's a little late, but I blame Easter!

The 'loving'this week' posts are all about the little moments in your days and weeks that have tickled your heart.

Loving...memories of Beelu National Park, where we walked a 9km loop on Good Friday.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Purchasing property overseas: An Australia-Britain experience

As I have mentioned, one of our significant 2012 events was the purchase of a flat in south-east London. Purchasing property anywhere is a big milestone, and doing it from the other side of the world was quite an adventure. I have wanted to blog about our experiences because we struggled to find much online to guide the process. There was plenty on the process of buying in Britain, but nothing on buying in Britain when you don't actually live there. Some of my points are going to be UK specific, but some should generalise to other countries too. I do understand that this post may be irrelevant to many of you, so if it's outside your area of interest I won't be offended if you skip over it and wait for a return to normal broadcasting tomorrow.

Before I get to the process of our purchase, let me put in context why we wanted to buy in London at all. Although we are hoping to move there in 12 months or so, that was only one factor in the decision. Instead, we focused on London because it was actually cheaper than Perth.

Let me explain.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Rum and raisin vegan cupcakes and roast peppers with currants and pine nuts: Easter Sunday


As a child, Easter was a big event. Not as big as Christmas, but similar to a birthday. There was anticipation, excitement, and a sense of importance attached to the day.

The Easters of my childhood usually followed a similar structure. There was an Easter egg hunt in the morning, to find small eggs left by the Easter bunny. There was a bigger egg or chocolate rabbit from my parents. We would see my Australian grandparents for lunch, and that meeting would generate more chocolate. The lunch itself was appropriately eventful too: a hot lunch, perhaps a roast, which was not common in my family. After lunch we might go for a walk, or visit a park. In later years we sometimes had picnics.