Sunday, August 12, 2007

Courgette & Almond Tangle

Just a quick post before heading out for brunch with one my favourite friends, M*. He's a real sweetie, everyone needs a friend like him. Gentle, a great listener, critical enough to be able to have a great bitch with, and always there. It's much more than I can say for myself!!

Anyway, a quick recipe before I go. I was reading Smitten Kitchen's blog and came across a post for Deb's favourite side-dish: zucchini & almonds. Well - I LOVE courgettes (zucchini) and I LOVE almonds. They're so good for you, so crunchy...they're like pseudo-crisps! So of course I tried the recipe and it was so-so-SO delish that I had to re-create it into a complete meal.

Just adapt it to your own quantities (I'll get round to proper measurements at some point!). Like Deb says, like more almonds? Chuck more in! I reckon you need 1/2 courgette per person. And it shouldn't be swimming in cream - when you plate there are no puddles! Just a milky moistness...oo-err that sounds a bit rude!

Enough for 1
30 mins prep to mouth
Handful of almond flakes
1/2 courgette, cut into matchsticks
Grated Parmesan
Salt & Pepper

- Put pasta on boil
- Chop your courgette into matchsticks. If you like crunch, then big matchsticks. If you like your courgettes more cooked, little matchsticks.
- Toast almonds in olive oil until golden brown and remove from pan. You can skip this step and just continue with the other ingredients, but I like to preserve the crunch for as long as I can.
- Toss courgettes in and fry for 1 minute.
- Season with salt/pepper and remove from heat while you....
- Drain pasta
- Put frying pan back on heat, stir in the pasta with courgettes and then push to side of the pan
- Add cream and slide pan to the side of the hob so only side with cream is hot. Bubble away till cream is reduced.
- Stir almonds, courgettes & tagliolini back through the sauce and toss.
- Sprinkle with grated parmesan.
Inspired by Smitten Kitchen

I might try it with a little lemon juice/zest the next time....

*M is actually, really Aidan from SATC. I'm not kidding!!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Days that Just Are

Do you ever spend so much time thinking about stuff, that you literally think yourself out? The MooMoo and I had another one of out 12 hour marathon brain drain sessions the other night, and it wrung every neuron out of my head. The next day, I just could not think anymore. Didn't want to! Wandering around Kinokuniya, I rejected any and every book that was more complicated than Nancy Drew or Enid Blyton.

Ugh, just mentally exhausted.

And the day after there is a weird flatline hum in my head. I don't know what I want to do, what I want to eat, what I want to read and most of all, I don't want to see anyone. It's like I'm open for most of the year, but when I'm closed, don't even think about ringing that bell damnit!

Weird. I think at this point, someone in a white coat might recommend I take a pill.

So there I was, lolling around on my bed wondering what I could do so as to not completely waste the weekend, but that wouldn't require climbing out of my pajamas and into people clothes.

Ok, I'll try to figure the Dolphin's camera out. I've been pretty pleased with the pictures I've been taking but they're all random snaps. I don't actually know what I'm doing. I just point the camera, fiddle around with the dials and keep on going until the laws of probability convince me I must have something in the can.

However my bleh state of mind rejected any notion of reading an instruction manual so I did something else I'm very good at - I sponged off someone's else knowledge.

If you go to Flickr, there's a drop down menu called Explore and from that you can pick Camera Finder. From there, you can find your fancy-schmancy camera and search for all the pictures on Flickr that have been taken with that camera. In my case, I was looking for macro shots.

When you've found a great photo you'd like to learn from, scroll down and you'll see on the right a little link under the tags that says Additional Information, and from there More Properties takes you to the EXIF (Exchangeable Image File) data.

From there, I kind of worked backwards until I figured a few things out. I think.

In any case, it motivated me get out of my pajamas to go outside and take some pictures so that's one way to do it!

Truth be told, I think I just want the Dolphin home. It's all well and good being independant and keeping busy, but there's always an empty space where it's hard to smile when he's away.

Jedi blooming. The Desert Rose that was planted on Jedi's ashes. EXIF data here.

I don't know the name of the plant but it's purdy! EXIF data here.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Pattern Recognition

I like swimming.

It's infinitely better than running and the splish-splash-splish-splash is strangely soothing. I do alot of thinking when I swim so I try to do it as often as I can.

The thing is, no-one taight me how to swim and it's odd because I can't swim more than 3 laps without choking & gasping for breath and needing to take a break. I just accepted it as yet another lame limitation of my inert body.

I usually swim at my parent's pool, and I always start on the same end. I have funny habits like that. Always start on the same end, 2 laps freestyle then 2 laps breaststroke, repeat until I'm choking for air and my heart feels like exploding.

Then yesterday I was paddling around when I decided it was time to do a proper swim. But this time, I started at the other end. I just happened to be closer.

And because I started from that end, my first stroke led with my left hand instead of my right.

And because my I started on my left hand, it meant I took a breath of the third stroke, rather than on the 4th stroke.

And I discovered that.......if I take a breath on the 3rd stroke instead of the 4th, I don't get out of breath so quickly! OMFG!!!!!! I'd been holding my breath for far too along ALL THESE YEARS!!!!

Needless to say I managed to swim for twice as long as I normally do and felt mighty pleased with myself!

So I guess sometimes it's good to do things backwards, the wrong way around, at a different time or in a different way. It changes your perspective and makes you do things differently, sometimes for the better! It's my WHILT for the weekend!

Adding Audio

Morning! I've had a few requests about how I add audio to my posts so I thought I'd share the Tutorial for Flash MP3 Player. It's eazy-peazy-lemon-squeezy!

And in honour of this post, I'm also going to share one of my favourite songs of all time, Air's All I Need.

All I Need - Air (Moon Safari, 1998)

Huge thanks to Torley Linden who first taught me how to do this and Daytime James for the push to finally post this!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Leftovers: Peanut Butter & Banana Muffins

*Update: Ok, they're not bananery enough to be called "& Banana" muffins so they're just peanut butter!

Mmmmm leftovers. I really love leftovers! Nothing better than feeling a bit peckish and finding a little tupperware with a smidgen of curry to eat with that last crusty end slice of bread.

However, a fridge full of leftovers is tiresome because there's no more room for the new leftovers. Since I was relatively free today (the renovation guys are on a break of some sort...) I thought I'd clear some room up in the fridge. I had some overripe, spotty brown bananas from the ChocoNanaNut Sarnies, Bisquick leftover from Jack Russell Mania's 5th Annual Party, brown sugar leftover from the Red Onion Jam, some Philadelphia light that was about to go off....hmmm what to make, what to make?


This is quite a mish-mash recipe. I didn't have enough Philly so topped up the balance with butter. Didn't have enough banana so topped it up with peanut umm...let's have an open mind when it comes to the measurements.

Makes 10 muffins
1 hr prep to mouth
250g cream cheese and/or butter (I used roughly half of each)
1 cup soft brown sugar
1 cup mashed butter and/or peanut butter (I used abt 80% banana 20% crunchy peanut butter)
2 eggs
2 cups Bisquick
1/2 tspn vanilla essence

- Preheat oven to 220 190 degrees Celsius *Thanks Mrs Chavez for the feedback on the temperature!!
- Cream the cream cheese/butter and sugar together until it looks like soft mocha icing.
- Blend in the eggs and banana/peanut butter
- Add the flour and vanilla essence and mix it all together. It doesn't matter if it's lumpy but try to break up the big lumps of flour!

- Spoon into muffin tins and bake for about 20-25 mins until the tops are nicely browned and when you stick a toothpick into the middle, it comes out clean.

Ooohh they're so moist and soft and crumbly...I had one, Higgy had one and I'm gonna give the rest to my mum & dad so they don't have to go and queue at that RIDICULOUS Chocolate & Spice muffin stall where people queue up to buy for their entire neighbourhood so a 8-person queue is actually a 25-person queue AND they want each of their 600 orders packaged in seperate boxes in different permutations!!!!!! Oooohhh people like that make me so mad!!!!!!!