| Sunday, July 31, 2011
This is like my second major crocheted thing. So I guess I'm not really allowed to tease crocheters anymore, am I? ONE OF YOU, HOOKERS; ONE OF YOU. Anyhoo, last year at the Wollongong knitting retreat I won a packet of purple Patons Shadow Tweed at the trivia contest. I had no idea what to do with it. Then I saw my friend Devvy post a photo of her ripple afghan on Ravelry. Gorgeous! I have fond memories of family members with crochet afghans on the back of their sofas when I was growing up. It was time for me to make an afghan.
I used the same pattern that Devvy did: Easy Ripple Afghan. I can't remember how many stitches I chained to start; it was probably the 178 suggested in the pattern. I used a 6mm crochet hook. I started it last winter, set it aside in the warmer months, and then picked it up again this year when it got cold. It was nice to sit under it while I was working on it! I used up all ten balls in the packet. I wish it were a bit bigger, but the wool is discontinued and I can't seem to find anymore. (It's colour 6909 if anybody has any they're willing to part with!) As it is, it's a nice lap rug for one person and it fits perfectly on the back of the couch. A very satisfying little project... (Continue on for more photos.) [more...]
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Last week's mystery weakness hung around, making me tired and achey and pukey. On Thursday it finally manifested - I'm sick! Not sure what this virus is, but it wiped me out. I ended up taking Thursday and Friday off (from work, from running, from everything). The Snook's got it too! Fine birthday present from me. Anyway, we did manage to get in a couple decent runs before it finally laid us low. Last Sunday was our long run of 15km, which was also the Snook's longest ever. We did it at a comfortable 2:1 ratio and pace. On Tuesday I headed out for a run on my own to break in my new Mizunos. Wednesday I went to Spudds, but I was feeling really weak and crappy by that point. I should've known something was up!
July 24: 15.20km
July 26: 6.00km
Total this week: 21.2km (13.25mi)
Total in 2011: 725.65km (453.5mi)
In order to meet my goal of running 1200km in 2011, I should be at 692km. So I've still got a nice little cushion there...
Friday, July 29, 2011
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Another video! A few weeks ago the Snook and I went to Google for the latest Girl Geek Dinner. The talks were excellent and we had a lot of fun. (I even won a Computer Engineer Barbie!) While we were there, the organiser Kellie asked if I'd mind being interviewed for a little video they were putting together. Here it is...
Wow. To celebrate the Sydney Opera House, a number of Australia's most famous musicians got together at the House to record a cover of Nick Cave's "The Ship Song." It seriously gave me shivers.
I also really, really like Amanda Palmer's version...
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Monday, July 25, 2011
Sunday, July 24, 2011
This is our 24th cooking/blogging experiment from Jamie's 30 Minute Meals. We didn't think our oven would be repaired in time for this one, so I flipped through all the remaining recipes in the book looking for the ones that didn't need an oven. There aren't many! We chose "Sea Bass & Crispy Pancetta, Sweet Potato Mash, Asian Greens, 1-Minute Berry Ice Cream, and Sparkling Lemon Ginger Drink." (As it turns out, the repair guy fixed the oven a few hours before dinner, but we were already committed to this recipe.) We'd previously watched this episode, and we re-watched a bit of it online to refresh our memories. The Snook was on chef duty for this one, and he managed it in a very fast 30:56!
Substitutions: Well, it ain't sea bass. European sea bass just isn't available here. We turned to the fish markets for advice on a suitable substitute. They recommend Murray cod, which upon further googling appears to be critically endangered. NOPE! We instead went with some beautiful John Dory fillets. Instead of asparagus, we used some pak choy we got in last week's veggie box. Other than that, everything else was as written in the recipe.
Quick verdict: In many ways, this is the prototypical "30 Minute Meal" recipe. We actually had to check to make sure we hadn't made it already! It feels very, very familiar. It's got all Jamie's favourite ingredients (lemon, fennel seeds, chilli, sesame oil, etc); the technique of microwaving the veg for the mash; piling up everything on a tray; the random extra bits he has you make to use up time, like the drink; and the thrown-together dessert at the end. However, even though this one didn't feel very exciting, it was certainly a pretty good meal. I found the mash a little sweet at first (some extra salt helped with that), but the Asian greens were perfect. The fish was okay, maybe a little boring. (Our skin didn't get crispy enough and stuck to the pan a bit.) The lemon drink was very good, but seriously, who bothers with things like that? And the dessert was nice, if a bit expected. Overall I gave this one an 8; the Snook gave it an 8.5. Nothing really wrong with it, but nothing really amazing either. And he managed it in 30:56! Can't argue with that.
Read on for a photo essay of the preparation. [more...]
Friday, July 22, 2011
What a dreary, crappy week of weather we've had! Sunday the Snook and I went for a short run (cutback week) with a Magic Mile in the middle. I'm thrilled to report we did it in 9:24! I have definitely gained some speed in the past few months. I added an extra bit to the run to take it to 7km in total. Monday I was meant to give blood so I didn't bring any workout gear... only to have the Red Cross stab me twice without getting a decent vein. Damn. I ran on Tuesday at lunch, then had a Spudds workout on Wednesday. I felt kinda crappy and ill during Spudds, but I'm fine now so it must not have been anything serious. Today I went for another run in the pouring rain with my friend Raj. We're tough!
July 17: 7.09km
July 19: 5.62km
July 22: 5.52km
Total this week: 18.23km (11.4mi)
Total in 2011: 704.45km (440mi)
To meet my goal of running 1200km in 2011, I should be at 669km this week. So I'm still ahead of the pace! My ankle is still not 100%, but it's better. I'm looking forward to our scheduled 15km long run this Sunday. It'll be the longest run the Snook's ever done!
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Me: Sorry to bother you - but were you on Life Support on SBS?
Him: Yeah, that was me.
Me: You were brilliant. That smoked salmon dish you made... I thought my husband was going to die.
He had a chuckle and repeated the punchline about capers ("They used to be pretty hard to find, but now they're available basically everywhere!") for me and Spudd. Heh.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Monday, July 18, 2011
Sunday, July 17, 2011
This is our 23rd cooking/blogging experiment from Jamie's 30 Minute Meals. For this one we chose "Smoked Salmon, Potato Salad, Beets & Cottage Cheese, Rye Bread & Homemade Butter." We picked it because the Snook happened to buy us a beautiful rye from Brasserie Bread at the Rocks Markets on Friday, and because we had this episode recorded. I was on cooking duty for this one, and I lucked out because this one had the least actual cooking of any meal in the book so far! It's mostly assembly, which meant that I finished in the blisteringly fast time of 26:05. (It's so quick that Jamie even does an extra dish on the show utilising raw beets, which I didn't bother with since it's not in the book.) Fastest meal ever!
Substitutions: Jamie used a bag of prewashed watercress, but we could only find it in a giant bunch. So we spent a few minutes ahead of time picking off the leaves and washing them. Jamie also used "cooked vac-packed" beetroots, which neither of us have ever seen in Australia. So I pre-cooked the beets by peeling them and then microwaving them for ten minutes. Oh, and we couldn't find Greek basil, so we used regular. Other than that, everything was as written in the recipe.
Quick verdict: Yummy! This is such an unusual recipe in the book; the flavour profile is much more "northern European" and out of Jamie's usual wheelhouse (English/Italian/Asian). It made for a really nice change. There was so little cooking that there's not much to critique. The potatoes were excellent, though I'm not sure the dish warrants the name "salad." Making my own butter was fun, and once again it made me appreciate our awesome food processor. The beets were great, and the trick of microwaving them first worked brilliantly. The only "flaw" in this meal is that we both felt it worked much better as a lunch than a dinner. With that in mind, we both rated it a 9/10. The flavours are great and the presentation is impressive, but it's not the type of thing you crave after a long day at work - unless maybe you're Nordic?
Read on for a photo essay of the preparation. [more...]
My distance cushion is disappearing! I guess that's the point of building it up, so that I've got it to burn when I have a week like this. The ankle sprain I suffered on Friday ended up being a little worse than I thought. When I got home that night, it was swollen and bruised and painful. I kept it wrapped in a compression bandage most of the weekend, and I tried to keep it elevated as best I could. Sunday we were scheduled to run 13km, but I reluctantly stayed home to rest the ankle. (Snookums ran it without me and he did a GREAT job! I really, really wanted to go with him.) Monday it was feeling marginally better, so I managed a Spudds class that night. Tuesday I tested it on a run with Raj, and it actually felt pretty good! Wednesday I had another Spudds class at lunch. At that point the swelling was mostly gone, though I still had a nasty bruise below the ankle. (I tend bruise pretty easily though.) I wanted to get in another run on Thursday or Friday, but frankly I just didn't have time. I've got some new responsibilities at work, and they've been keeping me busy. I was tempted to try to make the run up yesterday, but I remembered Hal Higdon's advice: Never try to make up a missed run. It's gone. The rest will have done me good.
July 12: 5.48km
Total this week: 5.48km (my lowest ALL YEAR!)
Total in 2011: 686.2km (428.9mi)
In order to meet my goal of running 1200km in 2011, I should be at 646km right now. So I've still got 40km in the bank... I just hope I don't have to rely on them anymore!
Friday, July 15, 2011
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Monday, July 11, 2011
Sunday, July 10, 2011
This is our 22nd cooking/blogging experiment from Jamie's 30 Minute Meals. For this one we chose "Thai Red Prawn Curry, Jasmine Rice, Cucumber Salad, Papaya Platter." We picked it because we felt like doing a seafood recipe; we had the episode recorded; and we thought we had a good chance of the required produce being in season. The Snook was on duty for this one, and he managed it in 35:17. It was pretty darn good!
Substitutions: Our small prawns were frozen, but Jamie said on the show they were okay to use. We used coconut cream instead of coconut milk (since we already had some in the pantry). We didn't bother with the prawn crackers. Other than that, everything was as written in the recipe!
Quick verdict: Well, the first thing you notice is... It wasn't red! We think the Snook may have gone a bit overboard with the coriander when making the curry paste. It's not really a problem though, because I'm addicted to coriander. This was one of those meals that ticks all my favorite flavour boxes: garlic, chilli, coriander, sesame oil, lime. It was very fresh and very yummy! The Snook thought the curry wasn't very "curry," but he still liked it. The cucumber salad was a revelation, and we ate the whole bowl between us. Unfortunately we weren't able to use our oven for the crispy prawns (on account of it EXPLODING earlier in the day) but cooking them on the cooktop worked well enough. The fruit platter was simple but tasty. The Snook rated it 8.5, while I gave it a 9 out of 10. The preparation was slightly unusual, in that each dish was pretty much completed before moving on to the next (instead of interweaving the steps, as he does on the other recipes). Still, I think you could shave a few more minutes off this one with practice. Read on for a photo essay of the preparation. [more...]
Friday, July 8, 2011
This was a cutback week on our half-marathon training plan. Sunday the Snook and I were meant to run 5km with a "Magic Mile" time trial in the middle. To my astonishment, we ran the mile in 9:17! That's 30 seconds faster than the last one we did 11 weeks ago. Monday I had a Spudds class after work. Tuesday I was busy most of the day, but I managed to squeeze in a short hill climbing workout with my friend Raj. We did repeats up and down Cathedral Street. (Killer.) Wednesday I had a rest day, then Thursday I went back to Spudds again. (I got 155m in 30s on the rower! Best of all the women.) Today I went for a run with Raj, Kunaal, and Geoff doing 2:1 intervals around the Domain. All was going well until I rolled my ankle at the 4km mark. I managed to finish the run, but it started getting painful and swollen at work. I tried to keep it elevated and I iced it a couple times. Now it's wrapped up in a compression bandage. I hope I can still do our long run Sunday!
July 3: 5.12km (with 9:17 Magic Mile!)
July 5: 3.37km (inc 5 x 200m hill repeats)
July 8: 5.87km
Total this week: 14.36km (9 mi)
Total in 2011: 680.72km (425.5mi)
To meet my goal of running 1200km in 2011, I should be at 623km. So I've still got a nice cushion, even if this ankle does give me grief. (How lucky that it happened now and not a month ago before the marathon! I had been so paranoid.)
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Sunday, July 3, 2011
This is our 21st cooking/blogging experiment from Jamie's 30 Minute Meals. For this one we chose "Seared Pork Fillet & Catherine Wheel Sausage, Meaty Mushroom Sauce, Celeriac Smash, and Garlicky Beans." We chose this one mainly because it seemed fairly low-carb. (I'm back on the diet.) Unfortunately this episode hasn't aired yet, so all we had to refer to was the recipe in the book (and a couple YouTube videos). I was on chef duty, and it actually ended up being a fairly complicated meal with lots of components. My clock time was 36:37, but the sausage spent a few minutes longer than that in the oven. Oh, and I got to cut up KIDNEYS for the first time in my life. It was like high school biology class all over again!
Substitutions: Pork kidney seems to be unheard of here, so we went with lamb kidney instead. We used just plain button mushrooms instead of "white or chestnut" mushrooms. I used some cheap cooking sherry in place of the Marsala. I didn't have long wooden skewers for the sausage so I used several toothpicks instead. Other than that, everything was as written in the recipe!
Quick verdict: This was one of the best recipes in the book in terms of the harmony of all the flavours. All the various components complemented each other so well! It was also perfect for a winter night. I was dubious about the mushroom and kidney sauce, but it was the highlight of the whole meal. Seriously, SO GOOD. (Well worth the effort and grossness of prepping the kidneys.) I ran into some problems with time management and there are things I'd do differently next time. Still, we both rated it a 9 out of 10 for tastiness! Read on for a photo essay of the preparation. [more...]
These are the second socks in the 2011 "Super Special Six Pattern Sock Club"... and I'm officially two months behind schedule. Yikes. These suckers just sucked all my will to knit. I HATED them! I knitted them on a pair of 2.75mm circular needles with Lang Jawoll Magic. The combination of pattern and wool just drove me nuts. The folded cuff was incredibly difficult to do, especially in such a dark yarn. (I ended up doing a provisional cast-on in a lighter yarn so I could see what I was doing.) I added in an extra 8 stitches to each sock (in the purl sections), and I still can barely get them over my ankles. They twist badly. The wool gets very fuzzy. I followed the pattern for the heel, but I just did a traditional decrease and graft for the toe. But whatever, they're done now and they're not too ugly. I'll get some use out of them. Now onto the Leyburns! (More details over on Ravelry.)
Friday, July 1, 2011
Halfway through the year! I can't believe it's gone by so quickly. It feels like just yesterday I was stressing over getting to 1000km... and here I am six months later with a MARATHON under my belt! My recovery is going pretty well. I'm back on the Slow Carb Diet, and I think I'm past the initial "carb withdrawal" hump. (I was pretty cranky and tired on Wednesday, but I've perked up again.) I managed five workouts this week: a 10K "long run" with the Snook on Sunday, Spudds on Monday, lunchtime run on Tuesday, Spudds again on Wednesday, and another lunchtime run today. Oh, and I managed double-hundreds on the rower at BOTH of my Spudds classes! No wonder I was tired and grumpy. :)
June 26: 10.46km
June 28: 5.41km
July 1: 5.61km
Total this week: 21.48km (13.4mi)
Total in 2011: 666.36km (416.5mi)
In order to meet my goal of running 1200km in 2011, I should be at 600km right now. So I've got a nice healthy 66km cushion! (At this point last year, I was at 489km... so I'm like 180km ahead!)
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