Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Week That Was....

Birthday Coffee Love

What can I say?  It's been a great week!  It's study week. No lectures.  No tutorials. AND I had a birthday - perfect timing you might say!  

The week started with an 'appointment' with a good friend, who had scheduled me in as one of her patients, in order for us to meet at 9.30am for a coffee.  This was followed by an evening of hi-jinx and hilarity; dinner with friends, which ultimately.ended in my birthday cake being cut with a pair of scissors.  That's right. Scissors. Funny stuff.   

I also managed to squeeze in two films during the week, an Indian film, Peepli Live, which made me yearn for India, and was featured in the Sydney Travelling Film Festival, which had very conveniently travelled up to Byron Bay's Dendy cinema, and also Alejandro Gonzalez's Buitiful.  Two completely different, but fantastic films, each dealing with very real and disturbing subject matter. If you're planning to see the latter, I'd recommend having a copy of Austin Powers or Zoolander on hand for when the credits roll.  Trust me.

...but onto more pressing matters, I have exams next week, one of which I have to learn the entire unit because I failed to attend lectures beyond week four on account of the fact that it was possibly much more interesting for me to stay home and watch my wheatgrass grow - not a word of a lie... I even captured it on camera - see below.

And so, like any other normal person, rather than focus on the impending exams, I thought I would put together a list of the things that I have discovered, and things I couldn't be without this week.

Here goes...

10. Coconut Oil

I’m not sure if it’s due to the change in the weather, my diet or any other environmental factors, but my skin has been drier than usual recently, so I have been moisturizing with coconut oil – No chemicals, no fragrances, just 100% cold pressed coconut oil – the kind that I usually reserve for cooking.  It has a myriad of uses, and after living in India for 6 months, I discovered the reason why the women there have such thick, healthy, shiny hair. 

It's all about the Indian head massage and coconut oil.  Pure bliss.

9. KEXP live streaming

Ordinarily, living in a regional area can mean that you have limited access to many things that folk in the city may take for granted.  One of those things is quality, independent, public radio. 

Fortunately, we’re not completely deprived and off the radar; we do get ABC’s Radio National and Triple J, but sometimes ya just need something not so high brow, and not so high school, but something a little more urban, something with a bit more of an edge.  Suffice to say, I could not possibly have made it through this week without the internet, or specifically, without Seattle’s  I have championed this station for quite sometime now, and it continues to deliver. 

Other close contenders are Melbourne’s RRR and PBS, but it’s the Seattle sound that I always come back to.  And thank god, because I also discovered a great band called Slow Skate.  If you’re into low-fi musical noir, mellow guitars and vocals reminiscent of Mazzy Star crossed with the Cowboy Junkies, all with a vintage feel – you should definitely check them out!

8. My Ipod

Despite the fact that I have been living with ipod fatigue now for over 12 months, I still could never be without it.  As much as I love the radio, you can’t stream the internet in your car, and living in the country requires several playlists to make those long commutes to the ocean and back all the more bearable. 

I also received a new album this week which I have already added to my itunes library, and should also help alleviate some of the symptoms of fatigue.  Caro Emerald’s Deleted Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor.  She’s a Dutch jazz singer, and apparently this album beat Michael Jackson’s Thriller for the longest time spent at number one in the Dutch Top 100 – 29 Weeks!  Go Caro!

Just need to save some pennies and get Slow Skate on there too!

7. Trainers

Evidence of all those hearty, stodgy winter meals is beginning to show.  Need to jog further and faster than ever before at the moment! 


At least it is keeping me fit!

6. Notebook

Just like Hemmingway, I always carry my Moleskine around with me! 

With a memory like mine, I am constantly referring to things I have written down, and writing down ideas and things that I need to remember.

5. Ginko Biloba

With looming exams, and again, with a memory like mine, I am popping 3 of these babies a day in order to improve my memory. 

The literature in the packet assures me that my concentration will improve, which it has, and that my memory will sharpen – Not sure about that, but I guess the evidence will be in my exam results.

4. Big Love (Season Four)

I have been waiting with bated breath for the release of this DVD for over a year now.  The video store down the road, for some reason has on a 3 day loan – that’s some 9 episodes to be viewed within 3 days! 

So far, I’ve watched the first 3 episodes – I can’t bring myself to rush this one, as I know that when it’s over, I’m to have at least another year to wait for the fifth series.  Damn, it’s good though.

3. Chia Seeds

I have rediscovered my love for chia seeds this week. 

In my efforts to shed those extra kgs from hearty, stodgy food and my current inert lifestyle – sedentary at the laptop, I have started back on these babies for breakfast and in smoothies. 

My wheatgrass

2. Juicer

I could never be without my juicer.  Some people start their day with a coffee, I start mine with a juice, usually green from the garden produce and my lovely little trays of wheatgrass.

1. Swimming with the Fish

Beautiful Wategos
I love the fact that this week, I have started four days with a jog in the morning sun, along the sparkling sand, followed by a swim with the fish, in the crystal, clear, blue ocean.  It’s the end of May, the water’s chilly, but it is still so beautiful and clear and such a nice reminder that when you are in the ocean, and in nature generally – nothing else really seems to matter 

What got you through this week?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

More Amusing Graffiti

I spied this little gem some time ago, on the back of a toilet door in the university library... as you would expect.  I think this one is absolutely hysterical, and pretty much sums up my position on being multi-dimensional infinity too - I don't really need to say anymore.   Oh, and I promise that's not my response, although I kinda wish it was! Too funny. Enough said.

How to Make a Record - Thanks KEXP!

I love KEXP.  I do.  It is my favourite radio station ever!  If I lived in Seattle, I would permanently have my radio on the dial... but alas, I don't. I live in Australia, but fortunately we have the internet which means I can stream it live into my life at any time of the day. 

It makes me happy. 

I found a great blog post yesterday, about making vinyl records- I know how I get into the groove, but how do you get the music into the grooves?

I loved this article.  It cleared up a lot of grey areas for me - Rock on!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Food and Music in a Paradise City

Forgetting that I was a poor, unemployed student earlier in the year, I found myself browsing late at night, only to come across a couple of books which inevitably saw me punching in the digits of my Visa card.  This time however, it wasn't to indulge my great love of music.  This time it was to indulge my other great loves - books, food and health.  What can I say?  Everyone loves music, reading about and eating food.

The first book was 'Crazy Sexy Diet' by Kris Carr, whose release I had been waiting with anticipation for sometime, and the second was 'Appetite for Reduction' by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, a little gem that I'd not yet heard of, and now can't stop raving about! 

I'm not ashamed to say, I completely judged this book by its cover.  My love for music and food, together at last, even though the title and cover is a Guns n Roses parody.  I realise that vegan food may not be perceived to be very rock n roll, and you're quite right, I can't actually visualise Axl Rose chowing down on a quinoa pilaf, however as they say, you should always trust your gut, and my gut was telling me that not only was I hungry, but that this book had great potential. 

Turns out I was right.  This rock n roll sounding recipe book is my favorite, and FULL of delicious vegan recipes, one of which I loosely based a delicious cannelloni on a couple of nights ago.  The cannelloni tubes are filled with a roasted cauliflower and tofu 'ricotta', as well pumpkin mash with a dash of nutmeg.  

It's delicious, and perfect for these wintery nights!

I can't remember the exact proportions I used but it went along the lines of the following:

1 box wholemeal lasagna sheets or cannelloni tubes
1 half cauliflower head, chopped into small florets
250gm firm tofu
2 hefty tablespoons of nutritional yeast
juice of a lemon
small bowl mashed pumpkin
himalayan salt  
tin chopped tomatoes

To make the 'ricotta', you need to spread the cauliflower florets out on a baking tray, drizzle a bit of oil on them and season with salt.  Bake for about 20 minutes on 220C.  

Meanwhile, juice the lemon and break the tofu up into crumbly pieces. When the cauliflower is ready - lightly browned, soft but firm - process together with the tofu, lemon juice, nutritional yeast in a food processor, to a ricotta like consistency.  Season with salt to taste. 

If you are using lasagna sheets instead of shells, boil till they are soft enough to stuff with filling and roll into tubes. Season the bowl of mashed pumpkin with a little salt, pepper and nutmeg, and commence stuffing your cannelloni tubes, or rolling your pasta sheets.

Lay the tubes out in an oven proof dish, and top with your favorite tomato sauce.  Mine consisted of a tin of tomatoes, simmered with a couple of cloves of garlic, a chopped brown onion and a handful each of basil and parsley from the garden.  

Bake the cannelloni at 220C for around a half hour or forty minutes - or until they feel soft enough, and hot enough to eat.  

Locate and dust off your copy, or your brother's copy of 'Appetite for Destruction', because we all know that there's one lying around somewhere in the house, set the needle to 'Paradise City' and chow down baby.


For more amazing recipes, check out Food Renegade

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Lentil and Walnut Burgers

I just found the most amazing sounding vego burgers.  Ever since I worked a juice bar at the Rainbow Festival over summer, and then partied at Golden Plains in March, I have been dreaming of 'Jerry's Burgers' - one of the ubiquitous food stalls that seems to be doing the festival circuit.  Those burgers are simply to DIE for, and without having tried out this particular recipe, they look and read like they'd be up there with Jerry's.

So excited!

The Wellness Warrior: Sweet disposition

The Wellness Warrior: Sweet disposition: "White sugar is like crack. I'm not going to sugar coat it for you. It's nasty stuff. Not only is it highly addictive and not provide your b..."

Favourite Graffiti

This is a picture of my most favorite graffiti.  I found it on the back of one of the ladies toilets at the Napier Hotel in Fitzroy about a year ago.  Possibly the most sensible graffiti I've ever seen anyway.  Why can't common sense be a common thing?

New Beginnings...

So.. after spending approximately the past few hours trying to come up with a blog name, I have finally settled on this one... Imagine my surprise indeed, when almost every single blog domain name had already been registered... 

'For what it's worth' - taken.  
'On the count of three' - taken. 
'Eat your heart out' - taken.  
'Over my dead body' - taken... 

It's hard work trying to come up with a name that you not only like, but one you hope not to tire of! Well, as with all things.. time will tell. I did spend almost an hour canvassing names with my friend, Sean.  It was hilarious. Sadly, with names such as 'Eat. Pray. Lust' many were taken, and the others were predictably too inappropriate for such a forum! 

So, like any other ordinary student, staying in on a Saturday night, faced with the pressure of looming exams and remaining in on a Saturday night, I decided it was as good a time as any to start up a blog.  A nice little distraction to get me on the long and windy road to fame.  A shameless self-promotion, if you will! I can't believe I've another birthday just around the corner and I'm still not famous.  Not even 15 minutes! Carpe Diem!  Now... what to blog about... 

Five minutes later... as I search for inspiration and try to come up with some ideas - mostly the everyday mundane, I am listening to the Beatle's - Abbey Road, trying to keep my mind off the fact that I think my nose may be suffering from a touch of frost. Yes, winter in Lismore has proven to be a lot more chilly than one would think! The past week has seen me fielding weather complaints from Melbourne-ites who are genuinely shocked when I tell them that every night this week, I have been getting around the house in ugg boots, layer upon layer of long sleeve tops and jackets, wrapped in a Kashmiri shawl with a Tibetan yak beanie, complete with ear muffs, on my head!  Quite simply, the houses in these so-called warmer climes are not set up for winter.  The walls that keep the warm air in and the cool air out are paper thin. Not to mention the wall to wall windows that overlook the magnificent views of the distant hills.  I guess you can't have it all.

I am actually counting down the days till I return to Melbourne after exams for a few weeks of ducted heating and thick woolly black coats and gloves.  I have so many books and movies to catch up, and I just finished watching the first season of The Wire and now have a week to watch the fourth season of Big Love.  Again, I had all semester to watch these, and for some strange reason, I join the local Video Sleazy a week and a half ago... Not so surprising... The books will have to wait till the holidays start.  I've been carrying around Fatima Bhutto's 'Songs of Blood and Sword' since I left India in December and still have not read it.  I'm quite upset actually, apparently she is in Australia this week for the Sydney Writer's Fest - I'd soooo love to attend, but alas, my Austudy budget won't extend to a mini-break in Sydney to attend a Q&A with an author of a book! It's a damn shame though.  She's gonna be brilliant.