April 30, 2004

I have an early job

I managed to briefly hold two jobs this week, without having worked at either :) I got a job in a Lyttleton bakery, making sandwiches, filled rolls, pizza breads and finished pastry products like danishes and cream donuts etc. It's more consistent hours and better pay than McDonald's, but it does mean getting up at 3.30am five mornings a week. I get in there by 4.30 and leave by around midday, so that's good in terms of having usable daylight after work. But man it's giving my body a hammering! I've only been doing it for two days though, so hopefully things will get easier.

Man, what else can I say? I'm whacked! I am a little concerned about how it's going to affect my eating habits because it's a major disruption to my routine but hopefully that will even out too with time. Mainly I think I am just too tired to be hungry at the moment :)

Posted by phreq at 04:00 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

April 28, 2004

Grey Day

I'm having a grey day today... the hills are misty, it's drizzling softly with rain, and I'm depressed.

I actually think I'm scared about starting work again. I know, I know, flipping burgers should be the most low-stress job there is. But it still scares me, I don't want to stuff things up and get things wrong... I hope it's a gentle learning curve. I think the thing that worries me the most is that I don't think my ego could survive getting fired from McDonald's for incompetance!

I get weird when I'm depressed like this, I either want to go shopping (and spend money I don't have!) or do nothing at all... a bit like a kid throwing a tantrum... when she was good, she was very very good, and when she was bad, she was HORRID!

I made a bizarre dinner last night that is quite simple and tastes good. It takes about an hour to prepare (if you're slow, like me!) and about an hour to cook. These recipes are adapted from the lastest issue of Cuisine:

Herbed Potatoes
Lamb + Apple
Strawberry + Passionfruit Souffle

Potatoes:
6 Red Rascal potatoes
Sprigs of thyme
Salt + pepper
Olive Oil

Scrub the potatoes and cut deep slashes into them, evenly spaced. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper. Bake at 200 ° for about an hour or until soft.

Lamb + Apple
About 400g of diced lamb
Olive oil
4 spring onions, sliced finely
2 red skinned apples, cored and sliced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
500mls mixture of fresh lemon juice and orange juice. (I used 4 lemons and a 350ml bottle of Simply Squeezed)
500mls chicken stock
Salt + pepper

Heat the oil and brown the lamb. Add spring onions, apples, sugar and thyme and cook for a few minutes. Add the liquids and simmer on a low heat for about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and reduce the liquids a little. Serve with the potatoes and some steamed green beans.

Strawberry and Passionfruit Souffle
250g fresh strawberries and 2 ripe passionfruit
1/2 cup sugar
5 egg whites
Icing sugar

Butter a 1.5 litre souffle dish (like a deepish small casserole dish) and preheat the oven to 200 ° Hull the strawberries and remove the pulp from the passionfruit. Puree the strawberries and the pulp and add half the sugar. Beat egg whites to stiff peaks. Add remaining sugar and beat until the meringue is glossy and will hold a tall peak. Stir a little of the meringue into the puree and mix well. Add the puree mix to the meringue, folding together as lightly as possible (use a large flat-bladed spatula). Spoon into the souffle dish. (At this point you can refrigerate it for a few hours if you want to prepare ahead.) Bake until puffed and golden-brown, about 25-30 minutes. Dust with icing sugar and eat immediately.

Agility Dog

Did you know that cocker spaniels are quite agile? I thought I'd been ever so clever setting up a door only the cats could get to, it's a louvre window about a metre off the ground! But Charlie Brown can apparently jump that with ease - I turned around just now and he was sitting on my bed, looking most pleased with himself! Back to the drawing board... :)

Posted by phreq at 09:38 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 25, 2004

MacGuyver Girl

I realised from the entry below I'd forgotten to recount the thrilling story of fixing the phone line :) The line out to the sleepout got chewed by the puppies (the previous lot of puppies) last year. No one could be bothered getting someone in to fix it, and Leon just used the phone in the house, so it wasn't a problem.

However, I have an internet addiction to feed and no phone line in my room just wasn't sustainable! So I spent an hour or so yesterday finding the cable, locating the break, chopping out the chewed section (I was very lucky there was a small amount of slack in the cable, or it would have been impossible!) and stripping the wires to join them. I had to wrap all four joins in tape individulally so they wouldn't short out again, and then wrap the whole repair in layer after layer of duct tape, because being an outside line, it can't get wet.

I couldn't believe that my repair actually worked, it seemed a very bodgy job! The phone line is a little echoey, but it works and I can get a connection to the net, that's the main thing :)

Posted by phreq at 09:35 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Yes! Yes!

Oh yeah... man I missed having an internet connection!

Well the last week or so has been insane. I've moved rooms, finally got the car WOF'd, got a job and fixed a phone line :)

Leon is really sick with chemo and stuff, so he has moved from the sleepout into my old room, and I've shifted out to his. It's actually really good, because it means that the cats can come and go through the window (the other room only has french doors) and also because it has a fridge and a toaster. All I need is an electric jug and a microwave (and maybe a video player) and I will be all set. Also, the sleepout is kind of grungy (Leon had a predilection for black paint) so I'm going to repaint and redecorate it, which should be fun.

The bad side of the sleepout is that I have to go all the way inside to go to the bathroom, and yesterday morning I was busting to go to the loo - and discovered the door was locked and I didn't have a key. Luckily I'd finally got the car warranted the day before (it only took, what, about a month?!) so I was able to drive down to the public toilets. Everyone thought this was hilarious when I recounted my traumatic morning to them, but when I pointed out that my alternative was to wake them up at 6.30am they saw my side... :) So now I have a back door key.

My other big news is a job... but before you get too excited, let me point out that it's at Macca's :) It's only part time but still, it is money on the table and structure to my day, and a good way to meet some new people in Christchurch. I start on Friday so wish me luck!

Oh yeah, the other thing is that I changed the cat's name to Henry (Kissinger). Chinook was just way too girly for him. He has started bringing in odd socks and bits of carpet underlay for some reason. I have no idea where he's getting the socks from - they're all guy's socks though. I had four on my floor this morning!

Posted by phreq at 09:19 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

April 09, 2004

Nakedness

Nakedness sounds so spikey and functional, not like vulnerable which kind of caves in on the tongue and crumbles most satisfactorily at the end. And nude just sounds bold and blunt and arrogant. So what then shall I use to describe my current state? Well, bloody freezing, given that I'm in Christchurch and it's about 4 degrees outside.

It is a problem though, I can never find a nice-sounding synonym for naked. I found 23 entries for naked in thesaurus.com and I still can't find a term I like. Suggestions?

Now a recipie for a nakedness smoothie is another matter altogether. It seems to me that the following usually does the trick:

Ingredients:
1 shot Kahlua (or a generic coffee liqueur, but they're never as good)
1 shot Cherry vodka (normal vodka is fine, you know you'll never use all that cherry stuff anyway)
2 shots chilled Espresso
Chocolate Milk (use one of those little moro milk boxes for something really indulgent)

Instructions:
Stir. Add your choice of drinking game if desired and mix well. Stand back.

If that smoothie doesn't cause nakedness, I'm fresh out of ideas.


Posted by phreq at 09:32 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

April 07, 2004

Dog-Chasing Kitten

Have you ever seen a kitten chasing three puppies? Chinook has well and truly found his feet… I took these photos this morning after Millie had spent 15 minutes cowering behind my legs as Chinook stalked her across the kitchen floor.

chinook_lucy.jpg

chinook_millie.jpg

I worked out that between Deb and myself we are both buying the wrong food yet everyone is being fed. The kitten is sneaking the puppies’ food. Ruby is eating kitten food, and Chinook is eating her food. The puppies are eating any cat food they can get their noses into. Ruby is sneaking out at night and eating the adult dog food, if there is any left after the puppies have been at it. And to top it all off the animals will eat anything we are eating… including raw carrots and mashed parsnips.

I cooked dinner last night and found a great recipe for lamb marinade that really tenderises the meat beautifully. I got the recipe from kraftfoods:


1 cup dry red wine
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. fresh sage, chopped and 2 tsp. dried thyme leaves OR 2 tbsp. each dried basil, oregano and thyme
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 butterflied leg of lamb (about 3 lb.)

MIX wine, oil, garlic, herbs and seasonings. Pour over lamb in large resealable plastic bag; seal bag. Refrigerate 2 hours or overnight to marinate, turning occasionally.
PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Place lamb on rack in roasting pan.
BAKE 50 to 60 minutes or until meat thermometer reaches 160°F (medium). Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.


And then put this sauce on top. I had trouble getting the sauce to thicken properly, so make sure you let it reduce quite a lot. It takes at least 30 minutes to make, so start early. But it tastes good even without thickening :) It says to use pinot noir but any red will do, really. This recipe came from The New York Times:


1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small carrot, peeled and grated
1 stick celery, grated
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves OR 1 tablespoon each dried thyme, oregano, basil and rosemary
1 1/4 cups pinot noir
4 cups veal or beef stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces.

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, and sauté carrot and celery, stirring constantly, until lightly caramelized, about 3 minutes. Add thyme and pinot noir, bring to a simmer and simmer until reduced by half, 7 to 10 minutes. Strain into a clean saucepan.
Add 4 cups stock, bring to a simmer over medium heat, and simmer until sauce is reduced to about 1 1/2 cups. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Increase heat to high, and add butter piece by piece, whisking to emulsify. Sauce will become glossy and coat back of a wooden spoon. As soon as butter is incorporated, remove sauce from heat, and spoon onto meat.


Mmmmm… elaborate meat… :)

Posted by phreq at 11:59 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 06, 2004

By Gah it's Been a While

Man it's so hard to get enough time to be online nowadays. I liked it when I lived alone and could use the phone with impunity! But since I am sharing a line these days I have to be a little more polite and limit my usage to the early mornings when they're all in bed :)

Hmmm so stuff that's going on: Well, the guy I'm living with that has cancer is going ok, he's starting the second round of chemo and it appears to be moving in a positive direction, although it's too early to say really. He's pretty sick and tired and in quite a bit of pain, but he's really lovely and so un-self-pitying, it's amazing. He races radio-controlled cars and he's just got a 4wd off-road one so that he can use in the back yard rather than having to go out to the track for racing F1 style cars.

My car failed its WOF, so I took it to a repair guy, who did such a bodgy job that the car failed its WOF again! Sigh. Very frustrating and stressful. It's so annoying having people fuck me around because I'm a girl and don't know much about cars. I'm pretty sure a guy would have been treated differently in the same situation. So now I have to find a different panel-beater (one that actually will do the job) but I can't afford to spend hardly anything on getting it fixed, since the whole car is only worth a grand.

I bought a little kitten the other day, he's a 3 month old ginger tom. Very affectionate, as gingers tend to be, and bold as brass - there's 5 indoor dogs here, as I mentioned, and the cat seems totally unfazed by them. I've called him Chinook, after the spring thaw wind. Ruby is reconciling herself to the situation slowly and pissily.

I thought for a moment it would be WWIII between the cats, but we appear to have more of a Cold War situation going on...

Posted by phreq at 09:25 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack