Friday, 29 June 2007


After the disaster that was the last headscarf, I didn't think I'd be returning to the pattern. But surprisingly, my brother took a shine to it (and one of the other balls of Filatura di Crosa I had in the stash) and asked me to make him one. I knat it much smaller this time - I cast on 90 stiches instead of 120, and repeated row 5 only about 9 times instead of 15, and the equivalent in reverse - which meant I didn't have to shrink it in the wash to get it to a practical size. This also means it looks more knitted than felty, and its more stretchy. It's about the same width at its widest (maybe a little smaller) as the other one, but the difference is that it gets much skinnier at the back because there's not so much crossover. This would suit me much better as it leaves more room for hair; however, I suspect it also makes it a bit more girly which probably doesn't suit my brother so well. He wears it quite differently - low on his forehead, a bit hiphop rather than hippie. You can't see it in the picture (of me btw, excuse the bad hair day), but it's fixed this time with a big pale wooden button. Now we will both have nice toasty warm heads for winter!

Thursday, 28 June 2007


I HATE the bus. I have all sorts of views on the state of public transport here, and I don't recommend you ask me about them, because I will RANT like a loony. But speaking of loonies, I caught the bus yesterday for the first time in a while, and - surprise surprise - there were a few travelling with me. Sometimes it's hard to know whether to laugh and keep eavesdropping, or to run a million miles. In this case, I chose the former, primarily because I didn't have much choice in the matter.

There were about 5 people who got on with me, and we all got stuck clumped next to the driver while this woman blocked the way with her pusher after her 4 year old ran off the bus. At least, that's what it looked like to us. It turned out she was actually trying to get off, and as soon as the bus driver told us this, we all climbed back out so she could get off. One man actually helped the woman lift the pram out of the bus. I got the last free seat, right in front of two very interesting women.

(They're in capitals because they were speaking VERY loudly, and in case you're wondering, they weren't Cockney - they were using actual naughty words)

Woman 2: 'I KNOW'
Woman 2: 'I KNOW'

This carried on for quite a while, until the conversation morphed, and it became clear that they knew the woman who'd gotten off with the 2 kids.


I know I'm very sheltered, and maybe a bit judgy, but I think I'm going back to walking home. I guess I'll be taking my chances with the fellow who, a few weeks ago, very politiely asked if he could 'please have a close look at [my] breasts'.


Seriously, you just can't make this stuff up.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

dead. The culprit: chocolate.

Yet another Carla - this one on request from my Nanna. It's the lincraft wool again, this time in a rich French navy (slightly darker than the photo). I really like this one - I like it better than the mustard one, and I wish I could keep it. Funnily enough, I knat it on the correct (smaller size) needles, and it came out bigger than the mustard one!

I also made David Lebovitz' Chocolate Idiot Cake: it surely must be idiot proof because it turned out very well for me! It was sweeeeeet - literally; possibly the richest chocolate cake I've eaten, which is why the portions shown here are so stingy. When you're piling on the cream to 'water down' the dessert, you know it's pretty lush - well that and the 3 blocks of Lindt 70% it took. (Yes, I broke the organic/fair trade chocolate only rule already. I am apparently well intentioned but still a bad bad capitalist in practice). This 'cake' is halfway between a rich ganache, and a chocolate pudding - just solid enough to keep its shape. Next time, I'll try lining the tin with baking paper - the recipe doesn't say to, but I ended up leaving it on the bottom of the springform tin, because I just couldn't see any way of sliding the whole cake off without it crumbling into a big muddy mess. So chocolatey, so good! (And gluten free!).

Monday, 25 June 2007


Photo-essay of Tom's old place, for those who saw it, and those who missed it. The new place is infinitely nicer, but this apartment did have a certain amount of... charm.

1. Welcome! Tom's Front Door. The funky blue door with art deco handle was my second favourite bit about this apartment.

2. Lounge Room/Dining - Opposite View. The dining table is just out of view in the foreground. You can see the dodgy $50 ebay futon, which has now been freecycled, and the superbargain Dimmey's curtains which were about $900 cheaper than they should've been because the stripe is slightly off centre. The bookcase was from the Salvos: all other furniture courtesy Ikea.

3. Kitchen. Off the 'dining room', to the right of the flowers in picture 1. The second tier of cupboards was too high for me to reach, and the oven hadn't been cleaned since 1632. Ish.

4. The bedroom. You can see the door next to the bookcase in picture 2. Bike #2 + dirty laundry (literally and figuratively). The window is just out of shot to the right. Curtains were maroon and more expensive than the Dimmey's ones, and infinitely rubbish-er. (Note discarded flexible curtain rod in the corner). This window is east facing, and has a porchlight on a timer which means that this room was lighter at 5am than at midday with the light on.

5. The bathroom, off the bedroom. Pretty skanky, even after I attacked it with a toothbrush and bicarb +vinegar. Boy blue showercurtain to balance out the girly pinkness of the room.

6. The herb garden. Next to the front door. Since killed off by someone.

6. The best bit: the view. Chocolate Jesus atop the local basilica.

7+8: Details: Postcard wall, and Pennsylvania Dutch 3d decorative paper stars.

Thursday, 21 June 2007

returning the favour.

One of my favourite people is, truth be told, a little eccentric. Kate, who I know from uni and school, moved to Sydney a couple of years ago, and we've been postcarding ever since. Of late the postcarding has dropped off a bit, but a month or so I got this random postpak filled with goodies, including a few beautiful sheets of paper, but no explanation whatsoever. I'm assuming it came from Kate, because she's the only person I know in Sydney, but also the only person I know who would go to the trouble of putting something like this together, but forget to include a note.

So with one of the sheets of paper, I'm making this pendant, which I'm going to send back with equally no explanation. It's going to be hil-A-rious. (Providing of course, that Kate hasn't forgotten she sent me the paper, and hasn't found this blog). It still needs a bit more varnish though and a ribbon/chain/wire...

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

a modern woman.

Well, I've entered the 21st century with a whimper not a bang. I just bought my first song off of iTunes - 'No Rain' by Blind Melon, circa 1992. Oh, yes, I am SO k-e-w-l.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

jumbling things together.

I'm back from Melbourne, and not many exciting stories to tell I'm afraid. I had grand plans of taking lots of pretty pictures, but it sort of didn't happen what with the horrible weather and the shooting and all. I had a great time though - I had a couple of fun catch-up dinners and coffees, did some knitting, and discovered the magic of foxtel (I heart old episodes of The Bill). Normally my trips are a bit frantic because I try to pack so much in, so having a really lazy one was great.

I also listened to a couple of French learning cds which were excellent - by Michel Thomas who seems a bit cheesy, but his method of introducing new things by linking them to things you already know really helped things stay put and just made so much sense. Much less arbitrary. I also liked his French way of saying 'yes, uh-huh' after everything.

I just found these awesome brooches made by Simon McEwan in Melbourne. Next trip I will definitely have to track them down, although I don't think it will be easy. For my memory, leads are here, here and here.

*warning: rant begins here*: I read an article confirming the 5 second rule the other day. Well kind of. They reckon it takes more like 30 seconds for enough bacteria to collect on food for it to be too dangerous to eat. Today, I brought a beautiful Perryman's chocolate doughnut for lunch. The chocolate on these doughnuts is not like normal chocolate doughnut topping - it's so rich and chocolaty and not sticky or gross at all. It's almost solid in fact. It's sublime. So when I accidentally dropped a 2 inch piece of this into my office bin, I wondered. It's only just on the top of the bin - it hasn't fallen the whole way in, I thought. My bin is lined with a bin bag, so it's not even touching the bin itself. There's nothing gross in there, and hardly ever is, so really, that piece of chocolate is only touching a clean piece of plastic. Maybe I should just eat it. No-one will see me... Then of course I remember that it took 6 months for the cleaners to vacuum my floor after the builders munched my ceiling, so it's probable that the bin liner is not being changed each day when the bin is emptied. Also, I am nothing if not overly terrified of germs. I did not eat it. In hindsight I should have. I just went to the health insurers to pay the exorbitant rate which they forgot to bill me for. Surprise surprise not only do they provide a poor product, their customer service is also a nightmare: their office closes at 4:45. I should've seen it coming, but really, what on earth is the point of that? What other business closes at this time? Presumably it is so that I will instead call their useless customer service line instead of leaving the comfort of my office to go out in the cold and waste time lining up in their shop. Because that would be my first option too. Yes I am so sure. Grrrr. It turns out that being young, healthy, clean-living and paranoid is not a good combination. I am getting ripped off and jerked around by these charlatans. I should've eaten that bit of chocolate topping, and at least if I'd gotten sick I would've gotten my money's worth. *end rant*

Monday, 18 June 2007


What started its life as yet another Carla, accidentally turned into a mobius strip somewhere along the away. Oops!

A frogging we will go,
a frogging we will go,
Hi-ho the derry-o,
a frogging we will go.

Friday, 15 June 2007



I've finally finished the tenor clef brooch that I've been working on for over 6 months!

I think I'm going to call it the pho-brooch, because, like the soup, although it's way cheaper and not actually difficult to make, when you count the time it takes, and the fact that you can't get any kind of economy of scale going, just buying one makes an awful lot more sense. (Not that you could in the same design though...). So it's lucky I (mostly) enjoyed the process. Doing this with a laser cutter and some sort of polishing mop would take about 5 minutes, where this took me hours.

First I cut it from a piece of acryllic with a jeweller's saw. I was in a cranky mood, so I was a bit slap-dash with it, and ended up chasing my mistakes when I then filed, sanded and polished it, and glued a pin on. It's still a bit rock-n-roll - it's actually cracked at the weakest point which means I couldn't polish it as well as I would've liked in the corners. Still, it's close enough for jazz. I don't think you'd notice its 'organic-ness' unless you looked pretty closely. And although you can't see it here - I polished it purty shiny. In real life it's pretty much like grand piano black.

Thursday, 14 June 2007


Is this not the most ridiculous thing you've ever seen?

I bought it in DJs - I often go there to get cash out, and my objective is only to buy something that will cost me less than the bank fees for using someone else's ATM (I am with a bank that has TWO ATMs within the CBD. TWO). This water cost me $3.50 for 330mls, which is 75% more than a regular 600mL normal brand. But at least my money didn't go to Mr. coke (I don't think).

And look! I'm getting 35x more oxygen for my money!!!

Actually, it's kind of a fun shaped bottle, and a good size to carry in my bag, and it bubbled way better than normal fizzy water - really big bubbles with fun sound effects (I bought the carbonated version, because I thought it represented *better* value for my too much money than the still...logic?).

But really? I guess it's hard to differentiate water, but does anyone actually buy this? (Metaphorically I mean, because there's obviously at least one sucker who literally bought it). Firstly, I'm not sure how you keep more oxygen in the water (bubbles?). And in any case, wouldn't you lungs be better at absorbing oxygen than your guts? And even if not, does that really class it as a health supplement? I mean, come on. But now I am wondering. Does it mean that the water is more alkaline, and would that mean it's better for my eroding teeth? Or is my chemistry funky? (It was never my strong point).

Also, DJs is stocking Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Between them and the water, I did not achieve my objective. Yum!

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

cooking. Again.

Another cooking weekend. The first curry on the left is another Tikka - this one from an SA recipes magazine, the recipe in question being from Beyond India. It was supposed to be for fish, but I used chicken and it wasn't very good - last week's was better. My brother said it tasted like KFC moist lemon towelettes 'but not in a bad way'. Right, how?

On the right is a combination of the two recipes for Saag Paneer I found. Both recipes were quite similar, so I pretty much just added them together. It turned out ok - it approximated the ones I've tried in restaurants. It smelled bang-on, but it tasted a little bitterer than it should've. Perhaps I overcooked the spinach, or should've ground the spices (even though it said not to). Still, it's a recipe worth tinkering with. I got the paneer from Maya, and I discovered that they also have the most amazing range of Indian sweets. I tried one called Gulab Jamin which was some kind of deep fried dumpling in a sweet syrup. It wasn't the prettiest one they had, but I re-heated it in the microwave and it was so delicious!

Since Elsie was over this weekend, I made another batch of the choc-chip cookies for our get together. Actually I made two batches - on the right is the regular dark choc and pecan, but on the left is a macadamia and white choc version for my brother who's decided he's allergic to pecans. It's fine, but the original is better. I also made Anzac biscuits, and they came out crunchy not chewy. Any tips on that?

My French teacher is trying this new thing where at the end of each lesson we have a free-form chat, and I tell her about stuff that's happened to me. This is supposed to build my confidence I suppose. The discussion about the biscuits went something like this (italics represent French since I can't be bothered again [and hey! Maybe your French is worse than mine! {doubtful}], the magenta is me):

'This morning, I made biscuits'.
'Really, what kind of biscuits?'
'What kind of biscuits?'
'What. Kind. Of. Biscuits?'
'No, I'm afraid you're going to have to give it to me in English.'
'What kind of biscuits?'
'Oh. Anzac biscuits.'
'Great! And what were they made from?'
'What were they made from?'
'What. Were. They. Made. From'.
'What were they made from?'
'Ah. Ok. They were made from butter, and sugar, and flowers, and...what's coconut?'
'Coconut, and btw, flowers ≠ flours'
'Oh, ok. Ooops. Well, coconut... and what's Golden Syrup?'
'Um. That doesn't translate'.
'Yay. Oooh!!! I thought of something I can say. Wait, wait....Some of the biscuits, they.... descended... from'
'What the?'
'They fell out of the oven.'

Guess I've still got a ways to go, huh?

This croquenbouche (sp?) is not mine I'm afraid, but it seemed too glorious not to mention. My mum made it for my brother's 21st and it looked a lot easier than I expected. I thought choux pastry was supposed to be a nightmare (and I wouldn't've thought the Women's Weekly BBQ Cookbook was the ideal reference), but as you can see it turned out spectacularly well!

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

making okonomiyaki.

Back row: spinach (not relevant)
Middle row: okonomiyaki flour, sprinkle stuff, qp/kewpie mayonnaise, okonomiyaki sauce.
Front row: bonito soup stock, completed okonomiyaki.

How to make Okonomiyaki (Japanese Cabbage Fritters):

1. Wake up, and think about making Indian curries. Go to the Indian grocer near the markets.

2. Whilst at the Indian grocer, think about okonomiyaki. Decide to go to Little Tokyo since you're near, to buy some okonomiyaki sauce so that when you do make it, you'll have it on hand.

3. Find the okonomiyaki sauce. While you're there, notice the 'okonomiyaki flour' and realise that you're in the okonomiyaki section (!). Get the smallest pack of flour you can, the one without yam, even though you know it's an important ingredient, and you probably won't get it fresh. Also buy some instant dashi, and something that looks like it might be that stuff they sprinkle on top, though you're not sure since you're just going by the picture.

4. Take it all to the counter. Buy another $8 worth of lollies, when you realise their eftpos minimum is $20 and you have no cash.

5. Go to the supermarket to get some other groceries. While you're there, buy some cabbage. Ponder the Chinese cabbage, and then go with the European kind.

6. Get home and decide since you've got all this stuff, you might as well make the okonomiyaki now, even though it's not mealtime. Don't bother to consult the internet, your brother who has made it before and studies Japanese, or your Japanese neighbour for advice on a recipe, or for help reading the packets.

7. Realise the instant dashi you bought is actually instant bonito soup. Press on. Start mixing one of the sachets in with a cup of boiling water, until it tastes too fishy and gross to eat.

8. Chop up 1/8 of a cabbage very roughly, as well as a small onion. Don't cut it too finely: after all, large chunks of cabbage and onion are yummy!

9. Put most of the flour in a bowl, and mix it with 2 eggs, and the cup of weak bonito soup. Mix in the cabbage and onion, and add more flour until the whole thing has the consistency of potato fritter mix. Ish. Make sure you keep a little flour on hand - you'll want to have an annoyingly small amount leftover to decide what to do with.

10. Fry the mixture in globs in a little olive oil in the frypan. Turn when brown on one side.

11. When cooked, serve with okonomiyaki sauce, and qp mayo. Be childish and make smiley faces with the sauce. Sprinkle some of the sprinkle stuff on top.

Congratulations! You will be rewarded with surprisingly decent okonomiyaki, on par with the commercial ones you have tried! You have made 2-3 large-ish okonomiyaki in under 15 minutes. Give yourself a pat on the back.

12. Take a photo of all the random stuff you bought, so you can hopefully find it again in the shop. You will need to, since you will be making more okonomiyaki this week for sure. You still have 7/8 of a cabbage to get through.

Friday, 8 June 2007

thinking about trying...

these recipes:

Rhubarb, Ginger and Berry Smoothie

Curried Chicken Sandwich

Beef Penang Curry

Orange, Lychee and Ginger Dessert Soup

Chocolate Cake No. 1 (Passover Cake)

Chocolate Cake No. 2 (Idiot Cake)

I'm also thinking of trying to make saag/palak paneer (Indian spinach and cheese curry) since I love it so much. Both of these recipes look good and quite similar, so I might try to combine the two. It does worry me a bit that the first recipe seems to think the spinich is the 'paneer' and the cheese is the 'palak' though, since I'm pretty sure it's the other way around. I noticed the other week that you can buy home-made paneer from Maya on Market Street, which should significantly cut down the work. I tried to make it once from scratch and it was not a total success shall we say. The sticking point may be finding fenugreek leaves.

Palak Paneer No. 1 (Simon Bryant)

Palak Paneer No. 2 (random Indian food blog)

Last week, Mum and I made this dish in tandem. I made the herb/garlic rub from the last of our garden's winter herbs. I dried it in a very slow oven because I couldn't be bothered leaving it lying around for a few days (my cat is very nosy), and it smelled amazing. The whole house smelled wonderful. I think it was worth making just for the smell. Then mum rubbed it, along with some oil on some French bread, and wrapped it around a fillet of steak (I can't remember what kind), wrapped the whole thin in alfoil and then roasted it. After a couple of hours it was still very red in the middle, so she sliced it and quickly fried it to finish the cooking. I'm not sure if the herbiness made it taste that much better (I think I prefer a plain meaty taste), but boy was it tender. It may've just been a particularly good cut of meat, but I am definitely interested in cooking steak this way again.

Thursday, 7 June 2007

celebrity spotting.

This is turning into a very good day!

On the way to lunch at the Goodlife with Elsie, I saw Simon Bryant on Frome Rd! Kewl. At first I thought his giant dog was going to take a chunk out of me, but then I realised he was FAMOUS and stopped worrying (challenge: find the logic). This makes the second celebrity sighting this year in Adelaide! (The other was Ben Folds at the markets).

excited and terrified!


(this does not, however, mean I can necessarily go).

But still. YAAAAAY!

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

cheating. AGAIN.

Ok ok, I cheated again. But I really couldn't remember Embers by Sandor Marai at all, so it was kind of not cheating after all. Right?

The only thing I could remember was that it's about two old Eastern-European men sitting in a room chatting. And to be honest, a week or so after reading it again, I can't remember much more. It's about two old Eastern-European men sitting in a room chatting - fifty years after their friendship broke down and they last saw each other. There is a specific reason why they stopped being friends, and it's basically this that they're discussing, but I can't say what it is without ruining the first third or so of the book. Although you can probably guess.

I was going to say that this is the kind of book that people either love or hate, but I guess that's not really true because I apparently found it completely forgettable. It's one of those books that is more about atmosphere than plot, and it excells in this because it's so well written - I think in this sense it's one of the few books where the cover actually gives you a really good representation of what the content is going to be like. The story is not very directed, often it's quite philosophical, often about the nature of friendship itself, which depending on the kind of reader you are, you'll either find really interesting and beautiful, or just irritating and you'll wish they'd just get to the point already. Which I'm afraid to say they never really do as far as I can remember.

If you like atmospheric, philosophical, introspective writing then you'll probably love this book (Molly?), but if you like directed stories with a moving plot, then this will probably bore you silly. I apparently fall somewhere in the middle, which means that I enjoyed the book, and then immediatly forgot it. Twice.

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

wooooo! ing.

Check out wikipedia's featured picture today!

making curry.

I started off Saturday night planning to make just one dish, but it sort of morphed into three.

On the left, the one that looks like it's sliding off the table, is Peter Singer's daal, on the right is this Chicken Tikka Masala, and the rice is this lemon rice.

They were all enjoyable, but not amazing. I'm beginning to think my standards are too high. If it doesn't taste like excellent restaurant food, it's not good enough. So I may well make these again, but I'm certainly not putting 'best ever' on them. And as usual I massively overcatered.

I followed the reviews and cut down the salt and chilli in the chicken recipe. The rice was ok, better than plain white rice for sure, but not at all like the lemon rice I've had in restaurants. At all. I think if I try again I will try a different recipe. The daal was actually quite good, but I felt kind of guilty for serving it in the same meal as a chicken dish, as Peter Singer provided it to convince people that vegeterian food is just as tasty as meat, and therefore we should stop torturing defenceless animals to satisfy our own selfish tastebuds. Whoops! But I don't think my family would've reacted very positively to a dinner of just lentils, but now they've tried it and liked it, I should be able to make it again as a meal in itself without too much complaining or hippie jokes.

Also served was a little lemon pickle from the Indian grocer on Market St. It tasted exactly like the lime pickle at Beyond India. You win some you lose some I guess.

Monday, 4 June 2007

baking and making.

Two good things to come out of Carous-hell. A new mustard Carla, and a new (and awesome!) chocolate chip cookie recipe.

The cookies were so good, they're almost all gone already, and my mum ate two, even though she's on a diet. The recipe is from Andrew the oboe's girlfriend's grandma, and I haven't posted it here, as I don't think it's my place to make it public. If anyone wants it though, I can email it (and off the top of my head, it was so simple).

[Update: my mum, yes the one on the diet, actually made another batch the next day. So good.]

And I will be warm and trendy in my new Carla: I only wish I'd brough it to work today - I'm freezing.

And a gratuitous cat shot - because this blog isn't l-a-m-e enough.

"Mmmm. Cooooookieees. I wonder how I can get in there without opposable thumbs?"

Friday, 1 June 2007

at the markets.

Apres mon classe francaise, je suis allee a le 'Central Markets'. (Corrections, anyone?).

I went to get some sweet bean curd... but I went a little nuts.

Clockwise from the Thums Up [sic]: Indian breath freshner (red variety); real cinnamon; lemon pickle; sweet bean curd with syrup; passionfruit greek yoghurt; Saint Agur cheese; rambutan; vanilla persimmon; sugar coated fennel breath freshener (pink).

I also bought a whole heap more spices in the Indian grocer that perhaps was strictly necessary.

The whole expedition was a little quicker than usual because there was a fire alarm at the markets. This meant that the lines got shorter when most people evacuated - not me though! Me not afraid of fire! Me have fire training! Raargh! (Also, there was no smoke and the shopkeepers didn't seem too worried).

Also at the markets, I got some good karma. =). I did my civic duty and rang the council to let them know that one of their parking meters was busted. It turns out you only have to use the nearest parking meter, and if it's broken - FREE PARKING! (But I think it would pay to ring the council and let them know, because they take your numberplate in case you get a ticket anyway.)