Sunday, July 25, 2010

The new garden!

Today I have finally decided to do something with my expanse of yard out the back. I have been very fortunate (or unfortunate in some peoples minds) to have been allocated a 3 bedroom house, with a generously sized backyard. At first I didnt know how long Id be staying here, so I didnt touch the garden. Then I went away for the holidays, and came back and somehow, the backyard that was already full of weeds, was a forest. Hmmm...

Today I went to the nursery to order some plants for the Horticulture class that I teach (not by choice, though it has certainly sparked my interest!) and had a chat (for ages!) with the guy that runs the place and found out they're opening a fruit and veg shop there - awesome! At the moment I travel 45mins to go to a market rather than buy the overpriced and substandard quality fruit and veg available at the supermarket here... Anyway I saw lots of cool things that I wanted to plant but they were all in seedlings, which is normally better, but because I havent established any kind of garden patch, buying seedlings now wouldnt be that smart because Id have nowhere to plant them...

Anyway I headed into the city to do my shopping, and once Id done that, I went into the garden shop next door. I could have bought 100 things there, but after talking to a few of their staff (who were really good - I got asked if I needed a hand a few times, and when I asked them something they were helpful) I left with a handful of seed packets, a pitchfork (to get the weeds!), some soil with added nutrients thats meant for seeds, and a little tray to grow them in... It all came to about $50, which wasnt too bad!

Ive come home with a packet of heirloom tomatoes, spring onions (which came with the seeds on a 6m long dissolvable "tape"), sage (meant to be a natural insect repellant), rocket, leeks (meant to be easy to grow - winner!), and purple beans. Ive put the seeds in, covered the seedling tray with gladwrap, watered them and left it outside on the porch! Im pretty impatient so I hope they come up fairly quickly!!

Once Ive figured out where the sun is in the garden, Ill transfer the seedlings and buy some new seedlings to plant. Im planning on having a herb garden (I already have HEAPS of rosemary which was here when I moved in), and also putting in come chillies, capsicum, summer lettuce, beetroot, corn and whatever else looks nice and is in season when the time comes.

After Id done that I attacked some of the weeds... This is going to be a bit of a job! I think Im actually going to mow the weeds down, because some of them are quite grassy and would be fine if they werent a foot tall! The others though, are going to have to just get pitchforked out! Which I discovered today... Will be a bit of a job, some have very well established root systems! Im thinking about asking the education dept, who own the house, if they might be able to get some of the backyard paved, which would make entertaining much easier! Theres also the added bonus of having less garden to take care of... Cos those weeds are going to be the end of me!!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The famous Jon Mac cookies

Well after hearing so much about these peanut butter cookies, I decided the make them today... Peanut butter isnt something that I normally have in the house so I bought some smooth PNB for the job... Heres the recipe before I go on...

1 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)

1 cup sugar

1 egg

Anyone would think that some of the ingredients are missing? Where is the flour? Nope, none. Thats it. Forgive me for being skeptical, but I was... I thought they would come out as "cookies" but not really that great. How good can something be with only 3 ingredients? I beat the egg and sugar together until the sugar was as dissolved as it could be, and my arm got tired so I gave up beating! But I already know that I dont like too many sugar crystals in my biscuits so I tried to dissolve as many as I could! I then mixed in the peanut butter until it made a nice even mixture. I baked them in 2 batches, the first I forgot to roll into balls, and the second lot went into the oven nice and uniform! I expected the mixture to melt down to create quite thin biscuits, but to my suprise they sank into perfectly round, 1,5cm high smooth cookies! I was pretty blown away by how they formed, I didnt expect it at all! But at the end of the day, the most important thing is how they taste....

Well Ill tell you.


At first I ate one and it was a little bit bland, but it was pretty much fresh out of the oven... Ive let the little beauties cool and had another one and theyre pretty good!! They seem to get better with time... obviously when I say time I dont mean a week. But Id say tomorrow these guys are gonna be fab!

As you can see I did slightly burn them... they have to be watched fairly carefully otherwise, as I found out, they can end up with a bit of a burnt tinge! Note to self - dont go and do anything important while cookies are in the oven!!

But, what an awesome recipe to have up your sleeve! You can have these whipped up in 30mins, done and dusted.

All credit goes to JonMc from the forum for sharing the recipe with so many! Its definately going in the repetoire!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Commercialism hits again

Having another musical moment.

I love the Subways album "Young for Eternity" and have it blasting loud and often... Favourite songs include Mary, Rock n Roll Queen (which you can find on a FIFA game, Guitar Hero, and on the RocknRolla soundtrack, probably their most famous song from this album), Oh Yeah , and I wanna hear what youve got to say. Its just generally awesome.

I might be a bit behind the times, but they have a new album called All or Nothing. Its left me pretty cold... Their old vocals were great, it was rock n roll and it wasn't perfect, cos they're too busy letting loose and rockin out, and their music was unleashed upon the listener, the kind of music that you wanna kick your shoes off, use a beer bottle as a microphone and dance on a table with your friends, playing the air guitar. This new album hasn't got the same raw quality. It feels alot smoother, refined and a bit more commercial. There are hints of their old unrestrained rock n roll like the start of Shake Shake, but you can hear the shackles of commercialised pop rock dragging them down a bit... Their vocals are too clear and toned down, they sound like they're trying to sound "better", or clearer or just sound a bit more like everyone else to appeal to the masses. and I HATE that. I will have to listen to the album more than once though...

The same thing happened with Kings of Leon. Their old vocals were SO distinctive, mainly because you have no idea what they're singing about - you cant understand it because he mumbles and has a strong southern accent. Their music was THEIRS and it was very personalised, it was their style and they rocked it. It was just music they wanted to play. Some of my favourites are Taper Jean Girl (which is one of my favourite songs from their album Aha Shake Heartbreak), Velvet Snow, The Bucket, and King of the Rodeo. With their new stuff, their vocals are really different, hes refined them so much, it feels like, for me, that he's lost alot of what made KOL so cool, the distinctive vocals! You can understand everything he says, he hardly has an accent anymore, and while you can still tell its him, he's trying to appeal to a wider audience by not being too much of a "niche" vocalist. I remember saying to a friend, before I discovered them (which was LATE, I never really listened to them until they got FLOGGED on the radio with Sex on Fire etc) that I didnt like his voice because it sounded to me like he was a tryhard, wanting to sound like something hes not. Turns out, upon listening to their old stuff and LOVING it that I feel thats the case... Im not totally bagging their new stuff out, I do like it, but its not NEARLY as good as their old stuff, which feels to me like they had less commercial boundaries, they just played what they liked.

Lets hope all my other favourite bands dont jump on the wagon!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


I'm a fairly frequent poster on Nigella Lawsons website, and get alot of recipes either from her collection, or from other users who post their recipes on there. However I often have problems with the website. After posting I get redirected so the posts get lost (luckily I just press "back" and the post is still there - I just have to resubmit 4 or 5 times before it goes through), and I have to keep on logging in ALL the time, the option of "remember me" doesnt seem to work. When telling the moderators about the problems you get the same response that they are working "tirelessly" or "around the clock" on the problems, however the problems have been there as long as I can remember, at least 6 months. They don't seem to do doing anything at all to fix it. However them working around the clock also means moderating EVERY post that gets submitted. If they dont like what you've written, you get an email and you have to change it or it just doesn't go through. You dont have to have said anything especially controversial, but anything thats not sugar sweet and lovely wont make it through the censor. If you say that you dont like a certain celebrity chef for whatever reason, when the thread is about celeb chefs, you get an email, saying the thread is going off topic etc... With all the problems this website has in terms of user friendliness, you'd think they'd have better things to be doing with their time rather than just sitting there making sure everything thats being said is to their liking. However, today I sent them an email asking where half my posts had gone, and I got a reply saying that my posts had recently started to cause them a great deal of work because of my... *sigh*... lack of apostrophes and capital letters. This is what "Webmistress" had to say...

"We have noticed with your recent posts that it has been necessary to edit them quite heavily for punctuation, in particular capital letters and apostrophes. We are happy to capitalise the odd oversight but extensive edits such as thoserequired for your contributions are time consuming and slow the publicationof all other submissions. Could you please double-check future submissions before pressing 'send'.
Please see below for an example of a recent submission and Webmistress's edited version. Thank you for your cooperation on this.
Best wishes,

(This is what I wrote in response to someone else starting a post about a plug in muffin maker, as opposed to an oven - and the person who started the thread was bagging it out)
"yeah whats so hard about the oven? whats even different about the oven, aside from you can fit MORE muffins in there? who makes enough batter for 6 muffins!?"

(and this is what Webmistress "had" to change it to... This is what she gets paid to do all day...)
"Yes what's so hard about the oven? What's even different about the oven, aside from you can fit MORE muffins in there? Who makes enough batter for 6 muffins!?"

Ummmm...... WHO CARES?! Does a lack of capital letters really matter? lol its really pretty ridiculous... It makes me wonder if they're just trying to get me off the site. Because really... Writing "dont" instead of "don't" on an internet forum is the least of their worries when you see how the things runs...

Pretty lame if you ask me!