Thursday, April 10, 2014

travelling in style

For the last many lots years I have been whizzing around the city and country in my mother's little mazda. She took my station wagon so that she could easily transport her surf skis - fair enough, but I've definitely had the best end of the deal.

Now that we upgraded to _Garth the Golden Beeper Jeeper_ I am returning the little Tardis-Version-Two-Point-Oh. With some homespun upgrades, so that my mother can continue to enjoy adventuring in the little beast.

The TV2POh's first road trip and Naming Day. My beautiful girlfriend of a bazillion years and I got lost on Tambourine Mountain... for about three hours. We tried every road to get off that damn Mountain - and even resorted to buying a map - and managed to end up at Beaudesert and having to get back ON to the mountain to get back off it again. Good times.


Inelegant, but a solution.
Sean and I have taken multiple camping trips in the TV2POh, from overnighters all the way to a two week driving holiday that traversed Tasmania in winter. We did it all comfortably, and warmly and I like to think we've mastered the art of two people, one (small) car.

The realms of possibility, however, in regards to simplicity is magnified when you only have one traveller to set up for. There is no need to have to reshuffle everything continuously (mostly to fit two people to sleep) and there is so much more space.

Luckily, this project which I have been focused on the last two weeks has had a minimal budget thanks to the fact we are downsizing to move.

Room on the back seat for your luggage bag. Or a hitchiker.

Boot popped, remove the modesty panel to reveal...

....almost everything you need.
To the left in the image is a small table and the previously pictured canopied tent. I just have to pack in the tarp which can be placed over top of the whole car, attached to the wheel spokes, for night-time privacy.
Comfort plus. Goodbye little car. Look after my mother on her travels.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

years later : a revamp 

So it's been a while. Most of my posts seem to begin this way.

Life has been ever marching on. Or, perhaps, time has been ever marching on. Life recently (and isn't it amazing how 'recently' as you age can be a couple of years?) has seemed stoic. Although if we're talking knee-raising metaphors, I've felt somewhat like I have been treading water for a long while. 

Sunrise on Mt Wellington
Treading water is not a bad thing - I have been surrounded by beautiful people and lovely experiences but underneath all of these have felt the constant 'daily grind' wearing me down. I have known for a while that what I've desperately wanted is a change of scenery.  A new place. A catalyst for rediscovery of self. Thankfully, that change is in the works.

Soon the little family and I will be relocating to the (almost) very southernmost tip of our country. It's going to be - and already has been - stressful and expensive. But the payoff will be incredible. 

Anticipating the move, I have renamed this blog. It, too, needs a clean start. I am contemplating removing my facebook account. For while it is convenient, it is too much so. It gives the illusion of connectivity. Being able to 'see' what friends and family are doing, but without really speaking.

There will be massive downsides, and likely I will come back to it. But the need for a break is building within.

Once the timing is right, and I take my social media sabbatical... You can find me here. You can 'see' me here. Talk with me here - comment. Family and friends who already have my phone number, text me if you want my email address or skype handle. Or simply call me.

Til then, my darlings... ...Love and light. B.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

banana oat loaf of sorts

Presently in the oven is an experimental 'banana... and stuff' loaf.
(I hate the term 'banana bread'... it's a CAKE, people!)

You can find the base recipe here, but boy-oh have I altered it.

In the blender I put...
... 3 x small squishy overripe bananas
... 2/3 cup applesauce
... 1/4 cup vegetable oil
... 1/4 cup light coconut cream
... 2/3 cup honey
... 1 tsp vanilla
... 1/2 tsp salt
... 1/2 tsp cinnamon
... 1/2 tsp nutmeg
... 1/2 tsp allspice
... splash apple cider vinegar

In one of my giant mixing bowls I combined...
... 1 cup flour (unfortunately I was out of wholemeal, so I used plain white)
... 1/2 cup self raising flour
... 1 cup oats (I used those crappy 'quick cook' ones, because I'm trying to use them up)
... 1/2 cup dessicated coconut
... 1.5 tsp baking powder
... 1/2 tsp baking soda

Then I added and mixed the wet ingredients, poured them into a spray-oiled loaf pan, and pressed into the top a crumble made of ginger nut biscuits, cinnamon and walnuts all crushed together.

I've popped it in the oven at 165*C fan forced for 45 minutes...
... I guess we'll see how it goes.

[Update:]

Friday, August 17, 2012

All rock or hard place.

I don't personally like Assange. He gives of bad juju - not even from 'enemy' media perspective. I believe within his ego lies a subconscious belief in his patriarchial rights, as it were. I believe that anyone thrusting themselves forward as magician who pulls the 'total-governmental-lack-of-respect-for-those-they-are-supposed-to-serve' rabbit out of the hat should have a basic respect right down to local level. So should something have happened, he should have been tried - only for crimes prosecuted - in Sweden.

However, given his notoriety, it is clear that he is not guaranteed a fair trial - for crimes prosecuted - in any Western nation.

Sweden refused the offer of 'I'll come in, if you pinky swear to take further extradition to the United States'. They refused. Yeah, I wouldn't go either.

Britain has confirmed it's commitment for US extradition. Keep in mind, folks, that while WikiLeaks damaged a large number of international reputations - the United States had the largest downfall.

Given the United State's recorded track record of respecting other global authorities coupled with public, non-WikiLeak examples of breaches of basic human rights, you can understand why Assange isn't too keen to rely on their hospitality.

...Does anyone know how Bradly Manning's holding up over there?

Step in Ecaudor - a small nation of 13 million, granting political asylum and citizenship just last night.

Step up UK - who immediately reinforced their promise to the United States for extradition.

Out comes the theories that the Ecuadorian embassy can be revoked, so that British forces can enter to arrest Assange. This is the biggest 'What.The.Fuck' move ever, from my perspective.

If *any* country can decide that embassies are no longer, then there no longer remains any embassies in any country, ever. It's just a building that those funny foreign people are, who haven't pissed the host country off yet.

It will shine a light on the concept that there is no real democracy and no actual respect for other countries and cultures regardless of economic status.

And given the cultivated apathy of the general public as whole in the world, what it really does is make me itch to read a particular strain of WikiLeak files. Not about weapons, or the international equivalent of high school bitching between countries... but about the research and implmentation of programs to pacify and groom a complacent populace - IF such in depth policies exist.

Which stem, again... from governmental attitude shifting from 'serving the people and their needs' to 'profiteering through control'.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Vegan lasagne! With mashed pumpkin and pea topper.
Vegan orange cupcakes with lime-coconut icing.
Macadamia and white chocolate cookies.
Peruvian long black and brownie... ohm nom.
Pouring pretties at work... on a good day !
Chai latte and the work couch. 
Guillermo. Ohm nom.


Monday, May 14, 2012

healthy, wealthy and wise (well, ONE of these...)

I have been struggling. It started by a course of anti-depressants on which I took myself off a while ago. Unfortunately, the 'numbing' sensation caused by the drugs planted the seeds of misanthropy and negativity. Anyway, I just found this 'draft' post from over a year ago which... well, actually, shows the seeds were there and waiting to be germinated. What I started to write contains a philosophy I am trying to re-adapt into my life.

Ultimately, this whole blogthang is about getting healthy. Chemical-free, locally grown veggies are healthy for the body. Gardening itself - nurturing; direct physical contact with the earth - is healthy for the mind and soul. Home-cooked meals are ideal for your physical self as you know exactly what you're choosing to consume. The art and act of cooking - gently active; creative - can also feed an individuals emotional well being.

If happiness is the pursuit and success of small goals; I definitely relish in the outcomes of both the aforementioned activities. They are easy wins - everyday accomplishments that disconnect you with the hurly-burly of the loud, demanding capitalist-consumer world which we have inherited and have rare escapes from.

Part of this positivity-injection is that ManFriend and I have joined (of all things!) Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Training ... thing. We both want to lose some weight, and get fitter. So far it's in 'pre-season' ... we're ensuring we walk a minimum amount per day, and have been doing something I've never done before... calorie counting. So I'm doing a cooking day, and counting as I go...

Mediterranean Vegetable Risotto

Ingredients (makes 12 cups / 8 serves)
...2 x tbsp veg oil................................................ 246cal
...1 cup arborio rice............................................ 640cal
...2 x clove garlic, crushed and finely chopped......... 8cal
...2 x zucchini, medium chopped........................... 60cal
...1 x small eggplant, medium chopped.................. 60cal
...1 x red capsicum, medium chopped................... 30cal
...1 x red onion, medium chopped......................... 44cal
...1 pun cherry tomatoes, quartered....................... 27cal
...Tin whole tomato, roughly chopped.................... 48cal
...2 x fresh bay leaves............................................. 0cal
...Fresh flat leaf parsley, half cup, diced................... 4cal
...Fresh basil, half cup, diced................................... 8cal
...3-4 cups boiled water.......................................... 0cal
Total calories.................................................. 1175cal
Calories per 1.5 cup serve................................ 147cal

Method
1. In a large, deep fry pan, combine oil, garlic and onion on a medium-high heat. Fry until fragrant.
2. Add the rice, and stir until rice is semi-transparent glossy (but don't let burn!).
3. Add the zucchini, capsicum, tomatoes (both tinned and cherry), bay leaves and 3 cups of boiled water.
4. Bring to the boil, then simmer (stirring fairly often) until the rice is cooked, vegetables tender, and water absorbed and/or cooked off.
5. Toss through the fresh herbs.

Results
Deliciously tomato flavour. I don't think this dish suffered from lack of adding stock or salt. Given it's low calorie count, I would not hesitate to throw in some olives and a dash of grated parmesan (or even some fetta) if I'm feeling indulgent.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Recycled Piratemas Decorations!

Piratemas Unicorn! Unicorn - $4 from an op shop.
Bandana and belt material - old clothes.
Sword - beer carton cardboard.
This year, I'm not doing Christmas.

Hell, I've never been into it, except as a kid. Back then, I was a Catholic-school attending goody-two-shoes who believed in what she was told (until she was taught how to think for herself). This included Jesus and the very unhygenic manger-birth (won't somebody think of the poor donkey who ate the placenta'd straw after?). I also believed in presents even more!

Recycled pirate mast and sail...
Wood - gardening waste.
Sail cloth - old t-shirt.
Pipe cleaners, paint, glitter from my 'random art junk' box.
Maybe it's my cynical nature as I've aged, but I don't think you should actually celebrate Christmas unless you're religious. The hard part is, of course, when everyone else does - especially when there are young kids in your family and their parents do. The commercialisation and wastage is ridiculous.

The BEST part about the season is using the public holidays and manic-depressive spirits to spend time with family and friends... and I don't think that you need to give up the goodwill and festive cheer and indulgent eating and boozing.
Piratemas balls... $3 from an op shop (unpainted, of course).

(More than) A few years ago my mother and I whimiscally called the day 'Piratemas' and I made a piratey top hat. This year, spending it with BF in our own house nine hundred clicks from my family, I've decided to pick piratemas back up - with of course, crafty recycled decor and more rum than presents.

Even having a few mates around for a Piratemas shindig... and I was trying to look up potential nibbles - and most of what Pirates ate was rancid meat. So... sausage sizzle it is! Our bank balance likes that option too.

I have a red wench dress I bought from (guess where...) op shops, and need to make the rest of my costume. The BF's, on the other hand, looks fantastic... I just need to make some finishing touches. He has a silken billowing black shirt (thankyou size 22 ladieswear) so naturally I'm thinking I should get him a 'Hello, My Name Is' tag with 'Ye Olde Butt Pirate' written in the blank space. Yar har har!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Freakin' amazing mudcake muffins. And show-off pictures of other cakes.

Oritey... so there is one beautiful gorgeous girl'o'mine who is getting married end-ish of next year. As well as being one of her bridesmaids, I'm going to be her photographer and probably baking their cake for the reception party back home (they're getting married overseas).

Wedding cakes - particularly that stiff flawless icing bit - are not really my thing. Luckily, that's not the cake they want. I've been rather cakey around this particular friend and her family and our friends (see also: vegan cupakes and the H-cupcake-cake). See also:
Said friend's 3 year old's birthday cake... sponge cake layered with cream and organic jam
topped with chocolate ganache frosting and mini-marshmallows!
(The unicorns, obviously, are for hiding small excited faces.)
Said friend's fiancé's 'Dirty 30' boobie cake... chocolate sponge with combination dark chocolate
and white chocolate ganache icing,  mini-marshmallow nipples (and yes, one of them is pierced...!)

Okay, yes I definitely have a major thing for ganache icing. But that's not the point of this-here post.

The wedding cake cakey-bit is to be Mississippi Mud Cake as it's the groom's favourite... and naturally I want several trial runs to ensure things go smoothly. So yesterday evening I decided to throw together a miniature batch to try it out, never having made mud cake before. I did have to bastardise the recipe a tad...

The result? ... Oh My Freaking God.
Okay so... original recipe from here. My tweaked recipe:



Bekkitae's Bastardised Mississippi Mudcake Muffins of Moistness and AMAZINGNESS Yield: Six Muffins

Ingredients:
65g cocoa powder
125ml + 3.35tbsp vege oil
2tbsp instant coffee granules
3/4cup boiled water
30ml (1/8cup) St Agnes Brandy
1 tbsp Cointreau
215g (1 cup) caster sugar
3/4cup plain flour
1/4cup SR flour
1 egg, lightly beaten

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 150°C. Grease six holes of your muffin tray either with spray oil or melted butter.
2. Mix/whisk together water, oil, coffee granules, Cointreau, brandy, cocoa powder and caster sugar over a water bath until smooth.
3. Place the combined flours in a bowl. Add in the wet ingredient mix and fold (strain in the mix if lumpy).
4. Once the wet ingredients have cooled, fold in the lightly beaten egg.
5. Place two exceptionally heaped tablespoons of the batter into each muffin hole. Bake for ~45minutes (until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean).
6. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

So, I've been in Vietnam...

... For all of November, and it was pho-nomenal...!!! (A little pun on my part, there.)

If you'd like to see some photos, you can go here. Despite the fact there are SO many damn photos in that album, there were a lot of places I didn't take any... such as War Museums, most of the temples... anywhere I thought it would be disrespectful, really.

My partner and I were there for three weeks. The first two-and-a-half were amazing and the last four days were terrible... but all in all it was an excellent time. If anyone happens to have questions about the trip I'm more than happy to answer them but writing a whole journal retrospectively is a tad unappealing...!

So, back to the -isms...

- I obviously haven't done too much in regards to, well, anything. Half my plants prospered and half of them died and there's a bucketload of weeding that needs doing.

- I went a little bit nutbar with some crafting over the last couple of days. I will edit with some photos soon.

- I've been baking today - even though we're trying to live much healthier and more active now we've returned *excluding that cheesecake earlier, of course*. My new plan is to bake away whenever I feel like it... but send most of it to work with the BF so that his team can reap the blubber benefits.

Today's naughty bakey-ness (inspired by the donation of a an entire pantry of shizzit from a girlfriend)... Chewy Maple Oatmeal Cookies [greenisms recipe edit saw half cranberries, half blueberries] and (vegan) Anzac Biscuits with LSA and Almond Slivers [no recipe link for this one as I edited it lots and closed it anyway].



- In Vietnam I rediscovered how amazing FRUIT is. We've been buying a lot more fruit to use as snacks in the week since our return, and I can't imagine that's going to change any time soon. Because: Ohm-nom-nom-nom.

Speaking of, I think I'm going to go make myself a watermelon juice. Wheeeeee!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

yet another post explaining where i've been

... and the answer isn't 'To the left, to the left'. But thanks for playing, Beyoncé.

Firstly, no one probably noticed but I was supposed to have posted up a Daring Baker Challenge a few days ago. Basically I have opted out of this month due to an emotional snowball making time an issue. Having said that, I started experimenting with various aspects of the May challenge - Marquise on Meringue - and will, at some point, post up what those were (the whole completion thing was made harder because I was also trying to convert the frickin' delicious looking recipe into a vegan one - but not the vegan one provided. I have issues with using tofu in dessert-making. The very idea makes my stomach queasy).

garden-related claptrap
Recently I've also splashed out and bought a little cheap greenhouse because a lot of my potted plants aren't dealing too well with the sudden drops in temperature. At the very least this is my excuse and bloody well sticking to it! There is absolutely a slight probability no way that recent neglect has caused any harm to my little sprouties, whatsoever!

The really weird thing about this greenhouse is that even though it's been raining the past few days, I have to remember to go outside and water the plants in it. That's okay though, because our esky has been sitting outside and collecting water I can use.

I also bought three more bean plants (my other one has pretty much carked it) and should actually get around to planting a few new seeds, at some point.... and when I scrape together some cash, I will be buying some insect-warding flowers to put around the outside of the bottom. I won't 'huzzah' the end of pest problems just yet though - I can't imagine it's going to be that easy.

I am also wondering when on earth my broccolini (aka Chinese broccoli) is going to be ready to pick. I swear it's been longer than the two to three months promised, but it's only just got a few buds on top (like the head of broc) and then started flowering! Oh well, we'll see I suppose.

I am starting to get yummy ripe 'Tiny Tim' tomatoes though (let's pretend that tomato plants aren't supposedly the easiest, most viral thing to grow, and celebrate my small victory!).