Monday, May 22, 2006

Anyone for waffles?

You Had Me At Hello

For all the grandstanding about needing study time, for all the warnings to my nearest and dearest that I have No Time For Fun Until June, for all my big mouthing blah blah- I think I deserve this current state of inertia.

After three days of self-induced hermitage, I'm still sitting at the computer, brain overloaded from (re)reading papers, mental space brimming over full capacity and a small brain nook of floating fluorescent microscope images looking to land on a Powerpoint slide or two.
It's true: all work and no play makes no good sense!

So while other sensible people are attending Eurovision parties or watching silly Sunday night movies or having a few beers, a moment of procrastination allows an introduction to my new Korean claypot!

My good friend Ji showed us her own claypot and shared a few insider tips over a very lovely dinner last week (Thanks Ji and Soapy!).
Day One: The claypot has already been christened with vegies and bean curd in a soy bean and chilli paste soup.
Day Two: As I was a little too enthusiastic with the vegies the first time 'round, I stirfried the rest up with some beef and a bit of kecap manis sauce, lined the claypot with some steamed rice and popped the vegies on top.

Delicious! And it's all kept warm and snug as a bug - imagine how great it will be when winter really hits Melbourne...mmmm.
Ahem, so No Time For Fun Until June - back to it then.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

time flies like an arrow. fruit flies like a banana

This may well be my last post for a while as I'm about to head over to my first Northern Hemispherean summer. Although it's only a short blitz around the world, the work/travel preparations are starting to invade my mental and physical space. Exciting prospects that leaves little time for the extracurricular.

ACMI is currently featuring the new media installation monkey bear robot to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the 8 hour day. Each creature stands for Play, Rest and Work respectively and punters stand on floor touch pads to manage these different aspects of life. More weight on one over another leads to a certain death. A balance between the three and you are rewarded with a semblance of a Vitruvian man. As antiquated and unrealistic as this 888 idea sounds these days, it's an ideal worth striving for.

So jfox is going into hibernation as the Robot identity gets a massive workout for the next month. In an online effort to place more weight in the Monkey department I present some small projects.

Unless I can work out how to blog on European keyboards, we'll see y'all in August!

Happy Hippy

Just to confirm a sib's suspicion of my secret life as a hippy (wearing clothes with flowers on them doth not maketh a hippy doth it?), I recently volunteered with Conservation Volunteers Australia. This involved some planting and vegetation management in Blairgowrie on the Mornington Peninsula. Not bad for a hippy's day out eh?
Our group of 6 met up with local volunteers to remove a few weed species and also plant some native grasses and trees. We considered ourselves lucky to be at this beachside location and were even more grateful for the gorgeous overcast day, a minor blip in Melbourne's current crisp cold snap/hailing/etc.
The weed removal created trailers and trailers worth of unwanted vegetation. However, I spent the majority of the day planting: a bit of fertiliser, some water saving crystals and a fresh young green plant.

It was quite a thrill to be placing these lifeforces into the ground, an incredibly rewarding experience. We all vowed to return in a year to see how our little patch would mature.

The rest of the afternoon? Looking out over the Sorrento back beach whilst a wedding party celebrated, surfers hurled themselves at giant waves and clouds rumbled across the sky.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Lazy/Tired Recipe

I'm a slow eater.
At the end of a meal when everyone else is sitting back, content hand on stomach/beer belly, I keep on keepin' on, ordering another lamb cutlet (Movida), another bowl of rice (Aloi Na) or holding the last crab claw as the mains come out and begging the waiter to please-leave-the-bowls-of-tea-to-rinse-fingers (every single time we've ever had mud crab in a Chinese restaurant).
It drives my family crazy to always be waiting for me to finish eating.

The only time I will permit myself to eat quickly is after a long hard day at work. This is food at its most functional and fundamental level, to eat is to live.
Have these basic ingredients on hand for when you're feeling Lazy/Tired.
Trust me - it's a half hour, one-pot, flexible no brainer.

Comforting Noodle Soup
dried flat rice noodles
beef strips in Pawpaw's Chinese Marinade 101
sliced fish cake
1 bunch Chinese vegies -bok choy, gai larn or choy sum
enough water to cover ingredients
few slices ginger
handful of bean shoots
coriander and/or spring onions

[1] Bring water to boil, add dried flat noodles
[2] As noodles are about to be ready, add ginger slices, fish cake slices and vegies
[3] Add beef strips and bean shoots as vegies are cooked
[4] Pour out into bowl, top with coriander and spring onions
[5] Scoff down!

Pawpaw's Chinese Marinade 101
My nana taught me this most basic marinade - hence the lack of measurements. Good for stir fries too!
- splash of light soy
- splash of dark soy
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt - pinch of pepper
- 1 tsp corn flour
- dash of oil
- 2 splashes of water
Mix well through beef strips.
Marinated meat can be cooked immediately or left overnight in fridge.

I actually made this last weekend but as I was feeling lazy/tired [no photo]. This approximation will have to do!
Check out Vernoona, Sartorial Splendour, Cassiopeia Gegenbauren III and Serenity Later for other Lazy/Tired recipes.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Cat's Miaow

My sib acquired Singing in the Rain recently so this could be a reason for the nebulous title (highly recommeded film if you haven't had the experience yet).

Spent a cruisey afternoon at the National Gallery - a must see is William Kentridge's 7 Fragments for Georges Melies. His work combines animation, cawffee and short film; it reminded me of Michel Gondry's work in its creativity and playfulness, very inspiring.