Reblog: Top 5 tips for Living Healthily on a Budget

Check out the latest post from Jack Monroe. I might use their method to do a kitchen audit, and chat more about my thoughts about this, later…. once I’ve made more progress on my project proposal, that is. The flexible deadline is tomorrow (Friday), but given tomorrow’s schedule, I want to get as much as possible done today! So this busy bee needs to get buzzing.

Here, have a picture of one of my latest “creations”: lentils and veg in a store-bought-on-special teriyaki sauce with rice. It was quite nice actually.

On a white plate with green rim sits white rice with lentils and veg in a teriyaki sauce around it on the right side. A fork is partly visible next to the rice.

Whose Priorities?

I was sitting in class earlier today. We were talking about health priorities, on a macro level. I.e. what can governments, organisations, etc. do to increase health and wellbeing? (Rather than what can individuals do themselves?)

There are lots of different initiatives being talked about, and the whys and hows they’re meaningful. If people are interested, then look up sites like VicHealth or the National Health Priorities.

Anyway. During the break, an article about recycling caught my eye. Its basic premise is that households aren’t the biggest source of landfill in Australia – that title goes to comercial and industrial sector. So, how do we make it a “macro-level priority” to reduce waste and increase recycling in the commercial and industrial sectors?




Morrocan Eggplant and Chickpea Stew

Hi there! The first of a few new recipe posts from the past few weeks.

Eggplant is a really versatile vegetable, as it can be used in lots of different ways. It can have a strong flavour, but I think that depends a bit on how you cook it, myself. 😉

The recipe:


  • Half of/ one eggplant
  • Half/ One can of chickpeas
  • Teaspoons of garlic to taste
  • Morrocan spice mix
  • One onion
  • Vegetable stock
  • Tomato paste or diced tomatoes
  • Extra vegetables – carrot, corn, greens
  • Oil, for frying
  • Potato/ rice/ pasta/ couscous, to serve with the stew


  • large, flat-bottomed frying pan
  • kitchen spoon
  • kitchen knife
  • chopping board
  • pot for potato/ rice/ pasta


  1. Cut off the ends of the eggplant, than chop into cubes.
  2. Chop the onion roughly.
  3. Coat the frypan with oil and set on the stove at medium heat.
  4. Add the garlic, onion and Morrocan spice mix, with extra chilli or cumin if desired. A handful of mixed herbs would go well here too. Cook until the onions have softened (approx. 4-5 minutes).
  5. Add the eggplant and chickpeas, along with the stock and tomato paste. Bring to a simmer.
  6. Add the extra vegetables and simmer over medium-low heat, covered, for fifteen-twenty minutes, until the eggplant is tender.
  7. Uncover and stir. Depending on preference, you can give it another five minutes or so uncovered if you want it to be less soupy.
  8. Salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Serve over rice / pasta / couscous / potato.



What a couple of weeks…

Hi all.


Things are a bit tough right now, aren’t they?

Ugly stuff is happening. The treatment of refugees in America (and, more quietly, in and offshore from Australia) is one issue. The latest blow-up has occurred during Refugee Week, which is a sick irony – especially when refugee rights matter all the time, as all human rights do. Another issue – especially if you’re a young city woman like me – is the recent murders of young women who were just living life. Earlier in the week (and last week), I’d wanted to write more about that, but plenty of people, especially women, have said lots already. Also, my emotional bandwidth is occupied by those very issues and other life ones.

There are so many good things happening, too. The uproar of resistance, quiet and loud, of people saying, “enough”, is a good sign. A reminder that there are more good people working for “equality, diversity, justice and love” (as I saw it mentioned online) than there are opposing that. I’ll quote him because it lifted me when I needed it yesterday:

“There are hundreds of millions of people in this world who (just like you) wake up every day trying to be the kind of person the world needs; lavish with compassion, overflowing with generosity, relentless with love. You are, even when you’re not aware of it, surrounded on all sides by like-hearted people who are not okay with the suffering around them either.”
source here

So, while getting annoyed at world things and thinking about how to change them, prioritising life things, and keeping on keeping on, I’ll take time for me where I can, to be with good people and do fun things. Like this, today – a mob called the Roo Keepers came to my uni campus and I got to hold some different Australian wildlife.

Keep on doing your thing, people. Be your own superhero, including being brave enough to reach out to people if things aren’t going well.

Life update

Whew! How is everyone? How’s the weather treating you? This was the misty weather near my place last week. I love misty winter mornings clearing to crisp clear days. Though rainy days are all right too, especially when my garden needs a water.

Tall pines and other conifers standing out from fog, lining either side of a road as it slopes downhill. There's a wire fence on the left side of the road at the front of the pic, and houses on both sides shrouded in mist.

Hopefully at some point this week I’ll get a chance to do some more recipe posts – I’ve made a few great meals lately. I want to do a Fandoms post soon too – I’ve just dived willingly straight back into the Tortall (and other lands) fandom from Tamora Pierce. At some point, I will eventually write up the last part of the Japan trip too (I think preparing for MIV made me forget to do that one!).

However, I’m a bit under the weather at the moment, though thankfully what started as a head cold with a scratchy throat, hoarse voice, stuffed nose and achy muscles is now just an awful-sounding cough. Also, life is life, hectic as usual 🙂 so I make no promises!

What have I been up to? Well, I finished my last block of full-time theory two Thursdays ago, wrapped up assignments on that last week, then this week plunge into a project placement for ten weeks. We’re gearing up to the final five-ish months of my degree, the large part of which is placement-focused. Exciting!!

The garden is going well too.

Two clay pots filled with soil. The right one has lots of green leaves growing, the left has only a few shoots

This picture was taken a week ago, and they’ve grown again since! Looking forward to seeing the finished produce sometime this month, though the plants on the left are taking their time. (We forgot to label them, so I’m not sure which pot has the choi and which pot has the spinach…)

Catch you later!


Entertainment via Interwebs Songs

On Saturday evening I had the pleasure of attending RMIT Occasional Choral Society’s end-of-semester concert, Internet Through The Ages. It was a light-hearted romp through the internet of Things, bracketed by a lovely Prequel to the Internet on one end, and their second (and particularly inspired) rendition of Laudate.

It was a cold night, but the venue was snugly warm. I’d had a full afternoon already, so it was a treat to sit back, relax and be entertained for a couple of hours. Such entertainment, too!

The program had a little bit of everything, making me laugh consistently, as well as smile in admiration for the achievements of the choir. The set was ambitious, with eleven songs in the first half, followed by a lolcat version of a choral mass after intermission, then two final humorous songs to finish. An extra layer of difficulty was added by ROCS being affected by the singer’s dreaded nemesis, lurgy, in the weeks preceding the concert. However, ROCS rose to the task and performed well. The soloists for different pieces were in fine voice, and the choir sections complemented each other.

Many pieces in the performance were, as has become usual with ROCS, written/ composed and or arranged by choir members, or friends of the choir. It makes for fantastic listening, as it introduces you to fresh works and, even in the case of pieces you think you’ve heard before, you won’t have heard them quite like this.

My favourites included:

The Prequel mentioned earlier – a song about the enduring need for communication, delivered by different means across the years, from carrier pigeons to horseback messengers to Morse code. It was written by a friend of mine, with the music composed by another.

Ebay – a splendid rendition of the Weird Al Yankovic parody. It was performed by a smaller sub-group of ROCS known as CORP and featured a strong alto solo. (…. and I now have the original and the parody battling for dominance in my head. 😛 )

All Star – an arrangement of the well-known song in the style of a “Bach chorale following the conventions of the Common Practice Period”. It was quite “wow” to hear it played with like that.

Speaking of “playing with” pieces, another favourite of mine was the Missa Lolcat. It was indeed a choral mass “for teh kittehs” of lolcat fame, paying homage to “ceiling cat” and speaking of “happy cat” among other interpretations. When I say Mass, I mean that – the choir sang through recognisable lolcat versions of Gloria, Credo, Sanctus/Benedictus (with repeated Hosannas) and Agnus Dei! Wow-ee. I enjoyed this piece a lot, despite having little knowledge of the original lolcats, so well done.

Finally, I should mention the riffs on Laudate Nomen Domini. We were Rick-Rolled by the first rendition, and the second one was very well played as well, set as it was right at the end when, usually, all those who know Laudate join in with the choristers on-stage. The interpretation ROCS gave made us all need a beat to re-set before we sang along with gusto.

Bravo, ROCS, and thanks for a wonderful evening!

Vegetarian Stir-Fry with Special Sauce

I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for a while. In fact, I thought I already had, but I’d only written it down…

A can of mixed beans is an awesome base for a vegetarian meal. Get several when you see them on special and store them at the back of the cupboard.

A couple of months ago, I was looking to buy some soy sauce as I was running low. In the supermarket, I spied a sauce that looked interesting called “honey-soy sauce”. I decided to buy it and try it. It has served me well, and this dish was its first outing.

On a white plate with green rim is a mix of green, orange, yellow and white veg covered in brown sauce, mixed with beans
Vegetarian stir-fry with special sauce
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Veggies
  • Potato, rice or noodles
  • Can of a four-bean mix
  • 1/4 cup water
  • A decent glug of honey-soy sauce
  • Splash of oyster sauce,
  • Half or full teaspoon of chilli
  • A tablespoon of peanut butter.
  • Pot
  • Large frypan
  • Kitchen spoon
  • Knife
  • Chopping board
  1. Chop veg & onion & potato
  2. Mix water, honey-soy and oyster sauces, chilli and peanut butter together to make the sauce – adjust quantities to taste.
  3. Combine garlic, ginger, onion in a hot frypan
  4. Boil water for potato/ rice/ noodles
  5. Tip veg into the frypan
  6. Start cooking potato
  7. Fry veg for ~5 mins, stirring
  8. Tip sauce into the pan, stir
  9. Add more water if necessary
  10. When it’s cooked, it’s ready to eat with the potato.

Sauce inspired by this recipe:

And yes, if you’re paying attention, the marinade for the one-pot chicken dish was based on this sauce! Having been introduced to it, I love this combo.