Miscellaneous 

It’s been a busy time lately, hasn’t it? I’d intended to write a few lengthier posts this week but so far, life’s getting in the way. 😉 Hopefully you’ll see them soon. In the meantime, here’s a link to the latest post of a great blogger whose archives I’ve been reading through: ahoy, Captain Awkward, boon to socially awkward people everywhere! 

Don’t forget to buy your John Monash Peace Cantata concert tickets

Register for MIV? It’s going to be heaps of fun. 

It’s a bit of a silly world out there atm. Make time for the things you enjoy and the people you love. 

Have a cuppa tea and a nice day, people. 

Lemon & ginger tea sits in a white mug with dark polka dots. It takes up the whole picture (handle faces right).

A half-finished lemon and ginger* tea that I made myself last night.


* = how the heck did predictive text get “hungover” from my starting to type “ginger”?? 

#MIV2018 Update: Main Concert Piece Announced! 

I’m so excited… I’ve been sitting on this for months. Speaking of months, #MIV2018 is only five months away! Have you registered yet?? 

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From the Convenors’ desk…
It’s cold, it’s dark, it’s hard to get out of bed in the morning. It feels like winter is here to stay, but fear not! MIV and the summer of ’69 is only five short months away. And this month we get to reveal our biggest news yet.

A huge amount of work is going on behind the scenes to organise an amazing festival, but we think there’s one thing that really takes the cake. Without further ado, we’re incredibly excited to unveil our concert for MIV2018. 

The centrepiece of this exquisite concert will be the Australian premier of Edward Elgar’s uplifting ‘Light of Life’

Conducted by our magnificent musical director, Patrick Burns, Light the Dark will be performed on the evening of Saturday the 20th of January 2018, at the Melbourne Town Hall for an audience of up to two thousand people. 

That’s right! Not only do we get to perform the music of a renowned and well-loved composer, but we get to be the first people in the country to perform a dramatic and awe-inspiring oratorio described as a “resplendent and moving” piece, filled with “fascinating orchestral and choral passages.”

If you want to have a listen, check it out here.

Registration is open.
In less than six months you could be taking the stage with us, a full orchestra and hundreds of fellow choristers to be part of this once-in-a-lifetime musical experience. But you must register to secure your place.

The summer of ’69 will be here before we know it. Register now to be part of the magic. We can’t wait to see you in Melbourne next year!

Peace and love,

Alex and El xoxo

Veggie Gravy

A while ago I had a few veggies I wanted to use up. So I found a recipe for veggie gravy.

Looks yum, right? The pink colour is due to the veggies I used.

Ingredients:

  • margarine
  • Finely chopped onion
  • Garlic
  • flour
  • soy sauce
  • water
  • salt and pepper

Tools:

  • Pot/frypan
  • Stirring spoon

Method:

  1. Melt margarine and cook onions and garlic until golden brown.
  2. Add flour gradually and stir continuously to avoid lumps.
  3. Still stirring, add soy sauce and water.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Reduce until gravy reaches desired thickness.

John Monash Peace Cantata Performance Announcement

If I’d remembered, I’d have put this up at the start of the day! As is, however, it’s here. LaTUCS (my choir) is going to be singing in a concert in early September as part of a massed choir. It’s going to be amazing!

It’s a performance celebrating the life of General Sir John Monash, the unusual general. Below is some context. 🙂 If you’re interested, the concert is on September 9th in the evening at Hamer Hall, Melbourne. It’s going to tour to other Australian cities for other community choirs afterwards! If you’re in Melbourne and surrounds, come along down to see us – tickets are selling fast so book now!

It’s shaping up well if I do say so myself. And we’re (re)learning a bit of history along the way too… The project is run by More Than Opera and will be conducted by David Kram. We’ll have soloists and an orchestra with us, the massed choir (adults and children). Be there!

*Hums Let There Be Peace under my breath*….hm, now I’m going to have the Cantata songs in my head all night. 🙂

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A world premiere event honouring Australia’s greatest son, John Monash.
Don’t miss out on being a part of this unique event!

A new documentary video for Peace – A Cantata for John Monash!
Who is Sir John Monash and why we set his life to music

0808 – Anniversary of the Battle of Amiens

On this day 99 years ago, Gen. John Monash led the Australian forces in the Battle of Amiens in France. The victory was a turning point in WWI which halted the German advance, and for which Monash was honoured with a Knighthood on the battlefield by the King himself. Monash used his incredible intellect and broad knowledge to utilise all available technologies in a concerted attack which resulted in the war ending sooner, and countless lives to be saved.

MTO honours this largely unsung hero with a grand concert worthy of the immense impact Monash had on Australia, and the world. This promises to be a memorable concert for everyone to know and understand the impact John Monash has had on this city.

6 pm, Saturday, 9th September 2017
Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne
Composed and conducted by Dr David Kram
Soprano: Lisa-Anne Robinson
Mezzo-Soprano: Kristen Leich
Baritone: Michel Laloum
Bass: Eddie Muliaumaseali’i
Massed adult and children’s choirs
Symphony Orchestra

Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to be a part of this world premiere event!

THE MAN, THE MUSIC, THE MOMENT

GET YOUR TICKETS NOW!

Life Update!

It’s raining/wet! Yay!

Not something I thought I’d say much….but I’ve been reflecting lately. This winter has been too dry (multiple sources have confirmed it) and it’s nice to have rain. Including proper heavy rain-on-roof pattering, not just grey drizzle (looking at you, hometown, and your three plus weeks of nothing but that in the past). What’s the weather been like in other places?

Also, last week I finished placement.

Head, shoulders and upper chest of woman (me) - shown. Woman is wearing blue headband knotted at top of her head, with glasses, a black jumper and pinkish-red shirt. I'm wearing my name-badge and am smiling slightly.

I had a routine while on placement for the start and end of the day. Upon arrival at the community health centre I worked in for placement, I’d sign myself in, receive my student/visitor pass and stick that in my pocket, looping the lanyard through my belt-loops or similar (hate wearing those things ’round my neck). I’d then put my name-badge on. The afternoon ritual was the reverse. Sign out, return pass and take name-badge off as I put on my coat, scarf and beanie. Then I’d walk to the bus stop and head off on my way home.

Rituals and routines are interesting things. They make us as humans – we’re creatures of habit and without them, we feel uncomfortable, some more than others. I bookended the start and end of my day with the ritual of pass + badge on and off because I’d learnt in the mental health subject just prior to placement that those sort of rituals are useful to separate “work” and “life”. It really helped, too, in that first week when everything was a little overwhelming and intense. It was an “I don’t have to think about that anymore today!” trick.

But that meant it left me with a funny feeling when I signed myself out that last time (at least, that I know of….). I worked with a great bunch of people and I learnt heaps. I’m already applying it in my next subject. 🙂

My weekend was a mix of busy, relaxing and fun. In different intervals. Organising something is good – even better when people respond to it with enthusiasm. Hanging out with people and letting other people do the organising (while being very appreciative of them) is also good.

I had fun with friends and made a few new ones, as well as enjoying plenty of good food. I reflected after the second event that when it comes to me and social events, I tend to measure how good of an event it was for me by the quality of the conversations I had with people at that event. If I talked deeply with someone or shared stories with them about mutual interests or an interesting topic that I hadn’t heard about before or something. Bonus points if in one of those conversations, I made a new connection or two or learnt something new about a friend. Light and fluffy conversations are cool too.

Oh yeah, and on Saturday I made myself brunch of sourdough toast (last slices before it went bad 😦 ), beetroot and chickpea dip, “boiled” egg, bocconcini balls and lettuce – leftovers from an event the night before. Verdict: delicious.

Plate with two slices of sourdough toast on it. On top of the toast is dip, lettuce, bocconcini and egg. Behind the plate is a mug of peppermint tea and the clay pot of the dip.

Today’s breakfast was a smoothie with wholegrain toast slathered with margarine. Yum!

Smoothie ingredients: 2x overripe bananas, 8x soft strawberries, 1x 250mL orange juice bottle – all of which needed using up. Plus 2-3 tablespoons Greek-style yoghurt and Weetabix Bites crumbs (i.e. wheat flakes with the occasional berry piece). Blend all together until smooth, then enjoy. As you can see, I’ll be having this tomorrow as well… I made nearly a litre of the stuff – the cup below was my second and that jar is 500mL! :O 😀

Four small slices of margarined wholegrain toast on a plate. Behind them is a glass jar full of smoothie (smoothie is light pink, jar lid is yellow) and a mug (white with brown polka dots) full of the same.

 

 

Finally…. I haven’t written a political post in a while, because these days I don’t really have much headspace for it. But today, let’s just say that the note on my About page saying that I “reserve the right to disown the govt we’ve got, because they don’t speak for me” really applies on several fronts – namely, regarding refugees and marriage equality. It’d be nice if we had people in govt who had spines and a sense of decency… Some things have gone on for too bloody long. -_-

 

 

 

Recipe: Rice Pudding

So a while ago I decided to make rice pudding. I was running low on breakfast stuff and figured that rice pudding had to be kinda like a porridge. Which it is, but a bit sweeter than I usually have that. I found a recipe and played around with it.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup of rice
  • 1L of milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar (!)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Seasoning – I used mixed herbs I think, the original recipe used nutmeg and vanilla essence
  • 1/3 can chickpeas (I needed to use them up)

Tools:

  • Saucepan
  • Stirring spoon
  • Container to store finished pudding in

Method:

  1. Place the milk, rice, chickpeas and salt in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to the boil.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring, for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender.
  3. Add the sugar and stir through mixed herbs if desired. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to the boil again. Boil for a further 2 minutes or until the rice is soft and the mixture thickens.

It was very yummy.

Central Australia Trip report #5

Phew. Busy busy. I’ve got some fun stuff planned with food, and my placement only has three days to go – then it’s back to uni for another four weeks before a break. In the meantime….

Day 5

Panoramic shot of sunrise - yellow breaking over horizon, brownish-red dark dirt and scrub in the foreground in shadow

We woke up just before sunrise. Brr! The nights are cold in the outback at this time of year.

map of how to get to the spa

We explored the camp and discovered that the natural springs in the area meant the campsite had a spa of sorts! It was lukewarm, so we all changed into our swimmers and took turns to try it out. Nice – especially after a few days of limited facilities.

Tent as the backdrop to the breakfast things (camper stove with porridge in pot, table set up wit bowls & cups & cereal & water can), with my shadow in the middle

Back at our campsite, we set up and had breakfast – porridge cooked on the camp stove – before packing up the camper-trailer, ready to be on our way again.

After one last look around the campsite to take photos of course.

The next stop on our journey was at a railway siding called, “Beresford”. When the Old Ghan was still in operation, it was a place where trains would stop to take on fuel and water.

There was plenty of graffiti inside the old stationmaster’s house (or whatever the building was). My favourite piece was this one:

Graffitti reading: "Rick and Mycool back in 2014 Been here '92 '95 '96 '09 so glad no-one's wrecked it" in block capitals

The Oodnadatta Track is very dusty and quite rough in places.

View from the Nimbus Mitsubishi of the dusty Track with the Nissan Pathfinder driving up ahead.

We drove on, eventually arriving at William Creek, which sits on the edge of Anna Creek station (Australia’s largest pastoral lease, or something like that). Town population: 13.

Half-oval sign welcoming us to Williams Creek - indicates that petrol, camping, toilets and beds are nearby

There was an area next to the road which had a small graveyard, bits of rusting machinery and also commemorated the rocket tests that occurred in the 50s, including the original rocket. Womble had fun exploring.

(The graves were poignant and out of respect we didn’t take any photos of those. One was of an 18-yo German tourist and the others were a few outback mates.)

The town has one roadhouse which doubles as a pub/general store/petrol station. We went and had a drink there after filling up on fuel. The inside of the bar area had been covered with signatures and cards, each one marking that someone had been through William Creek.

The inner room, the lounge, had signs forbidding people from writing on the walls or ceiling because it is a heritage-listed room. It’s made out of Old Ghan railway sleepers! That’s novel – and different to the “usual” use of firewood….

Heading back to the cars, Womble found the railway cart information board about the Old Ghan and William Creek.

We drove on and eventually rolled into camp at Algebuckina Bridge. Another sunset, followed by another campfire, finished the day.

Burger patty creations (& 2nd mushroom gravy recipe)

A while ago (back in April) I road-tested a mushroom gravy recipe and mentioned that I’d try a second one I’d found “the next time I had mushrooms”. Given that a friend told me the other day that they love a good mushroom gravy, I decided to show this recipe next.

It also provides a good opportunity to tell you about some of the burger patty experimentations I’ve made.

I’ve made a few burger patties now. Mostly using recipes of breadcrumbs, mince, mixed herbs + salt + pepper for seasoning, and egg. At least once, I’ve made them without egg. See below.

The top three pics are from a different occasion to the bottom two.

Now, as for the mushroom gravy and burgers recipe…. has anyone heard of Salisbury steaks?

Salisbury Steaks with Mushroom Gravy – Adam Liaw recipe

I saw this in the Sunday Life magazine when I was back at the family home one weekend in April. I saved the recipe and trialled it. It was very good. The second pic is leftovers. Mmmm.

Salisbury Steaks:

NB. It’s a different way of doing a burger patty, basically. Using ingredients one has to hand rather than, say, having to make breadcrumbs especially.

Ingredients:

  • 1 slice bread torn into chunks
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 500g beef mince
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 onion, grated
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp mixed herbs (optional – recipe suggests option of ground mustard instead)
  • salt and pepper to season
  • Oil, for cooking

Method:

  1. Place torn-up bread into bowl with milk and set aside (10 mins rest time)
  2. Mix milk-soaked bread, beef mince, onion, carrot, egg, mixed herbs (if using), salt and pepper together until well-combined
  3. Shape into four patties and refrigerate to firm up (10 mins rest time – I think I might have skipped this….)
  4. Add oil to large frying pan and fry patties until cooked through (~4 mins/side)
  5. Remove from pan and set aside, covered, to keep warm while you make the gravy.

Mushroom Gravy

Ingredients:

  • Mushrooms (recipe suggests 250g button ones, but it depends what you’re going for)
  • Butter (recipe suggests 30g)
  • 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 1&/12 cups stock
  • 1 onion
  • ~2 tsp garlic
  • 1 tbsp tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water

Method:

  1. Slice onion and mushrooms
  2. Melt butter in frying pan (AFTER using it to cook meat – enhances flavour)
  3. Cook onion, garlic and mushrooms over medium heat until golden and liquid evaporated (~5-6 mins)
  4. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly (~1 min)
  5. Gradually pour in stock, water, tomato sauce and soy sauce, stirring frequently. Cook until thickened, stirring frequently, seasoning with salt and pepper (~5 mins)
  6. Return meat to pan and coat with gravy then plate up, spooning remaining gravy over the top

Yum. Delicious.

 

Next time I’ll have to give the recipe I found for a veggie gravy….

Curry time!

I haven’t done a recipe post in a while. This realisation led me to spend my bus ride in on Monday playing, “Name That Dish” with my food photos – a game I’ve been meaning to play for a while.

See, I dropped off the recipes as things got busy in April, but continued taking pics. Some of which are just reminders for me, others which I’ll post here. Arranging them by name was fun. I seem to do a lot of beef and chicken recipes when making meat-based ones.

Today’s recipe post (written last night) is showcasing a couple of vegetarian curries I’ve tried. I’ve made each recipe twice, tweaking it a bit each time, and I’ll continue to make and tweak them. They’re delicious.

Curry #1: Peanut-butter curry with lentils or four-bean mix

Top row is the first time I made this curry, with four-bean mix. The bottom row is the second time I made the curry, using lentils. This is a delicious, mild, creamy curry. I got the original recipe from onemillionwomen.com but have adapted it.

Ingredients:

  • Vegetable oil
  • 1x onion
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2+ tsp each spice – for me, these spices were: cumin, chilli, Moroccan spice, curry powder
  • 1-2 pinches/ a scattering of mixed herbs (oregano, marjoram, thyme)
  • 1 can lentils/ four-bean mix
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • Veggies: capsicum, corn, cabbage, carrot, etc.
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • Rice etc. for serving

Tools:

  • 2x pots (1 medium to large, other can be smaller)
  • Stirring spoon
  • Knife
  • Chopping board
  • Sieve/strainer to drain rice etc.

Method:

  1. In the larger pot, heat vegetable oil over medium heat before adding the onion, garlic and ginger – it’s a variation of the flavour base I use for a number of dishes
  2. Allow onion to soften for a few minutes (3-5) before adding the spices “right onto the onions” – the recipe which I based my curry on says that this is “essential to developing great curry flavours”.
  3. Allow mixture to combine for a few minutes before adding the lentils or four-bean mix (drained), the tomato paste, and then the veggies.  Stir well and let the mixture another few minutes (2-3) to simmer.
  4. Begin cooking the rice etc. according to package instructions in the smaller pot
  5. When the lentils and tomato paste are combined, add the peanut butter and veggie broth and stir well until the peanut butter has dissolved.
  6. Let the curry simmer for another 25-35 minutes to allow the flavours to really combine – taste it and adjust the spice ratio as needed at the end.
  7. Serve over the rice or whatever you had to hand and enjoy. Delicious!
  8. Leftovers are great for lunch the next day – just make sure that you cleanse your mouth with a cup of tea or a mint afterwards so you don’t get accused of having garlic breath!

 

Curry #2: Chickpea, or “Chana” curry

This curry is lovely for cold nights when you want something to warm you up. It works well when (as in the bottom row pics) you’ve got some frozen pre-cooked veg in the freezer. So yum. I got the recipe from a website after a friend recommended it.

Ingredients:

  • Vegetable oil
  • Spices to taste: cumin, garlic, ginger, chilli, salt, pepper, curry powder, paprika, Moroccan spice mix
  • Mixed herbs (marjoram, thyme, oregano).
  • 1x onion
  • 1x can whole peeled or diced tomatoes, with their juices
  • 1x can chickpeas
  • Veggies: whatever you have to hand – I’ve used beetroot, spinach, radish, carrot, capsicum, peas, cabbage….as you can see in the images.
  • 1x serve of rice/ couscous/etc.

Tools:

  • Two pots, 1x medium-large pot + 1x smaller one
  • Stirring spoon
  • Plate and cutlery

Method:

  1. In the larger pot, heat the oil over medium heat. When oil is hot enough*, add onion then the spices – first the garlic, chilli, ginger, then (after a minute or two), the other spices. Let them combine for a few minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes and their juices, then the rest of the veggies – chunky veg are good in this dish!
  3. Raise the heat a little, if you wish, and add the chickpeas. Let simmer for at least ten minutes to create lovely flavours.
  4. Service with couscous or rice. Also beautiful for leftovers for lunch the next day – same warning about mouth-cleansing to avoid garlic breath applies.
    NB. * = I have adopted a trick learnt from this recipe’s original author about how to tell if the pan is hot enough. Test the heat of your oil by wetting your hand and letting a drop of water drip into the pan. If it sizzles, then the pan is ready.

 

Happy cooking!

Central Australia Trip report #4

Scheduled post. Things are still busy. Had some fun over the weekend…if I get time I might tell you about it tomorrow/later this week. I also hope to schedule some more recipe posts soon.

Oh and a reminder that MIV2018 regos are open. I’ve finalised mine. 🙂

Day 4

Camper-trailer is packed up and attached to the Nissan Pathfinder, which is being loaded

The old railway town had been abandoned gradually after it lost its purpose. A team of volunteers, plus a couple of farmers who own the homestead now, are bringing it back to life as a tourist attraction. We had a nosey around in the morning, discovering a memorial to soldiers from the town who’d served in WWI and WWII….

The town ruins….

And the now refurbished underground bakery.

We were really lucky with this – it’s only open at the moment for eight weeks of the year! And the bread is really good.

Look at that! The wheels of the cars had already gone off-road, but they’d be even dirtier by the time we were finished the Oodnadatta Track, which was ahead of us.

Tyre caked in mud on a car

Marree marked the start of the track. As Womble and I discovered, the old train station is there, but there are no trains running through it anymore. The Ghan was moved some kilometres west due to excessive flooding from Lake Eyre, we found out later.

Soon enough we were at the entrance to the Oodnadatta Track – a gravelly bumpy track that more-or-less follows the route of the Old Ghan Railway (which had followed the route of the Great Overland Telegraph Line before it). Thanks to the efforts of early explorers, we can travel south to north today. It took explorer John MacDouall Stuart three attempts to blaze the trail between Adelaide and (near) Darwin. If you’re interested, I highly recommend a book by Bill Peach called “Explorers”.

There were plenty of things to see along the Track…

The first major sight, for me, was Lake Eyre South. That’s half of a life wish fulfilled. J I’ve wanted to visit since it had a massive flood some years ago. The images of how it became so vibrant, so quickly, captured my imagination. So the other half of the life wish will be fulfilled when I return during a flood time.

We ended the day with a campfire at the Coward Springs campsite.