A long walk and a rest

Saturday is officially “no alarm Saturday” in this household, and we all slept in until almost 8 o’clock this morning. After getting up and having breakfast, we (my wife, Scully, and I) went for a nice long walk for some exercise and fresh air. The day was beautiful – a clear, brisk, late autumn day with puffy white clouds in the sky.

We walked basically this route which I covered in a photo walk essay a few weeks ago. With some bits added on to take us from our home to the start and end points as given in that page. The total walk was 9 kilometres, and took us a solid couple of hours, with a break for my wife to grab a coffee at a cafe on the way.

This afternoon I worked some more on Darths & Droids, writing up a bunch of story planning notes, based on thoughts from the past few days that hadn’t been recorded yet, and I made a couple of new strips.

And this evening my wife cooked the cauliflower dish that I was preparing on Wednesday when I sliced my hand with the kitchen knife. The offending cauliflower has been duly punished by being baked with a miso glaze and consumed with pomegranate, chilli, mint, and toasted sesame and sunflower seeds. Yum!

Miso cauliflower bomb

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A very windy day

The weather continues to be wintry here, with cold, overcast, and very strong winds today. I took Scully for a walk and it was a bit blowy. We recorded wind gusts up to 46 km/h today.

Blowin' in the wind

I spent a lot fo time today uploading photos and writing web pages for some of my Sydney walks, as part of the process of transferring from Imgur albums to pages hosted on my own site. I also expanded the commentary a lot, doing some research into various buildings that I’d taken photos of. In particular, this walk through Greenwich (the Sydney suburb) ended up having a lot of new historical details added.

Tonight for dinner I made a vegetable quiche. I make quiches a lot, but generally just with one vegetable, like chunks of pumpkin, or chopped spinach. A friend made some quiches recently with a variety of roasted vegetables, so I thought I’d fancy it up a bit. Here’s what I did:

  1. Chopped potato, butternut pumpkin (squash for the Americans), onion, broccolini. Spread on baking tray, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with rosemary. Baked 210°C for about 25 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile got some pre-made shortcrust pastry and put it in a pie dish. Placed it in the same oven after about 10 minutes, to blind bake for about 15 minutes.
  3. Placed vegetables in pastry shell, added chunks of feta, light sprinkle of salt, then poured over 3 eggs beaten with a bit of milk.
  4. Reduced oven to 190°C and bake 25 minutes.
  5. Yum!

Vege quiche 2

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Baking Breads

I made bread today. Firstly, I made a loaf of soy-linseed bread. This was using a packet mix from the supermarket – all I needed to add was yeast and water. Then knead and knead and knead, and knead some more. Then let it rise, then knead it some more, then let it rise again, then bake.

Soy linseed bread

It turned out pretty well – I had some of it for lunch.

And then before the oven cooled down, I made a loaf of banana bread. Which is much, much quicker and easier to make.

Banana bread

I substituted some almond meal for some of the flour, which has made it moister, and more delicious.

This afternoon I went for along walk – a couple of hours out and back home. I really felt like I needed the exercise as I haven’t been out much lately. I noticed that my shoulders and upper chest and back muscles felt sore, which I thought was a weird effect from a long walk… until I realised that it was all the bread kneading from earlier in the day that must have done it!

And now I know why I had a sore back last week, after making a couple of loaves then. Interesting. I wonder if I’ll develop breadmaker’s muscles.

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Autumnal

It was cold today. Positively autumnal. The forecast for the next week has temperatures hovering a degree either side of 20°C, which is cool for Sydney, but not quite wintery. I fear yesterday’s 27°C was indeed the last of the truly warm weather until spring.

Today was a random melange of walking Scully, housecleaning, making some Darths & Droids comics, and cooking dinner. I made an “autumn risotto” – with hazelnuts and mushrooms (shiitake, oyster, and king oyster). I was originally just going to make mushroom, but was inspired to throw in some hazelnuts by the fact that my wife was watching a cooking show while I was cooking, and the chef on there made something with hazelnuts. I overheard it and immediately thought, “Yes! That’d go great with mushrooms!” and so tossed some in. And it indeed turned out great – the crunch of the nuts adds a lot to what is typically quite a mushy dish.

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Good and lousy

I went to play some golf this morning at nearest local 9-hole course. It was early and the grass was very dewy. I had a pretty good putting day, and even sank a short chip onto the green, but my driving really let me down on many holes. I did manage to score one par, with a tee shot landing just off the green, followed by a short chip, and then sinking a putt of a little under 2 metres, so that was satisfying.

At home I baked a loaf of bread, which turned out very nice. And while the oven was hot I thought I’d try an experiment and see if the old pre-made puff pastry we’ve had sitting in the freezer for ages would be able to be rolled up and baked into something resembling a croissant. Bakers out there are probably laughing at me already, but wait until you see this photo…

"Rustic" croissants

I generously call them “rustic” croissants. Actually they weren’t too bad, with either butter or strawberry jam, although it really was more like “puff pastry with butter/jam” than a croissant.

And my wife was laughing so hard at them, and asked if she could send the photo to her nephew, who is currently working overseas in Paris. She said that the first thing he sees when he wakes up this morning (in the Paris time zone) will be her message containing delicious looking croissants! It’ll make his mouth water and he’ll have to dash out to buy some freshly baked croissants from a Parisian boulangerie to try and satisfy his sudden craving!

Yeah…

Experimenting with cooking is fun!

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Late Monday

I got stuck into a few cut-throat games of Codenames last night with friends via online chat, and before I knew it the evening was over and I hadn’t written my Monday blog post. So here we are doing it over breakfast the next morning.

On Monday I went for a bit of a walk in the morning, around the local shops. I noticed some places newly closed and the premises up for lease. I hope the COVID restrictions don’t cause more shops/cafes/restaurants to go out of business. There were also some places renovating and fitting out for new openings, including our vet, which is moving premises in a week or so. Their old building is being demolished to be redeveloped – almost certainly into new apartments. The building never ceases in Sydney, as more housing is needed for the ever-growing population.

I took a photo of what may be the most hipster barber shop ever:

Most hipster barber ever?

Last time I did grocery shopping, I noticed that the supermarket was still selling hot cross buns. (I actually think they sell them year round now, because they’re so popular, rather than just around Easter.) I bought some, because they’re so good. In the past I only ever had them warmed up with butter melting on them. But inspired by Japanese melon-pan ice cream, I’ve taken to heating them up and then putting on a scoop of ice cream, which works amazingly well.

But in the first post-Easter COVID-lockdown-approved visit my wife made to her mother’s place, she came home with some chocolate Easter eggs. So I’ve been trying heating the buns with a chocolate egg inside, which melts and makes a delicious filling. And then I recently bought some bananas…

Hot Cross Banana Split

Behold the Hot Cross Banana Split! I heated the bun with the chocolate egg in it – so it’s all melty. Then added sliced banana and a scoop of ice cream.

Hot Cross Banana Split

Close the lid and squash it all together…

Hot Cross Banana Split

Oh my…. Highly recommended!

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Double or Nothing Sunday

Okay, today I did some stuff! Firstly, I restarted using Duolingo to practice learning Italian again. I’ve been slacking off on my Italian since I got back from my trip to Portugal last year, and finally decided to restart. Fortunately it seems I’ve done enough that I remembered all of the relatively easy stuff. We’ll see how I go with trickier stuff later on.

I cleared out another backlogged Snot Block & Roll review, of an amazing sausage roll.

I did another long walk, documented with photos. This time through the historic Coal Loader site and nearby Balls Head, in Waverton (a suburb of Sydney).

For dinner this evening I made carrot and lentil soup, seasoned with coriander and my home made chilli sauce. And I made yoghurt flatbread to go with it, which is so easy and delicious. A simple meal, but it was really delicious and perfect for a cool autumn day.

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Drying strawberries

This morning I noticed a punnet of strawberries in the fridge that I’d bought last week, and realised we better do something with them, if they haven’t gone mouldy already. One of them had, but the rest were okay. My wife suggested drying them, if we could, to use as breakfast cereal topping.

I checked some online recipes and indeed, found that I could dry them in a slow oven. So I sliced them up and stuck them in at 90°C.

Drying strawberries

For 4 hours…

Dried strawberries

They turned out nice and crispy, and left an interesting pattern on the baking paper. I reckon this is how you made lickable wallpaper.

“The strawberries taste like strawberries! The snozzberries taste like snozzberries!”

I also made some more Darths & Droids comics today. And in weather news, it was cold! The overnight temperature was about 10°C, and it had risen to 21°C by 9am, but then by midday it dropped back down below 14°C as a cold front came in, bringing heavy rain. The next few days are going to be chilly, and it looks like only getting up to 24°c next week, according to the forecast. Summer is over.

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Banana bread

I was just trying to remember what I did today, and nothing came to mind… It was one of those days. Goofed around a lot. Well, I cleaned the bathroom window flyscreen and sill. Exciting.

I baked a loaf of banana bread, to use up some old spotty bananas. My wife suggested adding some yoghurt, so I Googled up a recipe that included yoghurt in it. It turned out nice – better than the last time I made banana bread.

I’ve been playing the game Wavelength with some friends via Discord. One guy coded it up as a Discord bot, and it works really well. He’s also coded Codenames into the same bot, so we have a couple of things to play when a few of us are hanging out in chat. It’s a good way to keep social during this virus distancing stuff.

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The days are blending together

It’s Sunday. My wife says she’s been losing track of the days because she’s been working from home, but I somehow manage to keep the days straight – except today I felt a bit lost and had to think about it.

We didn’t do much, except take Scully on a long walk this morning. Oh that’s right… there was a bit os housecleaning and stuff – cleaning the bathroom, refilling the wardrobe damp absorbers, washing up, etc, etc.

Oh, and I made chilli sauce out of the chillies I picked and chopped three weeks ago! I’d left them to ferment in brine with garlic, but I think I put too much salt in and the lactobacillus never got going, since there were no bubbles like my friend told me to expect. But anyway, I added some vinegar and blended the result, and it turned out looking like a slightly chunky Tabasco sauce, so I guess that’s good. I’ll try it later in the week.

Home made chilli sauce

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