Friday, November 30

Cake or Death

Extra special congratulations to Alastair on his last day on the job. Bugger about not being there for the farewell because I bet that speech goes down a treat, but I'll be thinking of you and I am eagerly awaiting the book! Or books!

And just in case the last day is less than perfect, one more youtube clip to cheer you :) Cake or Death! (er, cake please)

"You'll need a tray"

Just a quick update from the Alamo city. Jo is finally starting to feel better but sadly we seem to have tagged teamed the mini-flu and I am now feeling like crud. Soda water is at the top of my food priority list so I must be sick!

We're up to our ears in turkey and chicken stock post Thanksgiving yummyness, and the other night we cooked a boned leg of Australian lamb (!!) on the rotisserie. It was gorgeous! I rubbed it in garlic, olive oil, pepper and preserved lemon and stuffed it with rosemary, leek and garlic...mmmm Sadly no pics because the hungry Australian masses snapped it up almost as soon as it hit the plate. We had cooked the same cut in the oven a month or so ago but this method was much juicier. Only problem with the rotisserie is it took me nearly an hour to get the pre-seared and marinated hunk of meat onto the spit, strung up and all evenly distributed. Oh well, totally worth it.

Today's youtube moment is not suitible or safe for work, and if you're offended by swearing don't watch it. But it is funny - an Eddie Izzard skit about the death star canteen animated lego style.

Monday, November 26

Thanksgiving...a wonderful holiday

Well, it's a few days post Thanksgiving and we're finally recovering (ie fully digested). What a truly wonderful holiday Thanksgiving is. No one really knows what they're supposed to be giving thanks for, so it becomes a simple celebration of friends and food. No gifts, no major decorations, songs etc. Just a wonderful feast shared with whoever you can get your hands on.

The day started with me sticking my herb-buttered hand inside the body cavity of a dead bird and got better from there.

The plan was to eat at around 3.30, so we didn't have to get up crazily early to get things going. We ended up with 10 adults and 2 kids, so a great size to cook for really. I was in charge of the turkey (a 19 pound organic beauty), two chickens of the same ilk (cooked on the BBQ rotisserie), the potato bake, vegetarian stuffing and gravy. We also had roast vegies, green bean casserole (a weird American tradition made with tinned mushroom soup and crispy onions), mashed red potatoes, oyster stuffing, baked ham and a tofurky for the vego. Ooh, and we had aussie style prawns on the barbie as an appetizer! And lets not forget the desserts...There was apple pie (classic), lemon meringue pie (yummy!!) and pumpkin pie (eek) with cool whip...a synthetic cream substitute that Americans can't seem to get enough of!

Even the temperature was perfect - The day before thanksgiving it had been about 30 degrees, until a cold front swept through in the afternoon and dropped it to single digits, where it has stayed ever since! All in all it was a brilliant day. I'm finally beginning to realise that there's something amazing about preparing food and sharing it with people you care about. I got asked what I wanted for Christmas the other day and the only think I could think of that I really wanted was ingredients to cook that person dinner! We really should instigate thanksgiving in Australia and you know what...November 24th is an excellent date for it ;)

Saturday, November 24


We're still up and watching the votes as they slowly trickle through... Fingers crossed.

I'll try to post an update on Thanksgiving tomorrow. We had a lovely day, and it felt like winter all of a sudden! (snow in some parts of Texas) Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 22

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm off to spend a day and a half cooking (and eating) - we're having a big American thanksgiving with our friends (although only 3 are Americans). I have packed the camera so here's hoping I remember to use it!

Jo is feelin better. I took her to the doctor yesterday and she has a chest infection, but the drugs seem to be helping and speedily too.

And just to keep you occupied while I'm away, here's a true YouTube classic which you have probably all see but it's always worth seeing again! OK Go!

Monday, November 19

Pretty quiet day here after rather a large night last night. We helped Jo and John organise and celebrate their housewarming, including an Aussie style bbq for 60 people (beetroot slices and all!) We're now trying to get our heads around going back to work tomorrow - but at least it is a short week, with Thanksgiving on Thursday and Friday off as well (so I might actually have something to write about!)

Stay tuned.

And for today's YouTube clip, something clever and not animated in any way. Stick with it because it takes a while to warm up. It's Daft Punk sung by a hand (well, two hands). Trust me...I'm a doctor ;)

And yes, I admit that I've been getting into music made by robots lately...sometimes the geekiness scares even me.

Sunday, November 18


We exercised our democratic rights today with a postal vote and oh boy did it ever feel good! It was actually fairly easy to organise - fax the embassy in Washington the postal request form (AEC website), they mail us the ballots and we mail them back. Fingers crossed *sings: it's time for a change..."

And for today's YouTube clip... This one was first shown to me by Wills and Imogen and has since become a cult phenomonon in many online communities. "The Mysterious Ticking Noise"

Friday, November 16

Wild and Windy

A cool change came through last night which meant we had wild, lashing winds (and little sleep for me) all night! The poor plants on our deck are looking a little ravaged. It's down to 24 (with a low of 4!) today so here's hoping that doesn't last!

Today's YouTube clip blows me away every time I see it. More stop motion of a very different kind, this one animates the construction of the Lego Millennium Falcon. My friend Matt (Lego freak + star wars freak) recently bought this one and it is HUGE. 5000+ pieces, just less than a meter long, with an instruction manual that looks more like a thesis!

Thursday, November 15


Yesterday was John's birthday (my boss that is) so I have made an enormous pot of my chili and tonight, at his request, we're going over to eat chili outside by the fire. This is at the new house so if I'm on the ball I might even remember to take some snaps. I should also post some new pics of our apartment, since we just got a new bookcase (yay for ikea) and moved things around a little.

Jo is recovering but still has a nasty cough. It seems some of our other colleagues silly enough to subject themselves to being stabbed and pumped full of dead viral material in the hope of protecting themselves against two or three flu strains have also come down sick! My case grows stronger...

This weekend and next week are looking busy, with a party on Saturday night (and 60 people to BBQ for, Aussie style - beetroot and all) then Thanksgiving on Thursday! So stay tuned for more food blogging (I know you wait with baited breath, right??)

Oh, and I've been watching a lot of random YouTube stuff lately so I'm going to be progressively linking some of the most incredible, hilarious, clever or just odd things I've found. Things that other people really should see! So for the first, here's a (soundless) stop motion wall animation...This one is powerful, strangely chilling (and safe for work)

Quid and Harmony - Great read and a worthy cause

I just finished reading a book that was written by a friend of mine, and I really enjoyed it. This book was already very close to my heart, after reading some of the in progress drafts and watching the creative process unfurl, but I really enjoyed the final version. The book is called "Quid and Harmony", written by Alan Smith, and it's in that tricky to write but wonderful to read young adult fantasy genre. It has elements of the familiar, yet the story is unique and complex enough to really suck you in deep and sweep you away.

However, I'm blogging this because not only is the book a wonderful read but it is also a very worthy cause. Proceeds from the book sales (and online donations) go to the Hamlin Fistula Hospitals in Ethiopia.

To find out more about the book, the project or to get sucked in by reading the first few chapters go to or read the related blog

Alan, I really like the changes you made, the ending still made me cry and I couldn't put the bloody thing down until I finished it! More... please more! And congratulations ^_^

Tuesday, November 13

Blessed cheese

All is quiet here. Poor Jo decided to have her flu shot last week and now she's sick as a dog with suspected flu! I knew extra needles were evil. Last night we had friends over so I made ginger scented chicken broth with wontons then a spicy, garlicky, gingery Thai salad with slices of pork tenderloin. Good food for colds, lots of crunchy greens, oranges and reds. Anyway, here's hoping she's over the worst of it.

And as a side note, or perhaps the whole point of this post, I was digging through the pics I took while I was in Australia and thought I'd blog a little about the amazing day I had with Kath, Andrew and their little Angus (boy not cow) while I was staying with them in South Australia. Lucky for them (and me) McLaren Vale is just a hop, skip and 20 or so minute drive from their house! We didn't do the wine circuit but we did manage an olive oil tasting! They had discovered a place called The Olive Grove that produces excellent olive oils, so while they topped up their supplies I dipped and ate my way through most of the selection. The lemon infused oil (seasonal) was amazing as was the kalamata EVOO (as the Americans would call it - lazy!), but my favorite by far was the kalamata mustard that had a fantastic amount of bite to it! They have online sales and I enjoyed the tasting so much that I'm happy to give them a plug.

The other incredible place that we went was a bustling little cafe called Blessed Cheese. My stomach has just started rumbling at the thought of it! This place was brilliant, great wine list and just the most incredible food. Now you have to remember that I'd been in the US for a year and a half at least by this point, so the idea of good antipasto was becoming a myth! Sure, we can get stuff that looks like antipasto, but it might as well be playdoh in comparison to the real thing. I will allow the pictures to speak for me but the platter that we ordered was heaven on a, well, platter.

What you can't really see in the picture is the cheese...they have a huge selection from all over (you pick 3) and the pate (behind the salami) that was good enough to rival the one made fresh at the nichols farm in Tassie! Oh boy, if you get a chance, hit McLaren Vale...gogogo

Friday, November 9

Tabula rasa

Since it has been such an insanely long time since I last blogged, I'm going to need a clean slate if I'm ever going to start this again, so tabula rasa.

Time has passed during which:
- Jac went to Australia for a conference/vacation, hit 4 states in 3 weeks, had an incredible time and almost ate her yearly quota of roast lamb!
- Our friends Clare and Hamish came to visit from Oz via most of the rest of the world and we explored some of the more edible parts of san antonio (plus they went fishing!)
- Jo went to Australia for vacation and hit 2 states in 2 weeks and ate only slightly less lamb
- Our friend Kath came to visit and we spent most of her two days here eating :D
- Jac then went to San Diego for another conference while most of the outlying areas were on fire and the city was full of smoke

I'll probably fill in some of those details later, especially since most of them relate to food in some way ^_^

For now though, everything here is good. It has suddenly become very cool and very dry. While the temp is still pushing 30 at the peak of the day, it is now dropping down to 15 or so at night which is a big shock after months and month of nights over 25! The wind has a bite and long pants are almost a must. I think if we both hadn't recently spent some chilly time in Tassie the cool would be a welcome change, but we had a very mild summer this year with lots of rain so I don't think either of us are ready to say goodbye to the heat yet! Nevermind the fact that our friends John and Jo have just bought a McMansion that includes a glorious blue pool and hot tub!

Speaking of the new house, I spend the last few weekends putting together a truckload (literally) of outdoor furniture, buying and building the king of all BBQs, and cooking for many, many people...brilliant! My recent triumph involved cooking 9 enormous filet mignon steaks to a variety of specified cookednesses while also grilling huge mushies, asparagus, chicken and some nasty tofu riblet thing for the managing to get it right and all done at the same time! I'll try to get a few snaps of the house and pool soon.

For now though, so that I don't leave this post bare, here are some great and random signs that found in the Adelaide market carpark!