Hi from Cairns airport! We've started off on our Round the World trip.
I normally don't announce my absences beforehand on this blog, because people in Townsville read this, and really it's probably not that difficult to figure out where we live. But we have someone living at our place while we're away this time. So any would-be home invaders can just suck it.
Also this trip is a long one, and I'm hoping to blog on the way, which will make it hard to pretend I'm in Townsville and everything is normal.
So be aware that my posting may be irregular (not that it hasn't been for months) and my reading of your blogs will probably nosedive. But I will try to post whenever I can in the next few weeks, even if it is just the odd photo.
Andy submitted his PhD today. Aside from giving Nacho a comfy perch from which to disapprove...
This milestone represents a great opportunity to make cake, and eat (and possibly drink a little, too). But instead of just any cake, I somehow got the idea to make the cake in the shape of a butterflyfish, because that is the group of fishes he studied throughout his PhD. Andy was totally sceptical that it would work, but I received encouragement via Facebook and the tea room at work. So I forged ahead.
First, I traced the fish, Chaetodon plebeius, onto baking paper and then scanned it in and blew it up to pan-sized.
Then I used more baking paper to trace the shape and cut it out, to make my template.
The next step was to bake the cakes. I decided to do two rectangle cakes, so the fish could be swimming in a blue ocean.
Once the cakes were cool, I "glued" my template down with a bit of icing, to keep it from moving around, and then cut around it to get the fish shape right.
A thin layer of blue icing on the bottom, then I put the fish-shaped cake on top and coated in yellow icing.
Some tidying up of icing (tip from watching my mum: a butter knife or finger dipped in water is the perfect way to get a smooth icing finish), and then adding on of details like stripes, a blue patch, and a fin. All this was done before 10.30am, because I was super excited and couldn't wait!
Finally, I finished with the "black" (aka light brown and chocolate) stripe and spot, and used a little piece of strawberry for an eyeball.
A final tidy-up, and in the end we had to swap the strawberry (which was oozing juice and messing up the cake) for a dried cherry, but I'm pretty chuffed with the end result.
Since we're sting ready to head overseas, we're trying to eat up all the food in the house. Half a jar of chia seeds made me think of all the blog posts I've seen about chia pudding.
I made this one by mixing 1/4 cup of chia seeds with a tin of coconut milk. The first night we ate it plain with zucchini bread. The second time round we mixed with mashed banana and sprinkled with cinnamon. Finally, what you can see above, Andy mixed in some boysenberry jam, which I'm currently eating for morning tea as I experiment with mobile blogging from my iPod.Since we're getting ready to head overseas, we're trying to eat up the food in the house. Half a jar of chia seeds made me think of all the blog posts I've seen about chia pudding.
So on a day when we had very empty cupboards, I decided to try creating a more excellent version of a seitan roast, without the stuffing - because this was a weeknight dinner, so in addition to can't-be-arsed syndrome, I didn't want to eat too much.
I followed the same recipe that we used at christmas this year, minus the stuffing. It took about 10 minutes to put together, 20 minutes to steam in the pressure cooker, and then, and then and then! I wrapped it up in yuba, to form a deliciously crunchy crust. A quick glaze with soy sauce & olive oil, and it went into the oven for 40 minutes, along with some kipfler potatoes, and carrots.
The result was at least 17 times better than Sanitarium's version, less salty, and a way to use okara. And it wasn't even that much work. And it had a crunchy skin!
Andy was recently away for two weeks, diving for money in cold water. Since I was home alone, I decided to splurge a little and impulsively bought some Kingland Soy Cheese. We've bought this before and didn't hate it, but it isn't often for sale in our local shop, and in any case we're fairly unwilling to spend money on luxuries like soy cheese. But, for whatever reason, I thought this would be a good idea.
I thought about the best way to make use of it, and settled on eggplant parma. This was lazy-style -- I cooked the eggplant slices in a bit of oil in the frying pan until they were nice and soft. Then I topped with a bit of jar sauce and a slice of soy cheese, and put it under the griller.
As I was eating it, I congratulated myself on a super easypants dinner that was also yummy. Except, every now and then I got a flash that wasn't so yummy. So I tried a little nibble of the soy cheese on its own and ... it kind of tasted like puke. Not good.
Later in the week, I tried making nachos, and came to the same conclusion. With avocado, the cheese was tolerable. But as a dominant flavour, it was totally vom-y. After Andy came home, we tried it on pizza - I couldn't even finish it without picking off the cheese.