Thursday, 30 May 2013

Sleep Dosage

All week I've had pretty good sleep, relatively low stress levels, sliiiightly more carbs than normal, and I've had pretty decent energy - probably a 9 out of 10 for most days.

I've always held that I NEED nine hours of sleep to keep me sand and humanable, and that a loss of half an hour of that sleep leads me to catastrophe. That's always just been the norm for me, but in the last few weeks I've actually thought about that in a logical manner - this ain't normal.

Last night, I meditated for the first time in yonks and went to 'sleep' at 5 past 9, 5 minutes after bedtime, which doesn't affect me. By 'sleep' I mean I shut my eyes and started to get to sleep, but couldn't actually get to that stage because my train of thought is a fast moving, never stopping, loud and unignorable steam train rattling down a bumpy road. It probably takes me an hour to get to proper sleep every night.

Anyway, I woke up at my normal time this morning - 5.55am - and felt dead as a doornail. WOD not started. Food eaten miserably. Calculated correctly, I had the same 'nine hours of sleep' I have every night, but for some reason this morning, life just wasn't working for me. As I was leaving, mum said that I looked tired too, with a bit of an air of 'are you sure you slept at all?'

Something's wrong here. The government recommendation of 7-8 hours, and my personal recommendation of 9 hours, obviously doesn't solve the complete sleep and energy puzzle. There must be something deeper and more important to the hours of sleep you sleep for. I know that quality of sleep is really important, so I'll have to somehow fix that.


Tuesday, 28 May 2013


Or rather, what I do when I procrastinate on a bit more of a sophisticated level when the assessments/exams I have aren't impending and looming behind me.

I grow, of course! I showed you my shallots on Monday, and look how much they've already grown in three days. How crazy are they?! I've also tried some dirty English spinach this morning from a terribly gritty breakfast (how traditional peeps had a pica habit for health I'll never know) and I just made a jar of cucumber because a. we have no pickles left b. my intestines... ahem... would like some pickles c. I didn't know how the hell I'd for the cucumbers into my non-cucumbers meals d. I wanted to experiment a little. So nothing's really certified 'sterile' but I'd really hope a knife, a jar and some cuckes will be pretty bacteria-free (for now), and I added white balsamic vinegar because I couldn't find white vinegar and the last batch of just brine was boring.

Now, back to work!

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Extra Day

Pupil free days are like a breath of relief and give me time to do random stuff I'm too busy to do during the week. Since we haven't got any impending assessments coming up, I decided to spend a few hours in the kitchen making stuff - mostly just because I can.

I started off with a batch of shortbread cookies to take down to half star, where s'mores aren't only a tradition, but a NECESSITY. So I needed a graham cracker to put my future chocolate (coconut oil and cocoa) and marshmallows on. I found a fantastic recipe over at Paleo Spirit and whizzed it up. Only problem was, she said it would be super crumbly, but mine was a pretty wetish dough. So I had to keep sprinkling coconut flour and arrowroot on until it became a little drier. It was still a dough when I sliced it up, but it did start crumbling a teeny bit when I tried to put it on the baking tray. And the batter tasted good. And you know what that means...

After cooling, they turned out FANTASTIC. Ok, so I burnt them a wee bit, but I always burn shortbread. But like I said, they were uber tasty and shortbready. Guess who's ready for some arrowroot cookies made with actual arrowroot???

Then I transformed half-eggs into a half-jar of mayonnaise (this emulsion baffles me every time I make it). I'd bought some mustard powder so I wanted to try it out, because it's what people seem to be putting in their mayos. And I added three yolks and less oil because... why not? Yolks are probably better than oil, and I didn't want to use up all the olive oil (which probably would've happened if I was allowed to keep going). The mustard added a bit of a chilli kick. You'd take a lick of the stick blender and then wonder if your tongue is burning slightly from the mustard or the blade. But you'd continue licking it anyway.

Better than Baba Ghanoush

The Middle Easterns have their dips down pat. Just look at tahini. Isn't that a fantastic little spread that's a great creamy addition to a lot of stuff? If I don't put olive oil on something, I'll probably drizzle and dollop some tahini on it. But then there's baba ghanoush, which is fantastic made right (or bought) or bad. Real bad.

Ages ago, I came across another dollopy spready purée thing that hails (or seemed like it would hail) from the Middle Eastern area. It was called avjar (pronounced av-yar), but because the blender and I don't have the best relationship, and I'd just eat it all out of the blender as soon as it was made anyway, I gave it a miss.

Today, I was desperate for food so I strolled into some place called 'deli' and picked up some sliced salami and marinated olives, and as she was slicing up my future taco shells (deli meat is THE best for holding food), I turned around to find red jars of, you guessed it, delectable avjar. Take note that I've never tasted it before today, I already knew it would be a spoon of divine Middle Easternness.

And then I looked around a bit more. And I found another jar called malizzano. There was no way I could leave this shop without both jars. Even with the evil oil (sunflower). Sometimes I think it's better to taste things to know what they taste like, even if it means going against ideals you'd normally not stray from. And the jars are from Macedonia, and it looks like they've been made with love.

I should probably mention what these jars are made of before I tuck in with a spoon. They're very similar; they're both a simple blend of roasted capsicum and roasted eggplant, but obviously the avjar is red capsicum and the malizzano is green. It's quite strange, though, how they taste a lot different to what they're made of. I reckon they'd both taste good mixed with either roasted tomatoes, tahini or maybe paprika or cinnamon or some other spices, or maybe all three. Oh and garlic. It almost tastes like it already has garlic in it. Or some soft white cheese if dairy's your style.

I'm not quite sure what to eat it with, but my options so far are from a spoon, simmer and cook eggs in it like shakshuka, or obviously as a dip with some veggie sticks. I had a google search around and found that it's good for salad dressings, meat marinades and as a lasagna sauce. Can't wait to try it all!

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Another Media Moment

I don't even know who Julianne Moore is, but watching the breakfast show this morning she showed us her little fault when she was so concerned about how the rest of her body looked. Who cares about feet, right? Watch the video; I love how up front she is about it.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Another Reason to Love Ryan Gosling

He doesn't want to disturb the rippling muscular formations that he's lovingly created.
He won't eat his cereal, as the media puts it. But why is it his?

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Quick Update

I have a teeny bit of time to write today but I have nothing to say! At all! Ok, so maybe that's a lie, because I'm saying something now, right? I thought I should just update you all because I haven't posted in a while.

I think I've come to the realisation that I don't want to involve my ENTIRE existence around food. I've been... not thinking deeply, but just coming to lots of little realisations... that I don't want to devote my life to food and health in terms of finance. I love cooking and learning what's healthiest for the body, but the reason I love it is because it doesn't currently take up 24 hours of my day. I love singing while spilling the meal I'm making over the stove and seasoning it far too heavily to keep my tastebuds sane. I don't love stressing over the food I eat, perfecting techniques and making caramels (however, I made a marshmallow recipe the other day and it turned out terrific! Kinda.) like a French patisserie ultra precise chef.

I tell everyone I'm going to have a gap life when I leave school, and that does not involve cooking a bajillion meals to pay for it. I'm starting to seriously consider in the drama branch of work. Maybe like a reviewer or something. Or a costume designer/maker could work. Maybe a catalogue or catwalk model or an actress if I get my act together. I'd love to be a getaway-style-show presenter. I don't know. I'll do what comes I guess. And be fabulous at it.


I suppose I'm not going to model for the hair show in the June long weekend so I get to go camping again! Yay! So I've compiled my list of things I want to eat while I'm down there (forget that they're all going to make me fat), including marshmallows because that's just a given. We have a fireplace and we all toast marshmallows, so I decided to have a crack at making my own marshmallows because I don't want to eat the crap you get in the shop.

Following Mommypotamous' recipe, I made a half batch of fluffy sticky clouds of goodness. Basically, you mix a honey caramel with dissolved gelatine, beat it until it's fluffy, then let it sit overnight. It's a basic concept but it's not so basic seeing as you have to make a CARAMEL.

First, you dissolve the gelatine with the water. You'll wonder how the hell the hard gel goo is gonna result in something fluffy, but be prepared to be amazed.

Then you put water, flavour (I put vanilla), salt and a beehive of honey into a pot and 'keep on medium high heat until it reaches 240 degrees'. Big problem. a. My stove is ultra strong and it's really hard to tell what's medium and what's high and b. I haven't got a candy thermometer. So I put it on what would've been high heat and let it go. I knew it would take a while so I left for thirty seconds and...

When I came back, it had volcanoed and there was honey caramel all over the stove and everywhere! I turned the heat down but I had to keep turning it up for the caramel to do something.

So after vigorously stirring a pot of bubbling candy (I know, French chefs, sue me for touching my caramel) it eventually reached soft ball stage. I dropped a bit in cold water and it makes a soft little ball in your hand. And once I realised it was done, I think I overcooked it. The second before I took it off, it was fine, but when I stopped mixing it it took on a funny smell.

Regardless, I called James to help pour it into the funny gelatine stuff which would be easy enough for me to do by myself next time. I whipped it up, and that only took five minutes. Then it went into my prelined baking tin with some arrowroot on top. Next time that lining will be done so much better.

Then I had to lick everything clean, which was a lot of marshmallow cream. But I put the semi clean beaters and spatula and stuff in hot water for five minutes and it all dissolved. Urgh. Next time I know I don't have to clean it with my mouth.

And then you just let it sit for four hours. I cut it at four hours and the other half after overnight, and there wasn't too much difference in firmness. And I toasted a bit and it kinda melts. Oh well. I'll try toasting it when it gets older. James liked it, so guess who's making marshmallows more often? :)

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Experiments - or Lots of Posts I've Put Off

For some reason I just don't get around to blogging about some things. I think I'm just a little overwhelmed with study. I've tried a few new things, so I thought instead of writing separate posts for them all, I could just put it all under one post and call it a day.

1. I tried brushing my teeth with charcoal. Activated charcoal, not wood from a fire, silly. I read up and found that it adsorbs all the tannins in your teeth, so I decided to give it a go. I took a 'during' photo to show you how pretty I look:
but the result was next to nothing. My theories are that my teeth are stained with something that isn't tannins, or I didn't do it right. After I read up on it a bit more or something, I'll try it again, because I really hate normal toothpaste.

2. I dragged dad out to Harris farm markets and make him buy a $12 spaghetti squash. I've idolised it ever since I saw it on the internet, but I'd never been able to get it. So when I found it I battered my puppy dog eyes and got what I wanted :)

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Lightning Speed Chocolate Fixes

You know what tastes good with a few tablespoons of the ol' cocoa powder and a drizzle of honey (or maple syrup or some coconut sugar)?

- Coconut oil. Make a thick liquid and pop it in the fridge for ten minutes and you get hard fudgey chocolate square stuff. Or dip frozen fruit into it and you've got yourself a magic shell!
- Avocado. Purée and stir it all up and people call it a mousse but I'd say you could probably use it as a cake icing or something like that. But don't be fooled. I will allow you to eat a large serving of it straight from a bowl.
- Tahini. I try to stop thinking of tahini as 'hummus' and start thinking of it as 'sesame seed butter'. I made a tahini-based sauce the other day and mum said it tasted like a satay, so that opened my eyes a bit more about tahini. So this morning I mixed one part tahini, one part cocoa and probably one and a half parts carob syrup (which is naturally high in sugar). And it was just like a thickish chocolate paste! It was awesome. It would make a really nice icing or chocolate spread for something. Oh and I added cinnamon to it.

I'd also love to try coconut butter and cocoa powder and honey. I'll let you guys know the turnout once I try it!

You know what else is good with chocolate? Cinnamon and cayenne. I added it to my avocado mousse and oh ma gawd it's amazing. I love chilli, and adding it to chocolate kinda brings out the flavour but gives it it's own spice too. And the cinnamon grounds the cayenne and makes it more homely. Cinnamon makes everything homely. I mean, what's less homely than smelling cinnamon stewing away in an apple pie scented home?

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Mr Crackles Carryout

We were in the city last night and I'd read a review about this place that sold a cup of pork crackling, and mum's friend had been there so we decided to see what it was like. The rest of the family shared a pork roll and I had some crackling (they had some too). Honestly, it was bland and not dreamworthy, even though we'd been wanting pork since we had dinner. The crackling was dry and salt less and flavourless and a little too hard for my liking and COLD. You do not serve me cold crackling. Even if it's lukewarm it's alright. But not cold. And the pork from the roll was also pretty dry and fatless. And apparently the roll was hard. Oh well. We know where NOT to go next time we have a craving for pig fat.