Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Year's Eve

I'm having some friends over for a New Year party of sorts on Saturday.  We don't usually have more than two people around for food at a time, and we don't have enough chairs for the 9-11 we're expecting, so I decided tapas/finger food would be a brilliant way to get around it.

In preparation, last night I got my sourdough starter (see this post) out of the fridge after her long hibernation.  I can't remember when I last fed her, but it is probably about DATE when I last mentioned her in a post.  So I was surprised that she looked so healthy:

This is just after I poured off the blackish water or 'hooch' that had gathered on top.  According to The Fresh Loaf, this is normal, and she will be fine (I've seen this before and she's always been fine afterward).  I will update how she goes.  The idea of having a batch of starter in the freezer just in case she does die from neglect is very comforting!  I am planning on making the sourdough baguettes from Chocolate and Zucchini that I've made before, and making them into crostini.

Also, I spotted this book (albeit with a different cover to this, but buy it at Mighty Ape!) at work, and nabbed it as it wasn't on hold.

It is fabulous!  I love any unusually set-out cookbooks, and this is such a great idea.  The book includes four recipes for each of 50 ingredients, so 200 yummy looking recipes.  And the recipes for each ingredient are quite different from one another - for tomatoes you can choose between three-colour salad, bruschetta, spaghetti alla puttanesca, and tomato tarte tatin.  I know, right?!  I have chosen a few recipes either to make according to the instructions, or as inspiration for my own take.

There will be pictures of the food after Saturday (probably after Sunday, in fact, as even though we have scheduled 'midnight' for 10pm, I'm sure I will be zonkered on Sunday!).  In the meantime, have a great New Year, spend it with the people you love or the people you find most interesting and entertaining, and make a resolution or two that you have no intention of keeping.  I'm not telling mine, but they're already forming themselves in my head (hint:  one involves taking more pictures, and the other involves posting more often again!).

Lastly, I think this is one of my biggest wins ever:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Obligatory Graduation and Canberra Trip post

We got home at 2am on Saturday of last week, and I'm still exhausted.  I could easily have stayed in bed for a few days, but I've been working at Whangaparaoa Library, as their me was on holiday.  A 'short' summary of our week follows, and I even have some pictures from the new camera!

On Tuesday, at 5:30am, we left home.  We flew to Sydney and then took the bus to Canberra.  Tuesday was a long day - we got to Canberra at 4:30pm zulu (yep, I watch too much NCIS), which meant 13 hours of traveling (and waiting in the airport).  We stayed at the YHA in the central city, and yet again we were impressed.  YHAs are reliably awesome.  We had the best burgers in the world at Guss'.  I wish I could move Guss' to my house, it's the best restaurant in the world ever!

On Wednesday, we went shopping and collected my gown.  There was some confusion about which ceremony I was in, and which degree I was getting...  this will be relevant tomorrow.  That evening, we had dinner at Wagamama with two of my friends who also studied ForAnth but were in their thesis year when I was in coursework.

The ANU campus is pretty

On Thursday, we went to the Anthropology and Archaeology graduate lunch, and met up with Liz, the postgraduate adviser for Anth and Arch who is the only reason I ever got my thesis handed in.  She is a legend!  We then went to the graduation hall, only to find that Mum had no ticket, and that I wasn't on their list of graduands.  I had been put into the 5:30pm ceremony instead of the 2pm with the rest of the faculty!  But Liz had some stern words with the graduation office, and with only 10 minutes to spare I was seated, Mum got in, and everything went well after that.  Including having dinner with another friend and her daughter.

The Canberra Centre is really pretty at night with all of the fairy lights

On Friday, our last full day in Canberra, we chased up my transcript and certificate (which, because of the change in ceremony time, wasn't ready for pickup on Thursday), and then visited the National Botanical Gardens.  Friday night, I had dessert with my friends from SCUNA (the ANU Choral Society that I belonged to the first year I lived in Canberra), and then we went to karaoke!  It was so much fun, I posted on facebook that I could karaoke with them every night and still be sad when it was home time.

 This pretty fern made me think of home, even though it's apparently an Australian native
(at the National Botanical Gardens)

 This tree is called the Wollemi Pine (though it's not a pine tree) and its earliest fossils date to 200 million years ago!  This specimen lives outside of the forestry building at the ANU

It was a very brief visit, but I managed to see everyone I wanted to see and do almost everything I wanted to do.  Still haven't been to parliament...  but, I don't suppose I'm missing much!

 We saw this little guy on the way home on Friday night.  He's just too cute not to include!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

My New Camera (and Budgery's first photo shoot)

I bought my camera!!  The first photo I took was, of course, of Budgery - our budgie (yes, we're inventive!).  Isn't he pretty?

To remind you, this is the camera I decided on, and I managed to get it in red, which makes me happy.

We're off to Australia on Tuesday (at the crack of 'oh my god what the'), so I will make sure to take lots of pictures.  And, as promised, when I get home, I will go through my archive and upload better pictures of the crafty things I've done.  Hmm... this means recooking lots of yummies...  Okay, who wants to come over and eat them for me once I've taken photos?


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