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May 30th, 2016

06:38 pm: Easy Star All-Stars: "Dub Side of The Moon"
Via nelc

How can I never have heard this before?!


Current Music: Easy Star All-Stars "Dub Side of The Moon"
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May 29th, 2016

07:07 pm: Cooking diary
Monday: Garlic mushroom spaghetti (also chives, parmesan, butter)

The rest behind the cut...Collapse )

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06:20 pm: Houston, we have a problem
Power outage in neighbourhood means I can only stay online so long as battery holds out. And then I'll have to communicate with actual humans, or even *gasp* fall back on old tech: I might read a dead-tree book. Oh the humanity!

ETA: Power's back on.

May 28th, 2016

06:17 pm: Getting a cold...
... was not part of my weekend plan. 

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May 26th, 2016

05:56 pm: Can't stop watching "Best Fast Workers In The World".
Their skill levels are astonishing. As for Occupational Health & Safety? Seems like something for other people to concern themselves about. They're too busy being ‪awesome.‬


H/T danjite for pointing these out to me.

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03:47 pm: Star Wars as a single 2D vertical scroller picture.
Star Wars as a single 2D vertical scroller picture.

(Episode IV? I don't know what you mean by that.)

Via andrewducker

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May 23rd, 2016

07:28 pm: Lion dancers taking it to the next level.


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06:58 pm: And with that, winter arrives.
It's been a mild Autumn, as if winter would never arrive. But then this weather system arrives from Antarctic regions bringing lots of rain and cold, snowfalls in the South Island.

Winter has arrived and the heat pump has been switched on.

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May 22nd, 2016

08:24 pm: How to make Victorian Nectar Drop candy and why are Lemon Drops called Drops?

Via swampers

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07:32 pm: A Few Words from Roger Zelazny
From Tor.com.

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06:55 pm: Cooking diary
I did quite a lot of cooking on the Sunday - slowcooked stuff in the slow-cooker & on the stovetop - so weeknight dinners needed relatively little effort.

Monday: Chicken rice noodle soup with Thai basil.
With the stock ready to go, the poaching of the chicken breast took little time, and all that was left was to blanch the noodles & bean sprouts. The Thai basil came from the garden. It's really hard to find locally so I decided to grow some. Turns out, it's fairly easy to grow.


Tuesday: Simmered pork, broccoli, noodles.


Wednesday: Beef rendang, courgette & egg stirfry, rice.


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May 17th, 2016

07:43 pm: Global map of vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks (2008-2016)
The good news, New Zealand is not omitted from this 'world map' of vaccine-preventable outbreaks. The bad news, we haven't escaped outbreaks.

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May 15th, 2016

02:10 pm: Prince Unplugged - Acoustic Guitar - Live Musicology Concert 2004


Audience intent on every note, every word, his eyes glinting, his fingers dancing. Marvellous.

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01:44 pm: I thought this view from the front table...
... was the closest I would get to the stage at the RSA Comedy Night.

(We arrived ~15 minutes before the start by which time, the only available tables were right up the front, and I ended up being one of the audience members called up to "assist". Good times!)

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01:35 pm: "Just My Imagination" Prince
He could play. Really play.


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May 14th, 2016

11:46 am: Cooking diary
Monday: Rice vermicelli, shiitake, mock vegetarian abalone, bokchoy. #vegan #vegetarian #notglutenfree

The prep; bokchoy from the garden:

Tuesday: Grilled cheesy sausages, mash, minted peas.

Wednesday: Pasta bake.

The prep.

Thursday: Bacon & egg...salad

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09:37 am: Awwww...


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May 13th, 2016

06:54 am: It’s Friday the 13th.
Let’s be careful out there.


May 4th, 2016

09:56 pm: Have some Mondegreens.


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09:38 pm: And they say the Germans have no sense of humour.
"Staplerfahrer Klaus"
Forklift Health & Safety. Funny & educational!
(There is a version with English subtitles, but I found this more entertaining. Warning, gets a little Mr Creosote.)


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07:01 am: Happy Star Wars Day!
May the Fourth be with you.

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May 2nd, 2016

06:40 pm: On tour with Prince: a photographer's story.
On Tour with Prince: A Photo Story and Remembrance

[My hayfever is acting up something chronic for no apparent reason...]

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May 1st, 2016

12:23 pm: Cooking diary
It's become a habit of me doing a bit of preparatory cooking on Sunday to increase options & make life easier for weeknight dinners. For example, I cooked cassoulet which is a slow-cook meal but with enough leftover that I could reheat some for dinner later in the week. I also added the marinade to the chicken so that it could absorb the flavours in the fridge overnight.

Tuesday: Five spice rotisserie chicken on rice with homemade chilli sauce

The prep. The stand-up rotisserie was bought some years back from the local supermarket. For a while it featured unusual items in its odds & sods section near the checkout. It's usually useless things like icecream makers but one time they had rotisseries selling for $50. Best money I spent in ages.

Wednesday: Cassoulet (reheated leftovers), sauteed cabbage with garlic

Thursday: Grandma's chicken stew

The prep.

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11:24 am: Lasers unveil secrets and mysteries of Angkor Wat
Lidar technology exposes sprawling metropolis surrounding ancient Cambodian temple.

We visited a few years & went to several of the temples including Angkor Wat. Thanks to our guide, we learned a bit about the history then. These new revelations are neat in their use of non-destructive technologies.

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April 30th, 2016

02:11 pm: Grains, tubers, and the development of sophisticated civilizations.
The original title is "The sinister, secret history of a food that everybody loves", referring to potatoes. But the title is misleading & clickbaity. What it is, is an article about how the type of carbohydrate you grow can influence how your civilization evolves.

Societies that grow grains like rice, get one or two harvests a year, but the grains can be stored (they keep) & transported readily (grains by weight is mostly dry matter). Potatoes don't store well, the get mouldy, and because of their high water content, much less easy to lug around. Those seemingly simple differences may have profound effects on one's culture.

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April 25th, 2016

08:54 am: Lest we forget.
It's ANZAC Day today.


April 24th, 2016

04:06 pm: Cooking diary
Sunday: Penang Hokkien Mee (Prawn noodles).
This is definitely not a weeknight meal given the amount of time it takes to put together, but sometimes one gets a craving. The description is accurate and accompanying recipe is close to what I did, though I did fry the prawn heads in oil to intensify the flavour.
Cooking diary

Monday:Spaghetti & garlic mushrooms, chives, parmesan.
This one's vegetarian & relatively simple to make.
Cooking diary

The prep:
Cooking diary

Tuesday: Beef rice noodles soup.
It's a simplified version of this recipe for Vietnamese pho. When I was making the stock for prawn noodle soup, I had another pot on the go with beef bones simmering to make the soup for this. The actual cooking on the night was mainly reheating & blanching.
Cooking diary

The prep:
Cooking diary

Wednesday: Tuna & rice salad. Fish sauce, ginger sesame lemon dressing.
Bought some tins of tuna on special a while ago, and they've been gathering dust in the pantry ever since. So maybe a rice salad could be a good way to use some of it up? This turned out edible but not great & if I do this again, I'll be making some tweaks. The dish doesn't need fish-sauce, what it needs more of is lemon & ginger to lift the flavours.
Cooking diary

The prep:
Cooking diary

Thursday: Vegetable soup, bacon, cheese.
This is my "ran out of ideas" cop-out. I was going to do something else with the courgettes but in the end threw them into a soup with the other remaining vegetables from the fridge. Given the cooling weather now that "Winter is Coming", this was a good option.
Cooking diary

The prep:
Cooking diary

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03:04 pm: Prince: "Summertime" August 2, 1990 sound check, Osaka, Japan.
From Steve Purcell's Facebook.

This is August 2, 1990 sound check Osaka Japan. I spent six years of my life working for, creating with and laying the foundation for the rest of my career with Prince. Long nights, remote parts of the world and creative growth beyond my wildest dreams. This may not be the Prince you think of but it is the Prince I knew. Those years were and will always remain the highlight of my career. Thanks for the good times RIP Kid.

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02:18 pm: Bruce Springsteen opens Brooklyn show with Purple Rain


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April 18th, 2016

07:15 pm: Someone is wrong on the internet: cooking edition
Carbonara Purists Can’t Stop the Pasta Revolution.

I'm pragmatic with cooking & happily use shortcuts (especially for weeknight dinners). But I also like cooking enough to use traditional longform techniques.

But the "One Pot Pasta" recipe, where you throw all the uncooked ingredients, spaghetti, tomatoes etc. into the same pot & cook it together, at the same time, in the same pot? Feels wrong. But I want to try it for myself.

Via andrewducker

ETA: Added link to the one pot pasta article.

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06:53 pm: I was uncertain how to feel about this...
...AC/DC confirm Axl Rose as new lead singer for remaining 2016 tour...

...and then bart_calendar posted this...

It's a crazy idea but...

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06:52 pm: "Never trust one-sentence rules on writing."

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April 17th, 2016

03:44 pm: Cooking diary
(No cooking for Monday as we were enjoying dinner at Allechante)
Tuesday: Nasi lemak.
It's a Malaysian classic which I crave every so often. Most of the cooking was done at the weekend (curries are better the next day or two anyway).

All that was needed was to cook the coconut rice, boil the eggs & slice the cucumber, then assemble the meal.

Wednesday: Spaghetto aglio e olio with New Zealand green-lipped mussels.
It's a variation on this dish I did recently that worked so well, I was keen to have it again.


Thursday: Chicken & vegetable strudel
The filling ready, pastry about to be sealed before baking. Made a simple salad of capsicums with a balsamic dressing.


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09:24 am: A bit more about "Good Omens".
Gaiman says a bit more at his blog following the news that he's going to write the miniseries version of "Good Omens".

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April 16th, 2016

05:45 pm: If your PC has Quicktime, uninstall it now.
If your PC has Quicktime, uninstall it now.

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07:55 am: I'm awake. Why am I awake?
Been awake since shortly after five. Couldn't get back to sleep (it's Saturday morning dammit). Noticed some interesting colours in the dawn sky. Took camera for a wander. Result.

Auckland sunrise

Auckland sunrise

Auckland sunrise

Auckland sunrise

Also, it pays to be aware of what's behind you.
Auckland Morning

Auckland Morning

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April 15th, 2016

07:42 pm: It's farm to table? ORLY?
I'm a bit skeptical of places that spend a lot of time bragging about the provenance of their ingredients. Because, sometimes, they are being economical with the truth.

As a diner, it sucks because it's the sort of thing that is hard to verify, so you have to take it on trust that what you're being served is what the restaurant claims. This sort of fraud just feeds my cynical side.

h/t danjite

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April 13th, 2016

06:22 pm: Metro Best Auckland Restaurant 2016.
Let the arguments begin.

(The awards were given out on Monday, the same night as the Allechante pop-up dinner we attended. It was a case of unfortunate timing as I expect the Allechante crew would have loved to be at the awards, especially since Allechante chef Mikey Newlands is also chef at Bracu, one of the finalists.)

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05:47 pm: Ooooooo.....

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April 12th, 2016

06:48 pm: Allechante @ Meredith's
We had a lovely evening of delicious food at the latest Allechante pop-up restaurant event, this time the venue was Meredith's restaurant.

Allechante at Merediths

A peek at the kitchen
Allechante at Merediths

Bring on the food...Collapse )

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April 10th, 2016

10:48 am: Cooking diary
There is some sort of method to my madness, i.e. some thought goes into the coming week's dinners.

This week for example started with some feta cheese that needed to be used. And I thought, feta in a Greek salad would go well with lamb chops we had in the freezer. But I wasn't going to need all of a whole cucumber...

We hadn't had banh mi for a while, which is a Vietnamese baguette, so I decided that would be Monday's dinner (plus I could use the rest of that cucumber here). So on Sunday, I did a roast pork so we would have leftovers for banh mi, and made a quick pickle of daikon & carrot (julienned vegetables in a simple pickle made with vinegar, sugar & a pinch of salt).

On Monday, we had banh mi (which was mostly assembly). And after dinner, I marinated the lamb & left in in the fridge overnight. I also made hummus (a couple of cans of chickpeas, tahini, lemon, garlic, olive oil, and a food processor).

So on Tuesday, most of the cooking was grilling the lamb & making the Greek salad.

Wednesday was okonomiyaki, which is a Japanese pancake: my version is eggs, flour, cornflour & shredded cabbage. It was topped with store-bought Okonomiyaki sauce, Japanese mayonnaise & Katsuobushi (bonito flakes).

Which left Thursday. Instead of making a traditional recipe coleslaw, I threw in the red onion & capsicum leftover from Tuesday, the cabbage leftover from Wednesday. On a good week, by the time it gets to Friday, there's hardly any vegetables left in the fridge.

On to the pictures...Collapse )

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