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January 19th, 2017

06:22 pm: Vegan fried rice vermicelli.
Because I was asked.

Vegan fried rice vermicelli. Serves two-three (I think).

Ingredients:
- Light vegetable oil, one tablespoon
- Dried shiitake mushrooms, generous handful
Place in bowl, pour boiling water until just covered & let sit until rehydrated. Cut into fairly thin slices. Retain the rehydration liquid.
- Choy sum, one bunch cut into ~4cm segments
- Grated fresh root ginger, about two teaspoons
- Vegetarian mock abalone (a.k.a. chai pow yu), one can
- Bird’s eye chillies, sliced, in a small container of light soy sauce
- Light soy sauce to taste.
- Rice vermicelli (I like the Wai Wai brand. They come in ~200g packets and I would use about half of that). Put the required amount into a large bowl, cover with warm water to rehydrate (takes some minutes). Make sure to drain while it’s still a bit stiff & set aside.

Method:
Heat up frypan to medium high.
Add oil.
Throw in sliced shiitake & stirfry until cooked through.
Add grated ginger & rice vermicelli and toss gently so that the vermicelli strands don’t break up.
Add liquid from shiitake and can of mock abalone including liquid, and stir through.
Stir in choy sum, and add light soy to taste.
Put lid on so the choy sum finishes wilting.
By now, the vermicelli should be cooked through.
Transfer to serving dish & serve with the chilli in soy sauce on the side.

NB: I’ve never written this down, so amounts & cooking times are guesses; you’ll have to taste as you go and make your own judgements.

It should end up looking something like this, but with choysum instead of bokchoy.
https://flic.kr/p/GWbZad
20160509_115537

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January 18th, 2017

07:08 pm: Apple Crumble Cider
This Apple Crumble Cider from Zeffer is rather good.
DSC_0049

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January 16th, 2017

06:31 pm: Pokemon Go
Tomorrow is 6 months since I started playing Pokemon Go. Today I finally got a Lapras to complete the non-regional starting set. It was from a 10km egg hatch; still haven't encountered one in the wild.

Bonus: the last time I weighed this little, I was a teenager.

Screenshot_20170116-114345.png
https://flic.kr/p/R5Arri

Current Mood: accomplished
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January 15th, 2017

12:39 pm: Cooking diary
First full working week of the year = four cooknights (Fridays are normally for takeaways).

Monday: Spaghetti aglio e olio (with rocket, lemon & lots of cheese)
https://flic.kr/p/QuiMTs
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https://flic.kr/p/QugkYL
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Tuesday: Bacon, egg, salad. (Salad is healthy right?)
https://flic.kr/p/R6kw1r
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https://flic.kr/p/QUPs4e
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Wednesday: Chicken, soy, shiitake, lily buds, woodear. Wilted lettuce with sesame oil & oyster sauce. Rice.
(I remember when as a young 'un an Auntie described how to cook this dish to Mum. It's been a family recipe ever since.)
https://flic.kr/p/R4GbS7
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https://flic.kr/p/PQJRbG
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Thursday: Shakshuka with merguez sausage. (Still not as good as Ima's, but so satisfying.)
https://flic.kr/p/QY8MJx
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https://flic.kr/p/QY8Bha
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January 14th, 2017

06:35 pm: Cooking diary
Was a short working week last week, so only cooked two worknight dinners.

Wednesday: Spicy beef mince & eggplant. Rice
https://flic.kr/p/QjGsP9
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https://flic.kr/p/QHp4a2
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Thursday: Baked eggplant with miso. Egg & vegetable fried rice.
https://flic.kr/p/QSkbvJ
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https://flic.kr/p/QmBR8f
DSC_0884

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January 7th, 2017

09:37 am: Ted Chiang in The New Yorker
“Ted Chiang’s soulful Science Fiction” by Joshua Rothman, in The New Yorker.

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January 1st, 2017

12:00 am: Happy New Year!
Happy New Year!
May 2017 be a better year for us all!
(It's just ticked past midnight here in Auckland, New Zealand.)

December 27th, 2016

08:06 pm: Increased migration to New Zealand
So it's happening.

Since Brexit & the US elections, there have been increased numbers of British & Americans wanting to move to New Zealand.

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03:10 pm: Save the Point England Reserve
Sign the petition (or make a submission) to save the Point England Reserve.

There is a bill proposed to revoke the reserve status of a quarter of that land to turn it into housing.
The extra people & their pets (especially cats) pose a major threat to the diverse birdlife (that include common & rare species) that are found in that reserve.

I lived in that neighbourhood growing up & spent many hours there: it's truly a wildlife sanctuary next to suburbia.

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01:50 pm: It's dusty in here.
Details emerge of George Michael's many quiet acts of kindness.

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01:23 pm: Holiday homework: Deck
Lunch break: The deck has been waterblasted. New stain about to go on.

Been putting it off too long.

https://flic.kr/p/Qxfkmd
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https://flic.kr/p/Pn2Fcr
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01:13 pm: Christmas games can be deadly serious
Evil brother in law is trying to Kill Doctor Lucky (or is that Doctor Ducky?)
https://flic.kr/p/Qtjqr9
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ETA: Evil brother in law succeeds in Killing Doctor Ducky, er, Lucky?
(It took a few goes.)

December 25th, 2016

09:02 am: Happy Christmas & festive greetings everyone!
Hope you have a happy, fun & safe one!

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December 24th, 2016

04:13 pm: Cooking diary
Monday: Chicken kerabu. It's a spicy chicken salad.
https://flic.kr/p/Qbb2MK
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https://flic.kr/p/PMppDw
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Tuesday: Poached chicken with rice, tomato, cucumber, coriander, homemade chilli sauce.
https://flic.kr/p/QjVEQd
DSC_0824

https://flic.kr/p/Qaed35
DSC_0823

Wednesday: Spicy pork mince, tofu, woodear. Mixed vegetable stirfry. Rice.
https://flic.kr/p/QmKNAG
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https://flic.kr/p/QmJ7Mq
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December 21st, 2016

06:02 pm: "Insects of New Zealand" playing cards.
Got my hands on "Insects of New Zealand" playing cards.
(I was lucky enough to see pre-production mock-ups. The finished article turned out great, and they make excellent gifts.)

DSC_0827
https://flic.kr/p/Pbv21r

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December 19th, 2016

08:04 pm: Cooking diary
Monday: Panfried salmon steak, grilled asparagus, potatoes mint & avocado oil.
https://flic.kr/p/PUzoY3
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https://flic.kr/p/NTUWPp
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Tuesday: Spaghetti aglio e olio with prawn meat.
https://flic.kr/p/NVWgft
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https://flic.kr/p/PAxyPA
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Wednesday: Hand-cut noodles with beef & cabbage broth
https://flic.kr/p/PCw3g1
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https://flic.kr/p/NXLBsv
DSC_0765

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07:08 pm: The return of Exeggutor
My Exeggutor finally returns. It's been in a Napier gym (I don't even remember exactly where anymore) since October 19.

All good things come to an end, but I really am surprised it has lasted as long as this. I fully expected for it to get kicked out when Niantic "rebalanced" the gym combat system to favour attackers two months(!) ago.

(It was one of my Top Three Pokemon, but now it's not even in the Top 30. Since I placed it in the Napier gym, Niantic "rebalanced" Combat Power and Exeggutors were one of the ones that got nerfed. And I've also levelled up too & acquired better Pokemon since then.)

Screenshot_20161219-190056.png

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06:21 pm: Limits
Is it just me or is no-one paying attention to the reduced speed threshold, 4km/h from 1 December 2016 to 31 January 2017?

Seems like it's a choice between keeping to the new limits & annoying fellow drivers, or ignoring it & risking a speeding ticket...

In recent years, the New Zealand police have been operating a reduced tolerance for speeding during holiday periods. At other times of the year, it is understood* that you can go as much as 10 km/h above the posted speed limit and not worry about getting a speeding ticket.

*So effectively, a 50 km/h speed zone is actually a 60 km/h speed zone and New Zealand drivers drive accordingly, so much so that if you actually drive at 50 km/h in a 50 km/h zone, the drivers behind you get angry at your slowness. Personally, I would prefer it if they just raised the speed limit to 60 km/h and actually enforce that.

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December 9th, 2016

08:45 pm: Cooking diary
Monday: I did some cooking to take to a convalescing friend. Evidently, I went shopping hungry, so ended up cooking much more than needed, so the leftovers were Monday's dinner. Vegetarian vegetable curry & vegan fried rice vermicelli.
https://flic.kr/p/PH2VSg
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Tuesday: Chicken curry laksa.
https://flic.kr/p/PGqJ4h
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https://flic.kr/p/NFQLxT
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Wednesday: Having another go at making shakshuka. This one turned out good. Nice ripe tomatoes (not stored in the fridge), roasting them & making sure it's all well-reduced, all improved the flavour intensity.
https://flic.kr/p/PXraC6
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https://flic.kr/p/NHXTRK
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Thursday: Chicken & vegetable stirfry with hoisin sauce. This was to supplement the rest of the leftovers we ate.
https://flic.kr/p/PZrCTr
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https://flic.kr/p/PLu7pu
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08:34 pm: Some people get to play with the coolest toys
Or what happens when objects fall when there is no air resistance.

https://youtu.be/E43-CfukEgs

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December 6th, 2016

05:59 pm: Science says, don't store your tomatoes in the fridge.
Cold reduces expression of flavour-associated genes in tomato. And even after you bring it out to room temperature, it doesn't recover completely.

Primary source.

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December 5th, 2016

05:55 pm: "Say it ain't so, bro"
2016 continues to surprise.

New Zealand Prime Minister announced that he's stepping down. To say that it was a surprise would be an understatement.

Best response was from Australian PM:
Current Australian leader Malcolm Turnbull said he sent Mr Key a text saying, "Say it ain't so, bro," when he heard the news.


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December 4th, 2016

11:29 am: Cooking diary
Monday: Bangers (pork & fennel sausages, merguez sausages) & mash, broccoli with cheesy sauce.
https://flic.kr/p/Ps9x6m
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https://flic.kr/p/PuGt58
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Tuesday: Grilled kingfish steaks, light salad, squeeze of lime.
https://flic.kr/p/NtmeRF
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https://flic.kr/p/NtjdvD
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Wednesday: Poached chicken on egg noodles, with shiitake & choy sum.
https://flic.kr/p/NtNdbq
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https://flic.kr/p/PaQyJS
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Thursday: Chicken avocado bacon, pasta salad.
https://flic.kr/p/PzWV3H
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https://flic.kr/p/NvoHXL
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11:12 am: We laugh at your Laws of Thermodynamics!
"That app is called Instacharge, which, according to a news release sent by the country's department of information, "uses evolutionary technology" to let users "instantly recharge their smart phone's battery without the need for a charger or external battery pack"."

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December 1st, 2016

06:14 pm: Pasture (Auckland restaurant)
Why would anyone pay $135 for dinner? And if you include drinks matches, it's an additional $65, or $60 for the non-alcoholic option. That's basically the same price as B Reserve tickets, $199.90, to Adele's upcoming Auckland concert (which is sold out).

Well $135 is the price of the tasting menu at Pasture, the new (been open about four months) place up Parnell Rise. We went to celebrate our wedding anniversary: it's definitely not cheap, and a special occasion justified it. Pasture is small restaurant (seats 25) run by Ed & Laura Verner and a small staff. They've gone to much effort to forage, pickle, ferment, preserve ingredients in the months before opening. The food is seasonal, innovative, and sustainable; the tasting menu is the only option offered. If they were an a la carte restaurant, they'd have to stock many more perishables & hope someone orders them before the ingredients spoil, so having one set menu minimises wastage.

We sat at the pass and watched each course put together right in front of us. It's wonderful if you're the sort of person who likes to see how the sausage gets made, metaphorically speaking. It's an honest way to approach food, though some might find it confronting. One of the courses was crayfish, and we knew if was fresh; we watched the crayfish being killed, butchered & cooked. I really like this transparent approach to food.

https://flic.kr/p/Pr968K
Pasture, Auckland

The rest of the experience...Collapse )

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08:49 am: Dolly, Miley, Pentatonix, "Jolene".

https://youtu.be/BZ0e-JFXJMg

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November 29th, 2016

08:43 am: Shakshuka recipe
If you want to have a go at making shakshuka, Ima-style, here's the recipe they posted on Twitter.

It's delicious.


https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CyFTCsdVEAAaCPu.jpg

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November 27th, 2016

04:54 pm: Cooking diary
Monday: Loh Mee (it's braised noodle & this version had pork, shiitake, cabbage & a splash of black vinegar at the end)
https://flic.kr/p/PpibFC
Pasture, Auckland
Prep
https://flic.kr/p/NTWEzd
Pasture, Auckland
Tuesday: Spinach ravioli with chicken. Greek salad.
https://flic.kr/p/Puj7Rv
Pasture, Auckland
Prep
https://flic.kr/p/Puhx9H
Pasture, Auckland
Wednesday: Shakshuka with merguez sausage. It's getting better but I haven't perfected it yet. I thought we had pita bread in the house, but we didn't so substituted Vogel's bread instead.
https://flic.kr/p/NgtTRh
Pasture, Auckland
Prep
https://flic.kr/p/NgrMMC
Pasture, Auckland
Thursday: Two stir-fires with rice: courgette, egg & garlic; chicken, onion & capsicum.
https://flic.kr/p/Ni9Euo
Pasture, Auckland
Prep
https://flic.kr/p/Pk1gjE
Pasture, Auckland

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November 21st, 2016

06:53 pm: Cooking diary
This lot is part of the post-Wellington backlog.

Monday: Weekend's leftover chicken curry, stirfried veges (asparagus, mushroom, onion, carrot, garlic) & rice.
https://flic.kr/p/NVaGpj
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Prep:
https://flic.kr/p/NYnod6
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Tuesday: Poached chicken, tomato, cucumber, coriander, homemade chilli sauce, rice.
https://flic.kr/p/N3v2A1
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Prep:
https://flic.kr/p/NSybJz
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Wednesday: Had houseguest, had cooked too much the previous two nights, so tonight, a Greek salad to go with leftovers.
https://flic.kr/p/P34E2n
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Thursday: I continue to do stuff with leftovers. Tonight, fried rice using leftover rice & chicken, added mushroom etc.
https://flic.kr/p/NToLmQ
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Prep:
https://flic.kr/p/P1rxK3
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November 20th, 2016

04:50 pm: Cooking diary
Haven't done one of these in a while; got out of the habit after the Wellington trip.

Monday: Pulled pork tacos
https://flic.kr/p/P8MT5J
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Prep
https://flic.kr/p/EAUCCX
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Tuesday: Panfried salmon, wilted bokchoy in oyster sauce, asparagus & garlic stirfry.
https://flic.kr/p/PdR5kT
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Prep
https://flic.kr/p/NL9mK9
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Wednesday: Salad with leftover roast pork
https://flic.kr/p/PcHn4L
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Prep
https://flic.kr/p/EEMVh8
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November 14th, 2016

06:16 pm: When the Earth wants to move, stuff gets moved.



https://twitter.com/ReskueDave/status/797946908832448512

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08:25 am: Not for nothing is New Zealand sometimes called the Shaky Isles.
Via http://quakemap.co.nz/


20161114

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07:06 am: Shaky Isles
There was a big (magnitude 7.5) earthquake downcountry overnight. We're far enough north of it that I slept right through it.

Key facts:
- A 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck near Hamner Springs at 12.02am
- There are reports of two fatalities, according to Prime Minister John Key
- Scores of severe aftershocks have hit
- A tsunami warning is in place, but has been downgraded. People in low-lying areas on the east coast of both the North and South Island have been warned to move to higher ground.
- Wellington residents in low-lying coastal areas were also urged to move to higher ground.


There are still aftershocks and now that it's morning, there's a bit of damage assessment & clean-up to do.

Stay safe everyone.

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November 9th, 2016

10:23 pm: A sort-of sequel to Neil Gaiman's "Neverwhere"
"How the Marquis got his coat back" has been turned into a BBC radio play. You have 25 more days to listen to it.

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09:33 pm: Seen on Twitter
https://twitter.com/ComicBookGrrl/status/795686667189387264

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09:29 pm: Possibly the greatest scene in documentary history.

https://youtu.be/Rv9hn4IGofM

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09:20 pm: Seems as good a time as any...
...to drink wine.

DSC_0638

It's not Champagne though:
“I drink Champagne when I'm happy and when I'm sad. Sometimes I drink it when I'm alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I'm not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it -- unless I'm thirsty.”
― Lily Bollinger (House of Bollinger)


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November 1st, 2016

05:35 pm: Eating my words?
I didn't think Ted Chiang's brilliant "Story of your life" could be turned into a movie, let alone a successful one. It's such an outstanding example of the prose medium.

But maybe, I'll have to eat my words. The trailers for "Arrival", the movie based on the story, have convinced me that they've actually done it. And I'm rather looking forward to seeing the movie.



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