Thursday, September 30, 2010


We are skipping the block of little lunch places, the excuse being we don't think 8 people will fit in them, and that's our average group now. But really after all the delicious dumplings and shan dongs we don't want to eat battery fried food anymore. If there are complaints we can go to charcoal chicken one night, and 88 Chinese another. I've already eaten at both.

So the next challenge will be at Sinma Laksa House, the yellow one at the roundabout. Woo! the turning point! On Friday 8th October.

Win win

I'm catching up with some TAFE friends tonight. There's a running joke about me and steaks, so the plan was to go to Pinnochio's Restaurant. There is a time and place for restaurants and I do enjoy eating out, but once I looked at their menu I realised:

- a healthy option was going to cost me quite a bit
- I've already eaten out four times this week
- I'm meant to be a povo full-time student
- my flatmate is out and
- I probably could whip up a simple meal for five for the less (or the same) cost as would my meal would have been in the restaurant.

First I checked what was in my pantry and fridge (rice, usual spices and condiments, carrots) and realised I could easy do paprika chicken with rice and steamed vegies.

Then I went to the shops and decided on chicken drumsticks because they were on special and picked vegies based on what was on special and colour.

Finally get your friends to take care of drinks, dessert and nibblies and you're set.

And the other great thing about having people over? It forces you to clean the house. Win all round.

Hand-me-down vs new.

I need a washing machine.

I've previously had a string of either free, cheap or flatmate-owned machines. It's been good. But I think my luck has run out.

WMs are hard to scrounge when you need one; people tend to keep them till they die, whereas they update couches which are OK and TVs which still work (so if anyone has a spare TV I'd like one of those too) but I think my chances of finding a bargain/free washer quickly are slim.

So I have to spend proper money on a worldly possession which will decrease in value and break down and be inconvenient to move house with. I am so hardened by Sydney flatting that I see every possession as a burden. But, I'm rather looking forward to a new machine which washes really well. Clean is good.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


If you are not a member of my family, I will wrap your present in wrapping paper.

Gift wrap takes up a lot of space, though. Long rolls are better value, but annoying to store, and I also have a few pieces of paper lying around I am reusing from other gifts. It is just not efficient. So I have decided to phase out all my current supplies of paper, and replace it with one roll of brown paper, and some different ribbons. Brown paper is extremely versatile and stylish, it works for women, men and Christmas presents, but I suppose it might not work for wedding presents and little girls who only like pink. Whatever. Anyway, a big bow will fancy it up.

The beauty of the plan is in the simplicity of storage and the elimination of choice. The initial outlay should be fairly economic, in a bulk roll of paper and some bulk rolls of ribbon.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

KESC 16 review: Chong Hing

The soup came with a chicken foot.
We must be half way by now! Last night 9 people met at Chong Hing, it was a bit of a different mix of people and there were 4 first-timers.

We ordered a banquet for 8, and they forgot to make one dish, but we didn't need that dish anyway since we were full, so it worked out well to take it off the bill. It came to $8 each, with some leftover takeaway. 

Beans in XO, Salt and Pepper wings
They house specialty is the deep fried salt and pepper chicken wings, which are indeed delicious. We ordered 2 plates full. They are piping hot and very salty, mmmmmm. The next best dish was probably the beans in XO, nice and tasty. We also had a satay beef, which was nice, some veg dishes, and a shan dong chicken.

The story with the shan dong is strange. I ordered it here once before, at Elsie's farewell, and what I got was so strange and yucky that I thought they must have given me the wrong order. I took a chance and ordered it again, and it was a bit nicer, but it was NOT the sort of shan dong I like. It has this think sauce like a gravy or satay or something, and it is on a pile of spinach, and it isn't crispy and garlicky. It's an OK dish I guess, but not a delicious shan dong.

The not proper Shan Dong Chicken, and a hotpot.
So the food was good overall, but not as good as we've enjoyed at some of the other places next door. A lot of it was very salty. If you try there, the chicken wings are a goer.

I think the reason they forgot the meal was just that they didn't have many staff on, it was a quiet Monday night after all, and they didn't expect a big group. The food wasn't exactly slow, but we're used to it coming in a rush within 10 minutes of ordering, and it came out bit by bit. Decor is random, staff quick, food cheap and big. 3/5

Pick a fruit poll now open.

We'll see which is the best.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Are strawberries overrated?

The office reached a fairly large consensus: strawberries aren't that great. A good strawberry is good, but generally, for the money you usually pay, strawberries aren't as yummy as other fruit. They're nicest when used as a garnish, really. I mean, as much as there are things I love which involve strawberries, is the strawberry my favourite fruit? is it anyone's favourite fruit? Do people enjoy eating strawberries as much they enjoy mangoes, or grapes, or pineapple, or blueberries?

I think we just love the strawberry brand. It is pretty, red, heart shaped, romantic, and it feels special to eat. It's a treat. It goes with cream, and gets dipped in chocolate, put on pavlova and mudcake and dropped in champagne. It's branded as a premium fruit.

Like lobster. Lobster is way overrated, in my ignorant opinion. I would happily eat a normal crab and save my money. Whereas, expensive cheese never disappoints.

Friday, September 24, 2010

No TV.

I'm out a lot, I don't have many TV shows I care about, and the few I really like aren't on right now, so I just don't watch TV anymore. Technically, I watch shows on DVD a fair bit, but I think that's quite different. It's selective, not just plonking down and brainlessly watching whatever is on for 3 hours. Last night I put the TV on for 10 minutes, and remembered why I don't watch it to fill in time anymore: ads, and Two and a half men. Life is too short.

My only regret is missing Alan Kohler and his lovely graphs on the ABC news finance report.

Jelssie vocab: Snot rag.

Mouchoir    (mŌ`shwär´)

n. 1. A handkerchief.

Found at  22 words.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Get to know your fruit & veg shop

My local fruit & veg shop sells excellent quality produce. In the past, I used to head straight for the items on my shopping list, but now I've realised the value in knowing the layout of the store well. You see, if you head straight for the red capsicum display, they usually sell for about $8-$10 per kilo. If you go round to the back corner, you can sometimes buy a 1 kg bag of red capsicums for $2-$3.50. That's a substantial saving! Some of the red caps are tinged with green, but they are otherwise fine.

I've also found pockets of the store where they sell marked-down produce. Sometimes it's because they're irregularly shaped, or slightly broken off (e.g. huge field mushroom with a bit broken off), but they're otherwise still good. Sometimes they're slightly bruised or on the verge of going off, so I tend to steer clear of those.

I've noticed they also don't put all the weekly specials out the front of the store, but in various parts.

So if you want to get the most bang out of your fruit & veg buck, other than growing your own vegies, get to know your store's layout well.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tree falling in a forest

If you have a fringe that covers your eyebrows, do you still need to keep your eyebrows groomed?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A little lie down.

I came home from work last night very tired so like a zombie I went straight to bed for a little rest. It's not my habit, but whenever I do I remember that my Dad does it quite often, and I think he's onto something. Comes home from work and before anything else, cooking dinner or anything, has "a little lie down". I didn't fall asleep, I had radio on low, but I did feel a lot better. It was just 30 minutes of quiet and still in between work and supermarket and commuting, and the evening stuff.

It's just listening to your body. If you're tired, headachy, spaced out, drained, that means you need to stop and have a rest. So have a little lie down occasionally. 

Sex sells

Society is in a sad state when women routinely resort to using overt sexuality to sell products (I'm looking at you female pop stars). I'm sure it's not just women who decide to do things this way, but also the men behind them.

It's sad because it makes me ask, "Is that all you have to offer?". How many years of womens' liberation have we had, and yet we still resort to scantily clad women writhing and gyrating in music videos. It frustrates me on so many levels, but have we become so lazy and so uncreative that we just go, "Hey we need attention and we need to sell quickly. Go get a scantily clad woman"?

That's why I find Katie Noonan so refreshing. She has an ethereal voice and bucket loads of talent. She doesn't have to resort to overt sexuality to sell her music - she has herself to offer. Her voice and her creativity speak for themselves. Yet she is still very feminine in the way she presents herself. She may not ooze sexuality the way female pop stars do, but I think there is a very subtle, modest and demure undercurrent of it.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bad chips.

Kettle chips are on special at Coles now, and I haven't bought chips in ages and after a busy weekend I wanted to relax with some Doctor Who on DVD with my favourite flavour potato chip, sweet chilli. I like the flavour of the Thins, which are cheaper, but they are so light they melt in the mouth and I like the thicker, crunchier bite of the kettle chips. Red rock deli is nice, but I feel has too many folded and deformed chips and are not as sweet as thins. I like my chilli sweet. My ultimate guide, though, is the special price.

So I picked up a bag of chips on special and opened them and started eating and YUCK! so wrong! Like plain chips (which I despise, they are just salty oil to me) but hot! Plain and hot! I didn't know that there was a flavour called chilli which isn't sweet. pah.

So because I refuse to throw them out, and waste $3.50, and I refuse to eat chips I don't enjoy, here are my possible uses.
  1. Buy some proper sweet chilli chips and eat both of them in pairs: 1 of each at a time, to disguise the taste of the chilli ones.
  2. Put them in sandwiches with salad. Chip sandwiches. Add some crunch and spice.
  3. See how they taste with the pasta veggie chicken pesto thing I cooked on the weekend. The contrasting texture and flavour.
You only learn by bitter experience.

Dangerous attitude

I caught a bit of morning television the other day. The commentators claimed that a well-known neurosurgeon said that a woman's place was in the home (or in the kitchen) or something like that. He (the commentator) decided the neurosurgeon didn't know what he was talking about and should stick to neurosurgery.

The commentator displayed a dangerous attitude towards people with differing opinions. Regardless of where you think a woman's place should be, how does saying, "Your opinion is different to mine, therefore you're wrong and you should shut up" help society? What about engaging with one another? Discussing? Debating? And who made you the arbiter of where a woman's place should be? Why is your opinion more valid than the other person's?

I feel that tv shows stir for the sake of stirring. They often make mountains out of molehills for the sake of content and ratings. Uncreative.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Souped up

I'm really chuffed with the state of my freezer. It is full of the following soups:

Here's why I like soups:

Soups are extremely economical if you make them from vegies that are in season or on special.

I make my soups out of non-starchy vegies and I omit cream. That's not to say that starchy vegies or cream will kill you, but when you want to have a lower kJ snack in between meals, this kind of soup is great AND you're on your way to getting in your daily five serves of vegies.

There are certain kinds of soups that don't fare so well after you freeze them (i.e. those containing dairy, potato, eggplant or mushroom because they break down on thawing, according to recipes+ magazine). But for those that do freeze well, they are great to have in the freezer. You can always add your dollop of cream to your soup (if desired) just before you serve it.

You just want a lower kJ snack in between meals? Have the soup as is. You want a more substantial meal? Add some carbs, protein and fat to make it a meal e.g. avocado on toast plus 1/4 BBQ chicken or add cooked pasta/potato and shredded, cooked chicken to the soup.

General principles in making soups:
1. Cook the vegies (either by roasting in the oven or simmering in stock/water)
2. Blitz the vegies (with water or stock) to desired consistency

If you have a few soups and dinner rolls in the freezer, they make a great meal on hand if unexpected guests drop by. Reheat the soup, pop the dinner rolls in the oven and you've got yourself a meal. If you've made your soup purely with vegetable-based ingredients, you can even serve it to vegan friends and most people aren't allergic to vegetables, so it's great for people with various intolerances.

Braces friendly
'nuff said!

I'll let you know when I have the recipes up.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

I love short hair

I am going to sing the praises of short hair.

When it comes to hair, I go through phases. I like my hair really really long or really really short. I dislike it in-between. It usually drives me nuts.

My hair is quite short now. This is what I like about it:

- So much easier to wash. No more long strands getting tangled in my hands while shampooing, no more longs strands to pick up after your shower.

- So much quicker to wash.

- So much less product (shampoo/conditioner) to use.

- So much easier to dry. I grab a towel and give my hair a good shake and I'm done.

- So much easier to comb/brush. I can use a lot less pressure to comb/brush my hair because there's a lot less of it to brush

- No need to tie it up.

- It doesn't get in the way of my food/drink (I confess, this was a pretty big reason for me cutting it :P)

- It's all healthy because yucky split ends have been cut off.


Although to be absolutely fair, since there is now no hair covering the nape of my neck, I feel the cool breeze a lot more. I guess if you're a man, you're probably used to it. That's probably the only thing I dislike (if you could call it that) about short hair.

Friday, September 17, 2010


We're struggling to find any free Fridays these days. So cos we're desperate to eat the street after months of no Eat Street, we're throwing the next KESC on Monday 27th September, 6.30pm. The restaurant is called either Chong Hing or Ching Hong, I can't remember no matter how many times I check as I walk past. Either way, it is next door to the TAB.

And there was much rejoicing.

Silicone bakeware

I am going to sing the praises of silicone bakeware.

I eat a lot of vegies. At the moment, my favourite thing is to grill them under the grill function in the oven. Nearly every day. I was lining my baking tray with baking paper (to make washing up easier) to grill my vegies. I started going through lots of baking paper and thought, "This is ridiculous."

Well, a roll of baking paper costs about $4 and you can get a silicone mat for $5. You do the math.

I will eventually switch over to silicone bakeware instead of lining my tins with baking paper. It is so worth the money you spend on silicone bakeware because you will save heaps in baking paper, especially if you do a lot of baking.

But now I have a new roll of baking paper, so what do I do with it if I make the switch?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Who needs men?

My life has been dominated by women. I grew up in a mostly female household, in a very matriarchal family structure. I went to an all-girls high school. I was in a single-sex Bible study at church for years. I started out in a female-dominated degree. I've continued to live with women only since moving out of home. I'm part of what Jess affectionately calls the single women ghetto. My closest friends are female.

Someone asked me earlier tonight why I dropped out of my first degree. At the time, I forgot that this was one of the reasons, but it was partly because I was driven nuts by being surrounded by women all the time. It felt imbalanced. I transfered into another degree which was still dominated by women, but significantly less so. [You'll be relieved to know the major reason I transferred was I disliked the degree!]

It's made me realise, I need men in my life to balance out all the women in my life. Don't get me wrong. I love and value my female friends and the women in my life. But there is something that is just different about men that I can't quite put my finger on. Perhaps most of the men I know just tend to be pleasant to be around.

So my great whiz bang thesis is that women need men because they're different to women. I can't pinpoint exactly why, but I think men bring a degree of sanity to my otherwise female-dominated life.

Perhaps that's just how God has made it...

Who needs the Kwik-E-Mart? I doooo....

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Strawberry storage.

Strawberries are cheap at the moment. I bought a punnet for $1! And there were further reports of 4 for a dollar.

A co-worker conducted a strawberry storage experiment, to see how to keep them best—in the fridge, or out of the fridge covered in a tea towel.


  1. Strawberries on plate covered in towel: significant mould growth and squishiness.
  2. Strawberries in fridge: no visible mould growth and moderate squishiness.
No exciting new storage methods discovered. :(

Thanks, Rachel. I shall continue to refrigerate my strawberries.

Really disappointing banana.

The best bit of the banana is the first bite off the top, the unbroken natural pointy part. All the rest of the bites are less good, because you are just rebiting your way down the middle. The bottom of the banana is the least good, because you're tired of the banana and sometimes it gets a bit dark near the base. By the way, I don't eat the nib at the base, I leave that in the skin so that the banana has an inny not an outy at the bottom. I don't know why, it's just how I am.

Anyway, all of this is to say that nothing is as disappointing in my banana eating routine as a banana which is bruised at the top. My first bite, ruined.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Girls of Slender Means Tool Kit.

I have a small black bag of tools. These are the things I use to patch up my stuff.
  • Wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Adjustable wrench.
  • Blue-tak
  • Glue.
  • Stanley or craft knife.
  • A set of tiny screwdrivers.
Wire and wire cutters are more useful than you think. I use pieces of wire to hang curtains off, make hooks and washing lines, and other random makeshift things.

Blue-tak and glue are the easiest fixers in most cases. I've repaired my bathroom cabinet with glue.

The adjustable wrench is for taking apart the bed when I move house.

Tiny screwdriver sets are handy when you want to take apart your TV remote, or something. I don't have a big screwdriver set, but the little ones are good.

A hammer is optional, because I have no opportunities to hammer nails into my rental property walls, and sometimes you can hammer things with other heavy items. I recently needed one for craft though, so I might buy one.

Cooking oil is just as good as other oil, for squeaky doors etc.

Mould war.

2 Samuel 11:1… In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, flat-dwellers of the East arm for the fight against mould.

Or as Anna paraphrased Winston Churchill… we shall fight it on the ceilings, we shall fight it in the bathrooms...

Good tips here. Those Northern Territorians mean business. USE GLOVES AND A MASK.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

If I were a man for a day...

...I would spend my day lifting heavier things, just because I could. I might even go to gym and lift weights. How great would it be that things that seem heavy to you as a woman, are suddenly lighter.

I would also enjoying eating more treat food (assuming I'd have a bigger body and need more kilojoules). I would have duck WITH skin, a larger helping of pork crackling, crispy skin chicken with rice, sushi with a larger dollop of Kewpie mayonnaise or a few more Hong Kong style get the picture :)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Christian community

One of the things I find most encouraging about being part of the Christian community is how willing people are to help when you need it, even if it's helping a stranger.

I have been really encouraged this week by brothers (and a sister) who were quick to help a friend of mine move, even though most of them had never met her before. Now she was of slender means, so needed all the manpower she could muster to help with the move.

I was encouraged that these helpers were willing to give up part of their Saturday to do this (Saturdays were so precious to me as a worker), be so good-natured and kind about it and not expect anything in return.

And the especially great thing about having brothers to help? They are physically stronger and more able to lift heavy items than us womenfolk. I can still lift stuff, but it's just so much easier for men.

I'm so thankful to God for his provision of willing and able helpers!

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (ESV)
John 13:35

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Dead Wives Society.

Count the detectives and heros who have a dead wife. A dead wife (and optional dead daughter) gives good men who fight evil the ultimate tragic past, makes them loyal and unavailable yet conflicted and available, deeply and interestingly damaged, and probably also provides a revenge storyline.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Posture tips.

I'm a terrible sloucher. I've got some good tips recently though.

Carry shopping bags with bent arms. When you are lazy and let your arms dangle and shoulders droop, your back gets used wrong. It does make a difference to posture, I've tried it. But it looks a bit dorky.

The other trick I learned, from my bible group leader, is to stand with your heels sort of tucked together, one a bit in front of the other and toes pointing apart (in 3rd position in ballet lingo), because that forces good posture as well. When you square your feet apart you're probably going to slouch. I'm practicing at traffic lights.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

How not to change a lightbulb.

This is quite dodgy, I'm not sure if I should be blogging it. I am the lady* who stuck my finger in a light socket last year and got zapped. I give you this disclaimer: don't copy me.

So, I got back from the weekend and the lightbulb had busted. The next night I decided to change it, jiggled it to see if it was bayonet or screw in, and guessed screw. Wrong. I twisted the bulb socket right off the old fragile wires.

Groan. Now I have to contact the real estate agent, and waste work hours waiting at home for an electrician. And be in the dark when I want to sew.


Two wires and two holes. Can't be that hard.

I can't believe I did it. I'm quite proud, but I'm afraid to turn the light on yet. Actually, I noticed I left off the guard bit, so I have to undo it and re do it.

I sent photos to a tech team friend to check I did it right. He said turning off the power to the lights at the mains is a good idea (ahhhh), and "make sure no daggy wires hang out", and definitely put the guard back on. Any other tips before I put a bulb in and flick the switch? **

* Making an effort not to call myself a 'girl' as per Elsie's post.

** Other than I promise not to do it again.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Ice-cream theory.

Some ice-creams are wonderful by themselves, because they are so gourmet and interesting. And the best ice-cream to go with a dessert or something is plain vanilla. But then you have leftover boring ice-cream. My tip is, buy a vanilla based ice-cream but not vanilla, such as cookies and cream, or some kind of raspberry swirl or something. So mostly vanilla, so it will go with a piece of chocolate cake, but interesting enough to eat on its own.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Listening with vowels.

Here is a tip to become a sympathetic listener. I learnt this from the James Valentine radio show. When someone is ranting or pouring out their heart in deep angst, utter only vowels. "Ahhh" "Ehhhh" "Ooooh" "Ohhhh" "Uhhhh".

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Attraction is a funny thing isn't it? I suppose it's what brings people together.

Some people believe in instant attraction and love at first sight. Every now and then I meet someone whom I'm instantly attracted to. But usually I find that when I get to know him better, there's usually not much there to sustain the attraction.

Then there are men whom you're not instantly attracted to, but over time, you get to know his character, his theology, his sense of humour, his personality and one day you find yourself realising what a GREAT catch he is (and if he has fantastic social skills, he's a doubly great catch). Now that's attraction.

So to the single men out there who don't feel they've got it in the instant attraction department, don't worry, it's not the only way to win a woman over. And don't underestimate the power of a disarming smile :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The cost of fruit & veg

I've turned into one of those people who gets really excited by the price of fruit and veg. I know which friends I can have conversations about current prices. I think I must have picked it up from my mum and grandma because they always talk about the price of groceries. I also follow Providore1 on twitter to find out what's happening with fruit and veg prices.

So this week's price excitements are:
- English spinach $3 for 3 bunches
- Beetroot 99c bunch
- Navel oranges 99c/kg
- Packham pears 99c/kg
- Bananas $1.48/kg (reasonable)
- Broccoli 99c/kg
- Small Kensington pride mangoes 5 for $5
- Enoki mushrooms 3 x 300g for $6

Last week carrots were 79c per kilo bag!

I suppose this is what happens when you don't have a car and the price of petrol is irrelevant: you watch the price of fruit and veg instead.

Something really really amazing!

Rachel found a conjoined almond today.

If you want to see it in real life, you have just one day. She will be eating it tomorrow.