Monday, February 22, 2010

A rare sight

A phone booth in The Rocks. Something you don't often see on Sydney's street now-a-days.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Saintly Mother.

Mother Mary MacKillop will be now know as Saint Mary of The Cross. I'm not a Catholic but I'm still rather excited at the news. I didn't know much about her so I did what every other human does when researching nowadays. I Googled her. Here is a very brief history.
She was born in Melbourne to Scottish immigrant parents in 1842.
She was the eldest of 8 children.
She worked as a governess, clerk and teacher before taking her vows.
She started her first school in a disused stable in South Australia in 1866.
She was quite rebellious and was actually excommunicated for a brief time for insubordination.
At the time of her death in 1909, at age 67, she was in charge of 750 nuns who ran 117 schools, as well as homes and refuges for the needy.
That's some woman.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Iron Lung works for me!

Last week I went to the Harbour Bridge Pylon Lookout. It was the first time I had been up in the pylon and I can't believe that I live in such a beautiful city and have not explored it properly.

If you want a great view of the city and harbour but are a little wobbly at the thought of climbing the bridge (and would like an experience that is a little lighter on the purse) then I suggest the Pylon Lookout. Entry is only $9.50 and the 'climb' is 200 steps broken up into sections with a great museum about the history of the bridge over 3 levels (and a little shop of course). Then at the top is a magnificent view of the harbour. Photos of which I will put in a later post. On the way down I suggest you visit the little cinema that shows a short film on the making of the bridge. Wonderful footage and still shots. I never knew much about the bridge except how frustrating it is to be caught in traffic on it. But now I'm the wiser. The bridge was nicknamed the Iron Lung because it supplied jobs and basically kept the city functioning during the depression. To see some other shots I took of the bridge that day see here.

I drove back across the bridge on my way home feeling quite proud of our Iron Lung.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The humidity of it all. Just eat.

Watching the Winter Olympics opening ceremony the other night started me longing for a cooler climate. I am so tired of this weather. If it's not raining it's hot and steamy - and raining. There is so much moisture in the air that even without the rain my washing takes days to dry out. Yes yes there is always the dryer I hear you say. However unless I have an underwear or school uniform crisis on my hands I tend not to use it. I figure I pay the electricity company enough.
Yes something in the high minuses would be good. Just enough for a little snow. For those who read this post please just ignore the fact that it was not too long ago that I was whinging that it wasn't hot enough. I'm exercising my prerogative.
I should be grateful that we're not having the heat and conditions that ignites bush fires, particularly after witnessing parts of Victoria wiped off the map this time last year, but I have had enough of this humidity!
So what does one do when one sick to death of the heat? Cook of course. Makes absolutely no sense at all seeing as it involves a hot stove and I've yet to meet a kitchen with proper ventilation, however hear me out.
I was feeling incredibly cranky from being sticky and sweaty for something like the eighth week in a row and was looking for something to take my mind off it. I also needed some breakfast. I grabbed my faithful little book - 'Skinny Bitch In The Kitch' - I picked up somewhere in New Zealand last year (where exactly I don't remember - too much holiday cheer) and flicked through for a recipe I hadn't tried yet. I found Pecan-Crusted French Toast. I didn't have all the ingredients and am not as healthy as the authors I must confess, but I was able to substitute some things quite well. Now trying a simple new recipe to the cool tones of some really good jazz lifts the mood exponentially. Not only was my disposition greatly improved by the end but my stomach was full as well. Quite a good combination don't you think?
Here is the recipe and my subs:
350ml soya or rice milk (I used normal lite white)
3 tablespoons cornflour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons chickpea flour or brown rice flour (I used normal plain flour)
100g finely chopped pecans (I had slivered almonds so used those)
2 tablespoons refined coconut oil, or more as needed for cooking (I used margarine - like I said I'm not as healthy)
6-8 slices vegan wholemeal bread (I used plain white bread)
Maple syrup for serving.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, cornflour and cinnamon. Whisk in the flour. Transfer the mixture to a shallow bowl. Place the pecans in another shallow bowl.
In a large frying pan over medium heat, melt the coconut oil. One slice at a time, dip the bread in the milk mixture, turning to soak both sides. Dip one side in the pecans, pressing to coat. Arrange the bread in the frying pan pecan side down.
Cook for 2 - 3 minutes, until the pecans are well browned. Carefully turn the bread and continue cooking until the second side is browned, 2-3 minutes. Serve immediately with maple syrup.
Note: I made half quantities as there was only lil ol' me.
For a more birds eye view of the toast see here.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Top night at Top Gear

Last night a group of us went to see the Top Gear Live Show at the Acer Arena. Fantastic show, though a couple of times the dialogue felt a little awkward. I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that cute little Richard Hammond had other commitments (much to the chagrin to the female portion of the audience) and was replaced by 4 time Bathurst winner Greg Murphy. Still, he did pull it off OK. There were cheers, guffaws and gasps aplenty and I very much enjoyed it. And I'm not even a car fan. There were so many opportunities for photos during the show however there is a no flash photography (even from mobiles) rule. I noticed that that did not stop quite a number of people from flashing away, however I refuse to be included in the moronic few, so I took a (rather blurry) pic outside of the crowd as we were leaving.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ahh l'amour

This little doodle I did about a year ago. I saw an ad in a magazine and though I don't remember the product being advertised, the picture stuck with me. Looking for a picture for today's post I thought this one rather appropriate.

In a few days time it will be Valentines Day. The day of love. It's also a month of birthdays. I have a sibling, a spouse, a friend, and numerous acquaintances, and one friend of my daughters (that I know of - I go by the birthday party invitations she brings home) growing older this month. Hence my 'presents to get and restaurants to book' list is rather long every Feb.
I got to thinking yesterday that with all these happy occasions happening this month it really must be the month of love. St Valentine was on to something. But further musings made me wonder - what if it isn't February? With all these babies being born this month maybe May is the real month of love?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Grand old lady on top of the hill

Recently I visited the Barranjoey Lighthouse. It's a grand old lighthouse, built in 1881, on top of the headland at Palm Beach. If you're feeling energetic (the walk, or rather, climb takes approx 45 minutes) and have good walking shoes, it's worth the effort. The view is spectacular. There are tours running every half hour on Sundays though on this occasion I didn't take it. I will go back up and take the tour though as history facinates me. However I may wait until all this rain stops.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Pass the water, no, hanky, no, water.........

I am posting a photo of red impatiens because that's how I feel - cranky and impatient. I caught a virus of epic proportions late last year and it came back to haunt me last Saturday. To say I'm not delighted is an understatement. I can cope with the 24 hours of aches and pains which included my hair, and even the nausea and dizziness stage that follows. But I'm damned fed up with the coughing fits. One minute it's a productive phlegm yuck cough, the next a tickly irritating cough. I don't even know which cough medicine to take! I carry a bottle of water around with me at all times because you never know when the blighter is going to strike. And what kind of attack will it be? Will I need to down the bottle of water at the same time as gasping for breath, or will I be bolting for the bathroom sink or desperately diving into my pocket for a hanky? Who could have guessed that illness had so many options? And of the 3 stages (achy, queasiness or hacking) guess which one lasts the longest? You guessed it. I estimate I'll be downing water and diving for hankies for at least another week yet.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Christmas at Her Majety's

It's a little late but I just had to post this wonderful photo emailed to me by my gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous sister-in-law who came to visit over the holidays. While I was busy hiding under my rock she took my daughter out and about (and would then come home and feed me tea and cake).
She took this photo at the Queen Victoria building. A magnificent old building built in 1898, and a superb place for coffee and shopping. It was built on the old Sydney markets and has undergone a few changes over the years, and was even under the threat of demolition for a while, until it's final restoration to the beautiful building it is today. After seeing this photo I definitely must get back there for a day of cake and window shopping.