st_aurafina: A shiny green chilli (Food: Green Chilli)
Something I cooked recently:
- Basil-Walnut Pesto
Because the basil needed a big trim. This is sitting in the fridge in a jar waiting for pasta tomorrow, yay. I am always looking for condiment recipes that I can tailor to my needs (which means making them without garlic or onion) and this worked really well with leek and spring onion tops. It's definitely worth toasting the walnuts. And you need a lot of salt. A lot more than you think. It smells amazing, though.

- Gnocchi, again, this time without egg and with a bit more understanding of the dough. [personal profile] lilacsigil rolled them on the butter pat so they had nice ridges for holding sauce. I actually think I like it better with the egg in it? It fluffed up better with the egg, I thought. But nonetheless it was delicious and plentiful, and there are two bags in the freezer for another time. I do like gnocchi day - the industry of it, standing in a production line making tiny bites of delicious. (This is the recipe I use, though I didn't put an egg in this time: How to Make the Perfect Gnocchi.)

- The Browniest Cookies
The first tray of these turned into completely flat cookie-pancakes. They were tasty, but very flat. So I mixed some rolled oats into the batter, and then they stayed round, though they weren't as moist and gooey as they should have been. I used milk chocolate, so maybe that's a contributing factor?

- Spanakopita Rolls
YUM. These were much less messy, made good use of the rectangle shape of the filo pastry, and were really substantial for a meat-free meal. I subbed leek for onion, and left out the garlic to keep it FODMAP friendly for me. Would make again! Would make and freeze.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
I love King Arthur recipes, because they have a button that converts US cups to grams. Very handy! (US cups are slightly smaller than Australian ones.) It was a lovely cake, very brownie-like in texture. Is it weird that I'm starting to prefer the taste of chocolate cake with zucchini in it? I don't think I've made a chocolate cake out of zucchini season, actually. I made this in a bundt tin, and it worked well to stop it getting soggy in the middle, considering how much shredded zucchini I sneaked into it.

- Meatballs with Tomato and Zucchini
Here is my brilliant discovery: rolled oats are awesome in meatballs. I put in breadcrumbs, and the mixture wasn't holding the shape I wanted, so, based on the success with the chocolate cookies, I threw in enough rolled oats to get the right consistency. (And subbed leek for onion, left out the garlic, put in bunches and bunches of parsley since it needed a trim.) They tasted great, in terms of flavour and texture. Next time, I think I would like to give the mixture a little time to let the oats swell up and bind. And up the seasoning, since oats soak up salt a lot. But these meatballs were tasty; we ate them on pasta with a veggie tomato sauce.

Wow, I've cooked a lot since the last Recipe Friday. Good. It's a sign I'm feeling better.


Something I have concrete plans to cook soon:
Easter is coming! I have plans for Easter! Roast lamb, because it's lamb season here, yay.

- Orange Rice Cake, which is the closest recipe I've found to my nonna's rice cake. (Without oranges, because she never made hers with orange.) [personal profile] lilacsigil wants me to make a half-sized cake, because the last one spoiled before we ate it all, and I know that makes sense, but I feel like Nonna wouldn't be pleased with that.

Courgette and cheddar soda bread
To use up the last mini-glut of zucchinis from the garden. I love soda bread recipes - they're really quick to make, and the zucchini should stop it going stale quite so quickly.


Something I'm idly planning to cook in the future:
Takeout-style Sesame Noodles with Cucumber
There's a wave of baby cucumbers about to become a glut of cucumbers, and I should be ready to make them into stuff. (Except pickles - I don't really like pickles?) Otherwise, it will be the usual 'make dinner and garnish it with a whole cucumber' situation all over again.

I guess that's why I bookmarked this six months ago when the northern hemisphere was in full cucumber production:
17 Recipes to Make When You're Simply Drowning in Cucumbers
That green gazpacho looks good.


Garden update

Oh, man, what a crappy season for tomatoes. Facebook kept bringing up memories from last year, of trays and trays of tomatoes going into the oven for roasting and freezing, while this year, the fruit was still green. We've had a few - more than a few - but not the overflowing numbers that mean eating them warm from the vine, giving them to your friends, and stowing away a freezer full for winter stews. At least it wasn't just us - everyone in the region had a bad crop this year.

Two zucchini plants were definitely adequate for two people plus a few for friends. It was nice not to have armfuls of marrow the size of babies, and we definitely had enough for regular meals plus some exciting 'how to cleverly use your zucchini' type recipes. I'd like to grow an heirloom type next year, though the Blackjack are really nice.

I wasn't sure if any of my cucumber plants grown from seed would even produce fruit, so I foolishly planted them all, and thus came the 12-cucumber days of late summer. I have exhausted many peoples' politeness in accepting cucumbery gifts. We grew two types from seed, Lebanese (smaller, wrinklier than English cucumbers) and crystal apple (pear shaped and milky white), and when they were not flourishing, we put in two Burpless seedlings from the garden shop. They all fruited, though very late: we didn't get any until March and then it was cucumbers all the way down. Still worth it, because fresh picked cucumber is a whole other thing compared to the kind you get at the grocery store. They're sweet and crisp and a bit peppery, they have texture and flavour and you can just eat them as it, like a giant green banana.

The same deal went with the button squash seedlings - but they didn't fruit as prolifically as the cucumbers, which is good, because there were six of them, and it could have been a zucchini-style apocalypse. They were lovely, though - for dinner, I'd chop them up very fine and stir them into the rice cooker to steam a little.

I've re-seeded the lettuce patch, as it's starting to thin out. There's still enough to supply two or three big salads per week at the moment, but every time I go out, the patch is a little smaller. We're onto our third punnet of snow peas for the year. The basil is bolting, as usual, but I keep lopping the flowers off. The leeks have been thinned (we ate the thinned ones, om nom baby leeks) and the spring onion patch has about a dozen going at the moment. [personal profile] lilacsigil made the amazing discovery that leek ends will regrow just like spring onion ends, so the leeks that we grew from seed are going back in the ground as we pick them, to rejuvenate. It's amazing.

What else? We tried a punnet of pak choi, and it immediately became slug city, so [personal profile] lilacsigil pulled them out. (It was seriously gross.) Research suggests that we need to remove the mulch layer (because the slugs hide out under it during the day) and use a barrier of diatomaceous earth. We couldn't get any DE, but [personal profile] lilacsigil found a special snail gel that delivers a mild electric shock. IDK, it sounds very Star Trek to me, but if it works, I will be very happy.

Look! Two entries in two days. I really think I'm feeling better.
st_aurafina: a tiny chameleon wrapped around a little finger (Dreamwidth: baby chameleon)
I seem to have dropped all podcasts except the backlog of Stuff You Missed in History Class, which is fine. But it has this ad in it for another podcast, about futuristic stuff, IDK, and in it, someone shouts out futuristic things I might be interested in, like 'fistpunch evolution'. I don't know what it is but it scares me.


[community profile] halfamoon has an Awesome Ladies Rec post: Go rec me some fics?


State of the me
boring stuff about my meds and my brain and my knees )

State of the Garden
One capsicum! It's yellow-green and I believe it needs to be yellow-yellow before we pick it, but it's there. The other capsicum, a dwarf variety, is remaining very dwarf-like. It's leafy and covered in flowers but so tiny. It's palm-sized. I'm not sure if that's how it's supposed to be or not.

I tied up the tomatoes again, and there's lots of fruit on everything except the Black Russian, which has flowers. But! There has been some kind of baby massacre - something has bitten into the tiny baby green Romas, and spat them out again on the mulch surface. So wasteful! Further investigation revealed some nibbling on the ends of the zucchinis, also. I suspect parrots, or maybe possums. [personal profile] lilacsigil enacted chemical warfare in the form of sriracha and dishsoap in a spray bottle.

I harvested the last of the beets this week. And spinach is over, waaaah. I miss you, spinach! I'm trying to track down seeds for warrigal greens, which are supposed to grow well at this time of year (spinach, for us, is a seed you plant in cooler weather) but no luck yet. I have some spinach seeds which I'll try, if I can't find something more seasonally appropriate.

Zucchinis are go! We've only got two plants this year, which are producing at exactly the pace we need for zucchini in our meals, with nothing left over for bread/muffins/other recipes I use in desperation. I'm a bit sad about that? But also, it's nice not to be picking armfuls and armfuls of giant marrows that are hollow in the middle and full of seeds.

The plants we grew from seed have finally taken off. Leeks are shooting up and starting to look like leeks, a bit. There's button squash starting to turn yellow, and I think the pumpkin has fruit too - either that, or we planted two varieties of button squash? Time will tell. Cucumbers are showing up - still in the tiny, cute-cumber stage, but they're there. And one capsicum that we grew from seed but stayed in the two leaf stage since December has suddenly started growing and growing, so who knows what will happen with that. I threw a seed packet of mixed salad down one end of a bed and it grew and now there's a lettuce patch, yay! I can go out in the morning, pick a bowlful of salad, and have it for lunch. It's very civilised.

A while ago, we planted the ends of our spring onions, and have been snipping them off when we need them. This is much, much better than buying them from the supermarket! If you have the means - a flower pot on a windowsill would do - I would suggest doing it. They grow really well and don't need much care. And it saves money. And they taste better.


Heads up that there's going to be a bit of spamming from me as I catch up fic I've posted everywhere but this journal. Stuff for [community profile] fandom_stocking, and [community profile] 100words and [community profile] yuletide. (And I'm catching up on AO3 comments, too.)
st_aurafina: monarch butterfly wings (Butterfly wings)
State of the Writing:
I posted a bunch of fics, but have a few more that only need a little bit of work. (Sanctuary wing-fic, this one X-Men/Sanctuary fic I've had hanging around, that Warehouse 13 fic that I thought was finished but actually had [put kiss here] in the body of the text, ffs.)

I'm going to try for a finish-a-thon this Nano. I just totted up my works in progress:
- Post-Winter-Soldier Save Bucky fic now jossed by, I think, four MCU movies, 55K
- Person of Interest 5 Things, with 3/5 of the things done, 15K
- Person of Interest post S5 fixit, 36K
- Person of Interest Sentinel/Guide fic I should never have started but it's so addictive, 5K
- Dracula 2013 Lucy/Mina/Grayson fic 6K
- Original fic, Boarding House of Together They Solve Crime, 50K

That's 167K of unfinished business, holy shit. That's not right. Something has to change here. I think I'm staging an intervention on myself.

Yuletide assignments were super early this year, huh? Mine is great - I'm excited about getting started on that, plus the letter reads like I wrote it. We're obviously very in sync, my recipient and I. For myself, I got my letter in right on the buzzer - Dear Author.

And I have a pinch hit for [community profile] femslashex that I absolutely need to get cracking on. Now.

State of the Garden:
- celery going strong
- snow peas starting to take off
- weird crinkly spinach in that stage where the more you pick, the more grows
- broccolini is down to one plant, but it still has... brockles?
- bok choy gone (it was a really good winter crop though.)
- seeds for button squash, butternut pumpkin, green zebra tomato, apple cucumber and leek are tiny but strong
- 2 zucchini seedlings are in and planning their strategic advance on the house
- coriander is going
- we put in some beetroot seedlings, mostly because apparently the greens are nice in salad? IDK.

State of the Me:
- I hurt my shoulder and the physiotherapist uttered the dread incantation 'rotator cuff'. It's not too bad, just inflamed, definitely not torn, but I'm being extra careful. I feel like I'm in a bad Victorian novel, always checking that my shoulder blades are down and back.
- The plebiscite on same sex marriage went down in flames, thank goodness, but that and world events in general have left me feeling fairly hopeless about the future. I'm still trying to get over the discovery that I live in a world where #nottheonion is a thing we need when reading news.
- I'm feeling generally flat and uncommunicative but I am trying to push out of it. I have NaNo write-ins I want to attend in Geelong. I've scoped out the locale, it looks nice and fairly accessible. I'm still nervous about it. Socialising is nervewracking, even when I want to do it.
- Pokemon Go is giving me life. Even though fewer people are playing, it takes the edge of my anxiety when I go to a new place, because I can scope out the poke-landscape.

State of the Cats:
Spring is here and we opened a window )
st_aurafina: A shiny green chilli (Food: Green Chilli)
I'm in ur fridge, bringin' recipes back.

When we moved, I donated my muffin tin, because, for some reason, I decided I was done with muffins. This was a vast error, because I missed it immediately, and had to buy another one. I was wrong - muffins are fantastic! Muffins have been my jam all summer, as I dealt with the traditional onslaught of zucchinis. You can freeze them, and just stick them in your lunch box. Chocolate zucchini muffins microwave beautifully and make for an awesome brownie-esque dessert.

ETA: [personal profile] lilacsigil says I should explain my excellent method of zucchini squishing. If you're baking with zucchini, you need to squish the liquid out as much as possible, which I used to do by hand, or by twisting it in a tea-towel. Then I bought a ricer, so I could make my Nonna's gnocchi, and it occurred to me that it would be a good tool for squishing shredded zucchini. I use the plate with the largest holes, fill the thing with shredded zucchini, and squeeze it really hard. Green zucchini water comes out (which I should use in soup or a smoothie or something, but I never do) and you're left with fairly dry zucchini that mixes well into cakes and bread. I've actually used the ricer more for pressing zucchini than for gnocchi.

I've tweaked these recipes from the original so much that by the time next summer's zucchinis come in, I will have forgotten what I did. So I've transcribed and annotated and put them here for next time.

Zucchini and Orange Muffins )

Zucchini Corn and Cheese Muffins )

Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins )


From the bag of mixed heirloom zucchini seeds, we ended up with three varieties: cocozelle, grey, and yellow crookneck squash. They were all good, except the crooknecks turned into little gourds very fast. (Also, they were warty. I want to grow heirloom vegetables, but wow, those crooknecks were ugly.)

Warty crookneck squash under the cut )
st_aurafina: Platypus headshot (Platypus)
No Frills Multi-Fandom Friending Meme, thanks to [personal profile] snickfic.

Hello to the new people! I have a sticky post with all the basics and an 'All About Where I Live' post

Hey, Aussie fats - does anyone want to try We Love Colors tights? I bought a pair in fuck-off neon yellow, and fuck-off stop-sign red, and the colours are amazing, but they don't bloody fit me around the thighs. They're fantastic around the calves, and they fit me around the waist, but they don't go comfortably over my thighs. Frustrating! They're so nice and colour-dense, and vivid and so exactly what people tell fat women they shouldn't wear, so I'm really sad. They're size EE. Free to a good home inside Australia - I'll cover the postage.


[livejournal.com profile] marvel_bang goes along and along. I really wanted to have old!Peggy take a part in my mystery, and I'm writing her now, but gosh, I worry I'm not going to do okay by her. I know the things I don't want in old!Peggy fic: a cure, Peggy suddenly doing things she's really not physically or mentally capable of, sweet old lady things (because she's never been sweet and I doubt she found it in old age.) It's a matter of working out what I want her to do, what she's plausibly able to do, how she can be awesome, without her sections becoming deus ex machina or overly sickly. It's a very interesting line and I'm glad I have [personal profile] lilacsigil to bounce my draft off as I write it. And I really need to get going on the art, for both of us.

In the garden, there's finally been a bit of spare time to plant the seeds, so yesterday we put tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, cucumber (all heirloom mixes, so who knows what we'll get? So exciting!), mesclun mix, rocket, and basil. They're all in the hothouse which is nice and humid at the moment. Tomatoes need to be ready to go into the beds by Cup Day (which is the first Tuesday in November.) There's tons of bok choy in the beds right now, so I'm making ramen tomorrow to use it up. (There's stock cooking up now while I'm typing this. And I can totally soft-boil eggs now, it's brilliant.)

I finally got 8tracks to work on my laptop and now I can listen to fanmixes again. (I miss megaupload!) I really liked this mix of French rap and pop:
Player embedded behind here because the art was cute too )
Being able to interact with 8tracks makes me want to re-upload all my old fanmixes that I lost when megaupload went down.


A recipe: Lemon buttermilk donuts. (CN: some diet/'clean eating' talk in the link.) Recipe has quantities in grams as well as cups (important for me, because Australian cups are bigger) and it makes a nice small batch. I had a donut pan that I'd never used but really wanted to, enough that I held onto through the giant kitchen purge before we moved to the new house. I'm glad I tried it because it cooked these little sweeties really perfectly. Definitely going to mess around with that recipe some more in the future.

This is how ours came out )

I found something to nominate as a microfandom for this year's Yuletide: Find the girls on the negatives. I love the photos - so beautiful, so mysterious - and I think there's lots of potential there for fic. Like, femslash (since it seems possible that each woman photographed the other, right?) Or mermaid femslash - they're going home together at last! Or, really, anything.


Other random things:

- 51 facts you probably didn't know about the Great British Bake-Off. The audition process sounds intense.

- Via [personal profile] conuly, The Disastrous Australian Emu War. I should add that emus don't tweet, they make a thumping drum noise. BOOM BOOM BOOM.
st_aurafina: Rainbow DNA (Default)
[personal profile] jadelennox is hosting a friending meme, here. I've added a bunch of people - hello! I have a sticky post with most of my details, and this post specifically about where I live.

I'm almost caught up with Person of Interest - I think we have five episodes left? It has been an intense run. Spoilers for the first half of S4 )


Blurg, I have a cold, and I feel like I have a hairball at the back of my throat. I am displeased. I have been consuming copious amounts of tea with lemon. I bought lemons specifically, which makes me wonder how the lemon tree we planted at the old house is going. (We moved last September, for the new people.) It should be getting fruit, and so should the lime tree - ah, well.

[personal profile] lilacsigil planted another tree here at the new house but it will be a few years before we get anything. We've got bok-choy and baby broccoli in the garden beds right now and I've got rocket and spinach seeds coming in the mail, because our mini-greenhouse is all up and ready for baby plants. This is great, because the greens at the greengrocer are dire at the moment. It's going to be a race between seedlings and scurvy at this rate. (Not really, not with all the lemons I just consumed.)

Photos of the not-so-new garden beds )

Since I'm posting photos, this was my day today: rain and cows. So much rain. So many cows.

The oncoming storm... )

I signed up for [livejournal.com profile] marvel_bang, even though I should be working on my Winter Soldier NaNo project so I can post it some time before the next movie comes out. It's already been horribly jossed by Agents of SHIELD's second season. (I'm tentatively looking for someone I can ask America questions, if there's anyone out there who'd be willing. Like, can you catch a bus from DC to New York if you're pretty sure that people are going to be monitoring airports and train stations? That sort of thing.)

Otherwise, we are both well, apart from sore throats and woolly heads. Hello again to the new people - I'm very glad to be getting to know you.
st_aurafina: Rainbow DNA (Default)
Footy season started, which means I get to sip my coffee and relax a bit at work. I don't like football much, but I'm grateful for slightly slower Saturdays. And coffee. Always grateful for coffee.

ETA: Apparently not football yet? IDK where are the people?

I have been in a bit of a slump, brain-wise, but I'm coming up out of it now. (I'm starting to see a pattern via my tumblr queue - I drop posting down to three per day because it's just too hard to keep that queue topped up, then slowly it fills up again as I have more concentration and energy. When I've got 100 posts in the queue, I up the rate to ten per day. It's an odd but definite pattern.)



Today is officially one year since we put the sticker on the sign for the new house. We've been in for six months. It's a lovely house for summer, as it turns out, and catches cross breezes beautifully. The veggie garden went in late, but we've had oodles of zucchini, peas and basil. Only one tomato, unfortunately. It was delicious but tiny.

Cooking has mostly revolved around zucchini, and the question of how we can get more zucchini into each meal. (Chopped and sauteed with garlic goes well into a toasted cheese sandwich, for example.) The Courgette tag at BBC Good Food has been a wealth of fun. Courgette and Orange cake was the recipe I made the most often, I think, though I make it with an orange glaze because [personal profile] lilacsigil doesn't like cream cheese icing.



Fannishly, I consumed much:

Agent Carter was beautiful and amazing and perfect for me, if not perfect overall. I hope, hope we get a second season. I hope I get a chance to contribute to viewing statistics in some way soon. (I furiously liked things on Facebook, for the little good that does.) I want to write fic. Dottie and Peggy and Angie fic. Le sigh. So many women. Plz come back, writing mojo.

Person of Interest S3 was this amazing blur of femslashy moments, and finally clicking with Reese, and loving all the dystopian AI storylines, and adoring Root in god-mode. And sad about Read more... ). I'd love recs for fic that's non-spoilery past the S3 finale, if anyone has any.

I am inspired by many gifs on tumblr to give The 100 a try again. Much femslash, actual queer content, wow.

But I've given Gotham the flick - it got too nasty. And spoilers )

The Great British Sewing Bee - I'm almost finished. Just the final to go. It was a great season!

The Comic Relief Bake-Off - there was this one amazing episode, with Joanna Lumley, Jennifer Saunders, Lulu, and Dame Edna Everage. It was like the best episode of AbFab EVER. It was amazing. I love Comic Relief Bake-Off anyway, but this was unusually epic and amazing.

Broadchurch - I have no idea what made me suddenly watch this show - I'm not really fond of that particular style British grim crime drama. I think the small-town angle caught me. And Olivia Colman is ace balls. I'm in the middle of Season 2 right now (so much shirtless James D'Arcy, wow.) spoilers ).



So, anyway. This is me. I am here! And feeling better. And hopefully back to fic soon. I have a build-up of fic feelings.
st_aurafina: Rainbow DNA (Default)
Just finished reading:

Hild by Nicola Griffith.

I loved it! I always worry when I'm reading books with historical settings, because I have a huge inferiority complex about my history learnings which basically ended in Fourth Form in 1986. This story is beautifully immersive, though, and while I don't actually know much about this time period, Nicola Griffith built the microcosm of Hild's world as thoroughly as she outlined the history and politics, and so I never felt left behind. I adored all the botany, agriculture, and herbalism, as well as the day to day life in a royal court, the espionage, and the massive religious shift of the time. Hild, and the way she creates her own legend, is amazing.

I had read other reviews that said it ended abruptly, and wow, that's certainly true. But there's another book coming, apparently? Definitely looking forward to that.



Currently reading:

Pop Goes the Weasel: the Secret of Nursery Rhymes, by Albert Jack.

Because nursery rhymes are creepy and full of hidden stories, and I love that. So far, it's pretty light and easy, but there are still a few that I've never heard and are super creepy.


Damiano by R A MacAvoy.

This is a re-read for me - I picked it up randomly on Sunday when it was 45C and my head was swimming. It's a very dreamy book. It's still as trippy for me as the first time I read it - I picked it up in a book exchange when I was living in Sydney in 1992. I completely forgot about the talking dog. Macchiata!



Planning to Read

I find it really interesting to look at this over the past few weeks - I very rarely seem to actually read the things I'm planning to read, and instead grab random things off the shelf. Still, it's fun to speculate.


I want to give Nicola Griffith's Ammonite a try, since I enjoyed Hild so much. Still have the next India Black novel to try. The Damiano trilogy, since we've got some hot days coming up and that seems to be when I like to read trippy fantasy with angels.


Ugh, so many hot days coming up. Still, we may get our first tomato this weekend. In the last month of summer, wtf.
st_aurafina: A shiny green chilli (Food: Green Chilli)
It's so much cooler now. The sky is eerily orange from the fires in the Grampians, but there's nothing close to us at the moment. It's nice to be able to open up the house and get some fresh air into it. Now I'm watching [personal profile] lilacsigil play Lego Marvel Super Heroes. She's driving in New York. We couldn't figure out why everyone was on the wrong side of the road. Hopefully, they will just assume that Tony is wasted. It seems reasonable.


We ventured into the garden for the first time this week, and holy cow, the zucchinis are coming. THE ZUCCHINIS ARE COMING! Fortunately I have been stashing zucchini recipes on Pinboard, so I am ready. The basil is looking awesome. There are tomatoes everywhere but all still green. The pumpkins have gone ballistic in the heat - huge leaves, lots of buds. Watermelons are looking a bit sad; I think they were still a bit small when the heat came, and even though we had plastic over them, they've suffered a bit. The cos lettuce has bolted, but the other lettuces are doing well, and so is the spinach. Peas everywhere! So many peas! And beans! And the eggplant tree is looking alive, at least, even if there are no blossoms. We just can't eggplant here, and it's so sad.


Recipe Friday! Let's make it happen!

Something I've cooked recently:

Braised leg of lamb:

Basically, you get a leg of lamb, preferably with the bone in, stud it with garlic and sprigs of rosemary, and rub it with olive oil and sea salt. Then put it in a cast iron pot. Add a brown onion peeled and cut in two. Chop a head of garlic in half and throw that in, with a bunch of rosemary and thyme. (And maybe some peppercorns, maybe a bayleaf, maybe some brown sugar or honey, but this time we didn't bother because we'd left it too late in the day to be fussy.) Pour white wine over the lot, cover and cook it in the oven at 150C for five hours. Check it occasionally to make sure there's still liquid in the pot. Take the lid off for the last hour. It's done when it can be flaked with a fork.

We did this ahead of the heat, knowing we'd be unlikely to cook this week. The lamb, and some pumpkin rolls from the bakery did us for lunches, and with rice and veggies for dinner on a couple of nights when we were really flaked out from work.


Crispy Roasted Chickpeas:

I was totally inspired by the chickpeas in my Harvest Box last week - all the toasted lentils have been really tasty, and we always have a can of chickpeas to throw in curry, so it seemed like a good option. They were terrible! I don't think it's the fault of the recipe - the spices tasted great, but the chickpeas tasted like ass. I think I'll try soaking my own, maybe? Or a different brand of chickpeas? The problem is that the canned ones always smell really bad to me, and I could totally smell that bad smell, even covered in a billion spices and salt. I need to figure this out, because I love chickpeas, and I want to try hummus again soon.



Something I've got concrete plans to cook soon:

Well, we're going to chargrill the first zucchini tomorrow. The Weber barbecue is working out great! We bought outdoor furniture to go with it - I sit there with my iPad, reading fic and grilling like a boss, while [personal profile] lilacsigil potters in the garden. We chat over the balcony. It's really nice.


[personal profile] mergatrude's Super Easy Butter Cake:

Part of my quest for an easy cake - that recipe I linked last week was actually pretty complex, so I abandoned it. I will have cake that is tender and has a nice rise and doesn't taste like dry paste. I will achieve this. I will be precise. As [personal profile] ducened said, "Cake is your finicky English teacher who marks you off for forgetting the Oxford Comma."



Something I'm idly thinking of cooking in the future

Homemade Vanilla Bean Chai Syrup

This could be nice, right? You basically grab a can of sweetened condensed milk and stir in a whole bunch of spices to make a spiced syrup, then when you want chai, you stir some of the syrup into some black tea. It sounds like a good idea on paper, and I've got everything I need to make it on hand, so I'd like to give it a go.


Panini bread

We've got the sandwich press out, and I'd forgotten how nice it is to just squish good things into bread and toast it. I'm going to make some nice panini-style breads to toast. To follow on with [personal profile] ducened's analogy, unlike cake, bread is your mellowed out art teacher who wants you to get your hands dirty and feel for the right texture.



I've been trying to get this into a post but keep backing out of it: our elderly cat is on the decline. Cut for talk of ailing pets )
st_aurafina: A shiny green chilli (Food: Green Chilli)
Recipe Friday. I made it up.

Something I've cooked recently:
Ricotta pancakes with fig jam.

These were good! Not really a pancake person, but we had these for breakfast on Boxing Day. They were fluffy and thick and not too sweet. You really do need to have two pans going at once, though, for adequate pancake to person supply.We didn't have fig jam, so I used raspberry. (Fig jam! Always cracks me up. Fuck, I'm Good, Just Ask Me!)


Nigella's Sticky Gingerbread

This was the breakout recipe of Christmas 2013 for us. It's so good! So treacly and sticky and tasty and also huge. (You bake it in a roasting dish!) It seems to keep well, too. I'm definitely going to make this again, even if it's not Christmas.


Something I've got concrete plans to cook soon:
Chocolate Pound Cake

With no substitutions, not overbeating, using Australian sized measuring cups for an Australian recipe. Basic cake, you will be defeated. By me. Eating you.


Something I'm idly thinking of cooking in the future:
Orange and ginger glazed pot roast

It's going to be super hot for the next week, so I won't be wanting to put the oven on at all, but after that, I'd like to try this in my cast iron pot. I love pot roast, and it makes such nice leftovers for the rest of the week. And we have a jar of marmalade in the cupboard which needs to be used up. It's lemon, but [personal profile] lilacsigil's dad made it and it will probably be pretty good.



In the garden, we have our first zucchinis! It's very late, because it's been a really cold summer for us. The rest of Australia has been in a massive heat wave, apparently. We've had hot water bottles and long sleeves and gale warnings and mud. Caterpillars are sorted, thank goodness. Peas are advancing. Cucumbers are flowering. Pumpkins are growing like weeks. Tomatoes still green. Lettuce still weird and bitter but I kind of like it. We've got a few hot days up ahead, and I'm hoping it will resuscitate the basil.


[community profile] fandom_stocking is live! I didn't hang a stocking, but I wrote some fics:

The Long Game (777 words) by st_aurafina
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Regulus Black/Severus Snape
Summary:

The night Regulus was named as a traitor, Severus wrote two lists.




Two-in-Hand (735 words) by st_aurafina
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Sleepy Hollow (TV)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Abbie Mills, Ichabod Crane (TV)
Summary:

The crisis is over, and Ichabod is in the stables.




Flying Lessons (551 words) by st_aurafina
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Doctor Who (2005)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Twelfth Doctor/River Song
Characters: Clara Oswin Oswald, Twelfth Doctor, River Song
Summary:

The Doctor's regeneration brings chaos to the TARDIS, and Clara searches for help.




Naked in Barings (812 words) by st_aurafina
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Sanctuary (TV)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Nigel Griffin/James Watson
Characters: Nigel Griffin, James Watson
Summary:

Nigel wakes up naked and chained to a bed in Watson's cellar. Things could be worse.




Thanks to [personal profile] medie for another great year. I love this fest!
st_aurafina: (Yuletide: Super Secret)
I had my little sister to stay for a couple of days over New Year, and it was lovely. She is so nice and easy-going and happy, and sometimes I wonder how she came from my family but I don't care because she's awesome. I love her so much. But now she is gone, and all that remains are some haunted cats, a unicorn doona cover, and 'dogs bum looks like jesus' in my google search box. Such good times!



Yuletide reveals! This is me:
Four Times Rolan Spoke For Valdemar, and Once He was Speechless For Himself (1884 words) by st_aurafina
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Valdemar Series - Mercedes Lackey
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings, No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Talia (Valdemar), Rolan (Valdemar), Talamir (Valdemar), Dirk (Valdemar)
Additional Tags: Soul Bond
Summary:

Rolan is not like other Companions. He Chooses again.



Sparkly pony Christmas! I couldn't say anything in the lead-up to Yuletide, but I had the best time reviewing canon! I read Arrows, Winds, Storms, Vanyel, and then went and read some of the anthologies, and Alberich's books. I hadn't read Alberich's story, and there was a lot in there I needed to know about Talamir and Rolan and Monarch's Own business. And then, because I was on a roll, I re-read the Diana Tregarde novels, which aren't holding up as well in the fail:nostalgia ratio as Valdemar is. I remember loving them so much when I was younger. *sigh*



I'm still on prednisolone for the asthma flare-up I'm in the middle of, and it's such a monster drug. I'm all hyped up and twitchy, and HUNGRY, and my calves are spasming and crampy, and I want to jump down every tourist's throat. (Actually that last one probably doesn't have much to do with the prednisolone. Tourists, man. I hate'em. BE FUCKING POLITE ON YOUR HOLIDAYS, YOU RUDE FUCKING FUCKS. YOU'RE FUCKING GUESTS IN MY FUCKING TOWN OMFG.) The prednisolone has also drastically cleared up my sinuses, to the point where I am rediscovering just how bad we all smell. Ugh. Everyone has this cloud of smell around them, even me, and it's like my personal space has been reduced exponentially. We smell! All of us! It's weird and I don't usually have to spend energy processing that information. Ugh.



In conclusion, we have caterpillars in our tomatoes. This is not a metaphor. They are cabbage loopers and tonight we go at them with chemical weapons, aka detergent.
st_aurafina: A black woman in a sheriff's uniform, she looks surprised and amazed (Sleepy Hollow: Abbie)
1. Our summer veggie garden is off and running. In the beds, we've got Roma tomatoes, sweet basil, Black Jack zucchini, cos lettuce, snow peas, string beans, a few self-sown cherry tomatoes from last year, and a mystery tomato that could be Grosse Lisse or Rouge de Marmand or a hybrid. (Apparently they hybridise a lot, according to local garden guru?)

On the seedling trays, there's Green Zebra tomatoes due to go in as soon as we get time, Camp Cherry Joy tomatoes but they're tiny still, Bebe Lebanese cucumber, and very wee watermelons. I'd given up on the melons coming up at all, but as soon as we had a couple of hot days, they sprouted. So cute! Don't know how well they'll go, but it's worth a try.

And in seed envelopes, waiting for space on the seedling trays, there's spinach, rocket, coriander, Genovese basil, and a mix of heirloom pumpkins.

I was feeling like we'd failed a bit, by not having winter veggies this year, but I'm over it now that the beds are filling up with summer crops. I feel a bit organised!


2. Day of the Doctor blew my socks off with geekish glee. I loved it. Cried a lot at the end.


3. We bought a barbecue! Hilariously, it's called a Baby-Q. Cannot stop laughing. Gonna throw something on the Baby Q. Probably not babies. It's a Weber, and it seems, in barbecue culture, that Weber is the Apple device of barbecues - there's a trillion trillion gizmos and add-ons you can get for your Weber. Hence, we've got a trolley and a grill plate for onions, and a cover for the whole set-up, but no gas bottle yet, so we can't cook.


4. I learned a tip! If you cook with cardamom pods, this is going to blow your mind: thread a needle and sew the pods onto a thread. Then, when you're done cooking, you can fish the little bastards out and nobody has to bite down on one. We've got a beef curry slow cooking at the moment, for lunches this week. No cardamom surprises for me.


5. Sleepy Hollow was fantastic tonight! Spoilers )
st_aurafina: Plus sized lady in a pink bathing suit, completely underwater (Exercise: Swimming)
1. Tonight's X-Files was Hell Money, which I tend to skip in my constant rolling rewatch because it's kind of shitty. But we're keeping up with Monster of the Week which means no skipping. (Last week was Teso Dos Bichos, with the amazing fake kitties.) Anyway, this episode had surprise!Lucy Liu! And surprise!B. D. Wong! So the rewatch was definitely worth it.

2. This week is Freezer Food Week! (Which comes around whenever we've filled up the freezer.) It's a surprise with every meal. Except breakfast.Tonight was lasagna! And this weekend, I'm cooking a giant batch of curried sausages - lovely Nana food, especially when it's cold.

3. I had a really, really good swim on Tuesday, for the first time in five weeks. The Warrnambool pool has been so crowded, but they just opened the outdoor pool for early morning laps, and it seems to have eased the pressure on the mid-morning lap swimmers like me, yay. And they're filling the local outdoor pool now, so hopefully soon we'll be swimming laps closer to home.

4. The green zebra tomato seedlings are ready to go out in the main beds. The cherry tomatoes aren't far behind. I planted some Lebanese cucumbers, but most of them didn't come up, so I shoved in some cantaloupe seeds. And then some things came up but I'm not sure if they're cucumbers or cantaloupes. I guess we'll find out.

5. Crochet!

Pics of crocheted things, mostly hats )

Sadly, as a result of all this handcraft, I have amped up the tenosynovitis in my right wrist, but I've got a doctor's appointment on Tuesday, and hopefully there will be a cortisone shot. Hopefully. Because I'm sad about rationing my crochet time.
st_aurafina: A shiny green chilli (Food: Green Chilli)
Ack, life is oddly frantic!

- Planted our tomato seeds today, along with some Lebanese cucumbers and some coriander. I planted another thyme plant out in the back garden, where most of our herbs seem to be accumulating. And [personal profile] lilacsigil bought a bay tree, which she transplanted into a pot to sit down with the veggie beds. Peas and lettuces are growing!

- Finished my baby afghan. I still need to wash it and reblock it, but it's done, and I really like the way the trim came out. I had a lot of yarn left over, so I made a little pixie bonnet, and I've started a pair of booties:

Booty and bonnet sounds surprisingly rude, actually. )
st_aurafina: A woman in a top hat and veil dominating another woman (Kink: top hat)
Ugh, I think I have a virus. I'm running a temperature and I have a scratchy throat. I am Friday-night drunk and cranky and happy is haaaaaaard.

*works hard* Um, um, um.


1. Paranormal Activity 4 is on, and it's surprisingly not handheld. Spooooky times.


2. I pulled a muscle in my groin working out. (I think my groin might be my Achilles' heel!) But it got better through the day, and I think I'll be able to work out tomorow.


3. Yesterday on ABC FM, Emma Ayres referred to Tchaikovsky as "Tchaik". G'day, Tchaik, mate! Bonza symphony.


4. We have planted cos lettuce and peas in the garden. The peas are in little biodomes made from Sprite bottles.


5. [personal profile] lilacsigil made me a hold-all for my crochet paraphenalia:

She's also making cushions out of the groovy orange and beige fabric )


Links:

- [community profile] femslash_kink, has opened prompts for filling on the 2013 kinkmeme. The masterlist is here. SO. MANY. PROMPTS.


- Flourless chocolate and hazelnut cake. But I'm probably going to make lemon and blueberry bread this weekend because I have a bunch of lemons and limes to use up.


- Birds like this guy is why we need to keep our garbage safely inside the wheelie bins, and not have any poking out over the top.


- BABY RHINO!


Okay, I'm going to bed now. Today wasn't awful, and tomorrow will be better.
st_aurafina: Puffin, walking tilted forwards, expression of great purpose (Puffin: srs business bird)
1. It was a beautiful spring day today - all warm breezes, daisies coming up in the lawn, and green, green grass. We pottered in the garden and planted some garlic chives. Our non-garlic chives have come back from their winter holiday, and I had some with my lunch snipped over goat's cheese on the bread I made last night. It was very civilised, even if I will be complaining about the heat in what feels like no time.


2. I faced my fear of dealing with the crocheted afghan today, largely because [personal profile] lilacsigil practically frogmarched me through it. I am a chronic non-finisher of craft projects, and the urge to stuff this thing in a dark corner and forget about it was strong, but the steely eyes at the other end of the craft table kept me soldiering on. Now it's blocked and drying on a big towel, and hopefully the wonky corner will vanish and a nice rectangle will emerge ready for trimming.

Behold, the quadrangle )



3. We watched a documentary: CREATURES OF THE DEEP! AN INCREDIBLY ~DRAMATIC DOCUMENTARY ABOUT HOW MUCH SCARIER THE DEEP SEA IS THAN SPACE. DO YOU KNOW SPACE IS LIKE, TOTALLY A BREEZE COMPARED TO THE SEA FLOOR? IF YOU THINK MARS IS DEADLY, TRY THREE TONS PER SQUARE INCH OF PRESSURE TURNING YOUR BODY INTO A PILE OF JELLY! WHY DOES NASA GET ALL THE FUNDING? WE HAVE A FISH VACUUM!

Actually, watching the fish and shrimp and tube worms going up the vacuum was hilarious, and I would watch that every day. They were so surprised! You just don't expect that kind of thing on the sea floor!



4. While I'm waiting for my perfect rectangle to form, and for more yarn to finish my pom-pom hat, I'm making a coffee sweater, which is more of a coffee cardigan, really. I just liked the buttons! I like crocheting rib - it's easier than I thought it would be, and it looks really good.



5. Closing tabs. A good feeling.
From tumblr:
- [tumblr.com profile] a-dinosaur-a-day. Keeps the... Time Lords away?

- Vintage Stamp Designs. I feel, like, some left-over gen-x guilt at how nice the stamps are from the former Communist countries. I remember they were very desirable at stamp club. Oh, god, I went to stamp club. I had forgotten that.


This weirdly makes a lot of sense to me, but I can't explain why:
- What Do London Underground Stops Taste Like? - London Underground, from a synaesthetic point of view.


Things to make in Skillets:
- One Hour Skillet Focaccia sounds good.

- Emergency Small Batch Brownies. Emergency! Somebody make me a brownie!
st_aurafina: (Work)
1. Unexpectedly sunny weather, which was unexpectedly pleasant, especially because work wasn't too busy. At this time of year, Saturdays alternate between frantic and dead, depending on whether the football game is home or away. I did have to make an ointment, though. I hate compounding, and am delighted by the proliferation of compounding pharmacies so I don't have to, but this one was so basic I was too embarrassed to refer the patient on. But I got it all done, and with minimal suffering, despite the utter grossness of lanolin. Ugh, and it's so hard in winter. Like mashing cold butter, only so much stinkier.

2. I've ordered seeds so I can start this year's tomatoes. I got green zebras, because I was depressed about global warming, and then I thought "Well, if it's going to get warmer and warmer, I'll grow tomatoes that need warmer weather, damn it." Green zebras are tasty, if we can get them to ripen. And if I've now jinxed myself into a cold, wet summer? See what I did there? Ha!

The other variety I ordered was called "Camp Joy Cherry" which sounds absurdly rude for no actual reason. I get my seeds from Forget Me Not Heritage Seeds, and they've never let me down.

3. I haven't said much about the casting for the new Doctor, but I'm pretty happy with Peter Capaldi. Like most people, I'd love a woman, I'd love a POC, but I'm happy postponing that hope for a new showrunner. When I heard what Moffat said about the Queen, I thought he was calling for a succession, and entertained a vague daydream where he gets put in the Tower for treason.

4. I've made the bread for lunch tomorrow. That means I can sleep in a bit more, since I don't have to get up and get it going in time. This also means the loaves will have cooled properly before we slice into them, unlike when I grab them hot from the oven. I can never wait - I hack into them when they're far too hot, and they collapse. (It's Honey Sunflower bread again. It makes the nicest toast.

5. Cool things in fandom:

[livejournal.com profile] xf_is_love is running the X-Files Love Month: ...a month-long multimedia celebration of X-Files where each participant claims a date and then posts some new X-Files related fanworks (which can be fic, graphics, icons, vids, essays, a memoir of your days in the X-Files fandom, or pretty much anything as long as it's new and original) on that day. You can do as little or as much as you want - the day is yours!

Sign-ups are here, and there are still days free.

[personal profile] havocthecat has a great post on femslash: What do I want from femslash? I'm in it for the characterization.

[tumblr.com profile] thekimonogallery for beautiful vintage kimono, and other picspams of Japanese culture.
st_aurafina: Rainy day, person with a rainbow umbrella in the distance  (Rainbow umbrella)
1. I finished my beanie!

I love my big gay beanie! )

Next, hopefully, a baby blanket for our locum pharmacist who is expecting in October.

2. Beautiful sunrise this morning - all pink and orange clouds, and a rainbow. Of course, then it rained on me, and my fitball made the passenger seat of the car wet, so I eventually arrived at work with a wet backside. But it was a beautiful sunrise.

3. It rained pretty much all day, and this reminded me to call the plumbers. We want to get a rainwater tank installed before summer, so we can water the garden from it. I'd like to get it in while it's still rainy, so we can stash as much water as possible before it gets hot.

(Note to self: gotta start tomatoes soon!)

4. I had lasagne for lunch today - made with slow cooked beef ragu and roasted vegetables and herbs from our summer crop. It was so good! People from the front of the shop came down to ask what smelled so delicious. We're going to make some more next week, because it was awesome.

5. The Great Australian Bake-Off is lots of fun! I was expecting it to be cringe-worthy, because Australian reality TV is dire, but it's following the British formula and keeping the focus on the cooking. I think I am about one degree of separation from Sara-Jane Smith - she's in Aquaporko, she's queer, and she looks awfully like a fandom-type person. If I don't know her, I'm pretty sure I know someone who does.

Hi Sara-Jane! I'm pretty sure you're out in DW/LJ somewhere! I think you're awesome!
st_aurafina: Rainbow DNA (Default)
I keep trying to make an intro post, and real life keeps intervening. Like, tonight, for example, I accidentally murdered the microwave. (Maybe I can plead manslaughter on that?)

But tonight I soldier on!

Hi! Hi friending meme people! Hi, my dear old friends also! This is a belated introduction post. (Here's a similar post from 2009, which is still correct.)

I'm Danielle! I'm 41 and I live in the country. KOALA COUNTRY. My partner is [personal profile] lilacsigil, we've been together for fifteen years. She seduced me with X-Men comics, and it was all comfortably downhill from there. Cis-female, white, bisexual, GAD-sufferer, on the spectrum. Taurus.

I'm a pharmacist, I am the co-owner of a pharmacy in a small country town in a primarily dairy farming region. I've lived here for twelve years, and I love it, despite the occasional gossipy flare-up. We're the only out queer couple here. We're the only out geeky couple here. It's a little bit isolating sometimes.

We have three cats: Aeon (our aging lady), and brothers Baggins and Chewbacca. They are all lovely!

I lead an HAES oriented life. I have recently discovered a love of swimming and a surprising lack of fear in the changing rooms, which means a lot to me. (This time last year, I was trying to pluck up the courage to actually get in the pool. Now I have a season membership, yay!)

What's big in my life right now? We had our back yard landscaped this year, you can see the progression here. We've gone from growing tomatoes in tubs to having a full-on vegetable garden this year, and it's going well.

Baby vegetables under this cut )

Fannishly, I've been a Who fangirl since before I can remember. I love X-Men and X-Files and Twin Peaks and Harry Potter and Sanctuary and Warehouse 13 and Once Upon a Time, and, and, and. I'm very multifannish. Where we live, we get no television reception at all, so I have to download everything.

I co-mod [livejournal.com profile] comicstore_news with [personal profile] lilacsigil. I've won NaNo the last six years. I write fic and make icons and sometimes fanmixes.

I'm [livejournal.com profile] st_aurafina and [archiveofourown.org profile] st_aurafina. I am not so active at [tumblr.com profile] st-aurafina and not active at all at [twitter.com profile] st_aurafina. My chat IDs are in my Dreamwidth profile, and I'm happy to chat.


Now, because I killed a major electrical appliance the week before Christmas, I really want to do that Yuletide meme. Also, It's like the last possible straw of procrastination I can think of, before I have to finish the final edits on my story.

Ghosts of Yuletide past )

That was a fun retrospective, and completely took away the sting of burning out the microwave. COMPLETELY. *convinces self*
st_aurafina: Rainbow DNA (Default)
To avoid writing my NaNo, I took a pinch hit for [livejournal.com profile] dw_femslash. Yes, to avoid writing, I volunteered to write. I'm two days in the hole for NaNo but I'm going to catch up this weekend. Yeppers.


Meanwhile, let me procrastinate further with a Project Wasteland update! Project Wasteland is a story of the transformation of my back yard, and it spans a full decade, in so far as the first nine years of that decade involve me taking photos of the massive jungle to procrastinate over doing anything about it.

If you have me on Facebook, you'll have seen some of these already. Whatevs, look again, because my back yard is made of awesome now.

Let us take a journey BACK IN TIME )

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st_aurafina: Rainbow DNA (Default)
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