Monday, 27 July 2020
Day 3 of our lovely trip to Coles Bay was the first serious statewide orienteering event since March. This event was also Clare's baby - while I was putting out my controls the previous day, she was recovering from lugging hers to the far corner of the map.
I don't have many photos but it was a lovely day and everyone enjoyed the proper orienteering. It was so nice to be back doing normal (well for us anyway) things.
After the event I helped get in the controls and we drove home to family dinner at Denny's place. What a perfect weekend.
On Saturday morning we sent the kids off in the charter boat with some other friends to Cooks Beach. With the intention that they'd find their way home. Or not. Whichever.
Once again it was an incredibly calm day, so their journey would have been pretty smooth.
While they motored to the end of the peninsular, I went with Jon to Wineglass Bay Carpark where he set off for his own run of the Freycinet Circuit, and I ambled back along the new track that connects the town to the carpark which is a great addition to the area.
Once I got home I did some uni stuff then I started to put out the 30 controls that needed to be in place for the night event I was organising. It took a long time to get them all out there, but it was a nice place to be wandering around!
While I did that the kids were trekking home. They had decided to head over Mt Graham which meant an 18km hike with plenty of hills, so they were fully cooked by the time they got home! Luckily they (and Jon) had time to recover for a few hours before fronting up to my event.
While their broken bodies lay strewn around the cabin I did the final setup for the event and waited for the sun to go down (conveniently early compared to the original pre-covid date of this event). Just after sunset 60 or so runners fanned out through the Coles Bay township to visit as many controls as they could in 45 minutes.
Paul and Jon both did pretty well overall (surprising given both of them had covered 29k hours earlier), while the kids looked like they had lots of fun. We've been able to use our fancy head torches a lot this year which has been good.
With the event done and dusted we collected up the controls pretty quickly and then the Mitchell & Hawthorne families came over to our cabin for an indian banquet. It was the perfect way to end a fantastic day.
The first Covid lockdown occurred just days before we were going to Freycinet to organise and participate in some orienteering events. So now we've been looking forward to this resheduled trip for ages! Keen to make the absolute most of it, Clare and I went up ahead of everyone else on Thursday night so we could hike all of the Freycinet circuit on Friday.
After an uneventful drive we arrived in Coles Bay just in time to be treated to some delicious dinner cooked by the Mitchell family. When we got up the next morning it was pretty cold and there was lots of frost on the ground around the cabin park. It was so cold that we encountered icy puddles all the way up to the top of Mt Graham, despite the sunshine and blue skies. I guess frost isn't all that surprising in winter, but what was truly amazing was how quiet the tracks were. Normally the car park is pretty full by 8am regardless of the season, when we arrived we were one of about 3 cars. As we walked up to the wineglass lookout we passed all of two people. By the time we got to Cooks Beach - some 18kms in, we had encountered 4 people.
We left the first footprints of the day on Wineglass Bay.
The view from Mt Graham (above), then descending to Cooks Beach
It was lovely to hit the coast again after all the climbing and descending
We had lunch on the rocks at Cooks Beach, then refilled our water bottles with the icy cold water from the tank and headed down to Bryan's Beach.
Then we finally turned for home. There was still lots of ks to go as we wound our way up the coast.
Hazards Beach was a bit of a slog but I've never seen it so still and calm.
We manaaged to break into a bit of a jog as we neared the end.
We finally arrived back at the car just before 4. It was a big day. All up we covered 38kms - the 2nd longest hike I've ever done (the longest was the fifty something kms Jon and I did in the rogaine last year.
Tuesday, 21 July 2020
When you are a vegetarian and you go to a restaurant and actually have so much choice that you get to decide what you DO want, rather than spending the time scanning the menu for only thing you can have, it's really exciting.
This book that I got from Big W a few years ago for about $9.95 was like that.
Not only did it have 150 recipes, they all had photos (take that Dalia) and most of them looked good. After a quick scan through it today I identified lots I wanted to try, so I had to single them down to the one I had the most ingredients and time for.
and it was pretty good. It reminded me of one of the few culinary highlights I remember growing up - a stuffed chilli capsicum dish that dad used to make fairly regularly.
I'm trying not to make every single post about the recipe book challenge. And since there's not a day that goes by where I don't thank our lucky stars that we went to Europe LAST year, I thought I could break up some recipe posts with photos from our very short visit to Croatia. We stayed all of two nights in the country for the sole purpose of visiting Plitvice National Park and it was simply spectacular.
I'm really not familiar with much Moroccan culture but I'm pretty sure this isn't really their bible. If it is, they sure do worship a lot of meat and fish. I flipped past a lot of recipes like this to get to the very very small vegetarian section.
In fact I think there are only about 5 vegetarian main dishes in the entire book but they all have photos and they look pretty good. It's been a while since I've used the book but it's pretty obvious I've made a few of them already due to the messy nature of pages.
While there were a few dessert options which also looked ok I ended up making the main course recipe I figured I was least likely to have made before as it contains a lot of zucchini which I am indifferent about.
We all (well, Jon, Jett and I anyway) really enjoyed the result. The spices were a nice change from my normal indian combinations and the slow cooking meant the vegetables were soft and had absorbed the flavours really nicely. Yum.
It's been a long time since I was at uni. In fact I graduated at the start of 1996, so that's almost a million years ago.
But now I'm back! I've been vaguely wanting to get some data science qualifications for a while now, but I've been put off by the exorbitant cost (between 25 & 30 thousand bucks) of a 1 year masters course.
And while there is no lack of non-uni online courses in that area I've found it hard to get motivated by casual learning opportunities like that.
And then along came covid. Suddenly it's possible to enrol in a Commonwealth supported place (i.e. heavily subsidised) in a data science course for a fraction of the normal cost of a masters. So I'm doing a Graduate Certificate of Applied Data Science at the Charles Sturt University. The course length is .5 of a year full time, so it's only half as long as a Masters would be, but I figure it is a pretty good start.
I'm doing two subjects at the moment and while I'm only two weeks in, everything is going well so far. It's funny that I've actually run sprint orienteering championships on Charles Sturt campuses in both Bathurst and Wagga Wagga in recent years. and if you'd told me at the start of this year that I'd be a CSU student by July I'd have told you you were crazier than a soup sandwich.
Monday, 20 July 2020
This challenge has made me very critical of recipe books. I don't think I used be so judgy but now I've had to trawl through a new book every few days looking for a new recipe I've realised that there are definitely some traits which which make some books particularly annoying and/or dissapointing.
The biggest irritation is not having pictures of each recipe. I can forgive this in older books but it is really annoying when the book has room for lots of photos, but they use the space to present artfully arranged potatoes.
Exhibit A: Delia's Vegetarian Collection.
The fact that the cover photo is an arty cauliflower should have been a warning.
Only about a quarter of the recipes have pictures. Instead the author has filled the pages with very useless photos of things like oranges, a vase of flowers, a bunch of garlic, a box of beetroot and whatever other shit the stylist brought in that day. So frustrating!
I actually remember buying this book from a bookshop in Hawthorn over 10 years ago, and the price on the back tells me I paid $45 for it. I certainly haven't gotten good value for money as I don't think I've made a single thing from it.
Yesterday I didn't feel like making anything complicated, and I didn't feel like making anything without a picture, so after flicking backwards and forwards through it for ages I finally found something I could face making - a very simple fried rice dish with egg and spring onion (the picture below the beans above).
It turned out pretty well - I followed the recipe exactly and made the fluffiest and most delicious basmati rice I've ever made. But the book still annoys me and the author should take a long hard look at themselves.
Sunday, 19 July 2020
Welcome back to 1990. When Home Alone was released, shell suits were in..
..and muffins were king. In fact muffins were so popular (and the internet was unavailable as a recipe source) that this book was reprinted 3 times in 1990 alone.
I also note that The Muffin Break chain's first store opened in 1989 in Coolangatta. It's actually impressive that the franchise has outlived the cupcake & macaroon trend - I wonder if it will also outlast the current fancy doughnuts trend?
So it's been a while since I opened this book. I decided to make Lemon & Poppyseed muffins. The recipe looked straightforward but it was rather alarmingly illustrated..
but not as alarmingly illustrated as the recipe for Blueberry Muffins..
Why the human limbs? Is that muffin trying to seduce the reader, what is the background story here? so weird.
Anyway - clearly distracted by the illustrations I promptly burnt the tray - although I partially blame the recipe as I put them in for the specified time and didn't check on them until the timer went off. Oops.
So. Unsurprisingly they weren't great. In fact they were burnt and dry and I've been using them as threats all day (i.e. put your washing away or you'll have to eat another muffin). It's been very effective.
Zali (who is clearly distressed by the pictures) is adamant that the book can be recycled but I think I will keep it - it's an antique.
For various reasons I've been doing a lot more hikes & runs in the foothills of the Mt Wellington lately so I decided it was high time to go all the way to the top. I've been avoiding it for the last 50 years due to the excessive amounts of climb (and doing the pure road Point to Pinnacle race would be my worst nightmare).
So on Saturday morning Clare, Paul and I left from Cascade Brewery at about 7:45am. It was freezing cold but Clare kept us moving at a cracking pace up to Junction Cabin so we quickly warmed up. After a quick snack break we proceeded up to The Chalet where Clare retired from her pace-setting services and headed back down, leaving Paul and I to continue up Pinnacle Road. After what we'd already completed the gently sloping road felt like it was completely flat, so it was a nice break with spectacular views down to foggy Hobart.
After about a kilometre we took a sharp left onto the Panorama Track to cut off a big bend of the road. I've never been on that track before and it was very nice, curving through the last gasp of snowgums before reaching the exposed top of the Mountain.
After a total of 2 hours of walking and 15 minutes of resting we made it to the top where we had the shelter all to ourselves..
Unlike the blaggards who do the Point to Pinnacle race, we still had to come down the mountain, so we took the Zig-Zag track down the the Springs, then we took the relatively unknown Westringia Track all the way down to Summerleas Road. This section was really nice - the firmly packed dirt trail was a nice change from all the rocky sections we'd encountered further up the mountain.
Once we reached the bottom we had about 4ks of dirt and paved road to home. The last bit was along Summerleas Road which was a bit of a drag but we still had enough energy to jog most of it so it didn't take too long.
All up it was 4.5 hours & 23k including 1283 of climb. Nice one us!
Tuesday, 14 July 2020
It's always satisfying to knock a couple off books off at once and tonight went particularly well
Firstly - it was yet another Womens Weekly book - Meals in Minutes. I've obviously used this book a lot (although not recently) as many of the pages showed the stains of historical cooking sessions.
The new recipe I chose was a pretty straight forward stir-fry but I never normally use a recipe for stir-fry so this was a bit of a novelty. And it tasted fantastic.
The next book(let) had no real business being on the recipe shelf but we have to follow the rules and make something from it anyway. It was a challenge that dessert specialist Zali was happy to accept:
Helloooo brownie waffles:
So it turned out to be a pretty good birthday dinner. In fact I had a pretty good birthday day.
I got flowers from work, and a new top from Denny (which I'm wearing)
and I went for a nice run:
and I got a very fancy sports watch from my family. I'm very lucky.
Monday, 13 July 2020
Local runs are fun, if a bit wet and muddy at this time of year.
I am almost sure I bought the June 2006 edition of Donna Hay's Entertaining magazine purely for the cupcake section.
Which left a lot of other recipes for me to choose from. I invited a guest so as to fulfill the 'entertaining' requirement (thanks Clare) and selected Bean and Pea Orecchietti and Garlic Bread.
And while the garlic bread was pretty good (although who needs a recipe for that really), the orecchietti was pretty disappointing.
There were too many beans and I really believe that a recipe that calls for vast quantities of cream had better be pretty bloody delicious given the cost at which it comes. This recipe was not that. We have our own Pea and Feta pasta recipe which requires no cream and is 10 times nicer. So I think this food magazine is about to see its cupcake recipes ruthlessly sliced from it before it is sent to the great recycling bin in the sky. Sorry Donna.
Sunday, 5 July 2020
Next on the shelf was another Womens Weekly Vegetarian book. It has really nice photos and lots of things in it looked good (and plenty of things that looked familiar)
I decided that I needed to push the boat out a little further this time and do something I would never normally make. So hello potato, spinach and goats cheese souffles!
And while they probably weren't a quick to make as the 'fast fresh' book promised, they were bloody delicious! I only made 2 instead of the recipe size of four (as Jett wasn't particularly keen, and Zali would poke her own eyes out before trying them), but I reckon we could have easily eaten two each!
So that was definitely a win for this project!
Today I repeated a longish run I've done a few times lately which just happens to go past Disappearing Tarn. Normally the tarn is just dry rocks and I see no-one else on the trail. Today I saw 20 people slip-sliding along the track between the Springs and the tarn (and it was only 8.30am), so I was glad to see there was still a bit of water left in it so they weren't going to be disappointed when they finally made it!
BTW - look how colour co-ordinated I am!
The extra traffic in the last 2 weeks has turned the track into a slippery mud-fest which made it slow going. I think it's good that lots of people have been out in nature so I didn't mind it too much. I did mind the fact that thanks to just one guy all I could smell was cigarette smoke when I arrived at the tarn. I bet that guy didn't carry his butts out with him either. I am normally only a small way through my run at that point so I only pause for a few moments before continuing on towards the Potato Fields - so guess I didn't suffer Mr Stinky for very long!