aquaprofunda: An eye reflected twice in a cut mirror. (Default)
Placeholder post :)
aquaprofunda: The tendril of a squash vine (squash tendril)
May's microadventure challenge was to go on a lunchtime microadventure, which I was pretty excited about. I love completely changing gears from my demanding office job to lunchtime explorations!

full writeup under the cut )
aquaprofunda: Lemons (lemons)
My latest riff on hummous, which is unsurprisingly amazing:

Ingredients



  • 2 eggplants

  • 2 cans chickpeas

  • 2 wedges of preserved lemon

  • One head of garlic

  • Minced garlic from a jar

  • Couple of lemons worth of juice

  • Salt and pepper

  • Loads of olive oil


Method



EGGPLANTS:

  1. Turn on big gas burner, sit eggplant on top until charred on that side, turn over and repeat on all sides of the eggplant

  2. Put on a baking pan and roast in 200 degree oven for 1 hour

  3. DO NOT PEEL!


GARLIC:

  1. Chop the bottom off your whole head of garlic. Put the whole thing in a little tin foil parcel with a generous amount of olive oil.

  2. Roast for 1 hour

  3. Allow to cool!


BABA GANHUMMOUS

  1. Chop tops off eggplant, squeeze roasted garlic out of skin, put in food processor with drained & rinsed chickpeas, roughly chopped preserved lemons (rinsed etc), lemon juice, salt and pepper and some olive oil

  2. Blitz until texture starts to look good. Add olive oil as you go to get the right consistency, could be heaps.

  3. Keep tasting as you go – add salt and pepper, minced garlic, olive oil and more preserved lemon to taste.


Makes a huge batch, enough to make all your coworkers try it as you eat it throughout the week, until they force you to write down this recipe.
aquaprofunda: An eye reflected twice in a cut mirror. (Default)
March was a write-off month for me, but I loved the microadventure challenge (explore a waterway) for it enough that I decided to pursue it in April, and it was pretty awesome - I managed three!



Read more... )


So overall, in spite of March's flop April's microadventuring was awesome, and I'm totally looking forward to May's: having a lunch time adventure!
aquaprofunda: Lemons (lemons)


The best things about carbonara are:
  • The sweet caramelised onion and garlic

  • The meaty texture and umami of the bacon

  • The creamy richness of the cream and egg


So how to recreate this with a vegan diet? Surprisingly easily. I saw a recipe for white bean alfredo elsewhere, so riffed on that - caramelised mushroom slices are amazingly delicious and great “meaty bits” substitute, and the white beans when pureed go surprisingly creamy. Add tonnes of garlic, salt, pepper and onion, and you’re absolutely set.

This recipe serves two people, or one very hungry person.

Ingredients



  • Olive oil

  • 150gm mushrooms - I used a mix of swiss brown and field mushrooms - sliced

  • 1 medium brown onion, finely diced

  • 1 can of cannelini beans, drained & thoroughly rinsed

  • 2 tablespoons of minced garlic (the jarred minced garlic is already pretty sweet and mellow - I find it perfect to add in huge quantities to things like this.

  • Vegan stock
    Savoury yeast flakes (optional)

  • Salt & pepper

  • Fresh parsley (garnish)


Equipment


  • Blender

  • Frying pan


Method


  1. Fry the onions and mushrooms in olive oil on medium heat until caramelised. This may take a little while (20ish minutes), but is so worth it.

  2. Blend the cannelini beans with the garlic and a splash of stock. I usually put in about half a teaspoon of Massel powdered stock and a dash of hot water.

  3. Pour the bean mix into the pan with the mushrooms. Mix well and simmer lightly for about 5 minutes, until it thickens up. Add salt, pepper and yeast flakes to taste.

  4. Mixed thoroughly with your cooked pasta and garnish with lots of fresh parsley.
aquaprofunda: The tendril of a squash vine (squash tendril)
This was totally fun. From the moment I started it I was loving it. It totally tapped into my love of collecting, researching and recording data, as well as my love for nature and exploring it.

My rule for collecting was that I’d check off a species the first time I spotted it. That meant that the start of the month had lots and lots of additions to the list, tapering off at the end. Losing my job and also being bedridden meant that my month was a bit disrupted, so I didn’t get out and about as much as I wanted to explore different habitats.

That said, the ones I did explore yielded more than I thought. For example, one afternoon I spent a couple of hours sitting on the edge of the Yarra in the CBD and saw five different aquatic species in the small patch of murky river just in front of me. It was glorious.

The best part of it was having the feeling of being engaged with my environment on another level. Having an understanding of the creatures around me, rather than just looking at stuff and thinking “ooh, pretty” was like experiencing the world at a higher resolution. I really love it.

Also, since I was a kid I’ve always wanted to be one of those grown-ups who just knows things about… stuff. I loved being around adults who could just share fascinating science facts on call, commentating on the world around us and answering all the questions my hungry mind had with patience and a huge depth of knowledge.

So yeah, I really enjoyed this challenge on a number of levels and will definitely be continuing on with it.


Totals


Fish/aquatic: 7 species
Mammals: 3 species
Reptiles: 1 species
Birds: 29 species


full list, field notes & photos )
aquaprofunda: A thick woolen scarf wrapped around someone's neck. Their mouth is visible above it. (Scarf)
I've volunteered to set our group's monthly microadventure challenge for February, and I choose: wildlife spotting!

My plan/ideas for tackling this one this month:

  • Pay more attention to the birds around my home and observe them more closely.

  • Go on walks in local wildlife pockets - as many as I can in different areas with different ecosystems.

  • Actually put some research effort into identifying the animals, take notes and photograph if possible.

  • Aim to post a report at the end of the month detailing what I've spotted.


Realistically, I'm going to see a lot of birds and probably not much else, but I'm really looking forward to seeing what other people manage to get a glimpse of!
aquaprofunda: An eye reflected twice in a cut mirror. (Default)
So, my friend Jonathan has been getting into microadventuring and inspiring me to try and do the same (albeit probably with a more urban slant!).

Today I went on a day trip to Rottnest Island in WA, which was glorious. We had an early start (early for being on holiday, anyway) and caught the ferry from Fremantle at 9.30. It was forecast for 35 degrees on the mainland, but was at least 5 degrees cooler than that on the island, and most amazingly there was pretty much no wind - just the occasional cool breeze. The water in the bay was perfectly still, but we headed around to The Basin where I’d read that the water was good for swimming and snorkeling.

It was gorgeous.

panorama

I’d borrowed a snorkel & mask from a friend I’m staying with, so stripped down to my swimmers and got right in. Once I’d figured out how to get the mask clean and not fogging, the view was amazing. I saw buffalo bream, scalyfins, moonlighters, banded sweeps, sea perch, western king wrasses, and more that I couldn’t find pictures on online :D it was lovely.

The rocks around the beach had what appeared to be at first glance trilobite fossils - but upon research seem to be chitons:

Chitons

Afterwards we did a wee bit of walking, seeing some of the island’s many tame quokkas on the way, also spotting a couple of big skinks and a heap of birds - Australian pied oystercatchers on the salt lakes, heaps of crows complaining their hearts out and the ubiquitous gulls.

In the afternoon we went on a guided walk about quokkas(!!). The most interesting fact gleaned from it? Quokkas gestate for only a short time before the little joey nugget is born and crawls into the pouch to finish growing, like all marsupials, but in addition to that - once the first nugget is born, the quokka mates again and the subsequent zygote just hangs around as back-up in case the joey in the pouch dies. If that happens, the zygote finishes gestating. Amaze!

Anyhoo, the quokkas were adorable, and about as tame as you’d expect for evolving on an island with no natural predators. Very interested as soon as you got on ground level - especially if you put down a bag, in which case they’d attempt to dig around in the bag for food. Adorable.

quokka

O hai. You have food yes?
quokka

While on the island I generally tried to focus on the natural history rather than the colonial one (which enrages me - privilege check that I can choose to “ignore” the parts of history I don’t like so I can enjoy myself more) but a few interesting stories came out of the quokka tour. For example, there were apparently a couple of French sailors who had a duel; one of them is buried in the European cemetery on the island.

I also had to take a photo of this - a mulberry tree planted in the 1930s by the boys of a reform school that was on the island at the time. It’s an amazing tree, and mind-boggling that it’s still alive:

”old

After the quokka walk we moseyed back to the beach and I went for another swim before we got back on the ferry. Some of the best parts were in the last leg, though - on the ferry ride back to Freo we saw not only a naval submarine but a pod of dolphins playing around in the Fremantle dock.

All in all, a successful microadventure! I can’t wait for more.
aquaprofunda: embroidered branches with leaves (embroidery)

detail below the cut )

This one was for my dear friend C. Made using this pattern from Byrd's Nest.
aquaprofunda: embroidered branches with leaves (embroidery)


This is a Christmas present for my dear friends at the Queer Feminist Housing Commune (QFHC for short) in Perth, where I'm spending my summer holiday this year. They very much appreciated this rendering of them & their puppies in pixel cross-stitch form!
aquaprofunda: embroidered branches with leaves (embroidery)


Pattern for this one also found on pinterest - made some small modifications when it came to colour. For my mum for Christmas.
aquaprofunda: embroidered branches with leaves (embroidery)


Inspired by a piece of blackwork found on Pinterest, I made these mini monograms for my sister (S) and brother-in-law (D). Lettering created myself (the S with much swearing) and blackwork fills also found on Pinterest.
aquaprofunda: Lemons (lemons)
Adapted from Mark Bittman’s wholegrain flatbread recipe. NB: photo shows a different variation I tried with more vegetables - but the mushroom-only variation is much tastier :)

vegan omelette

Ingredients


  • 1 cup besan (chickpea flour)

  • 1 medium onion

  • 300-350 grams of mushrooms - I used a mix of swiss brown and field mushrooms

  • Olive oil

  • Salt & pepper


Equipment


  • Large cast iron skillet that can go in the oven


Method


  1. Put the besan in a large bowl and whisk (to avoid lumps) in 1.5 cups of water. Cover and set aside for up to 12 hours.

  2. Turn on oven to 200 degrees celsius.

  3. Put sliced onions and mushrooms into skillet with a generous serving of olive oil. Put skillet into oven.

  4. Keep an eye on the skillet, stirring occasionally, for about 20+ minutes - or until the mushrooms and onions are approaching caramelised. The oven - and pan - should have well and truly heated up by now.

  5. Take out the skillet, stir around the contents to “even them out” across the pan, and season then whisk the besan batter one more time before pouring it carefully into the pan. Try not to let it slosh up the edges.

  6. Return to the oven for 30-40 minutes (with my oven: 40). When it’s done it’ll be an even, golden brown and the edges will have lifted away from the sides. Take out of the oven and allow to cool for five minutes or so so you can get it out of the pan easier.


I serve it quite messily by using the spatula to chop it roughly pizza-wise and scoop the pieces out to eat with a fork. It tastes AMAZING.
aquaprofunda: Lemons (lemons)
I'm on a bit of a health kick at the moment - moving into the vegan camp and trying to avoid all processed sugars and flours, as well as consciously trying to meet my protein and other nutritional requirements. So far it's going well and I'm really enjoying playing around with new ingredients, inventing new meals and discovering delish new flavours.

Breakfast this morning is something I'm calling a "muesli pancake". I had it with peanut butter and honey, but I actually think it would go amazing with some stewed fruit - e.g. pear and rhubarb. If you're into lashings of maple syrup I think that would be great too. The pancake itself is a bit too dry and not sweet enough on its own, so I look forward to playing around with different toppings in future.

Muesli Pancake


Serves 2.
muesli pancake

Ingredients


I think you can use any variety of nuts, seeds and dried fruit in this - I just recommend chopping them down to muesli-piece sizes. I think next time I'll make sure to include dates.

  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour (besan)

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1/4 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

  • 1 tbsp hulled hemp seeds

  • 1 tbsp walnuts, broken into small pieces

  • 1 tbsp pepitas

  • 1 tbsp sunflower seeds

  • 1 tbsp sultanas

  • 1 tbsp dried cranberries

  • Flavourless oil to lube the pan


Equipment


Cast iron skillet.

Method


  1. Measure out all your fruits, seeds and nuts and set aside.

  2. Start to heat the skillet up on high.

  3. In a medium bowl, put the chickpea flour and baking powder. Whisk in the 1/2 cup of water, making sure to eliminate lumps. Whisk a bit more to get it more aerated.

  4. Into the batter, whisk in the fruits/nuts seeds.

  5. When the skillet is ready, drops of water on it will immediately sizzle. Spray on a generous amount of oil (being careful not to create a fireball, as I did this morning), and pour the batter onto the pan into two pancakes. (If you only have a small pan, naturally you'll probably do one at a time.)

  6. Cook each side for about 4 minutes each. The edges should be looking cooked and you should be able to easily slide a spatula under when they're ready to flip.

  7. When done, serve with toppings of your choice - I recommend something sweet and wet, like maple syrup, stewed fruit or honey.
aquaprofunda: Lemons (lemons)
A Minor Place is one of the cafes in the inner north that everyone knows, and the most infamous dish on their menu (for vegos, anyway) is the white beans.
beans on toast
Yesterday I gave them a go and am quite pleased with how they turned out! Very tasty, and complemented with the vego sausage I ate them with. Nom.

Ingredients


  • 3 cans cannelini beans, drained and well-rinsed

  • 1 cup vegetable stock (I used homemade)*

  • A couple of sprigs of rosemary and thyme, stripped into leaves

  • Salt and pepper to taste (I only needed salt because there was none in my stock)


Method


Put everything in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally, then turn heat down to simmer. Keep stirring periodically so it doesn’t stick to the bottom. Once all the liquid has been absorbed (it might take a while) and the beans are all mashed up, it’s ready!



* I suspect part of the tastiness of this dish is due to the fact that my stock is mostly mushroom, onion and parsley.
aquaprofunda: Lemons (lemons)
Turning 30 has somehow magically made me pull my finger out and put my money where my mouth is as far as ethical eating goes.
Piedimonte's
As well as becoming vegetarian (and in more of the “vegan” part of the Venn diagram of veg*nism these days), I’m making more of an effort to shop at independent grocers for Australian-grown food wherever possible - if you’re unaware of the appallingly shady dealings of Colesworths, this essay is well worth a read.

So, because I love lists, here’s a list of local businesses I love to support:

Piedimonte’s
37-49A Best Street, North Fitzroy - 11 tram
My local, and the closest to a typical supermarket in this list! As well as a pretty good range of general supermarket stuff, they also have lots of imported pasta, a great deli, and pretty good fruit & veg.

Psarakos
8 Clarendon St (cnr High St), Thornbury - 86 tram
There are two enormous parts of Psarakos - the one I like best is an fruit & veg warehouse that has just about everything, and incredibly cheaply. Including huge bunches of lovely herbs and cheap masses of whatever fruit is in season. Worth the trip if you want to save money on groceries or buy bulk for preserves. The other part of Psarakos is more of supermarket featuring an amazing, incredibly popular deli with a huge range of cheese and meats. They also have lots and lots of imported drygoods - pastas, grains, tinned food, etc. Also very very cheap.

Cruelty-Free Shop
385 Brunswick St, Fitzroy - 11 tram
This place is fairly small, but has a great range. All vegan, I especially like them for their freezer and fridge foods - big range of non-meat meat products. They also have a good range of supplements and protein powders, as well as things like shoes and handbags.

Organic Wholefoods Store
277 Smith St, Fitzroy - 86 tram
This place is great for their variety - if you want some obscure grain, syrup or seed, they’ve got it - and at pretty reasonable prices. Their bulk food is pretty great too; it includes a variety of salts, herbal teas and even Epsom salts.

Naturally On High
697-699 High St, Thornbury (opposite Psarakos) - 86 tram
This place is fantastic for cheap bulk foods - grains, legumes, flours, dried fruit and nuts, spices.

Terra Madre
103 High Street, Northcote - 86 tram
I’ve given up on going to this place on the weekend, as it’s absolutely heaving and a nightmare to try and get around. But they have the best range of organic foods in bulk in the area - rice, grains, legumes, fruits, nuts, etc. Pretty reasonable prices too, and a reasonably good range of other obscure health foods.
aquaprofunda: An eye reflected twice in a cut mirror. (Default)
Lately I've been attempting to pull my finger out and actually take the steps to make changes in my own life that align more closely with where my personal politics lie. (I've nicknamed this "Operation: Be More Virtuous" but it could just as easily be "Operation: Pull Your Finger Out".) I think I finally just reached the tipping point where my excuses of things being mildly inconvenient, slightly more expensive, or infringing on unimportant pleasures seemed like pathetic excuses for not practicing what I preached.

I'm not by any means 100% virtuous, but I'm trying to get there. So far I've:

  • Gone vegetarian - this article was my tipping point, for the record.

  • Where I do buy animal products (dairy, etc), try and go organic as much as possible.

  • After reading up on this campaign, I've moved my money out of ING and ANZ bank accounts and into a bank with more ethical investment (Bank of Queensland - so far so good). Next step: superannuation.

  • Set up regular/automatic donations to the ASRC and Ingrid's Haven (where Morgan came from).

  • Fighting the good fight on the ground at work, speaking up to my employers about sexism and other isms that are embedded in our (wider) culture, and encouraging them to help make a safer environment at least in our company.


So far, so good. Some days, just looking at my smugly happy cat and knowing that she could be still unloved in the shelter nearly makes me cry happy tears, so I think I'm doing ok.
aquaprofunda: a close-up of pink yarn (yarn)
Captain Awkward is without a doubt the best advise columnist on the internet. My favourite catch phrase of hers would have to be "don't listen to your jerkbrain"*. I love it so much I embroidered it so I can look at it and remind myself of it every day.


(click for full-size)

I chose to leave the ends messy in the back and showing through. It seemed an appropriate representation of my jerk brain always lurking just below the surface.

Lettering I got from the cross stitch alphabet tool, and the border is taken from Blackwork Made Easy.

detail )

* I realised at the end of the project that I'd made it "jerk brain" instead of the Captain's "jerkbrain". Not too bothered as it's for me and I always mentally think of it as "jerk brain".
aquaprofunda: An eye reflected twice in a cut mirror. (Reflected)
  Morgan


Last weekend Morgs and I went to play in the studio with Georgia, who took these gorgeous shots of the two of us. I've been secretly wanting to get into Georgia's studio for years now, and I'm so happy with the result! Can't recommend her enough. (And she doesn't just do cheesy pet portraits - she's the official Va Va Boombah photographer and does amazing fatty-feminist-zombie-pinup photos in her studio too. Check her out!)
aquaprofunda: An eye reflected twice in a cut mirror. (Default)
This is half-arsed because it's SO GOOD that I'm typing this up while still eating.



1. Make a tomato sauce by cooking onions in butter for a good long while, then adding tomatoes and cooking for a good long while, then straining

2. make a macaroni cheese sauce - roux with lots of cheese added at the end

3. when 1 & 2 are done, remove all from heat anfd stir them together. Add salt/pepper and a generous spoonful of minced garlic

4. stir this sauce into cooked pasta and a handful of quartered baby tomatoes

5. put in heat-proof bowl, sprinkle a generous helping of cheese over the top, put in oven under grill until cheese is proper grilled

6. devour ravenously.

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