Friday, April 18, 2014

Making Oua Rosi with Mina 2014

One of my favourite parts of Easter is making oua rosi with Mina. This year they turned our really pretty!

Also for easter I made some bunny cookies with some cookie cutters I impulse bought like 6 months ago because you know, they're bunnies. It was waayyyy harder than I thought it would be! I used a really great recipe for the sugar cookie dough, but it was just so hard and fiddly to get the cookies to not break apart due to their shape. The ears in particular kept staying within the cutter as I pulled it out of the dough.

The next challenge was the icing. I'd never worked with royal icing before (and even this time I used a packet of it) and my god it's hard. You firstly have to mix it up thick and use it to pipe outlines around each of the cookies which takes FOREVER. Then you thin out the royal icing with water to turn it into flood icing which you use by getting a teaspoon of it and placing it into the centre of the outlined cookie and then working it outwards using the spoon. Very annoying and fiddly! I also added a marshmallow tail which was cute but made the cookies quite hard to stack.

I think that the end result definitely does not reflect the amount of effort that went into it. They were good but not great, I think I might stick to cupcakes!

Since we're talking about baking, here's a picture of some cakes I made for the end of a project at work. The project was to create a simulation of a Caterpillar CAT6060 hydraulic shovel and excavator, including the satellite console that has all the machine switches on it and the BCS monitor for monitoring machine state. My team worked on the software for the BCS unit and the machine control. I think it turned our really well! Unlike the cookies I think you can definitely tell the amount of effort that went into these.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Melbourne 2014 - Sunday

Back in Perth, holidays really go too quickly :(

Yesterday morning we went for a (just less than 4km) jog around the Tan Track around the Botanical Gardens which was a great way to start the day. Well... kind of, man I'm bad at jogging! By the end of our very slow jog my knees and ankles felt like they were going to explode (and still hurt today) even though I was fine cardio wise. I really envy and admire people who can jog and enjoy it, but I would take 30mins of burpies over a 30min jog any day!

I managed to enjoy some of the beautiful scenery when not focusing on my complaining, and also on dodging the various vomit piles around the place. We estimated that during our short stay in Melbourne we saw about 10 piles of vomit, not including the vomit instance when I was actively vomited on.

After a quick shower and checking out of our hotel we had a breakfast/lunch extravaganza session at Cumulus Inc. Amazing coffee, juices and food! We had a coffee outside while we waited (~25mins) to be seated at the kitchen bar. When we asked what juices they did they apologetically said that they only freshly squeeze grapefruit; hopefully this encourages people to try the best fruit candidate for fresh squeezing! I chose the shakshouka to compare it to my favourite thing to get at the Perth Hawkers markets, and it was really really good - a bit low on the spices but perfect for breakfast. Andrew and I shared some home made crumpets and a Madeline with lemon curd over a second coffee, and all this lasted us pretty much the whole day.

We spent the rest our time taking a quick trip into St Kilda for a walk along the beach markets, a quick stop in at Luna Park (we wanted to ride the "roller coaster" but then we noticed that it was more like a chair-lift-roller-coaster with an unhappy looking operator that was standing up on it), and a couple of drinks and a game of pool at the Espy Hotel. I had a VB and a Melbourne Bitter for that authentic experience and decided that VB tastes like artificial sweetener but Melbourne Bitter is not too bad at all! I thought both beers were interesting but I don't understand when people say that they're "bitter", which is a different bitter to grapefruit. I guess I have more beer practice to do!

Back in the city we had another drink at the Lindt Cafe (the iced milk chocolate is the best) and laughed at all the people waiting in line to get into the new H&M that just opened in the GPO building. Seriously the line was snaking all around the building, there were BOUNCERS… in suits… bouncing at H&M! I felt really bad for all the people because they would have waited over an hour to get in and I don't mean to be mean but how disappointed would you be if you waited over an hour to get into H&M, and some girls even had their boyfriends in line with them. For the record I like H&M, but not 1h line like! Anyway I took some pictures because I thought Yvonne would find this funny.

Melbourne is a really cool place, I like it a lot.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Melbourne 2014

Andrew and I are currently in Melbourne enjoying the good food, refreshing cold weather and unfortunate footy.

After a delicious breakfast of poached eggs on toast at The Quarter, an awesome takeaway coffee from Degraves Espresso and a mighty struggle with the Myki machine (we gave up and went to a deli to get one) we caught the tram to the the Queen Victoria Markets. Perth really needs some markets like these! I love doing my fruit shopping at Malaga markets but my god the selection at QVM was huge. Although we were a bit grossed out that there were pigeons flying around pooping on the produce in the outdoor area of the fruit section… eww.

We had a quick pick me up at the Lindt cafe, then headed to Movida for a lengthly 2h dinner and drinks session before the game. We asked for some pimentos de padron (off menu) and were so excited when they said they had some! They were just as good if not better than the ones we had in Madrid.

We also tried the anchovy and tomato sorbet (I braved the anchovy and made it half way, I can see why people like it but I was also reminded why I don't), the Iberico jamon (50gm for $30 but so delicious and worth it), the patatas bravas (again Madrid quality), the beef cheek on cauliflower puree (I am definitely going to attempt the puree at home), and the field mushrooms in sherry sauce (the winning dish in my opinion). We had a couple of Moritz beers, Andrew had a dry sherry, and we also got a bottle of rioja tempranillo. I really really liked Movida, the food and setup made us really nostalgic of our time in Spain.

The game was sad, let's move on.

We had a quick drink at Cookie rooftop bar which I meh-ed - it was OK, but maybe I'd had it hyped up so much that I was disappointed. The bar was too small and awkwardly positioned to service the number of people up there, and there was a garbagey smell about the place. I can see why it would be an awesome outdoor cinema place but as a rooftop bar it was meh and The Garden in Perth is better. My favourite part was the stairs to the top... earn that drink slackers!

Then I got a mega craving for laksa which could not be quenched because the Malaysian part of China town was closed at 11pm. More like Ma-lazy-an! I'm just sore because I really wanted that laksa especially after I got vomited on by some random guy (well my foot got vomit splashed) that didn't even apologise. I think I took it pretty well, and Andrew did a great job of pulling me out of the way before the second torrent of vomit. Then we saw some guy pissing in a lane and some people sculling a goon bag and it wasn't even midnight yet! We've decided that Melbourne city friday night people are much grosser than the Perth city equivalents, even if they have better street art.

We sought refuge in a restaurant called Shark Fin Inn where we caught up with Greg but spent most of the time in amazement at the massive crayfish in the tank next to us, and also wondering if the thing in my vegetarian hot pot was a) a thumb guard, b) a whale foreskin or c) a mushroom. We asked, and after the staff discussed the best english translation they decided on bamboo mandible, which we decided it probably meant option a). I kid, but the food was actually really good, and I had my first black and white snow ear funguses which I really enjoyed.

Today we went to the Melbourne Zoo! We got kissed by a seal on the cheek, landed on by butterflies, watched some monkeys rape/fight each other (our zoo visits are never complete with some form of butt fingering, raping, or my personal favourite, flehmen and urine drinking). It's so much fun seeing different zoos, their different ideas for enclosures and unique animals. Our favourite was the butterfly house which we thought could have done with some classical music or something because it was just magical.

We then caught the tram into the Brunswick and Fitzroy area and took a walk around the suburbs (which were filled with places that looked straight from The Last Of Us) before ending up on Brunswick Street. We had a drink at Bimbo Deluxe (Melbourne you definitely win at rooftop bars), then a perfectly crafted cocktail at Black Pearl, then after some quick shopping at Dangerfield (where I bought 3 x animal related things) we finished off with an early dinner at Brother Burger.

We just came back from a swim at the Hyatt pool and are relaxing before our last day tomorrow. We're planning to run the tan, I am nervous!