Sunday, April 19, 2009

Leaving.. on a jet plane..

...don't know when I'll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go....

St Paul's Cathedral from Rabobank terrace

Don't you just love that famous song? Everytime I'm excited about going on a trip somewhere that song goes on repeat in my head. Well, the first line anyway, I can never remember the rest of it.. hahaha..

Did I hear you ask where am I heading off to again? I'm heading to this skyline..

Melbourne Flinders St Station by the Yarra

to a place call HOME.

I should be in the air right about now, as this post goes live. The next time I sign on, it'll be from Melbourne.

Good bye London, for now anyway...

Saturday, April 04, 2009

I'm off again .... =)

as when this post went live, I am on my way to one of the most frequented cities in the world ...
this may be my last European trip for a while.....but I'm going to enjoy every minute of it! at the expense of 2 days salary...


Art by the Seine river


Monday, March 16, 2009

A whim..playing with photoshop

aka

I'm on one of those "whims" again.

Lately it's playing with photoshop. I cannot remember loading up photoshop as many times as I've ever had this week.. ever..!

I'm not even sure how or when it started. Just that lately my mouse pointer has been heading straight for the Ps icon on the quick launch bar within 20mins of booting up - it's like that, every single time I'm 'online'. Instinctively, almost like a predator hunting for it's nextmeal.. uhm..ok.. I've gone off on a tangent again..

The above photo, was taken back in 2007 on my first trip to Japan. It was taken at the Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto. The original photo has a more subtle orangey red gates. (See original photo here)

But I think it looks a whole lot better in a deeper red, might have something to do with a photo I remember seeing on my Lonely Planet Japan guide a while back. So I cropped the original photo, because I wanted something in a landscape form, cranked up the red, fiddled with the saturation and exposure and stuck some words at a random spot.

The end result is as above. I thought it looked kinda cool, so I thought I'd share :)

Part of my playing with ps whim photo-set.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Going bananas! well.. not really..

Banana Nut Muffin


Wow! I can't believe it's already the end of Feb! The first 2 months of 2009 has rocketed past and I feel like I have just watched the days gone by and that's it really.. haven't achieved or done anything memorable this year and it'll be March in 3 days. Crap!

It felt like it was only yesterday when I came back from New York, went back and got stuck into work. Had my days off, bummed around, watched episodes of my favourite shows, went to work, got stuck in the snow storm, went home, went to work... it's like I've been living in a vicious repeat of a really awful soap opera.. and snap.. omg.. this is my life..

hmm.. starting to feel a little pathetic.. hah! *snap*

Well enough moaning bout nothing really.

A couple of things to share today:

1. Booked my airfare home to Melbourne - wooohoo!
It costed a bomb and I was living in a pinch for a few weeks (still am!) since I had to pay for the fare not long after the "big-spend-all" in New York last month.

2. I've been baking!
Woohoo! Haven't really been posting which is the sad bit, but I have been baking. Made my first ever Caramel Slice two weeks ago. Big success, will be redoing it again this weekend for a special occasion next week - this time I will be blogging about it.

So, apart from the boring soap opera called life, it looks like my baking's picking up a fair bit. It's turning into a bit of a competition at work too - if you listen to the trouble makers at work that is. I've been baking and bringing in the goodies to work on average once a month since the year started. We had a newbie come in at the end of Jan and ever since she started at work, she's been bringing some baking goods into work too! We had Flapjacks first week, my caramel slice two weeks after and then a lemon drizzle cake this week. (Lucky I didn't make anything last weekend!)

So the trouble makers are now saying that it's a competition and debating on who's better... *rolled eyes* I hate to say it but things like this makes me want to shirk even more from baking and bringing it into work. To me, baking and sharing is all part of the whole reason I bake*. It's all about sharing the love of food and the last thing I need is someone to make comparisons between what I bake and what someone else bakes..we are two different bakers!

Starting to sound like I'm afraid of losing doesn't it? Well, I am not (afraid of losing)... least I don't think I am, but it's not about who makes the better goods is it? Baking is about sharing.. it should just be that.. THE END

Anyways, something from the vault to share with y'all. Good old fashion Banana Muffin with a bit of oats - coz I can. I made this well over a year ago, looking at the photos brings back memories.. "Oh my tart pans, cooling tray, chopping block, my bed.... uh.. ahem.. never mind."


Banana muffins galore


Banana and Oat muffin
adapted from Simply Recipes

Ingredients

3 or 4 ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 + 1/2 cup of flour
1/2 cup of oats
1/2 cup of milk


Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 12 piece muffin tray.
2. Pour oats and milk in a bowl and let it soak until all the milk is absorbed
3. With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl.
4. Mix in the sugar, egg and vanilla.
5. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the batter and combine well.
6. Add the flour, mix until just combined. (do not over mix)
7. Fold in the oat and milk mixture.
7. Pour batter into a prepared muffin tin.
8. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a test skewer comes out clean.
9. Cool on a rack.

Verdict:
From memory, the muffins were slightly dense but moist because of the addition of the oats and milk. I think I should've put in more oats because the oaty texture and taste were not very pronounced. Makes a very tasty breakfast!



Banana Nut Muffin bite

*OK! OK! you got me there, so maybe I don't just bring my fruits of labour to work just to share. I kinda need someone to help me...finish it - so really it is SHARING!

EDIT: Yes... I know, it's just a joke and I'm being sensitive stupid things. I know they appreciate the effort because they do tell me that they love it, but it kinda does make me feel a bit small when I get compared that way....

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Blogging could be..

sunflowers

Blogging could be addictive or it could be a drag...............

Having not blogged for a while, I must say I am slowly getting addicted to it again.. slowly, probably not fast enough for my usual impulsive standards - not that I am a very impulsive person.

maybe.. just a little, when I get addicted to a particular ds game (not since Crosswords and Cooking Mama!), series or book that has got me so hooked and on my toes that I just can't let go and I would drag out every/any excuse I could to stay home just so I could keep reading/watching or playing whatever game it was that I was playing. Lately, it's been Neves and Mario Kart that has been occupying my spare time.

Photography is/was also very addictive....

I first bought a dslr almost 2 years ago, I remember snapping every Tom, Dick and Harry; every damn building street and what not that I came across. As a result, I would end up filling up my SD card with 300+ photos in the span of 5 hours.


Kyoto Nijou jo

I remembered when I went on my trip to Japan in 2007 I took about 300 photos (on my then 2gb Extreme II SD), the first day I was in Osaka. 300! Like geez, what was I snapping? Can't remember now. Sure enough, I ended up having to cut down the amount I took and made a point of culling down all the photos I took that day before bedtime every night just so I would have enough memory left to take more photos the next day. Suffice to say, I ended up burning some onto a DVD half way through our trip just so I could take more photos for the remainder of our trip.

So what's this gotta do with blogging? Well, part of the reason why I've not blogged about any of my European trips was because of the same reason. I lost interest. I took over 1000 shots on my first 2 trips (Luxembourg and Bremen) after arriving in London. It's taken me a whole week (approx 3hrs a night) to sift through the Luxembourg photos and come up with the condensed amount on a previous post.

I'm a lot better now and a lot less trigger happy than I was when I first started traveling. I no longer snap at every damn thing I come across in my trips. If anything, I found that as the number of trips increased, I got a better understanding of what I actually enjoy doing on each trip and made better use of the time in the city (that we were visiting) rather than spend the whole time trying to record what we visited/saw on each trip.

Stain glass window, Avignon castle

I've discovered that I loathe tours to cathedrals (though I do like their stain glass windows) and castles and I would rather spend the day walking the streets or markets and dining out alfresco style while watching the locals pass by.

Order number...

I've discovered that I am a very visual person, weird and colourful things catch my eyes more often than anything else and people. One other thing that I've also discovered is that I am camera shy! I often miss a photo opportunity because I am too embarrassed to point my camera at a person if he/she is looking at me.

Man selling turkish pretzel - simit

Argh! well, maybe not. I'd rather be safe than sorry, the last thing I want to do while traveling is get chased or beat up by some local dude because he didn't like/want me taking a snap of him.

So there, now that I've got Luxembourg up, I only have 26,260 photos (RAW + JPEGs) to catch up to my most recent trip, New York....*chuckle*

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ps. Baking and cooking wise, I really haven't made anything worth blogging about lately. Most of my baking and cooking these days are repetition of previously made recipes. Mostly, it's been done as more of a last minute potluck dish than the desire to try something new. Other times, it's when I'm assisting with a friend's baking whim. Not having all my baking equipment in London, really takes the fun out of trying something new. I know it sounds like another excuse for not blogging, but reality is, it really sucks when I want to make mini tarts and haven't got even a muffin tin to use as a substitute for the tart shells. Sure, I can always go out and buy one, but considering we're not sure of how long we're staying in London for, it's probably not a good idea to start collecting stuff for a new kitchen, particularly where budgeting is concern.. :P

Well, the good thing is, I'll be heading home (Melbourne) soon in a few months. Though we're still not certain whether it will be temporary or for good, at least then there will be no more excuse for me to not try out something new or old like this: =)

Buttermilk scones

Thursday, January 01, 2009

It's snowing.. on New Year's Eve!

in New York....

It's not quite 2009 in NY yet, but it will be soon enough!

Happy New Year everyone!


Snow on the cars

psst.. Can you see the snowflakes falling down....?

More here