Monday, August 23, 2010

Classy seats

I went to a Aussie Rules football match a few weeks ago.

My beloved Hawthorn Hawks were playing up in Sydney, so as a Hawks member, I was able to get my fix of football for the year.

Sadly the result didn't go as I had hoped.

So I won't be discussing it.

In fact, as far as I'm concerned, the result never happened (and I didn't spend the end of the game screaming abuse the players as the ran off the field).

A few days ago, I was given the opportunity to watch a game minus the personal interests affecting my mental state and judgement.

The added incentive was that I was being offered SCG members' tickets.

The seats were fantastic, with the added bonus of a conveniently placed bar that served a far wider range of beers than in the general admission areas.

They also had a lovely selection of cakes.

I found myself in a strange situation I had never been in before.

Sitting at the football, drinking beer that wasn't awful and eating a slice of cake.

It seemed a world away from my usual cup of tea, meat pie and obstructed view.

The game was also significant because it was the last time that the Swans captain, Brett Kirk, would ever play at the SCG as he was headed towards retirement.
It was a fantastic way to watch a game.

From outside, we always used to yell at the Members... but it's hard not to be happy once your in the comfortable confines this section.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Like a sponge

Josh decided to look back to his childhood for the first thing he would make with his new toy.

Instead of making something exotic or that he had seen being made by one of the dozens of celebrity chefs (and there really do seem to be a lot of celebrity chefs these days... many of whom don't even appear to be celebrities), Josh decided he wanted to make a nice sponge cake.

And really, who could blame him?

Growing up in Australia, this was a staple of our childhood diets. This was what you would have packed into your lunch box for recess. This was what the old ladies at the church picnics would bake for everyone.
I was happy to help.

As Josh began to prepare the sponges and the creams, I gave him a hand making the chocolate icing.
It's such a relatively straight forward cake compared to what people seem to demand these days, but that did not impact our anticipation of it.
As Josh began spreading the icing with the palette knife, what was before us was like a vision from our childhood days.
And in all honesty, who can say no to a nice slice of sponge cake?

Thursday, August 05, 2010

It's time to kick it up a notch!

Cooking as something enjoyable started for me during my university days.

Unable to afford food cooked in restaurants and sick of eating meals out of cans, I was forced to learn how to cater for myself (it also didn't help that I had accidentally signed up for a self-catered college instead of the fully catered college I originally wanted to go to).

As time progressed, cooking moved from being purely for the purposes of sustenance to being an enjoyable challenge.

And like any challenge, as I became better at it, the difficulty of the tasks I gave myself increased as well.

However, none of this changed the fact that I was still a poor student....

I could learn all manner of skills, but that wouldn't change the fact that I was still working with relatively basic tools and ingredients.

Things were now changing though. Full time jobs and the associated funds have that effect.

Josh was the one who fired the first shot in our escalation of seriousness towards cooking and food.

He bought a KitchenAid for the apartment!!!
It looks amazing doesn't it? And it's completely worth it. Tasks which used to take an age, now get finished in seconds. It reduces so many tasks that were previously time consuming to being mere formalities.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Meandering through life

Before heading back to Sydney, I thought it would be nice to have a quick look at the local towns of Katoomba and Leura.

They were nice places and it was impossible not to use the word "quaint" to describe them (even though it's difficult to describe what the word really means).

However, there was definitely something amiss.

At first I couldn't work out what it was.

But it came to me quickly.

I didn't really fit into the "Blue Mountains crowd".

There seemed to be two types of people who travelled to the Blue Mountains. There were those who were part of the organised tour groups and then there were the couples on romantic get aways.

I didn't fit into these two groups.

Wandering on the streets between these two groups made me feel strangely out of place. It was like being a child again, being dragged to an event by your parents.

Or maybe the better way to describe it would be the other way around. Being a parent, dragged to something your children wanted to go to.
With all of the boutiques, expensive furniture stores and high end chocolate makers, this certainly felt like some sort of bizarro Disneyland for pensioners and couples.

Still, I made the best of it.

I wandered around like a tourist. I browsed a CWA market. I bought some pancake syrup.

I gawked at the Christmas store.....
A positive attitude is usually all you need to enjoy yourself.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Relaxing in the mountains

Walking around a huge amount wasn't on my agenda with a very sore knee.

Instead, I was hoping for a quiet break where I could have some respite from work and the city.

The place I found myself seemed fairly sufficient for that purpose.
The birthday bash was being held in this house with its own large garden and we were all staying overnight.
There were no complaints from me at all.

Getting out of the apartment and to somewhere more spacious was welcome.
I had become accustomed to constant noise and activity of working in the city and living in a full apartment.

The peace and quiet of these surrounds stood in sharp contrast. It was nice to be able to walk through the gardens by myself and to smell the scent of eucalyptus in the air.
As night arrived and the temperatures dropped, we were all able to gather next to the fire.
All of these things were very simple pleasures, but I had clearly forgotten about them until now.