Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cold Weather & Comfort Food

As much as I love summer, I think all the time in the Arctic has made me appreciate the more temperate days where the sun is out yet there's still a bit of a chill in the air. It's probably because days like that - especially in the autumn - were few and far between. In the Arctic we transitioned rapidly from summer to cold and rainy then most years we were quickly thrust into winter with only a day or two of real autumn weather. Those sunny, cool, autumn days in the Arctic were fabulous.
Light quality is something I think about a lot and something that brings back memories of being in certain places. I had an appointment this morning and while walking to the tram at 8:15am I was struck with how much I was reminded of living in Victoria the autumn after I graduated from high school and walking to work in the early morning. The light quality, the coolness in the air, all those sorts of things. It was kind of comforting and familiar. So, it's April and feels very much like September. Weird.
Most evenings when we leave work there's one or two people that immediately comment on how cold it is and I'm always thinking "yeah, it's cold but it's NICE!". The air is fresh and it feels like you can finally breathe again after the stifling heat of the summer.

One of the quirky things about our apartment (and a lot of Australian homes) is that furnaces/ducted heating is a bit of a rare thing. A lot of places have a gas fireplace type thing in the livingroom and then people get by with space heaters in other rooms. The one positive about this is the fact that your gas/electricity bills would be a fraction of what they are in North America (ignoring that you counteract a bit of that if you have A/C). One of the negatives about this is the fact that if it's cold outside you can be reasonably assured that it's cold inside too.
Thankfully, despite my love of all things summer, I love tea, soup, stews and warm, comforting food. Those also happen to be some of my favourite foods to cook.
Glen happens to not really enjoy hot drinks or soup (unless it's of the 2-minute noodle or cup-a-soup variety) so when I'm really craving soup I either have to make two meals or we have to compromise. I generally don't mind cooking something else but I love when I can find something warm and comforting that we both enjoy.

We seem to have hit a winner with risotto. I made it a few times before we came to Australia despite not being able to get arborio rice and knew it was something I could make without a lot of fuss. I've been thinking of making it for a while now and then last weekend I had an amazing risotto at a hotel/pub in the city. I've been craving it since! Risotto has been my go-to menu food here in Australia if there's nothing else I can see on the menu (especially when I want warm food). I've had some pretty terrible ones and then there's been some pretty awesome ones. The worst one had some weird tangy tomato/pasta sauce mixed in. It was so disappointing.

I decided to make a mushroom risotto (swiss brown/cremini and white button) because Glen loves all things mushroom and I've been slowly transitioning into eating more of them (loved them as a kid then suddenly decided I hated them for most of my life and now I've started enjoying them again).
Glen loved the risotto so much yesterday that he eagerly agreed to have it again tonight. I made a few minor adjustments and I have to say that it turned out pretty darn awesome. I'm happy that this is a dish that will likely be in heavy rotation this winter.

Temperature: +15C
Sunrise: 6:58am
Sunset: 5:37pm

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I don't think they got the memo...

As seen at the top of my e-mail today (click to enlarge):

This kind of cracks me up and makes me a little homesick. It's like yahoo is telling me to go home! haha
It's kind of funny that ad showed up because at work on Thursday, some people were printing photos of their trip to Victoria (BC). It was weird to see because a lot of their pictures were of places we either visited/specifically took photos of/specifically noticed (like the giant Commonwealth Games plaque at the Inner Harbour) or they were places I visited/walked past when I lived there. (it's not like I flicked through their photos but if you're standing at the machine when they come out, you happen to see them).

I've managed to knit HALF a row on my sweater since I posted. I'm planning to do a bit more today since I don't have much else to do at the moment (I COULD do the dishes but I'll leave that for a while longer).

Here's another photo of our livingroom now that the TV is in place and there's not so much stuff all over.

It's weird to have so much space. Our livingroom back home was SO cramped. We had Glen's youngest nephew over for a few hours yesterday and we pushed the coffee table up against the bookshelves so he could run around. He had a lot of fun bouncing a rubber ball around the room (and was surprisingly uninterested in all the colourful things on the shelves).

We went to the footy with work last weekend. I had a lot of fun. The atmosphere was CRAZY. There were 71,000 people there (yes, really) and it was SO loud. It's by far the biggest (attendance wise) game I've ever been to.

I don't really follow either of the two teams that we went to see so I got to spend more time people watching - and let me tell you, there were some real characters out there.

There was one guy (pictured above in the striped toque) that was SO into the game and spent a lot of the match on his feet yelling & screaming at the players/umpires. At one point he didn't think he was being heard so he ran down to the front of the boards (when I took the picture) and started yelling from there. haha he was pretty intense. We also had the interesting experience of sitting behind the goals so we had to watch out when the teams kicked the ball (and when people in the crowd thew the ball back).
I went to a Bulldogs game the next day but didn't get any pictures because the bag checker/security woman told me that they'd take my camera away if I had it out... booo... It's not like I even had my (crappy in low light) zoom lens on. I had my 50mm lens which is no better than I regular lens - it doesn't even have zoom. I tried to explain this to the woman but didn't want to push my luck. Apparently only point and shoot cameras are allowed even though my point and shoot camera would've zoomed more AND can take video (which isn't allowed). I suppose I could've taken my camera out once we got to our seats but oh well...

Temperature: +26C
Sunrise: 6:48am
Sunset: 5:51pm

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Finally getting around to it...

Posting pictures of my knitting that is!

So I've been working on the February Lady Sweater. I SHOULD be done by now but moving into our place and being sick on and off for the last month has put a damper on my knitting time.

I think I'm about 1/2 way through the body, maybe a little bit more. Before it went into hibernation, I was really enjoying it because as complicated as it looks, the pattern is easy to memorize AND I can easily read my stitches if I happen to make a mistake (so I can easily tell what row/etc I'm on). I'm not too thrilled with the colour though. We'll see how it looks once it's finished but I'm seriously considering over-dyeing it. I did a few button holes at the top but I'm not too pleased with those either so I might to a button/snap thing... We'll see on that too.

We've made a few trips to IKEA as Glen's schedule has allowed (which I've been enjoying since I LOVE IKEA, Glen not so much) We might be adding another short bookcase in the middle but we'll see about that (kind of depends on whether or not we get a bigger TV).

Things are still pretty messy since I just managed to rearrange everything today. The TV isn't where it's staying, I'm waiting for Glen to get home from work with a longer cable. It's nice to see all my stuff again (or well some of my stuff!). The apartment was smelling strongly of smoked moose hide until I was able to open some windows today.
It's at least looking a little more put together than it was even yesterday!

The clocks were set back an hour last weekend so it's getting dark fairly early and it's starting to get cooler during the day.

Temperature: +19C
Sunrise: 6:40am
Sunset: 6:04pm