Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Plane! The Plane!

October 2011 saw Adam and I not only hit our one year marriage milestone, but during that month we also made a trip to Cairns to become godparents to one very handsome little man! It was a big day for Phoenix who also hit the big 0-3 during our stay, learnt to poo in the toilet (!) and had his dinosaur themed birthday party on the same day he was baptised. Our 4 day mini-break to Cairns opened our eyes to what life is like with 4 kids aged 6 and under. And it didn't deter me one bit. In fact it made we well up from time to time wishing so hard that Adam and I could have our own awesome family of 6. There is just so much to look forward to. High fives from the 3 year old because he poo-ed in the toilet. Picture him coming into the lounge room fist in the air, and hollering at the top of his little lungs "I pooed in the toilet!!!", and then proceeding to give everyone enthusiastic high-fives. That's the sort of shit life experiences that I long for.
Adam has already been displaying a keen and competent capability to decorate a cake, and a combination effort of both Phoenix's mum Tammy (my Aunty) and my own experienced mother Karen - resulted in a plain slab of chocolate cake becoming this:
Complete with edible rocks, a jelly river, volcano and a rocky outcrop - this cake certainly was a sight to behold. I have a lot to live up to!
Adam, who was not sure how to hold a baby at the start of the trip, certainly took to it quickly and before too long had got the casual hold of little miss Indianna down pat.
The boys fell in love with Adam. They were so well behaved at the Christening, but most adorable was that Phoenix and Makenzie both requested to sit on Adam's lap during the service, and did so in almost complete silence. Here's a pic taken towards the end of Phoenix's birthday party. By this time he had morphed from a dinosaur into a transformer.
Adam is going to make such a wonderful Dad. He is a bit of a ratbag tho. A family party favourite is a cob loaf dip. Adam set his own mission during Phoenix's birthday party to catch all of us truly enjoying our favourite party food. This was the result.
So damn attractive. But I wasn't the only one. He did it to his mother-in-law...
And Aunty Tam copped it sweet.
Even Lady Mausey wasn't safe.
But don't worry. I got my own back.
Adam was much kinder to the little boys, and snapped this gorgeous picture of the birthday boy.
We also had a completely unexpected experience during our visit to Cairns. We woke on the Friday morning to Uncle Jody offering to fly us over the Great Barrier Reef in a 4-seater plane. Never, ever did I think I would have the option to do such a thing. Truth is, I was scared. You always hear about the small planes that go down in the news, and I always figured it was nothing I would have to worry about...
But Adam said we would be stupid to pass up such a fantastic opportunity, and so I sucked it up and said yes. Uncle Jody embraced his flight attendant skills and gave us a rundown on safety.
Then he backed the plane into position.
Dad joke: Rossco pretends to start the plane.
Adam looking cool, calm, collected and prepared to fly.
Me...not so much.
Jody plots the course.
The take-off was so much quicker and smoother than I expected, and before not too long this was the view from my window.
It was an awesome experience and I am so glad I was forced got the balls to do it. I'm not going to lie, I was crapping my pants most of the time. Worst was definitely the updrafts over the mountains.
Evidently, Jody's super skills had us land safely back at Cairns airport, and whilst it's a little late - I live to tell the tale.

Sweet Dreams.
Kristy xx

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

And the Ass Saw the Angel.

'I swallowed my heart here.' Is what Adam wrote when my brother originally posted this picture on Facebook. It's been a year since I walked down that aisle, on the day we now consider to be the best day of our lives (as corny as it sounds!). It was a fantastic day full of love, family and friends.
I turned 28 (!) the day before our one year anniversary, and was spoilt rotten by my wonderful husband - a gorgeous Snow-White nightie from Peter Alexander (my favourite) and a lens for our DSLR that can actually zoom in and out.
Check out the range on that baby! Truth be told, I'm pretty useless with our camera. I really am only capable of using it on auto. I don't know what any of the symbols mean, with the exception that the little square means auto. Now that I have a lens that can zoom, I am looking forward to learning how to use my camera properly. I even started watching some tutorials on the World of EOS website! I've only watched a couple of clips and I have learnt so much already! My aim is to learn how to use my camera properly, so that one day - when I finally have the children I always dreamed of - I will be able to take good photo's of them and cover my white brick wall. My birthday was a lovely day, relaxing and pottering about the house. It's not often that Adam and I get a weekend off together. When we do, we can't help but enjoy the simple things. One big birthday highlight is that Adam baked and decorated a freaking fantastic birthday cake.
Yes, it is a cat. But no, it is not just any cat. It's Nyan Cat.
Nyan cat is an awesome poptart cat. One day I aspire to dress Leo up like Nyan Cat. I promise to show you when I do.
Adam's cake was a hit. The icing in particular was delicious and all the waitress' from the restaurant were so impressed they took photo's of it before they served it. The even went to the effort of matching the candle colours to the rainbow trail. Pretty and delicious. I have a lot to live up to, with his birthday cake next year!
We exchanged our anniversary presents in the late afternoon of my birthday, as Adam had secret plans for our anniversary that required us being up early-ish.
Have I mentioned that Adam is a spectacular gift-wrapper? Well he is. And he is also an excellent gift buyer. It turns out first anniversary gifts are supposed to be paper. I totally forgot about this, but by complete fluke nailed it! Adam knew about the paper thing and bought me a book.
I never knew that Nick Cave wrote a book. Or that it was a penguin classic... but there you go. And when I opened the book -
To which, I immediately burst into tears and wrapped my arms around him. They are even asscher cut - which are hard to find, faceted like an emerald cut but square in shape. I almost went into a panic about the cost. "Baby we can't afford these." But thank god my boy is sensible and didn't over do it. We can still afford the floor. He gets bonus points for that.
We woke up on our anniversary morn, with me still not knowing what was going on and I was told to wear something casual and take my blue dress from our engagement practice shoot.
I will be forever in your debt Lara Pape. I know I keep saying it, but I absolutely, positively LOVE my photos!!
It turns out we were on our way to O'Reilly's Lost World Spa for a darn good pampering. A massage and a facial in a gorgeous couples room that overlooked the rainforest. It was wonderful, and so cool that we could get it done together. We then travelled back down the mountain to O'Reilly's Canungra Valley Vineyard. Adam had organised a picnic basket, and we did a little wine tasting before settling down beside the babbling brook for our picnic.
It was D-lish and so relaxing. Not many people there at all, especially for a Sunday. We thoroughly enjoyed it and hope to go back some time in the future. Here's the view from where I was laying.
I am one lucky girl. My husband is not an ass. He is awesome. Thank god I put a ring on it!
We finished our day by dropping into the new Masters at Nerang, which was on the way home. We are pretty excited about all the awesome home DIY potential that place has. It was our first time there... and it finally got the 'it's-time-to-do-the-floor' ball truly rolling. With Adam as his part-time apprentice, Rossco has been a lean-mean flooring machine. Can't wait to show you the finished product!!

What did I get Adam for his paper anniversary present? Well that will just have to wait for another day.

Goodnight and sleep tight all!
Love. Love.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Feeling a little wicked.

A long, long time what feels like a galaxy far, far away...I discovered a magical land called Pinterest. One of the first things I ever did pin was in fact, a bookmark.
After an expedition to Spotlight and a super awesome craft day with Chloe, I had all the supplies I needed to begin my wicked little craft project. A couple of months later, I finally finished it! Now, it really shouldn't have taken me so long to complete, as I said - it was a 'wicked little' project, but all my hobbies have fallen by the wayside, to make way for a massive life roller coaster ride. Nope, we didn't give Dreamworld a second chance (you can read about our disappointment with that here). Instead we have been going through some fertility down-up-down's.
If you have spoken to Adam or myself lately, you would know exactly what I am talking about. If we haven't had the pleasure of your company in recent times, then it's possible we have some big catching up to do!
When checking out my favourite blog younghouselove last week I saw that they had re-issued another Pinterest challengeThis is where they challenge themselves and their readers to finish one of the awesome idea's they have pinned on Pinterest. It turns out I'm not the only person who pins a million DIY inspirations, and barely gets around to doing one. Needless to say, I was inspired to get my butt into gear, finish what I started and get back to blogging about it!
Back when I was a wee lass, I used to make Disney characters out of FIMO, a polymer clay that you can bake in the oven. I totally made Aladdin, Jasmine, Genie, Abu and even the flying carpet. I still have them, buried in a box in the garage somewhere. If I come across them in a clean up one day, I promise to post them. Needless to say, I've got super clay molding skills from way back. FIMO wasn't available at Spotlight, but Sculpey was. Same, same. Different name.
I kneaded the clay until it was soft and then got to work making me a leg! It took me a while to get the shape I wanted, and in the process I raided my manicure set to use the cuticle pushers help me achieve it. 
When I did get a leg I liked - the next challenge was making another one the same size, shape and length. It took me a couple of re-starts, but I got there. I cut a slit in the top of the legs, to make way for the cardboard part of my bookmark and popped them on baking paper, on a baking tray and into the oven, and baked them according to the instructions on the packet.
The legs kinda splayed a little in the cooking process. If she was  human, she might want to consider bilateral tib-fib osteotomies to correct her deformity. If I was to make them again, I would probably consider another position to stop the splay, though I'm not sure what would work better. But I figured I could position them on the card in a way that would make it less obvious. When they were cooked and cooled, I stood them up with bluetack and prepared to paint. I did white as a base (as the legs were an ivory creamy colour, and I wanted stark white), and followed by hand painting black stripes... Turns out my freehand skills are very underwhelming.
I even got confused on how to paint in a circle around the leg, with some of the lines matching up when they really shouldn't have. I tried to fix my mistakes, by painting some white over the black... but that looked, pretty damn hideous.
What a mess. My husband was at the other end of the table, intricately painting his Skaven rat army - and doing a wonderful and detailed job, even with his man hands. And here I am with my skinny little crooked witch fingers, incapable of painting some stripes on a leg. I didn't have enough remaining Sculpey to make some more legs, so I got to googling to find out if I could remove the acrylic paint. There was a whole bunch of suggestions - but it turns out a mix of nail polish remover, water, persistence and scraping it with my nails will get acrylic paint off your polymer clay legs - and in the end they looked as good as new!
Determined to get some straight clear lines, I came up with a new strategy and cut some painters masking tape into tiny thin strips and stuck them to my pair of legs.
I thought they looked pretty cool like this, like some sort of albino buckled goth boot in miniature form. Alas, this was not part of my bookmark quest, so I painted in the gaps with black, which at a glance looks terrible.
But I then peeled off the masking tape using tweezers (thankyou again nail polish box!), and lo-and-behold, a much better result. There was still a little bleeding - I think its the way I jabbed instead of stroking the paintbrush. If I was to do it again I think I would get alot less leakage.
Next I got to painting the roses shoes red.
Once dry, I used a mod podge (wrap it in a brown paper package tied up with string, that shit is my new favourite thing) and red glitter mix to make them sparkle ruby red.
Next up I made some super cute little bows.
Once cooked, I painted them red, and attacked them with modpodged glitter. Next I had to work out how to put them on. Lightbulb moment - I bought a hot glue gun a little while back and now I have an excuse to use it!! But then the dilemma... I have no idea how to use it. I did what any youth of today would do and found a youtube clip to teach me how!
Yes, my hot glue gun is pink!
I also had to stick the in book part of my creation. In case you hadn't worked it out, (tho I'm sure you have... it's pretty bleeding obvious)- I am making my very own Wicked Witch of the East bookmark. It will be like the book fell on her, instead of the house. Keeping that in mind, I decided that the card part of the bookmark should be an old-school shingle roof. I had to print it off at my parents because it seems every time I go to use our printer, it's out of ink. What is with that? I feel like I never use it, but when I do - I have to replace the cartridges!
Anyways, I stuck the bows on with the baby pink hot glue gun, and it was not as satisfying as I was expecting. It dried really quick and was super stringy. Still it managed to do the job when it came to sticking the bows on, but I decided it was not the right stuff to attach the card with. Instead I dribbled PVA glue into the slots at the top of the legs, pushed the card in and left it to dry overnight.
The result?
Pure awesomeness.

And just incase you were wondering... yes she can stand all by herself. Though, she is a little bit alot on the tilted side. She looks like she is drunk. Kinda reminds me of the super drunk chick I saw in Surfers when out for a friends Hen's Party. Every time this girl tried to bend over to pick her bag up off the ground, with her hand out-stretched she could never reach it - she'd lose her balance and start falling backwards. Possibly one of the funniest things I've seen this year.
Pretty super huh?

I popped her in my current TrueBlood book. Pinterest Challenge complete.

This fantastic craft project was found by following the yellow brick road to Pinterest and beyond.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Alloy Muk Mar

That's Thai for 'very delicious'. During the month of August I cooked one of my most favourite Thai dishes from scratch. In Australia, Tom Kha Gai can be found in the entree/soup section of your Thai Restaurant menu. I have eaten this chicken galangal soup all over Thailand, and the one that I cook is very muk mar authentic. This recipe is from a cooking course I took in Koh Lanta. The Lanta Thai Cookery School was part owned by a Sweedish man, but the course was run by a young Thai man, with the assistance of an older lady - who fell in love with Adam and kept feeding him Chang and by the end of the course, he was sufficiently drunk.

I slung my camera over my shoulder and managed to get a bunch of photo's for you. The recipe is for one serve. I just adjust it depending on how many I am cooking for. You don't have to be super strict with the quantities, just as long as there is a sufficient amount of each to give the soup a good flavour.

Tom Kha Gai
serves 1
Chicken 100g
Galangal (size of one fat thumb)
Kaffir Lime Leaves x2
Straw Mushroom or Jelly/Elephant Ear Mushroom
Lemon Grass x1
Garlic clove x1
Golden Shallot x1
Fish Sauce 1 tablespoon
Coconut Milk or Cream 1 cup
Sugar 1/2 teaspoon
Salt a pinch
Lime juice 1/2 tablespoon
Steamed Jasmine Rice

Step 1

I have (and love) my rice cooker, so I will always put it on before preparing and cooking so that I know it is ready to go when I am ready to eat. It's so simple and the rice is perfect every time.
I always wash my rice. Fill it up with water, swish around with your hand. Empty the water (without losing the rice down the sink) and repeat until the water is much clearer.

I then went and harvested some of my ingredients from my garden!
That's lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime. Hell's yeah, I've been keeping these plants alive long enough to eat them!

Step 2
Prepare all your ingredients.
Galangal is a Thai ginger. You can usually find it in Coles and Woolies next to the ginger. Or of course, your local asian grocer. It is usually more pinky/purple in colour. I bought mine from Bunnings it was labelled as Thai Ginger, but it looks more like regular ginger.
Galangal freezes well in a zip lock bag, but you will need to give it plenty of time to defrost, cuz it is almost like wood and near impossible to cut when frozen. Mine is fresh from the garden and hence super easy to slice. 
A few of the ingredients in this dish are simply for flavouring the soup, and shouldn't be eaten. Well technically you can eat them but it is bloody unpleasant! Galangal is one of the ingredients that shouldn't be munched on... So is the kaffir lime leaves. Rip these up like so.
Lemongrass is the final ingredient that I recommend not eating. It's all about putting that flavour into the soup. And yes, this is the big tree like plant a few pictures earlier. You can find this in most supermarkets in the herb section, with a lot less height and no leaves compared to my 'just-cut-from-the-garden' version.
Cut your Lemongrass on a diagonal to get maximum flavour. 
When making this dish in Thailand, we used what they called Elephant Ear or Jelly Mushrooms. I am still have not found these in Australia, but I do know that Mum found them in Coles or Woolies once, so I still hold out hope for the future! They actually look like elephant ears (hence the name), so yes... they look hideous but they are delicious. You can see how much I love them in this photo taken by Tim on our last Thailand trip. We LOVE to look through the local markets.
So until I can get the real thing, a good substitute for these awesome mushrooms is straw mushrooms which are found in the asian food section usually near-ish to the coconut cream. 
There is a couple of brands and either are good. The tin comes filled with some sort of water juice which I drain and then cut the little mushrooms in half.
Yes, they look a little phallic (I think thats how you spell it). But they are yummy in the soup. You can also use regular western style mushrooms if you wish, I personally would go for other styles of asian mushrooms instead. I tried Enoki mushrooms once and I think they were good. I will have to try it again and get back to you on that.
Asian golden shallots can be found in the onion section of your supermarket. These and the garlic cloves are smashed to get the flavour out.
Peel your garlic and shallots. Now its time to smash them. Use the blade flat on the side and thump it using the base of your palm. A bit like you're doing one handed cardiac compressions. I'm not trying to be morbid, it's just that's the only way I can think right now to describe it. I am a nurse after all :)
I couldn't get a photo of my hand on it, because I needed one hand to hold the knife and one to take the photo, so hopefully my description is enough. After copping a good flogging, they should look like this -
Juice your lime.
My juicer is ugly, but it works well.
Now you're right to go!

Step 3
Grab a saucepan and bring your coconut milk/cream to the boil. Either is fine, if you use cream and you find it a little thick (it really depends on the brand) you can always add a little water to make it thinner.
Once its at the boil, throw in all your vegetable matter. Thats your galangal, kaffir lime, mushroom, lemongrass, garlic, and golden shallots. Stir and smell the deliciousness. Give it a few minutes, then add chicken. Add sugar and salt.
Add fish sauce. This is like the Thai salt. It brings out a lot of the flavour in most Thai foods. I love it. If you are cooking for more than 2 people I recommend adding 2 tablespoons of fish sauce and then tasting your soup before adding more. You don't want it getting too fishy. Just think of it like salt - and add it to taste.
Stir regularly.

When the chicken is cooked through, take your soup off the boil and add the lime juice.

Serve with rice and enjoy!

This is is my dinner served. It was difficult to find some table room. Nick was visiting so that he could wage war against Adam. Warhammer, it's like a self-made board game for big boys. Thankfully, I managed to convince them that it was not a good idea to draw on my original 1950's laminate table with white board marker. It could wipe off, but if it doesn't you're dead. 
He did manage to pull himself away long enough to eat 2 bowls worth of my soup. Adam was able to squeeze his bowl somewhere between his army of Ratmen.
As you can see below, I choose to leave all the inedibles in my soup and just eat around them. It's best that way.
This soup is also awesome as left overs, as the flavours are able to continue to develop. I take it for lunch the next day, and constantly get comments on how good it smells.

Now you can enjoy it for yourself!

Let me know how you go.

Toodle Pip!

Kristy x