7 QT: i should be studying right now

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1. I had such a beautiful social friday and saturday last week! and then sunday turned to custard but we won’t go there haha. on friday afternoon madeleine had an early 21st celebration as she will be in new caledonia on her actual birthday. she booked ironic and there were tons of people and stunning nibbles and a cheeky drink and lots of chats and fun photos!

Then i zoomed home to get ready for my flatmate’s 21st- such a fun time, lots of his family came which was brilliant as we know them quite well, had cute family time and then went to Lone Star which they’d rented out part of for the night. funny speeches, lots of our friends, good music – what more could you want!

2. saturday was brilliant too! during the day me and jess went to grab a quick coffee to power our study which turned into a nearly 2 hour chat sorting out her future plans, which are all set in concrete now miss jessica because they involve us in the same place for most of next year! so grateful for her sweet friendship – we seriously are a force to be reckoned with when deep in conversation. when we went out for dinner in the hols, the poor waiter would have asked us at least eight times for our drinks/food orders before we were able tear ourselves away from our chats to read the menu!

then at night clara’s mama was in town, and took clara, jess, nelly, celia, lucy and me out for dinner to the very beautiful restaurant Esplanade out at St Clair, a beach suburb of Dunedin. We had the most scrumptious italian meal, complete with antipasto, prosecco, pasta, pizza, yummy salads and whittakers hot chocolate – such a happy night and so very kind of Caroline, and Clara too for sharing her precious mum time with us!

3. i’m sure you all do but if you don’t, you should most definitely follow momastery. glennon is so gorgeous and her posts just give me such hope. She recently did a love flash mob for her charity Together Rising which helps amazing, inspirational people and oh man, i wish i was rich and could donate millions to it!

4. US bachelorette – are you watching? i looooved kaitlyn on chris’s season so i was glad when she became bachelorette, but i felt really bad for britt at the same time! i can’t blame her for being so shocked – i mean, the only reason you would put yourself in that position would be if you thought you were going to ‘win’  and become bachelorette. it was just sad to see her rejected again! not cool, bachelor producers. so far i quite like Ian and Shawn but it’s early days yet!

5. i used the website lucidpress for the afore mentioned french pastiche – i love it! would highly highly recommend if you have any assignment or project type thing that you want presented nicely but have neither the time nor patience to puddle on microsoft word. the templates looked so pro and transformed my pastiche! all handed in now, praise be!!

6. all my friends have taken the myers briggs now and we have a selction of ENFP, ENFJ, ESFP, INFP and INFJ …. so interesting! interestingly, we had two people who were on the border between ESFP and ENFP and could find traits in both they identified with! all this personality stuff just gets exponentially more fun the more people you get onto it, it brings me such joy!

7. six60 on saturday and i’m so excited! they are this brilliant NZ band who formed in Dunedin while flatting at (you guessed it) 660 Castle Street. Their songs are brilliant -perfect to chill too, and they (literally) don’t forgot their roots and always find any excuse to pop back to Dunedin, and often return to their old flat to play after concerts in dunedin! my favourite song ever of theirs is probably only to be, but all of their newest album is brilliant, especially too much, purple and find my way. highly recommend you give them a listen!!

ok, don’t hate me if this is my last blog post until after exams okay? i am going to be soooooo busy so i won’t have time to blog! see you on the flipside (June 17th, it cannot come soon enough!)

previous 7QT to keep you amused while i’m off the line: may, O week & hyde street 
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personality and paella

Can we have a brief chat about personality types? are you into that kind of thing? do you think they’re accurate?

I’m super into them! anything from myers briggs to buzzfeed ‘which disney princess are you?‘ to enneagram and back! for reference, i am an ENFP on myers briggs and a 7 on the enneagram (with strong 2 tendencies as well, so make of that what you will!)

I love reading the profiles and feeling so understood! of course some things are more relatable than others.

one thing that i have always read on the ENFP profiles and never been all that convinced by was that ENFPs have to be really passionate about something in order to do it well. umm hello, i detested level 1 physics but i still did it?? but i’ve come to recognise this trait in myself, especially in terms of big assignments and essays. i willfully, stubbornly find a topic that speaks to me in some way – even if it’s (DEFINITELY) not the easiest or most practical option.

prime example: when i was year 12 we had to do this big history internal on a historical mystery. now, basically everyone at that time and in previous years had done Marilyn Monroe or the Black Dahlia or Lee Harvey Oswald, but what did i do? Olof Palme! i doubt you’ll have heard of him- he was prime minister of sweden and was assassinated in 1986. no one had ever picked him as a topic before, so not exactly a safe bet. but i did it, and it was full on but so interesting and i got to become great mates with google translate thanks to all the swedish sources ;) ps how cool of a language is swedish! going on my language-to-learn list (the list is two miles long, i just want to know them all).

so having read this far, it’ll be of absolutely zero surprise to you that when we were given a 4000 mot assignment for french i immediately discarded all the reasonable ideas for a topic and settled on writing magazine profiles on the 5 spanish maids from the film Les Femmes du Sixième Étage (the women on the 6th floor), complete with 5 recipes which i would create, cook, photograph and write up in french. no probs at all. which is how i found myself in the supermarket on saturday afternoon trying to track down sweet smoked paprika, paella rice, prawns and tarakihi and many more ingredients for my paella that night!

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….disclaimer – by no means am i doing the most difficult project of the class – some people are doing way more impressive ones than me! super literary, stylised amazing creations that fill me with awe… just saying it was typical anna to give myself the added cost/time burden of these recipes to jazz things up a bit haha.

so let me introduce to you my spanish feast:

Seafood Paella
Chicken braised with lemon, garlic and white wine
Creme Caramel

they were all scrumptious! i was a bit dubious about how nice they would be (i’ve never even eaten paella before, for goodness sake, let alone made it!) but they were all beautiful! i made the chicken for my flat mates last night and they gobbled it up – we all had terrible garlic breath afterwards though, so potentially not first date material ;)

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the sauce was so delicious and complex and well balanced – the onion just melted down and the garlic got all soft and caramelised and the chicken was so crispy on top and juicy within – i’m salivating just thinking about it!

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the paella was yum too – expecially with lots of lemon squeezed over it, such a treat having seafood – my favourite.

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the creme caramel was so beautiful! its no secret i love custard and it was just heavenly, with the slightest jiggle in the centre and creamy custard and caramel syrupy outer. and it looked and tasted just like the one i had in paris, so i’m calling it a win.

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^^^ogling the french boys ;)^^^

so i’ve got the recipes in french i can give you (no big deal ;) but if you want the english you’ll have to wait a wee while. Here are some great personality links to amuse you while you wait: personalities at a party / version of hell / and my personal fave, a very cute infographic of job types … travel writer? oh, if you insist ;)

getting real

don’t you find that everything you study at school or university always seems to be super relevant in your real life situations long after the subject or paper is finished?
yeah, me neither.

pythagoras theorem? nature metaphors in Mean Creek? iambic pentameter in Othello? (no offence shakespeare, love you man)

well, imagine my surprise/delight/complete and utter bemusement when one of my papers started having an overwhelming relevance on my everyday life – no, sorry guys, it’s not French due to a devilishly attractive french petit ami called Jean Luc, (a girl can dream, right..)
but my behavioural eco paper which, you guessed it, is all about human behaviour!

finally, justification for all my… um… quirks: can’t stop at one square of chocolate or one m&m? the beta endorphin triggered by the sweet taste of sugar stimulates your appetite! make budgetary decisions which end up making you worse off (I won’t buy winter boots that i would wear every day, but another cocktail dress that i’ll wear once? yeah, why not!) and oh so many more! all explained! now i can’t figure out if it is reassuring or depressing that i’m so very ordinary and human in these matters – a bit of both i think!

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a lot of the lessons i’ve taken from school and uni are more likely not included in ncea curricula or lecture outcomes, and are as follows:

Don’t tell your year 11 english class that you and your husband are basically romeo and juliet incarnate and destined to be together, because when you come back to school next year with a different surname, it’s super awkward for everyone involved.

The last glass of wine at a byo is always the one that tips you over the edge. always.

Don’t flat with 4 boys if you’re vegetarian (i’m not, by the way, but this week i dared to make a red thai vegetable curry … they were highly unimpressed by the lack of meat)

always play croquet as your summer sport – the old people running the clubs will adore you and provide fizzy drinks and biscuits for your afternoon tea. croquet: the only summer sport where you put on weight!

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and many more.. I would love to hear what you’ve ‘learned’ from school and university in the comments!

One thing that i have learned is that puff pastry makes everything better (except in the chicken fettucine pie that my work sells… that’s just wrong). so butter chicken pies are always a good idea, and make your flatmates very, verrry happy!

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This recipe comes from the genius destitute gourmet, whose books have been invaluable in a flatting context (her book tasty $10 meals would make a great gift for someone who is going flatting!) Her recipes are always straightforward, appeal to boys and men and are always delicious!

My modifications were to up the spices for more of a kick, use the whole can of tomato paste, add in a tin of chopped tomatoes, and skip the cornflour, cream and poppy seeds. I just served them with green beans and broccoli, but a salad would be lovely or you could even have rice i guess, if you are feeding very hungry people! (I was but i had made apple crumble for dessert, so it worked out perfectly!)

The recipe makes 20 pies and i had a little extra filling which i just heated up and ate for lunch the next day.
Enjoy!

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Butter Chicken Pies
Makes 20 pies
Serves 4-8 – 2 each for regular people (me), 4 for hungry boys!

2 chicken breasts, skin off and chopped into 1 inch cubes (ish)
1 lemon, zest and juice
2 tbsp grated ginger
1 tbsp crushed garlic
canola oil, for frying
2 tbsp curry powder
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground chilli/cayenne pepper (all we had on hand!)
170g can of tomato paste (2/3 cup ish)
1/4 cup of flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 can chopped tomatoes

1 packet of puff pastry (5 sheets), thawed

Marinate the chicken with the lemon, ginger and garlic for at least an hour in the fridge. Heat a little oil in a large pan and add the chicken, sauté until sealed on all sides or thereabouts. Add the spices and cook for another minute or two. Stir in the tomato paste and flour, then when combined add the remaining ingredients. Simmer on a low heat for 15 mins or until chicken cooked. Turn off the heat and allow to cool.

Working with one pastry sheet at a time, slice into four even squares. Brush the edges of each square with a little water and spoon some of the curry into the centre of each square, after you fold a couple you’ll get a good idea of how much filling in each. Using your fingertips, fold in and press the edges together so that the filling is contained. Repeat with the rest. You can brush with milk or egg at this point, but i don’t usually bother. Poke a couple of holes in the pastry of each pie to release steam. Bake at 210C for 20 mins or until puffed and golden brown on top (our oven at the flat is quite temperamental, hence mine look a bit ugly – i’ve made these in other ovens and they don’t usually burst open!

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ps – please no hate on the pictures, turns out the short days that come with the all round stellar season of winter are not conducive to taking pretty pictures! who knew? oh wait, the whole blogosphere ;) xxx

7 QT: may musings

1. SO HAPPY AND EXCITED ABOUT THE NEW PRINCESS! i am the biggest fan of will and kate and george and this new baby has made me so happy! i am dying to find out her name and to watch this precious wee girl grow!! i cried watching will and kate holding her outside the hospital, so exciting!!

2. it’s feijoa season! for years i didn’t think i liked them, but when i went to uni i tried them and now i just adore them. do people eat feijoas in other countries? I swear i’ve never seen recipes for them! they are a little sour and tart yet sweet and just so delish. also, i cannot resist anything that requires eating with a teaspoon – i would eat my dinner with a teaspoon if i could get away with it – it’s a great utensil ;)

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3. NZ Bachelor – oh my gosh last two epsiodes this week!! team matilda! though i don’t mind Alysha. such quality tv ;)

4. my flatmate’s parents came over on saturday and his mum (who i get on with like a house on fire) made us savoury scones AND pancakes and supplied toppings such as maple syrup, apricot jam and nutella!! i think this is my goal in life when my kids go flatting – i’ve got at least 25 years until that happens though so i should probably not get too ahead of myself haha.

5. Just when I’ve made my mind up that dunedin is awful and freezing and bascially the arctic, it pulls out stunning warm glorious autumn days, and redeems itself just in time!

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6. I just had to write an essay on Brazil’s development and it was terribly interesting – I just wished that I didn’t have to write an essay on the topic! It’s insane what the world bank will tell you though on various countries and you can map them against each other. I remember this quoteI possess a device, in my pocket, that is capable of accessing the entirety of information known to man. I use it to look at pictures of cats and get into arguments with strangers.” oof. hows that for thought provoking and guilt tripping!! but that’s my tip for the day! go and have a look at the world bank development indicators! you might get a different perspective of a country that you didn’t understand much about before, or your own country, for that matter, and then, okay, you can go look at pictures of cats, far be it for me to be the fun police ;)

7. this following quote is basically my life motto:

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i just love it, and try to remember to do this every single day. a sliver of perfect blue sky, the tawny leaves of the trees, a blazing sunset, a sweet pep talk from a friend, a delicious coffee warming my hands as i walk to a lecture – these are all moments that i look up at the sky, and think to myself that i am happy, right now, in this moment. and then the day goes on, and i have a tedious lecture, or receive a weird text, or the sky clouds over and it begins to rain, and i’m not staring up at the sky and counting my blessings any longer.

but the funny thing is, is that the more you do this- the more you stop and realise when things are good – the more they seem to happen. and right now, as i write this post, that my nearest and dearest are going to read, cuddled up in my bed with clean sheets and glowing fairy lights casting my bed in a warm glow, i think I am happy, right now, in this moment.