- consistent with running
- stop interrupting
- figure out postgrad
- give back to community
- stay ‘tremendously interested’ in my passions
- be brave
- be a good friend
hello! did my title freak you out a little? just maybe? how is the christmas shopping going?
the christmas spirit is well and truly alive in our house. we put our christmas tree up on the 29th (first time ever in november!) and it is as pretty as a picture. we also have stunning spiky star ornaments in the entrance way, and new fairy lights in the outside area, plus our wonderful fabric advent calendar.
i’ve been working full time this week! it feels good being back into the swing of things and i’m enjoying the work i’ve been doing. plus it’s comforting finally having some money finally entering my bank account instead of just leaving it – paying rent on our flat in dunedin until 31 Dec is no joke.
my hair is getting longer hallelujah, and some careful application of fake tan has me a pale golden, so i’m feeling good at life. i’m also trying to eat better which is much easier a) at home and b ) in summer, with all the beautiful fruits and vegetables in season right now.
reading: just finished Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling and The Vacationers by Emma Straub. Mindy is just so great! i adore her (though danny on the mindy project is starting to stress me out!) The Vacationers i would give maybe a 3.5 star? not a book i would recommend shouting from the rooftops, but one i enjoyed reading on our visit to corsair bay the other week. need to get back to the library for some more books!
cooking: lots of salads from the ripe books – the two in the picture are gado gado and autumn brown rice. both delicious!
making: a book of my university experience! i just bought an art notebook with unlined pages and went to town. I was inspired by this book and this lady. here is a sample page! (except now i’m having second thoughts about the bagel decision – kiki beware does a sensational veggie bagel and bacon buttie bagel … qualms!)
i just wanted something that was not a photo album and that recorded all the little details i would be likely to forget about my daily life for three years as a student in dunedin. having it pretty and funny (at least to me, low standards remember) was an added bonus! there are way more pages, so i can just keep adding to it as i think of more things to include. a lovely creative project for my last week or so of holiday.
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!
….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:
Chicken braised with lemon, garlic and white wine
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 ;)
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!
the paella was yum too – expecially with lots of lemon squeezed over it, such a treat having seafood – my favourite.
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.
^^^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 ;)
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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