03 March 2011


It is spring here! Above is a very small portion of the daffodils that I have picked. I have so far filled my office and a friend's house. My own house is still lacking in floral excess so I guess this weekend I will further deplete the college gardens. There has been more sunshine than rain, though it is still cold. But you wouldn't guess it to see all the students about, dressed in short-shorts and sleeveless tops. Of course it is rag-week, so they all have nice warm beer blankets on. Rag-week is a party week, like O-week, but it is not the start of the semester. And it is also now called college week because like many of Dunedin's student activities, it has gained a very bad reputation for disorderliness. Rag stands for raise-a-grand and apparently used to be all about getting students involved in raising money for some charity or another. It doesn't seem to be all about that anymore. Instead there are loud drunk students wondering through campus at all hours of the day and past my bedroom window at all hours of the night. And we all complain about it because we have become boring old-fogeys, apparently.

So work is going, I would say poorly but I guess overall not so bad, and it's better than it not going at all. At least with the season changing people are becoming a bit more active so there is sometimes entertainment to look forward to at the end of the day. Not today though, and I was exhausted after work, so it being Thursday which is late-night shopping here, I went impulse buying. I brought a cake tin (that one wasn't on impulse, I was intending to get one). I also brought a pair of snuggly fluffy socks and a stripey green bowl. The socks because they looked warm, and I am wearing them right now (and they are purple and stripey), and the bowl because I felt like eating. So I came home and had a bowl of cereal, in my stripey green bowl. And they were both on clearance. Really I should have brought normal plates because I seem to keep breaking them. But luckily I only seem to break the plain ugly ones so I will just keep on buying random brightly coloured pretty things and very soon the kitchen will be a nice eclectic mix of colour.

Last night I made delicious peanut-butter biscuits. I took them to work and fed my friends and general consensus was that they were awesome. They had white chocolate too because I cannot make something without chocolate and if I didn't use the bloody stuff I would have ended up just eating it all, which I didn't really want to do because I don't really like it that much. And it is lucky that I baked bikkies because I really needed them, after finding out that my last two weeks of work, which was the third attempt at preparing new samples, again did not work. And now I really don't know why. Everything used to work perfectly, and now it is terrible. So that just sucks. Screw work. I will avoid the lab and do writing instead. Other than this stuff that isn't working I am mostly finished and ready to figure out my results and write them up. It is hard to begin though. Today I did very little real work in the end. And tomorrow I can forsee a similar problem.

I have decided to take the weekend off. It's not like I have been working my butt off or anything. Yet I am exhausted. I am sure I don't work as hard as everybody else, but after just a couple of hours at work, in fact before I have even begun to work for the day, I am ready to go back to sleep. So to keep myself awake and entertained I will continue to indulge in my kitchen-addiction and bake some more. A birthday is coming up this weekend so I have the excuse to make chocolate cake, yay. And there is journal club on Monday, and I have no interest in this journal article, so I will just bring cookies instead. Brownie cookies, the chocolatey-ist biscuit recipe that I have. Plus the other night I was lucky enough to sample some chocolate brownie that a friend made, and it was amazing. So now I must make my own brownie recipe plus this new one and see how they compare and which aspects I should steal in order to make my own recipe the best one. So I guess next time I have a bunch of hungry guests I should make a big batch of brownies. Plus next week it looks like there will be a sampling trip, which really means a road-trip, which means we need lots of snacks to keep us going.

While it is one thing to allow myself to cook so much and to think of food so much, I really should stop talking about it. People don't really care, which I think actually indicates that they care the appropriate amount about food and that I care much too much. In fact, when I am swimming I am often thinking of food and recipes, it keeps me from getting bored. And if in the evening I come home and do not cook, like tonight, instead of reading or watching tele or getting some work done, I look at recipes and think about food. Maybe I should get a new hobby.

But before I do that, you know what I noticed in the supermarket? Here in Galway, or maybe in Ireland (or maybe just in the supermarkets that I frequent) they do not seem to have smoked chicken. I'm sure I remember it being quite common back home, quite the in-fashion thing (in culinery circles, that is), and it is really yummy. But they don't have it here. The traditional Irish diet is very boring and not that healthy really. And while the Irish potato thing is completely exaggerated, I do actually have an Irish friend who can be a bit obsessive about his potatoes. One of the few people that will discuss food with me properly, though my obsession far out-weighs his, it is never a good idea to bring up potatoes, or the fact that I don't really eat them and when I do I buy whatever is on special - this is somehow seen as an invite to a lecture on potatoes, the best variety, the proper way to peel them, the best way to cook them, the history of potatoes in Ireland, etc. And this might then extend into the joys of traditional Irish food in general. And usually run full circle around to how terrible the variety of potatoes that I am using is (whatever that may be at the time). So I must be careful to never feed this person potatoes. In this case, I will leave such matters to the stereotype, the potato-loving Irishman. Being the kiwi that I am, I will instead introduce some of our own classics. The next one being bacon and egg pie, something that they do not have here. March the 14th is Pi day and I will celebrate the number by eating pie.

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