El albergue

El albergue

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Kitchen Time

Ok, there was too much magic happening in our kitchen the other day to keep it all to myself. Seriously, so much good stuff! Delicious! I simply HAD to share these ideas and let the goodness out.

First, Breakfast Hash. Zach and I teamed up for a tasty breakfast, sautéing pumpkin, red bell pepper, onion, and cilantro into a gloriously warm hash, which we then served over whole grain toast with a beautiful egg over easy as the crowning glory. A little Parmesan grated over the whole, and it was the perfect follow-up to a morning at the gym.

Then for lunch… Hot Cabbage Salad with Sausage and a Yogurt Lime Sauce. Yes, that’s right. HOT cabbage salad. Weird, right? Wrong! Ribboned cabbage lightly sautéed into a mixture of thinly chopped carrots and celery is great, especially when dressed in Greek yogurt, fresh lime juice, and a few of the earthier spices. Slice in some piping hot Mexican-style sausage (or what the Australian grocery store calls “Mexican”), and you’ve got a hearty, flavor-packed meal in a bowl.

That same day, some friends were coming over for dinner, which occasion we took as permission to kick it up a notch. Enter baked brie. A delightful thing, especially when topped with a generous portion of plum jam and gift-wrapped in the toasty brown, buttery goodness of puff pastry. Mmm… the jam melts, the cheese puddles, the pastry dough is pure heaven…

Ahem, sorry about that.

Anyway, course two of dinner. Soy and Brown Sugar Beef with Asian-esque Salad. Those thin slices of salty barbecued goodness went perfectly with our bright salad filled with enoki mushrooms, carrots, bell pepper, been sprouts, chopped peanuts, shreds of mint, and a tart sesame ginger lime dressing. Match made in heaven.

…And then heaven actually came to Earth in the form of lovely apple bread. Kali and I saw the recipe online the day before and decided it must be done for the betterment of our lives. It was just so much fun to make, spiraling apple slices and strips of dough around and around, and so much more fun to eat, with brown sugar glaze oozing down into all the cracks. And it was even better the next day, once the bread had time to really absorb the glaze.... mmmm.... so yummy...

End the night with some fresh sprigs of mint to make mint tea, and that, my friend, is what you call a successful day in the kitchen.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A really tough day

Today was incredibly tough. Rough. Difficult. Oh man. I had to endure the horribly ugly coastline near Sydney as I spent some time on a walk with a friend. Ugh. Terrible views. Just terrible. Whatever you do, don’t ever EVER go on the walk from Coogee to Bondi. If you want proof, just look at these pictures. Need I say more?

Coogee Beach is such a mess. My goodness.

That giant pile of rocks that looks like the product of a
megalithic hammer is so not cool.

I look completely unhappy.

What a burden... sigh...


Monday, October 7, 2013

To be a little three year-old

This afternoon I was starting to feel a tad bit… not depressed… rather, uncertain… yes, I think uncertain would be the correct term. Yes. This afternoon I was starting to feel a tad bit uncertain as to what exactly I am doing here in Sydney. It all started when I was organizing my monthly budget and realizing how little money I truly have. I’m not exactly broke, but with no job in my hand and no immediate promise of such, I could see my slim accounts quickly dwindling away into nothing in the fatalistic world that had popped up in my head. Enter uncertainty. Enter worries and cares.


I finished organizing my budget, bemoaned the dire straits I am in to my sister-in-law (thank you, pessimistic fatalism of the moment), and went on to other chores to put my brain to some practical use. Since I was planning on writing up all the adventures I’ve had with my parents during their two and half weeks’ visit, I started looking through my journal.

And here is what I found – a complete opposite to my oldy, moldy, worrying state of mind. I found an entry I had made after wandering about on a rainy day nearly a month ago, an entry that made me smile again as I read it.
Have you ever noticed how rain is completely exhilarating? A friend recently told me a story about standing on a ferry deck in a rain storm, battered about by winds and drenched to the bone by slanting torrents, and how it made her feel full to the brim of life and energy, ready for any adventure. I could tell by the light in her eyes and the delight in her voice as she retold the experience that that moment was something she remembered often and with relish. It was a spice that continually brightened the flavor of her most commonly simple days and added that extra dash of something special that made her best days even better.
As I walked through the streets of the center of Sydney yesterday, I felt a little of that spice. My walk had started a little wet, but no big deal, I had an umbrella. Besides, I felt the need to move my legs about. 
After a bit, I found myself feeling rather like a meandering column of unrain. It wasn’t that I wasn’t getting wet. On the contrary, I soon lost track of the intermittent pattering of drops on my exposed left elbow, and the increasing fervor of the rain quickened the dampening of my black jeans. I even had water seeping through my boots, which made me smile like a little three year-old as I was able to justifiably give up all attempts at adult avoidance of puddles and just plant my striding feet wherever I pleased.
 No, I felt like a column of unrain because as I peeked out from under the rim of my little red umbrella, it seemed like I was looking out through a magical lens at a different world from my own. I felt separate, like a disembodied observer, able to take note of all the tiny little details that made this different world so… different. And all those tiny details thrilled the three year-old inside me.
 The tug of the wind on my umbrella was a game. The smell of wet flowers was a delightful perfume. The water flowing across the path was a sea worthy of the most intrepid of adventurers. The splashes made by all the fat drops of rain hitting the puddled-up pavement were so many millions of bright and delicate crowns growing and falling in the blink of an eye and fit for the gayest of the fairy kings.
 I was a little child, gazing out at a dream-filled scape, thoroughly delighted.