Friday, October 31, 2008

Pumpkin Soup

Haven't done a food update for some time, probably due to a lack of a camera (away in S'pore, sniff), and the fact that the people I cook for have been inhaling the food faster than I can think about recording images, hehe.

Anyway, I've been making pumpkin soup on and off for a few years now, but have always been strangely dissatisfied with the final outcome, thinking the soups lacking in depth. Today though, I think I got a winner :). Yay for blenders! Erm, it's a beautiful orange colour, but no photos due to no camera. Here's the recipe though:

Ingredients:
1 butternut squash, skinned, seeded and cubed
5 small redskinned potatoes, cubed
1 medium white onion, cubed
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained
Generous amount of black pepper
Dash of dried thyme
Dash of dried oregano
Salt to taste
2 dashes of heavy cream
1 tbsp margarine
For stock, I used ~1/3 cup leftover chicken stock and 2 chicken breastbones + 1 mug water. If possible, use good stock or make your own!

Method:
1. Place squash, potatoes, onion, stock and chicken bones in large soup pot. Add enough water to just cover vegetables. Bring to boil then simmer at medium-low heat for 40min or until potatoes are tender. While the mixture is simmering, add the herbs and black pepper. Add salt just before taking off the heat.

2. Remove and discard the chicken bones. Puree the cooked vegetables, the chickpeas and cooking liquid in a blender until the mixture is smooth. Return soup to pot.

3. Over medium-low heat, stir in heavy cream and margarine (or butter). Serve hot!

Serves 4. Freezes well!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

treading on new ground...

Being frustrated with the way my unit trusts are going and the rather dismal interest rates available (though still better than the ones in S'pore), decided to take the plunge and buy a tiny tiny minuscule stake in Apple computers! Haha. Why Apple? At least I use the brand and I'm interested in their bloody fortunes, don't really have the time and interest to check out the portfolios of xx unknown companies just to invest my savings in. As of today, my shares would earn me $100 if I sell now. Exciting I know :). Should I hold? Hehehe...Is it considered bad luck to talk about the fortunes of my stock holdings on the internet? Who knows.

In other news, it seems that I can't keep advocacy out of my life, despite moving to another country, heck, a whole new continent! Attended a public meeting yesterday about improving a major road artery in Wilmington and lobbied for bike lanes along the road. Will talk more once the plans are out!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Post-race reflections

After many years of coming in dead last, or at the very best, second to last, I finally won a MTB race, hehehe! Too bad there was only 2 persons in my category...oh poo...can't always have everything. Briefly considered the Beginner's Women category, but 2 laps unprepared is a bit of a torture :). Well, the organisers were kind enough to give us both prizes for competing, and picked up a sweet pair of Schwalbe road tires (though edged with pink...but I can deal with that). A came in first in his category, and more impressively for him, he actually beat more than one other person. Probably at least 16 other guys. Also won a pair of downhill goggles in the raffle, which made me briefly consider getting into the whole downhill scene...Nah...Rode my little heart out yesterday, so am rather content, but now I have mountain bikes riding through all the convolutions of my brain!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Recovering

I think it's the clipless system after all. Fell off a log pile on BC's inner loop today, which should have just resulted in a couple more bruises and contusions, but rather unfortunately landed on a stake, plus broke off a bamboo-ish plant on the way down, resulting in another fixed vertical object with a pointy end. For a small-ish scrape on my left flank, the pain is amazing. Was so blinded by pain I literally lay on the ground for a few minutes, squeezing tears from my eyes. Plus try as I may, I couldn't unclip my right foot and had to reach over my bike to remove my shoe. Just then, a couple of bikers came across me and lifted the bike off me so I could sit up. They made me promise I was going to be ok before they took off again, which was rather sweet. After some patch up work courtesy of A and Greg's 1st aid kit, hit the Juvenile Detention side again, but man, the sting of perspiration running into the scrape was killing me. So rather than bike to work today, writing from home, and trying to lean more to my right side whenever possible. What a difference a week makes...