Saturday, November 24, 2012

turkish feast - lunch and dinner

I normally try to have different cuisines/types of food during the week. However, on this one day, I went to the Turkish Pide House in Civic for both lunch and dinner. EEEK! Work had organised a work lunch there and I couldn't refuse. My friend was coming from interstate and a Turkish dinner seemed like the obvious option, because it was a bit different from those Mod Australian cafe/restaurants in Civic. I wasn't majorly fussed cos I don't normally have Turkish, so it was like drinking water in a dessert.

For lunch, I got the salmon salad. This looked and tasted like a 'healthy-something' that I would cook myself - at least I didn't get the gross feeling I sometimes get after eating lots of Turkish meat. I was surprised there was cheese on the salad leaves though - is this common? Oh well, there went my attempt to avoid dairy food. The dish was reminiscent of cafe lunches you'd normally get in Australia so I wonder how is this dish Turkish? What is Turkish? I don't know.

We really had a feast for dinner. Between three girls, we ordered two banquets and extra falafel. Wow, it was a celebration of food and through food. The food was tasty and there were decent portions of meat, bread/dip, pizza pide. We could have had more salad but maybe that's cos two of us have diets mainly consisting of veges. The girls let me bring home all the leftovers, which lasted me two good meals. Wow!
Turkish Pide House
16 Moore Street

lemon & tarragon smoked chicken salad

Months ago, when my mum visited me in Canberra, we went to Poacher's Pantry in Hall. Being the foodie she is, she purchased two lots of smoked meat for the family in Sydney. I also got the smoked chicken with tarragon and lemon. I normally wouldn't buy a whole piece of expensive meat just for myself... but I wanted some variety in my diet and thought I could give some to Dan. If you didn't know, I'm a bit funny about how I eat food - I try to avoid large portions of food and try to savor what I do eat. For example, if someone gives me a wrapped piece of chocolate, I usually 'save it' til I am in the mood to eat it.
The Poachers Pantry website has a list of recipes for smoked meat from the shop: I appropriated some recipes and made a salad with the smoked chicken. Not that hard at all.

In addition to the chicken, the salad had mixed salad leaves, blanched broccolini, stir fried mushrooms, grated carrot and toasted walnuts. The dressing was a concoction of lemon juice, olive oil and crushed roasted garlic. I have a tendency to stuff up food when I know I'm making it for someone else (damn those high self-expectations) so I made it for myself first then packed it into a million separate containers for Dan's lunch the next day. I felt like a school mum :S

Overall, the salad was good. The chicken was tasty but had a weird rubbery texture (probably due to being smoked). I put half a packet of chicken into one salad, which was probably too much but oh well. It looked delicious and health though!

Friday, November 23, 2012

canberra ramblings

The weather in Canberra is sooo dry. Without fail, in the Spring months of each year, I get eczema and hay fever. However, this year has been the worst my eczema has ever been. I know people aren't supposed to put band aids on their eczema, but there was puss coming out (eww). If I didn't have band aids on and handled a simple thing such as bed sheets, my hand would start bleeding in a few minutes.
Over a few months, I used natural and pharmaceutical eczema cream (the latter has hydro cortisone which is known to be bad for your body), and antiseptic cream. I also avoided foods that are apparently triggers of these allergies, like dairy. A dairy free diet wasn't too bad - I could still enjoy a hot chocolate but with soy milk (which I'm used to), melted dark chocolate (such as Lindt's 70% dark choc which is dairy free) and honey. This was bliss.

Anyway, I'm currently in an introspective mood, so I'm gonna let myself vent then I will return to food blogging. Canberra's dry environment is incompatible with my body - this frustration adds to my fleeting resentment of Canberra. At the worst, I find Canberra isolating. For weeks, I may only speak to 1-2 good friends. I become a slave to work and there is little thinking/activities outside this realm.

Although I'm not fully satisfied with Canberra, it doesn't mean I'll be moving back to Sydney any time soon. Initially, I found it novel to be away from my friends and family as I'd speak to them on the phone, on Facebook and they'd visit me. Now, I forgot how how these relationships worked. How did we interact? How comfortable did I feel? Do we still have similarities?

If I left Canberra tomorrow, I'm not sure what I'd do. I could travel overseas, visit some of my friends interstate, go to the NT, work in an NGO, do a Masters degree. There are many options... however, knowing me I'll still do everything that I aspire to do - it's just the order/timing that would vary.

Monday, November 19, 2012

accidentally vegan in melbourne

I am currently taking some down time after a week long trip to Melbourne. Although Melbourne or any big city isn't really a place to 'relax', I am happy that I got some time off work and escaped the monotony of Canberra.

It took Dan and I 8+ hours to get from Canberra to Melbourne by road (he drove the whole journey!). Sitting in the passenger seat, I ate (or squished in my mouth) half a packet of blueberries. This left an odd but surely attractive blue tint on my tongue. If you eat anything, you might as well 'explore' the textures of your food and play with it.

One thing that I loved about my holiday was that one of my Sydney friends was in Melbourne for the weekend. This gave me the opportunity me to do things in Melbourne that most guys would hate you for -  stroll along a street eating, drinking, gossiping and shopping for a whole day. 

On Brunswick Street, we came across Merry Cupcakes, a little cute and friendly store. For morning tea, my friend and I shared a peanut butter and jelly cupcake. The cake part was delicious, moist and didn't have that  odd starchy texture that many commercial cupcakes have when you finish it. The peanut was a cute addition to the icing and the jam in the centre was delicious. I expected a stronger peanut taste though. I only realised it was a vegan cupcake store when I surfed the net for this blog. Good job to the cafe!

Based on a recommendation, my friend and I went to the Vegie Bar on Brunswick Street for lunch. I was excited for this for several reasons - I find it hard to drag my Canberra friends to vego cafes (they are sceptical) and vego cafes are hard to come across in Canberra. We got gyoza dumplings for our entree which had some sort of red bean in it. Different but nice. I got the raw vege stack for my main. I thought if I was to eat vegan food, i might as well go a step further and choose something raw. It was actually tasty and nothing like those raw soups I made for myself when I was younger. Score!

I am also stoked that I finally got myself to Melbourne. You see, I had a best friend who passed away years ago. We planned to travel to Melbourne just before she died. Over the past few years, I never got around to it because I was caught up grieving and my plans with other friends fell through. Eventually I felt better about her death etc and I thought I'd be all fine to travel there whenever I wanted. However, I only realised in the past year that it was harder than I expected. When I flew for work, the plane would often stopover in Melbourne and I'd get minor panic attacks etc. I was surprised and annoyed at myself... Soo I put myself on a mission to confront this crap and go to Melbourne before the end of the year... and I did it without freaking out!
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