Friday, 29 January 2010

The lunching lady

His appearance, besides the twitching tentacles that overhung his chin, was not unpleasing, despite being an absolute old bachelor; for he was on the wrong side of five and thirty. He was silent and grave, but his countenance was sensible and his address was particularly gentlemanlike.
Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Jane Austen and Ben H. Winters

My boss has been away for the last couple of weeks and consequently I seem to be having a lot of long lunches with friends and just generally not getting a great deal of work done (it didn't help that we had a powercut this week so everyone in our building, which was all of about 5 at the time, sat outside in the sun drinking beer and eating chips...very productive)! Guess it makes up for my usual 20 minute breaks I have normally so I shouldn't really feel guilty! I have been a bit slack with bringing the camera along but here are a few...

Lunch with my mate E at Renkon. We traded books and stories and, naturally, ate good food. He ordered the tofu salad and miso soup. No picture of the soup since that's not terribly exciting but the salad was! I might have to order that another time!

I was boring and went with the teriyaki tofu. But boring doesn't mean it wasn't good!

Because I was on an eating out roll (I actually ate out for 3 of the 4 lunches I had at work this week!), I met up with my cousin K for dinner at
Revive which I hadn't been to in, like, forever. It's the perfect place for summer eating as it's always so fresh-tasting and light and they have heaps of different salads. The menu changes each week and there is a different hotpot every day.

We both got the hot pot of the day which is served with brown rice (this time it was the Sultans Stew with tomatoes, organic red beans, almonds, and sultanas) and a salad. I chose the Thai tangy jungle slaw which is quite possibly my favourite of all their different salads. Since it was a ridiculously hot night and I'd just walked into town I had to get a smoothie to cool off and chose the date and banana smoothie. SO good!

To finish off I bought us a pack of apricot and almond
frooze balls. They are basically just made up of dried fruit and nuts and then rolled in coconut. The perfect end to a meal.

Also this week I met my lovely cousin D for lunch at Raw Power. We always mean to order from the salad bar but get distracted by the blackboard menu but this time salad it was!

They have a self-serve salad bar and basically you can load your bowl up as high as you like. I filled mine a bit too much 'cause I couldn't finish it all but it was so delicious!

In a moment of weakness I got one of their vegan chocolate rum balls to take away.

It didn't last long once I got back to the office!

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Calamity in Cambridge

We are disappointed that you see fit to make light of our latest research on communication between the living and the living impaired. At this very moment we are rolling out Hades Explorer 4.0, heralding an unparalleled increase in the volume of living-dead communications. You will be communicating with us soon, one way or the other.
How to Make a Tornado edited by Mick O'Hare

Wow! What an awesome, busy and exhausting couple of weeks it's been but here I am, still alive and still (vaguely) awake! 2010 is shaping up to be amazing. This past weekend I've been orienteering down in the Hawkes Bay (and sleeping in a leaking tent!) but the weekend before that I was hanging out around Cambridge for an adventure race that my friend SO dubbed the Death Race! At times during the race I wondered if he might have been right but here I am, still alive and loving it (my teammate and I clearly forgot all the pain and suffering and have entered our next one in March)!

Ever wondered what kind of gear you take on an Adventure Race? Well, here's
some of my gear out ready to pack for a roughly 16 hour race (no, you don't get a break...I got asked this the other day and I thought it was quite amusing) I did a couple of weekends ago. Yes, there are 4 pairs of shoes there (different shoes for different stages - super-light offroad shoes, offroad shoes, running shoes and mountain bike shoes).

What did I eat during the race? Hahaha! I think I worked out it was 4 protein bars, a small handful of vegan gummy bears and 3 energy blast cookies (recipe to come when I am more organised). Oh, and I drunk a truckload of electrolytes. Yeah, felt pretty good apart from one section where I hadn't been paying attention and had gone nearly an hour and a half without eating anything. Probably should have eaten something more than a cookie before I collapsed into my tent at 2am but sleep seemed more important at the time!

My awesome flatmates had vegan chocolate cake from Blue Bird waiting at home for me the next day. There's no photo because it didn't last long enough!

Fueling up on the days before a big race is always super important. I'm still on a stir-fry for breakfast kick (listening to your body is always important). Breakfast on the day before the race was stir-fry with a chopped up veggie pattie and quinoa. Awesome!

My favourite pre-race dinner is always satay tofu on brown rice and this race was no exception. Ah, I love this meal! It even ended up being my breakfast before the race too (eaten cold out of a plastic container in the car on our way down during the early hours of the morning).

I swear it's way tastier than it looks! I even used a mixture of cashew and peanut butters just to mix things up a bit.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Vegetables are your friends

He had kept his promises to her, had fulfilled his duties to the world. Because of that, the woman he loved no longer existed.
Belladonna by Anne Bishop

Right, well I'm nearly caught up at last (I've finally made it back to 2010 again)! As I mentioned
before, I spent a few days up north house-sitting (and animal sitting for their dog and 3 cats) at my mate's farm and making the most of their property to put in some training.

This is Jess.

She would join me on all my training sessions which was super cool 'cause when you're out in the middle of some thick bush with no cellphone coverage for several hours it's nice to have a bit of company. She's gorgeous but every time I tried to take a photo of her it came out terribly so you'll just have to take my word for how beautiful she is!

Anyway, I ate pretty well when I was up there. I'm still on a huge salad obsession which is just perfect for this hot summer weather we've been having.

Heaps of veges, half a can of mixed beans, hummus, balsamic salad dressing and crusty bread. Awesome. Unfortunately I couldn't find their grater so had to have carrot peels instead which takes awhile to do.

You really can't go past a good salad sandwich especially with good bread.

This was some random Turkish garlic bread that you bake in the oven for a few minutes first. So good!

Stir-fried veggies and tofu is another of my big favourite meals of the moment.

With the increase in my training I've been trying to eat more carbs with dinner 'cause I'd been getting a bit lazy about it so I baked some kumara chunks to go with it.

Yep, another tofu stir-fry!

Add a bit of peanut butter to my usual marinade (sweet chilli, tamari, sometimes a bit of hoisin sauce, garlic) and I'm in heaven!

And another giant sandwich!

This one had pan-fried tofu slices along with all the salad stuff and I actually ate this for breakfast before an epic ride.

I was also testing how my stomach coped with various flavours of clif bars during training in preparation for some long adventure races and rogaines in the future. It's important to test out this kind of thing
before the race rather than on the day!

I've used the Cool Mint Chocolate flavour before and that works well but the only other one there that was okay was the White Chocolate Macadamia one. The peanut butter ones felt too sticky which is fine to just enjoy but it didn't sit well in my stomach once I got moving again and were also harder to eat 'cause I had to chew more. Yeah, sounds a bit weird I know! The Chocolate Brownie PureFit bar is great though.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Golden sunsets and summer dreaming

'Give us the money,' he rasped.
Mort's hand went to the bag on his belt.
'Hang on a minute,' he said. 'What happens then?'
'I mean, is it my money or my life?' said Mort. 'That's the sort of thing robbers are supposed to demand. Your money or your life. I read that in a book once,' he added.
'Possibly, possibly,' conceded the robber. He felt he was losing the initiative, but rallied magnificently. 'On the other hand, it could be your money
and your life. Pulling off the double, you might say.'
Mort by Terry Pratchett

On Boxing Day (after my darling cousin D and I braved the shops for the sales...yes, stupidest thing ever but I did get a new camelbak and a gorgeous dress) we attempted to see Avatar with my best friend B. I say attempted as the projector broke halfway through so we didn't get to see the second half. Oh well, I did get to see it all later but that is another story. We were pretty gutted so to make up for it I took them to
Golden Age for dinner. We all picked one dish each to share between us all.

B picked the Sizzling Tofu...

...and you can even see the steam still rising off it in this photo!

D picked the Lemon Veggie Chicken...

...which is quite possibly my favourite dish there...if only it had some veges too! It's weird I like it so much because I'm not normally a huge fan of fake meat.

Because neither of those dishes sounded like they had many (if any) vegetables I did the honourable thing and ordered the seasonal vegetable dish.

Here's my first plate with a bit of everything on rice.

There was quite a lot more consumed than this as we managed to devour all of what we ordered and then promptly went back to my place and ate leftovers from the desserts I made for Christmas day.

And then a couple of days later it was off to Gisborne for New Years and the Rhythm & Vines music festival.

Chilling on the hill overlooking the main stage.

The Vines Stage as people slowly started filling up the venue. By nightfall it was hard to walk anywhere as the place was just crawling with thousands of people...freaky but super cool.

Sunset on the first night

There was the most awesome vegetarian food stall where we ate from every night called One Love. Oh man, their samosas were so amazing and they had these delicious potato fritters fried in some kind of spicy batter. I wish I had photos to show you but I forgot my camera.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Time traveling is fun

Then you could say that the doorway exploded. But that particular verb doesn't do the action justice. Rather, it shattered into infinitesimal pieces.
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

So much to talk about! This year is certainly starting off on a pretty exciting note! Anyway, where to start?! Right, I think we will travel back in time to 2009 for today before it all becomes a distant memory.

After our family Christmas party (but before Christmas itself) I went up to our beach house to get a bit of timeout and do some training. Here's a few photos of the sights experienced during some of my training sessions...

The flowers on the Pohutukawa tree that come out in the is sometimes called the New Zealand Christmas tree.

Looking out over the lagoon at Tawharanui.

Right out at the furthest point on the peninsula looking down to the coastline below. It's even more amazing when the tide's in and the weather is wild.

Anchor Bay.

Food was eaten of course. I had got some leftovers from the Christmas Party with me so that was the first night's dinner...

The next night I had some kind of curried lentil pie I'd got at the health food shop along with more kumara salad leftovers (which reminds me, I still haven't gotten the recipe off Mum to share with you guys).

And finally, tofu stir-fry with some kind of fresh turkish bread...delicious!

Christmas Day itself I didn't do so well of documenting! My flatmates thought it was quite funny I had stir-fry for breakfast but my body has been asking for strange things lately with the increase of training so I just tend to listen to what it wants. Then lunch at the parents was just salad sandwiches so nothing too exciting. But the evening...

My lovely cousin and I decided to ditch dinner entirely and go straight for dessert! Above is blueberry cobbler veganised and adapted from a blackberry cobbler recipe my American sister sent me. SO good!

We also had trifle...because it is D's favourite. We had the chocolate variant at the Christmas party so this time I made a basic one with a plain sponge and vanilla custard. D also brought round berry-flavoured lite licks ice cream which was divine.

My bowl...there may have been more consumed than this...!

Hmmmm...this post has got quite long already so you'll have to wait till next time to find out about after-Christmas adventures and food!

Saturday, 2 January 2010

I made it...

Left alone the women display a fierce, almost frightening power. They hit each other's bottoms, pinch each other's breasts, and dance for each other, arms flailing like snakes, hips like Arab belly dancers. Little girls dance as though they were born to seduce and wriggle across the floor with challenging looks and raised eyebrows. Even the old grannies test the water, but give up halfway, before the dance is over. The old magic is still there but they haven't got the stamina to see the dance out.
The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad

Happy New Year!!! I hope everyone had an awesome time and that the year ahead is full of promise. Mine was spent having the time of my life down in Gisborne at the
Rhythm & Vines music festival. Seriously, best new years ever with some of the most awesome people in the whole world. It's been a pretty rough year but I've made it through and found my feet. This year is going to be my year!

I've got a heap of photos and stories from Christmas and all that (although I forgot to take my camera to Gisborne so will have to grab the photos off my flatmates) but that will wait. Right now I'm up north house-sitting at my mates' farm. It's like a little slice of paradise.

I arrived late this morning and after lunch (how can you not love that view?)...

...I went for a cruise round their own personal mountain bike park! Yep, the property is pretty big and has an expansive, steep patch of (mostly) pine forest filled with mountain bike tracks. It's even been mapped (we use their property a bit for mountain bike orienteering).

After the ride it was time for a dip in the pool and a bit of a nap. Their cats seemed to think that was a good idea's one of them lazing around in the study!

Then in the evening it was time to whip up some dinner. Feeling a bit tired (I think I'm still in recovery from the rather epic new years and an equally epic drive back yesterday afternoon) I didn't really have the energy for anything too exciting.

Tofu sausage stir-fry with ice-cold beer. Simple but perfect.