Monday, 20 June 2011

I remember

So many thoughts scrambled for the emergency exit in Moist's brain that only one remained.
Making Money by Terry Pratchett

I have tried to write this post so many times but it never comes out right or I think no one would be interested or it just ends up so long and twisty that I give up. But in the end I thought perhaps you might be more interested than I thought or that at least sometimes it is helpful so say what you need to say (even if it bores everyone else to tears)...

Last Monday started out like any other day. It didn't stay that way however. It was just after 1pm when we got the first big earthquake (a 5.6 I think) which had us diving under our desks. It wasn't long after we'd all managed to calm down and get back to work again that the 6.3 struck. The sounds are the most frightening to me. The groaning and grumbling of the earthquake itself, the collective holding of breath (which has a sound presence that is impossible to explain), panicked screaming, the rattling of, well, everything...and then the silence. That small moment of time feels like a lifetime. Then everything else gets broken down into tiny segments of memories.

I remember the terrible smell of chlorine spilling out of the cracks that formed in the spa pool outside. I remember seeing the birds flying manically through the sky in all sorts of directions and in huge flocks. I remember eating handfuls of licorice allsorts that the boss had taken out of his freezer (and wondering why he would keep them in there), not caring they weren't vegan. I just wanted something.

I remember drinking fancy wine out of a fancy glass while sitting outside in my fluro bike jacket and my helmet. I remember needing to use the bathroom but not knowing what I was supposed to do so just waiting and waiting. I remember our company director lifting my bike over the security fence which we couldn't get open because it needed power. I remember biking slowly through the park in an attempt to not to get sprayed by the liquefaction but wishing I could bike faster because I had visions of trees falling on me. I remember the dust and the queues of cars and getting lost on my way home when I found I couldn't take my usual route. I remember the poor lady at the traffic lights who spoke like someone had taken the bottom out of her world but that I just wanted to get away from her and the doom and gloom and get home.

I remember sitting in a doorframe near the front door at home worried about M because I couldn't get hold of him (despite knowing he would be fine) and holding my cellphone really tight in the hope that someone might magically realise I needed some company. And then just as it was becoming unbearable there was a knock on the door and our neighbour, who I'd never met, was there asking me if I was okay and if I wanted to come over to his house until people got home. I remember listening to his windup radio and being unable to sit still while he calmly cleaned up the mess in his kitchen.

I remember the relief to see familiar faces as everyone came home or popped over to make sure we were all okay. I remember the power coming on just after dark and sitting inside, still in my fluro jacket, watching the news on our warped television screen. I remember not wanting to be alone and wanting to keep everyone here I cared about in the room with me. I remember wondering how it was possible to be so tired but so unable to sleep. I remember crying and wondering why. I remember being alive. It was never in doubt that M and I would be okay but the magical feeling of surviving is amazing.

Anyway, in case you have managed to read down this far I do have something for you...on the day before the earthquakes I made myself an oatmeal cake for breakfast before going orienteering. It was super delicious, especially with soy yoghurt and because I am awesome I even have a recipe for you (based on the ones

1/2 cup wholegrain oats
a pinch of salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/2 a banana, mashed
3 Tbsp oat milk (well, any non-dairy milk)
1/2 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp golden syrup
2 Tbsp peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1 small handful of chopped walnuts
1 small handful raisins (or chopped dates or something similar if you don't like raisins)

Preheat the oven to 190°C.

Combine the dry ingredients, then mix in the wet ingredients.

Spoon into a greased ramekin (about 1 cup I think) and cook for about 20-25 minutes until it's firm(ish).

Let sit for about 5 minutes then tip out onto your plate and hope for the best (you may need to run a knife around the side)!

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

A whirlwind of dark nights

...either too many words to an idea or not enough furniture for the idea itself or somebody else's furniture; always a muddle and clutter of speech.
Towards Another Summer by Janet Frame

I am home alone tonight and it's all dark and cold outside. M is out of town for work and my other flatmate is, well, out somewhere. I don't really like being home alone even when it's light. It's not that I can't entertain myself. More that I just like to know there are other people around. I could do with some chocolate but there is none...very silly I know!!

Since I'm feeling a little down I'll tell you a little about a couple of my favourite meals that I've been having a lot since I got down here. I've always loved nachos (well, at least in the last few years) but the way I've made them has changed over time. I found
this old post from 2008 where you can barely see the bean mix under all the vegan cheese! But here is a plate of nachos from the other week...and I think this is the best version so far.

Everyone else was having sour cream so I got a little jealous and thought I'd try some hummus instead and it worked really well!

Another favourite is, well, a sandwich. Makes a great dinner when you fry up some tofu, spinach and mushrooms. Makes an even better dinner when you've been at the climbing wall for the last few hours, it's gotten super late and you are really hungry.

There is something about toasting the bread that takes it from being lunch food to super awesome dinner food...kind of weird but true.

I have also had a lot of tofu (and veggie burger) sandwiches for lunch lately...well, especially since starting my new job last week. ARGH!!! Can't believe I have a job! But it has made life even more of a whirlwind of madness than it was before...but life is still amazing.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

I like cookies

Chapter 29
- Thou wilt get a brush and a little chalk to my sword - 'Twill be only in your honour's way, replied Trim.
Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne
(and yes, that is the entirety of chapter 29)

Look! It's me! I'm still alive!

Seriously, I have all these half-finished posts that haven't made it up because, well, I've ended up super super busy. Life can do that to you sometimes.

On my bench at the moment I have a whole lot of lemon shortbread cookies cooling for our work morning tea tomorrow. We are having a British themed morning since it's Queens Birthday this long weekend in New Zealand (it's not actually the Queen's birthday since that's in April sometime I think, but this is when we celebrate it). No photos of them yet but they do taste super delicious even slightly warm and still a bit soft!

But I do have cookies for you today. Even a recipe. This is an adaption of a recipe my old flatmate would make all the time. She would try all these different versions and we'd all get to taste test them. I was feeling a little homesick the day I made these and it cheered me up thinking heaps.

Anyway, I also made them the day before this crazy 24 race (eventually there will be a post for this and many others here when i come up for air again) the weekend after I arrived so I could have something yummy to eat in between legs and to warm my heart when the rest of me was freezing (and grumpy)!

I ate at least 10 on the first day of the race (and a few more on the following day although I was slightly over cookies by then).

HyunJin's Magical Cookies (my chocolate, walnut and sultana version)
I got about 24 quite large cookies out of this recipe...and they are far yummier than they look!

2/3 cup vegan margarine (I used olivani or whatever it's called)
1 scant cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp golden syrup
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups oats
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
80g chopped walnuts
1/2 cup sultanas (or raisins or currants or chopped dates etc)
1/2 cup dark chocolate, chopped

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line a couple of trays with baking paper.

Slowly melt the margarine, sugar and golden syrup in a big pot over the stove. Take the pot off the heat and mix in the flour, oats, baking powder and salt. Stir in the walnuts, sultanas and chocolate.

Place spoonfuls of mixture onto the baking trays with a bit of space between each. Lightly flatten (not too much). Bake for, hmmm, about 12 minutes or something like that. Just don't overdo them. That's all!!