Tag Archives: Random musings

Musings, and road trip #1


As our northern hemisphere friends forage for spring-related things, we antipodeans are (reluctantly? raucously? slumberingly?) settling into nesting mode. Time to ditch the strappy dresses and sandals, hello to soft, faded jeans, softer wool jumpers and snuggly boots. Although we still get days of sunshine, there is a hint of chill in the air to remind us that, Toto, we’re not in summer anymore.


With this season of change comes ideas, potentials and impossibilities. Work has been throwing up complicated, fascinating questions: we have long talks about could, should, would; bits of how-do-we and bobs of what-if. I distracted myself with thoughts about different jobs, new pastures, talking to people about what is ‘out there’. (The answer? Things, stuff, stories, bluff. Some luck, a dose of passion and a pinch of swagger.)

In between such seriousness, friends and I have laksa runs, ramen-in-a-cup, strange salads and trashy pies. We have wild talks about the meaning of life, gawk at literary meals, and joke about travelling with a llama (my second favourite quadruped) to some faraway corner where – Wallace and Gromit-esque – we eat cheese til the cows (or llamas) come home.

Then there’s baking and cooking. Quince, figs, persimmons. A strangely addictive bird seed bread, and Liz’s tofu marinara.

bird-seed-bread-2-05-tileAnd. And. There’s our Easter road trip. Here is the first batch of photos, all about the crisp mornings, brilliant sunshine, brooding sunsets, plus one rather gorgeous peacock. More coming soon.

Continue reading

And the Liebster award goes to…

image from http://forloveoffilm.wordpress.comliebster

A couple of weeks ago, as people around the world put on Oscars parties, I was thinking about another award: the Liebster Award, given to me by Experienced Tutors – thanks!!

I read about the origins of the Award summarised by Experienced Tutors. Turns out, no one can find the first person who gave out this award. Another lost piece of internet history… Interestingly, the original Liebster asked sets of 5 questions. Now it’s 11 questions.

Part 1: the rules

1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog and link back to the blogger who presented this award to you.

2. Answer the questions from the nominator, list 11 random facts about yourself and create 11 questions for your nominees.

3. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers who you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been chosen.

4. Copy and Paste the blog award on your blog. (erm, can someone tell me how to do this??)

Part 2: the answers 

Questions from Experienced Tutors – all about blogging

i.        What do you think WordPress should do about cyberstalkers on their site when they receive a complaint?

My first instinct is to say that WP should try to block the stalker from viewing their victim’s blog, but, I imagine it would be difficult to block out someone who isn’t (logged in as) a WP member. There is nothing to stop the stalker from logging on from another computer, another wifi connection or a VPN?

ii.       Do you think we should be able to block individuals from looking at our blog?

See above. I would like to think we can, but technology may not work like that, yet.

iii.      If someone follows your blog do you think it good manners to follow theirs and do so?

At the very least, I visit their blogs regularly. But I try to keep the number of blogs I follow at less than 30. Once you have ticked off David Lebovitz, Smitten Kitchen, etc, this doesn’t leave room for many. But I’m discovering excellent blogs all the time, and can see myself breaking the “30 blogs” rule soon.

v.      Were you pleased or annoyed to receive this award?

Hahaha! I was surprised. I was also a little amused at the “chain letter” nature of the award. But, as Experienced Tutors said, it’s good to make someone happy, so here I am passing it on..

v.       Have you ever blogged with any site other than WordPress?

Nop. First time blogger and only with WP. I thought about Blogger, but didn’t want Mr Google to know everything about me.

vi.      If so, what was your experience?

n/a (I’ve read that WP allows more customisation than Blogger. Not that I’m technologically savvy enough to customise anything, but the illusion of choice is nice)

vii.     Approximately what percentage of posts do you read from blogs you are following?

I read almost all of them. It’s why I follow them. I also browse Freshly Pressed to get out of the food blogging bubble.

viii.    Approximately how long do you spend blogging each day?

It varies. When work gets busy, there is no blogging. On average, less than an hour of writing, maybe 2 hours if you count the time spent baking/cooking, taking photos, and all that.

ix.      How many blogs are you following?

I just counted – 30!

x.       Which is the favourite blog you are following? Don’t say this one just because it’s given you an award. . .(lol)

I have food-related favourites (like Une Gamine Dans La Cuisine), and non-food related favourites (like Christian Mihai).

A long-time favourite, but inactive, blog is fxcuisine.com.  I still go to search its archives for inspiration, or just to read about Swiss cheeses.

xi.      Has eleven of everything on this Liebster Award post been too many? Should it have been the original five?

I think five is more manageable. But eleven isn’t so bad, as long as the readers don’t lose interest (anyone still reading??)

Random facts

Continue reading

Thoughts on baguette and culture

The last post was my attempt at Anis Bouabsa’s award winning baguette. Not just any baguette, but the baguette that was judged to be the best in France in 2008. As others wrote:

The young baker slices one of his piping-hot loaves lengthwise and shows off his art. He can rhapsodize about the fluffiness of his dough and the crispness of his crust the way a music lover might talk about a Mozart sonata. And indeed, to bite into Bouabsa’s baguette is to know that a few moments of sheer bliss can bought for a bargain price. “Hey, boss, you like it?” The question is rhetorical. Anis Bouabsa knows the answer already.

Both the Guardian and Bloomberg report winning the title meant Bouabsa supplied baguette daily to then-President Sarkozy’s residence for a whole year.

The perks of being the French president (and being Carla Bruni).

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Anis Bouabsa’s award raised questions about the social model in France, where success stories by immigrants are reportedly disproportionately low for the number of immigrants, and where migrants only succeed by becoming ‘the archetype of Frenchness and thus being more French than the French’. And by comparison, in Britain, someone of Bouabsa’s heritage and family history may well win accolades for making Tunisian bread that is better than any British bread (Eric Roux, in the Guardian).

On the other hand, I believe there is something inherently pride-worthy in making a product that is recognised as the best of its kind. Anyone should, without geopolitical-cultural guilt, be entitled to seek to make the best bratwurst in Germany, or Raclette cheese in Switzerland, or dumpling in Shanghai. Culturally (and thereby politically) charged as these prizes are, having an outsider as the winner can be a powerful leveller too. Bloomberg business week wrote,

To better understand what happened to Bouabsa, imagine that in Germany naming a Turk the country’s best bratwurst butcher. Or a Portuguese being proclaimed Pickle King of the Spreewald, Germany’s cured cucumber capital. It really is a beautiful, unexpected sensation.

Continue reading