Sick

I’ve been sick today.

I’m drinking wine now, and I feel a little better, so I may just have been hungover. There was a free beer related event I attended last night. I can’t help thinking these things may be connected, but I won’t make a judgement.

In other news, I’ve finally gotten my sense of smell back. As someone without much in the way of a sense of taste (this might cause you to ask after the veracity of my previously published recipes, but I use an independent panel of judges) the return was like the reopening of a forgotten world.

I wandered Smith St, my senses assaulted by the new layers of information. I knew the sewers beneath the northern stretch were acting up. I knew dogs were crapping on the pavement before I rounded the corner. People lit up with new layers like a colour filter, glows of beer or perfume or sickness.

So that’s a thing. One sickness in and another out I suppose… but as of next week I’m into actual full time work. Which I’m sure will be great for my health.

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Something on Toast

I suppose I’ve always been a bit of a scavenger.

But this was a morning where my tendency to pick up odds and ends of cheap jewelry from¬†between cobblestones or to arrive at an event advertising free wine and arrange for there to be free wine no longer just wasn’t going to cut it.

There was nothing for breakfast.

Well, not nothing. Nothing easy. I can’t remember the last time we bought cereal, and the English Muffin supply has run its natural course. Again. I suggest pancakes, but Ghorb isn’t really sold given the soporific effect Canadian food seems to have on these kinds of mornings. Rainy Melbourne mornings. Queenie emerges, and the prospect is discussed.

I suggest some kind of tofu spread, and they look at me like I’m crazy. This latter is not an uncommon occurrence.

Then I suggest that I can’t think of anything beyond pancakes, and after a brief brainstorm a sort of tofu tomato toast is proposed.

Here’s how it went down.

wpid-20150712_094636.jpgI hacked the silken tofu out of its industrial sized tub, and hoiked it into the pan. Yes I’ve been buying it by the kilogram now. The lady at the Chinese Grocery around the corner has been very obliging.

Fry with soy sauce and pepper for flavour. Throw in a finely chopped onion and garlic, cook for a little bit.

Add a can of diced tomatoes, or your own chopped fresh tomatoes if your feeling very fancy and far more motivated than I was at this point. Add Sriracha chili sauce, because you can’t go wrong with Sriracha and given it looked like we were all coming down with colds deploying some demolitions on our sinuses seems like a good plan.

Basil and oregano, because I always put some of those in with tomatoes. Feels weird not to.

Next, dig small holes in this mixture, and throw in some eggs. Let them fry a little, wpid-20150712_095645.jpgbefore stirring them through the mixture. For any of my vegan imaginary readers, I’d probably use chunky chopped mushrooms. Because hell yeah chunky chopped mushrooms, that’s a fusking brilliant idea. You can also probably sub the cheese that’s upcoming for delicious salty bean paste (see the Refried Bean Secret for reference).

Ah right, yeah. Cheese. Toast some bread, spread the mix on, and put a slice of cheese on top. Put it in the oven or grill to melt the cheese. Sprinkle with oregano and black pepper. Because you’re worth it.

So that was my brilliant idea. Feel free to leave any of your delicious scrounged meals in the comments, my dear imaginary readers.

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Frying the Trickster

It was a thought that startled a friend of ours when we stayed with her in the UK.

I said that I had never seen a fox alive. I know they’re a massive pest here in Australia, but the only time that I had ever seen one before this point was as a mangled shape¬†on the side of the highway. Usually the Hume Highway, between Sydney and Canberra. I don’t know if that’s significant.

So our host put out some chicken offcuts in her backyard, leaving a low light on and keeping a firm hand on her little West Highlands Terrier. Soon enough, to the Westy’s unhappy growls, we watched through the glass door as a trio of foxes, barely more than pups, hopped over the rear shed and dropped into the back yard. They warily snatched up the chicken before departing again, and I couldn’t help but feel like these strange animals were more like possums than dogs, leaping and clambering over fences and knocking over bins. Maybe I’m just more used to having possums near the house. For any imaginary readers who haven’t been to Australia or New Zealand, consider it a mercy to have not heard a possum’s voice at night. Scary shite right there.

Anyway, I was talking about foxes. I had met them in another context, in which they were neither flesh and blood creatures or flesh and blood road markers. Fox Shrines dot Japan, often in wild and partially forgotten places, or clinging quietly to unseen corners in the grounds of larger shrine complexes. There is a beautiful one to the side of Kamakura’s Hachimangu whose approach seems little more than a narrow forest path, leading to a flight of weathered stairs and, for me at least, a haunting sensation of being watched.

What all this fox related jabbering is leading to is the noodle recipe that follows.

Now there’s a leap of logic for you.

To explain: not long ago I attempted to make some Kitsune Udon for my partner and Ghorb, who is currently living with us. A rough translation would be Fox Noodles. I’ve never understood what appeal fried tofu has to foxes, but then I’ve never really felt much of an urge to delve into it either. Just sort of took it as given that the folkloric tricksters of Japan’s unforgiving ecosphere would , like me, be really into soy products.

So here’s how I did it.

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First, I chopped up a whole bunch of Shitake Mushrooms for broth. Because mushrooms are great.

Arrayed behind said mushrooms are my other ingredients; red miso paste, sesame seeds and firm tofu. You’ll be able to tell from these that I’m not making a traditional broth… this is really more an homage to a memory than a real recreation.

Because I’ve tried to arrange for silken tofu to hold its shape through the frying process before, and we all remember how that went.

Well, you guys don’t I suppose… it didn’t end well. Silken tofu just kind of disintegrates when you try to fry it, and this little blogger had to walk all the way back to the supermarket, which is… admittedly, right across the road, to get firm tofu.

So remember: Firm Tofu.

Here’s what you do with it.

You slice it into little steaks. I made triangles, but you could equally make rectangles or any other shape your knife skill wpid-20150629_183335.jpglevels allow.

Give them a quick skin mixed from flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Fry in oil until crispy.

Fry the mushrooms, then drown them in hot water and add a goodly dollop of miso paste to make a tasty broth. Sprinkle in some finely chopped spring onions, and your golden. Throw in noodles for your audience and… hey presto.

Get those noodles and that broth into a bowl, place the nice little tofu guys on top, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Much more attractive than most of the foxes I’ve encountered, to be sure.

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Selling Out

Well, it happened.

It took a while. Hell, last time I worked I was on the other side of the world in a winter that we will never see on account of the odd vagaries of our planet’s hemispheres.

But I have finally sold out and jumped on the megacorp bandwagon.

Henceforth, imaginary readers, it appears that yours truly is once again employed. Once again a wage slave, a punchcard minion, a low level villain or shill in any cyberpunk set dressing. Unfortunately, the shadowy underground took their sweet time calling, and I gotta get tofu money to keep entertaining you guys somehow. And no matter what the 9 to 5 throws at me, you’re always gonna get something from me on my Saturdays.

So quorganism is now, during business hours at least, a travel agent. It could have been a lot worse. Hell, I was selling light bulbs for a fortnight and that was a lot worse. But I’ll certainly be busier.

And with that said, my computer remains, unfortunately, exploded. I’m currently typing this on my good friend Ghorb’s machine, so forgive any haphazard behaviour my apparent loss of connection with reality (aka the internet) causes.

Normal transmissions will resume as soon as possible, dear imaginary readers, and you’ll soon get your first teaser of my current super secret project. But for now, here’s a picture of a plane while we all think of bright and beautiful times.

Photo
Photo “Plane Spotting at ORD”, courtesy of H. Michael Miley aka Mike_Miley on flickr. Creative Commons Attribution Sharealike

Computer Problems

Well, my computer finally gave up the ghost.

Maybe. It’s hard to tell, but either way its going to need someone better at this stuff than I am to fix it.

Given this is both the day my blog is due and the first day of Melbourne’s Govhack weekend, this has naturally proven a bit of a problem. So to add to my weaknesses in statistical management (which given I’m at a Government Free Data jam is a bit of a worry) all my usual tech has now spontaneously failed.

So I’m cobbling together a film making suite with a phone, an ipad and zero budget. This has rather delayed my blogging, but I imagine I’ll tell y’all how it goes.

I suppose that’ll depend how it turns out…