We were supposed to let the cheddar dry out on a mat for a week, flipping it twice a day. It started out ok but then suddenly developed a lot of black and white mould spots. I consulted cheesemaking reddit and they told me our house is too humid. I suppose we already knew that but didn’t realise it would be such a problem. They said we could scrape off the mould and continue on.
Waxed cheddar. Waxing was… an ordeal. Ask Scott about it. Then we just left it on a shelf for 5 more weeks. Sometimes a few drops of liquid would come out of it. Probably not a very good sign…
Finally this weekend we cut it open. It looked ok!! Not quite normal cheddar texture, more like havarti.. but I was just relieved that it wasn’t a puddle of slime inside. There was a little more liquid around the edges in some spots. Scott read that that is indeed a bad thing.
Unfortunately it tastes pretty gross. It starts out kind of ok but then finishes yuck. Kind of acidic/sour, and bitter. We ate a few pieces but then didn’t want any more.
We re-sealed the big chunks again but I have a feeling it’s not going to improve anything.
Thank you to Scott for being a great photography assistant for all of these shots!
Six shots stacked.
I forgot about taking multiple pictures of the same thing for stacking until the very end, whoops.
Tried a bit of light painting. Plus a plane in the background.
I would like to try again. I’ve booked some time off for the new moon in September, hopefully we’re not in any kind of lockdown then. We kinda need to go even further away, Melbourne was still so bright we couldn’t really take any pictures in the south direction.
Scott and I took a few days off the other week to head out to the country. I booked us a cute little Airbnb cabin in Pyalong, about 90 minutes north of Melbourne.
We stopped at Lune on the way out. They were selling the banh mi croissant that the dude on Masterchef invented. It cost $15 ahahahaaa we are suckers. It was good, but small and sort of weird that it was sweet.. we decided we’d prefer to get two full regular banh mis from Bun Bun for the same money.
They were sold out of a lot of other options so we just got a pain au chocolat, ham & gruyere, and a cheese & vegemite escargot. All nice.
Scott should use that picture for his LinkedIn, y/y?
We also went a bit out of the way to go for a walk at Lerderderg Gorge. It was a nice gorge, but there were a lot of people around. Scott did spot a nice yellow robin though.
There’s a part that you have to step across a series of rocks to cross the water, which was fun, but scary when you’re carrying a lot of camera equipment!
We arrived in Pyalong just before sunset. The property was stunning. Apparently the granite boulders were dropped by glaciers. We wandered around taking a million pictures because everything was so photogenic!
The first night was clear enough that we could take some night sky photos, which I’ll save for another post. It was my first time trying astrophotography, and we got some cool shots, but also made a lot of mistakes. Unfortunately the other two nights were extremely cloudy, rainy, windy, so we weren’t able to try again.
Foggy rainy days. It was ok though, we didn’t really have anything we needed to do, and the cabin had a very cozy fireplace (once you got it lit). We played many games of Orleans, read, photo edited, ate snacks, and just relaxed.
We did venture out to the Pyalong Railway Bridge on the way home. Pretty rickety.
A wedge-tailed eagle flew across the road very close to our car. It was neat seeing it so close. They are huge!
Out for 50% off burgers and Gelato Messina on Chaps.
Eileen, Dika, and Brenna were competing in an online competition at Phoenix, so I went to watch and also try to take pictures. It was a bit difficult with the lens I have, but I got a few cool ones. I love the placement of the mural in this one. Eileen is always awesome to watch. And Dika is about to go to her FIFTH Olympics!!! Incredible!
A decent winter harvest. We still have snow peas, cauliflower, more broccoli, more carrots, cilantro, and spinach growing, slowly, at the moment.
We went skating for a #SMAJ activity. Scott has gotten a lot better at skating since last time I saw him, he is much faster. He still needs to work on backwards skating and trusting his edges.
We went to Lysterfield Lake to try and find Swift Parrots, an endangered bird that breeds in Tasmania and migrates north in the winter. Unfortunately we ran out of time and didn’t find any. My ecologist friend said that the kids in the BMX park were scaring them away all weekend too.
We did find a couple Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo. We crashed around in the bush trying to get close enough to get a picture with my not-very-zoom lens. This picture actually looked terrible on my camera, it was totally just a silhouette, but because I shot it in raw, I was able to use Lightroom to turn up the brightness and all the features appeared like magic!! Cool!
Once the sun started to set we headed to Jemma’s for dinner. Myles was being a crazy boy!! This is him playing Cooking Mama. Can’t remember if this was pre- or post- him splitting his lip open by smashing face first into the arm of the couch.
Scott and I ordered wayyy too much food at Kimchi Grandma in Carnegie. I was so excited, it felt like we were back in Korea. We got goon-mahn-doo (pork and vegetable dumplings) and hae-mul chon-gol (seafood casserole with squid, octopus, prawn, pipi, ling fillet, bean curd, and mixed vegetables) plus banchan cuz why not. The stew got better and better as it simmered on our table. It was exciting digging around in it to find more seafood surprises underneath the surface. It was definitely meant for 3 or 4 people.
Pretty sure that’s the exact dish that Rosemarie and I refused to eat in NYC back in 2002. I have memories of a tentacle flipping over in the pot as the clams opened up at the table in front of us, and a waitress coming over with a pair of scissors to cut things up. All we would eat was rice and the edges of the Korean pancake that didn’t have any bits in it. Man how my tastes have changed since then!!
Sophie invited me out for dinner at Dragon Hot Pot, a place where you pick out all your soup ingredients from the fridges, they weigh it, and then cook it up in a delicious broth of your choice. Fun! I really liked mine, although I put too much. Next time I know I only need about 400g of ingredients and it will be a nice cheap meal.
I got my 2nd Astra Zeneca jab. I had zero noticeable side effects, I even went to training that evening and the next morning. But interestingly my watch told me I only recovered 50% that night, when normally I get back up to 100%. Kind of the same as if I had alcohol, but I hadn’t had any. I dunno, I found this interesting.
Scott is playing hockey again and loving it.
They kept the gyms closed one more week than they should have, imo. At one point I could go to dinner with my weightlifting friends and sit close together with no masks on for as long as we wanted, but couldn’t go train at the gym where we use barbells that automatically keep people away from each other.
We were supposed to spend the first half of June in the Northern Territory and South Australia, but ended up being restricted to a 5km radius from our house instead. Lockdown 4.0. So the month started off pretty bad, but I tried to make the most of it.
Instead of watching the Melbourne Demons vs Brisbane Lions game at Traegar Park in Alice Springs, NT, we watched it at home in our freezing house. :'( Dees won though. And we had delicious sushi bowls.
I had two weeks booked off work but cancelled the first week and worked instead. We were in strict lockdown so there wasn’t much I could do anyway. I actually got pretty depressed. It was just extremely frustrating that I was back at work, not on holiday, couldn’t reschedule the holiday, couldn’t go to the gym, couldn’t plan my training, couldn’t see my friends, couldn’t look forward to anything.
So I decided I needed a project.
I used that quiet week at work to plan and gather supplies for the following week.
My Saturday gym sessions currently have two exercises from blocks: block snatch and block cleans. I am very lucky that I can train in our garage, but I didn’t have blocks, which meant that I have to do the exercises from a hang position instead. I HATE HANG SNATCHES SO MUCH. Enough that I decided that I wanted to make my own blocks for home.
Originally I was going to make very simple criss-cross ones like I’d seen on the internet, but 1) I wanted to them to have two height options, and 2) I calculated that it would need around $150 worth of wood. So I emailed dad to ask if I could make them without the center supports because I don’t actually lift that much weight. He wrote back with a few questions and then 24 hours later he’d made me a brand new design in OpenSCAD! I could edit the dimensions to what is available here and it even generated a list of supplies. Very cool. Thanks dad. The new plan only used about $70 of wood!
It took me three afternoons to put them together, but I honestly found it very satisfying (other than stripped screws, which was remedied by replacing my screwdriver bit). I had fun using my new drop saw and circular saw, and didn’t even lose any fingers. Thanks dad for reminding me of when mom had to go to the hospital after a drop saw accident at the cottage AFTER I had finished cutting all of the pieces.
They work great! They nestle together perfectly and they don’t bounce or move at all. I’m very happy. I’ll probably add strips on the top to stop the bar from rolling off when I’m not holding it. I only used them one time so far though because the gym re-opened the next week lol. But there is covid in NSW at the moment so it’s probably just a matter of time before we are back in lockdown again. :/
Hide The Pain Harold Katrina.
If you’re in lockdown and don’t bake bread, DID YOU EVEN LOCKDOWN?
I made this bread with leftover whey instead of water, because the internet told me you could do that. But it tasted weird, I don’t think I would do it again. Or at least I would use 1/2 whey and 1/2 water.
Another lockdown cooking project: beef bourguignon. It took 3 days!!! And an entire bottle of wine!!! But it was dang delicious, and made like 8 servings, so in the end I think it was worth it.
One very good piece of news was that my citizenship test didn’t get cancelled. At that point we were allowed to go 25km from home and I guess they decided that it was essential enough that they could let the immigration officers work in the office.
They told me it would take 2 hours, and I had to bring in all sorts of documents. But the dude only asked for my passport and drivers license and I was out of there in 15 minutes, including doing the test TWO TIMES… because I failed the first time….. OOPS. (I got 95% but I failed one of the essential questions because apparently I am a monarchist. I got 100% the second time btw.)
So I spent a couple hours wandering the quiet city with my camera. I went to the Lululemon outlet, got bubble tea, borek, and popped into a whole bunch of shops too. It’s a good thing I didn’t get covid because my exposure site list would have been very long, haha. Most of my pictures didn’t turn out very well. I am definitely still learning how to use my camera.