Thursday, March 25, 2010

Joon versus the evil printer of death

On Sunday 28 March 2010, I am presenting a lecture on evaluation to the KTP411 Advanced Practice in Creative Production & Arts Management students. To prepare I thought I would review my slides from last year's lecture and update them based on my now completed Masters thesis (yay for completion!) which was about evaluating a youth arts mentoring program. As I don't really like to read from my screen, I thought I'd print the slides, make hand written notes then update my slides. Sounds pretty straightforward right? Wrong!

What should have been a simple print job turned into a printing nightmare!!!

My printer jammed.

What's the big deal, I hear you ask? It didn't just jam, it right rooted itself. The paper got concertina-ed right at the back of the printer between a couple of rollers. I thought to myself, don't panic, you're pretty good at unjamming printers (and photocopiers), just pull gently. So I gingerly wrapped my fingers around the jammed-in paper and gave it a teensy tug. The paper gave a little, but then I heard the ripping sound. That's right. For those who've ever had to unjam a printer the ripping sound is not good. That sound means the paper is so jammed that it is catching on some spiky thing (why do printers have spiky things inside them?!?!) and is now going to come out in pieces! Now, that in itself is not necessarily the complete end of the world either, because sometimes you can retrieve an entire piece of paper in pieces. So I yonked to find that I was not in luck today. One tiny piece came out, but the rest stayed firmly stuck. Dammit!

Now when this happens, I then go for pushing and pulling as many levers and opening as many doors as I can find. Usually this does the trick... on a photocopier. But this is my little desktop printer, my Brother HL1430, it had no other doors or levers. *expletive*.

Not one to be licked by a printer, I decided to open it up. Surely that's how a professional printer fixing person would do it???

Armed with phillips head and flat head screwdrivers (note the technical use of handyman tools, so awesome), I opened my little Brother up while my cat Arora watched on in total fascination. I had to remove two big pieces of printer casing which was all locked in around the metal printer bit before I could get to the rollers and spiky bits. That was annoying. Not sure what printer fantasy land I was living in to think I could remove one printer piece, levering off the top, and then could reach in and lift out the jammed piece of paper.

So here I am looking at the rollers and spiky bits and realised I am also looking at electronic bits. Crap, this was no good. I don't trust myself to take out all those screws and remember which cordy bits attach to which printer bits and which little metal bits go with which plastic bits. At this point, the paper is still jammed, and now mocking me. I could just make out the printing that was on the back (I was using recycled paper to be kind to the environment), it said I Love Maths. Noooooooooooooo!!!!!

Alright then, time for precision instruments. A pair of tweezers later and the paper is removed! Before putting my Brother back together, I attempt a couple of test prints, which don't work, then do work, then don't work, then do work. Satisfied with test printing, I print my slides (remember this is the purpose of this whole printer shenanigans), which print out perfectly and on recycled paper.

The reason this adventure is so particularly awesome is because:

1. I have never opened up an electronic gadget of any descript in an attempt to fix it.
2. I unjammed my printer, which is also no easy feat at the best of times.
3. I printed my slides so I can now prepare my class (yay! what? damn).
4. I never thought I could be nerdy enough to do something like this.

So in the battle of Joon versus the evil printer of death, Joon1, printer nil. I win!!! Take that printer!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Chicken and spinach penne

Spending time on a thesis is not very conducive to cooking or blogging! So I haven't created anything worth blogging about as I've mostly been eating frozen dinners (which are never big enough) with frozen vegetables. But tonight I made a pretty tasty meal using frozen spinach, left over roast chicken and whatever I could find in the fridge. And since I haven't done much work on my thesis this weekend, choosing instead to spend some time with me, I thought, what the hey, it's time for a new post, the first for 2009. Yay!

So here goes...

Serves 1.5

Penne pasta
Leftover roast chicken from Woolworths
2 blocks of Coles frozen spinach
1 teaspoon garlic
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup soy milk
2 handfuls of parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. In a saucepan, boil water and cook the penne as per the instructions on the packet
2. While the pasta is cooking, thinly slice the chicken
3. In a microwave safe dish, cook the spinach as per the instructions on the packet, approx 3 minutes
4. When the pasta is nearly al dente, prepare the chicken and spinach
5. In another saucepan, melt the butter
6. Add garlic and lightly fry
7. Add the spinach and mix well with the garlic and butter
8. Season with salt and pepper
9. Add the chicken and mix well
10. Add the soy milk and simmer until slightly reduced
11. Add the al dente penne and mix well
12. Season with salt and pepper
13. Turn off the heat and add the parmesan and mix well
14. Ready to eat!

PS I think mushroom would be nice in this too. I'd slice 2 mushrooms thinly and add it to the pot with the spinach so that it can soak up the yummy garlic and butter.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Garlic and Rosemary Roast Lamb and Vegetables

I love a Sunday roast. The smells wafting from the kitchen feels so safe and homely. But I've always been afraid of cooking them because ovens are so variable, and I'd hate to go to all that effort to have it burn. But I think if the weekend must end, then I think it should end with a roast. So there's no better time to practise!

This recipe brings together 3 recipes: from the Australian Women's Weekly Roast mini cookbook (1) traditional roast leg of lamb with garlic and rosemary and (2) roasted vegetables; and (3) my mum's mushroom gravy. Like my other recipes, I've modded these slightly.

Because this recipe is a bit fiddly, this is the kind of time you should allow to prepare and cook this:

Preparation 30-40 minutes
Cooking 60 minutes

Serves 2 (may be some leftovers depending on how hungry you are)

Garlic and Rosemary Roast Lamb
Small leg of lamb
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to season

Roasted Vegetables
2 small tomatoes, sliced thinly
4 baby potatoes, cut into wedges
1/2 small sweet potato, cut into slices
1 small red onion, cut into wedges
2 small beetroots, cut into wedges
1 small zucchini, cut half lengthways then into 3cm lengths
2 trimmed celery sticks, cut into 3 cm lengths
Parsley (fresh flat leaf parsley chopped or dry)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to season

Mushroom and Onion Gravy
4 small-medium mushrooms, sliced
1 small brown onion, diced
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
Soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornflower
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1 cup water

1. Preheat oven to approx 180-200 degrees
2. Put the potatoes and sweet potato in a microwave safe container with 1 teaspoon of water
3. Cover and cook on high in the microwave for 3 minutes
4. Lightly oil the baking dish
5. Cover the bottom with half the tomato
6. Put the roasting rack in the baking dish on top of the tomato
7. Around the roasting rack and top the tomato with potato, sweet potato, zucchini, celery, red onion and the rest of the tomato
8. Sprinkle the vegetables with parsley and season with salt and pepper; then drizzle with olive oil
9. Cut into the lamb with a sharp knife
10. Combine garlic, rosemary, olive oil and season with salt and pepper; mix
11. Press the garlic and rosemary mixture firmly into the cuts; if there is extra, spread evenly on the outside
12. Put the lamb with the vegetables in the baking tray on the roasting rack
13. Lightly oil a separate baking tray
14. Roll the beetroot in oil in the baking tray (so the beetroot doesn't stain the other veges)
15. Put both baking trays uncovered in the oven
16. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until cooked as desired
17. Remove from oven and allow to stand for 5-10 minutes before carving

To make the gravy...
18. In a small saucepan, lightly fry the onion, then add the mushroom
19. Combine the cornflour and brown sugar with the cup of water
20. Add the oyster sauce and soy sauce to the onion and mushroom, mix
21. Add the cornflour and brown sugar mixture, stir
22. Bring to the bowl, then reduce to a simmer
23. Reduce the gravy so that it is a little thick. If you like it thicker, add more cornflour (watch out for lumps!)

24. Carve the lamb and serve it with the vegetables and gravy
25. Ready to eat!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Shu Mein or
Two Minute Noodle Soup

My friend Shu Min is going to Japan in a few weeks. When I invited him to check out my blog he told me that he'd find the recipes handy for when he moves unless he wants to eat instant noodles every night.

Instant noodles can be healthy too. So here is a recipe dedicated to Shu. May he be inspired enough to put more in his noodle soup than just what came in the packet!

Note, you can add or omit whatever meat and vegetables take your fancy. The veges featured in this recipe are what I had handy in the house. Not only was it tasty, but it looked super yummy in the bowl too. I love colourful food! And the coriander and shallots were a bit of treat. I don't usually have them lying around, but I really wanted them so I drove to the shop especially. So I suppose I could have picked up other vegetables as well. Anyway!

Serves 2

3 packets Maggi two minute noodles, Oriental flavour
2 chicken tenderloins, sliced
1 carrot
1/2 can whole baby corn, sliced in half lengthways
Handful of broccoli florets, chopped smaller
Soy sauce
Ground black pepper
Coriander leaves
Shallots, chopped

1. Bowl water in a kettle
2. In a microwave safe container put the 3 packets of noodles and cover with the boiling water; put the seasoning aside for later
3. Cook in the microwave on high for 1 minute
4. Stir the noodles to separate
5. Cook in the microwave on high for another minute
6. Remove the noodles from the container and share amongst your two bowls; retain the water
7. In the water, put the broccoli and carrots
8. Cook in the microwave on high for 1 minute (or longer if you like your veges mushy)
9. With a strainer, pick out the broccoli and carrot and arrange on top of the noodles; retain the water
10. In the water, put the chicken
11. Cook the chicken on high in the microwave for 3 minutes or until cooked
12. While the chicken is cooking, arrange the baby corn on top of the noodles
13. Season the bowl of noodles and vegetables with soy sauce and plenty of pepper
14. Once the chicken is cooked, arrange in the bowl with the noodles and vegetables; retain the water
15. Pour the contents of two seasoning sachets in the water and stir
16. Pour seasoned water into the noodle bowls
17. Garnish with coriander and shallots
18. Ready to eat!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Welcome to my blog!

I made it! I promised I'd only officially unleash my blog on the world if I managed to upload 5 posts because I figure there's nothing worse than a blog with nothing on it. I haven't decided what this blog is going to be about yet, or in fancy speak, it's curatorial framework, but I think I will start with posting about things I want to keep somewhere but don't know where else to store and that other people may be interested in. And I'll see how it evolves.

So I hope you enjoy it, and please feel free to comment or request a post.

Chicken and sweet corn soup

I think I've been struck down with an infection of the sinus. I'm feeling rundown, exhausted, my nose won't stop running, extreme pressure in my sinus, and I have headaches that come and go. Yuck. So I figured I needed the age old remedy of some chicken soup to boost my immune system. Not sure of the health benefits of chicken and sweet corn soup, but it is one of my favourites. So I made it for myself today, and amazingly I am feeling a little better. If I wasn't sharing it with Dave I think I would have eaten the whole saucepan of soup. What a pig!

This recipe is based off one I found in one of my Chinese cook books. I remember the first time I made it and thought, this doesn't look or taste like my mum's. So I modded it. So whether it is the same as my mother's recipe, it certainly looks and tastes like it. And the other reason I like it is because it only takes about 15 minutes to prepare and cook. Who doesn't like a fast, yummy recipe?

Serves 2-4 (or 1 if you are a pig)

2 cups chicken stock
2 chicken tenderloins, sliced thinly
1 can creamed corn (approx 400g)
2 eggs
Soy sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
Shallots, chopped

1. In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock to the bowl
2. Add the sliced chicked and boil for a few minutes or until just cooked through
3. Add the can of creamed corn and stir
4. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer
5. Simmer for approximately 5 mins
6. Season with a splash of soy sauce and pepper to taste, and stir
7. Simmer for another minute or so
8. Crack one egg into the saucepan and stir in breaking up the yolk and whites so it looks like shreds
9. Repeat with the other egg
10. Simmer for another minute or so to heat
11. Serve in soup bowls
12. Top with shallots to garnish
13. Ready to eat!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sherwin and Sang Boon's wedding checklists

This is a special post for Sherwin who is getting married to Sang Boon on the 3 January 2009 in Singapore. Dave has been given the honour of being Sherwin's best man, so we get to go to Singapore! I've never been before so am really looking forward to going. As part of my attempts to organise this trip (and Dave!), I had a big chat with Sherwin and Sang Boon at Timmy's birthday party at Sling Bar in West End about their wedding and what they need Dave to do. Sherwin suggested I post the questions I raised here on my blog.

So here you go Sherwin, kicking off...

Best Man Checklist

1. Will there be a wedding rehearsal, where and what time?

2. What time do you need Dave on the morning of the wedding? Traditionally, he would come over early and help you get ready. And as you are having a tea ceremony, he can help you with taking notes about what you get so that you can follow up post-wedding with thank-you notes. His other responsibilities will be to make sure you don't wear the loud sequinned, flashing lights suit that you've threatened Sang Boon with, calm your nerves, hold the rings and "get you to the church on time"!

3. What colour is Sang Boon's sister wearing? Maybe Dave's tie could match her dress?

4. What happens between the wedding ceremony and reception? Will you be taking photos? Will they include pictures of the bridal party?

5. Will you have speeches at the reception? If so, Dave will need to prepares something. Could I suggest that you tell everyone to limit their speeches to 2-3 minutes long? This helps keep fathers' speeches to a good time limit, because they usually like to waffle because they are so proud. Awwww.

6. Will you also be doing toasts?

7. Is Dave included in the Yum Sing tradition? I haven't been part of many Asian weddings where Yum Sing was a big part. And to be honest, I wasn't paying much attention to where the best man was while all that was going on!

8. Please provide Dave with a runsheet/itinerary so he knows where to be at what time!

9. Do you want a Buck's Party? I'm sure your Brisbane friends would totally get into this!

I think that's everything we talked about (and some more!).

And now, onto the MC. I've MCed quite a few wedding receptions, so it's old hat to me now! Here is my attempt to summarise the kinds of things I think about when I MC.

MC Checklist

1. The MC will need a runsheet of reception activities including the time courses are served, speeches, and any other activities eg outfit changes

2. The MC will need to arrive early and meet with the functions staff to (1) check the runsheet hasn't changed (2) collect any housekeeping announcements eg location of toilets, evacuation procedure, smoking areas

3. The MC should introduce him/herself to all speakers and entertainment eg band, DJ, as s/he is the glue that links everyone together.

4. Make sure you brief the MC on the "vibe" of the event, so s/he knows how to behave appropriately.

5. The MC starts by welcoming everyone to your wedding reception, shares housekeeping, thanks those who've come from a far and where they're from, reads "telegrams", announces what's coming up next and introduces all speakers in order to keep the party flowing. S/he should also assist with making any announcements you would like them to make.

And the final checklist. Here is a list of activities I've seen at receptions that you may want to consider for your reception:

Wedding Reception Checklist

1. Bridal Waltz
2. Speeches and toasts eg Bride and Groom, Parents of the Bride and Groom, Bridal Party or Bridesmaids and Groomsmen
3. Games to embarrass the married couple - I have an arsenal (well, a few!) if you need ideas
4. Tea Ceremony
5. Cutting the cake and photo opportunity for all your guests
6. Throwing the bouquet
7. Throwing the garter
8. Music and dancing
9. Good bye and well wishes circle

Wow, this is quite a post. I'm a bit of an organising/coordinating geek! There's probably more stuff that will come up, but I can't think of them all now. Sherwin and Sang Boon, if I think of anything else, I'll be sure to email or post. I hope you both aren't too overwhelmed! And of course, if you would like any other advice, please ask!