Thursday, December 18, 2008

deli-style cold pasta salad

DELI-STYLE COLD PASTA RECIPE (serves 2 very hungry people!)

  • 200g shell pasta
  • 1 small eggplant, chopped
  • half a yellow capsicum, chopped
  • a few chunks of sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • a few leaves of fresh basil, chopped
  • Italian dressing
  • basil pesto
  • 1/4 of a chicken breast


  1. Cook the pasta al dente, drain and rinse in cold water.
  2. Pan-fry the eggplant and capsicum until the eggplant is soft. Season with salt if you want. Set aside in a bowl.
  3. Pan-fry the chicken. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper if you want. Cut into small chunks.
  4. In a small bowl, mix about 100 ml of Italian dressing with one and a half teaspoons of basil pesto.
  5. Mix the pasta, dressing, and all the other ingredients together in a large bowl. Refrigerate and serve cold.

Monday, December 15, 2008

getting away from it all

Last Saturday Lorne and I had a weekend getaway in Shimoda. Seeing as it was going to be the last weekend we'd have before going back to our respective countries for the Christmas holidays, we thought it'd be nice to go on a trip and relax. I guess it doubled as a celebration for my finishing the Japanese Test, and his getting through working a shitload for the last couple of months.

So we headed out on the Saturday morning and got to Shimoda around 11:30 a.m. The weather was absolutely beautiful and at points it got so warm that I was fine in a t-shirt. We wandered around along the water and happened upon a perfect spot for us to have the picnic lunch that we'd made the night before: potato salad (of course), chicken subs and cold cut meat subs, and a cold pasta salad we had never made before. So good.

After stuffing ourselves we decided to waddle it off with a five km walk to the pension we were going to stay at. A lot of it was up hill so by the time we got to Shirahama Beach, which was five minutes away from the pension, we were so tired that we couldn't be bothered taking any pictures, thinking we could do it tomorrow. Lesson one learned: Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.

We woke up to find it pissing down with rain. No kodak moments for us at the beach, especially since we didn't have any umbrellas. So, we decided to go to a cafe that Lorne's friend had recommended, South Cafe. Didn't know where it was, but it was easy enough to get an address and map on the internet. Armed with this information, we headed back to the station (the owner of the pension was kind enough to give us a lift) and wandered around till 11 a.m.ish, when we decided that it was time to head to the cafe for what promised to be a amazing serving of onion rings and burgers.

Jump into a taxi. Taxi driver knows where to go (ooh lucky us! we think). 10 minutes in and we see the cafe on our left. Stop. Pay the driver. Get out of the taxi. Belly rumbling. Excitement building. Rain still coming down. Wait. Why is everything dark? Lesson two learned: Always call a restaurant beforehand to find out what time they open if you don't know. Or check on the internet at the same time you find the map and address.

Yes, it seems not much is open in Shimoda any earlier than midday on Sundays, except Moss Burger and McDonald's. We opted for the former.

All in all it was another fun trip even though there were incidents that will now be filed under "Blonde Moments". But, aren't those some of the best memories? The ones that you can laugh about even five years on.

ps. More photos will be added this week.

Monday, December 1, 2008


So the reason I haven't written an entry in a month is that I have been pretty busy trying to cram every little thing I can before the Japanese Language Proficiency Test coming up this Sunday. And almost going crazy. I've now given up on trying to squeeze new things into my head and just concentrating on reviewing the grammar points and kanji and have practically given up on learning anymore vocab and idioms. The way I figure it is, in all three of the past exams that I've done I've gotten 80 percent or more right and the part that I'm screwing up is the vocab one, which, luckily for me, isn't worth that much. And most of the other mistakes I make are stupid ones (note to self: read the question carefully).

If (when?) I pass this test, I have someone to thank for it. No, it's not God. And it's not my mama. Nor is it all my fans out there. I'm saving that speech for when I win the Nobel prize in the bullshitting category.

Seriously, the person I would thank is my boyfriend, Lorne. Without his support and his pushing me to study, I probably would've procrastinated even more.


The conversation we had Sunday after waking up at noon. We had planned on waking up at 10 ish to get a nice productive day in - gym for both of us, laundry and Christmas shopping for him, and studying for me.

What time is it?
Me: 12:15.
L: ...Shit.
Me: [hatching up a fun plan for the day] I know! How about this? Since it's already so late, let's just skip the gym and I'll come shopping with you. [grin]
L: [horrified look on his face] Absolutely not, babe!
Me: [thinking: hey, I know I'm a pain to go shopping with, but ouch!] You just rained on my parade...
L: Sorry hon, but you've gotta study today! We'll go for lunch together, but then you are going to study for your test.
Me: [thinking: dammit, I know he's right...but shopping and curry in Ueno would be so much more fun...] *Sigh* OK, babe...I know, you're right...

So, we went out for lunch together at a new curry place by his place (by the way, not bad, but not as good as the one we usually go to) and I went home to study.

And it's not just him supporting me. I think I do the same for him too. At least I try to. At the moment, he's working four nights at a part-time job on top of his full-time job and band practice. So, I'm doing my own thing on weeknights and I make sure that I mail him at least once a day, usually with girly emoticons like love hearts and music notes. It's not much, but I hope it makes his otherwise hectic day and night feel a little better.

Sometimes, however, selfishness rears its ugly head. (It's just as unsightly as jealousy, only a different colour). And it's these times that I have to learn to take a step back and reassess the situation. Support. That's what I have to do.

ps. A pinch and a punch for the first day of the month. No returns.