elissande: (Default)
We're being given an industrial sewing machine!!! Before I joined the SCA this would not even have been on my list of things that I'd like to have. Now it's a cause of great excitement - even though it's one more thing to move.
elissande: (Default)
So lj is really behind. To summarise:
I have a new job. It's still at the same place, but now I'm down in the labs doing testing. It also means I'm working 5 days a week and I do miss the extra day off that I used to have. How do I get everything done now?

Anyway, I have a few weeks to get up to speed in fridge testing. This has been slightly complicated by a NATA inspection this week and a lot of extra work pertaining to a certain fridge that has been in the news recently (ok - before Easter, but it's still recent from my point of view).

I'm actually quite enjoying the change. There's a lot to do and to organise, but it's a different challenge and I do like working in the laboratory. I guess that's why I did science in the first place. I just wish the place hadn't been inhabited by TALL men for the last umpty-ump years. There's an amazing amount of stuff that requires a stepladder.

I'll update on the house in a specific post, but, of course, that's taking up time as well.

In addition, I've been doing consultant work occasionally and that recently saw me up in Brisbane for a day and I'll be in Canberra this Friday. Only flying visits - literally for Brisbane - so I won't be able to catch up with anyone this time. I was hoping to have had the weekend to visit with my parents and maybe socialise a bit, but it's the same weekend as May Crown and I'm doing Lists, so need to be there bright and early on Saturday morning.
elissande: (Default)
I should mention that choir has started again. We're doing the Schubert 'Mass in G' and Mozart 'Coronation Mass'. Both works I've not sung before so that is a plus. There are a few other smaller pieces in there as well. We have our new conductor this year - we've been trying out conductors for 18 months or so. Pretty much all of them were good. Choosing was made a bit easier for the committee by some of them taking up other positions or being otherwise unavailable.

We also got the CDs of the last concert. Damn good. A couple of uncertain entries, but not many and the Jenkins is really powerful. Sarah (the conductor of that concert) did a great job with the diction. I think the words are as clear as I've heard any large choir sing - and better than a lot of smaller choirs as well.

Of course, SCA is in full swing again as well. Somehow, I don't think I'll get any sewing done before Festival. Well, last year's garb is still wearable, and there was almost enough to last for the whole time. :)
elissande: (Default)
Yep, it's the third time I've run that event and I still enjoy it - though I'm completely exhausted by the end of it.
For those of you who don't follow my cooking blog, the menu was:

- nuts, dried fruit, olives (as nibbles while people were waiting)
- hommous, cacik (similar to tzatziki) and a moroccan carrot dip and bread.
- Andalusian meatballs, Sikbaj (lamb cooked in vinegar), Marrakesh roast chicken
- Yam and carrot tagine, beetroot salad, carrot salad
- herbed rice, couscous with fruit and nuts
- stuffed dates, marinated oranges.

There was more than enough food (it's feast, there should be lots of food is my reasoning) and everybody seemed to enjoy it.

And the hall looked fabulous thanks to the efforts of the decoration crew. The pictures below were taken before the feast got underway, so not a lot of people yet.



and by candlelight:

elissande: (Default)
Friday - Dancing Cooks. This is medieval dance practice and a cooking competition. I made chicken in verjuice (the theme was chicken) and intended to make another dish, but didn't start it in time to get it cooked before the event - it needs to marinate for 2 hours. Cooked it when we got home. The chicken in verjuice was good, but the Moroccan chicken was absolutely yummy. I think I've found one of my dishes for the Al'hambra Nights Feast. Oh, and we did get some dancing done as well.

Saturday - after sleeping in, spent most of the afternoon sorting out a few details and making the mulled wine and cider for Soiree that evening.

Soiree was a good event. [livejournal.com profile] tatianiska provided wonderful food, as usual, and the event ran very smoothly. For those who don't know, Soiree is a performance event - somewhat like a bardic circle with a feast attached. Although it was a small event this year, there were enough people prepared to get up and perform once or twice or thrice to keep everyone entertained until quite late. Songs, stories and jokes - and a bit of dancing. So congratulations to the Stewards.

At the end of the night, there were prizes awarded for best song, best story and valiant attempt. The Baroness had also decided that the new Bard of Rowany would be chosen from the performers. For his sins, S got to be Bard! :)

And in a personal achievement, I actually managed to get up and sing by myself for the first part of the song Styvyn and I sang. I sing in choirs, I don't usually sing by myself. I get nervous and stuff up. I think I did ok this time, so whew!

Sunday was relatively quiet mainly involving work around the house seeing as it was still raining.
elissande: (Default)
Se we went to New Zealand for Lochac Crown Tourney this last weekend. I'd booked the flights and the accommodation a couple of months ago as the flights were very cheap (but non-tranferable and non-refundable). At the end of March, I suddenly thought that I'd better check my passport. It was expired.

No panic, I thought. There's a bit more than a month until we leave so I'll just get it renewed.So I had the photos taken and filled out the necessary forms and sent them and my old passport in. The British High Commission website said that their current turnaround time was 10 working days from the date of receipt of a complete application. As they got it on the 2nd April and we weren't set to leave until 1st May, it looked like there was plenty of time - even with Easter and other public holidays in there...

Anyway, to cut a long story short, after numerous phone calls (each costing $9.90), I finally got a response on the 30th April, that it had been posted that day and giving me the AusPost tracking number. Fortunately, it had been posted the day before and was already in Sydney by the time I got that information. I went home at lunchtime and 15 minutes later, it was delivered. This even gave me time to go into the Dept. of Immigration and get my Resident's Return Visa changed over to the new passport.

After that, it felt like the rest of the weekend was really a gift. On Friday night we had dinner at the lovely restaurant that we'd found last tie we were there, then drove the rental car up to the B&B that we stayed in last time and which has a wonderful bathroom - with a big spa bath and underfloor heating.

Saturday we made it to the site, caught up with a few people and, of course, there was a tourney.Styvyn didn't do very well ( I blame the lack of tourney practice... actually, the lack of practice generally. :)), but the tourney was very good to watch with a nice mixture of humour added. And the weather was cold, but sunny and dry, so the day was wonderful.

After, I spent a fair while chatting to Bartholomew (Kingdom Seneschal), first about seneschal stuff and then just about stuff. Then court (3rd for the day) and the Feast. We helped clean up after the feast and then watched the dancing for a while before heading back to our lodging.

Another relaxing spa, then falling into bed. Nice lazy start to Sunday. Packed, paid and left our B&B and went into Wellington to pass a bit of time before heading out to the airport. Found a chocolate cafe.

Plane and taxi home. Still tired.
elissande: (Default)
Firstly, the weather was much better this year, though still ridiculously humid during the middle of the day. No real rain until Monday, just in time for the semi-finals and final of the Fighter Auction Tourney. Can we say rusty armour?

Because I'm now Rowany Listmistress, it was a fairly busy Festival for me - though I didn't have to do List the Fighter Auction Tourney. And because I was busy, I didn't get to do as much around our campsite as I normally would on a daily basis. But it was ok, we changed our system and each part of the household took responsibility for a different day. As the only day I wasn't doing something else was Sunday, that turned out to be our day - it was also the day we had our social event. Fortunately, we had help with that.

We used to have the Blue Feather Ladies Long Island Afternoon Tea, but as the small group of us there formed a sub-household within Blue Feather, and as there wasn't much time, we changed it this year to the House Risna 'warm and fizzy' Champagne on Campaign. This involved mulled wine, mulled ale and champagne cocktails as well as a variety of comestibles.

That day produced a few cooking highlights for me. I had carefully packed the recipes that I was going to use into a bag which I then left in the lounge room. So everything I cooked was pretty much made up. Added to that, one of our household can't eat anything with pepper in it so most of the recipes had to be altered anyway.

So now I know that I can mull wine and ale by making it up on the spot and adjusting until it tastes good, that the chickpea dish that is one of my staples can be made into a nice soup it you've forgotten the sweet potato and can't use any pepper. But the big highlight for me was the loaf of bread that I cooked in the Dutch Oven.

On Saturday (this entry is chronologically challenged) was the Stowe pot luck birthday feast. It was a little odd at times, but a group of us ended up sitting around the fire and singing songs - a large number of which were more than a little risque. The Mangy Mongol Songbook has a lot to answer for. :)

I still need more garb for Festival but I'm gradually getting things together.

On the home front, the cat seemed to cope with being looked after by the wonderful [profile] i_ate_my_crusts and [personal profile] electricantand they seemed to cope with the chaotic state of the house.
elissande: (Default)
Firstly, I did go and see 'Watchmen' on Friday night with [profile] i_ate_my_crusts and [personal profile] electricant and Styvyn. We had a pleasant, but not astounding dinner beforehand and then went to the movie. As we did it Gold Class, we were certainly comfortable and well provided for. :)

What was the movie like? Well, I enjoyed watching it and only had to shut my eyes due to unnecessarily graphic violence a few times - fewer times than I was expecting, anyway. I haven't read the graphic novel. I can see why it was ground-breaking in its day and understood all (well, I think all) the socio-political and philosophical subtext. I addition, I think that the cultural scene was set quite well and the soundtrack was stunning - not to mention pretty nostalgic for some of us - but at heart, it was really a boy's own adventure with lots of blood and gore and a little bit of sex. While the heroine obviously looked good and could kick but with the boys (but what's this walking through a burning building with your very long hair flowing loose) her main role seemed to be reminding the big blue guy that life is A Good Thing.

What I didn't do was have my parents around for lunch on Saturday. My brother was supposed to drive them up from Canberra for a visit, but managed to damage himself water-skiing - badly enough for 2 weeks of close to bed rest and 3 months of doing as little as possible so as not to put any strain on the cracked vertebra. Ouch!

On Saturday night, I did go out with a group of friends from the local SCA group. We went to the Bavarian Bier Cafe in Parramatta for a night of eating, drinking beer and schnapps and shouting at each other because it was so loud in there. I think we all had fun, though I'd really like it if they put some decent Australian beers on the list as well. I'm not as fond of the Bavarian style of beer as I used to be.

Sunday we didn't do much. Slept late and did some gardening in the afternoon.

And that was the weekend!
elissande: (Default)
Last year I ran an SCA event based on Moorish and Middle Eastern theme - well, the food and decorations were. It was fun and people seemed to like it, so I'm running it again on 6th September. Hopefully the weather will be a little warmer than it was in August last year, but I'm not sure the way this winter has been going.

There's an entry about the last one here and it includes a picture of the decorated hall'

I've been having a fun time redacting various recipes. Yet another hobby! The people that I've used a guinea pigs for the recipes don't seem to have minded, however.

I think that most of my flist that are likely to be able to make it already know about it, but if you didn't and you want to come - let me know and I'll send details.
elissande: (Default)
Was last Saturday night. Most will know that [profile] tatianiska and I were doing the cooking for this. It's the first time that I've cooked for quite so many - it was over 100 people.

It was definitely a learning experience. I think that, generally, the food was fine. It would have been nice to get the third remove out a bit sooner - but then, it would have been nice to have a little more help in the kitchen from an earlier time. A lot of the help promised was 'at the tourney'. I guess we should have been more specific and said we will want helpers from midday! It's a learning thing.

Fortunately, Styvyn and Daniel were awesome helpers and worked pretty much non-stop for the whole afternoon and evening. Good thing that Styvyn didn't want to go to the tourney that day.

Another thing that I learned is that it's not a good idea to leave anything to the Saturday morning to pick up - or make sure you pick it up earlier in the morning. The one hour trip from Marrickville to the venue at Croyden was frustratingly slow.

For the dishes I made, I was a bit disappointed with the meatballs - but it was mainly because they'd had to stay warming in the oven for a while and had dried out a bit. On the other hand, I think that the Sardamone (a spiced lamb dish) was as good as I'd ever made it. And the rice pudding was pretty good - but it's hard to go wrong with that.

I think that the food was reasonably well received, though I didn't get much of a chance to socialise and get proper feedback.

After the feast, got home and slept for 12 hours!

On related matters, Tatya and I went to the market on Friday morning. It's the first time I've actually been to it. All I can say is that forklift drivers are insane! I don't think I'd get up early to go there just for normal shopping, and determining quality of things in boxes was difficult.
elissande: (Default)
For those who don’t already know, [livejournal.com profile] tatianitska and I are cooking for the Newcomers’ Feast this year. After much discussion, we decided on the theme of ‘Angleterre to Outremer’ (basically England to the Middle East – Europe is nicely in the middle). After we’d decided the theme, the dishes actually fell into place quite nicely. Most of them have been at previous feasts run by one or the other of us, but there’ll be a few new ones. I’ve started testing them out already.

For those not familiar with the term: (source Wikipedia)
Outremer, French (outre-mer) for "overseas", was the general name given to the Crusader states established after the First Crusade: the County of Edessa, the Principality of Antioch, the County of Tripoli and especially the Kingdom of Jerusalem. The name was often used as an equivalent to Levant, Syria or Palestine, and incorporated areas that are today also part of Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon.


The term could also be used for any other land "overseas"; Louis IV of France was called "Louis d'Outremer" as he was raised in England.
elissande: (Default)

View of hall after decoration
Originally uploaded by elissande
Well, it was quite a weekend!

For those who may not know (I just realised that I didn't blog it) I ran a feast this weekend. The theme was moorish (hence the event name was Alhambra Nights) and I had a lot of fun researching some of the recipes. Unfortunately, due to 'the kitchen that ate my brain' I wasn't able to do a full redaction more than a couple of them.

Over the weeks previously, I'd tried to work out a way of making a suburban scout hall look vaguely exotic and reminiscent of the Alhambra. Lots of things I thought of were totally impractical, but I think the final result - while perhaps more reminiscent of the middles east, at least gave some of the flavour. See picture with this entry. I only took a couple of photos as I was busy in the kitchen.

Although tables were provided, I was hoping that those who could would so the sitting on the floor thing - and they did! I was really pleased with the atmosphere in the place. A pity that the actual temperature was a bit on the chilly side. And people seemed to like the food, which was also gratifying. And I have to thank [livejournal.com profile] tatianitska and Jane and later Anice for their wonderful help in the kitchen.

And I got an award! The Golden Staple. It was a surprise - as people who saw my face at the time must have realised. And it is nice to get acknowledgment of things that you've done. I think it's one of the things the SCA does well.

So - all in all a good evening and a good weekend. Spent Sunday being lazy - after we'd tidied and cleaned.
elissande: (Default)
We went to Dubbo for the weekend to attend an SCA event. It’s a long time since I’ve been west of the Blue Mountains and I’ve never been quite so far into western NSW. Somehow, I didn’t remember it as being quite as hilly as it is. At least the grass was the same brown I remember.

The event was a demo and feast run by an incipient group out there. With the people coming from Rowany and Polit (Sydney and Canberra for non-scadians), I think they managed to put on a good show. They also managed to garb an amazing number of people in some semblance of mediaeval attire. And the feast was great and I really must find out which smoked salmon was used (it was fabulous and not too salty). My only complaint is that it was far too hot and humid – who expected humidity out west?!

I think it’s the first event I’ve been to where there were very few other Stowegians. Patri was the only other one, as [livejournal.com profile] wenchilada and Kassiian couldn’t make it at the last minute.

We stayed with some friends who have recently moved out there, though we didn’t get much time to socialise as we were all exhausted when we got home from the feast and had to leave fairly early on Sunday. Still, nice to catch up with them again, however briefly.

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