You could say that I was wronged by authority-driven physical education at an early age. Or, that I seriously hated gym, sports, and PE and it all hated me. These days, while I appreciate that a lot of people love and enjoy sports, I don’t feel like I owe it anything.
But, it can’t be denied that the Rugby World Cup is happening in New Zealand right now. It’s going to be hard to avoid. Last night instead of watching the game (Tim did though) I had a charming evening with excellent host Jo Hubris, Sebastian the cat (also a good host; he sat on me) two Chileans and lots of wine. Here’s some things that could fill the rest of my time while it continues:
– Locate season two of Twin Peaks.
– Bake a Hummingbird Cake (had a really nice one at this cafe in Auckland called Fridge on Monday)
– Attempt bacon ice cream.
– Work more on making the cookbook that I want to write more likely to happen
– Sort out the minutes upon minutes of video footage of Poppy the kitten on my phone.
– Ummm….that’s it really. But this suggestion compilation by Laura McQuillan is a good start, as is The Wellingtonista’s list-a. Plus, Twin Peaks is very consuming. And ostensibly I could use up quite a lot of time thinking up things to use up the time.
To the food! While I love to eat, so much (that also works without the comma) unfortunately my breakfast habits can be a bit shocking. Eating breakfast is one of the best things you can do for yourself, and whenever I miss it, I always end up feeling all light-headed and empty. Like Ron Swanson, I have a lot of time for the foods of this eating genre, as so many of the best things to eat are associated with it: bacon, waffles, pancakes, yoghurt, scrambled eggs, poached eggs, fried eggs, French toast, hash browns…oats.
You can tell just by looking at oats, mealy and dust-like, that they’re going to be cheap and good for you. However, unless you put in some effort, they don’t always taste fun. There’s a fine line between luscious porridge and wallpaper paste, so if you’re looking for a new weapon to add to your artillery of breakfast wholesomeness, then I present to you: Baked Oatmeal. It might not sound that fun, more like regular porridge that just takes way longer, but picturing a cross between fruit crumble, cake, and flapjack might make the argument to try it more powerful.
So yes, there are swifter breakfasts out there. And if there’s a puritan nature within you that you’re trying to keep hidden, it might rise to the surface after reading about the cream and eggs in this. But firstly, they help keep it luscious and tender and puffy and cakey, preventing your breakfast from resembling warmed woodchips mixed with drywall scrapings. Secondly, they make it taste so good. And that’s all the argument I need.
I found this recipe on a blog called Macheesmo. I’ve adapted it a tiny bit.
1 can apricot halves OR 1 ripe apricot/peach/nectarine (etc) halved.
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup cream
1/2 cup milk (I used buttermilk)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped dried fruit – eg dates – or seeds – eg pumpkin (optional)
Brown sugar for sprinkling
Butter for buttering the dishes.
Mix together everything except the apricots, brown sugar and butter. Leave it for at least 25 minutes, so the oats can absorb some liquid, but if you leave it overnight in the fridge it’ll be even better.
Set your oven to 180 C/350 F.
Thoroughly butter two ramekins (if you don’t, the oats will be as superglue to their surfaces) and divide the oat mixture between them. Press an apricot half into each dish (and if you like, you can push one below the surface and then put another on top, like I did) sprinkle with brown sugar, and bake for 20-25 minutes. It’ll be really hot at first – sit the ramekins on plates or in bowls and be careful not to touch them!
This is delicious (well obviously, or I wouldn’t be blogging about it) but in a simple, calming way – the cream-swollen grains becoming richly nutty and yielding to the spoon, the brown sugar on top bubblingly caramelised, the already soft fruit dissolving juicily in your mouth. The oven-time gives a slightly cake-esque solidness to the surface and the egg helps keep it from being challengingly dry. It’s worth putting in some effort the night before, or just getting up earlier than usual, with this as your reward.
Tim and I ran into our much-loved friend Dr Scotty on Thursday night, who has been around since the bad old days of this blog (by which I mean…when this blog started, it was pretty bad. Not that there were elaborate scandals happening, alas) and I said I’d mention him here, there’s mutual benefits though, as he used to leave the nicest comments, and I’m hoping to entice him back to my comments box (not a euphemism.)
On Tuesday night Tim and I went to the launch of the NZ on Screen shipping containers on the waterfront. I think they’ve got one in Auckland too, and there’s going to be a travelling roadshow round the South Island. If you see it, I completely recommend that you take a look inside – it’s dedicated to all things onscreen in New Zealand, past, present and future, and the level of detail and technology involved is stupendous. And there’s this thing where you can green-screenly insert yourself into a famous movie or TV show – so we now have a photo of Tim looking appropriately nervous at Bruno Lawrence during the railway track scene of Smash Palace.
(I feel I should disclose that in 2003 I had a big crush on Doug Howlett and so became very interested in the world cup coverage that year. I think I ended up with three separate copies of that issue of Metro magazine with him and Joe Rokocoko on the cover, sent to me by caring family members. The crush has since cooled down and he’s not in the All Blacks anymore so between that and my aggressive disinterest in watching sport, I don’t have much reason to pursue the games this time round.)
Title via: Sit Down You’re Rocking The Boat from the musical Guys and Dolls. The movie is cool (Marlon Brando, phwoar to the phwoar) and that version is probably the one you’ll have seen if you know this song. However the recent Broadway revival’s version has Mary Testa in it and therefore is also very much worth your time.
On Wednesday night Tim and I got to go along to see Detroit’s Elzhi, who could both take on Nas’ Illmatic and a capella verses with ease, style, and respect for the original text. And, bless him, it was all over by midnight so I was able to get up the next morning without too much pain. Check out One Love and move around from there.
This morning Radio Active played Garageland’s song Fingerpops which I can’t have heard for at least ten years. Not Empty is my favourite but this is still special stuff.
Next time: while drinking Old Mout cider last night I thought it’d also make a cool (haaa!) ice cream flavour. So that’s what I’m going to do.