Moving around

Friends who have followed me from the very beginning (yes, since I tried Wix and Blogger as blogging platforms), it will probably come as no surprise to you that I am shifting yet again!

I mentioned in my last post that I had started another blog called My Sister’s Notebook which provides advice to teenage girls. This is something I have always wanted to do, but I have also wanted a space where I can talk about my life and share the things I have created. I realised that separating my personal life from such a personal project is never going to work as it creates such a distinct divide in the writing styles. It also meant that MSN was starting to lack in personality – which is the opposite of what I had intended!

After spending a long time thinking about how to re-inject some passion in to both projects, I have decided to migrate all of my posts from this blog to MSN and form an amalgamation of the two.

Hopefully this will mean more writing from me.

I’ll see you on the other side (;

http://www.mysistersnotebook.com

Chloe xx

My Job

There are a few questions we hate being asked in life. For me, that includes “what’s for dinner?” (I don’t know, you tell me!) and “what do you do for a job?”

It’s not so much that I don’t want people to know what I do during the day, it’s that it can’t be summed up in to an acceptably short sentence so I end up mumbling about marketing and websites and other stuff on the side. All I end up doing is making it seem like I do no work at all. What I SHOULD be saying is “I’m a freelancer” but I’ve found that for a lot of people, particularly older people, this doesn’t seem to cut it. They don’t realise that the internet can provide a source of income. You can see it on their face, hear it in their voice as the conversation carries on; I don’t do any work in their eyes, I’m lazy, I sit at home all day and surf the internet.

I’d like to clarify that I am pretty proud of the work I do and I’m not that worried about what other people think of me. Sometimes though, when you have been told FAR too many times that X large supermarket/department store would hire you, it’s time to have  a good old rant. What better place to do that than the internet? (don’t answer that…)

So, what do I do? In the last 6 months I have, amongst other things, rebuilt and/or repaired a number of websites, worked in social media and online marketing positions for two companies (and possibly a third very soon), done some photography, offered IT advice to businesses, built and run an advice site for teenage girls (which you can see here. *Shameless self-promotion*), taken on 8 chemistry tutoring students, filmed and edited videos for online platforms and written website copy. As a part of these jobs I have been airboating, I get to go camping to a place that rarely gets visited, I have met some incredibly inspiring people and personalities, spend every day learning exciting new things, and on top of all that, if I don’t feel like waking up before 8, I don’t have to.

Being a freelancer is great for people like me who get bored easily because you are doing something different every day, it means that you can charge whatever you want (that job seems like it will be painful, I will charge you an extra $10 an hour), you can work whenever and wherever you want (excuse me sir, I just need a little more elbow room in this squishy aeroplane seat so I can go to work), and if you don’t like the sound of a job, you can just say no . While the work isn’t quite as consistent as a 9-5 office job, I’m loving it. I enjoy going to work every day (or not going to work) and I’m doing stuff that challenges and inspires me, it draws upon my creativity while requiring a certain level-headedness.

There has been a lot of chat about the stigma surrounding the word “freelancer”, and in particular online freelancers lately (at least within my circles). I think it is time that we start to truly recognise the power of the internet. When you realise that someone can and is making millions a year through advertising by posting videos of themselves talking to a camera on the internet, I think it starts to hit home. Unfortunately, a large proportion of our older generations are yet to realise this, so for now I will have to continue to endure conversations about how Woolworths is always hiring…

Chloe xx

Pad Thai [recipe]

I mentioned in my last post that I am really bad at sticking to recipes. This recipe today is another example of that; it is an amalgamation of Sorted Food’s and Donal Skehan’s Pad Thai recipes. It probably isn’t the most traditional recipe, but it is really tasty!

Pad Thai

Chicken Pad Thai Noodles

Serves 4

  • 500g free range chicken breast
  • 2 Tbs Tamari sauce (gluten free soy sauce)
  • 3 Tbs fish sauce
  • 1 long red chili
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 heaped Tbs tamarind paste (or the juice of half a lime)
  • 2 cubes of palm sugar, grated (or 2 Tbs brown sugar)
  • 1 bunch coriander
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 6 spring onions
  • 200g fresh bean sprouts
  • 1 packet of dried Thai rice noodles
  • 3 free range eggs
  • 2 handfuls unsalted, roasted peanuts
  • Coconut oil
  1. Finely slice 1/4 of the chili and set it aside in a medium sized bowl.
  2. Roughly chop the rest of the chili, the bunch of coriander (including stems and roots, so make sure you check for dirt! Plus reserve a few of the leaves for serving) and the garlic. Put them into the bowl of a food processor with the lime zest and a good glug of coconut oil  (or a spoonful if you live somewhere cold), and blend into a rough paste. Set aside in a small bowl.
  3. Finely slice the spring onions on an angle and rinse the bean sprouts. Set aside.
  4. Slice the chicken into 1/2 cm slices, against the grain of the meat and chop the slices into bit sized strips (about 3 x 1 x 0.5 cm if you want to be precise). Put the chicken into the bowl with the sliced chili, along with 2 Tbs of the fish sauce and the tamari sauce. Stir to coat the chicken. You can do this step up to a day in advance if you want more flavour but I find that it isn’t really necessary because the chicken is so thin.
  5. Boil the kettle and pour it into a sauce pan big enough to hold the noodles. Cook the noodles for about 2 minutes. You want them to be slightly under-cooked. Drain and rinse with cold water a few times to cool the noodles. On the last rinse, pour in a little oil, stir it around and then drain to prevent the noodles sticking. Set the noodles aside in the saucepan.
  6. Toast the peanuts in a small frying pan and then roughly chop them.
  7. Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk them well.
  8. Mix the remaining fish sauce, lime juice, palm sugar and tamarind paste in a small bowl.

Pad Thai Ingedients

You should have all of your ingredients out on the bench for the next steps.

  1. Heat a wok on a wok burner with a little coconut oil. You want the pan to be extremely hot so wait until you see the first signs of smoking. Stir fry the chicken in small batches so that you don’t cool the pan too much and end up stewing the meat – you want it to be golden brown and cooked through before you remove it from the pan and set it aside on a plate. You may need to add a little more oil every 2 or 3 batches.
  2. When all of the chicken has been cooked, add a little more oil to the pan, if needed, then pour in the spice paste and stir until it becomes fragrant.
  3. Add the spring onions, chicken, a handful of the chopped peanuts and the bean sprouts stirring for a minutes or so to coat everything in the spice paste.
  4. Add the noodles and the sauce you mixed in step 8 and continue to stir until the noodles are cooked and everything is starting to look a little drier.
  5. Make a well in the center of the pan, pour in the eggs and stir slowly until they just begin to set before mixing it through the rest of the noodles to thicken the whole dish up.
  6. Serve immediately with a sprinkle of peanuts and a few coriander leaves.

Enjoy!

Pad Thai

Chloe x

Identity Crisis [Lamb koftas, fresh salsa and tzatziki recipe]

I was cooking dinner last night when I came to a realisation. Most of the food I cook is suffering from a severe identity crisis. I think a lot of this stems from my general inability to stick to a recipe. My cooking philosophy is that the recipe is like a set of rules made to be broken. When I cook, it usually an amalgamation of my favourite bits of multiple recipes, combined with what I feel like eating that day.

Case in point: last night we had Greek lamb koftas and tzatziki (with an Indian twist), served with a fresh Mexican salsa. Not going to lie though; it was delicious, and I think everything worked quite nicely together, so who said an identity crisis has to be a bad thing?

Lamb Koftas, salsa and tzatziki

Just want to put it out there – Dad was in charge of cooking the koftas last night!

Chloe’s lamb koftas, fresh salsa and tzatziki

Koftas:

  • 500g lamb mince
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 medium onion
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • Heaped Tbs Garam Masala powder (Here is part of that Indian twist I was talking about)
  1. Crush the garlic and finely chop the rosemary and onion (or if you are lazy like me, chuck it all in a food processor).
  2. Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl.
  3. Put a large frying pan/barbecue plate on to a medium/high heat.
  4. Using a Tablespoon, measure and roll the mince mixture into balls, flatten slightly and cook until browned on both sides and cooked through (takes about 3-4 minutes each side).
  5. Remove from the heat and transfer to a plate, keep them warm by placing them into an oven at about 100ºC.

Fresh Mexican Salsa:

  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1/4 large red capsicum
  • 4 stems of coriander
  • 1 slice of red onion
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn kernels
  • Juice 1/2 lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Finely dice the tomatoes and capsicum.
  2. Chop the coriander finely.
  3. Dice the onion into really, really small pieces, you should end up with about 1/2 – 1 Tsp of onion.
  4. Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl and place into the fridge until ready to serve

Dairy free tatziki:

  • 1 tin of coconut cream that has been stored in the fridge and left undisturbed (the other part of the Indian twist)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber
  • 5-10 leaves of mint
  1. Grate the cucumber using a box grater and squeeze as much juice out of it as possible.
  2. Finely slice the mint leaves.
  3. Open the tin of cold coconut cream (do not shake it!). You will find that the cream has separated and that there is a white, solidified part on top. This is the bit you want. Scoop it into a bowl with a spoon. The remaining watery stuff can be frozen into ice cubes and used as coconut milk in cooking.
  4. Mix all of the ingredients together in the bowl and place into the fridge until ready to serve.

To serve this recipe, put everything into the middle of the table and let everyone serve themselves. I normally serve it with a big bowl of salad leaves (like baby spinach, or my personal favourite, baby kale) and a chunk of fetta.

Lamb koftas, salsa and tzatziki

Chloe x

Mind blank

My mind is blank.

It isn’t something that happens too often, but when it does, it totally and utterly sucks. The number of times I have sat down at the computer these last few weeks and said to myself, “I really feel like writing something on my blog” and nothing has happened, can no longer be counted on my fingers. But if I just had writers block, it wouldn’t be such an issue! I would go and make a cake or design some jewelry or… I don’t even know! The problem is that my mind is truly blank. I start to thread some beads on to some string, something that used to come so easily, and within minutes I have pulled the whole thing apart in exasperation because it. just. isn’t. working. When I get into the kitchen it kind of feels like a chore because I can’t think of any exciting new way to combine what I have in the fridge. I know that this is just a bit of a bump in the road for me, it happens! My creative spark is taking a bit of a vacation which I guess everyone needs every now and then, but it is super frustrating.

I’m working on a new project at the moment, it is fairly hush hush, only a few select people know the ins and outs, but let’s just say it involves a lot of graphic design and a website. This project is something I have been mulling over for ages and for anyone who has experienced this, you will know that it sort of becomes your baby and everything has to be perfect.

I was so sure I was over my perfectionism, however, it appears to have reared its ugly head again and I just can’t settle on anything! The things that I did have, I decided I didn’t like and then when I tried to think of something else, NOTHING HAPPENED. I know I should probably stop worrying about it and just focus on content rather than appearances but sometimes it is really hard to let go ):

It feels better getting that off of my chest though, so moving on!

I guess it would be kind of mean of me to post something without any pretty pictures so here, on a completely unrelated note, is some pictures from this afternoon when a friend and I went to the beach to fly a kite. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough wind up high so the flying bit didn’t work out so well… The sunset was nice though!

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We had a fairly nasty crash landing with lots of twists and turns and so now I have about an hours worth of unknotting to look forward to!

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Here is a lovely artistic photo of my feet?

Stick

Chloe x

Fishing

Last year, when I was at school, we didn’t get much of an opportunity to go fishing as I was always busy with homework, work or some other activity. This year, I have made a personal commitment to my Dad to take up the opportunity to go fishing more often and so far it seems to be working out OK. We have been out twice in the last three weeks (which is a pretty good effort for us!).

The first time we went out, we went to Charles Point chasing Snapper but ended up finding a school of Golden Trevally and landing a few near the shore which was a heap of fun as you could actually see the fish chasing your lure as you brought it in. We did manage to catch a few Golden Snapper, Salmon and Cod. Being the only girl on the boat, it was great to rub in the fact that I caught the biggest fish (it was MUCH bigger than your fish, wasn’t it Lachie? :P).

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So here is me looking exceptionally enthusiastic (read: almost grimacing) about my lovely Golden Snapper.

Yesterday, we went out again, this time crabbing.

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We put in at the East Arm boat ramp (which I have written about before here) and put in the pots in some creeks near Middle Arm. We didn’t intend to stay long (as we had to be back to go to a show later that evening) and we really didn’t need to.

We took down 10 pots, made two pulls, were probably only on the water for 1 1/2 hours (+about an hour travel time) and managed to land 9 large Mud Crabs and a pretty big Cod that had swam into one of the nets.

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Dad was very happy (even if he doesn’t really look it in this photo.)

Crabs

While we were waiting for the pots, we found a nice spot to flick some lures. The water was so shallow and clear you could see the bottom. We could actually see the fish swimming around; there was tonnes of bait fish, a couple of Bat Fish and a few Barra darting around. Unfortunately we didn’t get any hits. Next time!

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Chloe xx

 

(Just wanted to apologise for the poor image quality today. I don’t like to take my camera out on the boat as salt water and electronics don’t mix so I had to make do with Dad’s phone. Hopefully my next post will be back to its usual standard!)

A foggy day

Living in the tropics, I have never really experienced fog. Sure, we get some low lying fog that hangs over the top of the football fields every now and then and maybe once or twice I have noticed that the end of our street looks a little cloudy first thing in the morning. When I was on holiday, however, I went weeding with my Grandparents and this happened.

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HOLY GUACAMOLE PEOPLE! You can’t see the vineyard that is down there!

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I did take a few photos here and there. I also helped to pull out some weeds. Spanish lavender if you were interested. Looks like lavender, smells like lavender, doesn’t produce enough oil to be a viable lavender crop and grows like it is going out of fashion.

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Chloe xx