Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The perfect pizza

As winter draws in, I've been thinking a lot about pizza.

You see, I have always loved pizza, but especially in winter. It is good in summer, but somehow it tastes extra-good in winter.

The Trouser and I have eaten more than our fair share of pizza in our time together - some good, and some very mediocre.

Our current commercial favourite is Melt Pizza: he's the chilli prawn, I'm the Tijuana chicken. If we couldn't get Melt, we could always try our backup: Pizza Hut's vegetarian (crispy base) with bbq sauce on top.

We currently shun pizza from pretty much anywhere else - including Hell Pizza, whom we used to love but have decided produce a mediocre product, though their site is fun to play on.

Last night though, I made us pizza, using the recipe from the only cookbook I've ever liked enough to blog about. It may seem weird to use semolina in a pizza base - hell, it's pretty weird to have it on hand, let alone use it - but it is fantastic. So good, in fact, that it's worth photocopying at the library.

And although the toppings I selected resulted in a less fantastic product than usual (memo to self: sometimes you do need pineapple to balance the flavours), The Trouser made what he proudly declared to be the best pizza ever.

Yummy-ness aside, what I also love about making pizza is that it is a very sociable and relaxed thing to do. Everyone can be included in the prep (okay, everyone who's allowed to use knives), everyone gets to make their own meal, and there's a bit of hanging around while the pizzas are in the oven.

Oh, and did I mention that making the bases is dead easy, but everyone I know is too scared to try, so they think I'm a genius?? Always a nice way to start the evening :-)

Serious question though: pineapple or no pineapple?

Monday, May 30, 2005

Lightning crashes

Well, actually, it was the hail that started first. Then the lightning (silent but bright), then the thunder.

Then the horns of the cars on the road.

It always rains just when I plan to exit the building!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Mea culpa

I didn't think too long and hard about my last post - I was in a bit of a sulk and kind of blurted it out.

So I didn't really stop to think if what I said would be offensive to anyone. Sorry!

As those of you who know me will know, I don't have a habit of making remarks that could be interpreted as racist. In fact, I usually get pissy at people who do.

So when I read Violet's comment and re-read my last post, I felt a wee bit embarrassed. To clarify:

- I do stand by a more general assertion that Ethnic Group A making Ethnic Group B usually means that the food is less authentic, and definitely different.

- Asian immigrants are buying cafes in Auckland and the food is often different as a result. There's nothing wrong with this, but it does change the food.

- It is upsetting to have your favourite cafe run by anyone other than the people who make it your favourite cafe (unless they make it better).

- I like immigrants and Asians generally.

Seems a bit like overkill to post this maybe, but even though you might not know me, I still don't want you thinking I'm a mean and nasty person!

And again - if I caused offence, I am sorry.

Monday, May 23, 2005

An abomination in the eyes of The Skirt

The Trouser and I went to our favourite local cafe on Saturday for a spot of brunch.

It had been some time since we'd been there (it's our favourite, but variety is the spice of life and we've been pretty busy on Saturday mornings). I was looking forward to my usual, as was The Trouser, I suspect.

We were welcomed oddly by someone we didn't recognise. In fact, we didn't recognise any of the staff. Not a single person. They dressed in the same t-shirts and aprons, but with a different (read: inferior) style.

The menu was almost the same - but not quite. The patrons were also different - gone were the snobs and fancy-pants people who barely registered our presence; the people there were not only normal, but were dressed so as to make me look really dressed up and stylish (I wasn't - honest!).

So I asked, and found it had been sold.

I immediately wanted to leave, but felt it would be too rude. So we stayed.

The food was SO SLOW. It was ok, but not great - the same items, but not quite as well-made. Apparently the coffee was rotten.

(And BTW my favourite item was no longer on offer; I suspect The Trouser's wouldn't have been either, but we didn't dare ask, since it is a dish that requires panache and flair to pull off.)

I am so sad.

As The Trouser said, if only we'd known the last time that it would be our last time, we would've enjoyed it more.

Lesson 1: You can't buy a business and try to run it the same way and succeed unless you and the former owner are practically clones of each other.

Lesson 2: People will not pay upmarket prices for slow and mediocre service of decidedly average food, even if it is in a lovely space.

Now, I am all for immigration, being an immigrant of sorts myself. And I love Asian people, and their lovely Asian cooking.

But lovely Asian people buying up my favourite cafe and ruining it by making it like a BB's (unprofessional waitstaff, crappy coffee and mediocre interpretations of otherwise-acceptable food) is all too much.

I know, this ain't the first cafe it has happened to, and it certainly won't be the last.

But how often do you find a gorgeous cafe with great, friendly staff who remember your "usual", within walking distance from work and home?

We sulked on Saturday, going window-shopping in Newmarket. The Trouser was so upset he needed green tea sorbet to calm his tummy.

I also had sorbet (lemon), to keep him company. My tummy is fine. But I'm still sulking.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

An update in a hurry

I feel like I've barely had time to breathe in the last few weeks. Work has been frantic, with a hugely increased load and no one to help - woe is me!

Meanwhile I'm still trying the modern domestic goddess thing at home. In my world, this translates into healthy meals frozen for when we're too shagged to cook; lots of knitting; laundry almost every day; tidying up after both of us so The Trouser comes home to a tidy place; oh, and did I mention my knitting?

I am knitting gifts for the people we are going to stay with on out trip in August. And some things for myself - I am not selfish, but not totally selfless either!

At any rate, I thought it was bad on Friday. I had planned to work from home for the afternoon, so I left for home at 3pm without any lunch. I then proceeded to work until 6.30pm. Craziness!

But even more craziness awaited me. I had a sick day yesterday, and enjoyed it by not turning my laptop on (and thus avoiding the temptation to answer a few work emails from home).

So when I came in this morning there were over 800 emails and about 10 additional tasks, each more than an hour long - plus all the stuff I didn't manage to finish last week, plus all the usual stuff.

The boss and I have agreed to have a chat about what we can farm out - though to whom we're not exactly sure on, since we have no staff.

In the meantime, I plan to concentrate on getting all these annoying work things done - working late if required to meet deadlines. I doubt I'll have time for knitting, and I may post even less. My apologies in advance!

Right, my "Deleted items" box is empty now, back to work!

Friday, May 13, 2005

Pillow love

I have had the same pillow for almost 20 years. In fact, we may have been bedmates for even longer (must ask my mum).

It is the perfect size and shape. While I can sleep fine with other pillows, I usually prefer my own. I am not alone.

Recently, The Trouser tried my pillow and has become addicted to it. Apparently it is much comfier than his fancy-schmancy moulded pillow, bought at great expense in a fancy-schmancy shop.

So we've swapped.

I love his pillow, and he raves about mine. My pillow is still the best, but his is pretty good - and if it keeps him happy, I guess that's OK.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


It's one year today since The Trouser and I took possession of our very own little place.

Happy one year of home ownership/ huge debt to a bank, darling!

I must say, it has been quite a lot nicer than I expected, and I *have* begun to stress a little less about the amount of money we owe to someone else.

Yay that we managed it and (kind of) kept our sanity - only how many years left to go???

Thursday, May 05, 2005

I'm not the only one

Apparently, other people get told to floss more, too.

I don't know anyone outside my family who gets a regular lecture on the importance of flossing. Hell, I don't think many of the people I know even see a dentist regularly (shame on you all!).

But anyway, it's nice for (underflossed) me to see that other people should floss regularly, but can't be arsed.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Shock, horror!

I nearly passed out from surprise this morning when a government employee was interviewed on television.

The interviews happen often enough - hell, even the PM gets a regular slot. But what a shock: the interviewee conducted herself with grace, spoke clearly, made her case, and didn't rise to gibes or get flustered by the interviewer's inane questions!

Mary Anne Thompson, Department of Labour deputy secretary, I salute you!

You are one damn good employee. You took some of the blame, yet didn't mea culpa yourself all over the floor. You also (quite rightly) allocated some of the blame to the Immigration Service as a whole.

You were calm; treated the situation with the gravity it required; you didn't lie. Most of all, you didn't tell Paul Henry what a prick he was, that he wasn't really asking the right questions, or that you'd continue to give the same response to the same question, even if he re-worded it.

I wonder if you're naturally rockin' like that, or if it was handy media training? Either way, there are lessons to be learned here - MPs, high-ranking government employees, take note.

So. Bet you weren't expecting a post that included something vaguely political, huh? So, to bring my posts back to the subjects I know well, I thought I'd take the opportunity to rant about one of my least favourite TV programmes.

Breakfast is a moderately crappy show, with uninspiring "stock" presenters: a lippy middle-aged white male who thinks he's hot stuff, and a blonde woman with children who occasionally protests at the male's stupidity, and shows a softer side so we don't think the producers are wankers (we still do, BTW). Remember Mike Hosking and Kate Hawkesby? Well, it ain't them, but it may as well be - the only differences are the names, weights and ages (older in this case - who would've guessed?).

Mmmmph. Breakfast, with your outdated "wacky news" (usually posted on Ananova at least a week before it airs on your show); old news recycled from the night before; stupid, irrelevant and downright boring personal asides, you really suck.

Moral of the story: unless Mary Anne Thompson has an interview scheduled, stick to cartoons.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Celebrating milestones

There have been several important milestones in the Touser-Skirt household recently.

(Incidentally, remember when it was the coolest thing to wear a short skirt over your trousers? Ahh I loved those heady, crazy days. It is not entirely strange, then, that I am short (i.e. a short skirt) and that I think The Trouser and I are such a good match.)

First milestone: we voluntarily went for a walk with a friend. It was FUN!

Second milestone: I finally bought a great pair of shoes from #1 Shoe Warehouse, as was my dream - $19.95, beautiful, leather inside and out. (Memo to self: must get more exciting dreams!)

Third milestone: my baby brother, whose birth I remember, and who was "my" baby, graduated from University.

I'm a bit pressed for time to describe the celebrations, but yakitori was involved on the last occasion - and it was GOOD.