25 October 2013

A Quiet House Again

Just dropped the Blogger off at the airport this morning. She's on the way to Los Angeles, once again on another stint of babysitting.

I followed her flight, QFA16, a Boeing 744 (747-400 really) on Flightradar24, until they disapeared over the ocean, out of radar range.

Engines started

Taxiing past the International

We're up 3,575 ft over the city

Turning right over Alderley

Heading north

And out into Moreton Bay

Over Straddie into the bay

and out over the Pacific

Now! What am I going to do????

A spot of lunch I think, then I need to get some beer...

Bye bye love, have a good trip.

20 October 2013

More Than 50 Shades of Grey

The topic in our camera club at the last meeting was Black and White photography, something I've been interested in for many years. In my younger days I had a darkroom where I developed films and prints. Of course nowadays it's much easier to do with digital camera settings and computer software. My daughters gave me NIK software last Christmas to do HDR pictures. Imagine the surprise Google gave me recently (Google bought out NIK), when they presented me with complementary upgrades to the entire range, including this little gem:

Silver Efex Pro 2
This is the program you use to manipulate monochrome images. It's amazing what you can do with it. I went through my Archives and converted some of my photos.

Rainforest walk at Paronella Park, Innisfail

Waterfall at Paronella Park, Innisfail

The old Barn

Brig O'Doon, Ayr, Scotland

Scene from the Sunlander

Dog, Hunter Valley

12 October 2013

Brisbane Open House

It's the weekend of the year when a lot of public buildings are open to the public. It only happens once a year and we investigated which buildings we wanted to visit. Top of the list was the old Boggo Road Jail, infamous for holding people like the Postcard bandit and the Whiskey-A-Gogo arsonists. Alas, the place is now closed and became a museum. It was worth a visit.

Unfortunately when we got there, we discovered we were not the only visitors and there were very long queus only just to put your name down for  a tour later on during the day. We discovered that the tours are on all through the year, so we'll do it some other time.

It was coffee time and right next door is a new complex housing the Ecosciences precinct, which also has a coffee shop. So we decided to visit that building instead (for two reasons).

The old Boggo Road Jail from top of the Ecoscience Building

Boggo Road precinct from Google Map (left is the old jail)

The Ecoscience complex

Inside the foyer

View from the roof, just as an Ipswich train passes Yeerongpilly

Modern sitting room

Looking down into the foyer from Level 5

One of the labs that was open
And another

The building was designed by 'Hassle Architects', the company, our daughter works for. As it happened, the Hassle Studio was open to the public as well, so that's where we headed next.

09 October 2013

Riccotta and Spinach Ravioli

I'm an avid fan of a UK show on cable called 'Come Dine With Me.' The show is recorded in several countries, UK, Ireland, Australia and South Africa. A group of people are hosting dinner parties at each other's residences, then score each other on the food and the dinner party in general. There are plenty of human failings on show but also interesting dinner menus. On one of those dinners, in South Africa, the lady prepared spinach and ricotta ravioli. I thought, how difficult can that be? Admittedly, she had a machine to roll the pasta dough, which I have not, so out came the old rolling pin, which itself is an heirloom from Diane's mum and must be a hundred years old. But it still works.

So, I mixed plain flour, an egg and salt and started kneading, folding and rolling by hand until I had the dough pretty thin. Unfortunately the blogger wasn't at hand to take photos of that procedure, but you get the picture.

With a glass the right shape, I stamped the dough into circles

From our own garden, I cut some spinach and after steaming it I diced it and mixed it with ricotta cheese to make the filling.

It's a bit of a fiddly job to get the amount right so the ravioli don't split for being over full.

Then I wet the edge with a little milk, folded the ravioli in half and sealed the edges with a fork.

Into salted boiling water for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

To serve, I made a tomato sauce using a tin of diced basil and garlic tomato and a tub of tomato puree together with herbed spices and the trusty Maggi seasoning which I use in just about everything (except maybe ice cream).

The end result, a beautiful pasta meal for the blogger and me. Bon Appetito..