26 March 2017

Garage Step

Built a simple step for the garage today.

A board fell off my makeshift prep surface and the end struck my small toe, reminding me that I should get a pair of safety boots.

18 December 2012

And moving.

I haven't updated in a while. We've moved to a new apartment with more space and a balcony with a roof. We have been barbecuing pretty much three nights a week and getting settled in. Christmas is coming up and I get my first holiday since a four-day jaunt to Kuala Lumpur in January 2010. I really can't wait to do nothing for a couple of weeks! I'll do a juicier update tomorrow with pictures of barbecue.

24 August 2012

New Job

Not much posted the past month as I've been on tenterhooks (who says "tenterhooks"?!?) waiting to hear about a new job I interviewed for back in early July.  It took 6 or 7 weeks for them to get it sorted out and I start the new job on 4 September.

Should be a good change, better pay, more in line with my experience and desires in a job than my current position.  Hopefully the change will be smooth and ruckus-free (who says "ruckus"??!)

One of my biggest concerns about coming back to Canada was that I had basically abandoned my IT career when I moved to Korea.  three and a half years away can be the death of a career

My stint in Singapore was a good introduction back into the field, although the outgoing experience with one of my employers there was a petty fiasco that I'd care never to experience again.  All the more shocking, or perhaps it should be less so, because one of the partners was someone I knew for a very long time and assured me that all would be made right.  Not so nice, but at least it's over and I don't care to ever have to deal with that sort of situation again.

I'd had a few leads prior to coming back to Canada, but nothing came of them, except my current job, which although not what I was really looking for, proved to be enough to hang my hat on for a while.

Now I'm back to working for some of the same people I worked for before I left Canada and back working in an academic environment.  Hopefully, I can get back to doing some university courses again.

Here's to future days!

12 July 2012

This Week in Food

We bottled our makgeolli on Saturday and drank some on Sunday.  I found a simple recipe for Korean onion pancakes (pajeon) that are traditionally eaten with makgeolli.  Both the makgeolli and the pajeon turned out fantastically well.

On Monday we had ravioli (dried, I haven't had the urge to try making my own) and a simple tomato sauce made with a can of tomatoes, olive oil, salt and chilis.  We had fresh greens from our garden boxes with a simple oil and vinegar dressing.

Seyoung made ssamjang from some pork we had in the fridge and we had a meal of rice and ssamjang wrapped in fresh-picked lettuce for dinner.  And drank the last of our makgeolli, 2 litres only lasts so long...

04 July 2012

Makgeolli Label

Here's a label I made for our makgeolli.  It's a bit much for a couple of bottles, but hopefully we'll be able to make more later...

It says "Sea Mountain Makgeolli" in Korean.  Makgeolli, pronounced mahk-uh-lee, is Korean rice beer.

Canada Day Fermentation Weekend

makgeolli ingredients
'instant' makgeolli
 This weekend we finally got around to doing a couple of things that we've been meaning to do for nearly a year.   We started making kimchi and makgeolli.  We started pretty small, the stuff needs to be refrigerated and it's a pain in the butt to make a lot.

The makgeolli required a fair bit of preparation (washing, soaking and steaming the rice) and although it wasn't hard, mistakes were made.  The picture here shows it with the nuruk and yeast mixed in.  It took a couple of days for the fermentation to get going but once it started it was pretty enthusiastic.  It already smells like makgeolli, but it'll be about a week for the full process.We used a prepackaged 'instant makgeolli' starter this time, plus a little bit of nuruk I ground up and threw in.

kimchi seasoning paste
home-grown Korean cabbage
Seyoung made the 'marinade' for kimchi and set up a small batch.  Once the cabbage is soaked in brine and starts fermenting it shrinks quite a bit.  I'd guess we'll end up with about as much as you'd get in a small pouch in a Korean supermarket.  The Korean chili is different from other red chili powder, it's a bit sweeter and earthier, I think.  It's still spicy, but it's a different kind of spicy.

To brine the cabbage Seyoung used some Korean sea salt, it's really nice salt (like flower of salt), and almost a shame to use it for pickling cabbage, but I guess it'll make better kimchi than non-Korean pickling salt.

She also made a tiny batch of kimchi from some Korean cabbage grown in our garden box.  By the time it's pickled this will probably make enough kimchi for a small bowl, but it will be interested to see how it turns out.

25 June 2012

Making Stuff

We always seem to be creating stuff: gardening, cooking, carpentry, etc.

This weekend we bought a mattress to fit the new bed frame and I finished the frame with tung oil.  I really like tung oil, it retains the character of the wood and enhances its appearance.  The oil soaks into the top layers of the wood and make it partially translucent, so that it kind of glows.  It also hardens the fibers of the wood making the surface a bit tougher.

You cannot buy this.
 I find it is sometimes easier to make something that suits my taste rather than trying to find something.  Lamps in particular, I find, are spectacularly expensive and incredibly ugly opieces of junk.  While trying to find a bedside lamp I ran across a wide variety of terrible-looking lamps that cost in the range of $50.  I ended up buying a bunch of old lamps from thrift shops and scavenging them for lamp parts.  The lamps cost about $3 each, a "lamp kit" from a hardware store runs about $10-15.  The lamp here was built from scavenged parts and a couple of purchased bits (a new harp and shade, about $20).  The base is a heavy vase that I also got from a thrift shop for a couple of bucks.  I drilled a hole in the bottom of the vase for threaded tube and wiring and assembled everything in a few minutes.  I now have enough bits to make about 6 or 7 more lamps.

Fresh dough!
Seyoung made a pizza and some cheese bread for dinner.  It's actually not much cheaper than buying a frozen pizza on sale, but it's a lot more fun and you can make the sauce and toppings however you like them.  The cheese bread has a mixture of blue cheese and mozzerella.  The pizza sauce is store-bought but doctored up with seasonings like extra basil and garlic.  When the store-bought sauce is used up we're going to make our own from tomato sauce and canned tomatoes.

Pizza wreckage

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