photo saturday: swell

into the swellcrashing in

down the waveinside wave
I believe that, by any technical definition of the term, I am every so slightly hungover as fuck.

We went for drinks after work last night, partially to mourn the fact that H-San is headed off on leave at the end of next week and because we haven't had one since last May. And that is indeed a long time between drinks.

But backing up a little bit first...

Last Sunday was fairly successful, I ended up making the majority of the components for my pseudo Caeser Salad while I was tidying up in the morning, so there was really not a whole lot to do in the evening, which was good. And the salad itself was pretty successful, except for the fact that I kept forgetting to add the croutons.

The rest of the week was fairly m'eh... I spent a large amount of Monday in meetings, not all of which where in my calendar. So that made the day disappear pretty quickly, but also didn't let me do any actual work.

Thursday was interesting... and a little cryptic from a blog perspective... when you've been chasing something for quite a while, even if it's only in your own head, and then you get it in reality and it's 90-95% of what you expected, it's pretty worthwhile.

But coming back around to Friday... I left work at 4 because I had a chiro appointment, and even though I did that, then looped around to the pub, I was still the first one there, although H-San and Sugarmonkey weren't far behind me.

It did take a while for everyone to turn up, mostly because there are now too many of us to count... okay, not literally, but there are a lot of us. And that also meant that we had two tables reserved at the pub, but everyone still broke up into at least four groups at the beginning of the night, then as the lightweights faded out one by one we kind of came together until there were only two tables of us left.

And for a good long while it was just the old crew on one table and Hershel and her harem were on the other. But it was really lovely just having me, Sugarmonkey, H-San and Rockchick all together... and weirdly, even though Pixie is pretty new, she fits right in with the old crew like she's been around forever.

We had a great time, we talked a lot of trash, were more than a little bit appropriate, I drank essentially all the beer. In fact I don't even remember how much beer I ended up having.

Pixie and I were checking out all the available talent all night, the only problem was there really was a severe dearth of talent. So we ended up sounding just the littlest bit thirsty. And there were entirely too many drunk dudebros clogging up the place with their bro-ness. There was also a slightly weird incident as Pixie and Rockchick were leaving.

I was standing up and may have been having a big of a general dance around because the pub was pretty empty by this stage and there was music and I'd been drinking... but just after I stopped I saw a group of dudebros headed for the door, which was just next to me, and I saw the lead dudebro looking at me, and as he went past he reached out and smacked my ass. I have no idea what his intention was, beyond the fact that I'd been shaking it a minute before, and it was a backhand slap, so he wasn't trying to feel me up, it was just genuinely weird. I realised the perfect comeback like this morning when I was in the shower would have been "hey, buy a guy a drink first", but I think all I managed at the time was a rather confused "okay then".

Eventually the only two left were Sugarmonkey and myself. And when he went to get the next round (after at least two more rounds that I really didn't need), I looked at my phone and discovered that it was 11pm. I really have no idea how the hell that happened. But Sugarmonkey had to scull his beer and make a rather speedy exit in order to catch his bus, which left me to finish my beer, pee and then wander my drunk ass home.

By the time I did get home it was almost midnight so I pretty much just rolled straight into bed.

I realised the mistake of that at both 3am when I woke up with a mouth that felt like I'd chewed through my pillow in my sleep... so I got up, had a little water and went back to sleep, but when I finally woke up later I had a thumping headache and a definite whiff of hangover about my general person.

Thankfully Ma was getting her hair did this morning, so I only had my own schedule to keep... which weirdly meant that I organised earlier than I expected to be.

So I stuck my headphones on and wandered around the supermarket. I feel like I probably didn't get enough of the important stuff, but too much other general junk. I think I did okay though.

Once I was done, I headed into Target to pick up the new Lego Dimensions game... I've kind of been stalking EB Games on and off all week, and originally was intending to pick it up as soon as it dropped, but I didn't realise the Doctor Who set doesn't come out until November, and also that Target had it for a significantly lower price... but those two things fortunately conspired in my favour.

However in two separate instances in Target stores today the electronic departments haven't been staffed, and then I had to deal with other people.

But while I bought the base game without a problem, I could find the Portal 2 level set... of course when the base game has a portal in it, and you ask people who don't know anything about the Portal set, they have no idea what you're talking about.

I also picked up another Lego set since they had 30% off the Lego Movie sets. Yeah, I have no idea where the hell I'm going to put it either... but you know, it was another mech set (Metalbeard).

Then I rolled on home and dragged everything up the stairs. Ma turned up not that long after I'd finished unpacking and we chatted for a bit before heading into the city.

We stopped off at Flinders Street Market because I got the dates wrong on one of their events, so we just did a quick circuit and then headed over to Rundle Street.

Then we made the mistake of going into T2... well, I needed something to drink, and free tea, particularly free iced tea. I ended up buying a jug to make iced tea in... I probably could have found something cheaper elsewhere, but I liked the one they had. Plus because of all the tea I've bought, I actually had a $25 gift voucher on my card, so I used that, which brought the price right down.

Next stop was Target where I once again found nobody providing service in the electronics department, but then went to the front desk and made the electronics department come to me. But explaining the difference between a portal and Portal was significantly harder than it should have been. Dude, you work in that department, you're wearing a fucking Lego Dimensions t-shirt, do some fucking product research.

Anyway, he has allegedly put me down for a raincheck on the Portal 2 level set. I may need to check that during the week.

From there we really just did a general wander again. I wasn't in much of a mood for doing anything too enthusiastic so we wandered, had a proper drink and then headed back to the car.

Then there was just some general back and forth and Ma headed off home.

So, yeah... all I can really say is that I'm glad that this is a long weekend and I have an extra day to goof off. Of course it would be preferable if it wasn't going to be really damn hot all weekend, but we're on that long horrible slide to the heat of Summer, so there's not a whole lot to do about it.

Current Mood:

photo saturday: signs

lane of kentback of sign

box of moonnumbers of pole
It seems a long, long, long time since last Sunday...

I started the day putting together the Lego Wall-E set and more time than I expected putting together all the ingredients for my salad during the week... I won't lie, making soup is about a million times easier. And my salad making is a much more ad-hoc affair than my soup ever was. I am attempting something slightly more structured this week though... somewhere between a Nicoise and a Caeser.

Anyway... the week was long and at more than one point frustrating as hell and seemed to be filled with a 900% increase in the number of emails I usually receive. Or just 900% less time to actually deal with them and get them out of my inbox.

Fortunately Friday arrived eventually, and we did blow off a little steam... and will be blowing off even more steam next Friday since we're going to the pub after work. So that'll be a thing.

Sadly we can't just invite the people we actually want and ignore the ones we collectively dislike... but hopefully they won't stick around too long, if they show up at all. Sadly it also means that it's only a week before H-San goes on a months leave... so that'll be a month where my life will get more complicated.

This morning I really should have gotten up earlier than I did and tidied the apartment... although to be truthful I really should have done it last night but couldn't be bothered. I still got it all done, I just have a sink full of dry dishes I need to put away.

The supermarket portion of the day was fairly standard... as was the usual unpacking once we got back to my place.

Even though I hadn't heard anything back from Galaxy Toys, we headed out there to see if they had my set of minifigs and how much the vintage toy guy was willing to give me for my fifteen year old Bionicle sets and a big bag of original Smurfs. Turns out that comes to a grant total of $50... not stellar, but it did mean that the whole set of Lego minifigs only cost me $22... or thereabouts, I don't actually remember to be honest.

From there we went into the city for some idle wandering... and I swear, the SS Crazy Mofo was clearly in port, and big buses had come to pick up all the crazy mofos from on board and brought them into the city. We are talking severely bat crap crazy. Maybe it was just all the Vitamin D making people nuts, I don't know. But they were out in force.

We didn't really do much, it was a definitive "aimless wandering" type excursion, but it was a nice day, crazy people notwithstanding, so the wandering was pleasant enough on it's own.

And that's it really... there were a couple of detours on the way back here, but nothing especially exciting.

Oh and I finally cleared a bunch of old shirts out of my wardrobe that haven't fit me in quite a while now, and made some much needed room. Good on the room, bad on the lack of fitting.

Current Mood:

lego: wall-e

lego wall-e: a very different boxlego wall-e: the finished model
The Lego Ideas range takes the ideas of fans and if they get enough support from the community the Lego company then looks at the design and if it ticks all the right boxes, they release it.

The most recent of these was the Lego Wall-E, from the Disney/Pixar movie of the same name... but it comes from a somewhat special source...
Created by Angus MacLane, an animator and director at Pixar Animation Studios, and selected by LEGO Ideas members, the development of this model began alongside the making of the lovable animated character for the classic Pixar feature film. It has taken almost a decade to perfect the Lego version, which incorporates many authentic Wall-E characteristics...
According to the instruction book that comes along with the set, this model started life in the very early stages of movie development and as the design of Wall-E changed during the movie, so did MacLane's Lego model.

And of course, what better accompaniment to building Wall-E than watching Wall-E... twice in fact, first the movie, then the audio commentary, so at the end it was a little over three hours from beginning to end.

It wasn't a hugely complicated build, the most interesting parts are probably in the wheels, arms and head... and I do completely understand why people have complained about the neck joint, it's very, very, very loose... but Lego builder extraordinare Chris McVeigh has already come up with a fix.

I don't really have a problem with the joint... at least not enough to get the additional pieces to fix it.

lego wall-e: all the bagslego wall-e: neat and sorted, ready to build
Weirdly, even though the set only has about thirty more pieces than something like Emmet's Construct-o-mech at 677 pieces, the bags that it come in aren't numbered, instead it's organised more by size of the pieces, and then with a separate bag for the tyre treads.

So I had to spend the first part separating the pieces out by colour, and in the case of the light grey pieces, pulling out the big pieces... and then we were off to the races...

lego wall-e: making the cubelego wall-e: cube on wheels
Of course, given that it's Wall-E, there's a lot of yellow... and the interesting "gap" in the side of the model reflects a diagonal design detail in the Wall-E computer model I wasn't even conscious of.

And the front of the model has all the required details... the Wall-E label, the solar power indicator, the little red light... and those big tank-like all terrain treads.

lego wall-e: keep on trackinlego wall-e: one little cock-a-roach
And not just that, but the way the shoulder joints are built allows the arms to move back and forth, just like the movie Wall-E.

I did enjoy the wheel builds though... and they actually roll, which is fantastic.

But what would Wall-E be without his little cockroach friend. Okay, it's not exactly the most complex piece of construction, but it gets the general idea across in a very minimal way.

lego wall-e: a bit of a broken necklego wall-e: one eyed
And here's the neck...the joint that's the main issue is that piece between the top two sections... other than that it's lots of pinning things together with those little connector pins and arranging things so that no studs are showing.

The eye pieces are actually slightly surprising... I didn't necessarily realise that's what they were until fairly far along the process, but I have to say the way the eyes themselves are done is gorgeous.

Plus the nice little detail of the black cable that attaches from the eye rig to the "brain stem" at the back of the head.

lego wall-e: armlesslego wall-e: little yellow arms
Then once the first half of the eye rig is done, you do the exact same thing a second time... just in reverse.

The only thing missing from the the arms though is the black and white diagonal striping that should be on the outside edge... okay, the grey and yellow colouring kind of does the same thing. The way the bottom finger is held in place is also slightly problematic... in fact it's held in place with the robot hand/wrench that's popped up a few times before.

lego wall-e: the plantlego wall-e: ready to roll
Of course you can't have Wall-E without his plant. It is kind of a shame that they didn't try to get the boot shape, which I would have thought would not have been impossible to do with Lego. But the three leaf design is very pretty.

He's really lovely once he's all put together... and he's now taken pride of place in the light box on my bedside table, and looks pretty damn good.

Current Mood:

photo saturday: environmental aesthetics

oval linesmorning tradie

beach sculptureart viewer

bright sailbeach hipster
This week has been less dramatic... although not particularly less busy than recent weeks.

Last Sunday I spent a large chunk of the day cleaning in preparation for my rental inspection, but even though I started later than was perhaps the best idea, I feel like I wasn't cleaning for as long as I have for previous inspections, mostly because I did a bunch of stuff through the week.

And as I've said every time, while I might hate the process, I do love the results and having a clean and tidy house. I didn't really enjoy the fact that Sunday was fairly warm, and I had to mess up some of my house again to make soup for the week's lunches. I've also decided that it's probably time to switch back over to salads.

We'll see how well that works this week.

Given that I ended up going to bed early on Sunday since I didn't want to do anything that would mess up the apartment, I got up earlier than normal Monday and was at work much earlier (by which I mean slightly later than I used to get to work when I was super organised, but earlier than I've been getting there of late), and that was even with doing a little tidying up before I left home.

After work I stopped off at Myer to pick up the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine Lego set... because nostalgia.

Tuesday morning I was also pretty early, although I had to do a last minute check of the house for the inspection and only just got the early bus.

Oh, and as expected, the inspection went off without a hitch, and it would want to given how much I cleaned.

Then Wednesday I got involved in a late meeting/conversation that ran about 20 minutes past the time I usually leave... which also repeated on Friday afternoon when someone sent me a meeting request at 3:30 for 4, I told him I left at 4 and did he want to come down now... and didn't get out of the meeting until 4:30. Whoops.

And Thursday was Haircut Night. Yay! Once again, the haircut went a tiny bit more extreme yet again... only by an inch or so, and this is now definitely the line we don't cross over. Although give it's current state, I did wonder aloud to Tink if the only way back from this is to just shave my head completely and start again. Not sure that's a great plan, but it's a thought.

It is actually kind of a really thick mohawk... or could be if I styled it that way... although after playing with it a little on Friday morning and pondering the concept of the mohawk, this morning I settled on a totally styled back look, not flat, still with some volume, but that may mean my next haircut needs some refinement of the back part of my hair.

Other than that, Tink and I did our usual gossip session, and then I toddled off home.

Friday, since I was already too late to go and pick up my drycleaning, I ran a couple of errands in town including stopping off at Pulp Fiction comics and ended up picking up three graphic novels and ordering a fourth one.

This morning I got woken up at 4am by my phone after I tweet I wrote last night about one of the performances on So You Think You Can Dance was retweeted by the dancer in question, and then favourited by a bunch of people. I ended up having to put the phone on silent and in a drawer... hehehehe.

But I was glad that that meant she'd seen the tweet, because she's my favourite this season.

Anyway, I got ready, headed downstairs as Ma was arriving and we headed off to the supermarket to do the usual shopping thing.

Sadly our usual checkout girl wasn't in and the girl we ended up with literally just chucked things in bags any old how... so much so that I had to stop on the way back to the car and totally rearrange one of the bags. Useless.

After we finished, there was the usual unpacking and then I was hoping to pick up the new series of Lego minifigs... now usually I find them as soon as they drop, but for some reason they've been escaping me this time... and even though I sent Galaxy Toys an email asking for them to reserve me a set, they never got it. So it's looking a little problematic, I'm just hoping somebody has an unopened box they haven't put out on the floor yet and I manage to find that.

That's the long way around of saying that we headed out to Galaxy Toys partly for the minifigs and partly so I could take in the vintage stuff I want to sell.

Turned out to be a partially wasted journey because the vintage guy doesn't work Saturdays and they didn't have a full set in stock like they did the last time we went in there. Seriously, is this Lego trying to create rarity by not sending out as many boxes? Everywhere I've been either have none at all, or a single box.

Anyway, she took down my details, and I left the vintage stuff with them for the guy to value and we'll hopefully go pick up the minifigs next Saturday... fingers crossed it all works out like that anyway.

From there we headed down to Marion just for a general wander around.

We didn't really pick up much, although I did save about $36 on a Bonds hoodie and trackpants combo due to their sale.

So that was it really...

Current Mood:

movies: maze runner - the scorch trials

maze runner: the scorch trials
If the first Maze Runner movie was best described as a dystopian Lord of the Flies then Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is a full on apocalyptic zombie movie.

And much like the first movie, for something that's essentially supposed to be "young adult" in nature, it's remarkably "grown-up" in the way it both builds the world but also deals with the characters.

While a lot of that is to do with the script, the remainder is very much in the hands of the talented young cast once again. Granted this time around there's less quiet introspection and character development and more running (oh so much running), dodging and hitting things with sticks, but they still manage those few character moments well.

Leading them through the titular trials once again is Dylan O'Brien, who I'm generally fond of anyway due to his work on Teen Wolf, but who I also think is a very solid actor. The other returning actors, Ki Hong Lee, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Dexter Darden and Alexander Flores are likewise solid, although if I'm honest I don't really remember either Darden or Flores from the first movie... and Lee and Brodie-Sangster aren't given a screaming amount to do beyond shooting guns and looking at O'Brien a lot.

The story really is more about the running and the dodging, and about O'Brien's Thomas and where he fits into the larger story of the Maze Runner universe.

New cast member, Jacob Lofland, has a couple of nice story beats, but he also represents one of the things I like about this series... they go for either the best actor for the character or else want to populate the world with "non-traditionally attractive" actors, because not everybody in this world is a perfect specimen.

And playing the adults, Patricia Clarkson and Aidan Gillen just manage to stay o the right side of evil moustache twirling... particularly Gillen, who you know is evil as soon as he appears on screen, partly because he is Gillen.

The zombies were an interesting story development... especially as they're the fast running kind of zombie (see, again with the running), and seemingly both the cause and the symptom of the whole post-apocalyptic dystopia. I'll be interested to see if the final movie (yes, because nothing worth doing these days isn't a pre-built trilogy) delves more into what the actual zombie virus is about, because there's some nice teases or hints at something a little different there.

There's also a lot of strong effects work (barring one really dreadful CG rat), particularly in turning what I'm guessing was once New York (based on one of the bridges) into a desert wasteland.

I'm definitely interested to see where this goes in the final instalment, especially given how different the first two movies were.

yani's rating: 4 cranks out of 5

photo saturday: a touch of summer

board duobrighton colours

beach duoboat trio
This week has been something of a trial...

Not least of all because Newbie was sick for three out of the five days and I had a lot of very irritating jobs that came out of nowhere and kept me from regular, less irritating tasks.

And I think the confluence of all of that really made me miss having Pixie to bounce off and regulate each other's desire to kill all humans.

So by the end of the week I was a little snappy.

But, winding back first...

I took a visit to the sauna last Saturday night and ran into Marc at the front desk... and then a little later he dragged me off to the spa to introduce me to his partner who wasn't exactly imbued with sparkling personality... but being in the spa did allow me to revisit a previously disastrous encounter and have it turn out pretty damn well.

Last week's celeriac and fennel soup was a little disappointing... and I ended up with about a metric ton of it (which translates out to about seven serves), which didn't help... so I only ended up eating three portions of it (firstly due to a Thursday lunch at work, but then on Friday I just gave up). This week I'm going back to something a lot simpler, although equally invented... tomato, bacon and mushroom. But I've done tomato a couple of times now, so it should work out okay.

Given that I have a rental inspection this coming Tuesday I actually spent some time each evening doing all those little sorting or tidying jobs that generally end up taking all the damn time when I do the major clean. So hopefully it won't take me the whole damn day to get the place in order.

Owlgirl returned to work from her two month overseas trip this week... although we all thought she was crazy for coming into work 24 hours after she landed. Which turned out to be crazy because she never made it in on Friday. But it was really, really good to see her again and I look forward to hearing more of her travel stories.

Fast forward through a long and frustrating week to today where Summer weather decided to pay us a visit... in fact, I'm sitting here in shorts, which is a big change from even earlier this week. Although thankfully it only lasts for the weekend, because I do hate it when the change between Winter and "Spring" skips the actual Spring part and goes straight to Summer. I want a good run of temperatures in the low 20's before we get to actual Summer weather.

Other than that today wasn't much out of the ordinary.

We did the usual shopping thing this morning, no news there... then back here for the usual unpacking thing.

For want of anything else to do we went into the city to run some minor errands. And we ended up finding Ma's Harajuku Lovers Perfume very, very cheaply, so we descended on it and bought a bunch of it... Ma to use some now, me to put the rest away for Christmas (and probably her birthday next year).

Other than that there was just general wandering about before we headed to Burger Theory to try the Burger of the Month, the Wikileeks Burger. Not bad, although not in my top ten.

Current Mood:

photo saturday: bricks and sky

red brick skyrooftop ladies

sydney librarywindow soul
I think it's felt like the week has been more hectic than it actually has been. Work continues in general craziness... but this week there has been a long laundry list of things that have taken me away from my usual work. I will say this for spending the whole day incredibly busy though... it does make the week go quickly.

But rewinding to last Saturday briefly... I wasn't exactly sure how long I was going to stay but as it turns out the answer to that was pretty damn late. Essentially I was one of the last one of The Nuthouse to leave. The only thing I really wish is that a) I was able to do the "fashionably late" concept... but I can't, so I was the first work person there... and b) that I'd rethought the outfit I wore. Not that it was bad, I just should have worn something thinner or gone with layers, because I ended up being fairly warm the whole night. On the upside, Sugarmonkey knew the wine I bought him, and liked it, so that's always a relief. It was also interesting watching the people I work with while some of them were drinking but I really wasn't. I had a couple of beers when I got there, but that was it. Nobody got really messy or anything, but it was still interesting to watch.

Sunday's regularly scheduled soup cooking worked out really well... but I feel like that's always going to be the case with potato soup. Okay, technically this was potato, leek, celeriac, corn, salami (in place of bacon), cheese, cream and dill. Too damn tasty, although I did make about about 300 litres of it, so I gave a couple of containers to Ma.

I also realised halfway through the week that making a nice thick potato soup (although to be honest it ended up more as potato chowder) like that and adding tuna to it would essentially gives you instant tuna mornay.

Then once the week started I ended up spending quite a bit of money on things that won't happen for several months...

I discovered that not only is Stephen Fry coming out to Australia in November, but he's coming to Adelaide to speak at an event celebrating the 40th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in South Australia. And seriously, I wouldn't have cared what he was coming to talk about, I would still be at the front of the line to go see him. Sadly, we're actually going to be several rows back, but still much closer than either of the other times we've seen him live.

Later in the week I discovered that the folks responsible for certainly the strangest of all the podcasts I listen to, Welcome To Night Vale are bringing their live show down under next February. So there was no way that I was going to miss that either. Trying to book the tickets was a little more complicated than it should have been, but I managed eventually, and for some reason the ticketing gods were on my side, as I got front row tickets. Granted I'm not sure I need front row tickets for this particular style of show, but who am I to complain.

The LEGO Ideas Wall-E set also came out this week, so I called Toy Corner and got them to put one aside for me... more on that shortly.

So, finally Saturday rolled around again, and fortunately I'd already done most of the tidying up and all I needed to do was change my bedding. When Ma got here we headed off to the supermarket.

I'm essentially winging the soup this week... it's going to be fennel, celeriac, celery, some dill and whatever else strikes my fancy as I put things together tomorrow.

We had a bit of a wander around, and then headed back here to unpack.

Then it was off to Toy Corner... it's not a bad drive, and it was a quick visit since all I needed to do was pick up the Wall-E set.

From there we kind of took the scenic route over to Tea Tree Plaza just for a general wander around since we were in the neighbourhood. And while I've been slightly mocking this whole "colouring in books for grown-ups" trend that's happening right now, I did find one with some really great Japanese images and ended up buying it. I mean I have a full set of Derwent pencils that are just sitting there, I may as well use them.

We'll see how long that lasts...

Today ended up being a little bit about the scenic routes... we wanted to stop at Spotlight, which meant a little detour, and then taking the more scenic (or at the very least, the road much less travelled) way back to my place.

And that was it really...

Oh, after the apartment downstairs has been vacant for at least a month, I have a new neighbour as of this afternoon. It's a bit of a rude welcome for him though since the neighbours over the back are doing the semi-irregular thing where they sit around, talk loudly and drink.

Current Mood:

making soup

all the soup
This year has definitely been The Year of the Soup.

I've been messing around with soups for the last couple of Winters, but this year I really kind of dug in and have made some fairly epic soups. It all started with a recipe for tomato soup that Pixie from work gave me (that's it in the top right of the photo with all the cheese)... it was the first time I'd ever made a soup that required a blender at the end, and it was something of a revelation. I often find the diced vegetables in soup a little boring, the broth is always great, but the little cubes of disappointment can lack any real flavour... not so with blended soups.

That's not to say I haven't had my disasters, both blended and not. French Onion and roasted beetroot soup were recipes that went straight into the recycling once I'd tasted the soups. I mean, French Onion soup is essentially a big bowl of onions. And yes, I know the name should have given that away, and I don't really know what the hell I was expecting, but it wasn't the boring, beefy onionness. And the beetroot just tasted roughly like eating dirt. Thick, claggy purple dirt. Again, I think I was expecting a result more like the sweeter and cleaner taste of tinned beetroot... definitely not what I got. Oh, and carrot soup... I don't really like carrots that much at the best of times, but somehow I expected the carrot and honey soup to improve the flavour. Plus it came out very, very thin.

And I'm still looking for that perfect chicken soup recipe... I've tried a variety of ideas, and while some of them have worked, and others have partially worked, I haven't found that one perfect idea. Although what I have discovered is I much prefer shredded chicken than pieces of chicken... and adding more than a small palm full of pasta will result in noodle stew.

But I've essentially got it down to a fine art, albeit with the occasional misfire. It essentially comes down to a fairly simple formula...
  1. Select vegetable (or vegetables) of choice and chop/dice into small pieces
  2. Pick at least one member of the onion family (brown, white, red, spring onion, leek) and do likewise
  3. Add onion, garlic and chili and stir until onion is soft
  4. Add all other hard vegetables and stir over heat for about five minutes
  5. Cover in stock
  6. Bring to boil
  7. Simmer for about twenty minutes or until veg is tender
  8. Salt and pepper to taste
  9. Blend as appropriate
This can also be augmented by the addition of tinned tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, a can of coconut milk (this worked especially good in the sweet potato soup I made, which was more or less a variation on a pumpkin soup recipe), a tub of cream.

Oh, and as with all things, bacon makes anything better... so I tend to add more bacon than the recipes have called for.

But here are a couple of real live actual recipes... which I've since been adapting and augmenting... and remember that often times I doubled the recipes so that I had enough soup for a whole week's worth of lunches.

Tomato Soup
(originally from

tomato soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large brown onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
300g Sebago potatoes, peeled and chopped
600g tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 litre chicken stock
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
4 rashers bacon

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, for three minutes or until the onion has softened. Add the tomatoes and potato, then the tomato paste. Cook for one minute.

Add stock. Season with pepper and a pinch of dried basil. Cover. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the potato is tender. Set aside for five minutes to cool slightly.

Add fresh basil. Blend until smooth.

Pea and Prosciutto Soup
(originally from

3 tablespoons olive oil
200g prosciutto
1 leek, trimmed, halved lengthways, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1.25 litres vegetable stock
5 cups frozen peas
125g light sour cream

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Coarsely chop the prosciutto and add to the pan.

Add the leek and garlic and cook, stirring, for three minutes or until soft. Add the stock. Bring to the boil. Add the peas and cook, stirring occasionally, for five minutes or until just cooked. Set aside for five minutes to cool slightly.

Blend until smooth.

Cook the soup over medium heat for two minutes or until heated through. Season with salt and pepper. Top with sour cream.

Moroccan Pumpkin Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1kg pumpkin, peeled and diced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 litre Campbell's Real Soup Base - Moroccan

Heat the oil in a medium size saucepan. Add onion and cook for one minute. Add the pumpkin, potato and stock.

Bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes or until the pumpkin and potato soften.

Blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Potato, Bacon and Leek Soup
(originally from BBC Good Food)

25g butter
8 rashers streaky bacon, chopped
2 brown onions, chopped
4 trimmed leeks, sliced and well washed
6 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 litres hot vegetable stock
300ml cooking cream

Melt the butter in a large pan, then fry the bacon and onion, stirring until they start to turn golden.

Tip in the leeks and potatoes and stir well. Cover and turn down the heat. Cook gently for five minutes.

Pour in the stock, season well and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes until the vegetables are soft.

Leave to cool for a few minutes, then blend until smooth. Return to the pan, pour in the cream and stir well.

Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary.

Mushroom and Bacon Soup
(originally from Campbell's Kitchen)

80g bacon, diced
50g butter
1 onion, diced
500g mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 litre Campbell's Real Soup Base – Italian
sour cream or thickened cream and chives to garnish

Cook bacon in a medium greased frying pan for five minutes until browned and crisp.

Melt butter in same pan. Add onion and mushrooms. Cook for five minutes until softened. Add the flour. Cook for one minute. Transfer to a medium saucepan.

Gradually add stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for ten minutes.

Blend soup until smooth. Top with sour cream and chives.

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