Thursday, October 02, 2008


Okay, so it has been a whirlwind month, trying to get used to a hundred million new things and keep my head above water. Will not bore you (or myself) with the details and will just get on with it. Am at work, so this is gonna have to be one of my speed posts.

Have an awesome recipe you must MUST try if you're so inclined. Tried it yesterday and Pete and I have decided it's definitely a keeper (ie, you're likely to try it if you drop by for dinner anytime soon). As you can tell from the title, this is part of an ongoing fixation with fennel (which is amazing, really). The recipe's really simple, and took less than 10 minutes to throw together (assuming you marinated the pork - or cooked the crab, or whatever you feel like putting on top of it - first. It's just as nice vegetarian in any case. Simple pleasures.).

There are a whole bunch of variations of this on the net (one topped it with roasted bell peppers), but here's what I did (I can't provide fixed quantities here, just a guesstimate, only because I tend to make it up as I go along. This exact recipe comfortably feeds two people a light supper):

Fennel, Mandarin and Pork Salad

Fennel - both the bulb - thinly sliced, about a handful, and leaf sprigs - roughly chopped for garnishing
Mandarin Oranges - about 8 wedges cut into smaller pieces for the salad
Garlic - 2 cloves, crushed
Rocket/Arugula - a handful and a half

Pepper (you don't need heaps coz there's a nice spiciness from the fennel and rocket anyway)
Olive oil
Orange juice from two or three leftover wedges
Balsamic vinegar (just a drop or two)

Pork (I use pork loin, chops are messier)
Marinate with:
Salt, pepper, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, a sprinkling of red chilli powder, handful of basil (chopped)
Leave it in the fridge to settle.
Okay, the method: Get a salad bowl and chuck in the rocket, thinly sliced fennel bulb (I like using the shoots as well), the mandarins and the garlic, and then dress it with the salt, pepper, olive oil, juice and balsamic vinegar (the balsamic is not crucial. Just a matter of preference really). Pan fry the pork - the trick is not to over-cook it or it gets dry. About four minutes on each side should suffice), or grill it in the oven if you prefer. Plate, garnish with fennel sprigs (or whatever they are rightly called), and enjoy! Goes perfectly with a nice sauvignon blanc (A Tahuna or Monkey Bay is cheap and cheerful, or Kim Crawford is cool if you're feeling a bit lush).

It's as simple as it gets, really (idiotproof, even), and leaves a wonderful taste in your mouth. I had thought about topping it off with a poached egg, but honestly? It didn't need it. The orange and the pork go great together, even if the fennel pretty much drowned out the basil. It did lend a sweetness to the meat though.

Okay, enjoy. I gots to get back to the work day.

More to come soon,

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Sorry but the first week at work's been pretty hectic. Lots of things to get used to as you can imagine. It's a very different world is all I really can say, and parts of my brain that have assumed non-activity for a fair bit of my life have suddenly been kicked into action.

Anyway, more later. For now, though, our amazing niece, Nicola, has done her first piano recital for the school year. Check her out (and the funky top I bought her for it!). She's very good.

*Proud uncle and aunt beaming*

Okay, gotta get back to work. Will check in again soon!


Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Feels so strange blogging from the Mac. But of course, I don't have my little PC anymore. The reason being..... after a wonderful decade at ST, I have finally decided to move on and try something different. Finally wound things up in the newsroom (wait for it....) on 20.08.2008 (nice ring to it, no?), and am enjoying a temporary state of unemployment (while desperately how to figure out how to do this full time - and get paid for it... ideas, anyone?). 

Anyway, from Monday, I begin writing a whole new chapter to my life. I join a new company (stay tuned for details), and it will mark the beginning of a brand new adventure.

It's quite a leap of faith, and to be honest, I am still coming to terms with the fact that this is actually real, especially since news of me having left has invariably been met with incredulous "no way!!" looks.

It has taken me a long while to come to this decision, not least because journalism is something I am so clearly passionate about and love. And it's been an amazing ride - from subbing to Life!, to Streats, to STTV, and then, especially, to the Newsdesk. I have made so many friends, some of whom have become more akin to family. There have also been those who have been instrumental in making the journalist - and the person - that I have become. Plus, it's very odd indeed, some might think, to leave a job you still love madly. Most people usually wait till they are sick and tired, or angry, or burnt out. But that was the one thing I didn't want to happen, because journalism will always be a part of me, and I hardly think the way to maintain that love for it is to wait for love to fizzle out.

There are things that make ST incredibly hard to leave though - my bosses, the team I work most closely with, others I have worked with through the years, the prospect of being able to run to work from home in 15 minutes... It feels like moving out of Mum's for the first time (actually, I think that might have been a little easier, coz I can still pop by whenever I want and help myself from her fridge, or put my legs up on her sofa, and she knows I will always be hers). This .... is somewhat different, especially since the new job puts me on the other end of the news spectrum.

Still, I guess this big move is about getting my butt out of my comfort zone and learning something new while I still have the energy to want to, and am not being tied down with things that would make such career experimentation impossible. The new joint also, evidently, has great coffee. 

Pete's been great about the whole thing, though. And extremely patient. Not easy, since I am still yoyo-ing between being excited about moving on and wondering out loud if I have well and truly lost my marbles (not least when I think about 1) the commute 2) having to look remotely together at 9 in the morning, something that being a news hound doesn't quite prepare you for).

But its done, and dusted. A lot of people have been very encouraging, and have reassured me that I can always go back to being a scribe if this does not quite suit me. I'm trying not to go into it with that mentality, though, so that I don't fall back on it as a handy out clause. 

I've still got a couple of days of freedom, though. And Gwen & gang have been in town, which helps, coz it means I'm not dwelling on whether or not I have made the right decision. They've just left for Hoi An, which is why I've been able to get around to blogging. We're likely gonna sneak off for a little weekend escapade as well, before D-day comes around, so the next update you'll get is probably gonna be when I have well and truly begun. 

Okay, so, wish me well. Should be fun. We'll all soon find out. Exciting things are happening in the world of Pete too, but I'll wait till he gives me the go ahead to enter it into blogosphere.


Monday, August 04, 2008


Yes, we're alive.

It has been one hell of a month, not least because both of us are in so deep with the upcoming ST relaunch. Won't bore you with details, but needless to say, it has resulted in the blog being somewhat neglected.

The good news is that we have, in between, finally found a little bit of time from our Ireland trip (which now feels like it happened a year or more ago), and hopefully once things calm down, you'll (finally) find out what we got up to (that we're willing to tell you about). Heh.

Either way, wanted to quickly pop in and say a BIG congratulations to Sam and Ash on the birth of their little girl, Misha, who made her bold entrance on July 24. Snapped a picture but it's so grainy that I gotta go get another. It will come soon, coz you gotta see how gorgeous she is.

Okay, gotta run. Catch ya later.


Thursday, July 03, 2008


A big congratulations goes out to the Stephens', who went from a duo to a trio early on Monday morning! Welcome wee one! (Hilary - have you had that pint yet???) .

They've finally given us a first peek at the wee one.... Check out the new Dad expertly feeding his son. It feels like only yesterday that Eoin and Hilary weren't even married, and were here for our wedding!
Update: The spawn has been named: Louis Joseph Stephens... Such a big name for such a little guy! A beautiful name though! He's adorable too - Mum and Dad are gonna have to spend the rest of their lives beating off the babes!!

Congrats guys, and welcome little guy!! Can't wait to meet ya in person!


Monday, June 30, 2008


We have a new neighbour.

It would appear that a rooster has made himself at home in the green edge of the MacRitchie catchment that borders our home. Not sure if someone brought him there, though I would think that with an animal so domesticated, it might point to the fact that some people may actually living in the green (especially since we sometimes see strange lights etc). But I digress.

The problem with this supposed alarm clock is that it seems to keep really strange hours (not that we're complaining about not being woken up at 6am or some other ungodly hour like that). But seriously, he crows at... of all times... 11am (which if you asked me is possibly indicative of a higher form of intelligence, since it is exactly the right time that Pete and I would probably want to wake up on any given day). Anyway, as I was saying, he gets going at 11am, and sometimes, equally randomly, at about 5pm (which, ironically, is about exactly the right time we would wanna be going home from work).

It could well be that the parents in the neighbourhood ganged up and did something to the bird after learning this: "In a recent USDA study, researchers decided that the crow of the rooster in the morning may have long term effects on the hearing of infants, whose ears are not yet accustomed to such sounds."

But coincidences aside, is our random rooster absolutely normal?? Or has there been some kind of serious cock up here??


Sunday, June 29, 2008


Got so much to report that I don't know quite where to start, plus I have something in the oven so don't have that much time for a complete update. Felt in the mood for experimenting and Pete's working, so decided to make a pasta bake. Went with a basic beef sauce but had a surged of thai inspiration, so in went some coriander and a couple of spices. Tastes pretty good, even if I say so myself. (update: chef extraordinairre Pete approves!!)

Okay, so first things first - a HAPPY BIRTHDAY to some of the most important June babies in our lives, who all just turned highly significant and momentus ages (though for the record its all the ripe old age of 21) - Mum (Gladys), Mum (Rita). A special birthday shout out too to one of our favourite nephews Luke Matthew Williams (Man U #5 for now!!), who turned a very very impressive 6 last week to the tune of racing games, chocolate, and a promise that he's still going to be able to beat Pete in bowling on the Wii when we head over next year! Oh, and then there's Claud, and Sujin.... realise we have a lot of mid-year born favourite people! Hope its a brilliant year guys.

We're still editing the photos and the video, but managed to pull off a great surprise birthday party for Mum at ours. Almost all the cousins made it (and on time!!), and the crew from over yonder even recorded their special greetings and emailed them in for us to screen. All the kids performed little skits/dances/instrumentals etc... And I think it is safe to say she had a fantastic time. What made it even nicer is that it was at home, so we didn't have to worry about noise levels, last orders, other people or doing anything at all we wanted at any given moment, which was fab.

Other than that, its been an eventful couple of weeks, between work and everything else, and believe me when I say its a lot more than the usual (will let on when the timing's a tad bit more... appropriate). I know we owe photos and stories from the trip, and we promise we'll have those, as well as both Mums' birthday shots, up soonest. Together with at least three paragraphs of excuses as to why its taken so long (we promise).

(cont'd) Okay, so what else... We've finally settled into the house again methinks. Was a bit hard. Came back, got sick, had surprised birthday weekend, worked, worked the weekend, and then covered the Water Summit (god wasn't it BRILLIANT to be back on the reporting circuit again! Had the time of my life back on the ground interviewing, writing, meeting people, and not least, actually making Happy Hour once or twice, which made the early starts completely worthwhile. But it realise made me realise how much I really like journalism.) But yeah, finally nestled back in, and getting back into my usual routine. We've started cooking alot again, which is great, especially since it means being able to eat lunch the next day without having to go to the canteen!! We've also been experimenting with a couple of restaurants over the weekends, but for lack of anything great to say, apart from the fact that the steak at Wild Rocket is still nothing short of amazing, will keep the comments brief. Very open to some suggestions for great places though. Haven't found anything particularly brilliant lately.... Anyone checked out White Rabbit at Dempsey yet? Thoughts?

Okay, so that's the deal for now. Gotta actually get to work, and trying to go in with a smile on my face even if it it (groans) Monday.

Will be back later today.