Thumper…

July 31, 2011

Ugandan flora, Lake Victoria docks and the cold

Filed under: Trips,Uganda — pearsey @ 8:34 pm
Tags: ,

Continuing my “twelve months ago” series on Uganda…
One thing that really surprised me in Uganda was how cold it was. The first week there I woke up to dew on the cars! I certainly wasn’t expecting to have to drag the long pants out at all in Uganda, and I only narrowly avoided having to do that – mainly because I stayed inside til it warmed up, or went out into the sun. The Ugandans would ask me how Uganda was that first week and my answer was the same – it’s SO cold here! Even they did agree that it was unusually cold, so I felt a little better after hearing that.
Another thing that stood out was the flora – beautiful flowers, mostly in the gardens of houses, although much more of an english feel than I expected – although that makes sense seeing as Uganda used to be a British nation.
We also took a short drive around part of Lake Victoria on the outskirts of Kampala. I guess it would be the equivalent of our “docks” on the sea. There was a market there, fishing boats and of course more people… Mike got us some “skewers”. I had one piece of “meat” off the skewer before he told me what it was. Liver… ewwww…. I didn’t eat any more after that. I’m not an offal fan. If I hadn’t eaten for a few days and there was nothing else…. maybe then. Otherwise – no way!

Anyway, here’s some more photos from the first week – the dew on the car, the lake side “docks” and a few of the flowers (and plants) around Mutumdwe. (Sorry, no idea of the name of the flowers!)

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July 28, 2011

Squash

Filed under: Idle Ramblings — pearsey @ 10:41 pm

Somehow, largely thanks to the other team members I think, we made it to the squash grand final! Second season, and thankyou, into the grand final. Unfortunately we lost tonight, 2 rubbers all, 6 games all, 74 – 73 points. ONE POINT! One lousy point was all there was between winning and runners up. Now, I have to say, that two of the others did fairly well, picked up my slack, I lost 9-4, 9-6, 9-1, one of other players scored less than me (how could that happen!) and our other two obviously almost covered for us.

Not bad I guess, given that through the season I’ve only won one game (you play best of 5 on a night) and normally I only pick up a few points. Guess it just goes to show though, every point counts. A nice Eaglehawk Squash Club mug to add to my collection, although I think I would have preferred a nice meat voucher that you got if you won!
And one of the guys there was nice enough to give me one of his old racquets, that’s pretty cool, so now I have my own racquet! Thanks Ricky!

July 24, 2011

12 Months ago today…

Filed under: Trips,Uganda — pearsey @ 6:01 pm
Tags: ,

12 Months ago today I left for Uganda! It doesn’t seem like that long ago, but it is. So for the next few weeks, I’m going to try and post “what I was doing 12 months ago” and hopefully that way I’ll catch up on posting my Ugandan (and Kenyan/Tanzanian) photos.

It’s interesting heading off on a holiday – because you never really quite know what is going to happen. And as I commented on my brothers blog yesterday, it’s often the unexpected curveballs that makes for the most memorable parts of the trip and gives you the talking points when you return!

I flew Melbourne-Dubai-Entebbe, a total of about 24hrs in transit, 22 of those flying. The long haul MEL-DXB flight is a total of 14hr 15min flying time, that’s a long time in one of the seats and I was a bit annoyed that I didn’t get my aisle seat that I’d pre-chosen! I guess getting to the airport slightly after the recommended “2 hours before flight” time didn’t help there… Then when I did get there, I had to dump some of my luggage (2kg over) or pay an excess baggage charge of $70 per kg. I had weighed it all out so carefully, then rearranged things just before I left. Oh well, it meant that a few cool things like the lollypops and cheese didn’t make it… Then the check in people weighed my luggage on a different scale and I was 2kg under GRRRRR coz I certainly hadn’t dumped that much so I reckon that first check in counter’s scales were wrong! The joys of flying and being at the airlines mercy. They wouldn’t even let me on with extra even when I said it’s for missionaries over there. Surely they could have some compassion! Come on, Aussies stuck in a foreign country need some Aussie goodies like a footy, cheese (this is Uganda, no decent cheese) and tim tams! Anyway, I won’t complain too much, coz I did have extra hand luggage and I was late. But I have learnt that when you’re late to check in, the queue is extremely short and you don’t have to wait around long!

Apart from that, Emirates service and on flight meals were exceptional. Definitely no problems there and absolutely nothing to complain about at all, they’ve become my airline of choice.

So got to Dubai (no sleep on the plane of course), wasn’t sure where to go, accidentally went “into Dubai”, so got an extra stamp on my passport, but then had to go back through customs again. Made it to my connecting flight and the final leg of my journey to arrive in Uganda began.
When you’re on the plane and it takes off, I love that feeling of anticipation. So many adventures await and new people to meet. My trip was also a missions trip, so I had the added bonus of knowing that I’d get to do other stuff that I loved as well – that is some preaching in local churches, encouraging local pastors and blessing our local missionaries Mike and Shirley. I wish you could bottle that feeling of excitement as you leave for a new place, on a new adventure, it’s such an amazing feeling…

Landed in Adis Ababa in Ethiopia, watched half the plan unload, and now we were left with those going to Entebbe. Just 2 hours to go!!!! By now, most of the plane was African, most of the people were black and I was almost a lone white man on the plane – something that you don’t really notice, except that there are some Ugandans who love to point out that you’re muzungu (white man).

Anyway, the plane was a little late I think, but nothing too serious. Got to see first glimpses of Uganda from the air, landed safely in Entebbe, then had to make my way out of the airport… Right… Got through customs quick enough, paid my USD50 for a visa, then – waited for my luggage. And waited. Thought the last of my suitcases was never going to make it… Finally though, gathered my stuff, and by then there was no point hurrying because the line to actually get out of the airport snaked around nearly the entire airport. There’d been the bombings in Uganda a few weeks earlier, so they were checking everybody’s luggage at the scanner. One scanner. Fifty thousand suit cases per person – ok, not really, but I’m sure almost everyone had about 3 or 4 and security staff who were in no hurry at all. Didn’t they know we had people to see! I still never saw the point of scanning luggage on the way out, I mean really, we’d all just flown on Emirates, most of us came from Dubai, the luggage all would have been scanned there. Finally, as the line became unmanageable, they just let everyone leave – but still pulled over random people. Today I didn’t want to be a random “chosen one”! Security averted, I made it out into the lovely warmth of Uganda! So much better than the freezing weather I’d left behind in Melbourne.

Then began the trip from the airport back to Mike and Shirley’s. One will never know why I didn’t take any photos on that trip back, but maybe it had something to do with the police with machine guns stationed every 100m for the first 10km of the trip… Or maybe I was just soaking up the atmosphere, relieved to finally be here!

Here’s some photos of the beginning of the trip!

July 23, 2011

Sausages and Crumble

Filed under: Food — pearsey @ 2:35 pm

Apricot sausage casserole on a bed of rice, and peach and pear crumble were on the menu tonight for the visitors. I’d never made either of these before (well plenty of crumbles, but not with these fruits) and as I explained this to the guests as I dished it up, I got a couple of “oh no what are we in for” looks…

I did cheat a bit with the sausage casserole. I used a maggi sausage casserole base, but the basic ingredients were apricot sauce, a couple of carrots and onions, 2 tblsp tomato paste and some water. Throw in about 8-12 sausages and bake in the over for about an hour. I gave the sausages a quick fry in the frying pan first, just to seal them, then whacked them in the dish on top of the carrots and onions, poured the sauce over and into the oven. Sausages from the Gunbower Butcher – they tasted really really nice.

As for the crumble… well, one of the visitors asked for the recipe! Umm… no recipe there… just throw in the basic crumble ingredients, whack it on top of the peaches and pears (a tub of fruit from the SPC Ardmona factory) with some cinammon and into the oven. A lovely hot dessert with some ice cream. Oh yeah, nearly forgot the secret ingredient. Lemon juice! I read somewhere that you can add a quick squeeze of lemon juice to pears before covering with crumble for something different – that was a nice twist to the dish.

All up, a very good meal (must have been, I went to squash right after that and won my first game this season) and sausage casserole was still pretty good the next day reheated.

That’s the end of my food posts for a while… well, til I cook again. Am thinking of making some apricot chicken sometime soon, we’ll see how that turns out.

Lemon Meringue Pie

Filed under: Food — pearsey @ 2:20 pm

I’m not a big fan of tangy things, but I had some lemons there and somebody said they were going to make a lemon meringue pie. So I thought if they can do it, I can do it. Never mind that I’d never eaten any before, I figured it was a dessert, I liked meringue and I liked the pie base, so chances were good that I’d polish it off!
This recipe was so easy… And I use pre-prepared bases from the supermarket to make my job even easier!

Lemon Meringue Pie from Best recipes.
180g plain biscuits, crushed
90g butter, or substitute, melted
1 x 400gm can condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3 eggs, separated (I used four)
1/2 cup caster sugar

Method:
Combine biscuits and melted butter
Press into a 23cm pie plate and refrigerate
Blend condensed milk and lemon juice. Add lightly beaten egg yolks and combine well.
Pour evenly into the chilled crumb crust, then bake for about 10min for filling to set.
Beat egg whites until stiff, then gradually beat in caster sugar. Spoon meringue on top of filling.
Bake in a preheated oven at 160C for 10-15min, or until meringue is golden.

I made two pies out of this using the pre-prepared bases, so I had one with visitors that night and took one to work the next day. I was still eating the left overs a few days later and it still tasted just as good then!

Mixed Bag

Filed under: Food — pearsey @ 1:50 pm

Had plenty of free time today after posting the letter, so I thought I’d do some cooking, and use up some ingredients from Mum’s fridge after they left them there before going away.

So first up: Lemonade Scones.
I’ve made these heaps of times. A great simple recipe from Exclusively Food.

325g (2 cups + 2 tablespoons) self-raising flour
167ml (2/3 cup) cold lemonade (use the carbonated type)
167ml (2/3 cup) thickened cream (35 percent fat)

Preheat oven to 225 degrees Celsius (205 degrees Celsius fan-forced). Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Sift flour into a large bowl. Combine lemonade and cream in a medium bowl. Add lemonade and cream mixture to flour and gently fold ingredients together until just combined (don’t over mix the dough as this will produce tough scones). The dough should be fairly soft and sticky. Roll it out, cut out the scones and put them in the oven for about 10-15mins!

Scones with homemade jam and cream!

Had enough scones to have a couple as soon as they came out of the oven, took a plate full to church for morning tea and then some to my sisters the next day!

After the scones came the spag bol and apple crumble. Spag bol made with some locally grown beef and apple crumble was made with Ross’s organic home grown apples. How could you go past that for tea! Hot apple crumble with ice cream.

An old favourite, spag bol

Hot apple crumble made with home grown apples

Pork Casserole

Filed under: Food — pearsey @ 1:32 pm

Made this casserole this arvo – quickly cooked the diced pork (Australian Rivalea pork of course!) in the frying pan, then put that aside, then cut up an apple, put in some pineapple, a bit of marg, and fried that (I had no onion or that would have been in there too), oh – and a cube of vegetable stock – then I put in pineapple juice, combined all that, and then milk – stirred it all up and it was looking good (and some rosemary and paprika). After that I threw in some flour, but the flour kind of went a bit lumpy in it. (tip – put that in before the liquid to avoid the lumps!)

Then I poured that over the meat (about 500gm) and some vegies (500gm) and stirred it in. Probably not quite enough sauce for the amount of meat and vegies, but given that there was no receipe, I just made it, it probably wasn’t too bad.

Instant Pudding Chocolate Cake

Filed under: Food — pearsey @ 1:22 pm

So now that I’ve finished (actually even before I finished) all my work, I’ve got back into the cooking a bit. I love cooking, mainly because at the end, you get to eat what you create! Plus, so much of our life revolves around food, it’s good to be able to cook quick and easy things that taste good. So the next few posts are dedicate to some of the cooking creations over the last few weeks. Mainly they’re just here for reference – I often just chuck stuff in and it tastes really good – but I have no idea what I’ve done if I ever want to make it again. If I “used” a recipe – used being a very loose term as I usually just get ideas from a recipe then change it, I’ll put the actual recipe here and a link to where I found it – coz you never know when the link may get taken down. So here we go, first up, a delicious chocolate cake. Granted I didn’t think it tasted as good as everyone else did – I’ll have to try it again, I think I overcooked it.

This comes from dparkinson at taste.com.au (in the comments section).

1 packet chocolate cake mix (the better quality cake mix the better the
cake)
1 packet chocolate instant pudding
1 packet choc chips
1 1/2 cups milk

Line 20cm round cake tin.
Put packet mixes and choc chips and milk in a bowl (I prefer to melt the chocolate it gives a better texture).
Stir with a spoon.
Beat till well combined.
Spoon into pan and bake 35 – 40 mins in 180 degree oven.
Stand for a while before turning out.

I followed this recipe pretty exactly (a few less choc chips), but I let it cook for longer because I thought it wasn’t cooked, then I think I overcooked it.

July 21, 2011

It is finished

Filed under: Church life,Idle Ramblings — pearsey @ 4:57 pm

For those of you who don’t know, the past 3 years I’ve been studying a diploma of ministry. As well as attending classes four weekends a year, you have to do assignments and spend time with your coach in between times. While I’ve still got 2 weekends to go this year, I can report that I have finished all my class work for this year! That means I am about 6 months ahead and also means no more homework! Yay! So back at the end of June, (yes I know, this post is a little late), I had the pleasure of posting the last two assignments – so over 100 pages and $8.65 to post (yikes).

All done!

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