Australian finger lime love 💚 and enhancing baked beans with anchovies

This is a photograph of three Australian finger limes on a cutting board.

Finger lime love 💚

Before we get to me expressing love for the Australian finger lime…

Three Australian finger limes

This is a photograph of three Australian finger limes on a cutting board.

Visitor behaviour at Yummy Lummy

Earlier in the year, I mentioned a spike in views on Yummy Lummy as a result of the vanilla slice article written by Jolene Laverty.

This week I noticed a similar spike. However, the difference was a high number of views without a corresponding number of visitors. I could see the visitors were likely from Australia when I interrogated Google Analytics.

Graph showing a spike in views

Graph of Yummy Lummy blog statistics

I hope whoever was trawling through Yummy Lummy found whatever he or she was looking for. It’s not the first time. I’ve written previously about internet and social media trolling and the unpleasant behaviour that can occur when people try to make life difficult. I’d prefer people who have an issue with me to confront me directly rather than in roundabout ways. If whoever was doing it was after something to have a go at me, feel free to contact me.

It would be nice to think whoever it was, was looking through recipes, however, the posts that were visited weren’t recipe posts and many of them were from between two and four years ago.

If you’re reading this and wondering how do I know what visitors were looking at, it should come as no surprise at just how useful Google Analytics is for bloggers.

Finger lime love 💚

Have you ever enjoyed the mouthfeel of the firm juice-filled sacs of the Australian finger lime? It’s not so much the smooth sacs of juice but the little explosions of tangy goodness as you move your tongue and gently squeeze the sacs as you masticate. The result is a cascade of spurts of refreshing nectar.

Finger lime enhanced fennel salad with Coles chicken Kiev

This is a photograph of Saturday dinner. Coles chicken Kiev with finger lime fennel salad.

Finger limes are native to Australia and are now a so-called gourmet product popularised by Australian TV cooks and chefs. I’m not sure if finger limes are exported or if the shrub can be grown overseas for commercial cultivation. You can find more about Citrus australasica on Wikipedia.

I remember the first time I tried finger limes. It was in a salad at a Canberra restaurant, viz., Black Fire Restaurant in Braddon. The next time was around Christmas a few years ago and a friend added the taut juice-filled vesicles to some fresh plump Sydney oysters with mirin and miso. Best oysters ever.

So this week I found some finger limes in Coles and thought the translucent caviar-like vesicles of happiness would go well with a fennel and lime salad. I served the salad with a little leftover roast lamb shoulder which I had cooked on Sunday evening.

One of my favourite flavours is lime and I usually make my fennel salad with lime zest 💚 and lime juice.

Valentine’s day

My gut feeling is that this day didn’t gain much traction locally. While social media was full of red roses and romantic wishes from Tweeps and Facebook friends, I hardly saw any evidence of Valentine’s Day while I was out and about.

As a curmudgeon in-training, my hope would be we could do away with this day forever. I mean, what’s the point?

Florida mass murder

There has been so much written about this already, the facts can be found elsewhere. Regular readers know I don’t express political opinions here, however, what I hadn’t really appreciated until very recently was the drilling school students in the US go through in preparation for active shooter events.

I read a status update from a US-based friend on Facebook and it really hit home just how the lives of school students in the US are dominated by very real threats of injury and death. My friend’s son mentioned how concerned he was about the protocol of locking the classroom door and getting behind desks. He assumed a shooter would shoot out a lock and simply walk in and unload. My friend is an expert in doors, especially locks and security doors and she was able to reassure her son that schools in the US require doors on classrooms to meet some basic requirements and it’s unlikely a lock could be shot out so that the door would simply open.

I hope school students in Australia never have to experience this sort of drill requirement let alone a real active shooter situation. That said, I hope fire and natural disaster drills occur regularly. I remember at Royal Darwin Hospital we had to drill for tropical cyclones and flood events. I remember at the Princess Alexandra Hospital we had regular fire drills which resulted in regular visits from local firefighters. More recently, I’ve participated in fire evacuation drills at the Canberra Hospital and Health Services.

Anchovies

Do you like anchovies? I love the little salty oily fishy tidbits of joy. I really like them on a pizza, even if it’s a plain tomato paste, basil and cheese pizza. The addition of those little fish that go crispy in the pizza oven really enhances the flavour. I was reading a blog post from a food and photography lover in France and he described how he enhanced an humble tin of baked beans by adding a little garlic and anchovies. I did a short show about it over at the Random Yummy episode 3. Please have a listen and let me know what you think.

I tried to do the same thing and made a tin of Heinz baked beans taste so much better.

The anchovies and baked beans I used

This is a photograph of a tin of anchovies and Heinz baked beans on a cutting board.

Sydney

On Tuesday I found myself flying to Sydney for a meeting in the CBD.

Canberra Airport public art

This is a photograph of "The Athlete" at the Canberra Airport. It's a piece of public art depicting a naked woman in the stance of a shot putter.

While there is a lot of criticism of the public art in Canberra, especially the very large sums of money spent on the artworks, I’m a bit of a fan. Most of it is gaudy but for reasons I can’t explain, I like it.

The Athlete is one of my favourite pieces.

Circular Quay fire

This is a photograph from The Exchange building on Bridge Street Sydney. It shows a cruise liner berthed in Circular Quay.

Even though the meeting was scheduled to begin at 10 am, I booked the 6.30 am flight from CBR. The Sydney traffic is unpredictable and flight delays out of CBR can occur. It is fortunate that I did make the early booking. The traffic was very bad, especially in the CBD. There had been a fire which resulted in evacuations and street closures in the CBD. From what I’ve read, gas cylinders exploded and it’s fortunate no one was seriously injured. From what I could see seated in a taxicab; fire, ambulance, and police services were in full swing doing all they could to protect lives and property.

All I could see from the building I was in was a cruise liner and some smoke.

High speed Wi-Fi

A screenshot of an internet speed test showing really good download and upload speeds.

While the humidity of Sydney made me happy it was the free Wi-Fi on offer at the meeting venue which had me ecstatic. It’s not often you go somewhere and you get this sort of quality Wi-Fi. I wish I could get this sort of service in Canberra. I used to think my little MacBook was slow and getting old, but when the internet speed is good, that little machine sings sweetly.

Chicken Kiev and the MEATER3®

The MEATER®️ inserted into a chicken Kiev

This is a photograph of a chicken Kiev with the MEATER deeply inserted.

One of my most visited posts on Yummy Lummy is How long do you cook a Coles Chicken Kiev. Now that I have a MEATER® meat thermometer, I wanted to see what the ideal cooking time would be.

I used 75 °C/165 °F as my target temperature and went for it. You can read the new post at Yummy Lummy. It was a good quality assurance exercise. Check out the post to read why.

What I ate this week

I wasn’t as diligent this week with my food photography. I was in meetings for much of it.

Monday dinner

Baked crispy skin salmon with a stir-fried kale slaw

This is a photograph of Monday dinner. Oven baked torch seared salmon with stir-fried kale slaw.

Tuesday dinner

I went out to the local Canberra Southern Cross Club and had a chicken schnitzel with beans, guacamole and sour cream.

This is a photograph of Tuesday dinner. Mexican chicken schnitzel with chips and salad.

Wednesday dinner

Chicken Maryland with anchovy and garlic baked beans served with crispy Brussels sprouts.

This is a photograph of Wednesday dinner. Garlic and anchovy baked beans chicken maryland with crispy Brussels sprouts.

Thursday dinner

Leftover lamb with finger lime enhanced fennel salad.

This is a photograph of Thursday dinner. Finger lime enhanced rosemary lamb and fennel salad with Australian finger lime.

Friday lunch

Chicken schnitzel with chips and gravy.

This is a photograph of Friday Lunch. Chicken schnitzel with chips and gravy.

Friday dinner

Leftover lamb with spicy creamy cheesy vegetables

This is a photograph of Friday dinner. Super spicy leftover lamb with cheesy creamy Brussels sprouts.

Saturday breakfast

Baked eggs and Spam

This is a photograph of Saturday breakfast. Spam and baked eggs with cheese.

Saturday lunch

Chicken salad

This is a photograph of Saturday lunch. Chicken salad sans dressing.

Saturday dinner

Coles chicken Kiev with finger lime enhanced fennel salad

This is a photograph of Saturday dinner. Coles chicken Kiev with Australian finger lime fennel salad.

Sunday breakfast

Cheesy seedy baked Spam with poached eggs garnished with dill and parsley

This is a photograph of Sunday breakfast. Poached eggs with Spam 💚

Sunday lunch

McDonald’s (Maccas) McNuggets (Nugs)

This is a photograph of Sunday lunch. McDonalds McNuggets (Nugs) and mustard.

Final words

So dear reader, what do you have planned for the coming week? Have you had weird behaviour on your blog? Have you tried the Australian finger lime? What would you sacrifice for decent internet speeds?

Feel free to interact in the comments or via Twitter or Facebook.

Catch you next week.

Oops I ate too much

This is a weight chart showing my daily weigh in since the beginning of 2018. I've marked the weight I recorded this morning 79.5 kg.

Oops I ate too much

I’ve been relatively well behaved this week in terms of my food consumption but the end of the week saw me blow out a lot.

This is a weight chart showing my daily weigh in since the beginning of 2018. I've marked the weight I recorded this morning 79.5 kg.

It started on Friday when I chose the staff special chicken schnitzel with chips and gravy for $10.50. That evening I went a little further and enjoyed a crispy Balsamic Brussels sprouts and Spam dish with fennel salad.

This is a photograph of the staff special chicken schnitzel with chips and gravy.

This is a photograph of a plate of crispy Balsamic Brussels sprouts with Spam and a limey fennel salad 💚

On Saturday morning I weighed in at 78.5 kg/173 pounds and enjoyed a Coon cheese® omelet with sesame and poppy seeds. The real weekend splurging started at lunch when I bought a plate of roast pork, applesauce, potato bake and roast vegetables from Fancy Fillings at Westfield Belconnen. I asked for a small plate. A big plate must be huge.

This is a photograph of Saturday lunch. Small pork and vegetables plate from Fancy Fillings at Westfield Belconnen..

Saturday dinner was huge with a 300 gram/10.6 once piece of scotch fillet steak plus cheesy horseradish cream roasted vegetables. Not to mention the bags of almonds and cashews I ate in the afternoon.

This is a photograph of rare scotch fillet steak served with cheesy creamy horseradish roasted vegetables.

When I weighed myself this morning (Sunday, 11 February 2018) I was 79.5 kilograms/175.3 pounds. An ordinary bloke would look at that and think he should refocus and be more careful with what I ate today. Not me though, I had a special date to keep.

Dobinsons has recently opened at Westfield Belconnen and I’ve been enjoying a coffee every Saturday and Sunday. Today I was due to claim my free coffee and cake 😃💚👍😋🍰 Of course what cake would I choose but a vanilla slice.

This is a photograph of the coffee I bought on Saturday with my Dobinsons coffee card showing the next coffee would be free and I'd also get a piece of cake.

This is a photograph of a cup of coffee and a vanilla slice from Dobinsons Westfield Belconnen.

What else has been happening?

I’ve been missing podcasting. I have been planning a regular weekly show which will be called the Yummy Lummy Cooking for one Podcast. I’ve been prevaricating though, I’ve been busy and the planning has been placed on the back burner. The feeling to do something hasn’t gone away though and I thought I needed something short sharp and random. Hence, the Random Yummy.

I’ve recorded two episodes and dropped them Friday and Saturday night. The first was on cooking Balsamic Brussels sprouts and the second was on cooking a cheese omelet with seeds. These shows will drop randomly and you can listen to them in your favourite podcatcher. Just search for Yummy Lummy and hopefully you’ll find them. If you like them, please subscribe.

MEATER® review

Last night I released a review on my MEATER® meat thermometer. I really like using it. It’s so easy, the iOS app works well, and so far, the meat has been perfect. I’m cooking a lump of lamb with it tonight.

What I’ve eaten this week

Monday

Lunch

Leftover chicken thigh and a recipe

This is a photograph of Monday lunch. Leftover chicken thigh seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder. I’m reading a recipe.

Dinner

Baked salmon and fennel salad

Tuesday

Lunch

Leftover salmon

Dinner

Pork chop and stir-fried kale slaw

Wednesday

Lunch

Leftover chicken thigh and reading about date formats

Wednesday lunch. Leftover chicken thigh while reading about formatting dates. I prefer YYYYMMDD.

Dinner

Bacon and cheese wrapped chicken maryland with fennel salad

Thursday

Lunch

Leftover chicken thigh and dreaming of Spam

This is a photograph of Thursday lunch. Leftover chicken thigh with sugar-free creaming soda, while reading my Hawaiian Spam cookbook.

Dinner

Chicken maryland and more fennel salad

Friday

Lunch

Chicken schnitzel with chips and gravy

This is a photograph of the staff special chicken schnitzel with chips and gravy.

Dinner

Crispy Balsamic Brussels sprouts with Spam and fennel salad

This is a photograph of a plate of crispy Balsamic Brussels sprouts with Spam and a limey fennel salad 💚

Saturday

Breakfast

Coon cheese® omelet with sesame and poppy seeds

Lunch

Roast pork with apple sauce, potato bake and roast vegetables

This is a photograph of Saturday lunch. Small pork and vegetables plate from Fancy Fillings at Westfield Belconnen..

Dinner

Rare scotch fillet steak with cheesy creamy horseradish roasted vegetables

This is a photograph of rare scotch fillet steak served with cheesy creamy horseradish roasted vegetables.

Sunday

Morning tea

Coffee and vanilla slice from Dobinsons at Westfield Belconnen

This is a photograph of a cup of coffee and a vanilla slice from Dobinsons Westfield Belconnen.

Final words

So, I ate too much this weekend. It’s not the end of the world and my goals are still clear. I’m still headed in the right direction.

I hope you have a good week.

On the radio

This is a photograph of a Dog staring behind a tree. It looks like a pointer. It's tail is at a 45 ° angle and the dog is standing erect.

On the radio

So today I was on the radio. Regular readers here and over at Yummy Lummy will know of my love of the iconic Australian pastry treat, viz., the Vanilla Slice. I joined Jolene Laverty on Lish Fejer‘s Sunday Brunch show on ABC Canberra, and we talked about our love of vanilla slice.

As an aside, Who listens to the radio? by The Sports was one of my favourite songs growing up.

I mentioned Jolene earlier in January after she wrote a brilliant piece for The Guardian and she was kind enough to mention my vanilla slice review on Yummy Lummy. Lish reached out to Jolene to appear on her show and she generously extended the invitation to me too. I had a lot of fun. I’ve appeared on radio and TV before when I was working in Darwin, but this was my first in-studio experience.

Jolene had made some vanilla slice after she wasn’t able to buy any at her chosen bakery yesterday. I brought in some from the new Dobinsons Bakery Cafe at Westfield Belconnen. I really liked the flavour of Jolene’s slice. It had a lovely caramel flavour to it and the pastry was thin but it held enough without being friable.

This is a photograph at ABC studios Canberra of Vanilla slice from Jolene Laverty and Dobinsons Bakery cafe. I was on the radio.

The Dobinsons slice was really very good. I brought it in because Jolene had mentioned she hadn’t tried a slice with passionfruit icing. The custard of the Dobinsons’ slide had a near perfect consistency. It was soft and tongueable. As Goose would say, these are the ducks guts.

It was fun eating and talking while on the radio.

Hear me on the radio

You can hear the fun we had from about the 35 minute mark. Click on the link and it opens the ABC site and you can listen to Lish’s entire show from today. We even had the High Commissioner from New Zealand telling us about his favourite vanilla slice too.

More cooking news

This week I received in the mail two products (which I paid for) to help me cook meat. The first is a MEATER® thermometer and the second is an Anova Culinary precision cooker.

MEATER® thermometer

This is a very fancy meat thermometer which despite oven temperatures can communicate via Blue Tooth or Wi-Fi with a smartphone app. While I do own an old fashioned meat thermometer, I like the idea of using something that I can read in real time without having to open the oven door. I’ll be writing a proper review for Yummy Lummy soon.

This is a photograph of my new MEATER probe in its box.

I like that with meat thermometers I won’t overcook my meat. I just need to get the internal temperature to the desired temperature, remove the meat from the heat source and then let my meat rest.

My default for cooking chicken has been to cook for an hour at 200 °C. The meat was always moist but I always wondered if I could cook the muscle for a shorter period. Obviously, cooking chicken requires some care, so getting the internal temperature of the largest muscle bundle to 75 °C is paramount. The MEATER® turned out to be a great aid. I was able to more than halve the cooking time. The flesh was juicy, moist and tender. The juices ran clear and I felt safe.

Last night I cooked a piece of Scotch fillet steak in the oven using my MEATER® and it was delicious. I even went to the extent of searing the outside with a kitchen torch.

Sous Vide Everything

Over many years I’ve contemplated sous vide cooking. I know it’s recently become a fad and up until recently, I had assumed that unless I used old second-hand laboratory equipment I’d be up for a really expensive closed system. I didn’t realise I could purchase a water recirculator and a plastic bucket to do the job.

This is a photograph of the box containing the Anova Culinary Recirculator on a window sill

I’ve been watching Sous Vide Everything on YouTube and the hosts (who are South Americans living in Florida), have convinced me there is an affordable and space conscious way to cook sous vide.

One of my major concerns was where to set up a cooker in the one bedroom flat I rent. There is barely enough space for the bench top oven and induction hob I use. I see that with a detachable water recirculator I can use a plastic bucket to store things and put it away after each use.

While the recirculator arrived this week, I’m still waiting for the plastic bucket and lid. I bought the container via Amazon Australia and expect delivery later this month. I’ll let you know how it goes. I’m excited about cooking salmon and red meat sous vide.

What else happened this week?

Not much really. That said, I did break the 79 kg barrier that I’ve been sitting on for so long. I expect after today’s vanilla slice extravaganza though, I may be approaching 80 kg when I weigh in tomorrow morning 😳 😜

Graph of my weight loss since October 2017

This is a graph demonstrating my weight loss since October 2017. It's a graph of time on the X axis and weight on the Y axis.

What I ate this week

Monday dinner

Baked salmon and a colourful fennel salad

This is a photograph of Monday dinner. Baked poppy and sesame seed, chilli crusted salmon and lime flavoured fennel and radish salad. This is a really colourful photograph.

Tuesday lunch

Leftover salmon

This is a photograph of Tuesday lunch. Leftover salmon with fresh garden tomatoes. You can see the beautiful sweet globes with the leftover salmon.

Tuesday dinner

Chicken Maryland cooked with the help of the MEATER®. The tomatoes were a gift from a workmate. They were amazing.

This is a photograph of Tuesday dinner. Poppy and sesame seed crusted Chicken Maryland with fennel and tomato lime salad. It's really colourful.

Wednesday dinner

Chicken Maryland cooked with the help of the MEATER®

This is a photograph of Wednesday dinner. Celebrating breaking through the 79 kg barrier with #meatermade Chicken Maryland and fennel and tomato salad. Using my MEATER thermometer, I cooked the chicken until it reached an internal temperature of 75 °C and allowed it to rest for 5 minutes. The meat was moist, juicy and delicious. The salad contains fresh garden tomatoes from a work mate, lime zest, lime juice, fennel, radish, red onion, capers, parsley and dill. #weightloss #lowcarb #igfood

Thursday dinner

Baked speck and vegetables

This is a photograph of Thursday dinner. Baked speck and vegetables with cream and cheese. It's still in the oven-proof dish I cooked it in.

Friday lunch

Chicken schnitzel with chips and gravy

This is a photograph of Friday lunch. Chicken schnitzel with chips and gravy. I ate this at the Canberra Hospital and Health Services tuck shop.

Friday dinner

Speck and fennel salad

This is a photograph of Friday dinner. Speck and spicy fennel salad with radish and lime zest. It is a colourful salad.

Saturday breakfast

Crispy bacon and poached eggs

This is a photograph of Saturday breakfast. Worcestershire flavoured poached eggs with crispy bacon.

Saturday lunch

Macca’s Nugs and mustard

This is a photograph of Saturday lunch. Nugs and mustard from Maccas.

Saturday dinner

Scotch fillet steak cooked with the aid of the MEATER®

This is a gallery of photographs showing a sequence of what I did to prepare the steak. Click on one photograph and scroll through each image.

Sunday breakfast

Coon cheese and sesame seed omelet

This is a photograph of Sunday breakfast. Coon cheese and sesame seed omelet served with a slice of lime and a caramel cream coffee. I love lime juice.

Sunday lunch

I ate vanilla slices

This is a photograph of Vanilla slice in the display cabinet at Dobinsons Bakery cafe, Westfield Belconnen. This is a photograph of Vanilla slice from Dobinsons Bakery Cafe. I shot the photograph at Westfield Belconnen. It shows a tray of four slices in a cardboard box. This is a photograph at ABC studios Canberra of Vanilla slice from Jolene Laverty and Dobinsons Bakery cafe. I was on the radio.

Final words

I’m not sure if you’ll ever hear me on the radio again, I hope so, it was a lot of fun.

I’ll be enjoying a pork chop for dinner. I’m not sure if anything exciting is happening in the week to come. I hope you have a good week and eat well.

Ducks guts

A great piece of Australian slang and best epitomised by one of the best sequences of cinema ever made. In fact, I prefer watching this than anything else I’ve ever seen at the movies including Star Trek movies.

Hear Goose at about the 1 minute mark but better yet, watch the entire clip.

NATIONAL CLUBS GYMNASTICS CARNIVAL 2017 MY JOURNEY TO AND FROM BENDIGO

This is a photograph of Metal straws and a straw cleaner because I hate that plastic straws are killing marine mammals and reptiles.
I like metal straws because I hate what plastic straws are doing to marine mammals and reptiles.

 

Spontaneous changes in meal planning can have a great result, especially if it involves pork

Spontaneous changes in meal planning can have a great result, especially if it involves pork

Today’s breakfast. Green eggs and ham Benedict from Ricardo’s Cafe and Patisserie

Hello there. It’s been a quiet week. Not boring by any stretch but there’s not much to write about. I also haven’t been walking around to shoot many photographs. Hopefully, when the days get cooler and there are less flies around Lake Ginninderra I’ll get out more.

I’ve been enjoying each new day and getting into a groove and routine again after the Christmas New Year break.

As the week progressed, it got hot and dry in Canberra. I don’t mind the temperature rising I just want the humidity to rise with it. I’ve been using a humidifier in the flat to stop my skin from drying out. I only turned the air conditioner on on Friday evening because it got to 38 °C during the day. I feel for my friends in other parts of Australia where the maximum temperature peaked above 42 °C. I’m jealous of my friends in the Top End and FNQ where the temperatures are much more temperate and the humidity much more comfortable.

Coffee revelation and a low carb tip

So I’m living a low carb life and most mornings I will have a black coffee to kick start my brain and get moving. From time to time, it is nice to have a white coffee but I don’t keep any milk in the flat. This week I started adding a couple of teaspoons of pouring cream, noting the carbohydrate load is minimal (<1 gram). It’s like a revelation. The coffee tastes great. One morning I also added a couple of drops of peppermint flavouring and that coffee with cream was really nice. I think I can do this more often.

Weight update

I’ve hit a plateau and to be honest despite desire, I haven’t really committed to breaking the 79-kilogram barrier. It’ll happen but it may take some time.

Completing my work move

Flags

When the flags go up all is good. I’m surprised most people don’t know these flags. It shows people don’t know me that well.

Do you know these flags?

Queensland and Northern Territory flags Northern Territory and Australian flags

Plant

A workmate has entrusted me with a plant. I hope it doesn’t die.

Planning for the new podcast

What will the Yummy Lummy Cooking for One Podcast cover?

I plan to cover recipes, meal planning and reviews. The reviews will range from products, foods and if I can get out and about restaurants.

Writing draft episodes or shows

I’ve written the outline for three shows now and hope to get a couple more done before I start recording next month.

Should there be a YouTube component?

I’m in two minds about this. I could make it a VLOG, but really I think in terms of YouTube I’ll probably focus on recording how I cook dishes that get posted as recipes on the blog.

I’m happy to take suggestions from readers.

Pork belly for the win

Twitter made me do it

Click on the bluebird and check out the conversation with Ubrmthr

Photographs of pork rashers

Pork belly with stir-fried kale slaw

Vegemite and chicken thigh meat

Click on the photograph and read the blog post about how I made this.

Chicken thigh fillet stuffed with Vegemite and cheese served with horseradish beetroot slaw

This week in food

Monday

Crispy skinned baked salmon with fennel salad

Tuesday

Roasted chicken thigh and a Queensland Maroons stubby cooler
Roast chicken thigh and fennel salad

Wednesday

The weight loss journey continues with protein for lunch
Chicken wings with avocado and fennel salad

Thursday

Leftover spicy nutty chicken and kale slaw stir-fry
Pork belly with stir-fried kale slaw

Friday

Hot chips and gravy covering a chicken schnitzel
Chicken thighs and sweet corn

Saturday

Crisy bacon and poached eggs with coffee
Pork belly Vietnamese salad from Rôll’d
Chicken thigh fillet stuffed with Vegemite and cheese served with horseradish beetroot slaw

 

Australia Day

This Friday is a public holiday. I’m hoping to eat well but who knows. I’m not sure what I’ll be eating.

Focussing on food blogging and enjoying a Bânh mì

Rôll'd Vietnamese Food Gary Lum food blogging

Rôll’d opened in Westfield Belconnen

On Saturday, Rôll’d Vietnamese opened in Westfield Belconnen. There was a good crowd at lunchtime. I wanted to suspend my low carb life for a Bânh mì. I chose a pork belly sandwich with extra 🌶 and a bottle of water. The baguette was nice, the pork was tender and the spicy flavours were really nice. I know there are better custom-made Vietnamese sandwich bars in Canberra, but the convenience of Rôll’d will likely win me over I reckon.

Rôll'd Vietnamese Food Gary Lum food blogging

Rôll’d Bânh Mì wrapped food blogging

Rôll’d pork belly Bânh mì food blogging
Rôll’d pork belly Bânh mì

Sick relative update

My sick relative was discharged from hospital on Friday after five weeks as an inpatient. After a major surgical procedure, post-operative complications including an ileus and a metabolic acidosis with a pH of 7 followed by ICU and then rehabilitation, my relative is now home and feeling better but still very weak. Thanks, everyone who reached out and expressed concern.

Weight update

It’s been a week of little movement and hovering around the 80 kg mark, getting as low as 79 kg and as high as 80.7 kg. I’m not too concerned, although I still need to lose more kilograms. I’m feeling better and moving better so I’m pretty happy.

Dobinsons Bakery Westfield Belconnen

I’ve been enjoying the coffee here and I’m steadily getting through the coffee card. I wonder if I’ll be allowed to have a vanilla slice as my ‘free’ cake?

Dobinsons coffee card food blogging

Dobinsons breakfast wraps food blogging

Dobinsons pies food blogging

New hat and shirt

I bought a new shirt and received a free hat from Brainstorm Gear. I now have Star Trek pyjamas and socks as well as some shirts and a hat.

Me in my new Star Trek hat and shirt Gary Lum food blogging
Me in my new Star Trek hat and shirt 🖖

Food this week

Baked cheesy spam and poached eggs

Baked Spam and cheese with poached eggs splashed with Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces food blogging
Baked Spam and cheese with poached eggs splashed with Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces

Scrambled eggs splashed with Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces

Scrambled eggs splashed with Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces food blogging
Scrambled eggs splashed with Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces

 

Spice and nut crusted chicken breast with vegetables

Spicy nut crusted chicken breast and cheesy cream stir-fried salad food blogging
Spicy nut crusted chicken breast and cheesy cream stir-fried salad

Coffee and doughnuts at the Canberra Hospital and Health Services

coffee food blogging

doughnuts food blogging
I resisted the temptation

Scrambled eggs and baked spam

Scrambled eggs with spam and Worcestershire sauce food blogging
Scrambled eggs with spam and Worcestershire sauce

Chicken thigh and Coke Zero

To lose weight I’ve been eating chicken thighs for lunch

My view while preparing to eat my lunch food blogging
My view while preparing to eat my lunch

Lunch with a friend at the Hellenic Club

On Wednesday I had lunch with a friend. I even arranged car parking for him.

Hellenic Club car park food blogging

Chicken breast schnitzel with chips and gravy

Chicken schnitzel with chips with gravy food blogging
Chicken schnitzel with chips with gravy

Bacon and avocado salad

Bacon and avocado kale stir-fry with horseradish cream food blogging
Bacon and avocado kale stir-fry with horseradish cream

Gifts from workmates

I love when friends give me food. This is a macaron shell.

Macaron biscuit from a friend food blogging

Baked pork rashers and vegetables

Cooked in a Microwave pressure cooker and then baked with cream and cheese.

Pork rashers and creamy cheesy vegetables food blogging
Pork rashers and creamy cheesy vegetables

Smashed avocado with a tin of salmon and some celery

The avocado was smashed with sour cream, lime juice, chilli flakes, Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces.

Smashed avocado, tinned salmon and celery food blogging
Smashed avocado, tinned salmon and celery

Crispy skinned salmon

Crispy skinned salmon with cheesy cream cauliflower, pumpkin and food blogging Crispy skin salmon and beetroot salad food blogging

Whisky flavoured chicken and blue cheese casserole on Yummy Lummy

Click on the drawing and you’ll be taken to the recipe

Whisky flavoured casserole drawn by Gary Lum food blogging
Whisky flavoured casserole drawn by Gary Lum

First week back at work

Focussing on food blogging

During the week I was informed that my blogging and podcasting about health and medical matters could be perceived as a conflict of interest.

After getting to 💯 episodes I’ve removed the posts and media files from the Medical Fun Facts Podcast and will now focus on food blogging at Yummy Lummy.

My other website has also been enjoying a clean out. Given that site is a Squarespace site I’m thinking of using it as a portfolio site for some photography. I’m not sure yet. I still want to podcast, and I’m thinking it will be about cooking meals for one.

Name my podcast

Not many people know that the name Yummy Lummy was suggested to me by a work mate. If I start a podcast, I’m wondering what I should call it. My first thought was something like, “The Yummy Lummy cooking for one podcast”. What do you think? Can you suggest anything better?

My other thought is to somehow incorporate a low carb aspect to the name. It may need to incorporate “❌CHO” as a shortcut for low carbohydrate.

I would like to start a podcast as part of my food blogging at Yummy Lummy.

Food blogging thoughts

With a renewed focus on food blogging, please let me know what suggestions you may have. I’m keen to get any thoughts and ideas.

I’m thinking of putting together an e-book of low carb recipes and providing an audio version of it too.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

First week back at work

Canberra Hospital and Health Services tuck shop Vanilla slice First week back Gary Lum

First week back at work

In the last post I mentioned that in 2018, I want to be more consistent with this diary blog. The aim is to post weekly and share the highlights of every week.

Like the first week of January for many people, it’s a quiet one. Many people are still on holiday or vacation and many workplaces use the time to prepare for the year ahead.

At the end of 2017, I was informed that I needed to relocate my workstation. I have returned to an area I’d previously worked in many years ago. I’m very happy. Normally, and I think this is true for many people, moving workstations is stressful and is a real hassle. This was no exception, but the thought of going ‘home’ made it much easier. It will be good to re-engage in some work that I haven’t focussed on for a while.

One of the nice things about my job is the regular opportunities to stretch into new areas of thinking. Health is really a great place to work.

The view from my workstation First week back Gary Lum

True Blue

To celebrate the return to work after an unexpected extended break I went to dinner on Tuesday night at the Canberra Southern Cross Club Jamison.

I went for the “True Blue” chicken schnitzel, it’s a standard chicken (breast) schnitzel with chips and salad plus caramelised onion, melted cheese, bacon and a fried egg. It’s a huge meal and the schnitzel itself is large. I also asked for a jug of Hollandaise sauce to make this a ‘Courtney’. The only thing that could make this better would be to use thigh meat rather than breast meat. I highly recommend this meal.

Chicken breast schnitzel with caramelised onion, melted cheese, bacon and a fried egg along with chips and salad and a serving of Hollandaise sauce. First week back Gary Lum
Chicken breast schnitzel with caramelised onion, melted cheese, bacon and a fried egg along with chips and salad and a serving of Hollandaise sauce.

Vanilla slice

The really big thing to happen was the publication of a vanilla slice review by Canberra media identity, Jolene Laverty. She published the review in “The Guardian” and she was kind enough to mention a Yummy Lummy vanilla slice review. It gave me a nice bump in my analytics. Please follow Jolene on Twitter @jolene_laverty

After having vanilla slice occupy my mind I was keen to enjoy one and when the opportunity presented itself at the Canberra Hospital and Health Services tuck shop (aka Zouki) on Friday when I work as an Honorary VMO in ACT Pathology.

This was a nice vanilla slice. The icing was a little thick but it had a subtle passionfruit tang to offset the sweetness of the icing sugar. The custard had a good vanilla flavour and was soft and not too full of gelatine. The pastry was fine, but because it was refrigerated and not room temperature, the pastry was a little stiff. Overall though the flavour was good and I’d be happy eating this again and again.

Canberra Hospital and Health Services tuck shop Vanilla slice First week back Gary Lum

Jolene’s kind mention of my review gave me a nice bump in views and visits.

Yummy Lummy statistics First week back Vanilla slice Gary Lum

Weight loss

My weight has fluctuated a little and it’s no surprise given the treats I’ve been indulging in like the vanilla slice on Friday plus a Guzman Y Gomez pulled pork burrito bowl after work. Then yesterday there was McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets. I asked for six Nugs and received seven of them (plus sweet mustard sauce).

Pulled pork burrito bowl from Guzman Y Gomez First week back Gary Lum

McDonald’s McNuggets ‘Nugs’ First week back Gary Lum

The nadir this week has been 79 kg but this morning it was back up to 80.4 kg. I expect that reflects not only the extra carbs but also the significant amount of water I consumed yesterday. My evening meal was super hot and spicy and super salty, plus it got to about 38 °C (98.6 °F) yesterday so I was drinking iced water all day to keep hydrated in the awful dry oven-like heat of a Canberra summer. Give me the warm and sultry tropical summers of the Top End any day.

Dobinsons Bakery Cafe Belconnen

Dobinsons has been a Canberra institution in the Canberra Centre in the CBD for many years. A new store recently opened in Westfield Belconnen. I enjoyed a nice flat white coffee there. I look forward to my tenth so I can get a piece of cake.

Dobinsons coffee and coffee card First week back Gary Lum

Dobinsons Bakery Cafe on Swarm First week back Gary Lum

Yummy Lummy

Last night I made super hot and spicy chicken wings after watching Megatoad aka Matt Stonie eat sixty-five wings of varying heat and spiciness on his YouTube channel. Some of my podcasting friends were also talking about buffalo wings so I thought I should cook wings on a stinking hot night 😂

Check out the recipe at Yummy Lummy.

Blazing hot chilli and pepper nut crusted chicken wings ready for the oven First week back Gary Lum

Blazing hot chilli and pepper nut crusted chicken wings served on stir-fried kale and cabbage salad with French mustard and cream First week back Gary LumI’ll never make it as a meal planner

 

 

Poor planning on my part led to some bizarre dinner combinations

Poor meal planning led to pork rashers, sweet corn and cauliflower first week back Gary Lum
Poor meal planning led to pork rashers, sweet corn and cauliflower
Bacon and poached eggs with pumpkin and avocado first week back Gary Lum
Bacon and poached eggs with pumpkin and avocado

Other morsels from my first week back

Celery and cheese first week back Gary Lum
Celery and cheese

Spam and eggs first week back Gary Lum

Crispy skinned baked salmon and kale salad stir-fry with French mustard. first week back Gary Lum
Crispy skinned baked salmon and kale salad stir-fry with French mustard.
Low carb lunch of roast chicken thigh and Coke Zero first week back Gary Lum
Low carb lunch of roast chicken thigh and Coke Zero

No 1206 2CC AM radio for a year

Mind the dust. I should have dusted before shooting the photograph.

No 2CC AM radio for a year

For nearly my entire adult life I’ve woken up in the morning and turned on the radio. When I was growing up in Brisbane it was 4QR (which is now better known as 612 ABC Brisbane). When I left home I listened to ABC’s Radio National mainly to get a more national perspective.

Between 1996 and 2007 in Darwin I listened to 8PNN (Parliamentary News Network) on the FM spectrum. It was a new news format and the presenters were interesting. It also pulled in feeds from the BBC (UK) and NPR (USA). I preferred it to Radio National which had a lot of boring programming that I couldn’t give a toss about. Mostly the music and arts stuff which held no interest for me.

Radio in Canberra

When I arrived in Canberra in September 2007 I thought I would change from ABC News Radio and try something local because I had little understanding of Canberra and the local scene. I first listened to 2CN (666 ABC Canberra). I can’t remember the host of the breakfast session but he was boring and uninteresting. Watching paint dry would have captured my attention better. Within a few days, I had switched to 2CC (1206 Talking Canberra). The breakfast host was Mike Jeffreys and he had a terrific rapport with the newsreader whose name was Jane. I liked the talkback format and being able to listen to what Canberra people had to say on various topics and issues of the day.

Mike Jeffreys was replaced by Mark Parton who brought a different style and approach. It took a while but I got used to Mark and we remain connected via Twitter. He’s a member of the ACT’s legislative assembly now so I avoid contact unless it’s purely social with no political dimension. Before Mark embarked on his political career he resigned and was replaced with Tim Shaw. Tim is a very well known personality in Australia), famous because of television advertising in the 1970s and 1980s. He’s a very capable and impressive breakfast radio host too. I grew to enjoy listening to him and his producer, Geoff Koop, as well as the various news readers on the program.

Up until 31 December 2016, I’d been happy waking up every morning, turning on the radio and listening in while I went about preparing for the day. Last year, I had a thought, what if I gave up something I was used to doing. What effect would it have on me? What could I give up?

I felt guilty giving up radio, it was like unfriending someone on Facebook or blocking someone on Twitter for no good reason at all. When 01 January 2017 clicked over, I didn’t touch the radio in the morning. Not even in the car driving to work. I haven’t listened to breakfast radio for an entire year.

I have listened to radio though during the day but it’s only been the Parliamentary News Network when the Australian Parliament has been sitting and when something I’m working on or interested in is being debated by politicians. Otherwise, radio is pretty much dead to me.

What effect has this had on my life?

The immediate effect was the silence. The only noise was from the kettle or food sizzling in a frying pan. The sound of water when I wet my toothbrush, the sound of water in the shower, and the sound of the toilet flushing. Otherwise there was silence. It was strangely peaceful. I felt more peaceful and relaxed.

I found I got through my morning tasks more quickly. I found I was arriving at work earlier because I was ready earlier. Rather than listen to the radio when driving to work, I listened to podcasts. Sometimes, I would drive with nothing playing, no radio, no music, no podcasts and no audio books. It gave me time to contemplate things. Contemplate life. Contemplate my day. Sometimes I found that depressing, other times it was nice to day dream about something I’d like to happen.

Will I go back to morning radio?

No, this year has been a revelation. I’ve enjoyed the time saving and the learning from podcasts. That’s not to say I’ll never listen to talk back radio again. When I’m 70 I will retire to the life of a curmudgeon. I look forward to insomnia and listening to the radio all night and calling in and arguing with the host and criticising others. I have opinions and when I’m free from various workplace codes of conduct I look forward to letting loose.

What else happened this week?

My ill relative has begun a slow recovery after some initial postoperative complications. The road to full recovery will require inpatient rehabilitation and then a lot of work at home to regain fitness and mental agility.

I returned to Canberra this week and missed being in Brisbane immediately on landing. It was good spending some time with my daughters in Brisbane and other close family members. It was also good being able to get around in shorts, T-shirt and thongs the whole time.

A week in Brisbane

The Last Jedi

I went and saw the latest instalment of the Star Wars franchise. I really enjoyed it. It will certainly make episode 9 in the series very interesting.

The weight situation

The good news is that while I was in Brisbane I could maintain my low carb lifestyle even though I was also cooking for someone else too. When I measured my mass on Thursday morning after returning to Canberra, my mass had not changed. Better yet, on Friday morning, I measured myself at 79.9 kilograms. I’d temporarily broken through the 80-kilogram barrier. Of course, on Saturday and Sunday after some indulging, my weight was >80 kilograms. The trend remains though in the right direction.

What have I been eating this week?

Celery sticks

Celery and cheese products are a nice refreshing low carb snack.

Celery and cream cheese
Celery and cream cheese
Celery with salmon and avocado with a little cream cheese
Celery with salmon and avocado with a little cream cheese

Eggs

Cheese and herb omelettes are a great breakfast as are poached eggs with crispy bacon and avocado. It’s also hard to beat scrambled eggs made with just eggs and butter.

Cheese and herb omelet
Cheese and herb omelet
Cheesy scrambled eggs and crispy bacon
Cheesy scrambled eggs and crispy bacon
Relaxing Sunday breakfast. Poached eggs, crispy bacon and avocado.
Relaxing Sunday breakfast. Poached eggs, crispy bacon and avocado.

Crusted salmon and chicken

I’ve become quite a fan of encrusting salmon and chicken with a dry rub made from crushed nuts, iodised salt, black peppercorns, chilli flakes, paprika and onion powder.

Chilli crusted salmon with stir-fried kale coleslaw with horseradish cream
Chilli crusted salmon with stir-fried kale coleslaw with horseradish cream
Herb and seed crusted salmon with stir-fried kale coleslaw with horseradish cream
Herb and seed crusted salmon with stir-fried kale coleslaw with horseradish cream
Spicy nut crusted Chicken Maryland with pumpkin and cauliflower with cheese
Spicy nut crusted Chicken Maryland with pumpkin and cauliflower with cheese

Steak

Because I’m now a first degree relative of someone who has had carcinoma of the bowel, I’ll cut down the amount of red meat but every once and a while I’ll enjoy steak. I crusted this one with crushed Queensland nuts, almonds, iodised salt, black peppercorns, chilli flakes, paprika and onion powder.

Chilli, herb and nut crusted rib-eye fillet steak with kale salad stir-fried with horseradish cream
Chilli, herb and nut crusted rib-eye fillet steak with kale salad stir-fried with horseradish cream

Christmas lunch

I’ve posted about Christmas lunch elsewhere but it was too good not to show again.

A coffee tamper makes for a useful tool to crush nuts
A coffee tamper makes a useful tool for crushing nuts
Roast lamb, roast chicken, king prawns, pumpkin, onion, and coleslaw
Christmas lunch. Roast lamb, roast chicken, king prawns, pumpkin, onion, and coleslaw.
Pavlova with whipped cream and mango
Pavlova with whipped cream and mango

Coffee

I’m letting myself have the occasional milk-based coffee. It’s so good.

Flat white coffee
Flat white coffee

Double shot latte

Treats and temptations

When I broke through 80 kilograms I had six nugs (McDonald’s McNuggets) and blogging friend Mabel tempted me on Instagram to have a bucket of KFC popcorn chicken. I didn’t go a bucket, just a regular box.

Nugs or McNuggets from McDonalds

Nugs or McNuggets from McMcDonald’s

KFC popcorn chicken
KFC popcorn chicken

A mistake not to be repeated

On Saturday I felt like making myself a refreshing drink. I had some frozen strawberries and mint. I also had some bird’s eye chillies. I’ve been eating these chillies pretty regularly lately so it didn’t dawn on me that putting them into a drink would be a problem. I’ve been eating at least two a day with dinner for a few months and have enjoyed the extra flavour these small chillies add to my meals.

I had not thought that adding two raw bird’s eye chillies and blending them into a drink would intensify the heat. OMG, I was in extraordinary pain for 30 minutes. My lips and tongue swelled, they became a bright red and they felt like they were raw and on fire. I treated the pain by applying ice wrapped in a washcloth to my lips.

Never make the mistake I made. Chilli mint strawberry drink.
Never make the mistake I made. Chilli mint strawberry drink.

Last supper before 2018

I wanted a Moreton Bay Bug Thenus orientialis but had to make do with lobster.

I cooked a piece of Chicken Maryland in the oven and served it with some stir-fried kale salad mixed in with the lobster meat and flavoured with horseradish cream and Dijon mustard.

Chicken Maryland with lobster and Queensland nut kale salad with horseradish cream
Chicken Maryland with lobster and Queensland nut kale salad with horseradish cream

Resolutions for 2018?

Do I have any resolutions for 2018? Not really. I hope to stabilise my weight around 77 kilograms. I hope to see my daughters more often in 2018. I hope to be a better public servant and work harder. I hope to increase my professional development as a pathologist and attend a couple of relevant conferences.

I also hope to be more consistent with blogging and podcasting. I’d like to see this diary blog maintain a steady weekly schedule. I also hope this year to add some more reviews to Yummy Lummy.

 

Bad news after good news plus some okay news

MailChimp socks Good news Bad news Gary Lum

Bad news after good news plus some okay news
Diary

 
 
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Bad news

Last week, I mentioned some good news, sadly this week, I have some bad news.

I had been planning to have a busy and fulfilling week as I prepare for a meeting away from Canberra next week. Unfortunately, on Wednesday I received some bad news about a close family member and a serious diagnosis. To protect my relative’s privacy I won’t go into detail. The news hit me like a hammer to my head.

I pretty much lost all enthusiasm for shooting any photographs (or anything else for that matter) so I don’t have much to share. I’m in a melancholy place.

Going home

Well sort of. There have been some changes at work and I have to move workspaces from my current area to an area I used to occupy. I’m pretty happy with this move.

I’ll be on a lower level which makes walking up the stairs from the basement to the floor I work on more realistic every day. There are also fewer men on the floor, so the toilet experience will be substantially better. Not only that but I’ll be closer to colleagues working on projects and programs I’m especially interested in. It’s kind of exciting to think I’m coming home.

I won’t be able to move in completely until the new year.

I’m also heading ‘home’ in the sense to Brisbane for a couple of weeks to assist with my ill relative. It’s funny, Brisbane is my hometown but when I think of home I still think of Darwin.

Packing for a trip

So I’m headed somewhere cold and because I have a few tight connections, I really don’t want to use a bag I have to check in. I want to go with just two carry-on bags. I also need my MacBook plus all the paraphernalia associated with working and travelling. My biggest concern is having enough warm clothes in a small bag which I will need to walk with and catch trains. Fortunately, I won’t be gone for long.

People who know me also know I have Ichthyosis vulgaris and so I have significant moisturiser needs. This means carrying bottles and I’m concerned that one bottle is 150 mL rather than 100 mL. I don’t want to be pinged at security.

I checked the weather and when I arrive it will be –1 °C (30.2 °F). I think I’ll be carrying my Driza-Bone oilskin coat. I mustn’t forget gloves and a beanie. If this wasn’t work-related travel I reckon I’d go with something lighter and warm, but the Driza-Bone looks good and can be worn to a meeting.

Highlights of the week

Socks

I received some socks from MailChimp. MailChimp is an automation platform and the tool I use to send e-mails to subscribers.

MailChimp socks Good news Bad news Gary Lum

Weight loss update

Steady going, no real loss but no gains. I worry about the next few weeks with travel and the festive season coming up.
I think 2018 will see a renewed effort. I still want to get to 77 kg (170 lb) and remain about that weight. I’m currently hovering around 81 kg (178 lb) after starting the weight loss process at 87 kg (191 lb).
What did you have for dinner tonight? Salmon and stir-fried kale salad I put some shredded kale, cabbage, carrot, red onion, bird’s eye chillies, and spring onions in a frying pan and stir-fried it with some olive oil. I then added some salmon and cream. I garnished it with fresh spring onions. #lowcarb #weightloss Bad news Gary Lum
A healthful meal. Salmon and stir-fried kale salad
I put some shredded kale, cabbage, carrot, red onion, bird’s eye chillies, and spring onions in a frying pan and stir-fried it with some olive oil. I then added some salmon and cream. I garnished it with fresh spring onions.

Getting ready for 2018

My Brisbane Broncos membership card came in the mail.
Brisbane Broncos membership Bad news Gary Lum NRL

Have a good week friends

Take care of yourselves and take care of your health needs.

Good news

Good news Gary Lum JEE WHO IHRs

Good news
Diary

 
 
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Good news but I can’t say terribly much

Good news is always worth sharing and this has been a good week. That said, there’s not too much I can say. You see, I had a brilliant work week.

I’m mindful of not sharing too much about work. As an Australian Public Servant and a member of the Senior Executive Service, we’re reminded appropriately that ‘at all times’ we must conduct ourselves in a way that maintains the integrity of what we do.

What that means is I should not publicly discuss matters that relate to the policy areas I am actively engaged in. While some colleagues see it as a restriction, I see it as a freedom. It’s why I feel comfortable with this blog, my food blog Yummy Lummy, and my professional blog and podcast The Medical Fun Facts Podcast.

Last Friday, we welcomed evaluators from WHO who came to evaluate Australia’s compliance with the International Health Regulations 2005 and specifically the core capacities. This is part of the Joint External Evaluation (JEE) process that WHO has been undertaking since the recent change from self-assessment to external assessment.

We had evaluators from WHO HQ, WHO WPRO (Manila), WHO One Health Office, OIE, USA, Canada, Japan, China, and New Zealand.

The IHR core capacities are those required to detect, assess, notify and report events, and respond to public health risks and emergencies of national and international concern, as stipulated in Articles 5 and 13, and Annex 1, of the Regulations.

It was great to meet with the external evaluation team on Friday. Over the weekend, members of the JEE team plus colleagues from the department spent time reviewing external sites relevant to the core capacities.

On Monday, my focus was on routine work and a special stakeholder meeting relating to a very important part of my work.

On Tuesday though, the process of formal evaluation took place and began in earnest. This involved nineteen separate panel sessions covering all the core capacities. I had the privilege of chairing four sessions which meant I got to present information on those core capacities. I was really happy to be able to speak about Australia’s capability and capacity in our national laboratory system, biosafety and biosecurity (pathogen security), linking public health and security agencies, and finally radiation emergencies. These are all areas I feel strongly about and for which I have a good working knowledge. This formal evaluation took three whole days of solid questions and answers. It was thoroughly enjoyable though. Needless to say, I was pretty happy with the process. Good news.

Good news Gary Lum JEE WHO IHRs

Downside

The only downside of these sorts of meetings is “meeting food”. Don’t get me wrong, meeting food is usually tasty, but when something this big happens, it usually means there are regular breaks and regular opportunities to indulge in scones, spinach and feta rolls, chicken and mayo wraps, freshly cut fruit and litres of filter coffee and tea. Not so much good news!

My weight loss desires took a back seat as you can see in this week’s graph.

Good news Weight Chart Gary Lum JEE WHO IHRS Good news Weight Chart Gary Lum JEE WHO IHRS

Busy weekend

No, not with Christmas shopping but with podcast recording and uploading. I’m going away for a week soon and I needed to prerecord three podcast episodes so I don’t have to worry about them while I’m away. This kept me busy all weekend while the rain was falling steadily across the south-east of Australia.

JEE Mug Gary Lum Good news Core capacities WHO JEE IHRs

I won’t say where I’m going just yet, you’ll find out soon enough. If you don’t subscribe to My Thoughts and Stuff, now is a good opportunity so you don’t miss out on the surprise!

Connecting and reconnecting with friends on social media

Good news, this week saw a return of K to blogging over at Here in the Silence. It is great to reconnect with her and to read her writing. She is such a wonderful person, beautiful in all ways and a terrific writer of prose and poetry.

I’ve mentioned before the podcasters I ‘hang’ with online. We’ve recently moved to Slack as a platform to chat. It offers so many opportunities to share with one another and has the ability to connect with other productivity tools like Trello and Evernote.

It’s funny, most of the people I chat with on Slack are fellow podcasters, but we tend not to chat that much about the mechanics of podcasting. We normally discuss things relating to food, video gaming, and popular culture.

I’ve mentioned before but in this group, we have podcasters from Mouthy Broadcast, Zombie Anonymous, Dork Trek, and the Promenade Podcast. Check them out if you dare.

Podcasts I listen to while walking, driving and working around the flat

Then, of course, it’s great to chat with people on Twitter and Facebook. What I like about this is that after getting to know some people, we’ve built up such a good rapport we now spend quite a bit of time chatting via Messages or e-mail or Twitter DMs.

So what have you been up to this week?

Do you have any good news to share? Feel free to let me know in the comments.

Hit me up on social media like Twitter, Facebook or Instagram to share what’s been good in your life this week.

 

 

Iodine deficiency

Iodine deficiency
Diary

 
 
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Iodine deficiency

Hello Friends,

Brisbane

I missed blogging last week because I went to Brisbane to visit my daughters and parents. I had a fantastic time. It rained heavily the entire weekend. I love heavy rain and I love driving in heavy rain. It reminded me of driving from Darwin to Katherine once with a colleague. It was February and the Monsoon was upon us. I could barely see what was in front of me and bear in mind this was the time of unrestricted driving, meaning, no speed limit. My colleague asked if I could see the road because he couldn’t. I replied, “No, but I can feel the road.” He elected not to join me for the return drive and decided to hire a car at his own expense for the return journey the next day.

I bet you’re wondering how I went with my weight loss dream while in Brisbane and visiting my family. Gee, I ate well. But I ate sensibly, well, in my opinion, I ate sensibly.

Weekend food highlights

I flew up on Friday evening and decided to only eat the chicken in the chicken curry that was served as a meal on my flight. I left the rice behind.

Chicken curry

iodine deficiency

🐓 Sorry for the crappy photo

On Saturday morning, I took Ms22 and Ms20 to breakfast to Cafe 63 in Chermside and enjoyed a big hearty breakfast of pork sausages, BBQ pork belly, bacon, beef, hash brown (I ate one of two), scrambled eggs, and a grilled tomato. I left the toast behind.

Cafe 63 big breakfast

iodine deficiency
BBQ pork belly, bacon, beef burger, pork sausage, hash browns and eggs

At lunchtime on Saturday, Ms20, Miss16 and I went to the Sandgate Fishmonger and I had a piece of grilled cod along with one of two crumbed squid tentacles.

Sandgate Fishmonger grilled cod

iodine deficiency
Grilled cod 🐟

For dinner, I took my parents along with Ms22 and Ms20 to Motto Motto in Chermside. It’s an interesting Japanese restaurant. Sort of fast food, order at the counter, speedy food service, eat and leave. I had a bowl of seared salmon, avocado, green salad leaves and Teriyaki sauce. I also had a side of two soft shelled crabs. I also managed to snag a piece of karaage chicken, a Teriyaki chicken wing and a pork gyoza dumpling.

Motto Motto seared salmon and avocado with soft shelled crabs

iodine deficiency
Seared salmon and avocado and salad
iodine deficiency
Seared salmon and avocado and salad

iodine deficiency

After dinner, Dad treated us all to a gelato. This is the first gelato or ice cream I’ve had in months. Gee, it tasted good. I licked that vanilla creaminess like to was the most important thing in my life.

Gelato

iodine deficiency
Vanilla gelato

On Sunday, I was able to enjoy breakfast with Ms22, Ms20, and Miss16. We went to Hermosa in Chermside. I constructed my breakfast by asking for bacon, poached eggs, wilted spinach and avocado. The avocado was coated with seeds and crushed nuts and was really very nice.

iodine deficiency
Poached eggs, bacon, avocado and wilted spinach

All in all, I ate well on the weekend. When I weighed in on Monday morning I wasn’t shattered with the result.

See for yourself in the chart below.

Weight chart

iodine deficiency

Canberra is continuing to crush salmonella but not in a good way

iodine deficiency

Iodine deficiency

On Tuesday night I attended a monthly meeting of medical officers who work in the Australian Government Department of Health. Our guest speaker was Prof. Creswell Eastman, AM. Prof. Eastman is a legend. He is best known for a lifetime of work on iodine deficiency and the role iodine plays in a person’s intellectual development. He’s shown time and again the problems of iodine deficiency not only in Australia but also in China including Tibet.

Check out my Twitter feed.

Click on the tweet and you should be able to follow the lecture from my Tweets.

I learned that in China, Prof. Eastman assisted the people by igniting the government into making a humungous change and iodise the salt which rapidly raised the intelligence quotient of millions of Chinese people living in remote and rural settings. Reducing iodine deficiency is the key.

I also learnt that at the time, Tibet became an unintended control group. There were villages in Tibet where the majority of people had goitres, cretinism still occurred and in addition to intellectual retardation, growth retardation also occurred. Prof. Eastman went in and assisted the locals by introducing iodised oil. The effect was dramatic by reducing iodine deficiency.

What Prof. Eastman also revealed was the population problems in terms of poor intellectual development in Australia. His collaborators used the much-maligned NAPLAN process to compare intellectual development in Australian children.  His group discovered that some time ago the Australian dairy industry made a decision to change milk vat disinfection from iodophors to chlorine without telling anyone. This had the effect of reducing the available iodine in dairy products. Iodine is inimical to bacterial growth so it was a fabulous disinfectant.

In addition, there has been a general move to reduce salt intake and to not add salt to food. While there is nothing wrong with that, instead of buying and using good old-fashioned iodised cooking salt people started following cooking fads and started to buy sea salt and rock salt and sadly Himalayan rock salt. I say sadly because that Himalayan salt, according to Prof. Eastman is murky and dirty looking because of the presence of noxious trace metals that don’t do anything positive for our health. The bottom line was that the little added salt people did use was not iodised and possibly had harmful effects.

Iodised salt is used in bread but with so many people eschewing bread because they believe they have a gluten intolerance (rather than having fair dinkum cœliac disease, this had led to a further reduction in iodine in our diets.

Prof. Eastman’s advice is that pregnant women in Australia should supplement their diets as soon after conception as possible with iodine. The risk of not doing this is having a child who may be a slow learner and all the consequences of that.

If you want a salty recipe you can use iodised salt for, check out this great looking pork crackling on Yummy Lummy.

Thanksgiving

Should Australia celebrate Thanksgiving?

When you look up Wikipedia and search for Thanksgiving it’s a revelation to see just how widespread thanksgiving celebration is.

While I know a lot of Australians resent following Americana on everything I wonder if we should spread the message that Thanksgiving could also be an Australian holiday but for different reasons when compared with our American friends. If we did it correctly we could do something to ameliorate the angst associated with Australia Day and the concerns expressed by Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who consider 26 January to be what they regard as “invasion day”, that is the day the British arrived and began colonising Australia. I think we should still mark Australia Day (26 January) as an important day but we wouldn’t need a public holiday. We could transfer the public holiday to Thanksgiving which could be celebrated on another day. Thanksgiving could be a day to celebrate reconciliation.

Here is where I reckon we should look at the American tradition and use a specific day of the week, e.g, the third Friday of January every year. This way the public holiday isn’t ‘wasted’ on a Saturday or Sunday and we get a long weekend. Another possible day would be the second Tuesday of November so while the Victorians are having fun getting pissed at a horse race, the rest of Australia could enjoy some nice seafood and a mixed grill on the barbie followed by a pavlova. Morning tea could be filled with vanilla slices (bloody Victorians call them snot blocks) and lamingtons. After lunch, people would have time without affecting the national productivity to watch the horserace and waste the arvo drinking grog so by dinner time they can sober up and get ready for work the next day.

When Australia becomes a republic I want to run for President on a platform a long weekend every month.

I did not know that Thanksgiving is celebrated on Norfolk Island.

What do you reckon? Should we celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia?

Black and white

So if you’re on Facebook and/or Instagram you’ll have probably seen if not participated in the black and white challenge. It’s been fun shooting a photograph every day editing it to black and white and then posting it to Instagram and then out to Facebook and Twitter.

I wouldn’t say these photographs are any good but it was fun. The idea is not to include people you know and you don’t provide any explanation as to why you shot the photograph.

This is a gallery. Click on one photograph and then scroll through each image.

This week on the Medical Fun Facts Podcast

This week I talk about scabies. The show will drop on Monday night at 7 pm Canberra time. I’m trying something different. Rather than a ‘fake video’ I’ve produced an Apple Keynote slideshow with a voiceover. This will be available on YouTube (also on Monday night at 7 pm Canberra time).

YouTube thumbnail for Monday’s show

iodine deficiency