Category Archives: Pictures

Kierkegaard & Pitying the Fool

Whenever I do Kierkegaard posts, I, like many people, do a Google image search to visually spice up the posts.  The recent post is a caricature of Kierkegaard from the Corsair, I believe.  This one is also classic.  But I think  this illustration, by John Peterson, from this book, probably takes the cake as one of my recent favourites.

My first home-made Ethiopian meal

After living in Nottingham for a few months, I started missing Ethiopian food.  Tiana and I lived within walking distance to a fantastic Ethiopian restaurant called the Red Sea in City Heights.  I did some looking around Nottingham and, as far as I can tell, there are no Ethiopian restaurants here (although, I’ve heard there are some in London).  So, I decided to see if I could make it myself!

Ethiopian meals are centred around various stews served over injera bread.  The hardest part of this process was definitely the injera (see pictures below), as it involves a long process of waiting for a flour mixture to ferment.  Now, it’s possible to buy sourdough starters, but I didn’t really see any of these in the stores I went into, so I decided to just do it myself.  In comparison, the stews themselves took a lot of preparation, but as far as actual skill and patience required, they were, what my adviser would call “wee buns.”

I did a lot of internet research and ended up following the following process for making the injera bread:

  1. Bought teff flour online from Tobia Teff.  Again, I scoured every likely place in Nottingham for teff flour and could not find any.  I think most of the African markets here may be Kenyan?
  2. Followed Breadtopia’s video tutorial on how to make a sourdough starter from scratch using the ‘pineapple juice method’.  This was the longest part of the process.  It would have probably taken half the time if it wasn’t so cold in Nottingham at the moment.  One commenter from Australia said that, due to living near bread factories creating a lot of yeast in the air and the very warm climate, his starter became active within a day!  I started this in late December 2008 and it wasn’t until late January when I finally got a very active culture of teff flour starter.  I began by following the example using regular flour first, and then about five days later I began converting it to a teff flour starter. [By the way, from here on out, I am going to make another starter (and switch to that one only) using gluten-free flours.  I was cheap and used gluten-laden self-rising flour for the self-rising flour step documented in the next step.  One of our guests on the night we served it was alergic to gluten.]
  3. For the actual making of the injera bread, I followed Heather’s Burakaeyae Step-by-step Injera Instructions.  Accompanying her very detailed blog post are youtube videos for each step, and after a few searches on youtube, one will see that she has, hands-down, the best instructional material for how to make injera for every step along the way (except the sourdough starter step which she assumes you have already done, see #2 above, although she has her own blog post on how to do this, but it would take even longer). Heather broke the creation down into 3 steps, each done about 8 hours apart.  Because it’s a bit chilly in Nottingham at the moment, though, the final 8-hour interval actually took two days for the injera starter/batter to become active (and actually, another day would have improved the sourness and ain [air bubble] count even more). Because super large frying pans do not really exist in any practical manner, and because they do not seem to sell this product here in the UK, I had to make injera into smaller-than-normal pieces.  Traditional pieces of injera are rather large and a single piece will fill a platter, but I had to make mine into large pancake sizes, which turned out just fine.  At times the edges got a bit crispy, so I ended up cutting those off with a pizza cutter!
Preparing the injera

Preparing the injera: rolling up a cooled piece while others are still cooling off

All of the prepared injera: two dishes for the injera servings and the main serving platter, ready for the Ethiopian stews

All of the prepared injera: two dishes for the injera servings and the main serving platter, ready for the Ethiopian stews.  If we had a real mitad, I wouldn’t have to layer the small pieces around the platter because a single piece would have been big enough for the entire thing!  (In the background you can see a jar of messy brown stuff: that’s my remaining teff starter.)

For the actual Ethiopian stews, we followed these recipes:

Here is the final display of everything!

The final display! Salad (in the centre), Yemiser W'et (brown spicy lentils), Gomen (Collard greens), and Atar Allecha (spiced yellow split spea pureé).

The final display! Salad (in the centre), Yemiser W’et (brown spicy lentils), Gomen (Collard greens), and Atar Allecha (spiced yellow split spea pureé).  The multiple pieces of injera become less noticable when the stews are served on the platter.

It was absolutely delicious (and vegan!).  In the end, all of the injera was eaten, including the one lining the serving platter, as is tradition. I must say, that even though veggie burritos from Santana’s and Cotijas in San Diego are probably my favourite food item, Ethiopian is probably my favourite meal for its flavours and the experience.

If anybody has any tips on where to find teff flour in Nottingham (or nearby) so that I don’t have to order it, that would save quite a few quid in the future.  Or, if you live in San Diego or the Bay Area where we know Ethiopian restaurants exist, and you would like to visit us soon, we’ll reimburse you if you bring us some teff!

Snow at the University

These are from last week:

Trent Building through the trees

Trent Building through the trees

Some steps near the archeology and classics building

Some steps near the archeology and classics building

Highfield House in the snow, where the department of Theology and Religious Studies abides

Highfield House in the snow, where the department of Theology and Religious Studies abides

Whenever I see something like this, I think of the scene from Fellowship of the Ring when Frodo yells to his hobbit mates, "Stay off the road!"

Whenever I see something like this, I think of the scene from Fellowship of the Ring when Frodo yells to his hobbit mates, “Stay off the road!”

Entrance to the Highfield House

Entrance to the Highfield House

New Family Member: Andi

A couple of weeks ago, Tiana and I got our first new kitty together. Previously, we had a foster cat named Durango for a couple of years, but she went back to her original home family in Oklahoma.  Last night, our friend Hayley showed us how to trim her claws so that she won’t completely shred our couches.

I took these pics on the second day we had her:

Her name is Andi, like from the Goonies (“Andi! You Goonie!!!”).  She is a ‘tortise shell’ cat (some call them ‘torties’, but we won’t!).  She is super playful–sometimes too much!–as well as incredibly loving.  She loves to snuggle and rub her face against your chin and neck while she purrs really loud.  Andi is still very much a kitty and has a lot to learn, but she is beginning to learn when we don’t want her to do something.  Tiana has been doing an intense amount of research online about how to train, or at least discipline kittens in a dignified way.

We have a scratching post / hideout thing arriving this week, so I will probably be posting more pictures then.

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

The image you see above is the Highfield House where the Theology and Religious Studies Department and Centre of Theology and Philosophy reside.  But this is a very, very rare image — almost impossible to find.   It is so precious and legendary that Indiana Jones would definitely say that “it belongs in a museum!”  Some do not even believe such a photo exists.  Why?  Because of the blue sky backdrop, which is perhaps the most coveted aspect of any picture taken in Nottinghamshire. It’s become so incredibly desired that even the University of Nottingham promotional videos will mask out the existing sky and replace it with a fake, glowing, blue sky.

Before, when I took a picture of the building and showed it to a few people in the department, the first reaction was: “Do you have one with a blue sky?”  No.  Not until yesterday morning when I brought my camera to campus and happened to snap off a few pictures of the façade. And then, as if on cue, the skies clouded over an hour later and remained that way for the remainder of the day.  And it looked like this.

London Pictures

Like Fergie, Tiana and I stood in front of the Tower Bridge (not the “London Bridge” one bridge over, ehem) while we were in London last weekend for a short jaunt.  We went to the amazing Borough Market and the Tower of London Bridge.  The reason for the trip was to see our good friend Kristina while she was passing through, but–stupid me–I didn’t take any pictures of us together when we hung out the evening before she had to leave the next morning.  We really did have a good time hanging out with Kris.  So, these are our exploration pictures.  I’ll just chaulk up my negligence to the little sleep I got last week.

Here is a gallery of pics from that day trip: Gallery || Slideshow.

Nottingham, England

We’re in Nottingham!  It’s now Sunday and Tiana and I have been here since Tuesday the 19th.  Tiana has already blogged a bit about our adventures here and here.  We’ve had no real hiccups since we’ve arrived.  The only real potential snafu was that we almost missed our flight to Manchester in the O’Hare Chicago airport…but, we made it with minutes to spare.  When we arrived at our apartment that we secured a couple months ago, the place was completely bare when it was supposed to be fully furnished.  Oops!  Said one of the letting agency’s employees, “Right! So we’ll be getting your furniture to you today!” Within a couple hours, though, our beds and couches were delivered, and the next day the rest of our stuff (tables, etc.) showed up as well.  The boxes of books and other stuff we’ve shipped to ourselves have also mostly arrived.

Anthony Paul Smith has been incredibly helpful showing us around the area and helping us move in.  The first evening we were here we met Mike Burns, Jeff & Meghan Biebighauser and all of us had dinner at Sir John’s pub just a short walk away.  Yesterday we had help from Jeff & Meghan in getting to IKEA which was about a 25-minute bus ride away.  At the moment, Tiana & I are waiting for the IKEA delivery people to show up to deliver all of the stuff we got (desk, bookshelf, etc).

Backing up a bit, the second day I was here, I decided to walk to campus.  It’s a 3 mile trek, and I got lost in the first 20 minutes, but I’m glad I decided to make the hike because it really helped in figuring out the lay of the land around here.  We’ve also been quickly figuring out the tram and bus systems which are quite efficient (if only San Diego could take better cues from just about any other city with public transportation).

The University of Nottingham campus is astonishingly gorgeous.  Well, most of it anyway.  My first entrance into the campus was through the part of campus with the engineering buildings which were quite boring, but everywhere else I’ve been on campus is stunning, especially the area surrounding the Trent Building and Highfield House.  The Trent Building is where the Department of Theology and Religious Studies is currently situated and the Highfield House is where our department will be moving to in a few weeks.  Here is the Trent Building:

And here is the Highfield House:

The area surrounding the Highfield House is like a garden of sorts.  It at least feels that way–it is quite serene.  Currently the English/Lit department is in this house and they will soon be moving out so that we can move in.

We’ve been having to figure out other things like getting a bank account (still in process) and trying to decipher how the heating in our apartment works.  Speaking of our apartment, I’ve posted a gallery on Flickr which includes some in-progress shots of our apartment.  Also, I took some scenery shots and posted them in a separate gallery:

  • First couple days in Nottingham: arriving, apartment, and University of Nottingham – Gallery || Slideshow
  • Nottingham Scenery: landscapes and buildings – Gallery || Slideshow

Once our stuff from IKEA arrives and we put it all together with the infamous allen wrenches, I’ll take some new pictures.  There’s also some other stuff that I think I was meaning to say, but my mind is a jumble of stress at the moment with having to get things ready for next week’s Rome conference in order as well as write a paper for it.  So, hopefully I’ll remember that stuff as it comes to me. Oh, and classes don’t start until 22 September so we have a bit of time before I have anything to report academically.  I’m sure there will still be plenty to do!

For a concluding picture for this post, this is where we live now, on the second floor:

Lucha Libre Gourmet Taco Shop

Luche Libre Gourmet Taco Shop

Before we leave San Diego, Tiana and I are making sure we savor a few experiences.  Last night, we went to Lucha Libre Gourmet Taco Shop.  Yes, it is a Mexican wrestling-themed taco shop.  I had a delicious “Veg Out” vegetarian burrito which was seasoned with some sort of curry.  It was awesome.

Click here to see my Flickr gallery of the few pics I took. 

The Skinny: Of moving

We have been taking it easy lately, and it is time to ramp up all of our moving plans this weekend.  The latest is that Tiana and I took all of last week and this past Monday off to visit our family and friends in central and northern California.  It was wonderfully relaxing and good to see our family during the week in Merced and Concord, and then over the weekend we spent time with friends at our second annual “sweet summer shindig.”  My wife Tiana has posted pictures of the highlights of the trip on her blog, and the full four galleries of pictures can be found here:

Visiting: Merced - the Lee's

Visiting: Merced – the Lee’s

Visiting: Concord - the Reinhardt's

Visiting: Concord – the Reinhardt’s

Sweet Summer Shingdig in Santa Rosa, CA

Sweet Summer Shingdig in Santa Rosa, CA

One last day in Concord

One last day in Concord

Oh, and did I mention?  Tiana just started blogging!  Her sister Shalina designed it for her.  Rad, eh?

Meanwhile, a bunch of things have gotten in order for our plans to move to Nottingham.  Cue the bulleted list:

  • Secured an apartment in Nottingham
  • Moved all of our stuff that we are keeping in storage to my parents’ garage
  • Got our UK visas in the mail a couple of weeks ago
  • Fly out August 18th and arrive the morning of the 19th

This weekend we are going to get some of our stuff more securely boxed up and ready for shipping.  Although, tonight’s agenda includes going to see Eddie Izzard in downtown San Diego at Spreckels.  I’ve been a huge fan of his since my friend Dave-O introduced me to his Dress to Kill performance.  And then tomorrow is Tiana’s birthday!

Lots going on.  More to come.