Tag Archives: BBQ

Hike at Poo Poo Point

2 Jun

Hee. Poo Poo.

A couple of weeks ago some friends organised a hike at Poo Poo Point. It’s a 7.4 mile (12 km) round trip with a 1650 foot (503 meter) elevation, so probably the easiest of the hikes we’ve done in Washington. It’s a very popular hike through a forest and quite narrow for most of the way. There was a sign warning about bears and cougars but we didn’t see any. =(

This was near the start and one of the widest parts of the trail:


Since I skipped hill sprints that week I tried to jog up some of the hills. It was surprisingly okay, especially since then I got longer breaks while I waited for people to catch up.

Poo Poo Point is definitely one of those hikes where the payoff is at the end. I kind of don’t mind hikes like that – on something like Yosemite’s Mist Trail I definitely want to stop to ooh and aah, but on trails where the scenery is a bit same-same I like to challenge myself a bit.

We did find a nice bridge though:
IMG_3617About 2/3 of the way through the hike James was assigned baby-carrying duty. James said it was like having a little furnace strapped to his chest. He was a good little baby though, and apart from some slight awkwardness when he tried to suck on James’ boob, was content to dangle there in quiet confusion.

IMG_3626I think at this point we saw a sign that made us worry we’d taken a wrong turn (we hadn’t). Notice TJ looking like a vengeful ghost in the background. You stoooole my baaaaaby …

The view from the top was beautiful. We were fortunate because it was a clear day so we could see Lake Sammamish and surrounds. There was also a green strip that hanggliders and paragliders use to launch.

IMG_3653This is my James. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

We set up at a picnic table and had some snacks, which attracted scavengers.

Victory photo!

IMG_3658The descent is always a bit boring because you’ve already seen the scenery and it isn’t the same physical challenge that going uphill is. I did get a chance to test out my new (to hiking) shoes going downhill and they were fine – much better than my old runners (toes jamming against the front) and my Vibrams (even worse – toe webbing jamming against the front).

Afterwards we had Victory BBQ. That’s right, Victory BBQ is a thing. A delicious, delicious thing.


Happy 4th of July!

5 Jul

As far as I can tell, Americans celebrate the 4th of July the same as Australians celebrate Australia Day: with fireworks and BBQs.

A group of us reserved some tables at a park and 20-30 of us hung out, played games and ate all day. I loved the massive charcoal BBQ.

You could have 4+ people grilling on this monster, and meat tastes so much better over charcoal. I was so impressed. The BBQs at public parks in Australia are always those shitty electric plates that automatically turn off after 20 minutes, and there are always stories about people peeing on them.

There was so much food! We had burgers, hot dogs, steaks, corn (OMG best corn I’ve had in my life!), vegie burgers, potato salad, pasta salad, cous cous salad, brownies x 2, vegies and dips, chips and salsa, potato chips, fruit, ice cream sandwiches, icy poles, pies, cookies, soft drinks, water, homemade lemonade, lollies and choc chip muffins. 

Here are some of the Aussies eating their red, white and blue icy poles. 

John said he had a surprise for us. And we were like “huh? Random blocks of wood?”

No, Jenga! (Or rather, JohnGa)

I swear I didn’t get them to pose like that; they just naturally happened to all be in thinking stances. I would have taken more photos but I left my phone at homeand James’ phone ran out of battery from using the GPS and videoing JohnGa.

Also three dogs made an appearance. There was Annie, who enjoyed the fresh air and smell of meat:

Bud, who was very pleased to meet James:

And of course, Dewey.

At the end of the day we made smores (Graham crackers sandwiching marshmallows and chocolate) over the remaining charcoal.

Check out my super patriotic outfit: red (the sports bra), white and blue.

Nobody is as patriotic as Dewey though. I gave him a little American flag and he ran around carrying it while everyone laughed at him. Unfortunately this is the best photo I got, but at least you can see how much he looks like a little dumpling.

It was a super fun way to spend the 4th of July. =)

David Thompson’s Grilled Pork Skewers

4 Feb

A couple of years ago, Scott bought me David Thompson’s Thai Street Food for Christmas. I’ve been eyeing the grilled pork skewers for awhile, and decided to make them the other day when I had some leftover coriander roots.

It’s supposed to make enough for 4-5 people. Maybe it’s enough for 4-5 Thai people, but James and I polished it off between the two of us.

I normally find pork to be bland, but the marinade for this is awesome. It’s simple (and easy to throw together) but quite smoky and if I bought this in Thailand I would not be disappointed. I didn’t use a charcoal grill like the book recommended, but I thought the Weber did fine.

I served it on a bed of bok choy and grilled eggplant.


  • 300g pork loin or neck
  • 1 tsp cleaned and chopped coriander roots
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
  • 2 TBSP shaved palm sugar
  • dash of dark soy sauce
  • 2 TBSP fish sauce
  • 2 TBSP vegetable oil


  1. Slice the pork into thinnish pieces about 2cm square.
  2. Using a pestle and mortar pound the coriander root, salt, garlic and pepper into a fine paste. Combine with the sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce and oil. Marinate the pork in this mixture for about 3 hours.
  3. David Thompson’s recipe has you grilling it over charcoal, but I just grilled for a couple of minutes each side over gas.


Very Rough Nutritional Guide:
1 serve: 389 calories, 47% fat, 36% protein, 17% carbs

Donna Hay’s Salsa Verde Lamb Skewers

1 Feb

Since we have a lovely barbecue (/pats Weber lovingly) it seemed a travesty to not grill something up for Australia Day. I wanted to try a new recipe though, so I hunted around until I found this Donna Hay recipe.

It was supposed to serve 4, but we only barbecued half of the meat, reserving the rest for another day.

Fresh off the barbecue. You can see the steam!

This recipe was tasty, but 1 cup of oil is pretty excessive (1929 calories!) so I don’t think it will make it to my regular rotation, though I am willing to experiment further with lamb backstrap. The smaller pieces were definitely more tender, so next time I barbecue lamb backstrap I’ll cut everything up smaller.

I served it with mushrooms on a bed of rocket salad. I find that as long as I stick to a lean(ish) protein plus a whole bunch of vegetables for meals, my everyday diet is pretty good without a lot of effort. I need to drop another 2kg before the Vics, so I should probably start optimising what I eat.

Salsa Verde Lamb Skewers

  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary leaves
  • 4 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup (250ml) olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) lemon juice
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 4 x 220g lamb backstraps (boneless loin), cut into 3cm pieces
  • Lebanese bread and lemon wedges, to serve
  1. Place the mint, parsley, rosemary, anchovy, garlic, oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor and process until roughly chopped.
  2. Place in a large bowl with the lamb and toss to coat. Place in the fridge to marinate for 23 hours.
  3. Preheat a char-grill pan or barbecue over medium heat.
  4. Thread the lamb onto skewers and char-grill or barbecue for 68 minutes, turning occasionally, for medium or until cooked to your liking. Serve lamb skewers with bread and lemon wedges.


Very Rough Nutritional Guide:
(rougher than normal since the calorie counter didn’t have lamb backstrap so I substituted another loin cut … and obviously a lot of the oil gets discarded so IMO the calories and fat content have been waaaaay overstated)
1 serve: 890 calories, 71% fat, 28% protein, 1% carbs

Better Eating Starts Today!

4 Jan

I think I’ve gained about 2kg over the Christmas season. The combination of Christmas feasts, friends visiting from overseas, weddings, and a general perception that December is a cheat month means that my diet has been pretty bad. And since the gym and Ground Zero have been closed over the Christmas break, I haven’t really done any exercise to counter the excess calories.

I still have a lot of dining out to come – yum cha later this week, a housewarming, and a few more weddings – but I think I’ve slacked off enough when it comes to my day to day diet.

This is an example of the lunches we were having in December. Not terrible, but definitely heading towards cheat meal territory.

Every time I eat the first mouthful of The Barefoot Contessa’s curried couscous, I am reminded of how tasty it is, and inhale the rest.

The meals tentatively planned for this week are:

  • Tuesday – salmon with choy sum
  • Wednesday – Indonesian ginger chicken with green beans and/or broccoli, depending on what looks good at the market
  • Thursday – leftover Indonesian chicken
  • Friday – prawns and salad
  • Saturday – rib eye, capsicum and salad

I just came back from my first BJJ class of the year. I’m off to a rather inauspicious start because I pulled something in my back/neck like .. 20 minutes in. Boo! I’m icing it right now but I might have to skip a few of my planned workouts. Fingers crossed for gym tonight, but it’s not looking good. =(

Rib-Eye Steak on the Weber

18 Nov

I’m not used to thinking of steak as a healthy meal, but maybe that’s because I normally associate it with fries. But steak is on a weekly (or at least fortnightly) rotation at our table because it’s such a healthy, filling meal with a great macro breakdown.

I used to use Alton Brown’s method of cooking steak (sear on both sides in a cast iron pan, then finish in the oven) but it’s definitely less hassle grilling it on the Weber.

I think the stovetop to oven method wins out a little in taste, but that’s probably because James and I are still getting the timing right for the barbecue. And the advantage to cooking on the Weber is that we can do asparagus at the same time. We had a spare red capsicum and grilled that as well for some extra colour, and served it all with a small side salad.

It’s hard to tell from that photo, but this was actually a pretty substantial 400g rib-eye. It’s just that the overflowing vegetables make it look small. Once upon a time I would have decided that the asparagus was enough of a vegetable accompaniment, but nowadays I try to make sure that vegetables are at least 50% of the plate.

I think I’ll have to start getting a bit more scientific about cooking times – next time I get steak I’ll measure the thickness – I’d say this one was roughly 2-2.5 inches thick. We cooked it for 2.5 minutes each side and it turned out on the rare side of medium rare. For the same size steak I would try for 30 seconds longer next time since it was a touch rarer than we prefer.


Very Rough Nutritional Guide:
400g rib-eye steak: 824 calories, 41% fat, 59% protein, 0% carbs

Roast Chicken on the Weber: The Disastrous Sequel

17 Nov

The experiment with roasting a chicken on the Weber was so successful the first time that we decided to do it again a week later. We were so confident that we didn’t look over the instructions again, and went with memories. Which was a bad idea because:

  1. We initially forgot to put the trivet on
  2. We forgot to put a layer of foil over the grate to diffuse the heat

Which resulted in this.

In that skinless patch you can see grill marks where I plonked the chicken down directly on the grate, only to realise that we’d forgotten the trivet. James rushed inside to grab it while I cradled the chicken in my arms, making soothing sounds.

Which was all for nothing, since it ended up a blackened carbony mess. Actually, aside from the layer of crispy burnination, the rest of the chicken was alright. It was less tender than the first chicken, even though it was cooked for less time (1 hour versus 1.5 hours). We started out intending to cook it for the whole time, but when we checked on it at the 1 hour mark it was significantly darker than it was the first time round, and I think that was the point I realised that we’d forgotten the foil.

In all fairness to James, he did sense that something was awry. At the start he noticed that smoke was billowing out from the barbecue, but we thought maybe the heat was too high. Actually that was something else we forgot – the first time we had the heat a few notches from the highest setting and this time we remembered about 10 minutes later when James commented on the extra smoke. In hindsight, the only step we remembered correctly was that it involved a chicken.

Liz’s Garlic and Coriander Chicken Marinade

11 Nov

Earlier this week I bought a monster bunch of coriander, and even though I used about 2/3 of it, the 1/3 that remained was about the size of a regular coriander bunch. So it was a perfect opportunity to try out the recipe that Liz sent for a garlic and coriander marinade. The original recipe specifies quails, but I used skinless chicken breasts. Happily it was just as delicious as I remembered, with the pungency of fish sauce perfectly offset by the fresh coriander.

Preparation was quick and easy – perfect for a warm Spring afternoon. I served it with grilled asparagus for a light, healthy lunch. Next time I might add a side salad to increase the vegetable count.

James and I have been doing a lot of chicken breast for lunch, usually with some sort of spice rub for flavour without extra calories. It’s then served with broccoli, asparagus or a salad (dressed with lemon, not oil) for a meal that is packed with nutrition and protein, and relatively low in fat and carbs. Baked goods are fun to blog about (and eat!), but it’s these kinds of healthy meals that are the staples of my diet.


  • 2 chicken breasts (nutritional guide is based on breasts that are roughly 240g)
  • 1.5 TBSP fish sauce
  • 1 bunch coriander, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/3 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 TBSP peanut oil


  1. Pour fish sauce over chicken breasts.
  2. Mix other ingredients together, either by hand or with a blender. Spread over chicken and marinate for 2-3 hours.
  3. Barbecue on high heat, 4 minutes each side.


Very Rough Nutritional Guide
1 chicken breast: 324 calories, 23% fat, 74% protein, 3% carbs

Roast Chicken on the Weber

6 Nov

Today we roasted our first chicken in the Weber. Very easy and tasty!

As instructed by the Weber cookbook I put a layer of foil under the roasting trivet to diffuse the heat from the grate, and cut some slits in the foil for fat to drain. I preheated the barbecue on high for 10 minutes, then dialed the heat down a couple of notches once I put the chicken in.

The chicken was prepared pretty simply – rubbed down with olive oil and then a generous sprinkling of flaked salt. It was 1.4kg and roasted for 1.5 hours.

James just looked at the photo and was like “that looks like someone throwing up”, and now I can’t unsee it. The chicken totally looks like a dude throwing up in the gutter.

Also he has warts on his back.

It’s like the time I took a photo of a bird butt hanging over the edge of a pole (I can’t remember why I took it – I think I was having lunch with Margs and Kim and the butt was hanging over Kim’s head, and we all thought that was funny that she might get pooped on). But when I later showed the bird butt photo to Cat, she was like “is that a rabbit standing on a chimney?”

Anyway, the barbecue did an admirable job. The chicken was fall-off-the-bone tender and the skin was crispy and salty. Looking at the scorched foil, I’m glad it was there to catch the juice/fat that dripped from the chicken. I’m sure it would have been a bitch to clean. I’ve been checking out the gunk that accumulates in the barbecue’s drip tray – it’s perversely satisfying, much like looking at those Biore nose strips or pressing on a bruise.

Also I am conscious that vomit, warts, bird poo, pore strips and bruises are less-than-appetizing images to associate with the roast chicken, which was lovely and deserves better than that, so moving on …

While the chicken rested I made a quick salad, and James and I each had about 1/4 of the chicken for lunch. I’m pretty sure you could roast 2 chickens side by side in the barbecue, with plenty of room for air to circulate. I just sent an email to Liz to ask for the recipe for a garlic and parsley marinade that she used on some barbecued quails. It was insanely tasty, and if the recipe is unfussy I think it would be a great barbecue staple.

Two months of James!

31 Oct

So Friday was James’ last day of work! He’s starting his new job in January and taking a couple of months off before he starts. He’s been working hard and hasn’t had a holiday for almost 2 years, so he’s looking forward to relaxing. He pretty much carried a low level cold all through the Winter months, and my theory is that he wasn’t getting enough sleep so his body wasn’t fighting it off properly.

He’s started working off his accumulated sleep debt by having afternoon naps in addition to his regular sleep. Last night I came home from BJJ to find James sprawled in bed, with Mouse using his butt as a pillow. I don’t have a photo of that, but I do have a random photo of Mouse.

James and Mouse are napping together right now, though I can hear James rustling around so he’ll probably get up soon. And then it’s time for burgers! My burgers patties are fatty mince with salt and pepper on each side, then topped with some grated cheddar after grilling – so simple, but so deliciously beefy. I bought sourdough rolls last time we had burgers, but I think they were a bit too fancy, and this time I’ve gone for softer wholegrain buns.

The cats seem so sad whenever we use the barbecue – they stand at the screen door and peer out wistfully.

It’s still raining, which isn’t great for barbecuing, but now I’ve worked myself into a burger frenzy and won’t be satisfied by leftover claypot rice from last night.