Saturday, 3 June 2023

In My Kitchen: June 2023

June brings chilly days and dark nights.  And life continues to be busy.  Two weekends in Geelong with family, lunches out with Sylvia.  Not to mention the jolt of an earthquake.  Work has been intense lately with preparing for an Indonesian workshop.  Mothers Day was a lovely sunny afternoon with my mum, sisters and nieces at a wine bar called Archive in Belmont where I was happy to have some choices of non-alcoholic drinks.  Sylvia and I had a fun day out the previous day with pizza at Kewpie, croissants from Lune and white chocolate vegemite ice cream from Fuzzy Torpedo.  I am not finding time to write about these places but maybe some day soon I will.  We also got to the cinema to see Guardians of the Galaxy III which was great fun.  

The above plate is from a trip to the Mill Markets in Geelong.  More purchases are below.

As the nights close in, the weather turns very hot cocoa and slippers.  A mug of hot tomato soup brings warming comfort.  I took this photo to remind myself not to heat tomato soup in a cup in the microwave.

Here is a meal where a past passion met a future passion.  I am just holding onto my sourdough.  These days I have less energy and time for it but I love it still.  My current passion is my cast iron frypan which just makes every meal better and hopefully is good for my iron levels.  I made sourdough flatbreads on the cast iron frypan and they were lovely and scorched.  I think had a little leftover baked beans that I spread over it and then sprinkled some cheese and placed it under the grill.  It made a really good and easy pizza.

Sylvia has tried a bit of cooking with eggs lately.  Unlike me, she is quite fond of eggs.  This was a recipe from Tik Tok for marinating hard boiled eggs in soy sauce, maple syrup,  mirin and water overnight.  She served them with two minute noodles and used the marinating liquid to flavour the noodles.

I had a visit to Geelong and walked around the Mill Markets with my dad.  The stalls with have a lot of fascinating second hand goods, lots of retro items, some that make me feel quite nostalgic.  I loved this remnant fabric and asked a friend, who is far better with a sewing machine than me, to make handkerchiefs out of them (thanks Kerin).  I also bought the flower as I thought maybe I could work out how to make some myself.  I live in hope of more time for such activities.

I also bought some new knives and forks.  I bought some that were bagged up in a op shop lately that turned out to be cheap and flimsy.  So I spent a bit more and bought these lovely and quite substantial knives and forks that are made by Rodd.  I've never heard of the company before but a quick Google showed them to be a quality product that was made in Australia at least from 1930s to 1960s.  The pattern on my utensils is called Carmen and sold second hand as vintage, but that is all I have found for now.

I also found this herbal Blue Magic Tea in the Mill Markets.  It is made of butterfly pea, camomile flowers and rose petals as well as some natural flavour. I have been fascinated by the natural blue of the butterfly pea and was very pleased to bring this home but am yet to try it.  Apparently it is blue and turns purple when you add lemon juice.

In this meal Sylvia wrapped fingers of tofu in rice paper roll wrappers to fry up to be crisp and then in a marinade.  She saw it on Tik Tok.  With some vegies and rice, it made for an interesting meal - quite chewy but good.

There has been quite a bit of rice around the kitchen lately.  Fried rice with tofu scramble has been on regular rotation for dinner.  I really liked a meal I made recently from leftover rice with lots of spinach, potatoes, red capsicum, peas, maple syrup, vegetarian fish sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil.  Cooked together and served with spring rolls.

We watched MasterChef (RIP Jock Zonfrillo) on the night Amy made caramel dumplings from her childhood.  It looked so easy when she made it in the microwave.  And it used the sort of ingredients we always have in our pantry.  The caramel sauce smelled and tasted amazing, albeit a little too sweet.  But the dumplings seemed too dry when I rolled them.  I should have followed my gut as they were barely edible.  I am surprised a recipe from MasterChef did not work and wonder if I made a mistake but would prefer my golden syrup dumplings.

A few weeks back, Sylvia wanted to try a pizza base from the supermarket on a Friday pizza night.  I had extra fast track sourdough pizza dough left after making my pizza.  So we made a dessert pizza - it was a masterpiece of nutella, cream cheese, marshmallows, banana and raspberries.  So good!

Last weekend after an extremely busy week of work I had a long sleep over 14 hours and woke at 4.30pm in the afternoon.  Sylvia and I had fluffy pancakes with lots of raspberry sauce, bananas, yoghurt and maple syrup.  Breakfast for dessert is great after a satisfyingly long sleep.

I am sending this post to Sherry of Sherry's Pickings for the In My Kitchen event. If you would like to join in, send your post to Sherry by 13th of the month.  Or just head over to her blog to visit more kitchens and her gorgeous hand drawn header.

Friday, 26 May 2023

Tempeh and vegetable ramen soup

I've never understood the ramen thing in the USA.  We had 2 minute noodles when I was a kid but ramen always sounds fancier. And ramen seems more than noodles.  It is a meal. A few weeks ago I wanted miso soup but I also wanted corn tempeh soup and I needed some vegetables.  I found a white miso ramen sauce.  It seemed easy but I followed my gut and fried up some ad-ins such as tempeh and eggplant.  It took me an hour to make it the way I wanted it.  Although it was a bit more work than I expected, it was such a delicious meal that I could have eaten it for weeks.  But it only yielded 4 servings over a few days, though it did helpe me use up some of the food in the kitchen.

The saucepan of ramen soup looked so beautiful I took a photo.  Then I served some out and took a photo because I it looked delicious.  The last photo below I took was the next day when I had some leftovers.  It didn't look quite as lovely but it still tasted wonderful.

So I wrote down what I did because I would be delighted to make it again or a version of it.  It seemed a really simple recipe to write up but life has been busy and distracting.  And it is not going to ease up much for a few weeks.  If I had the time I would be eating better but given today I had a busy day of meeting up with a friend, going to see the doctor, doing office work on my day off, having my dad over to help fix the wobbly fence, catching up on washing dishes.  It was the sort of night to order pizza for tea rather than make a delicious soup like this but life will calm down again and maybe given me more time for a bit of creativity and fun in the kitchen.

More substantial Asian-style soups on Green Gourmet Giraffe blog:

Tempeh and vegetable ramen
Inspired by Ahead of Thyme

Neutral oil
1 onion, finely chopped
6 baby roma tomatoes, sliced
1 carrot finely julienned
1/2 red capsicum, finely julienned
1/2 cup purple cabbage, finely sliced
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
6 cups water
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp mirin
chilli paste or black pepper, to taste
550g soba ramen noodles
1-2 tbsp white miso
2-4 tbsp hot water
1 eggplant, cubed and fried
1 x 300g packet tempeh, fried chunks
1 corn cob, microwaved and kernels cut off
1/2 broccoli floret, chopped, cooked in microwave

1 spring onion, chopped
6 snow peas, finely sliced

Firstly prepare vegetables.  I fried the eggplant cubes in the cast iron frypan until crisp outside and soft inside, set them aside and then fried some chunks of tempeh in the same frypan until golden brown.   Microwave the corn (I do this in its husks for 3.5 minutes and then remove husk and cut the rows of corn off the cob.)  Microwave broccoli in a tub until al dente (ie only just cooked with some resistance when you cut it.)  Set all cooked food aside.

Heat some oil in a large saucepan and fry onion, tomatoes, carrot, red capsicum, cabbage and garlic (I gradually added them as I chopped them.) until softened.  Add 6 cups of water, soy sauce, mirin and chilli paste.  Bring to the boil and then add soba noodles and simmer for about 4 minutes or until just soft.  Meanwhile mix miso with hot water until miso is thinned.  Add to simmering soup.  Add eggplant, tempeh, corn kernels and broccoli.  Warm through.

Ladle into deep bowls and garnish with spring onions and snow peas.

On the Stereo:
Excuses for Travellers: Mojave 3

Monday, 8 May 2023

In My Kitchen: May 2023

May is upon us and last weekend brought an arctic cold snap (or should that be antarctic as we are down under).  It feels like a long time since I have needed the heater so much.  The weather didn't look much better in the UK for the Coronation.  Meanwhile at home we have sadly put our old purple couch out for the hard rubbish, and also had the plumber take out our decommissioned gas wall heater.  We've been out and about a bit more including visiting Melbourne Now exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria.

I made cinnamon rolls a few weeks back.  I spent hours one evening working out the ingredients I needed based on similar recipes.  When I showed this to Sylvia the next morning she asked why I didn't just use the recipe for sourdough cinnamon scrolls that we made a couple of years ago.  I had not filed it properly in my recipe index and missed it.  I had thought I had had a go at these but could not remember clearly enough to find the information.  

I actually refer to my indexes quite a bit and rely on filing my recipes there manually.  Unfortunately I only update it occasionally.  The recipe I devised for the recent cinnamon scrolls weren't as good as the one I made in 2021 so I need to update my recipe index so I can find it next time.


We have had a couple of visits to Ikea recently.  The first one was to buy some accessories for Sylvia's room but I picked up these green pot holders and could not leave the store without them.

 We also bought this packet of elk shaped pasta.  Very Scandinavian!

I made this Mac and Cheese pasta with cauliflower recently.  It was a bit overflowing in the cast iron frypan.  That is the downside of not following a recipe.  But I squished it into the frypan that I made the cheese sauce in because then I could place it under the grill and crisp up the cheese and breadcrumb topping.  It was delicious!

We discovered this vegan Roast Capsicum and Olive Ravioli an IGA supermarket.  While it was rather tasty it was less creamy than most ravioli fillings in commercial ravioli.

This pizza was bought at the end of a busy day.  We had been out and about with a meeting, an appointment, shopping, and even a new passport.  But it was the little things that stood out: a man walking through the city with an untethered pet rabbit over his shoulder, standing at the intercom at the pay station trying to fix a ticket that refused to give me the $20 discount I had claimed, and an air conditioner remote control left in the fridge.  Pizza from Cornerstone Pizza in Coburg was what we needed.  I had the Patate with fior de latte, chunks of rosemary potato, roasted peppers, spanish onions, and goats cheese.  It was lovely. 

We all love takeaway pizza in our house, even our cat!  Shadow really loves to sit on a pile of pizza boxes.  We have tried quite a few of the cat beds you can buy but he has a thing for boxes.  Actually we had the boxes neatly by the cupboards and he had one of those crazy nights where he looks like us kids when we slid across the polished church hall floor in our socks.  Totally out of control and knocking any pizza boxes in the way.  (That's Shadow!  We never had pizza in the church hall as far as I can remember!) And while I am digressing, the blank bit of wall is where our heater used to be.  (I loved that wall heater before it was decommissioned)

I know I am a sucker for a fun new way to eat some of my favourite brands but I do resist a lot.  These nutella biscuits were a huge winner.  Lots of gooey choc hazelnut spread in a crisp biscuit is so so satisfying. 

Sylvia decided to make some custard and fruit danishes with puff pastry.  She learnt not to overload the pastry with custard.  I cleaned up the spills in the oven.  Next time Sylvia made these she baled them in a container with sides rather than a baking tray.  And these tasted great, especially with apricot halves.

We were surprised to find this packet of Chupa Chups flavoured popcorn.  I wasn't that interested but Sylvia enjoyed it.  It seems there is a bit of a moment for the Chupa Chups flavour - and who even knew that those little lollipops even had a flavour!  Lately we have seen Chupa Chups flavoured ice creams, custard and milk.

And here is my poor mangled bicycle wheel.  It was quite difficult to wheel a block to the bike shop.  The fix-it guy took one look and asked me if I had a car accident.  Fortunately not!  But I did get the wheel caught in a grate and managed to get myself tipped off the bike.  My bike is back in good condition now and the bruises have gone but am not happy about getting a soaking in the rain last week.  It is not great bike weather!

I am sending this post to Sherry of Sherry's Pickings for the In My Kitchen event. If you would like to join in, send your post to Sherry by 13th of the month.  Or just head over to her blog to visit more kitchens and her gorgeous hand drawn header.

Saturday, 29 April 2023

Chocolate cheesecake with Easter nest for my blogiversary

Today to mark my 16th blogiversary, I am sharing a celebration cheesecake full of chocolate and colour and just a little gratuitous caramel.  It was actually our Easter dessert at home on Easter Sunday as I saw my extended family on Easter Saturday.  Sylvia and I had great fun decorating it with a clutch of Easter eggs in a chokito nest.  The cheesecake is amazing without the added chocolate decorations but we enjoyed going the extra mile.

I mentioned to my mum that I was planning to make an unbaked cheesecake with cream cheese and condensed milk at Easter and she asked if it had lemon juice.  She has made many of these in my childhood.  No doubt a little nostalgia made the recipe jump out.  When I told my mum there was no lemon juice but it had whipped cream and 400g of chocolate she was a bit surprised but agreed it would help to hold its shape.  It was an intense filling but so creamy and chocolatey and good.  Being egg-free was even better.


We made the cheesecake the night before to give it plenty of time to set.  The Best Recipes website, where I found the recipe, had one person comment that they chop up mars bars to fold through the cheesecake mixture.  We loved the idea.  But we decided to fold through chopped chokito instead.  I loved the chewy caramel of the chokito, and would love the mars bars too.  There was a lot of mixture - you can see in the above collage that it just fitted in the 20cm loose based tin.

We planned to chop oreos to make the nest for the easter eggs but found that 2 oreo packets were equivalent to about one Arnotts biscuit packets, such as Marie biscuits, Arrowroot biscuits or Chocolate Ripple biscuits, that we often use for cheesecake bases in Australia.  Instead I chopped up one of my Chokito chocolate bars.  It worked!  

However my vision had been of a more raised nest,  I tried a bit of cream to help hold the crumbly mixture but it wasn't terribly effective.  I think to build it up you would need to bind the crumbs which would make the nests more smooth than I intended and/or a lot more work, such as these. For those who are curious, the cheesecake mixture does stick to the foil egg wrappers a bit.  The cheesecake is just as good at any time of year without a nest of Easter eggs but it is fun to jazz it up for a celebration.

As you can see in the above photo, the cheesecake holds its shape very well, even after it has been out of the fridge for an hour or so.  I liked the chewy caramel chunks that resulted from folding chopped chokito through the mixture.  But it is not necessary.  The cheesecake was rich and dense.  Sylvia described it as being like chocolate mousse. 

This cheesecake is an excellent combination of an old fashioned cheesecake and a modern ganache based dessert.  It feels like a fine way to mark 16 years of blogging.  The way I blog now is slower and quieter than when I started.  You might say this about my life today compared to 16 years ago but it goes in cycles and there is still much to be savoured.  Over that time I have shared lots of good food with wonderful people both In Real Life and on my blog.  Long may this continue!

And as it is my blogiversary, I will share some of my favourite links of late:

'Scientists create 'flu trap' that 'protects against virus' in The Independent on 21 March 2016.  I was fascinated after dreaming about a flu trap to look it up online and find that scientists had actually found a flu trap.  I wonder if anyone is working on the Covid trap!

'Unattractive people are MORE likely to keep wearing face masks in post-Covid era, study suggests. Attractive people are less likely to keep wearing face masks in the post-Covid era, a study suggests' in The Daily Mail on 3 February 2023.  This was one of the silliest articles I have seen lately (thought there was a was a challenge for silliest by the below UK Sun article.) Actually in the research, it was the participants who judged if they believed they were attractive.  The article suggests mask-wearing has shifted from being about self protection to self preservation.  A lot of interesting judgements here!

'Posh Yobs Vol-au-Vent Meet: Hummus Plot to Spoil Sport: FA Cup and Wimbo at risk' in the UK Sun on 23 April 2023.  Such a wonderfully ridiculous headline that I was disappointed I could find a link to the article but not the headline online.  You can still read about "infiltrating" eco zealot meetings and where they go on holidays and what advice they get from their lawyers.

'"We thought they were going to be massacred": 80 years since forced First Fleet enactment.' in ABC News on 25 January 2018.  This is a very disturbing and sad story of Aboriginal men being coerced to be part of a re-enactment of the First Fleet arriving.  The conniving of the colonising authorities and the terrible effect upon these men is hard to read but part of the truthtelling of Indigenous history of our nation.

'Men named Ken share how they feel about all those Barbie memes' in Huffington Post on 28 April 2023.  The movie is not out yet, but social media is already entranced and using Barbie to amuse us.  One of the people interviewed noted it was a good time to have an ex-named Ken.

'Why we swim: A brief history of swimming from the Neanderthals to slavery to your local pool' in ABC News on 17 February 2023.  Swimming reflects many of the issues of our world; it has been influenced by climate, wealth and race.

'What are the long term health risks of having your tonsils out' in the Pursuit, University of Melbourne on 28 June 2018.  "The research shows that both tonsillectomies and an adenoidectomies are associated with higher levels of allergic, respiratory and infectious diseases later in life."

Other chocolate cheesecake recipes online:

Easter Chocolate Cheesecake

Adapted from Best Recipes

250g Oreos (about 2 x 133g packets)
1/4 cup (50g) g butter melted - 1/4 cup
250g cream cheese, room temperature
395g tin of condensed milk
1 cup thickened cream
200g good milk chocolate, chopped
200g good 70% cocoa dark chocolate, chopped
2 chocolate bars, such as mars bar or chokito, chopped  (optional)
Easter Nest Topping (optional):
1 chocolate bar such as chokito, flake, twix or kit kat (or chocolate biscuits)
Easter eggs
Extra cream or melted chocolate

Use a food processor to make oreos into crumbs.  Pour in butter while motor running and and process until mixed thoroughly.

Press the oreo/biscuit mixture into the base of a 20cm diameter round loose bottomed cake tin.   (I did not grease or line and it was fine.)    Place in fridge to firm up - about 30 minutes.

Break up chocolate.  Melt dark chocolate in microwave for 30 seconds, add milk chocolate and microwave another 30-60 seconds, stirring after each 30 seconds to check if a good stir will melt the chocolate.  Set aside to cool slightly.

Using electric beaters, beat the cream cheese and condensed milk until mixed.  Add cream and, while beating on high, drizzle in melted chocolate.  Beat until well combined and stiff peaks form.  If using, very gently fold in chopped chocolate bars.

Scrap the cream cheese mixture into the cake tin on the base.  Refrigerate for at least 4-6 hours, preferably overnight. 

To decorate, finely chop chocolate bar or biscuits to crumbs and sprinkle around the edges, using a bit of cream or extra melted chocolate to help it stick.  Arrange easter eggs in the middle of the crumbs to look like they are sitting in a nest.


If you wish to use chocolate biscuits like Chocolate Ripple Biscuits instead of Oreos, use 100g butter rather than 50g butter.  I found the sweet vanilla cream in Oreos gave more sweetness to the crust than I am used to.  I was tempted to try Tim Tams and might do another time.

To help the cheesecake set, make sure to use full fat cream cheese in a block - no light cream cheese and no softened cream cheese in a tub.

The Best Recipes recipe had 1/4 cup of run added at the end.  I ignored this as I wanted it child friendly, and I am not a huge fan of rum.  I would prefer to add Baileys Irish Cream.  Or you could add other spirits or juice.  My cheesecake mixture was pretty thick so I am sure 1/4 cup of liquid would be fine and it would still hold its shape.

On the Stereo:
Fearless: Taylor Swift

Saturday, 22 April 2023

Vegemite and three veg pizza

I grew up in a family where we ate a very traditional meat and three veg most nights of the week.  I wasn't very keen on vegetables as a kid.  The ones I liked were potato, pumpkin and peas.  One of my favourite things my mum made every now and again was a mixture of mashed potato, mashed pumpkin, peas and vegemite (as in this post).  I don't think it was a common thing to do.  It seemed quite normal to us and a great inspiration for today's pizza.

As an Australian I grew up eating vegemite regularly.  On toast and sandwiches mostly.  I love the stuff - in moderation of course.  I love trying new products with vegemite and using it in recipes.  I am always wary about using too much as it is such an intense flavour.  (We have all heard stories of foreigners who try it out and hate it because they spread it on too thick.)  I am also aware that it does not spread well and needs some watering down for such purposes.

I wanted a vegemite recipe because this year is the 100th anniversary since it was invented.  Vegemite pizza seemed a good idea and initially I thought the classic combination of vegemite and cheese but then I thought of mum's mashed potato, pumpkin, peas and vegemite.  So I spread pizza dough with vegemite, pea puree, roast potato, roast pumpkin and cheese.  It was so much of my childhood favourites in a pizza as I loved roast potato and pumpkin too. 

My tastes today are quite different to those of my childhood.  In fact I suspect I would not be that keen on the pizza or on the pea puree having tahini in it.  Although it combines a lot of the flavours of my childhood, it is done in a way I would not recognise at all.  But what a way to enjoy reminiscing on my childhood as an adult.  It was a wonderful pizza.  I just wish I had more time to make this sort of pizza more often.

More interesting pizza recipes on Green Gourmet Giraffe blog:

Vegemite and three veg pizza

An original Green Gourmet Giraffe recipe
Serves 2

1 pizza base - 1/2 fast track sourdough pizza base
1 tbsp vegemite
1/2 - 1 tsp water - (to make vegemite spreadable)
1 quantity of pea puree (see below)
1/2 - 1 cup of diced roast potatoes
1/2 - 1 cup of diced roast pumpkin
1-2 handfuls of grated cheese

Pea puree:
1 cup frozen peas
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp tahini
1-2 spring onion, finely chopped
1/4 tsp garlic granules
1/4 tsp onion granules
juice of 1 lime or 1/2 lemon

Make pea puree:

Defrost peas - I did this in the microwave.  Blend all ingredients to make a puree.  I used a hand held blender and the ingredients were in a tall cylindrical container.  Taste and season lightly according to taste. 

Assemble and bake pizza:

Line pizza tray and press base into fit it.  

Mix vegemite and water in a small bowl.  This makes it easier to spread.

Spread the vegemite on the pizza base.  Next spread the pea puree - it is quite thick but this seemed to work well.  Arrange the roasted (and lightly seasoned) potato and pumpkin dice over the pizza.  Sprinkle with cheese.

Bake for 15-25 minutes depending on your pizza base and how crispy you like your cheese.


  • This wasn't a quick pizza, even with using a pizza dough that didn't take long.  It required roasting potato and pumpkin, and making the pea puree.
  • The pea puree is quite sweet - to balance with the very intense salty taste of the vegemite, hence it should only be seasoned lightly to give the sweetness a savoury edge rather than overwhelm the sweetness.
  • The pea puree seems like a lot but it worked to have so much. 
  • I have tried to spread vegemite on dough before and it is so difficult to spread that it tears the dough. I have found that adding a little water makes it easier to spread.  I add a little water at a time to see how much I need.
  • I used my fast track sourdough pizza dough for the base.  It doesn't have to be kneaded or rise long and makes quite a thick bready base.

On the stereo:

Silence is Empty: Starsailor

Saturday, 15 April 2023

Brisbane: eating out and street art

I have only been to Brisbane a couple of time before for business and not seen much of the city.  I had another brief trip there for a work event in March.  There was no sightseeing but we stayed in the busy inner suburb of South Brisbane area so there were some fine cafes and street art. 

I stayed at Rydges South Bank Brisbane Hotel on the 11th floor but didn't have much time in my room.  I felt like I spent a lot of time in the elevator getting confused about which floor I was on because the display showing the floor number was broken.  The breakfasts were also very good with a (vegan) fry up from the buffet on each of the two mornings to keep me going during busy days.

On the first afternoon I had lunch with my manager.  We walked to the Cordelia Sourdough Bakery (47 Cordelia St, South Bank).  I had the Vegan Bagel (avocado, sundried tomatoes, tomato, balsamic reduction and rocket). which was just what I needed.

It was quite warm when we arrived in Brisbane.  The bakehouse was a pleasant shady place to sit and relax with a pleasant breeze and good food before setting up the meeting.

In the evening I met up with a college friend who lives in Brisbane.  We went to the Grey Street near my hotel where there are lots of nice restaurants the face onto Grey Street on one side and on the other face across Little Stanley Street to the South Bank Parklands by the Brisbane River.  I saw the Arbour arched walkway with its purple bougainvillia flowers, which I remember from a previous visit.  If I had had more time I would have loved to have wandered along during the day to check out the man-made Streets Beach, statues and galleries.  We just had time to check out a bit of street art (above) and a some twinkling tree lights (top photo).

I chose Ahmet's Turkish Restaurant because it was $9 pide Tuesday but I was just as happy to see they offered mocktails.  I loved the Turkish apple tea while travelling in Turkey so I had a "jar" of Turkish apple frappe; an icy drink of apple tea with apple, pineapple and lime juices.  It was very pleasant drink on a warm evening.  I loved all the colourful patterned table linen on the outside tables where we sat.

I had a pumpkin pide which was generously topped with roast pumpkin, red onion, feta and garlic.  It was lovely.  Nicki had a vegie pide with spinach, mushroom, onion, tomato, feta and mozzarella cheese.  I had some of this and it was also nice but as with some vegetarian pizzas was a little soggy.  It was lovely to catch up with Nicki who I don't see very often.

I really liked the caterers we used for our event (FigJam Indigenous Caterers).  We had some really nice food like Spanish-style potato & onion frittata with beetroot relish and anise myrtle, and Scones with bush plum and fresh cream, with riverapple dust.  I was too busy to take many food photos during our meeting but I have a photograph of the wonderful fruit platter which had lots of dragonfruit, figs, passionfruit, grapes, peach, strawberry, watermelon and orange.  I am not sure what the yellow fruit at the top is but I am guessing ebony fruit.

At the end of the first full day of meetings, I walked back to my hotel on the scenic route past lots of interesting cafes.  I was surprised at all the street art.

I really liked this banana painted fridge.  (Traditionally Queenslanders were called Banana Benders so it amused me.)  I noticed a few other painted fridges as I walked about and wondered why fridges were being used as a canvas for street art.  To make people feel cooler in the warmer climate of Brisbane?

As I walked past the South Brisbane train station, I photographed this lovely Indigenous street art (above and below).

I was also surprised to see street art referring to the 1988 World Expo in Brisbane (below).  I remember friends planning to go there.  Now all the talk about town is of the Brisbane Olympic Games in 2032.  Nicki said it would be crazy but I was sure she would find something to entertain her.  I remember the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne with all the fun cultural activities around the city which we enjoyed without seeing any sport.

I liked these mosaic (diamond?) sculptures along Grey Street near our hotel. (below)

We had a work dinner at Chu The Phat (111 Melbourne Street, South Brisbane) on the second night with participants from the meeting.  I had intended to take a photo of the feast but, at first, dishes came out one by one with just one piece for each person, and for the meat items I got nothing.  By the time we got past all the starters and reached the mains of pumpkin and peanut curry, sesame broccoli, greens and steamed rice, I was so discombobulated.  As the dishes were cleared away, I reflected on how nice it had been and that I should have taken a photo.

The food was actually very good in general and everyone was very impressed by it.  I also enjoyed a Virgin Passionfruit Mojito mocktail of passionfruit, lime, mint and soda.  Chu the Phat was quite spacious and modern but I particularly loved this outside area in "fish alley" with the street art.

After dinner I walked home because I was really full and needed some cool air.  As I walked past the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre I was quite taken by how the lights in the ground not only uplit the tree but also left tree-shadowed patterns on the underside of the roof.

The next day we had a morning of discussions and lunch before heading back to the airport to fly home to Melbourne.