January should bring rejoicing at summer holidays and gorgeous blue skies. But this year it is not quite the summer we expected to welcome. Our country is experiencing too many bushfires, to many evacuations, too many properties lost, too many lives and livelihoods affected. Though our emergency services have done an amazing jobs at fighting the fires, supporting the evacuees, and keeping deaths to a minimum. Meanwhile in Melbourne it is a little smoky. We are the lucky ones!
At home, I have a couple more weeks holidays. There has been lots of sleep and not much socialising. The Christmas tree and decorations are down. We have been swimming and shopping and to the cinema (loved Little Women
and Last Christmas
). I've written my 2019 reflections
. And with Christmas just behind us, in my kitchen you will find lots of gifts and new year feasting! Let's take a look.
The top photo is a fried egg that Sylvia was having fun with. It is still a surprise to me how much she has loved cooking and eating fried eggs, scrambled eggs and omelets in the last year. I don't like any of these. Eggs aren't my thing. But they are rather photogenic!
Sylvia also had fun decorating some gingerbread
cats in the lead up to Christmas. You can see more festive food in my Christmas eating post
I met up with Faye who had been in Japan
. She very kindly brought us back wasabi salt, a cute dog purse and an unusual soy sauce dipping plate with a cat shape. I need to experiment with the salt but the plate and purse have had plenty of use.
We had a secret santa at my workplace. It was a stealing secret santa which in principle I don't like because it is not about accepting gifts but in practice it is actually fun which you have good presents and friendly people. We had so many laughs swapping presents that we did another round of swapping presents. The most swapped present was a coffee voucher! I got this cat tea infuser (because I thought Sylvia would like it) and it oddly came with some eggs and a stone, all wrapped up in an egg carton!
The cat tea infuser proved very useful. My sister gave me a T2 loose leaf Frosted Fruitcake Tea and Eggnog Tea in a cute Christmas cracker wrapping. The fruitcake tea is herbal and smells amazing. The eggnog is black tea and Sylvia has taken this one which she loves. The mug with the cat face was a decorate-your-own-mug present to Sylvia, the cat tea strainer is also a present for her and the pink cat mug was bought in the post-Christmas sales.
We got some lovely belgium chocolates in cute Christmas shapes from my aunt and uncle. There has been quite a bit of sweet food about: pannetone, panforte, Christmas cake, stollen. There is still quite a lot of this about!
We planted catnip in a pot in the garden last year. It grew from a little cutting to a leafy abundance without too much encouragement and we had to prune it back when it started going to seed. Apparently it is related to mint, which explains it growing like a weed!
The catnip was bought for our cat. Someone told me a genetic difference in Australian cats mean they don't react as much as American cats. But when we had the leaves on the table after pruning (because Sylvia wanted to dry them out and stuff them in a little bag), our cat Shadow took a great interest in them and was rather playful!
On New Year's Eve we were running late and I didn't have time for making nachos. Instead I served the vegetarian haggis
(that I usually make) in quesadillas with cheese for me and some quesadillas with just cheese for Sylvia. I served lots of vegetables to make us feel healthy! We had a quiet one at home with a neighbour visiting us.
A few days later I invited E over to have haggis nachos for tea. He loves haggis whether it is meat or vegetarian. I think it reminds him of the home country! It also turned out to be the New Year's Eve Dr Who
special that night so we enjoyed watching that together!
As Australia Day is coming up at the end of the month, the shops are starting to fill with patriotic stuff! I give the flag waving a miss but could not resist Lamington flavoured crisps! These are some of the weirdest crisps I have tasted. So weird and yet moreish. They have a chocolate and coconut flavour with a bit of salt. I think they would go well in a nutella sandwich. But I think either they will be a one hit wonder novelty item or they will be trailblazers in a new fad for sweet crisps. I suspect it will be the former! Sylvia is not a fan!
I have been making a few fruit salads. It is such a great way to eat lots of the fresh seasonal summer fruit. I dice berries, stone fruit and pineapple, then add some orange juice and passionfruit and keep it in the fridge for a few days. I know I should add watermelon but melons just aren't my thing. We had pancakes a few mornings back and they were delicious with fruit salad and maple syrup.
I am sending this post to Sherry of Sherry's Pickings
for the In My Kitchen event
, that was started by Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial
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.