I am in denial that it is September. It can't be so far into the year and yet the weather is warmer and the smell of jasmine hangs in the air in the evenings. I also don't like to think of how much of the year we have idled away in lockdown when I had so much planned. Though life has still been busy. I don't understand why I am so tired when not getting out and about but I find working and homeschooling busy, as well as all the other stuff that needs to be sorted like telehealth, insurance reviews and high school enrollments. But I am very happy to be starting two weeks of leave. I have plans to do more blogging, craft, cooking and cleaning! (And try and get to grips with Blogger's changing formatting.) But for now, here is a peek into my kitchen.
Currently in lockdown we can only travel 5km and only for essentials or exercise. I was happy to remember that O'Hea's Bakery is in my area. I went for a ride there on a recent sunny weekend. I came home with pesto, chocolate caramel wafers, a pretzel mix, and the newspaper! It just takes some little luxuries to make a weekend feel special.
Once I found O'Hea's bakery was a nice bike ride away, I took Sylvia. Wee came home with some baked treats after admiring their range of pasta.
Being in lockdown means a lot of home cooked meals. On a Friday when I was really tired after a busy day and had been on after work drinks zoom meet up too long, I threw up my hands and said we were going to Heaven. That's Sylvia's favourite pizza place.
As the weather has started to warm up, we have had a few ice creams in the house. This Mint with Cookies is our current favourite.
I had planned to make Magdalena Roze's Broccoli Slaw for our Christmas in July Dinner but ran out of energy. It had to wait for another day. I was a bit bemused at what to substitute for the buckinis so I used a roasted seed mixture. It was nice and lasted for days as a healthy side dish or to eat for lunch with a bread roll, but was a bit cold for winter. I hope it make it again in warmer days.
It is quite convenient to work from home but some days I have breakfast at the computer. Some days it is bread ad peanut butter. Some days it is smoothie. And occasionally it is yoghurt topped with lots of fruit.
Heat packs are great in winter, especially if there is no electric blanket to warm the bed. When my old heat pack of many years got so worn it the grain started to spill out, I bought a new one. Unfortunately it went in the microwave when the plate did not turn and got a burnt patch. It stunk. So I used the wheat grains from the old bag to replace the new burnt ones. (I used a funnel to pour it into a small hole and then sewed it up.)
While Sylvia has been doing remote schooling in the second lockdown, yet again I have become more familiar with her school work. She seems to have a lot of choice boards for many activities. (I don't envy the teachers trying to keep the kids motivated.) This means they have a tyranny of choice for some of the day's activities. In National Science Week, I helped her find a project. This rainbow jar / layered density tower was made of honey, maple syrup, dishwashing soap, water, olive oil and ethanol, with the help of a little food dye.
Perhaps inspired by her rainbow jar, Sylvia started experimenting with her food. She made this dessert of layers of chocolate custard and leftover frosting and kiwi fruit. Not sure what else. It didn't taste quite as good as it looked but that unicorn confetti looked so pretty.
The craft choice boards have really inspired Sylvia. I hope to find time to share some photos of more of her craft but this paper plate shark gives me a smile every time I see it.
I am usually very wary of supermarket soup mixes. A Sri Lankan-spiced lentil and bean soup recipe I chanced across inspired me to buy some. Of course it did not go into that recipe. I just admired the pretty legumes and put them into a minestrone.
I love making a bit pot of minestrone but don't usually make it with soaked legumes. The above lentil and bean soup mix packet said to soak it. So I did. It said to boil it for 10 minutes and simmer for 20 minutes. I found the 20 minutes was far less than I needed. I think I might have simmered for 50 minutes which was fine for the lentils and beans but not quite enough for the split peas. I am enjoying the minestrone even with a few toothsome split peas.
Quick meals are very popular lately. Especially when we get to the supermarket late and get home hungry. This Taco Tuesday we made easy cheese and tortilla chips nachos and served it with corn on the cob, tomato, spinach and plain yoghurt. It was simple and satisfying.
This photo of a recent meal does not getting any points for looks but I was proud of how it used kitchen goods. I had leftover hokkein noodles and vermicelli in the fridge. The silken tofu in the fridge was a few weeks out of date but smelled fine. So I made my favourite tofu besan omelette and added noodles, grated carrot and chopped baby spinach. I left it longer than usual because it was thicker and it was fantastic. It also gave me a chance to try it in my cast iron skillet that I was given earlier in the year. After the skillet lingering in the cupboard for months, I have started to enjoy using it. I worried my omelette would stick because I usually use non-stick frypans. I had to run an eggflip under the omelette but it worked a treat. And instead of putting a lid on it , I gave it some time under the grill to crisp up the top. Another cooking method that works really well with the skillet.
This morning Sylvia and I went to the Coburg Farmers Market a little late. We were delighted to see our favourite potato lady from Trentham Potato Co. Gorgeous George was out of kombucha but we bought some wild kombucha and hummus. Take Me Home had vegetarian lasagnes. Sylvia wanted apple juice. I bought some cheese pastries, brownie and pumpkin "sausage" rolls at Pure Pie. Perhaps the sign had gone missing during the morning but I was not happy to find my brownie was reeking of espesso so I gave it a wide berth.
Finally, Shadow loves indulging in catnip which is growing back in our spring garden. His crazy eyes look a little like a kid who is so stircrazy from lockdown that when you get to the park and find that the flying fox isn't tied up anymore, you haven't the energy to protest at your kid flying back and forth on it. Or perhaps he is just giving me a hard stare to remind me that the garden needs attention!
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 and visit more kitchens.