I can't tell you how happy I am that it is 2021. I know we have a long way to go with the fight against Corona Virus but I could not bear to go through 2020 again! (If you want to see a recap, check out my Reflections on 2020.) We have had lots of summer rain this week, which is much preferable to hot, humid and ridiculously dry. Cases of Covid have returned to Victoria after a blissful 60 days covid-free. I know I can't complain compared to many other places in the world and I send best wishes to those in lockdown. I have had that quiet period after Christmas of holidays, cleaning up the house, getting back into reading books, swimming, bike riding and a little socialising. Just taking stock! I have a couple of weeks before heading back to work, to the office for part of the week. Always change.
One of my favourite things at this time of year is summer fruit. Cherries have been constantly in my kitchen the last few weeks. Above is a picture of a little work snack of cherries, nectarine slices and a mini minced fruit tart. I didn't manage to make any mince tarts this year but I have lots of fruit mince so maybe I might see if I can make some fruit bread with it.
I have written about how lovely it was to have a work group Christmas party. It lasted 11.30am to 9.30pm. That would usually be a long day but after lockdown it seems forever. It is testament to how much I was enjoying my colleagues company that I stayed that long and was in a small group that continued on at dinner at a Thai restaurant. It was so long since I had pad thai that I really enjoyed a bowl of it. Since then I tried this pad thai from taste.com.au with some vegan fish sauce. I didn't have lime juice so just used lemon juice but I intend to try it again soon.
While there are lots of summer fruits, I haven't been cooking vegetables as much as I would like. I noticed the roots coming out of my bag of potatoes. I had used most of them but left a few for another time. Sadly they were only good for the compost.
I had a nice ride to North Carlton for some Christmas shopping. I found what I wanted and then brosed the foodie shops. There is a great deli at the northern end of Nicholson Street where I bought chocolate covered oranges and mulled wine chocolate. I have only had the oranges so far which were so good. I bought Sylvia a vegan gingerbread man there which she loved. And I bought some olive sourdough bread and a chickpea pie from Natural Tucker which is a wonderful bakery.
I have posted about my Christmas eating and finished with a photo of presents. Here are a few close-ups. These cat salt and pepper shakers are so cute. I am still thinking about a place for them to live and be on show.
Sylvia got this mug cake mix from Ireland. She had tried one of the two packets of mix in it and said it was ok. I didn't get much of a chance to try it but she has suggested I use the second packet. Soon, I hope!
Sylvia also got this set of flavoured hot chocolate mixes. It is not really hot chocolate season but I would be surprised if the school holidays finish without her trying at least one!
Sylvia gave me this cute taco plate. I can't wait to try standing some tacos in it. With the holidays, our routine is shot to pieces so we haven't had taco tuesdays for a few weeks but once I am back to work I am sure it will be very useful.
There is nothing so good when arguing about who can eat a block of chocolate when my name is on it in big letters. Yes I got a personalised stick of toblerone this year from Sylvia!
And finally on the presents, I got this fantastic kombucha and co recipe book. I hope to try making kombucha again but in the meanwhile this has some useful information about making kombucha and other fermented drinks.
A friend asked me around to take some of the peaches off her tree. There were so soft that they bruised easily. I decided to puree them.
The peach puree was fantastic with a non-alcoholic champagne. But it was also good enough to just drink straight!
Sylvia had fun making pizza and some vegetable erasers from a kit. It was like moulding clay which was then baked to firm up the erasers.
Last night we went to a family dinner at my parents' place in Geelong to see my brother before he headed back interstate. It was interesting discussing holiday plans with my siblings. Two holidays had been cancelled and replaced due to covid-related border restrictions. My mum made an amazing meal with lots of mexican dishes for mains and lots of desserts for afters. I particular enjoyed her caramel tart. She sent me home with pavlova and upside down rubble dubble (as we have always called upside down pineapple pudding) which we serve with a lemon sauce.
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 check out her cute hand drawn festive banner and visit more kitchens.