February is the month when life gets back to normal after the summer holidays. This year it is not quite as normal as we would normally expect. Tennis players have been quarantining in hotels so they can compete in the Australian Open. Sylvia has started high school and a recent outbreak in Melbourne means she is wearing a mask during her school day. I have started spending 3 days a week in the office and the other day and a half working from home. Masks are back at work too. It is odd to be back in the office for the first time since March. But I am pleased to have a job, especially as I have just bought a new car and new computer. Both are still being sorted. Which is how life goes at the moment but there is hope!
It was lovely to have a break over summer to slow down, spend time swimming laps, head outside out on my bike, watch movies in the cinema, buy school supplies for Sylvia, lie in bed in the morning reading books, and starting to get back into socialising. Catching up with friends still feels a bit slow after the crazy last year. Above is an afternoon tea platter I shared with a friend from work. I wanted to share some of my Christmas goodies with her: Christmas cake, panforte, mince pies, nougat, cherries, strawberries and apricots.
I picked up these apricots when catching up with a some friends who have kids at school with Sylvia
Sylvia and I met up with a friend and her daughter from the other side of town at the Botanic Gardens. It was lovely to wander through the shady grounds of the gardens. We spent too much time in the gift shop and could not resist this gum leaf plate and the pink grapefruit, lemon myrtle and eucalyptus soap.
I baked bread a couple of weekends ago and made some of the worst soudough bread I have ever made. It was oddly textured with quite a sour taste. It was not my finest moment in bread baking. I was not thinking when I decided to add some gluten free flour and I left it 24 hours not 12 hours as it did not seem to be rising. Not to mention that the starter has been a little neglected.
Kombucha seems to become more and more popular if the amount of bottles in the shops is anything to go by. And now they are selling kombucha icy poles! I was amazed at these! And I had to try them! The ingredients include kombucha, apple juice and fruit juice. They are so refreshing on a hot day!
And as if I hadn't had my fill of kombucha, one of my colleagues brought me in these Kombucha flavoured jellies. The verdict at work was that they didn't taste much of kombucha. They were less sweet that the usual jubes.
Sylvia requested mac and cheese cupcakes for her first school lunch of the year. I made a mac and cheese and baked it in muffin cups. They were delicious hot or cold.
We have a new local IGA supermarket. The salad bar was very tempting. (Is that an odd thing to say?) I tried the avocado grain salad, the tumeric couscous salad, and the beetroot, carrot and feta salad for lunch. It was delicious but the medium cup had a lot in it.
My brother in law has lots of fruitful stone fruit trees. When he gave my mum a load of plums she made plum and raspberry jam and stewed some of this plums and brought me some fresh plums as well. Photographed here with the lilies from the top photo when they were opened!
My bread baking might not be crash hot lately but the pizzas are always great. This pizza was delicious served with a vegie-laden rice salad that lasted for days.
This dried pineapple and bananas from IGA comes in big slabs that did not impress Sylvia. We had hoped they were freeze-dried but they weren't. I am not sure how I will use them but I think perhaps in a salad might work.
The IGA sells the cutest mini tomatoes called Tomberries.
Lastly I tried a Warm biryani salad from the Woolworths Fresh Magazine of December 2020. It was a matter of caramelising some onions, cooking some spiced rice - and I added a tin of brown lentils. Then I added in the caramelised onions, some cucumber, parsley and cashews. It was really nice but needed a curry with it or some more vegies. I took it into work with peaches and red capsicum. And enjoyed it for dinner at the end of the day too. The last day I had it with pesto, baby spinach and tomatoes. You see, it wasn't really spiced enough, partly because there was no fresh ginger in the supermarket and the bottle I bought instead was actually garlic not ginger when I got home. Oops! But you can't go wong with rice and cashews and caramelised onions!
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 banner and visit more kitchens.