Even as life seems to calm down, it holds surprises. At the start of June, Melbourne was in lockdown, followed by NSW, Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland. July finds us with much more freedoms with only NSW still in lockdown. However the remnants of lockdown are still felt more broadly. I am feeling wary of planning and appreciative of what freedoms we have. The federal government is bumbling their way towards stepping up vaccinations and a plan to open our borders but it is still such a slow and confusing process that it is disheartening.
At home I have recently had the washing machine repaired and a new shower door, we have had a big review at work and I am on leave this week for the school holidays. We had a wonderful lunch at Green Man's Arms after our review at work, following by drinks and dinner at the Clyde Hotel. I have been quite spoilt with a few nice meals since we have been out of lockdown. Above is Vegan Soufra Banquet from Maha that I enjoyed with my parents in Geelong on the weekend.
This is the plateful of the Vegan Soufra Banquet we had for lunch. My mum ordered it from Maha
using the Providoor service that delivers throughout Melbourne and regional Victoria. It was delivered in lots of bags and little tubs with pages of preparation instructions. I really enjoyed the meal but was surprised how much work there was to get them together. I am quite fascinated by the process of thinking through how to deliver this sort of complex dish.
For example the broccoli had to be heated in the oven, a slick of whipped macadamia spread on the plate, the broccoli arranged on top with some garlic oil drizzled over it and then some dukkah sprinkled on top. It was a very impressive meal also including roast pumpkin, pickled cucumber, creamy green beans, aged rice, dips and flatbread with lots of interesting flavours. Followed by some sweet treats from That Place.
I purchased these cauliflower puffs at the supermarket. They are mainly cauliflower with some rice, oil and salt. It was an acquired taste but I quite liked them. Like a healthy version of cheezels!
Winter makes me want warm pudding. When we had three manky old bananas, I baked a banana butterscotch pudding. The first time I made it, I didn't have a third banana to slice and bake on top. This time I had the extra banana and the slices were chewy baked on top. Neither Sylvia or I were keen on the banana slices on top but they looked good and the pudding was delicious.
This is a photo of our fridge after a trip to the supermarket. You can see some of our current favourite foods: yoghurts, kombucha, ravioli, quiche, and flavoured cream cheese. You can also see Sylvia's fine art of organisation in stacking the fridge.
Our lemon and lime trees have been rather fruitful this winter. I have used them in recipes (see below), frozen lemon and lime juice, and given away fruit to family, friends and work colleagues. And yet there still seem plenty left in the fruit bowl and on the trees. I often walk past and see more fruit fallen on the ground.
Here is some of my citrus recipes. Lemonade and limeade is a favourite drink when the trees are fruiting. I really love this red lentil soup with spinach and lime. And I will soon post about the sourdough version of this sesame and lemon bread. And as you can see there are plenty more lemons and limes. Although so many recipes use citrus, very few use a lot of the fruit.
I went back to Northcote health store, Terra Madre (had to pick up a picture from the framing store nearby) and told myself all I was going to buy was some good stock. I found this vegetable stock concentrate, which was not cheap but was the quality I wanted for a dumpling soup. Of course I didn't stop there but just kept shopping (see the following three photos). I want to visit their new Brunswick store but it is all so tempting!
These crisps looked interesting. We loved the Hemp corn chips with feta and garlic. The texture was like those light crisp corn chips but with an unsual flavour. So moreish! The Chickpea crisps with turmeric and black pepper weren't quite as amazing but I enjoyed them as a snack when working from home.
I bought some items for meals. The Spinach Pesto Pie was very good and creamy. Those luridly pink beetroot and roasted onion sausages surprised me in that they actually had a sausage texture. I had thought they would be quite vegetably. I tried them on pizza and loved them but they were not so good in a pasta with lemon, cheese, spinach and peas. They also worked well on muffins with onion relish and melted cheese. The packet of sausages looks more like regular sausages and is yet to be opened.
And then there were a few sweet treats from Terra Madre. Every now and again I buy some freeze dried strawberries with hope of using them to decorate baking. Every time Sylvia eats them before I have a chance. To be fair, I haven't done much baking other than bread and pizza lately. I also bought some burnt caramel chocolate and a vego nut bar.
After the lunch at Maha on the weekend I also went to a family dinner at my sister's place. It was good to see siblings and niblings. A lot of conversation centred around vaccination, lockdown and quarantine experiences. I had a wonderful plate of cauliflower cheese, roast potatoes and lots of salads.
At the start of the school holidays, Sylvia and I went to Northlands shopping centre and bought some things we needed and a few we didn't need! I hope to store things for the freezer in the silicone bags. The green soap dish and green phone charging cord were both practical and the right colour to cheer me up!
I am sharing a couple of books I have just read and a couple of recent additions to my to-read pile. Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee is fantastically written but covers very distressing subject matter about sexual abuse in Australia. Clothes Music Boys by Viv Albertine is very easy to read with lots of interesting insights about being a woman in the early punk scene, many familiar names and frank honest storytelling. I am looking forward to reading Norman Swan's overview of health issues in What's Good For You? He has become a trusted source of health information during the pandemic. I love everything I read by Julia Baird and bought her Phosphorescence on a whim. I thought I could do with some insights into awe wonder and things to sustain us when the world goes dark. It surprised me that all my current books are non-fiction because I usually read a lot of fiction.
I bought Phosphorescence at Readings Bookstore before picking up Sylvia from a friend's place last weekend. On the way to the friend's two cars pulled out in front of me suddenly and had to brake hard. I was so tired after a busy, stressful week that we decided to have takeaway pizza for dinner. Sylvia stayed at home while I went to pick it up. But at the pizza restaurant, I found that my wallet was missing from my handbag. The manager was very kind and said to pay when I got home or just when I cam in next time. At home I rang Readings and turned everything upside down. My mind kept going back to the moment I braked hard. Finally I went back to the car and searched it for about the third time, looking in every crevice and finally I found my wallet. Thank goodness!
Finally, here is a photo of our cat, Shadow with his catnip. Thanks to everyone who has made kind comments about his recent illness. We had another blood test at the vet's recently and were delighted to be told he has made a full recovery.
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.