Good riddance to September. Let's hope October treats us better. It promises a skyrocketing vaccination rate, easing our lockdown and a swim in an outdoor pool before the end of the month. On the proviso that we don't continue to break ignominious records! Yesterday we were told Melbourne was the most lockdown city in the world at 245 days. Today our state recorded 1763 new covid cases, the most in a day in Australia.
September was wall to wall lockdown. At the end of Term 3, I arranged with the school for Sylvia to do her remote schooling on site. The later seemed a good thing, until someone at the school tested positive to covid and we ended up spending most of the school holidays at home in isolation, when not getting tested for Covid. I am very pleased that we have been released from isolation with no covid diagnoses and Sylvia has had her first Pfizer vaccination.
Our supermarkets have also had lots of cases, we had a power cut following an earthquake, I could not watch the AFL Grand Final on my tv, my watch battery needs replacing (how do I do this in lockdown), a picture has fallen off the wall, and we have been eating lots of comfort food. On the bright side, I managed a couple of visits to our local farmers market and had some really nice support from family and friends. Above is some healthy garden plants and amazingly delicious garlic salts from the farmers market. We are putting garlic salt on everything (except chocolate)!
It was really good in September to return to the Farmers Market after months of not having the energy to get up on Saturday morning. Here is my haul after my first trip in early September. It was just before Fathers Day. Sylvia gave her dad a hamper of pastries, custard tars, kombucha, chocolate and chutney. The most fascinating purchase was the square pastry sandwich with custard in the middle and chocolate topping. I was told it was a Belgium version of an eclair and I wish I could remember the name. The dense rye bread was wonderful and the salted sesame seed chocolate was very intense. I really loved the Otway Red potatoes which were excellent roasted and baked.
Lockdown has found us sending out to our local Heaven pizza restaurant using UberEats much more than we ever have before. UberEats is great when you are isolating. And Heaven pizza is an excellent way to celebrate a first vaccination. On this occasion we had an excellent meal of potato pizza, chips and a rocket, haloumi and candied walnut salad.
It is harder to feel it is Spring while still being in lockdown but the warmer days and heavy rains have made the gardens grow like crazy. It is very cheering to see lots of flowers and new growth in the garden. Just look at my lavender!
My mum set me this lovely bunch of flowers to cheer us up in isolation.
After the trip to the farmers market I made a roast dinner with nut roast, roast potato, roast pumpkin and peas. It was simple and delicious. (I didn't use a recipe for the nut roast, just threw in what I had.) I had hoped to make cauliflower cheese with the yellow cauliflower but just never quite got the energy for it. I really loved the leftover nut roast, roast pumpkin, avocado and tomato relish on a muffin. Roast dinner is such a great comfort food, even though mine is slightly different to one that my mum has made all my life.
There has been lots of comfort food in my kitchen recently. I made tofu nuggets which is a favourite food for Sylvia. Although I had problems getting the AFL Grand Final on the tv (because a broken remote control has left us on streaming mode and our tv was not the right sort to stream it), I made sausage rolls. I also made tofu bacon recently and it was amazing hot in a buttered muffin. We've also had baked potato, pasta and pizza.
Chocolate is a favourite comfort food. Recently I have been craving Cadbury dairy milk chocolate rather than my usual Lindt dark chocolate. I loved how this wrapper had coloured female AFL footballers. How much the game has changed.
I can't remember why we had half a tin of condensed milk in the fridge - it lasts for ages - but it was what we needed when we decided to make choc chip cookies during the school holidays. However I had been so sure I had bought choc chips but when I searched I could not find any. So I chopped up some dark chocolate I had not been eating. I still expect to find that bag of choc chips somewhere!
On one day of isolation, I really needed chocolate and went looking in the back of the pantry and found this out of date packet of mulled wine chocolates. Of course I ate it. They had a really nice spiced flavour. Later that day a wonderful friend dropped off a huge box of Ferrer Rochez chocolates to keep me going.
More cheer in isolation came from my mum with a delivery of Butterbing cookie sandwiches. The chocolate cookies were dense and intense like brownies. The fillings had a great selection of flavours - salted caramel, nutella, musk stick and honeycomb. I was surprised how rich and filling they were. these were not your average biscuits.
With our supermarkets being frequent covid exposure sites, I made my
first click and collect supermarket purchase, followed soon after by my
first supermarket delivery when we went into isolation. I much prefer
going into the shops to do my groceries. One of the biggest
disappointments was all the plastic bags. In the click and collect
purchase, I was so happy to see that there was an option of paper bags
but when I picked up my order it was in plastic bags because they had
run out of plastic bags. Two red capsicums and an avocado in a plastic
bag seems so wasteful. There are also options to get orders in crates
to transfer to reuseable bags but I have not tried that yet. The
delivery type we had did not give that option.
Not quite in my kitchen has been a jigsaw that I enjoyed doing over our isolation period. I plan to share the finished jigsaw in a post soon. It sat in the corner of the loungeroom and was nice to just do some pieces when I had the urge. The closer I got to finishing, the more addictive it got.
Another nice activity in isolation was knitting. I just wanted something simple so I have decided to knit some squares to make a blanket. This bundle of wool was ordered online and arrived yesterday after isolation finished. So I have lots of knitting to do. I was really glad that it has arrived after seeing how many delays there are in parcels delivery in Australia recently due to covid.
Finally I was really delighted to go to the farmers market after the end of isolation. The very ugly cauliflower roast was the most intriguing purchase. It cost a whopping $20. But I could not resist a cauliflower stuffed with herb and dukkah. I asked if there were nuts and were told that there is cashews in the stuffing. I can't wait to have it for dinner.
Here are the rest of my purchases. I was excited to have the 5 and Dime bagels that we have not had for so long. It surprised me that Sylvia loved the cheese and jalapeno bagels as much as me. There were also cheese sticks, a veg pastie, fruit bread, kombucha, rhubarb, asparagus, hummus, shallots, avocado and more of the Otway /red potatoes. After so long in lockdown, any little stabs of happiness are embraced.
I am sending this post to Sherry of Sherry's Pickings for the In My Kitchen event.
A special shout out to Sherry for keeping the event going despite an injury from slipping on a wet bathroom floor. 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.