So it is August and the health department is saying we are just over the peak of the latest covid wave. I had my 4th covid vaccination yesterday and hope it will keep me free of infection but vaccination is no longer a guarantee. In fact, the government is saying that there are many people who must have had covid with no diagnosis so I begin to wonder if I have had it after all! I am wearing a mask in the office again, and hoping this will help others as well as myself. Quite a few family and friends have tested positive recently.
July saw me visit the Melbourne Museum three times. I credit this to school holidays, crystals and returning after the giftshop was closed for the annual stocktake! With chilly wintery weather, I am baking a bit more and riding my bike a bit less. The economy is out of sorts with iceberg lettuce prices soaring and avocados unusually cheap. Interest rates keep rising month after month, but petrol prices have recently come down slightly. Our Prime Minister Albanese is working hard at giving our Indigenous people a Voice. While the UK has a dodgy caretaker Prime Minister and people queuing at Dover to leave the country.
Winter also means citrus. I have been pleased to have plenty of lemons and limes from our trees to share at work, pep up avocados, and add to cooking. Recently I found sooty mould on the lemon tree, which according to the ABC is a sign of a white fly. So I took all the ripe lemons off the tree and sprayed it with eco oil. I think it is improved but I still worry about it. I hope these aren't my last crop of lemons!
I came home from work one day and when I opened the fridge, I found a mirror in the fridge. I couldn't even entertain the reasons why Sylvia might have done this but was glad once it was out. It was soon after we had found a few different flavour of Nippy's milk. Sylvia likes Nippy's but I prefer kombucha.
One of my favourite recent finds in the supermarket recently (as well as Butterscotch Tim Tams which never last long enough to get organised for a photo) are these Hearty mushroom and lentil pies. I am not a huge mushroom fan and was dubious about the concept. However these are one of the best vegetarian pies I have even had which manage to be meaty without being fake meat.
During the school holidays, I had lunch with Sylvia at Smith and Deli while on on a trip to Collingwood Bunnings Hardware. It made us nostalgic for the days we used to go to the cramped old shop with no space to sit. These days it is a much bigger space, though in an area of Collingwood that I don't know well. In fact I got so lost driving there that I accidentally found Bunnings and didn't have to look it up on GPS to work out how to get there. I bought a salted caramel oat milk chocolate at Smith and Deli out of curiosity. It was nice but always seemed too wintery snappy cold for my liking. I feel I would like it more in summer!
We also bought a packet of pineapple salsa corn chips. I was curious. They tasted a little like sweet and sour. I enjoyed them but I did not love them. I feel like they needed a creamy yoghurt or cream cheese based dip.
I finally finally found an opportunity to use of the saffron an Iranian friend gifted me. It is a very generous little bottle of the strands. I made saffron rice. It looked and smelled amazing. I served it with lots of vegetables and chickpeas like a pilaf. It made quite a few delicious dinners and lunches.
A colleague recommended Ottolenghi's Confit Tandoori Chickpeas. It appealed because the recipe was simply a matter of dumping the ingredients in a casserole dish and baking it all together. The chickpeas were delicious with all sorts of meals. In the one above I topped them with yoghurt and lime juice, and served it with roast pumpkin, mashed avocado and muffins topped with grilled leftover mac and cheese sauce. So delicious!
We love baking gingerbread in our house. It is fun to cut the dough into all sorts of shapes. When we made this batch, some of the butter didn't blend in quite as much as it should. When the gingerbread had baked I found that the little dots of butter that wasn't properly mixed ended up as holes in the biscuits. It still tasted wonderful.
Once Sylvia was in the mood for gingerbread, she asked for me to bake this Treacle gingerbread. It is such a soft sweet sticky cake. I wrapped it in foil which worked well but foil really does not photography that well.
I baked this batch of easy brownies last weekend. The recipe interested me because it was mixed in the tin. I usually used baking paper when I bake in a cake tin but this recipe was different. I was impressed at how good the brownies tasted and that they came out of the tin fairly easily with only a little of the brownie sticking occasionally. Definitely a recipe for when energy is low but desire for chocolate is high!
During the school holidays, we went to Spotlight to buy more jewellery making supplies for Sylvia. I could not resist a pack of colourful buttons.
I'll finish up with a photo I took on the way home from work recently. There is nothing like beautiful trees and sunsets. I am pretty tired of wet dark nights that make the bike seem downright unpleasant but I am cheered by the evenings getting lighter and that soon it will warm up.
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 and her wonderful hand drawn header.