Monday 29 April 2024

Apple crumble cheesecake for 17th blog anniversary

It is the anniversary of my first blog post 17 years ago.  This year I celebrate with Sylvia's excellent choice of apple crumble cheesecake that she chose for her dad's birthday.  The cheesecake comprises a Biscoff crust, a creamy filling, caramelised spiced apples and an oaty crumble.  It was quite a challenge for us while we both felt so tired after a few busy days but a delight to eat with E the next day.

This cheesecake is perfect for anyone who loves both cheesecake and apple crumble.  The warmly spices in the Biscoff biscuit crust are the link between the cheesecake and the crumble.  The apples smelled amazing as they cooked with brown sugar and cinnamon.  I could have just eaten the apples warm off the stove. 

Once the four components are together, it seems simple to assemble.  Even while there is not much to do, there is still lots of waiting for baking, cooling and chilling.  But you have time to clean and blog and head out for a birthday meal at Borscht Vodka and Tears (which I will write more about).

It took so much longer to bake the cheesecake than the Teak and Thyme recipe directed.  My oven is slow so I assume that had an impact.  I also had quite a bit of thickened apple and cinnamon juices leftover once we put the apple slices on the cheesecake.  I just drizzled it over the apples.  Did it make the cheesecake take longer to cook?  I noticed that the cheesecake rose and fell as it baked.  My mum said this could happen if we beat the cheesecake mixture too much.  I really needed the electric beaters because no amount of hand mixing would have got those cream cheese lumps out.  That is the cream cheese we took out of the fridge in the morning.  But I have been told that the firmer blocks of cream cheese are preferred than the spreadable type in a tub if I want a firm cheesecake.  The cheesecake sliced up nicely once chilled.  The only thing in the way was the apple slices being a bit awkward to slice.  Perhaps they were not cooked enough but I would do chunks of apple next time.  Both Sylvia and my mum said they would like more apples.

The cheesecake was a delicious dessert after our pierogi lunch.  The crunchy crust, smooth cheesecake filling, juicy apples and crunchy crumble all worked to make a decadent cheesecake.

E came over for a slice.  My parents went straight home after the lunch.  Sylvia was very thoughtful and organised to take some slices of cheesecake for them to take home.

As I always say on my blog anniversary, I am amazed to have got this far and hope to continue.  Life just keep changing and I always think the next change might make blogging hard.  The reality is that the blog is so much a part of what I do that it might well be the technological changes that stop it, if that is to happen.  However I have done a bit of work lately on refreshing my blog.  I have written a post about my blog housekeeping: headers, indexes and subscriptions.  If you are looking for reflections on my blog, this is a good start.  For now it is enough to have cheesecake and be happy to still be on my blog and that you are reading this!  Onwards and upwards!

More cheesecake recipes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Baked lemon cheesecake (gf)
Caramel chocolate cheesecakes 
Cherry chocolate cheesecake
Chocolate cheesecake with Easter nest
Lime and white chocolate cheesecake (gf) 
Vegan peach cheesecake (gf, v)

Apple Crumble Cheesecake

Slightly adapted from Teak and Thyme
Serves 10 or more

Biscoff Crust:

350 g Lotus biscoff biscuits (aka cookies)
150 g butter, melted

Crumble Topping:

55 g butter, melted
50 g plain white flour
50 g brown sugar
20 g rolled oats

Apple Topping:

3 tart apples, peeled, cored, and diced
50 g brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons cornflour

Cheesecake Mixture: 

690 g cream cheese, room temperature
75 g castor sugar
100 g Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 large eggs, room temperature

Biscoff Crust:

Finely crush the biscuits.  We did this in a food processor but it can also be done by placing in a ziplock plastic bag or paper bag and bashing with a rolling pin.  Mix with melted butter so it will clump together when pressed between your thumb and fingers.  

Grease and line a 22cm round springform cake tin.  Press biscuit crust mix into the cake tin around the base and sides.  Use a straight edged glass to smooth and flatten the crust, taking care to make sure that the edge between the base and sides is not too thick. Chill in fridge while you prepare the remaining components.


Stir all ingredients together in a small mixing bowl.  Ours was quite soft but once chilled it was quite easy to crumble.  Place in fridge to chill.

Apple Topping:

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan.  Mix over low heat until the sugar melts and then increase to medium heat.  Cook, stirring regularly, until the apples are fork tender and the juices thicken to coat the apples.Set aside to cool.

Cheesecake mixture:

Before making this mixture, preheat oven to 150 C.  

Place the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and spices into a large mixing bowl.  Mix until smooth.  If you can use a spatula to do this, that is good.  I found no matter how much we mixed our room temperature cream cheese so we used electric beaters.  Add eggs and mix further just until smooth.


It is now time to assemble the cheesecake.  Pour the creamy Cheesecake Mixture into the Biscoff Crust.  Arrange pieces of the Apple Topping on top.  (I had spicy apple juices left in the saucepan so I drizzled it over my apple.)  Now break up the crumble into small chunks to scatter on the apples.

Bake and chill:

Bake cheesecake until the edge is not too wobbly but the middle wobbles a little.  The cheesecake cooks approximately 70 minutes but in our slow oven it took 1 hour and 40 minutes.  Once it is baked.  Turn off the oven, leave the door slightly open and leave until the cheesecake is room temperature.  Then chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight, before slicing.

On the Stereo:
Marlinchen in the Snow: Charm of Finches

Saturday 27 April 2024

Blog Housekeeping 2024: header, indexes, subscriptions etc

As I approach 17 years of blogging, I have given my blog header and indexes a refresh and tinkered with a few other elements such as adding a subscription form on the right hand column of the web view.  Today I will reflect on these updates and how I am considering my blog might develop.

First, let me emphasise that I am not working towards a stylish, monetised blog.  I am quite happy to be an amateur blog without advertising that is a great source of recipes, reflections and reviews that are as eclectic and meandering as I desire.  My blog has always been run without much in the way of costs and technical know-how.  I would love to overhaul the whole blog and fix old embarrassingly bad photos but I don't have time to check the 2,489 posts to date.  It feels like being King Canute to be constantly challenged by the ever changing tide of technology.  But I will tinker when I can. 


My old blog header was created 10 years ago and looked a bit tired.  I have wanted to refresh the photos for a while.  These things take time.  When I am looking for green photos, there are plenty of great photos with lots of green but also other colours.  Likewise there are plenty of not-so-great photos with all green.  Finding the perfect photo is tricky.  I am glad I have finally got this new photo even though it is still not perfect.  It is much lighter but is it too light?  When I look back at the photos I used for the previous header, it took a while to get it right.  I have a feeling there might be some tweaking ahead.  For now at least it is updated!

My new header in 2024: 

My old header from 2014:


The distance between 'blog' and 'website' has narrowed over the last decade or two.  Many websites have more dynamic pages including blogs.  Many blogs have more static pages and more sophisticated navigation since I started blogging.  Some days I wonder whether to just call my blog a website.  One thing the web does well is navigation.  For me that means the search bar and indexes.

My recipe index introductory collage 2024:

My recipe index introductory collage 2014

I was really pleased to finally give some attention to the Recipe Index.  I added photos about 10 years ago.  Like my header they were looking tired.  The index is just one page.  It is really really long!  Almost 2000 recipes.  (After two years of blogging in 2009 I recorded over 400 recipes.)  I use my indexes a lot.  It would be great to have a photo for every recipe but not realistic the way I use it.  I like to be able to run my eye down a list without lots of clicks to new pages, and I want to be able to search for a word on that index.  Probably not best practice these days.  It works for me. 

Working out the new recipe index categories was challenging.  For example, did I divide soups up by ingredient, colours, textures, nationality, seasons or add-ins such as grains and nuts?  Then where did I put a wintery chunky creamy white cauliflower and potato soup?  Lots of hard decisions.  Occasionally I allocated recipes to more than one category.  Generally I try to avoid doing this because the index is so long.  The difficulty of trying to allocate recipes to just one category is a great argument for many pages of a recipe index which makes it easier to have recipes in lots of categories.  It would be nice for such moment.

Here is a list of new elements I have added on my indexes lately:

  • The top photo collages in my Recipe Index have been updated (see above now and then comparison  photos).
  • I have updated the photos at the start of each section in the Recipe Index 
  • I have added more categories within each section because the lists are getting too long making it harder to peruse.
  • The top photo collage in my Favourites index has been updated.  This is an index that I update regularly as favourites come and go.
  • Added a list of sections at the top of Reflections and Reviews index.

In doing all this work, I have been doing the more of work my blog needs: updating links, headings and typos to make it more user-friendly.  It has also helped me to review the development of my blog.  Here are a few things I noticed:

  • Many of my recipes have been posted in the first 7 years of my blogging.  This is not surprising given that of the 2489 posts, 1366 (54%) of posts were written up to 2013 and I am estimating that I have written less recipes since 2013.  See above graph of Numbers of blog posts by year.
  • The phases my blog has been through (including gluten free food, vegan food, doughnuts, history of food, Indian curries, Mexican food, healthy baking) many of which were given an intense focus followed by a more lowkey interest.  
  • A change in bread baking.  All but one of my yeasted breads were made before I started sourdough baking in 2014
  • I am making a lot less desserts, jams and sweet baking these days. 
  • My photography improved from 2014.  Prior to this it was darker, less sharp and less colour.  I attribute this to my cameras being more sophisticated since then but also that I made more of an effort to get photos in Foodgawker after finally getting my first photo accepted in September 2013.
  • I want to revisit so many of the amazing recipes on my blog!  So much to cook and so little time!


When blogger stopped the default subscriptions in May 2021 had 1506 on list, including some that were pending verification.  It has taken me until this month to set up a new subscription service through  Subscription will mean emails of each new blog post.  It is my way of amending for my aversion to regularly updating social media accounts.  I have pondered sending an email to the previous 1506 subscribers to invite them to use the new service but it is hard to wade through all the followers who want to sell me commercial opportunities to find those who just enjoyed reading my blog post!

If you would like to sign up to receiving new blog posts by email, you can subscribe by either adding your email to the subscription form in the right hand column of the blog or in the form at  See form on my blog in the bottom right hand corner of the above screenshot.

I am sure I have had requests for subscriptions but can't find the emails.  Apologies to anyone whose email I lost in one of life's maelstroms.  Thanks to K for finally prompting me at a time when I have the space to do it.

New: My Monthly Chronicles posts

I started this blog with the intention of just focusing on posting recipes.  Before long I was also writing posts that rambled on about other foodie stuff and then just any old stuff that took my fancy.  I have written monthly posts about cooking, eating and food purchases in my kitchen since May 2012.  These posts are great for catching up on stuff I don't have the time or the interest in writing up in more detail.  

It has become more and more obvious that I don't have time to write in detail about the rest of my life outside the kitchen, mostly cafe meals and travel, but also including other random interests.  I have been inspired by Sammie's monthly Taking Stock posts at The Annoyed Thyroid.  So in April I did my first My Monthly Chronicles post.  Of course, I will still write longer posts when I can, just as I do with the In My Kitchen content.

Coming up with a name was difficult.  Here are a few of the ideas I considered:

  • Eating out, excursions, eclectic thoughts and everything else I have not had time to post in more detail
  • Outside my kitchen
  • Out and about
  • My month in a nutshell
  • Teacup chronicles
  • Monthly digest
  • Eclectic detritus


I continue to have difficulties with commenting on Blogger when comments are embedded in the post (see below screenshot).  This has been frustrating because I enjoy connecting with other bloggers.  I used to be able to comment with my blog account so my comments had my avatar and a link to my blog.  Now I have to comment as anonymous.  I try to add my name and url so people know who it is.  It has even got to the stage where when I comment on my own blog it makes me do this as anonymous.  This is so frustrating.

More to do

There is always more to do.  I wish I had more time for cross-linking posts, updating broken links, proof reading and updating photos in some favourite posts.  I do what I can when I can.  I churned out a lot of travel posts in February and March this year and I know they would benefit from more proof reading.  But whenever I read old posts I see needs for updating.  There are formatting issues in some of my older posts.  Some formatting is due to my inexperience and some is due to blogger changing the formatting that had worked when I originally posted.  It would be great to fix them but it is a big job.

I would like to spent more time reviewing and updating the Reflections and Reviews Index.  It has had a lot less attention than the Recipe Index.  Originally I intended to only post recipes and this was just a little sideline to the core of the blog.  It has grown unwieldy.  Many categories and lists have been created organically and could do with some strategic thinking.  

Some of the projects I have in mind are to collate Christmas menus over the years and to have a full list of all the craft projects I have done.  My drafts folder is always full of good intentions.   I would also love to be able to access more information from my statistics.  It used to be easier to extract information from statistics packages to look at user search terms and what sites send users to my blog.   These statistics packages keep changing and it is hard to keep up.  Speaking of constant change, sometimes I wonder how long Blogger will continue.  I hope it is used enough to continue to be of value to Google.

Meanwhile although blogging has changed a lot in 17 years, my blog continues to be of great value to me.  It is a great record of my years, mainly the food and travel, that I am able to refer to today.  I often look up recipes I have made or places I have visited.  Hence my interest in keeping the indexes updated.  I make recipes from my blog regularly and Sylvia also uses it for her favourite recipes.  My notes can be quite helpful too.  Occasionally I look it up to show Sylvia that I have been to a cafe or that she has been involved in some activity.  I wish I had more time for the blog, commenting with other bloggers and replying to comments.  It has to be enough to be grateful for what I have managed to do and that I am still blogging after all these years.  Amazingly I am still here and hope to continue to be for a while yet.

More posts on Green Gourmet Giraffe changes to blog design:

Friday 26 April 2024

Street Art in Melbourne: Camberwell and Canterbury

We had a trip to a cafe in Camberwell in Melbourne's East recently.  Here are some photos of the street art while we were driving through the area.  

The above and directly below are from the Canterbury Road rail bridge near Canterbury Station.  The blue "Hope is not cancelled" was painted in 2022 by artist Nicole van Dijk and students from Strathcona Girls Grammar to reflect on the Covid pandemic. 

The above part of the Hope is not cancelled mural has such small details that it is for pedestrians rather than cars on the road.

Nearby is more artworks on the walls of the walkway through to Mailing Road and the Canterbury train station.  Jasper and Jinx is a fairy tale about a boy's adventure when his train arrives driven by a pixie.  It was painted in 2015 by Hayden Dewar and seems to be about a runaway train carriage that takes a boy to a pixie.  These pictures are only 3 of the 11.

My eye was taken by the text "If not now, when?" on this mural by Eric Sesto that I saw off Glen Iris Road beside The Old Garage cafe in Camberwell.  This is followed by "If not me, who?"  It refers to a quote by Jewish Rabbi Hillel over 2000 years ago.  This is still relevant today and in this mural seems to refer to animal rights.

Not quite street art, but I really liked this artwork on the wall of forecourt of Linger cafe in Camberwell.

This mural at the railway bridge at 1176 Toorak Rd, Glen Iris is on the border of Camberwll.  It has some lovely native flora and fauna, some old style businesses and the steam train in this above picture.

Thursday 18 April 2024

Carrot fritters with yoghurt sauce

On one of the last balmy days of March before the weather got cooler, I made these carrot fritters based on a supermarket magazine recipe.  They were so good that we have made them again twice in the last month.  They were excellent on April Fool's Day after the Easter feasting and they were great to adjust to use up leftovers from the crumb coating of a batch of tofu nuggets.

One of the best things about the recipe is that it is packed full  of carrots.  When you eat these fritters you are getting a good serve of vegetables.  Not like those wannabe fritter that are actually pancakes with the occasional piece of vegetable.  You can see this in the above photo of them frying.  It is all about the grated carrots with a modest amount of flours, eggs and seasoning to bind them.

The Coles supermarket recipe that we were following used some spices but I preferred to season with a teaspoon of seeded mustard.  We also ignored the direction by Coles to make a date mustard sauce to serve with the fritters. It seemed far simpler to serve them with the simple yoghurt and lemon sauce that accompanied Recipe Tin Eats Broccoli Fritters.  On our first night of the fritters, I served them with a brown rice salad, baby spinach and cherry tomatoes.

The second night I made the fritters, Sylvia chopped some parsley into the yoghurt sauce and we served them with potato salad, beetroot cabbage coleslaw and baby spinach.  They did not fry as evenly as the first night but still tasted so good.  They were lovely and soft under their crisp edges.

On the most recent night we planned to make the fritters, I went rogue with this recipe.  I had some leftover crumb coating from a batch of tofu nuggets that I did not want to go to waste so I substituted this for a lot of the flour and seasonings.  It worked well.  I also added some parmesan cheese which was also great.  In future I would like to try these with grated parsnips or zucchinis and maybe lightly steamed and finely chopped broccoli or cauliflower.  However in these days of crazy food prices, carrots are a great cheap vegetable that we always have on hand.  On this occasion we added more vegetables by mixing the yoghurt sauce with finely sliced spinach and our favourite mock tuna (chickpea) salad.  What's not to love about these easy, delicious and budget-friendly carrot fritters that are open to variations!

More fritters on Green Gourmet Giraffe blog:
Carrot and potato fritters
Corn fritters (gf)
Curried carrot fritters
Pea, quinoa and feta fritters (gf)
Pumpkin chickpea fritters (gf, v)

Carrot Fritters with Yoghurt Sauce
Adapted from Coles Magazine March 2024
Makes 6 fritters

400g carrots (3-4 medium carrots), grated
1/3 cup (50g) cornflour
1/3 cup (50g) plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 spring onion, sliced
1-2 garlic cloves, finely grated
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp seeded mustard
2 eggs
oil for frying

Mix all ingredients adding eggs last to bind everything together.  The carrots are the main ingredient here and need just enough batter to bind them.  Heat oil on medium high heat in a frypan (my preference is a cast iron frypan).  Drop batter into frypan, using a 1/3 cup to measure, and use spoon to flatten and shape.  Fry for 3-4 minutes on each side until it is golden brown with a bit of char.  Drain fritters on kitchen paper and serve with yoghurt sauce. 

Yoghurt sauce
From Recipe Tin Eats

1/4 cup plain yoghurt
2 tsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper

Mix together


  • Replace all or some of the carrot with other vegetables such as grated parsnips, zucchini or cabbage
  • Plain flour is also known as all purpose flour.  Corn flour in Australia is the same as corn starch in USA.  Different flours can be used such as a gluten free flour mix instead of plain flour. 
  • Spring onions can be replaced with chives or parsley or dried onion flakes.
  • The garlic cloves can be replaced by dried garlic granules or powder.
  • The teaspoon of seeded mustard can be replaced by a teaspoon of another seasoning paste or 1/2 teaspoon of a powdered seasoning.  I have a mexican seasoning powder I have used on one occasion or would consider a dukkah or a curry powder.
  • If desired, add some parmesan or cheese of choice.  I added 1/4 cup of parmesan which added flavour without it being really cheesy. 
  • I amended the recipe to use up leftover crumb coating from tofu nuggets - my crumb coating leftovers was made by mixing the leftover milk and flour and crumbs to make a crumbly mixture.  I used 1 1/3 cups of the mixture of seasoned crumb coating instead of the flours and seasonings.  I added 2 eggs, a few spoonfuls of flour, 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan and a pinch of salt and pepper.  It was fantastic.
  • The yoghurt sauce is very simple and can be jazzed up as little or as much as you like.  If your energy is low, just use the plain yoghurt.  If you don't have lemon juice, add some vinegar instead.  We have tried parsley in it one time and finely sliced spinach another time.  Other addition to amp up the flavour could be some garlic or you can increase the vegetables with something like finely chopped cucumbers.  It all depends on taste and availability.
  • I would suggest making these fritters gluten free with gf flour or vegan with egg substitutes such as 2 tbsp chia seeds and 6 tbsp water, or 6 tbsp aqua faba.
  • These fritters can be eaten plain for a snack or light meal, in a sandwich with some coleslaw or salad vegetables, on a breakfast plate with eggs, mushrooms, tomato, beans and greens, or as a main meal with lots of nice salads or salad vegetables on the side.

On the stereo:
This is going to hurt (original soundtrack) - Jarvis Cocker

Tuesday 16 April 2024

My Monthly Chronicles: March 2024

Today I am starting what I plan to be a regular post chronicling my eating out, events, random moments and reflections in the previous month  It is written as a companion post to my In My Kitchen posts about cooking, purchases and eating at home.  I hope it will help me catch up with the sort of places and photos that I have good intentions of sharing in more detail but never find the time.

Triennial @ the NGV: The top two photos are from Triennial 2024 at NGV.  This was a brilliant exhibition with art works looking at the world from a new perspective with a touch of insight and beauty.  I didn't get to as much of the exhibitions as I had hoped but was glad I got along before it closed last weekend.  Above is an installation by Diana Al-Hadid which is an ethereal modern copy of a medieval panting with medieval statues to be seen behind the gossamer images. The top photo is of an installation where the artist Richard Lewer invited people to come to "confession" and he painted these on the walls.  These are just two artworks to show the diversity and richness in the exhbition.

On the telly: This is Going to Hurt.  Insightful and often uncomfortable British tv series starring Ben Wishart in a drama about the difficulties of working in the NHS.  Based on the Adam Kay book of the same name.  Plus a soundtrack by Jarvis Cocker.

Where does Batman get his mail? A local area called Batman amuses with Batman Train Station and we also have this Batman Post.  Just in case you wondered about where Batman goes when not fighting crime!

Five Buck Schmuck: We had lunch at Five Buck Schmuck in Thornbury.   As the name suggests it is cheap as chips.  I wasn't so keen on the $5 Feta Mac and Cheese but Sylvia loved her $5 Biscoff Croissant with cream.

In the news: In March there was a crazy amount of speculation and wild stories about Kate Middleton lying low.  It culminated in her brave announcement that she has cancer.  I am glad to see this quietened all the chatter about her and I hope she is able to get through this difficult time with as much privacy as a princess can.

Ima Asa Yoru: This Japanese restaurant in Brunswick called Ima Asa Yoru has a fantastic menu with lots of veg options.  The tempura eggplant was excellent as were the greens and miso soup.  A very sleek outfit that I hope to return to for more good food.

Duckett Street Party:  We saw that there was a street party in Duckett Street which gave us a great reason to go to Ima Asu Yoru.  It was a lovely balmy autumn afternoon with some street art, cookie monster and food carts.  Sylvia loved the tiramisu from Freda's Bakery.  I enjoyed people watching and would have stayed for the trivia but we were not keen to hang around too long.

Famil-LEE Korean Restaurant: Sylvia spotted the CBD restaurant, Famil-LEE, online because she has been interested by the ttoek-bokki.  This dish of round chewy rice cakes in a slightly spicy sauce with lots of optional extras is quite fascinating.  Unfortunately we assumed from the menu that the dish was vegetarian but should have checked when ordering.  Once we started to dig in for chewy rice cakes and oozy cheese, Sylvia told me there was fish cakes in it.  It wasn't quite as good after that.  At least the corn cheese kimchi kim bab (hand rolls) were amazing.  And we loved our drinks: Korean debang coffee and orange lime bitters.

Podcast stories: I really enjoyed listening to the ABC RN Conversations interview called Jarvis Cocker and the Pulp Masterplan.  Jarvis is one of the most interesting pop stars ever!  I highly recommend this discussion about an exercise book of his teenage plans for his band Pulp and other detritus from his attic.

Cobrick Cafe: After an initially underwhelming first visit to Cobrick cafe at Pentridge, we were really impressed with a recent lunch.  My avocado on toast was seriously loaded with salsa as well as the slick of beetroot hummus and chunks of feta.  Really good.  Sylvia had some of the best loaded fries ever: waffle fries, beans, avocado and cheese sauce.

Lucky Little Dumplings: We have had a few enjoyable outings to Lucky Little Dumplings at Pentridge, the most recent being last month.  It was great to go there after Sylvia had a clean bill of health from her dentist.  I love the dumplings but was especially impressed on this visit by the sweet and sour fried eggplant with the fried rice.  Even Sylvia loved them.  It was a huge serve and we had plenty leftover that we took home in a doggy bag.

Oh Boy, It's a Food Truck @ the Barbarian Brewery: Sylvia loved the food from Oh Boy It's a Food Truck at the Coburg Night Market and saw that they were doing a pop up at the Barbarian Brewery in Kingsville on St Patrick's Day.  We went along for a drink, and shared some of the food truck's delicious poutine and a mac and cheese croquette roll.  I washed mine down with a Heaps Normal no-alcohol beer.  The staff at the bar were really friendly and the place had a welcoming and family-friendly vibe.  There was a brewery-owned dog who was so lovely and so well behaved that we were quite amused by him.

At the cinema: I saw the Holdovers at Cinema Nova.  It was excellent with a 1970s retro vibe, Christmassy snow, and the humour and insight that comes with an unlikely boarding school friendship.  Heather and I had dinner at King and Godfree afterwards.  My gnocchi was nice but needed a salad, if only I didn't resent paying the extra.

Chookas: We love visiting Chookas cafe in Brunswick for interesting drinks and omusubi.  Sylvia could not wait to get back there after our holiday in Europe in February.  I convinced her to have the black sesame latte while I had the ume plum soda.  The latte was not Sylvia's thing - she doesn't like sesame.  I ended up sharing my soda because I love sesame flavour, albeit not milky drinks.  I asked a staff member to add some chocolate sauce to the latte - because who doesn't love chocolate and sesame together - so that I could drink it.  Meanwhile I was very happy to have a kimchi edamame and cheese omusubi and Sylvia loved her gorgeous matcha affogato.

Hope Street Space: We are sad this amazing warehouse of treasures on the corner of Hope Street and Frederick Street in Brunswick is closing soon.  Hope Street Space is a favourite place for Sylvia and her dad to have a browse after Chookas and I have been occasionally.  

Helping Hands Sunshine Op Shop: We have been to a few op shops lately and the best one in terms of price and quality goods is the Helping Hands Sunshine Op Shop in Sunshine with an amazing warehouse of second hand goods sold to raise money for charity.

Tiny hands: One of Sylvia's favourite purchases from Hope Street Space has been a pair of tiny hands.  Shadow might look thoughtful in the photo but he was less than impressed!

Kines: I had a lovely lunch catching up with Faye at Kines in Hope Street, Brunswick.  It was very pleasant to sit outside and eat arepas topped with cashew cheese, sauerkraut and chilli sauce as well as a generous side serving of mushrooms.  I was impressed at how accommodating they were about my requests to swap out the dairy cheese and egg.  (Although I eat dairy I love cashew cheese.)  Faye enjoyed a fennel toastie.  She shared her carrot cake which she found quite sweet.  I was amused that my blueberry kombucha came in a bottle with a masking tape, hand-written label.  I guess it was home made.

Village Door cafe: When visiting my parents in Geelong, we had lunch at the Village Door in Pakington Street.  Sylvia and my dad had Dutch pancakes, my mum had tomato bruschetta and I had avocado on toast.  It was nice, other than the oddness of the untoasted toast, but it had a lot of meat and eggs on the menu so I didn't feel I had a lot of choice.

The fun garden I: While driving through Sunshine we stopped to admire a topiary dinosaur.

The fun garden II: We discovered an amazing garden behind the dinosaur.  Lots of topiary, cacti, succulents, animal statues and whimsy.

Reading: I have been reading Rather his Own Man: Reliable Memoirs (2018) by Geoffrey Robertson.  I was fascinated by him on Hypotheticals as a kid and enjoyed reading about his compassion and travels in his wide ranging experiences, many as a human rights lawyer.

Ramadan in Coburg I: We live in an area with a strong Middle Eastern presence.  I was struck by this Modest and Islamic clothing store with a twist on Christmas messages: "All I want for Ramadam is a free Palestine."

Ramadan in Coburg II: These cute Ramadam Kit Kats were seen in our local supermarket.  I assume it is a sign of the modern Muslim who does not have a problem with images of humans.  The chocolate people seem a departure from a lot of the traditional Islamic art which does not have images of humans because it was considered idolatrous.

Cat of the Month: This cute cat was spotted on a walk to the shops.  Sylvia was so charmed by its friendliness she told me to go ahead to the shops because she might be some time.

Easter: I went to my parents for an Easter Sunday Roast.  My dad usually does an Easter egg hunt for the grandkids.  They are reaching their teens and adulthood now so instead of the hunt, my parents gave each kid a potted pansy.  Sylvia was delighted. 

This post is a work in progress as I feel my way through collating lots of information about places and other stuff that I am not always finding time to post.  It is quite similar to In My Kitchen with a touch of Sammie's Taking Stock posts but is likely to develop as the months go by.  Let me know what you think.