Wednesday, September 26, 2012

gum nuts in the loft

I love the silvery foliage of these Eucalypt stems. They are sitting in an Aalto vase I brought back from Finland in 2006.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Saturday, September 22, 2012

the izakaya with no sake

According to Wikipedia, "An izakaya (居酒屋) is a type of Japanese drinking establishment which also serves food to accompany the drinks". Well, imagine our surprise when we went to a newly opened izakaya at Hawthorn last night and were told that they weren't able to serve alcohol b/c their liquor license hasn't been approved yet. It didn't bother me so much (I don't drink). My friend's husband, on the otherhand, wasn't too pleased.

the cholesterol challenge

Oats. Krill oil tablets. Macadamia nuts. Salmon. Even chia seeds. You'd think the steps I've taken to reduce my cholesterol would pay off. But actually went up. Sigh. Hmmm...I wonder if eating those ox tail stews and cholesterol-rich squid might have been counter-productive.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


I went to Queen Vic markets yesterday just before closing time. If I had bothered to check the time, I may well have skipped it altogether. The vendors in the meat section were desperate to get rid of all their produce. I attempted to buy 2 kg of ox tail from one of the butcher stalls. The woman behind the counter asked if I wanted the rest of the tray. I asked her if it was 2kg worth. She told me it was about 2.5 so I gave her the thumbs up (it's so noisy that hand gestures work well). She bagged the meat and placed in on the scale and then told me it was 3.5kg and asked if that was ok. You can probably guess what my answer was.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Squid three food-related posts in a row must make me look like I've done precious little this weekend other than eat. And you know what, it's true. But heck, if it's blowing a gail outside, I'd much rather be in front of the kitchen conjuring up a culinary feast. So...back to the topic of this post: squid. After we left Silo, Nathan and I headed up to the Queen Vic markets. I ended up buying a couple of squid (with heads still attached), with the idea of making salt and pepper squid for lunch (the problem with eco-friendly breakfasts is that you get hungry very quickly). We brought our molluscs home and I got started on the prep work. Now, I have to admit at this point that I've only ever prepared squid once before (and I must have blocked the trauma of the experience out of my mind) but let me just say it right now...preparing squid is a friggin' bitch. I reckon this guy knows what I'm talking about:
The kitchen was plastered with ink, guts, and beaks. But it was their eyes that really got the best of me. Those advanced cephalopod eyes. I don't know how I did it, but I did manage to get some edible parts from the dismembered body sitting in the sink. These (i.e. the edible bits) were dusted in flour, paprika, salt and pepper, and lovingly fried in oil (for only a few don't want to over-cook them). Accompanied with some mayonnaise and wedges of lemon, the squid turned into a most delectable experience after all.

A zero waste breakfast

In return for the sumptuous dinner the night before, Nathan suggested going out for brekky yesterday so we headed off to Silo. It took us a while to find the place but the cafe was located in Hardware Street in the CBD right opposite the Hardware Societe cafe (which, by the way, seemed a lot more popular with a long line of people waiting outside). Our venue was far less crowded and I must admit that when the menu was delivered to us, I very nearly joined the back of Societe's queue. It's not that I don't have faith in Nathan's choice of restaurant venues (his cooking is another matter) but when the menu has dishes titled 'leek, egg, seeds', it does make me a little nervous ('where's the sausage?'). The waiter did explain, however, that this was an eco-friendly cafe (whatever the heck that means) so I guess I was in for an ecologically guilt-free breakfast experience (And why not? I am an ecologist after all). I was more nervous for Nathan (he complains when I sprinkle chia seeds on his porridge or serve him quinoa with the sunday roast). But as it turns out, my concerns were unfounded. We were both extremely satisfied with our 'coddled hen egg with mushrooms'. The bread they served it on is made in-house (and when I say 'made' I mean they even mill their own flour!), as was the soy milk I had with my earl grey. Sure, I'd probably like to try Hardware Societe one day (there must be a reason why folks were patiently waiting in line in the wind yesterday to secure a table), but I had to hand it to Nathan for picking Silo. And the smug bastard knew it too. As we walked out of the restaurant, he asked "Were you surprise I picked such a great place?". "Not as surprised as you", I replied.


It was friday. I was feeling in need of a treat so I arranged with Nathan to meet up after work for a fancy dinner. When I think fancy, I think of japanese. I'm not talking about teppanyaki here (is it even authentic?). No, we went for japanese degustation at Shoya. It's been a while but it was still amazing. We went for the 'festive course'. And festive it certainly was (in fact, each morsel they brought out felt like a full on carnival in my mouth). My favourite was the beef cheek wrapped in spinach. A lot of food though. Nathan and I had to go friday night shopping afterwards to help us digest.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


What a glorious weekend. The weather was fantastic. Nathan and I went to Northcote for lunch with his cousin on Saturday. Today, we headed off to the Camberwell markets in the morning before making our way to Victoria street for sugar cane prawns and vietnamese noodle soup for lunch. We spent the afternoon perusing bric-a-brac and then headed to the Queen Vic markets, where we bought some produce for tonight's dinner (ox tail for soup...I love doing a soup or a slow braise on the weekends). I'm feeling totally rejuvenated for the week ahead (including the start of 8am lectures). Bring it on.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Grandma's 90th

We celebrated my maternal grandma's 90th last weekend. So, basically the day after returning from Europe, I was at the airport again (this time with Nathan) on our way to Canberra. All the extended family were descending into town. My uncle and aunt were already there and made paella for us on the Friday night when we arrived. The paella was a personal request (my uncle and his wife lived in Brazil for many years and are exceptional cooks). My cousins arrived on the Saturday from Brisbane, as did my sister and brother-in-law from Melbourne. I hadn't seen my two cousins for years. They are all married now, with kids. Very cute (the kids, that is). Saturday night was the actual birthday party. We went to the Hyatt for...of course, a buffet (What is it with chinese families and buffets?) All of my dad's side of the family were invited too. All in all, I think grandma had a nice birthday party. 90 years is a hell of a long time when you think about it. She has seen the world change very rapidly in her life time and has experienced so much (including a world war).