Sunday, April 26, 2015

Mushroom time

I love Autumn. I love the milder temperatures. I love the Autumn foliage. And above all, I love that it's mushroom season.

My mushrooming experiences have mostly been in Finland, where the locals, from a very young age, learn to differentiate between the tasty and the toxic. The Finns seem to descend into the forests in droves in search of mushrooms in the Autumn.

Here, in Australia, we have less of a culture of picking mushrooms and it seems all we ever hear about are the incidents of people being poisoned after consuming death caps.

On Saturday, Nathan and I went to Gippsland to visit his family. We dropped in to see his uncle in Yarragon on the way back home. He had just been on the farm and had brought home a nice harvest of field mushrooms. We took some back with us to Melbourne and managed to make a very nice pasta dish with them for dinner.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Friday night ramen

I've been walking past this ramen shop on Russell Street and it always seems super busy (long line of people waiting outside).

Tonight, I met Nathan in the city after work and noticed the queue outside the shop wasn't horrendous so we decided to give it a try.

Fifteen minutes later, we were tucking into some delicious ramen, karaage (fried chicken) and gyoza (dumplings) all washed down with a can of cold green tea. Bliss.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Birthdays x 3

It was Olivia, my niece's second birthday yesterday. We went to a nice restaurant to celebrate. It specialises in Peking ducks. We ordered two! They were delicious. Who doesn't love Peking duck? Even Olivia ate three duck pancakes.

Afterwards we went back to my sister and brother-in-law's place for cake. My sister and brother-in-law are very conscious of what Olivia eats so they made a sugar free banana cake (they got the recipe from some mother's blog). It was delicious (Well, I liked it very much but Nathan scrunched up his face as he was eating it so I offered to have his portion too).

After the banana cake, my sis surprised Nathan and I with a second birthday cake. This time to celebrate Nathan's birthday (which was a few days ago) and my birthday (which is coming up in a couple of weeks). the mid afternoon, stuffed with duck and cake, we left my sister's place and went to a funky little shop in Collingwood, where I got this nice little winter landscape painting by a Swedish artist from the 1950s as a present from Nathan (I bought him a new camera last week).

The stupid dog that we love so much

We had a bit of a scare yesterday morning.

Nathan and I have a routine of taking the dog with us to the supermarket and always make the effort to let the dog have a run around at a nearby park on the way. The dog usually sticks to the grassed area and tries (unsuccessfully) to get at the rainbow lorikeets in the palm trees.

Anyhow, after the shopping yesterday, we walked past the same park again and Nathan let go of the leash to let the dog have a second run around. And boy did she run. In fact, she bolted over to, and then past, the park and went straight to the main road...and then disappeared out of sight.

Our hearts sank. Nathan ran after the dog. Luckily, a very nice person in her car stopped and managed to entice the dog to her car and get Truffs out of the traffic.

We were both angry at the dog and relieved at the same time.

The thing that spooked the dog? A tourist horse and carriage on its way to Swanston Street. We didn't hear the horses' footsteps but obviously the dog did.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sunday lunch the Laksa King. I had the fish head noodle soup. Yum.

Short shanked

Nathan had been in Gippsland dealing with some family matters and returned home last night for the weekend. We decided to go to our favourite Japanese restaurant just across the Yarra from where we live. The food there is great but I was a bit disappointed with the portions. Some of the dishes are half the size they used to be. The most obvious was the miso grilled lamb shank. The last time we ordered it, we got two shanks to a serve. This time there was only one. And it's not as though shanks are an expensive cut. Oh well, at least the dog enjoyed gnawing on the bone.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Saturday flowers

After completing my household chores this morning, I decided to take Truffles to the South Melbourne Markets to pick up some flowers. This week's selection is made up of Eucalyptus pleurocarpa some kind of Erica, and a few Banksia blechnifolia leaves from my balcony.

Moving backwards into the future... the title of the new exhibition of indigenous art at the NGV. The title references tradition as the springboard for the creation of new art.

Among the recent acquisitions is this interesting piece by Robert Andrew. It is made up of a computer-operated palimpsest machine that uses water to erode away the layers of ochre and chalk, which bleed down the surface of the gallery wall.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

West bound

The art courier service came to work today to pick up the painting I am lending to the Art Gallery of Western Australia. Exciting. This is the first time an institution has borrowed a piece from my collection. Hopefully I'll get to make a trip to Perth later in the year to see it at the Gallery.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Back in Melbourne...

...but not before a stop over at the Euroa Bakery for a meat pie (or two).

Monday, April 6, 2015


We've been having a relaxing time here in Canberra.

On Saturday, Nathan and I went to the National Portrait Gallery to check out the national photographic portrait prize. Afterwards, we made our way to the National Gallery of Australia to look around the indigenous galleries. In the evening, I caught up with some of my cousins who were visiting from Sydney. We went bowling. I was terrible.

The next day, I took Truffs for a long walk up Isaac's Ridge in an attempt to work off the hot cross buns I had for brekky. Nathan, who ate many more buns than I, was lazy and stayed home.

Today, Nathan and I took the dog for another walk. We parked near the National Library and walk along the Lake. Despite the wet weather, there were people everywhere and the cafe we had planned to visit was full so we continued through the sculpture garden of the National Gallery and ended up having a hot drink at their outdoor cafe. This is the view from the cafe towards the iconic pear sculpture (visible on the right). The sphere on the left is a sculpture by aboriginal artist Thancoupie.

We ended up at the War Memorial (Prince Harry had been there earlier, but we missed him) to take some photos before heading home for lunch.

We are making our way back to Melbourne tomorrow.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Easter break

I always look forward to Easter. And this year, I'm really relishing the break.

This past week at work has been awful. It was the first week back after my stint in hospital and just when I thought it was going to be a relatively laid back week in the lead up to Easter, I found out on Monday morning that one of my colleagues had passed away suddenly. It was unexpected and very sad and a lot of folks at work were deeply affected.

Anyhow, by week's end, Nathan and I were both ready to put the working week well behind us (Nathan had some dramas of his own to deal with mid week).

So...on Good Friday, we made our way up to Canberra to spend a few days with my family.

Nathan had just bought a car so we decided to do a road trip and bring the dog along. We stopped at Albury for lunch with some friends to break up the trip. Nathan (who was fresh from getting his P plates) was keen to drive the whole way. Bonus.

I just sat in the front, listened to the music, and zoned out for most of the journey. It was great.