Eating notes 2014
A log of dinners (and occasional lunches and brunches).
Sun 9 November 2014 All the kale and spinach varieties in the garden are going to seed, so I spent a couple of hours harvesting the last leaves and then pulling out the spent plants. We went to see Pride at the Classic with Helen in the afternoon, then came home and made a baked kale/spinach/ricotta/feta/fennelseed thing, and couscous with sauteed capsicum, fresh corn, smoked paprika, chili flakes and coriander leaves.
Sat 8 November 2014 Went to Gardiner and Field for brunch (corn fritters, poached eggs, rocket and feta salad, beetroot pickle). In the afternoon, lay about in the park with Ted and Scott drinking white wine, not eating the cheese and olives we’d brought, and not playing the boules we’d planned. In the evening, cheesy toast for dinner, to finish off a day almost devoid of vegetables.
Fri 7 November 2014 Long week finished. Beers with the platform, then wine with the lab, then Peking duck at Simon’s in Box Hill, with Cass, Krisna, Henry, Heather and Ted. So full.
Sat 4 October 2014 Brodetto di pesce, with couscous and a salad of spinach, herbs and peas. Next time I make a fish stew like this I think I might try it with harissa and some roast peppers.
Fri 3 October 2014 Still getting over a cold, so I skipped lab dinner and lay on the couch finishing off work in the evening. I made a small dish of pasta with mushrooms, spinach, and Meredith Dairy goat cheese.
Thurs 2 October 2014 Sick at home with a cold all day. When Tedster came home he was keen for pizza, so we split one from Assaggi with gorgonzola and pancetta. Flavours strong enough to penetrate even the snottiest sensory system.
Sun 21 September 2014 In the morning, I planted loads of new tomato seeds, and planted out rocket seedlings around the garden. Lunch: a salad of delicious smoked trout from the Gamze smokehouse, left-over roast cauliflower, shredded greens from the garden (cavolo nero, purple russian kale, sorrel, spinach), parsley, cucumber, capers, and a mustardy dressing.
Sat 20 September 2014 Brunch with Inaki and Begona at Gardiner and Field. Dinner: pasta with roast cauliflower, slow-cooked onions, anchovies, chili flakes and parsley.
Fri 19 September 2014 Lab dinner, for Andrei’s last day in the lab, at Dumplings Plus.
Thurs 18 September 2014 Toast with miso paste and avocado for dinner.
Tues 16 September 2014 Green chicken curry and tofu and greens stir fry, from Mama Papa.
Mon 15 September 2014 Left-over frittata and brussels sprout salad.
Sun 14 September 2014 I chopped up the left-over barbequed peppers, zucchini, squash and eggplant, and combined it with some marinated goat cheese and fresh herbs to make a big frittata. For a salad, I halved then finely shredded some brussels sprouts, tossed with shredded baby spinach and parsley, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds, and a dressing of white wine vinegar, olive oil and mustard.
Fri 12 September 2014 Lab dinner at our place – people came over bringing meat and vegies to barbeque, and I lazed about drinking and chatting while they cooked them. Perfecto!
Thur 11 September 2014 Went with Beth and Helen to see Maxine McKew speak about her new book, then back to Beth’s place for delicious pork carnita tacos.
Wed 10 September 2014 An apple and a couple of pieces of Blanxart 72% chocolate. All one’s necessary nutrients there, surely.
Tues 9 September 2014 Dinner with Frieda at Gourmet Dumpling: xiao long bao, steamed vegetable dumplings, green beans with pork.
Mon 8 September 2014 Frieda is staying with us for a couple of nights. I made chicken meatballs in tomato and capsicum sauce, cauliflower tossed with seed mustard and roasted, and herby burgul. For the meatballs, I combined 500 g chicken mince, a couple of good handfuls of cooked burgul, a finely diced large golden shallot, a couple of minced garlic cloves, lots of finely chopped parsley, mint and scallions, salt and pepper. I formed them into balls about 1 inch in diameter and fried them in batches over medium heat until golden on a couple of sides. I took all the meatballs out of the frypan, and tipped in about half a bottle of passata, a good spoonful of rose harissa, a dash of aged red wine vinegar, and several jarred roasted red peppers, which I’d pulled into smallish pieces by hand. I added the meatballs back in, and simmered for about 20 minutes until they were cooked through. Good.
Sun 7 September 2014 Venison stew for dinner. I cut the venison into largish chunks, then browned them on one side only – a coward’s half-way house between the fears of making them tough with too much browning, and lacking flavour if I didn’t brown them at all. Removed the venison from the pan and sauteed a couple of onions, some garlic, a diced carrot and celery stick. Added a big spoonful of rose harissa, a slosh of red wine, a tin of tomatoes, two fresh bay leaves and the zest and juice of an orange, added the venison back in, lid on, and cooked in the oven at about 120C for 90 minutes. Then I added some jarred roasted red peppers, and a handful of black olives. Cooked another 60 minutes, until the venison was tender. Ate it with couscous (with pistachios, pine nuts, parsley and mint) and broccolini.
Sat 6 September 2014 Productive morning – 8 am haircut, then straight on the tram to the Veg Out markets. Still cold but the vegetables tell you spring is here. I got the first asparagus of the season, a bunch of chervil, fresh young garlic and lots of tender greens. Also venison, chicken, apples, pears, nashi, chard, celery, and asian greens.
Breakfast when I got home: a piece of toasted rye sourdough and soft-scrambled eggs mixed with peas (frozen, no shame), a good amount of chopped chervil and a crumbled cube of Meredith Dairy marinated goat feta.
Fri 5 September 2014 Ted and I took the day off and went to the Escape Room in Flemington. Excellent!
We stopped off at Laksa King for laksas for lunch on the way home. They were great, but possibly not the most sensible choice, given that lab dinner tonight was fondue at the Swiss Club. I may never move again.
Thur 4 September 2014 Almost no veggies left in the fridge, so I took advantage of the fungibility of brassicas and made pasta with chorizo, garlic and braised gai lan.
Wed 3 September 2014 Pilates. Not really hungry, so had a little bowl of plain yoghurt with a spoonful of marmelade on top.
Tues 2 September 2014 I ended up using some of the lentils and capsicum leftovers for breakfast rather than lunch: heated them up, and put a soft-fried egg on top along with a spoonful of seeded mustard. Very good.
Dinner: Penne with Meredith Dairy marinated goat cheese, peas, mint, parsley and lemon juice.
Mon 1 September 2014 Puy lentils with wilted spinach, parsley, mint and red wine vinegar. Smoked trout. A dish of capsicums, banana shallots and cherry tomatoes (out of season but there you go), roasted with harissa. Blanched green beans. Lots of left-overs of everything but the trout to use for lunches during the week.
Sun 31 August 2014 Breakfast of bagels with vegemite and honey. When I saw Rob making this combination I initially thought he was crazy. Then I tried it and got it. With just a thin smear of vegemite, it’s like honey with the umami turned up to 11.
After brekkie, we went down to Pearl Beach to meet other friends, build sandcastles with the kids, and wade in the lagoon. We snacked on a blueberry and star anise galette Rob had made, also delicious. Back home for a snacking lunch of left-overs, time for a bushwalk in the national park (five minutes’ drive away, so envious), then back on the train to the airport. Airport laksa for dinner.
Sat 30 August 2014 After the conference finished, I trained up to visit Rob, Tonya and Farley in Koolewong. Tonya made delicious pizza, including one with her confit of home-grown garlic, which was amaaaaazing.
Fri 29 August 2014 Tantan ramen at Miyama. Great rich spicy broth, pork mince, noodles with the right amount of chew.
Thurs 28 August 2014 Flying up to Sydney for a medical writers’ conference. Dinner of truly horrific chicken thing on the plane.
Wed 27 August 2014 Porcini ravioli with meredith goat cheese, young cavolo nero braised with garlic, and lemon juice. Broccolini on the side.
Tues 26 August 2014 Agggggghhhhhhhhh, working late late late in the lab, oh god so much to get done. Tedster came and picked me up and we stopped off at Eurobite on the way home to share a gyro plate.
Mon 25 August 2014 Went into the city after work to go to No Lights No Lycra, only to find that the space had been rented out for a private function instead tonight. Seriously, I need to check the Facebook page every week? Oh well, I used the opportunity to go by Great Eastern and stock up on sichuan pickles, good fresh shiitake, ponzu, etc etc. Came home and ate left-over curry.
Sun 24 August 2014 Made three Indian dishes, for dinner tonight plus lunches etc throughout the week. Paneer with tomato and fennel; dal with mustard greens; cauliflower sauteed with whole spices.
Sat 23 August 2014 Went to the Fitzroy St farmers market and bought many good things, including smoked ham, wallaby steaks and shanks, honey, wild greens and bread. Too lazy to make proper dinner, instead had sandwiches of good swiss cheese, smoked ham, and Hahndorf mustard.
Fri 22 August 2014 Last day in the lab – I move to the platform on Monday. For lab dinner, we tried out Lao Tuo Jia on Glenferrie Rd. Excellent: lamb skewers, very tender eggplant slices with pork, marinated tongue, chicken with enormous hand-made noodles (two feet long and as flat and broad as hand-cut pappardelle).
Thur 21 August 2014 I intended to work late, but ended up crashing out around 7. So I went into town and met Ted for dinner at the bar at Izakaya Den. Man it’s so good here. Kingfish sashimi with citrus dressing; spicy tuna tataki; grilled lotus root.
Wed 20 August 2014 Worked late late late, then came home and quickly made soba noodles with sliced chili tofu, steamed bok choy, shiitake, sesame seeds, chili flakes, pickled day lily, and a dressing of soy sauce, fish sauce and sesame oil.
Tues 19 August 2014 Soba with steamed chinese broccoli and chili tofu.
Mon 18 August 2014 Left-over lamb.
Sun 17 August 2014 Lunch: left-over chicken soup. Dinner: bloody awesome spiced lamb with prunes (this recipe, made with a generous hand with the spices, but without the almonds), with couscous/pine nuts/pistachios/herbs/grilled aubergine/chickpeas.
Sat 16 August 2014 Toast, good butter and home-made marmalade for breakfast. That marmalade may not have set perfectly, but it tastes bloody delicious.
Also made marmalade cake.
Fri 15 August 2014 I had a gigantic plate of pasta with ragu for lunch, so wasn’t hungry for dinner. Ted’s sick and I’m still getting over the cold, so we ended up in bed at 8.30 anyway.
Thurs 14 August 2014 Went to the Science Week open-mic event at the Markov, organised by Claire. Lovely time chatting with people, drinking good beer, and eating hot chips stolen from the plates of Ted and Dylan. Got home, suddenly ravenous, so toasted a pita bread from the freezer and topped it with a smear of white miso paste and some roughly mashed avocado.
Wed 15 August 2014 Bleh. Still sick. Shop-bought potato gnocchi, dressed with a ziplock of good tomato pizza/pasta sauce excavated from the freezer. Excellent work, Meg of a few weeks ago who thought to freeze that leftover sauce.
Tues 14 August 2014 Got a bad cold. Can’t be bothered eating.
Sun 12 August 2014 Brunch with Inaki and the fam, at Birdie Num Nums: cornbread, avocado, poached eggs and bacon. Dinner: casarecce with fresh ricotta, smoked salmon, spinach, peas and lemon.
Finished making the marmalade. Thought it would set, but in fact it is juuuuuust short of setting. Note for next time: when you plate the marmalade to test for setting in the fridge, it needs to form not just “a skin”, but a thick skin that wrinkles when pushed with a finger. No wrinkling? Not ready.
Sat 11 August 2014 Edwige staying with us. Croissant for breakfast. Lunch: big salad, and tartine of fresh ricotta, smoked salmon and a squeeze of lemon. Dinner: at Gourmet Dumpling. Xiao long bao, green beans with pork, taro pancake, dumplings in chili oil.
Started the process of making this year’s marmalade, using 12 seville oranges and Nigel Slater’s recipe.
Fri 10 August 2014 Wine in the garden in the twilight. Then snacking on thin slices of rye and walnut bread with tallegio, dried figs, and pistachios.
Wed 6 August 2014 Went to see Particle Fever at the Nova with Dylan and Claire. No dinner.
Tues 5 August 2014 Dinner with Frieda at Dainty Sichuan. Sichuan fish in chili oil, green beans with pork, and cumin lamb slices. Quite a lot of pinot gris. So much, in fact, that I made Ted go and get another bottle before we’d even ordered – not because we’d quite finished the first by then, but because I could see quite clearly where things were going. We stopped off at the Carlton Club for a post-dinner drink, and then at the Spring St Grocer for a post-drink scoop of gelato – castagnaccio for me (chestnut, rosemary and pinenut).
Mon 4 August 2014 Another salad, this time kale, spinach, rocket, cucumber, sprouts, pepitas, fennel, tuna and olives, with a very mustardy-vinegary dressing.
Sun 3 August 2014 Breakfast: my usual brown rice, kimchi and egg concoction. Lunch: a deliciously crunchy chopped salad of cavolo nero, spinach, cucumber, apple, pepitas, mixed sprouts, fennel and avocado. Dinner: supposed to be three curries I was planning to cook. Ended up being popcorn on the couch with Ted.
Sat 2 August 2014 La la la la just a gap of almost six months, nothing to see here.
Lunch: seared tuna with soba noodles and bok choi at The Lovebird.
Dinner: inspired by Beth’s tales of how good it was, I bought a deboned lamb shoulder, marinated in Greek herbs and lemon, from Thomas Dux. Laid it flat in a baking dish and cooked for 25 minutes at 190C. Next time I will do 20 – I’d like it more pink. We ate it with spanakorizo and seared beans with rocket.
Sun 9 February 2014 The intensity of the satisfaction I felt this morning when I woke up after 10 straight hours’ deep and uninterrupted sleep, knowing that our bedroom at home would have been 30+ degrees all night, is almost impossible to convey. That hotel stay was money very well spent.
Another benefit of sleeping in the city is proximity to good brunch. We walked to Hardware Street, forgetting that Hardware Societe still hasn’t reopened after the fire, so went in to Silo instead. Coddled eggs with greens, mushrooms and ocean trout, and a couple of good espressos. The chef also gave us a taste of their own fresh heirloom tomatoes and some wild strawberries, and told us about their Saturday degustation dinners focusing on their great produce. We are so there.
For dinner, we made this barbequed corn soup with chicken, coriander and feta from the latest Gourmet Traveller. I was disappointed when I tasted it half-way through cooking, but once everything was added it came together deliciously. I would very happily make this again.
Sat 8 February 2014 Predicted high of 40 degrees and low of 30 (!!!) today, so after my pilates class in the morning we went in search of air conditioning. We stopped off for lunch at Sushi Sozai (salmon and tuna sashimi, tuna nigiri, eel nigiri), then trammed into the city to get a coffee at Mr Tulk. We were just at the right time for a tour of the gallery levels of the state library, so spent an hour doing that. Really enjoyable – much better exhibits about Melbourne’s history than the poor room at the Melbourne Museum, plus other exhibits including early printings of Shakespeare, pre-Gutenberg books, etc. When we left the library and stepped back out into the furnace of its forecourt, we decided that we couldn’t face another night failing to sleep at home in the absence of air conditioning, so – bless you, modern world – made a Wotif booking at a city hotel on my phone. We trammed up to Carlton to see the Dallas Buyers’ Club at the Nova, had a scoop of fantastic hazelnut gelato at Pidapipo, found somewhere to buy the bare essentials for an unplanned night at a hotel (toothbrush, toothpaste, clean pair of underpants), then came back to the city, checked into the hotel, verified that the bed was large and firm and the air conditioning icy cold, then headed across the lane for dinner at Yum Yum Dumplings. The xiao long bao were not bad, though the pastry was slightly too thick and chewy for me. Wontons in chili oil were quite bland. But the sichuan cauliflower and pork was fantastic – there was a huge bowl of it but we ate it all. It was still 38 degrees when we walked back to the hotel at 9 pm.
Fri 7 February 2014 Dinner at Helen’s to belatedly celebrate her birthday – champagne (for the others) and Thai take-away on the deck.
Thur 6 February 2014 Worked late to get some comments on Al’s grant finished. Walked from uni to Huntingdale in the cooling evening twilight, and wasn’t hungry when I got home.
Wed 5 February 2014 Left-over chicken and zucchini stew for lunch. Pilates then grapes in the evening.
Tue 4 February 2014 For Ted’s birthday, we booked the big table at Chinchin and had the feed-me menu. Favourite dishes of the night were the baramundi and pork belly with asian vegetables, the goat curry with yoghurt dressing, the sticky twice-cooked beef ribs with nam pla prik, the kingfish sashimi, and the coconut sago with sweetcorn ice cream and puffed wild rice.
Mon 3 February 2014 I sauteed some tofu with fish sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil and chili flakes, to use in a salad later in the week. But I ended up snacking on it until it effectively became dinner.
Sun 2 February 2014 Made a very good chicken, zucchini and fennel seed stew to have for lunches during the week.
Dinner at Sozai: gyu tataki, eel and cucumber temaki sushi, salmon and tuna sashimi, and pickled vegetables.
Sat 1 February 2014 Lunch: salad of corn sliced from the cob, rocket, tomatoes, avocado, mint, finely sliced fennel and flaked hot-smoked trout.
In the evening we met Beth and Heather at Victoria Gardens to listen to opera in the park (Il Trovatore). We lay on picnic blankets on the grass, and ate cheese, charcuterie, olives and good bread.
Fri 31 January 2014 Dinner at Gourmet Dumpling. We were the only table upstairs, so it was lovely as more and more people kept appearing in the doorway as they arrived and we would hail them – like inviting friends into your own living room. Stupidly large quantities of dumplings were consumed.
Thur 30 January 2014 Ted and I met up with Frieda in the city and had dinner at Supper Inn. We had green beans dry-fried with pork mince, steamed egg with fish and chinese donuts, and a duck and pickled vegetable salad. We could hear the crackers going off outside for new year celebrations while we were eating.
Weds 29 January 2014 Toast and avocado for dinner after pilates.
Tues 28 January 2014 A quickly constructed salad from various odds and ends from the fridge: finely sliced red cabbage, cucumber, scallions, smoked ocean trout, dressing of fish sauce, soy, sesame oil, chili flakes.
Mon 27 January 2014 Beef knuckle sandwich at Pour Kids for lunch.
For dinner, I made two salads (with lots of left-overs for lunches at work). First, red quinoa, corn sliced from the cob and briefly sauteed, halved small tomatoes, mint, scallions, feta and lime juice. Second, a head of cauliflower chopped and roasted until golden but still quite firm, sauteed quartered patty pan squash, balnched halved green beans and chopped walnuts, in a dressing of walnut oil, white wine vinegar and mustard.
Sun 26 January 2014 Alison and Andres organised a morning of fishing off Mordialloc pier. Janine was the only one to catch anything, a small white fish that we threw back in. We saw two enormous rays swimming below the pier. Afterwards, we went to lunch at True South to share some Argentinean food. We tried school prawns, grilled octopus, braised lamb shoulder, roasted carrots with chili, smoked maple syrup, coriander and peanuts, and a salad of “burnt market vegetables”, as well as a couple of other things I can no longer remember. All was good, but the vegetables were amazing standouts.
Sat 25 January 2014 Couscous with pine nuts, smoked ocean trout, blanched green beans, roast kabocha, and roast aubergine and cherry tomatoes.
Fri 24 January 2014 Gourmet Dumpling, of course. They’ve been closed for a couple of weeks for renovations. I was worried that they would lose their charm, but I shouldn’t have been. As far as I can tell, the only difference is that the carpet on the stairs and the upper floor is no longer fifty years old and trodden shiny.
Thur 23 January 2014 The final outing of the left-over kangaroo and tomatillo soft tacos.
Wed 22 January 2014 Pilates, Frosty Fruit.
Tues 21 January 2014 Nachos and tacos (not kangaroo and tomatillo this time) at Janine’s with Nichola and Rene, Henry, Linda and April, and Maimbo.
Mon 20 January 2014 Left-over kangaroo and tomatillo tacos, with added sauteed zucchini.
Sunday 19 January 2014 Lunch: kangaroo tacos with tomatillo salsa and avocado. The kangaroo I slow-cooked in beer with onion, garlic, chili and peppers. I made the salsa by putting the husked tomatillos, green chilies, sliced red onion and peeled garlic cloves under the grill until scorched. Then everything into the blender with coriander leaves, salt and lime juice, blend until combined.
Saturday 18 January 2014 We went with Helen and Anya to Brighton to see Her, then had dinner across the road afterwards, sharing a vegetarian pizza.
Thurs 16 January 2014 Oh I led people so astray. I thought that Walter Mitty was still playing at the Como tonight, so brought half a dozen people from the lab there only to discover that I’d been looking at last week’s schedule. It was on at the Jam Factory 90 minutes later, so we walked down there, had the McDonalds of Vietnamese food at Roll’d, and sat around chatting until late movie time.
Wed 15 January 2014 Stir fry of tofu and beans with rice.
Tues 14 January 2014 Dinner of char kway teow at PappaRich before seeing American Hustle.
Mon 13 January 2014 Not hungry.
Sun 12 January 2014 Brunch at Nichola and Rene’s place, to watch my first game of American football and eat bacon pancakes and french toast with berries.
Dinner: a slice of toast with avocado, lime juice and chili flakes.
Sat 11 January 2014 Soft tacos with chipotle black beans, sauteed corn with tomatoes, and avocado.
Fri 10 January 2014 Dinner with the lab at Gllow, opposite Malvern station.
Thurs 9 January 2014 Chicken braised with tomatillos.
Weds 8 January 2014 We weren’t really hungry, so I had a Frosty Fruit for dinner, so healthy.
Tues 7 January 2014 Dinner: super quick frittata of roast kabocha, braised leeks, roast tomatoes and parsley (the vegetables all having been cooked on the weekend). Would have been improved with the addition of a little crumbled feta.
Finally remembered to put the kimchi into jars and into the fridge – should have done it last night but I forgot. Still smells and tastes ok so should all be fine.
Mon 6 January 2014 Tedster went to the climbing wall after work; I drank a beer in the garden and then ate some stonefruit for dinner. The cherries I got from the farmers’ market are so good.
Sun 5 January 2014 I added carrot, scallions, gochugaru, fish sauce etc to the kimchi and left it to ferment in the cupboard overnight.
Fairly boring pasta with greens, peas, lemon and parmesan for dinner.
Sat 4 January 2014 I’m going back to work on Monday, so it’s time to gear up for lunches again. I went to the farmers’ market at St Kilda this morning and stocked up with freshly smoked trout, eggs, cherries, apricots, peaches, greens, kohl rabi and skinny leeks. Then to Great Eastern in the city for lots of different Sichuan pickles, wombok, turnips, shiitakes and asian greens.
I started a batch of kimchi with the wombok, turnips and kohl rabi, and will finish it off with carrot and scallions tomorrow.
I’ve blanched some of the kai lan and the leaves of the kohl rabi to use in breakfasts for the next couple of days. I made a stir fry of tofu, shiitakes, asian greens, capsicums, ginger and chili to take for lunches for the first half of the week. And I’m currently roasting tomatoes and kabocha, and braising chopped leeks in a little dry Dolin vermouth, all three of which will go into a frittata with some herbs later on.
In between all this I ate. A great breakfast of chopped broccolini, scallions, chili flakes, sesame seeds, a palmful of cooked brown rice and the last of the previous batch of kimchi, all quickly sauteed then tossed with fish sauce, soy sauce and coriander leaves, with a runny fried egg and a dash of sesame oil on top.
We had a late lunch in the city at Ajisen Ramen: a so-so bowl of tofu and vegetable ramen – stock too salty, strange choice of raw carrot and onion as vegetables.
Not really hungry for dinner so just had a couple of beautifully ripe apricots.
Fri 3 January 2014 Lunch at Axil: salad of chili squid, chorizo, chickpeas, asparagus, pea shoots and a little bit of smoked chili aioli.
Dinner: the very very last of the left-over quinoa salad, eaten with some feta crumbled through it.
Thurs 2 January 2014 We finished off the last of the gravlax with some salad for lunch, then drove over to the Burnley bouldering walls for me to have my first go at this. I think I managed about 10 minutes of climbing, over the course of half an hour, before my hands refused to clasp any more. Fun, and I’ll go again, but hand exercises will be needed.
Dinner: Pasta with a very quick but very good sauce: aubergine pieces roasted with olive oil and aged red wine vinegar, a cup of passata simmered briefly with a dash of garlic olive oil, wilted spinach, and a spoonful of creme fraiche stirred through at the end.
There was also a little champagne left in a stoppered bottle from new year’s eve, so we used it up making Old Cubans.
Wed 1 January 2014 For lunch, left-over quinoa salad. Dinner: a bread roll filled with left-over barbequed eggplant and chermoula chicken, with a little squirt each of sriracha sauce and kewpie mayonnaise.