Monday, 23 May 2011

Sunday in the city

Sunday 15th May

Hmm....what to do today? Well, we’re in the big city so let’s EAT!
Coffee and pastries first, while we peruse our Good Food Guide to Melbourne. The tiny Choukette is cosy and busy, but we manage to find a table down the back (and right next to the cake display). It’s a difficult decision, but the pain au chocolat is hard to walk past without drooling, as is the almond croissant. Ok, we are satisfied but I have a craving for hot jam donuts from the Vic Markets. A short tram ride deposits us out the front of these famous bustling markets in Melbourne.

I can’t go past Coffea coffee house – the ten minute wait is worth the delicious creamy latte that is put before me. We sit outside in the glorious autumn sun, people watching. ‘Now, what did we come here for? Oh, yeah jam donuts, come on let’s go. Shall we just walk through the food hall’, I inquire? My partner needs no encouragement. Masses of cheese from around the world confront me, lucky they are behind glass cases. Everyone has tastings on offer, but we both just cannot bypass the King Island Seal Bay triple cream brie, which will sit in my handbag all day until we get back to the hotel when it will be at perfect room temperature!

My olfactory senses are tingling, the waft of German sausages hits them like hit of rain on the face. Ok, we will share just one! We stand outside amongst people tucking in to all sorts of foods and the seagulls patiently waiting on the rooftops for scraps -none to be had from us. We continue making our way through the food hall, past more cheese, artisan breads, smallgoods, olives and we just have to sample a börek (pastry filled with meat); then we finally get to the hot jam donut caravan. Thank goodness! We buy 6 (‘cos it’s cheaper) and meander our way through the throngs getting sugar and hot jam everywhere.

Now, I realise it seems like we have just eaten all morning, but I have a hankering for dumplings in Chinatown. We do walk the several blocks into the city, to make room for these little morsels of doughy pork, splashed down with Chinese tea. 

I think today has turned into a mission; we need to rest, recuperate and let our poor tummies relax. Sitting on a park bench outside St Paul’s Cathedral seems as close to godliness as we will get, and it’s a great spot for people watching. After awhile (quite awhile) I suggest we pop in to the Lindt Chocolate Cafe, just for a look. Chocolate is practically oozing out the door, what a mountain of fine delectable delights there are! I limit myself to a few small chocolate balls, to share – later!

Exhausted and full we amble home to rest and chill out. As we sit I quietly lean over and ask, 'what shall we have for dinner??'

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Mother's Day 8th May

My little man arrived with tea and toast this morning! And beautifully wrapped gifts for this one day of the year, that is commercial, but I do feel special to be a mum. I think of my mum, my mum’s mum and way back....all the strong and beautiful women who had children, ran households, worked, cooked and loved with all their heart. And I feel blessed to be one of them; and proud of my little boy who knows just the way I like my cup of tea. Hot, a little bit sweet and strong. My divine purple hot water bottle with its bright orange cover makes my day.
Off we head to soccer (no day off for the mum’s). I’m happy to sit in the warm car watching the boys and girls run around in the rain. Then it’s time for morning tea; we go to Wyton’s where it’s warm and bustling with mums, daughters, sons, partners – families and friends. A delicious chocolate brownie oozing with decadence delights us both and gives the required energy for the day, which as yet, is unplanned.
 
I decide flannelette sheets are needed to go with my hot water bottle, I'm already thinking about going back to bed! 9 year old sprints to the toy section while I peruse the range of bed linen, deciding floral is not for me...
And then the decision is what to eat for lunch? Many options but everywhere is too busy, so I suggest take away pizza from Alex’s Pizza and wok in Koroit.

We sit overlooking Tower Hill and the Southern Ocean, eating cheesy garlic pizza and our own concoction of favourites – anchovies, olives, salami & mushrooms. We drive down to the bottom of the now extinct volcanic crater and race to the top of a majestic hill speckled with drooping sheoaks, gums and wattles. The colours are splendid in the autumn afternoon. I lose the race gracefully but rejoice in being loved and loving my precious little man.

Tea for 1 and Curry for 10

Sunday 1st May
The weekend began with discussions with my mother about who was most deserving of a cup of tea in bed in the morning. She tried the good old ‘I’m older’ angle and won (un)fair and square. So, my 9 year old son made tea for Grandma, while poor old me got to sleep in - completely unaware of the travesty taking place in my very own house! Huh!
We had celebrated my dear friend Amy’s birthday the evening before...with piles of food once again. Huge pots of steaming rice accompanied by beef madras, Goan fish stew, Aloo Chole (chickpea and potato curry); along with accoutrements of mango chutney, lime relish, banana & coconut sambal and fresh buffalo yoghurt with cucumber and coriander. We gathered around the 1950’s laminate table – all 10 of us cosied up, tucking into a combined effort Indian feast.

I had a bee in my bonnet about making a orange chocolate cake for dessert (I know, not very Indian), slathered in chocolate ganache with mascerated mandarins in orange blossom water. Wow, it was rich and delicious and fed 10 adults and 4 kids.To top our food fest off, we played a game called ‘The Art of Food Conversation’ [http://www.taoc.com.au/food.aspx] which had us all talking for hours about our first tastes, favourite meals, dislikes and a plethora of other food experiences. Lots of fun!
So back to Sunday....I decided I’d then set my elderly mother to work and got her sanding and painting my chest of drawers while the sun shone. I plied her with cups of tea and home-made slices. She is quite a hard worker my mum. We then took a bunch of wild and raucous children down to Pea Soup (of course it has a FOOD name!) beach where we all pranced around in the sand and scampered over rocks until the sun started to set and it was time to go home, get warm and ummm.....decide what was for dinner!