Summer pea soup with smoked trout salad

19 07 2012

Possibly a bit odd to be posting this in July, when chilled soup is the last thing on your mind. This was the start of a menu for a very hot day in January (the Architect’s birthday, no less). I’m very much a creature of my immediate context – it’s hard for me to imagine it being hot when I’m shivering here in thermals and jumpers and drinking hot tea like it’s going out of style. So it’s good to remember that this too will pass, and the hot days will come again.

So. A nice chilled summer pea soup. Yum.


This was a little more stuffing about than the tomato and harissa soup. It’s cooked, cooled, blended and then chilled. It called for a cup of cream, which seemed excessive, so I went instead for half a cup of cream and then an extra teaspoon to garnish.

It was pretty tasty. Body from a sneaky potato, and the paprika gave it a nice smoky flavour.

The soup went along with a smoked trout salad, served on a lettuce leaf (and on a banana leaf plate, here). Interesting but a bit too fiddly for the payoff.


I might make the soup again, but probably not the salad.


Low light

9 07 2012

We’ve had no power since 8am. It’s dinner time now, and after a day of no access to computer or internet, I’m making dinner on the camp stove. The Architect is playing me a song on the guitar.

We have candlelight and homebrewed ginger beer.

If it weren’t for the desire to later have a hot shower, I’d be fine if this lasted for a couple of days more.


5 07 2012

It seems to be Thursday again, which is not really a surprise, but somehow I think it should still be earlier in the week. Since stepping off the world of fulltime, 9-5 (8-7) work 2 months (2 months!) ago, I’ve been amazed at where the time goes. Even without the day-in, day-out anchor of that routine, of those big chunks of time taken up with Doing Things, time keeps on flowing by regardless, refusing to stop and wait for me, even though I’ve stopped.

So here we are. Thursday of the week that is eight weeks since I stopped work. This is the longest I’ve been unemployed since, well, ever, and certainly since I entered the rat-race.

I love it. Equally terrified of it, of course. Who am I without a convenient job label to allow people to categorise me? (or to give myself a convenient marker of being a Good Part of Society?)

It’s not like I’ve been sitting on the couch the entire time though. The first couple of weeks, when I was technically “on leave”, were about recovery. Recuperation. I had pushed and pushed and pushed until past the point my body was willing to go, and paid for it. It’s a bit of a blur, now, but there was a lot of sleeping, reading, sitting in the sun and having cups of tea with people and on my own. And errands. A long list of things that hadn’t been done since, oooh, 2008 or so.

Those errands seamlessly transformed into wedding-things. The next couple of weeks are a different kind of blur, of lists of different things. Lists of people, of food, of types of cheese and wine. Of phonecalls to make and emails to send and things to organise and buy and stamp and do and wear and places to be and people to talk to and decisions to make.

Then, of course, the day of the party itself, which is a gorgeous, paper-moon-lit ginger-beer-and-kisses-flavoured blur.

Followed by a jaunt to the home of the Cup Noodle.

And then, back here, to calm and silence and working out what needs to go on the new list.

I’ll keep you posted.


3 06 2012

Last night I had champagne.

Today I have real pain.

Geddit?...instant hangover

Some lovely friends suggested celebratory cocktails and dinner in the Valley, ahead of the wedding next weekend, because why pass up a chance to have cocktails and dinner? So after some swish martinis (of the proper variety and of the espresso variety) at the Bowery, we ordered and devoured most of the menu at Wagaya. A lovely surprise was piccolo bottles of champagne covered with the stickers we’re using for our homebrewed ginger beer and apple cider at the wedding. We drank them through gorgeous paper straws. I drank two. Maybe three. Feels like three, today.

A fabulous, delicious and classy evening with some delightful company.

Only downside being the dirty hangover today. Totally worth it.


Winter is here

1 06 2012

In the first week after I finished work, I did all these things. Lots of things. Made a giant list and ticked it off.

Talking to my friend B about it (who had a similar 6 weeks between gigs at the start of last year), she said, “Just you wait a couple of weeks. Soon it will be amazing if you even get off the couch.”

And it turns out she was right. I’ve been busy with things, mostly related to the giant party that’s happening in a week. And looking for a new job, and sorting through random boxes of stuff, blah blah blah. But it’s still a bit tricky to actually account for where the day goes.

Anyway, today is a perfect day to be inside – it’s rainy and grey and drizzling and cold and generally winter. Time for a cuppa.

Go to 6 new restaurants

28 05 2012

This one was in the 101 things challenge as a way to try some new places to eat. Familiarity is nice, and everyone likes a guaranteed result, but it can be nice to branch out as well. I don’t go out to eat that often, but I love doing it, so when I go I really want to enjoy it.

So here’s six new places I’ve eaten at (in no particular order) and loved since this challenge started back in January 2010 (and here’s my urbanspoon profile for more of the same).

Restaurant Amusé, East Perth

Hands down one of the best meals I’ve ever had. I was in Perth for CHOGM, and the Architect had come with me. We decided to do one fancy night out, and chose Amusé based on advice from the internets. The internets gave us very good advice. They do a 10 course dégustation from local ingredients, with wine matching, and every single thing was absolutely exquisite and beautifully presented. I know I’m in danger of the hyperbole police coming, but it was seriously that good.

Taro’s Ramen, Brisbane city

Taro’s website humbly proclaims it “The best ramen in Australia”. He’s right. It is. I’ve eaten a bit of ramen in my time (excluding 2 minute noodles – those I have eaten a LOT of in my time). This is the ramen that made me understand why people love ramen. Handmade noodles. Incredible Bangalow sweet pork stock. Perfectly cooked eggs. The Fire Tonkotsu is where it’s at. Trust me, I’ve eaten my way through most of the menu.

Caravanserai, West End

Got a dinner coming up with a bunch of people with different tastes? Maybe some picky eaters in there? Take ’em to Caravanserai. It’s noisy and dark and cosy and has pretty lanterns. The banquet is the most ridiculous amount of food, and it’s delicious and pleases everyone (except maybe people who don’t like noisy and dark places).

Sono, Brisbane city

For my first couple of years in Brisbane, my go-to Japanese restaurant was Sakura in Highgate Hill – cheap, cheerful, what more could you want? But lately I’ve started to prefer Sono. While it’s a bit more expensive, the quality is better and the lunch sets are perfect for a cheeky celebration. And they sometimes have fresh uni. FRESH. UNI. Enough said.

Bamboo Basket, South Bank

WTF is xiaolongbao and how do you have soup in a dumpling? you may ask. Until you go here, and eat one, and then your world is taken over with cravings for more. A steamed pork dumpling filled with hot soup. Eat with care. Burnt tongue or no, I’ll be back.

Movida Next Door, Melbourne

A gorgeous few days in Melbourne last autumn with the Architect. Quite a few highlights: excellent dinners at Izakaya-den, Longrain, and of course the infamous four bottles of wine between three dinner with Anna at Siglo. Wandering the laneways for hours. Coffee and crumpets with vegemite in a tiny cafe. Moseying through the National Gallery of Victoria (I can’t be the first person to point out that Victoria is not a nation…?). Sitting the Architect down and asking him to marry me. Lying on the lawn in Carlton Gardens. Looking at cute things all around Fitzroy. Breakfast with Miff and baby Jez at the markets. But one of the first things that comes to mind when I think of those few days is the Monte y mar, the pork-stuffed calamari with squid ink dressing, that we had at MoVida Next Door. Silky texture, amazing taste, washed down with sangria, shared with a lovely man. And for dessert, my first churros. Perfect.

Taking pictures and pinning things

27 05 2012

Hey, by the way, I’m on instagram. More correctly, I’m addicted to instagram. Find me, I’m sherdie, or here’s a tumblr I set up, or here’s the heroku feed.

And while we’re at it, I’m on Pinterest as well (less addicted to that, now, but it was pretty fierce for a while there).