Category Archives: Food

sometimes you just have to


Dr B was so worried that we’d get a birthday cake he didn’t like. We may have overcompensated 😀

When it comes to birthdays, most of us would be happy with a cake, as long as it wasn’t burnt or too dry. Right? Dr B has been worried for weeks that we’d get him something he doesn’t like. He even announced, in very worried tones, that he’d better order it himself. I told him that was a bad idea, as YoungB and I had already taken care of it… But, until it turned up, I don’t think he was at all convinced.

When you need a little pick-me-up, that’s a tiramisù (generally considered to be a dessert originating in Dr B’s part of Italy; so perhaps he has reason to worry about how good or bad it might be here Down Under, particularly amid the COVID-19 pandemic).

Never say he isn’t spoilt rotten!


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even the boss does laundry


Pic of recent Friday arvo drink, shared virtually around the team via group chat.

During an official meeting the other day, I was enormously cheered to hear the boss say that any funny noise was coming from her washing machine (because everyone else was on mute, so it had to be hers). Oh, yes, we can all capitalise on a sunny day when we’re working from home, and it’s a sure-fire way to feel productive.

As for other means of feeling productive? Yeah, not so much. Teleconference meetings are OK but haven’t really changed much since I last had a love-hate affair with them. Luckily, most team meetings are small and all the voices familiar; and state meetings are manageable because only a few people need to speak; but when it’s a branch meeting? You say hi, you listen on mute, and you log off at the end. It’s not satisfactory for anyone, but it helps to maintain a feeling of being part of the whole and it does ensure that we’re up to date with the latest directives.

Sometimes, the wires get crossed. Instructions are not always clear, although we have a couple of people in our small team who are excellent at asking questions to clarify anything they don’t understand. That usually clears up a pile of things for most of the rest of us. As for me? Sometimes I don’t know what it is that I don’t know, so I tend to sit in the background on mute, because I am mute, but connected all the same.

Other days, the technology problems are so widespread, frustrating and long-lasting that it’s difficult to be mute but I ensure my bad language doesn’t reach other ears. That’s when I go into the garden and sniff the lemon-scented geranium to restore my equilibrium. I have discovered that I don’t swear nearly as much as I thought I did, but I may well be developing a drinking problem by way of over-compensating for such angelic behaviour 😀

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Posted by on April 23, 2020 in Food, Musing


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Notts not Yorks

Individual Yorkshire puddings. Image from BBC Food

Please excuse and forgive, and read this with your best Yorkshire accent: My “bake them in muffin tins” Yorkshire pudding recipe were gived me years ago by a Notts friend.

OK, as you were.

I reckon if it’s good enough for her – they’re right next door to each other, after all, and this appears to be common practice – then there’s absolutely no reason why I can’t do it. So, every now and then, I do. I will point out that, my own Yorkshire ancestry notwithstanding, roast beef wasn’t something we ever had when I was a kid – that was for rich people; and we weren’t – so its accompanying pudding simply wasn’t in my culinary lexicon. We occasionally had dumplings in stew, but they’re quite different.

Dr B’s first wife was from Birmingham, and I’m led to believe that one of her regular meal offerings was roast beef and Yorkshire pudding so he – oddly for an Italian – has a particular fondness for that combination. He expressed a wish for some tonight.

YoungB was in the kitchen again, and the menu was roast lamb (rather than beef) and veggies with (individual) Yorkshire puddings. I had an advisory role with mixing up the pudding batter, as the recipe is in Imperial measures; but my scales have dual markings and he has a good head for conversions. Dr B was in charge of instructions for the gravy, which he said was going to be made “properly” and “traditionally”. Yeah, nah, I wouldn’t reckon so.

In all the years he and I have been together, he has never made “real” gravy. He will always make some tasty approximation, but starting with flour in the pan, browning it over heat and scraping in the bits and pieces and pan juices while slowly adding water or stock as I learnt when I was a girl? That’s really not in his culinary lexicon! Tonight he used cornflour, I note, shaking my head sadly, and adding it to – well, no matter. It was tasty and a good workable and common enough approximation of gravy but clearly I will have to attend to YoungB’s education in that regard at some later date 😀

May you, too, have individually tasty treats with your dinner, whether or not the gravy is traditional.


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and one must eat, right?

How to cook perfect spaghetti alle vongole | Life and ...

Dr B enjoyed spaghetti alla vongole (Guardian photo)

I know I’ve said before that Adelaide has many first-class eateries, both CBD and metropolitan. Occasionally, there’s a large amount of travel involved, which can be a disincentive. Having said that, I often point out that, when I was a youngster, we would think nothing of driving a very long way to the seaside for exceptional coffee (of course the vendor in question has long since vanished). You can do that when you’re young. Right?!

When YoungB does a radio gig, or is at the station for a committee meeting, he occasionally grabs takeaway pizza from a nearby Italian pizzeria and restaurant. Last weekend, we dined in the restaurant section. It’s about 30 minutes from our place (and considerably less from YoungB’s workplace or mine), meaning that it requires minimal effort for us to get there from anywhere. We rumbled up in YoungB’s sporty little Italian car, whined the turbos a few times and parked right out the front. As you do. Right?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Dr B can be very picky about Italian food. He was full of praise for the meal – particularly his fresh, South Australian seafood – and we all enjoyed the ambience. YoungB was nicely surprised, too, as he’s hitherto only been in the pizzeria. We agreed we could take overseas guests to dine there and feel that we’d be in good hands.

May all your culinary adventures be equally delicious and effortless 🙂


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Posted by on March 13, 2020 in Food


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yeah, orright


Just about time to crank out the handknitted headgear, too 🙂

All things considered, it’s looking like time to reinstate the winter sheets. You what?! I  know. Sunday was warm to the point of being what some might consider hot – we reached the forecast maximum of 31 degrees – but the nights are cool enough, and YoungB’s cabin doesn’t retain heat as well as the house. He asked for warmer sheets. I’m on his side. The only delay might arise from the need to purchase new bedlinen for his new mattress (a larger, thicker one than its predecessor).

On the weekend, I was looking at wool over at my LYS. Only looking, honest (as well as checking their bedlinen; nothing suitable for YoungB’s bed, alas). Wool is something of which I need no more for years, but I like to check out what’s in vogue this season, even if I don’t purchase anything. I have a large enough stash to keep me going for a while and for the sorts of things I make, stash yarns are usually  more than adequate; unless someone requests something specific that requires yarn that either I don’t have or couldn’t substitute.

Further progress on squares for baby blankets? Yeah, no, not so much. YoungB and I had a night-time outing on Saturday, after what had been a busy working week for both of us. We caught up with Youngest Aunt and Uncle for a meal together at a nearby pub before heading off for what was actually the second part of Youngest Aunt’s birthday present:  a night-time walking tour of West Terrace Cemetery, with theatrical re-tellings of some of the more hair-raising tales. Adelaide is renowned for bizarre murders, so the selected stories didn’t disappoint..

The tours do run outside of Fringe and Festival times, but for us it was a Fringe gig. It was also a cemetery none of us had ever before visited, as we have no forbears buried there and YoungB – who did his high-schooling practically next door – didn’t visit it as part of any cultural excursion. It’s large, and would repay a visit during daylight hours, one of these days. My godfather is buried there with his family, so I could take a bunch of flowers for him to make it worthwhile.

I hope your weekend was more productive than mine, but I’m claiming cultural education as my reason. Could you really disagree with that? 🙂


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it didn’t last very long


Getting those tents ready again. See? I don’t know where we’ll play bocce 😀

As you were – or as it’s heading for again, as seen from the office earlier today. That’s sunny and fine enough, but this morning was surprisingly damp, as the lingering clouds might suggest.

Tonight, Dr B and I wandered over to our local Italian Club to buy pizza, rather than do it ourselves. Call it a treat for having reached Friday!

May your reward for reaching Friday be equally as toothsome.

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Posted by on February 28, 2020 in Food, Uncategorized


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the considerate, self-sufficient milennial


All the squares are done now, but for the final joining round. This was the state of play when I took myself out to the pergola yesterday for a crochet session 😀

Recently, I watched YoungB cook himself brunch: scrambled eggs and ham, accompanied by fresh coffee (I was responsible for that bit). He is somewhat a natural foodie, as you might expect when food is such an important part of Italian culture and family life. He is also pragmatic enough that he could make a meal out of whatever is in the fridge and have you complimenting him when he presented the finished product. Dr B and I have both had a hand in teaching him that sort of versatility, though we approach the task in very different ways. It is certainly true that we could all “cook from the cupboard” in extremis, without missing a beat.

These are good skills for YoungB to have acquired over the years, and likely to stand him in good stead for the rest of his life. Knowing how to cook – his high-school cooking teacher nicknamed him Master Chef because she was so impressed by his pastry skills – and having spent those years working in hospitality have combined to give him a better appreciation of our quality local eateries, at one of which he and I recently enjoyed a hearty brunch.

When he returned from his year in Italy, he scoffed at our pasta machine because – he said; and rightly – it’s not a lot more effort to make pasta by hand, and there’s no doubt that the end product is superior. Quite. Not long ago, when I reminded him that he hasn’t made pasta for us in a long while, he agreed that life is often too busy to allocate the necessary amount of extra time, however small, and that – luckily for us – there are places nearby where we can buy good, fresh pasta. We often do. If you don’t support your local suppliers, you lose them and their contribution to your community.

Today, however, he has been cooking up a storm so that he has something to take for lunch most days this coming week. The gang from his workplace tends to eat out on Fridays, in part to support their local small eateries. There’s a good variety at that end of the CBD, to some extent dictated by proximity to university campuses and a major hospital. But today, YoungB cooked himself some burrito mix, prepped and rolled a couple and put them in his lunchbox ready for tomorrow’s dash out the door.

He wrapped a couple for me, too, so that neither Dr B nor I need worry about lunch tomorrow or the next day. Not only that, he helped me with a couple of domestic chores that have proved beyond Dr B – some at-height cleaning that requires ladders, steady hands and good eyesight, and defies all but the most dedicated efforts – and then let me sit and work at the baby blanket uninterrupted while he cooked.

What a thoughtful young man. He’s definitely worth the food 🙂

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Posted by on February 23, 2020 in Crochet, Food


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a headachey week, and TDU

rainbow in progress.jpg

These are not in final order, or any order at all. But aren’t they cheerful, even though the lighting is so dim?

When a colleague asks sympathetically if your day’s absence from work was because you had a “real headache” or a “husband headache”, you know the world isn’t entirely devoid of goodness and good humour.

The headache having been real, if occasionally exacerbated by the husband, I decided to reduce my small-screen time when away from work. This enabled me to make a few more starburst granny squares, and sit with Dr B occasionally to watch the day’s replay of Tour Down Under stages on our “we need it that large so we can read the subtitles” TV.

Dr B rode his motorbike to a couple of the stages, for the buzz and the solidarity. The days of family involvement in the community challenge are behind us for mostly practical reasons, but we remain strong supporters. However, as we’ve long agreed, the best way to see the race is to view it on a big screen. If that’s in the comfort of your own lounge room rather than the sporting bar of some local hostelry then, while you might miss the camaraderie, you certainly don’t have to queue for anything.

I should admit that the crochet hasn’t been without its moments of exacerbating the headache. I strayed from the matrix for one square – too tired or too inattentive or both – and ended up having to unpick a round; but just one round, on a granny square, so no big deal. A couple of other squares required mid-round unpicking – again, no big deal – and the one I’m trying to do now simply doesn’t want to cooperate. So I’ve stopped for a while and started to sew in some ends. A change of pace is always helpful.

The colours are, as you would expect, rainbow-cheerful, and different people like different squares. When I took my crochet to our fortnightly craft corner at work, one square that doesn’t do much for me was pronounced as the firm favourite by a couple of others. So there you are. Rainbows have something for everyone.

The Lincraft 8-ply cotton that I’m using is lovely to work with. It’s soft, but has good definition and doesn’t split. The range of colours is not bad. Because I work in the city and there’s a nearby store, I can bob in after work and grab more if I run out. I’m trying not to buy more than my calculations suggest I need, but it would be frustrating to lose the game of yarn chicken half a round, or less, from the end.

That would create a headache of its own, wouldn’t it?



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food to share and enjoy


Perhaps not many would be lining up for this exotic dish; but Dr B enjoyed every morsel of his cucumber soup 🙂

During 2019, we did a lot of rushing about for various reasons. Along the way, we investigated some new, and some new-to-us, eateries, recommended by friends, colleagues, and fellow foodies. I investigated a few myself during lunchtime walks, sometimes so that I could assess them with an eye to future meetings or catch-ups of the coffee variety.

There’s no shortage of food options on Victoria Square, which is a short walk from my office. Some offerings I’ve tried, some I’ve yet to try. Walking in a different direction, and a little farther afield, sees deluxe sandwich and slow service territory with little likelihood of managing lunch in my allocated 30 minutes. I shared a long business lunch somewhere closer and more expensive; but in that case I’d already organised extra time off, so I wouldn’t have to rush.

Over the end-of-year break, we were able to continue investigating culinary options. Not only was it too hot to cook, but nobody really had the energy to do it. More tellingly, when you’re on holiday, you have the luxury of sufficient time to sit about for hours over lunch. We certainly can’t do that during the working week. I say this as one who felt guilty about even the sanctioned morning tea, and couple of long lunches prior to Christmas. I returned to work after all of them, and put in genuine work back at the office. There are plenty who notice, and make note of, when contractors come and go. It’s a horrid way to work, and you have to justify every extra minute you claim; but I’m not here today to gripe about the system.

Maintaining the foodie theme, I note that we wound up 2019 with cocktails and snacks at YoungB’s old workplace, then plunged into 2020 by having a long, wondrous lunch underneath the shade of old trees and away from the noise of main roads. This is not a new or new-to-us eatery, but one we thoroughly enjoy.

Here’s hoping for more of the same in 2020 🙂


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Posted by on January 18, 2020 in Food


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a somewhat weird first week


This time the mist hiding the hills is the usual sort, thank goodness. The tents are already going up for the TDU Village.

My first full week back at work was a time of discovery: first, that my colleagues are Very Funny people. Some of them – I have my suspicions as to the identity of the ringleader! – decided to put my name front and centre in a training-session slide… heading an email I’d sent them from my previous job (as recently as April last year). Hahaha. Thanks for the hilarity. It was funny, but it was also a, “Wow, hasn’t life changed in that short space of time?” moment.

Second, that complete strangers can be very kind. One morning, as I was enjoying my stroll in the sunshine en route from the bus to the office building, a woman a little younger than I said, “Excuse me, lovely lady,” and tucked in my protruding label… which is meant to be one of Dr B’s jobs, but plainly one he’d not done well that morning. I thanked her sincerely, then we laughed and shared chit-chat and comments about the hot weather and the hazards of icily airconditioned buildings.

Third, that I’m not nearly as tough as I thought I was when it comes to weird drinks. After having often managed to down some extremely bitter Italian drinks, I didn’t think a mere cup of tea would defeat me. But it did. I couldn’t even finish it!

Fourth, that the general shenanigans of various armed forces on the world stage could bring me to decide that, what the heck? I’d jolly well go and have a coffee and a cupcake during my lunch break. The cafe was charming, the iced latte acceptable, but on the whole the cupcake was somewhat disappointing. It wouldn’t have been a bad thing to have been eating, had I ended up blown to smithereens, but not optimal.

Fifth, although this is not a new discovery, that the weather is capable of anything! I found myself electing to have a sandwich and coffee indoors one day because, despite its being January and appallingly hot most of the time, that day it was actually cold and wet. I know. The view from the office window was distinctly damp, but also a reminder that the TDU will soon be kicking off.

Sixth, that my crojo is so absent at the moment that I couldn’t bring myself to join the fortnightly craft corner that’s part of our office’s wellbeing efforts. I have rather less than zero energy and about the same amount of enthusiasm for any of the patterns I’m trying. This is not a good place to be when two little cousins are going to need rugs in March. Granny squares look like being a solution I can manage.

Seventh, although this was more a reminder, that it is delightful to meet up with the Bs after work on Friday for a leisurely evening meal at the Market. Since YoungB started full-time work, we’ve struggled to get our calendars in synch. Last week, after we’d all rushed about for this, that and the next meeting, we finally managed it. That was an unquestionably nice way to end a decidedly odd week.

They weren’t all on separate days, but I appear to have come up with something that could be allocated individually to each day of the whole week, not simply my working week.

If your work week is also weird, I do hope that it’s in nice ways 🙂

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Posted by on January 11, 2020 in Crochet, Food


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