5 things – Sunday, April 19, 2020

So, here we are at the end of another week. Here in Aus, they’re cautiously saying that the COVID-19 curve is flattening and are beginning to talk not just about control, but suppression. We’re still at level 3 and will be for another month. Across the ditch in NZ they should be coming off level 4 restrictions this week. Fingers crossed.

It’s been hilarious watching our prime minister finding different words and phrases to prove that he’s not copying the kiwis. Either way, both countries have done so well and we’re all hopeful about the possibility of a “Pacific Bubble” that will allow us to travel between Australia and New Zealand again. Even though we know there are still many more months before that is on the cards, it’s still a little light at the end of the tunnel.

Okay, onto the five things that made me smile, think or wonder about…

1.Things I’m watching

Masterchef is back – and I’m very glad about that. Aside from the fact that I enjoy the show, it’s something that all of us watch after dinner each night – and after months of the three of us wandering to different parts of the house while MKR (Grant), Married At First Sight (Sarah) and Australian Survivor (Sarah and Grant) were on, that’s a very good thing. Plus, the dog is heaps happier not having to run between everyone. She’s free to relax on one lap.

I wondered how I’d feel this year – with three new judges – but it’s good. Andy Allen, in particular, seems a natural at it. And I’m loving the banter with the all-stars version.

Also this week I’ve been watching the neighbourhood children (who probably should have been social distancing better) turn the jacaranda tree on the nature-strip into, well, I have no idea, but it involved pulleys and ropes and baskets and hours of fun. They had walkie talkies to communicate with parents but as much as they were from different households, it was fabulous to see kids on the streets playing.

2. What I’m loving on the interwebs


I’m loving the #meat20 pics that are circulating around the socials at the moment. I think it probably started on twitter but given that I haven’t looked at Twitter for a couple of years now, who knows. Anyways, the idea is to post a photo of yourself at 20.

I couldn’t (easily) find a pic of myself at 20, but I did find one of me at 25 – at least I think I would have been 25. This was taken on the first overseas trip that Grant and I did together – to Singapore.

On Instagram

This picture of James Martin’s dog Cooper. Now, if that isn’t doggy joy I don’t know what is.

Also this week I loved these pics on the ‘gram.

The Rainbow Connection

The rainbow pavement movement. It started with some kids and some chalk in (I think) Melbourne. Here’s a local example.

There was also this really clever bookshelf – you’ll need to look closely to get the message – and a fabulous meme about ifTrump was the captain of the Titanic which I won’t post only because this is supposed to be a political-free zone.

3. The jigsaw files

Okay, so I’m not really doing them (my attention span doesn’t go that far) but Sarah and Grant are – and I’m contributing the occasional piece (which I’m announcing loudly). I do find it quite restful listening to them moving the pieces around in the box.

We did a contact-free swap with a friend in our suburb for this one. They’d warned us that it was missing a piece, but it was still disappointing to finish and see the empty space there.

Currently we’re off to Thailand with this one.

4. Things I’m reading

I’m reading mostly travel-related books this month. I finished this old favourite early in the week

and am now reading The Anglo Files by Sarah Lyall. It’s been sitting in my bookcase for a few years now waiting for its chance. Lyall is an American journalist who fell in love with a Brit and moved to London. The book is touted as being “a deliberately merciless (yet affectionate) taxonomy of the British species.”

To be honest, I’m not getting it – sure, I’m nodding at times, but I’m finding it on the whole biased and any humour is quite tart and (I think) a tad unkind. Plus, it doesn’t feel as though she’s understanding the British, or even attempting to, but rather attempting to place them into a box that she’s more familiar with. I haven’t yet decided if I’ll finish it.

What I am loving though (and am almost finished) is my first audio book – Michelle Obama’s Becoming.

I tend not to read (or watch) anything that’s won awards or that everyone else is reading – it’s a ludicrously hypocritical reverse snobbery thing. And I rarely touch biographies or autobiographies. This one, though, is different. I’ve long admired the Obamas and after listening to Michelle’s story in her own voice, oh man, that admiration has grown so much.

This one is a long listen – 18 hours – but I’ve been plugging away at it on my afternoon walks.

5. What I’ve been cooking

It’s been a massive week in the kitchen.

First up was Nigella’s Lamb and Aubergine Fatteh. Okay, the recipe (which you’ll find here) is for beef, but we used lamb mince. Sarah (in particular) was very “I don’t know how I feel about this” in relation to the aubergine and Grant, who also isn’t keen on eggplant (unless it’s Rice Boi’s version down at Mooloolaba Wharf – back in the days when we could eat out…aaah, the memories) would have said the same except they’d both not long received a lecture about opening their minds when it came to trying new things.

Anyways, everyone loved this, and it will be on regular rotation in Chez Tracey. It’s really like a Middle-Eastern nachos and the perfect Sunday night supper. I served the toasted pitta bread on the side so they didn’t get soggy. Give it a go.

Also during the week, I made this laksa. I cheated on the paste – it’s made locally on the Sunshine Coast and sold at our weekly markets and is, I think, the best laksa paste going around. If you’re interested, you can find out more about it here. This version had a little chicken and tofu in it but was jam-packed full of veggies.

Then there were bread rolls on Friday (which I told you about here) and the creamiest, yummiest yoghurt ice-cream ever (if I do say so myself). I used pretty much this recipe here.

Saturday Kitchen’s destination of the week was Thailand so this book came out and I got to use heaps of these little scud Thai chillies I’ve been growing.

I made fish cakes and a spicy yellow fish curry. On account of the candles I decided to light to make things a little more special, the lighting was terrible, so no photos of the food.

Sarah thought it was hilarious that the candles I lit for a Thai dinner had all come from France – the beautiful ceramic one I bought in Lille, and the empty yoghurt pots I carried home and now fill with tea-lights. Yeah, I could have put more thought and effort into it all I suspect!

Last but absolutely not least I made these Singing Hinnies – which you’ll need to wait until next week to hear about.

In case you missed it

On the blog this week:

Okay, that was my week. What’s been making you smile this week?

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

31 thoughts

  1. Hi, Jo – I’ve recently read Michelle’s book as well. I enjoyed it much more than I thought that I would. (I too try to steer clear of hype).
    Once again, your food pics are amazing. Thank you for leaving us with a cliff-hanger. I will definitely be back to find out more about the singing hinnies. Until then… 😀

  2. Hi Jo, I love the clever bookshelf. Your family is so lucky to have you as their Chef. Your food photos look amazing. Now I look forward to hearing about the Singing Hinnies. #lifethisweek

  3. Looks like you’ve had some great cooking adventures recently! I love Thai food and the middle eastern nachos look amazing!

    1. This week we’ve drawn America from the destination decision bowl. I’m yet to decide what’s on the menu.

  4. Over the weekend I watched a satirical show Medical Police – filmed before the pandemic but about a pandemic. It makes fun of procedural crime shows and their fake drama. So good.

  5. Well Jo – I think you manage to achieve more in a week than I do in a month! Great that there’s still lots to occupy your mind and time while life is in lockdown. I’m not too bothered about travel to NZ but I would LOVE the Premier in WA to decide to re-open our “zones” so I can drive to Perth to see my kids and grandgirls without a police blockade and a big fine (it feels like we’re living behind the Berlin Wall atm).
    That all being said, life in iso is still pretty good – and I’m enjoying the teddies and rainbows too.

  6. Loving your shots as always Jo and your eclectic mix of topics always makes me smile. I’m not a Masterchef fan but understand why you are into it! I just love that book collection 🙂 #lifethisweek

  7. So much goodness in one post – I especially loved the library pic, that’s pure gold. Talking of great pics, have you checked out the Instagram account @dogsworkingfromhome? I think you’d love it! The fatteh sounds delish, I will have to have a google and when it comes to jigsaws, you’re like David and I’m like Sarah and Grant! I did a Disney one which was so fun and now I’m doing a cover of the New Yorker magazine and it’s so difficult, I wonder if I’ll ever finish it! Will keep an eye out for Michelle’s book.

    1. I love @dogsworkingfromhome. Your New Yorker jigsaw looks amazing. I picked up Michelle’s book when audible were have a free trial with 2 free books.

  8. I too enjoy Michelle’s book. Loved the pic of the Thai temple remind me of my time living in Chiang Mai. Take care…..

  9. Oh I loved Michelle reading her own words…and listened to her to and from Sydney on a few occasions. What a life…and I particularly enjoyed learning about her early years.
    Good on kids and trees and imagination!
    I wondered what had happened with master chef and judges now I know.

    I tend not to watch much these days but glad you are…and keep us up to date.
    Thanks for linking up for Life This Week. Next week, the optional prompt is 17/51 Life Stories#1 27.4.2020. Hope to see you there too. Denyse.

    1. I think Michelle reading it really made that book. I’m listening to one narrated by Stephen Fry at the moment and again the experience is enhanced by the narration.

  10. I am new to this site and enjoyed your post, pictures and commentary. Most of the food is unknown to me. The dishes are pretty (which you will understand if you read my post). I am in the car a lot so listen to audio books on a regular basis, generally going through everything my library has, or everything they have that interests me. I listen on short trips (20 minutes) and much longer ones (hours in the car). I look forward to reading and seeing more. Blessings, Micheele

    1. Thanks for dropping by & yes, I picked up on teh significance of the pretty China when I read about your homewares shopping.

  11. You prepare and enjoy such pretty food. I am slapping Hamburger Helper on the plates some nights over here. Ha! Spent most of one day making a French onion chicken recipe that was new to me, so I followed the directions, and was so disappointed in it. The chicken was more like leather. Which was something lacking in the chef’s preparation and not in the recipe!! But still BOO!

    Lovely photos from Instagram. And lovely images on the puzzles you are working. I cannot find 2 pieces to the perimeter of my current puzzle. Have been checking the litter box.

    1. Awww thanks for saying that. As an aside, some recipes simply aren’t great. I’ve had a couple of fails of things where other people are ooohing and aaahing in the ratings and I’m like “meh”.

  12. Your blog makes me feel hungry. I listened to Michelle Obama read an abridged version of her book on radio as our book at bedtime. It was better than I expected and I admire the Obama’s.

  13. I so enjoyed this post, Jo. I haven’t decided about joining the #meat20 meme, but your picture is fabulous! I love how this quarantine is getting us all to try out new recipes with the ingredients we have.
    Thank you for such a refreshing post. I made me smile to see the creativity of your neighbourhood children!

  14. Hi, it’s nice to see people are still reading ‘real’ books. I know that e-books are ‘easier’ but there’s nothing better than holding a book in your hand and turning the pages. The bookshelf idea is a great one, and very clever! Love Thai food, and your Laksa looks devine. 🙂

  15. Hi Jo another great week for you and a couple of new books for me to explore. When are you opening a restaurant? You certainly have the skills and I’m tempted to break isolation and drive up the Coast for one of your delicious dinners. Yesterday I made some ‘healthier version’ ANZAC biscuits and although I’m not a baker they actually turned out well and taste pretty good. Your bread rolls are something I would like to try next. Thanks for sharing at #MLSTL and sorry for the late visit, my computer hasn’t wanted to play this week and preferred to give me frustration rather than working with me. Have a lovely weekend, Jo! xx

  16. Those food pics! Oh my goodness…so much yum! I must admit I’m not much of a TV person – I just watch Netflix or don’t bother most time. In fact, I realised last week, I hadn’t turned on my TV for an entire week. I tried audiobooks some years ago but never got into it. Wonder if I should try it in iso-life and if it might be different?! Then again, I mostly listen to music if I’m listening to stuff. Hope you’ve been having a wonderful week!

  17. The “Pacific Bubble” does sound good and hopeful. Funny on the dog running between everyone. You are gorgeous in the photo, Joanne! I think I had a shirt similar to yours. I read “Becoming” yet it would add a new dimension to the book to listen to Michelle read it. Great photos! I am drooling again.

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