A pinch and a punch for the first of the month. Does anyone else still say that?
It’s the official start of winter today, here in the southern hemisphere, and also the day where covid related restrictions have eased again.
In Queensland while our borders are still shut to the rest of Australia, we can now travel anywhere within our state and even stay over. That of course means that I’m now busy working out where we can travel to for a long weekend. It’s truly ridiculous how restless I am. Anyways, let’s get into the weekly five:
Sunrises have been insane this week. There is a scientific reason for it, and it’s here.
I’ve also inhaled the new Netflix series Sweet Magnolias. It’s like a Hallmark Christmas movie – all the feels without the Christmas part. At the other end of the sweetness spectrum is Flack – on Foxtel. Set in London in a PR firm Anna Paquin’s self-destructive Robyn says she was drawn to PR because it makes the most of her two talents – lying and drinking. The show might be centred on Robyn, but all the best lines belong to her beautifully upper-class brittle side-kick Eve.
2. Day trips
I had some forced annual leave last week which came at exactly the right time for my mindset. We took a day drive – and soup and sandwiches – up to Cooroy and the Noosa National Park. I wrote about it here.
Then on Friday we drove into Kenilworth in the Mary Valley. The bakery out there is known for its pies and donuts and something called a 1kg donut challenge. My teeth and my arteries rattle at the thought, but plates hung around the shop tell a story of plenty of people who have taken on the challenge.
We bought a pie each and found a spot in the park to eat it.
Sarah’s birthday back in March coincided with the beginning of restaurant closures, so yesterday we finally had lunch at Il Vento, the restaurant we’d originally booked for her birthday.
It was weird having the restaurant almost to ourselves – still just 10 diners permitted, although from today 20 people are permitted in – but it was lovely putting on a proper face and eating out.
Okay, I’m a week late with this, but I got a sizeable amount of my hair chopped and all the blonde taken out of it. The decision was made out of boredom and restlessness – call it what you will – and the astrologer in me would have warned against making radical changes to appearance while Venus is retrograde, but there you go.
It had, when wet and straight, reached down past my waist and is now at shoulder length. She also textured madly, ie thinned it out a heap, and for the first time in many years it’s easy to wash and when I put my fingers through it, they don’t catch on knots.
It still feels weird and I haven’t yet decided whether I’ll keep it this length or this colour ie whether the blonde highlights will sneak back in, nor have I decided whether that makes me sensible and age-appropriate – both phrases that I tend to rebel against. There’s no denying that it’s much easier to manage, but…
Anyways, a really bad car selfie is below.
5. In the kitchen
The meat-free choice this week was Butter Chicken Cauliflower Without The Chicken. We’ve cooked this before, but this time around the ads on the website annoyed the living daylights out of me so I wrote it up for myself. The version I make is here.
Tray-bake Thursday, as Sarah is beginning to call it, was Nigella’s Indian-spiced Chicken Traybake. I’ll blog it later this week…maybe.
This week’s Saturday Kitchen destination was Burgundy, a region in France. We had, wait for it, Beef Burgundy, although it sounds so much better in French – Boeuf Bourguignon. However you say it, it has to be one of the unphotogenic dishes ever made… but tastes really good.
We also had these super simple French-style apple tarts with home-made vanilla ice cream.
French-style Apple Tarts
What you need
- 2 sheets of store-bought butter puff pastry
- 1 tablespoon of icing sugar
- 2 tablespoons of apricot jam
- 2 eating apples (we used pink ladies), cored and very thinly sliced
What you do with it
- Preheat your oven to 200C
- Use a saucer to cut circles out of the puff pastry, place them on a lightly greased oven tray, prick them all over with a fork and then dust with icing sugar (I use a tea strainer for this part).
- Warm the apricot jam until it’s thin enough to brush (a short burst in the microwave does the job).
- Arrange the apple slices in a fanned circle on the pastry, brush them with the apricot jam, and pop it in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and crisp at the edges.