How was your weekend? It’s getting warmer here and we’ve had a weekend with storms rolling around so storm season must have arrived.
In other news, I’m almost back to full mileage on my calf muscle and clocked up 80,000 steps last week. While I still need to build back up to my longer walks in the afternoon, I’m definitely getting there.
Okay, without further ado, on with the five:
It’s my husband’s birthday today so we went out for lunch yesterday and I’m cooking one of his favourites – Balinese roast pork belly with sambal – for dinner tonight. I might even make him a birthday cake – although I haven’t decided that just yet.
Below are some of the foodie pics from our lunch – Sarah’s cocktail, my tuna tartare, my char-grilled Moreton Bay Bugs, Sarah’s mango dessert:
We’re off to Cairns for a mini-break later this week and I can’t wait.
2. Titting About and other bits and pieces
Now Mum, before you begin to say something like “Joanne, I’m sure you can come up with a better word than that,” let me say that this is the title of a new podcast by Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French where they are, pretty much, titting about.
Anyways, it’s really worth a listen. It’s free on Audible but you do need to be a member to listen.
I also liked this meme.
The democracy sausage…
Our state election is happening on the 31st so we voted early – and made sure we grabbed our democracy sausage. For anyone reading this from outside Australia, voting is compulsory here and local community groups run sausage sizzles at voting places with the proceeds going to community causes.
3. Novel Planning
I’m well into planning mode for the novel I’ll be beginning in November. In case you haven’t heard of it, November is NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. It’s not really national though, as hundreds of thousands of people around the world participate. Nor is it necessarily about writing a novel. It is, however, about writing 50,000 words – which is a great start.
I like to use it to take new ideas for a test flight and this November I’ll be heading back to Queenstown (virtually speaking) and writing the sequel to Wish You Were Here. The storyline centres around three women: Milly Fletcher, her daughter Jess, and Maxine Henderson. Some of the characters from Happy Ever After will also be featured. The whole family is eagerly awaiting the arrival of Max’s child, but an unexpected visitor disrupts everything.
I’ll be tracking my word count daily on my author Facebook page, my Instagram page and updating progress weekly on my author blog.
And, because I’m back in New Zealand, I’ll also be researching (and cooking) some Kiwi baking classics over the next few months, so keep an eye out for that.
4. Jacaranda season
It’s jacaranda time, and I’m loving the purple flowers everywhere – and the carpets of them following rain. When she was little Sarah used to call them fairy flowers and it’s still how I think of them.
The flame trees are also beginning to bloom, so while we mightn’t get spring blossoms and bulb flowers up here, there’s still plenty of colour to be excited about.
5. Kitchen bits and pieces
Nigella’s new cookbook is almost ready to land and I have it at the top of my list for Santa. The Times and The Guardian are already publishing recipes which I’m looking forward to trying. You can find the articles here and here.
In my kitchen it was Destination India in Saturday Kitchen. I cooked a spiced roast lamb from Rick Stein’s “India”. Marinated in spiced yoghurt and then slow roasted, this was worth the prep effort.
I served it with chaat masala potatoes with coriander chutney and tamarind drizzle from Yotam Ottolenghi’s “Flavour”. This is the first recipe I’ve cooked from this book – but I have marked many many more. The recipe is here. It mightn’t look great in the pic but there was so much flavour in this dish.
Dessert was mango fool with cardamom shortbread – also from Rick Stein’s book.
My recipe of the week, though, is much simpler. It’s a pea pesto pasta – made with frozen peas and ready in the time it takes to cook the pasta. With smoked salmon it’s a winner winner pasta dinner, and without it’s great as well – or double the quantities and serve it as a salad side at your next barbeque.
Pea Pesto Pasta with smoked salmon (serves 2 hungry people with leftovers)
- 250g spiral or farfalle pasta
- 150g hot-smoked salmon, chopped or flaked into little pieces
For the pesto:
- 1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
- A good handful of basil leaves (plus extra to serve if you want it to look pretty)
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- ¼ cup pine nuts or roughly chopped roasted whole blanched almonds
- ¼ cup parmesan
- About 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Juice ½ lemon (add half of this to start and more if you need it)
What you do with it
- Cook your pasta in the usual way, but before draining it, save about ¼ cup of the cooking water.
- While your pasta is cooking pop all the pesto ingredients into a processor – I use one of those mini processors, but a nutribullet or one of those hand-held whooshers would do the job too.
- Once the pasta is drained and the pesto is blitzed, tip the pesto into the pasta, add the smoked salmon and the reserved pasta water and toss well to combine.
- Serve with extra basil and a drizzle of olive oil.