A year in the life 2016 #116: dumplings with grandparents

2016-04-28 13.19.49We caught up with Nana and Poppa for an enormous and delicious yum cha lunch today. Dad is still recovering from his knee reconstruction, so it was an excuse for him to get out of the house. And who really needs an excuse to eat an enormous pile of delicious dumplings?

A grown ups day out in Melbourne

2016-03-29 10.54.46A day in Melbourne should begin with breakfast. Breakfast in Fitzroy. And if you are with James, breakfast at Industry Beans.

2016-03-29 10.54.50It was delicious.

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We then wandered down through the city via a variety of bookshops and some clothes stores, making some purchases along the way.

We then headed to the National Gallery of Victoria for the Warhol-Wei Wei exhibition.

Afternoon drinks and snacks, then back to the hotel for a brief chill out, then a change of clothes and out to dinner in Southbank.

2016-03-29 19.31.53We then had the excitement of anticipation as we waited for The Decemberists -the motivation for our trip to Melbourne.

2016-03-29 20.30.49-2And it was well worth it. Fantastic concert, wonderful evening.

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The deliciousness of Japan and Korea

2016-03-01 12.16.48I got to do a lot of eating whilst in Japan and Korea, which is a good thing because there are a lot of good things to eat.

2016-02-29 17.26.47I was excited to find in Tokyo a special Spring Edition Cherry Blossom Red Bull.


Beautifully put together bento boxes have always been one of my favourite things: this is what we got for lunch on Monday.

Dinner on Monday was magnificent. At the beautiful Tofuya Ukai restaurant in the shadow of the Tokyo Tower we ate 9 or so courses of delicious Japanese food. One of them was so delicious I ate it all before I remembered to photograph it.

2016-02-29 22.25.30Here is Katherine (our minister counsellor from Beijing and friend) and me outside the restaurant after all that deliciousness.

2016-03-01 07.50.55One of the more spectacular versions of French toast I have ever been served. Appropriate as I was eating in the 33rd floor of our hotel with a similarly spectacular view of Mt Fuji in the distance.

Dinner on Tuesday was not quite as amazing as dinner on Monday, but we did find a lovely little place and eat some delicious Korean-style BBQ, cooked ourselves at the table.

Another amazing lunch with an even more beautiful bento. It is hard to concentrate on business when the food is this good. The sashimi, in particular, was meltingly fresh.

Then off to Korea for Korean Korean BBQ. Fabulous. I missed the first couple of meals we had in Korea which, as usual for Korea, did involve endless, uncountable courses – some of which were of very odd foods.

2016-03-04 12.55.16A glimpse of our final lunch in Seoul. I did turn down the vibrant dark green seaweed soup, and one of our party did count 80 plates on the table at one point in time. Dishwashers in Korea must get a real workout.



The day really began with the watching of demonstrations of the small boys deploying their new boffer weaponry in the backyard. Santa visit = success.

2013-12-25 10.03.13Boys were also quite taken by the giant balloons in their box of treasure from Andrew who has looked after them post school all year.

We had a lovely brunch with Rachel, Jasmin, Paul and Young Andrew which included panckakes, fruit, bacon, German sausages, James’ gravlax and eggs which Rachel brought that had been freshly laid and then poached. Delicious.

2013-12-25 14.32.13Zachary was also pretty keen on the shirt he received from Natasha and made sure to wear it for the afternoon’s activities.

After watching Tomorrow When The World Began which was in Sebastian’s stocking from Father Christmas, we headed over to Jackie and John’s for presents and Christmas dinner.

There were a bunch of children – John’s grandchildren and grand niece and nephew were there so Jackie provided a post-dinner treasure hunt for giant bubble wands which lead to much delighted blowing of bubbles.

After a lovely afternoon and evening we headed home. The small boys went to bed and James and I enjoyed some Sons of Anarchy. And for those of us who had been on Designated Driver duty, there was a new bottle of Laphroaig PX to be opened.

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Pod and Moo

2013-11-14 19.00.23As part of the week of beer festivities this week in Canberra, we went to Pod Foods for a Moo Brew beer degustation.

We started outside with the very fine Pilsner accompanied by some equally fine “bar snacks” – the saucisson cigar was particularly delicious, but none of us said no to a second round of anything. It was very pleasant out in the courtyard at Pod – they were lucky that it was a particularly nice evening for it.

2013-11-14 19.48.53The first course was a poached egg. Pod do a lot of their cooking sous vide and this was one good example. Nearly as good as the poached egg at Chef Mavro in Honolulu it was cooked perfectly. The flavours were great though a overabundance of the “sand” threatened to overwhelm the rest a little. The accompanying Hefeweizen was lovely and drinkable – a great summer beer.

The Moo Brew beers are unpasteurised and thus need to be stored in the fridge. We are lucky that our bottle shop at Ainslie has a good collection.

The next dish was the prawns and chili mussels accompanied by the Belgo. The prawns had been cooked and turned into the underlying sheet – it was delicious and worked well with the Belgo which was slightly more bitter but truly flavoursome.

We got a chance to hear in detail about the beers as well as personal visits from the chefs who answered our various inquiries about cooking methods and so forth. Pod had been given the beers and came up with the range of dishes to match.

2013-11-14 21.02.11While one would always prefer to see a more sustainable fish used than swordfish, the dish was great with the chorizo offsetting rather than overwhelming the fish. The pale ale was again lovely and worked well with the fish.

2013-11-14 21.35.41The meat dish – steak – was accompanied by a dark ale which is one of my favourite types of beer. The beef, again cooked sous vide, was melt-in-the-mouth perfect and who doesn’t love a well cooked baby beetroot. The dark ale is also excellent, earthy and tasty.

The final dish was dessert which was accompanied by a “surprise” beer which turned out to be their reserve aged stout. Moo make only a limited run of this one and so it is rather expensive but absolutely worth it. Rich and tasty and smooth it was a fine accompaniment to the espresso sponge. The dessert wasn’t my favourite dish but it was still well done.

And that was it. It was a lovely evening with friends with great atmosphere and fabulous food and drink. Would definitely do it again next year if there was another.

The week that was…week 34: beverages, weather and domesticity

2013-08-12 13.11.03I have been making a concerted effort to find time for lunch with James or afternoon tea with the boys each week to make up for the amount of time spent in travel/derby/work. So this week started with lunch with James followed by hipster coffees.

2013-08-13 13.12.21My attempts to use tea as a replacement for fizzy caffeinated beverages have been progressing apace. New teas help too. I do not wish to give up the FCBs entirely, but not to rely on them as a daily (and sometimes twice daily) occurence.

2013-08-14 09.34.21What is better than a visit from a friend/fellow derbier/former staff member with a rainbow cupcake. And the rainbow goes all the way through! I love these kinds of visits. Thanks Sass!

2013-08-14 22.15.48 2013-08-14 22.27.10I got distracted at D&D and attempted to create a Brady Bunch family with beholders and other monsters. Yes, I admit it, I am a giant nerd.

2013-08-15 15.02.49With the quiet of caretaker (the period of the election where the public service is limited in what it can do), I finished early on Thursday to pick Jude and Zac up from school. Sebastian had a Tournament of the Minds meeting. Zac showed off some of his work.

2013-08-15 16.04.43 2013-08-15 16.04.47The three of us then went out for afternoon tea which apparently had to include gelato. Well, you know, it isn’t all bad.

2013-08-16 07.09.18 2013-08-16 07.10.04Firday morning I got up early for a ride around the lake. My first in ages, I chose a particularly cold and foggy morning for it.

2013-08-17 12.09.14Saturday was sunnier, but still freezing for the usual hockey and football regime. Both Jude and Sebastian managed to get awards for their playing in one week.

2013-08-17 15.04.14The jonquils are trying to say that spring is coming, but seriously the freezing winds say otherwise.

2013-08-18 10.55.04Before hours and hours of derby Sunday afternoon-evening, it was time for some domesticity. Our dishwasher has still not been replaced and we are all getting pretty sick of handwashing dishes.

Sebastian and James set about sorting the pantry. Well, James did, and somehow Sebastian (and me, to a lesser extent) got sucked into the task. Life is a lot more organised now though.

2013-08-18 11.06.32Zac fell off his bike onto a wall and scraped his neck (yes, we wondered too). After the initial tears, the pain seemed to ebb away quickly enough.


The week that was…week 33: Brisbane, feet and food

2013-08-05 18.17.04Another week, another view of sunset from the air. This time I was off to Brisbane for a couple of days training.

I was a little disturbed by the teddy that was on the bed in my hotel room. I think he was a bit shifty-looking.

2013-08-05 19.55.08So glorious BrizVegas. It was nice to be out of the cold for a bit.

2013-08-06 16.43.02Our second day in Brisbane was interesting with behind-the-scenes visits to all the Customs activities in Brisbane. I got to wear high-vis, meet customs dogs and visit various interesting sites at the airport, international mail exchange, port and Customs House.

I also took the arty shot of the Ports.

2013-08-07 13.07.26Came home to discover that Sebastian and Jude have been working on their ensemble version of Ode to Joy.

2013-08-07 19.40.32I also finally bought myself the new skates I have wanted for some time. The fact that the whole family (including James using my old skates) was going skating on Thursday night was a useful prompt.

2013-08-08 12.58.49Saturday morning proceeded as usual.  Cornucopia…

2013-08-10 09.06.51then off to hockey.

Sebastian decided to branch out into savoury dishes, cooking lamb korma for dinner.

2013-08-10 18.32.10 2013-08-10 19.02.39Sunday we managed to fit in a quick Science Week activity, heading off to the CSIRO for Experimentathon where we saw the crowd pleasing liquid nitrogen and hydrogen explosions and other fun things.

The week finished with James trying out a Heston recipe and making some delicious roast potatoes. Yum.

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