Thursday, 8 November 2007

An awesome salad

With A down in Melbourne on weekdays (a fact I may have neglected to report here) I'm left alone to fend for myself. My solution to this last week was to catch up with friends for dinner every night, an endeavour that left me well socialed, but tired, poorer and lardier than before.

Thanks to the Melbourne Cup this week, I'm only "home alone" for 3 days. Tomorrow afternoon I'm heading down to Melbourne myself - and hopefully escaping the deluge that has engulfed Sydney for the last week!!

What I have decided is that these 3 days are going to be the start of Operation "Me Time".

I'm going to take advantage of this time to make healthier meals than I might if I was feeding both A and me, and to cook all the things I love, but that he finds less agreeable. Namely a lot of salads and soups - lucky its soup weather at the moment!! A is gradually being converted to soups and salads, but is not the biggest fan. There's also other things he doesn't eat - like tofu, eggs and spinach - that I'm bursting to cook.

As part of this, I want to use up some of the random ingredients cluttering up our fridge, freezer and kitchen cupboards. I've got tapioca that I bought 4 years ago sitting in the pantry, 2 falafels left over from a Lebanese meal in the freezer, and more dried porcini mushrooms than I can poke a stick at. It's all gotta go!!

Apart from food, other things I want to do with this "Me Time" is continue to clean up the mess that is our kitchen cupboards, second bedroom and the verandah. These feel like never-ending tasks, but I hope I can make a dint in them.

Doing some more study, and working on my honours project wouldn't go astray either!!

Before I go, here's the salad I made tonight:

Yummy chicken, sweet potato and haloumi salad

  • Lettuce and rocket leaves
  • 60g chicken
  • 90g baked sweet potato
  • 15g grilled haloumi
  • 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
  • 4 cherry tomatoes
  • sliced red onion
  • dressing: 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, juice 1/2 lemon, cracked pepper
Very tasty, and very filling - in fact next time I might cut down the portions - especially if I'm eating late.

And right now, I need to finish packing!!

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Washing Betty - long overdue!

A washed, and I polished. Was way easier than I thought it was going to be, despite the shockingly dirty state she was in.

Can you believe I have owned her for nearly 3 years without ever having washed her before? The shame!!!

But now, ain’t she beautiful!!


This needs to happen a lot more often!!

Saturday, 3 November 2007


I'm not normally one for guzzling down too much milk. Sure I have it in coffee, and I have the occasional glass of Milo, but I can easily go a week without consuming more than 500mL of the stuff. Likewise, I'm never really tempted to order a milkshake when out. Unless the magic word "spearmint" appears in the title.

After that, the chances of me *not* ordering it are slim to none.

Ok I must come clean, I'm just generally a mint hussy. And normally the mintier something is, the better*. But somehow spearmint - the milder cousin of peppermint - works best in these shakes. It gives it a light and sweet taste, that combined with soft bubbles of milk is just pure delight to imbibe.

Unfortunately a spearmint milkshake is not that easy to come by. After more than half a decade's searching, I can still count on one hand the number of establishments I know that serve them. And now that Poppies of Stanmore has closed down, the number within a 20km radius of my house is now zero.

I was once so desperate to obtain some spearmint milk that I cajoled my mother into visiting a wholesale confectioner in her city, and allowing them to sell her a 2L bottle of the mint-flavoured syrup. She succeeded, and that bottle kept us in good supply of milkshakes for well over a year. After that bottle though, our source literally dried up.

When I visited Broken Hill at the end of last year I was delighted to visit Bells Milk Bar; a 50s style milk bar serving a massive variety of flavoured milkshakes.

Image from

I was even more delighted to discover that spearmint was one of those flavours.

Spearmint milkshake

I was even more delighted to discover that they sold bottles of their homemade syrups, which I promptly bought. I am ashamed to say that for nearly a year this bottle sat atop my desk, unopened.

Spearmint milkshake

But today something cracked, and I decided a spearmint milkshake was in order.

Perhaps it was my anticipation in going to Melbourne next weekend to visit A, and knowing that one of the few reliable spearmint sources resides at the Queen Vic markets there. Perhaps it was just time I cleaned up my desk. Either way, it tasted great. And made me keen to seek out another source for when this 250mL bottle runs out.

If you know of one, please do let me know!!

* The only occasion this has even been shown not to be true is when I accidentally bought mint flavoured water in China. It tasted like I was drinking toothpaste backwash.