Friday, November 20, 2009

getting my head around summer

At 2.30 in the early hours of Thursday morning the thermometer got stuck on 30c (86F). I’d had a delightful evening, going to a massive exhibition opening, catching up with many people I hadn’t seen for a year and then walking through the balmy streets in search of a cheap dinner with friends. The humidity reminded us of our recent holiday and at the suggestion of a Malaysian friend we wandered off to his favourite student haunt on Swanston St. At Norsiah’s Kitchen we sat outside and ate our nasi lemaks and tahu telurs, enjoying the tasty food and good company. Reluctantly we headed off to our respective homes, relaxed and laughing.

After a sticky sleep I headed off to the market an hour or two earlier than usual. The weather informed my choices. My favourite organic stall seemed to be offering specials on my favourite and usually most expensive fruits. I bought a few punnets of fragrant Victorian strawberries, unblemished mangoes, a big wedge of watermelon and some stinky papaya for the Significant Eater. It was harder to get my head around vegetables but figured wombok (don’t you just love the name) would get turned into an Asian coleslaw or smoked fish salad at some point in the week.

Inspired by watching the carnivores devour their nasi lemak the night before I sought out kangkung and tempeh for a less meaty version of the dish. My not-quite-vegetarian nasi lemak turned out a treat but it’s still a work in progress – coconut rice, crispy fried tempeh with a splash of kecap manis, my favourite kangkung dish with some extra sambal reserved to have on the side with the rice, boiled eggs and cucumber. I ran out of steam before I roasted the peanuts and or contemplated the ikan bilis. But you get the idea. Next time I’ll prepare most of the components in advance, so it’s more about assemblage at dinnertime rather than being driven wild by the aroma of the sambal that caused my brain to send a warning message “must eat now!”

We’re slowly getting into a summer routine. I’m making friends with dawn, not usually my most loved time of day. My inner alarm clock is waking me at 6am and after a couple of weeks of this I’m learning to laugh at the precision of the timing and head outside to the relative cool of the mid-20’s with my journal, a drink and attentive felines. I’ve reacquainted myself with the local pool and remembered the sheer joy of plunging into the water in the morning light.

It’s going to be an interesting summer.

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Blogger Lucy said...

Oh, a swim.

Now that's a good idea.

10:16 am  
Blogger Nettles said...

I could certainly do with cultivating your attitude to Summer. Even getting up early, I'm bummed about it. Probably doesn't help living in an upper storey apt with no air con : )

But at least it's mango season!

10:59 am  
Blogger Johanna said...

It is the weather for swimming and fruit - hard to think cooking but quick asian meals are the go - I am looking forward to your nasi lemak

11:48 am  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Lucy even luckier for you being near the beach. It's such a trek from this side of town.

Nettles - mornings are part of life unfortunately. Though waking so darn early I start hitting the wall at 9pm which is a tad unsocial.

Johanna - the coconut rice was heavenly though I do want to make a vego one with brown rice like I had in Melaka. Am trying to find an alternative to shrimp paste for the sambal but it gives it a subtle depth of flavour.

2:55 pm  

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