Thursday, December 31, 2009

..and a happy New Year

The temperature is in the sweat inducing high 30’s and I don’t dare look at the drooping plants in the garden. The good news for them is that a change is on its way. Something wet and cooler – the perfect gift to welcome in the New Year.

Before the barometric pressure drops I’ve got to rustle up a last meal for the year (something with kangkung, rice and tempeh considering the humidity) and do something else with half a smoked eel before I head off with some bottles of cold bubbles (Spanish cava and homemade ginger beer) and sit with my Melbourne clan on a rooftop, as is our tradition.

The last few weeks of the year have been intense for me, not helped by a lingering head full of mucus and fatigue. 2009 has had its fair share of twists and turns, though not the ones I had anticipated. There’s been far too much death around which has eclipsed everything, especially food.

So for 2010 I have no grand culinary plans. If anything – eat out less, grow a few more vegetables, use leftovers more and try to reduce food waste. Not out of any economic impetuous, more the perversity of having a food blog but finding our collective obsession with stuffing our faces a tad obscene. A growing theme in my life is simplicity and if I am to make any wishes for the coming year, it is to continue on that track.

Food highlights for 2009

Last winter the aim was to have more people around our kitchen table and the twice monthly soup nights were born – an open invitation to friends to drop by on their way from work, a bottle of wine, some good bread and a pot of soup on the stove. Each one was different (both the food, the people and the conversation) and equally as delightful.

The tomato glut in February/March – a stack of Tommy toes slowly roasted with garlic, slipped out of their skins and pureed, then frozen in batches made great winter meals. The last lot flavoured November’s dolmades.

Speaking of dolmades, I learnt that cos lettuce leaves plucked straight from the garden tasted even better than grape leaves.

The fresh tomato juice bloody Marys deserve a honourable mention. Maybe with the anticipated 2010 tomato glut there tomato (agar) jelly will be made, perhaps even a bloody Mary version!

Pretty much every mouthful I ate in Melaka was a highlight in itself. The Assam fish curry at Nancy’s blew my mouth and my mind, the simple laksa and chendol, the street food and the final meal in KL (which was actually Thai but like nothing else I have eaten before).

2008’s wish for a tagine finally came true and the slow cooked results made the wait worthwhile.

There were some great muffins in 2009 – cherry and chocolate got perfected.

The vegan truffles were pretty darn good too!

It’s too hot to write more (or even bother to hyperlink, just do a search and you shall find the recipes) and I’ve promised to write no full on resolutions for the New Year – so I'm leaving with best wishes to you and yours where ever you are and hoping you have a safe and sated 2010.

OK just one resolution. More time around the kitchen table in 2010

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Blogger Johanna said...

happy new year - the rain is here and hope your plants are drenched :-)

btw one of my food highlights would have to be nettle soup

11:28 pm  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

So glad the nettles have become a new love. Will let you know if they reappear next year. The lovely cow manure from Ceres garden centre seems to be the source of our self-seeded urtica I suspect, if you want to grow your own too (and fertilize your garden at the same time).

11:29 am  
Blogger Ann ODyne said...

Beautiful roses - is there any other kind? nope. they are the queen of flowers.

After the 39C heat we here in the southwest had HAILSTONES at 7:30pm
Not an illusion - I went out and picked some up. Insane.
Wishing you only good days for all of 2010.

5:14 pm  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Ann - fragrant roses from a friend's garden. The only kind worth having. On NY eve we watched the storm coming in from an inner city rooftop. It was spectacular and much more exciting (for the grown ups at least) than the fireworks. More amazing storms last night. The thunder sounded like it was in surround sound.

12:34 pm  
Blogger Ann ODyne said...

I cannot help but always view thunder and fireworks from the canine feline points of view, and anguish over thoughtless owners who leave the house when pets are not properly secured.
Poor critters need a bed to go under, and if they don't have that they run away and hide in drains (or worse).
Fireworks irk me in particular - very costly sop to the mindless masses stunned by color and movement. See - I can rant too.

Bless your rose bearing friend.

1:20 pm  

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