Thursday, December 21, 2006

happy summer solstice

I saw in the New Year sipping icy cosmopolitans, fresh lime cutting through the sweetness, to cool us down on a scorching evening. In the early hours, when it was still far too hot to consider cycling home, a chilled rice noodle salad appeared - perfect food for the hour. This was shaping up to be a good year.

While some spectacular and controversial new restaurants have come onto the scene in this city, I’ve eaten out less than previously. My partner’s post redundancy glow has receded, to be replaced with the mantle of ‘struggling student/hungry artist’. My favourite out of town dining companion has experienced a series of misfortunes – gone are not only his delightful, regular visits but also the expense account that fuelled some of my beyond budget eating and drinking experiences.

2006 became the year of simple home cooked food. With renovations, bereavements and other disruptions, there has been the comfort of old favourites rather than new culinary adventures. I’ve fallen into the habit of pouring through cookbooks, only to return to the familiar. It’s been a time of low energy.

On high rotation in the kitchen at Chez Food Nazi has been – the Moroccan inspired vegetable stew (next year, when more cupboard space can be found I will get a tagine to make it properly!), Thai curry in a hurry, stir fries aplenty including my take on mee goreng which I ate for weeks, salads and other detox delights. In winter I reacquainted myself with quinoa and millet, mighty grains with great versatility. I’ve continued to play with smoked fish, kedgeree and my old buddy – eel. Seafood, as always, adorned the table – steamed, grilled, marinated and baked. Seasonal fruits and vegetables remain a staple.

I have made some new friends through the year. The seductive espresso machine moved in and I ate for the first time at Movida, Arintji and SOS. While down in the South Eastern suburbs I discovered Korean food, which can still be a bit of a minefield for a non-meat eater but a refreshing change of flavour.

My favourite lunch spot in the city has become the recently opened Sushi Monger, in a laneway off Bourke Street Mall, offering better than average nori rolls and an assortment of interesting bento boxes. I’ve stayed loyal to Satay Bar, but for the sole reason of weight management – have rationed my visits!

There is one thing I finally did achieve, after considering it for years I got around to doing a wine appreciation course. I’ve not written about it because though the guy taking it was knowledgeable and quirky, his content was all over the place and I didn’t want to give him a bad rap. I came away from the course with a new favourite cheapish sparkling wine – Yellow Glen Vintage Cremant and a wider vocabulary. I can now say with confidence - “this wines got legs!”

Aims for next year

Buy a tagine

Make a wider variety of curries (finally explore the wonderful Sri Lankan cookbook I’ve had for over 2 years!)

Perfect the art of muffin making

Eat at – Mini, Gingerboy and Yu-yu

Find the recipe for the raw foods fruit pie I used to make (when bananas are cheaper!)

What have been the highs and lows of your food year, new or old favourites and wishes for 2007?

Happy New Year everyone.



Blogger Linda said...

You reminded me that I want to buy a tagine as well. Any meal I have that was made in one, tasted so juicy and succulent.

8:47 am  

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