Thursday, 28 February 2008
A simple week, with ducks
I missed out on the show, after all, as I spent most of Saturday on the couch feeling rather flu-ish. I did feel better on Sunday - enough for lunch at Beppe's and a bit of light shopping, and was recovered nicely in time to go back to work (chiz chiz). Oh well.
In view of that, it was a simple week. I made a chicken curry with a good jar of paste - Charmaine Solomon's butter chicken. I dropped the cream from the recipe on the jar and used some light sour cream instead. This worked pretty well for texture, and it seemed rich enough anyway. I also made a bolognese pasta sauce - with pre-sliced mushrooms, yet. I usually resent paying double for the convenience of having someone else slice them up for me, but when I'm not well it suddenly seems sensible.
I went out to lunch with Beth on Wednesday, and for a change we went to University House. The cafeteria, not the fancy restaurant, that is. It's a lovely place to be on a sunny day. There are a lot of outdoor tables set on the grass among tall trees, and the university grounds are full of birds. I spotted a family of superb blue wrens on my walk over, and while we were eating a flock of choughs was hopping about the grass and cadging scraps. And just as we were about to leave, a family of a dozen ducks came walking up the path. They were quite comically striding along the paved pathway, all the way across the garden to the courtyard exit, where we found them dabbling on the fishpond as we left. The sun was sparkling on the clear water, and the orange koi and pink waterlilies added colour.
University House Cellar Cafe and Bar is not a place to go to for good food. It's really all about the beer garden. I remember this fondly from my student days, as an escape from the usual undergrad end of campus, to a form of civilisation, with jugs of Coopers. The food is not much above college food. They run to stews in bains marie, frozen chips, a few pre-made rolls, commercial bakery cakes, and a salad bar. Beth took the only vegetarian option they had - a large egg salad roll ($6) - and I had a pie with chips and salad ($9.50). The chips were soggy, the pie was a standard commercial one, but I must admit the salad was rather good. We didn't have coffee - as I recall it's a bit on the weak side, not worth the bother of going back inside for.
As long as you know what to expect, it's a reasonable if ordinary bite to eat. I've had some of their stews, and they've been quite tasty, and the vegetables are usually pretty respectable. They do evening meals, too, until about 8pm, which can be very useful. There's not a lot of options on campus after 5pm. Be aware, though, that it's closed on the weekend. Your best bet is to go for a beer on a Friday arvo, when they often have live music in the warmer weather.