Sunday, 30 March 2008

Soup and Confessions

After posting that no-waste thing, I had to go and clean out the fridge. I confess to wasting a half dozen eggs and a small carton of yoghurt with use-by dates in February, and about 1/4 cup of stewed quince which was growing mould. And it was Earth Hour last night, too. Tut tut. Shame on me.

Anyway, I thought I'd go into more detail about leftover roast something or other soup, as it is one of those great classics that everyone should have up their sleeve.

Recipe: Leftover Roast Something Soup

1 leftover roast something or other
the baking tray from the roast
leftover vegetables
leftover wine
an onion
a celery stalk, with leaves
a carrot
a handful of herbs
salt, to taste
old vegetables that look like they need using up (optional)
stock (optional)
noodles (optional)
a handful of soup mix or pearl barley (optional)
frozen vegetables (optional)

Remove any huge obvious hunks of fat from the roast and the pan. Discard - or save if it's yummy duck fat or similar. Toss the roast in a very big saucepan, and add the onion, celery and carrot. Pour boiling water over the baking tray and give it a good stir to get up any bits. Add that to the saucepan. Toss in a handful of fresh herbs from the garden, or use a few dry ones. I like to get melodic with "parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme", but I seldom have the parsley. I usually include bay leaves, and some tarragon is nice with chicken. Add more water to cover. No salt!

Bring to the boil, skim off any scum, and let it simmer for a couple of hours. Remove the meat, and set aside. The carrot and onion may be worth keeping, too. Strain the stock, remembering that you want to keep the liquid, not the debris! Apparently this is a mistake that all cooks make at some time in their lives. Since I never have, I'm probably due to do it real soon now. Let the stock chill in the fridge, and remove all fat from the top.

Trim all useful edible bits off the roast, and throw away the bones and gristle. Put the stock in the saucepan, with any extra stock if using. Add soup mix or barley, if using, and simmer for half an hour, then add any uncooked hard vegetables that you want. Parsnip, swede, carrot, that sort of thing. Keep simmering until vegetables and soup mix are barely done. Add the leftover wine, the meat fragments, chopped leftover vegetables, frozen vegetables, noodles if you want etc. Simmer until done, then add salt to taste, and adjust as you wish. How about some pepper? Perhaps a squeeze of lemon, or some chopped fresh herbs, or a dash of worcestershire sauce.

Soup mix is a traditional English blend of dried lentils, peas, beans and grains. You can generally find it at supermarkets, in the teeny tiny dried bean section. Italian delis often have their own variant, for making minestrone - another great classic of the use'em up school. A pack of mixed dhal from an Indian shop could do well, too.

This will come out different every time. Sometimes it will be brilliant, and sometimes it will just be OK. You go with the flow, and don't try to re-create an especially good one - just enjoy your luck. In the last week, I made two of these soups, and the chicken one was really nice, but the lamb came out overly bland until I added worcestershire and pepper. The main thing is that this converts leftovers and odds and ends into a nice lunch for me or my guests. The bloke, however, is opposed to "soup with bits in". Unless they are tom yum or laksa. Go figure.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Bran Muffins, Take 3

I tried another take on the bran muffins this morning, and this one went well.

Recipe: Blueberry Bran Muffins
1 1/2 cups SR flour
1 1/2 cups oat bran
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups blueberries
1 1/2 cups milk or soymilk
1/3 cup sunflower oil
1 1/2 dessertspoons treacle
1 whole egg + 1 egg white

1. Combine all dry ingredients.
2. Combine all wet ingredients.
3. Combine dry mixture with wet mixture and fold together until uniformly combined.
4. Do not overmix.
5. Portion into lined (or sprayed, or silicon) baking cups and cook at 175ÂșC until golden and set, about 30 minutes.

Notes These are even better than the previous attempt. Frozen blueberries are fine to use - just toss them through the flour before adding the wet ingredients. The batter is quite wet and sloppy - this is probably why they manage to be light, despite the bran content.

I rarely have soymilk around, but a guest left some behind, so that helped use it up. The cat Plummet likes soymilk, the cat Shadow does not. Both cats like the spare egg yolk.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

No Waste!

Welcome to my new category. I've been fiddling with the recipe index (it's almost done) and I noticed that I'm quite fond of posting about leftovers. This is really a philosophy of mine, if I may claim such a grand title for my habits. I object to wasting food! It's a waste of money. It's a waste of the producers' time and effort. It's a waste of resources - and in our water-poor continent we really should care about that. We should respect our food more.

I remember reading a year ago about a study that showed that consumer food waste in the UK totalled 6.7 tonnes. An anti-waste campaign called "Love Food Hate Waste" claims that a third of all food bought in the UK is wasted! Another study suggested that Australians wasted about $5 billion worth of food every year. I can't find this one online, and the number may be untrustworthy, but it doesn't matter that much. Waste is bad, and it's one of those things that everyone can do their own little bit about.

So what do I do? I like to cook plenty, rather than just the bare minimum for one meal. We eat leftovers for lunch. I freeze portions for later meals. I convert leftovers into something else. I choose to cook what I have, rather than going out to buy more food. If something is in danger of going off, I cook and freeze it, even if I have nothing specific in mind to do with it. Roast tomatoes and stewed apple always come in handy. Ideally I won't throw anything into the compost but peels and trimmings. In practice I'm less than perfect at this, but perfection is an unwise aim.

I do throw some things out that could technically be eaten. Things that are not very healthy, such as fat from the meat trimmings, and leftover party junk food. People will bring crap to parties - leftover chips and sugary lollies and soft drinks mostly go in the bin or down the drain. My motto here is "it's better to go to waste than to waist". Hur hur, I have made a pune or play on words. But seriously, eating something that you don't want or need is every bit as much a waste as throwing it in the bin would be. I choose the healthier option here. Mostly.

OK, off to find and add labels to all my posts about leftovers and what to do with them.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Leftovers for dinner

There's a lot of Easter leftovers - chocolate eggs, chocolates, chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, chocolate sprinkles, chocolate sorbet... Fortunately that's not all. I've managed to make some sensible meals out of the leftovers from other peoples' cooking.

Alex made us a fantastic gado gado for dinner on her last night with us, with a rich spicy coconut and peanut sauce, marinaded chicken, lots of crisp veggies, and an excellent Devils Food Cake for dessert. Leftovers from this made a decent lunch, with some of the remaining cold lamb. Helen's pot roast chicken got converted into a soup, with the few remaining cooked veggies, and some peas and corn from the freezer. It was pretty good, though the whole lemons made the stock a little more bitter than I'd ideally like. My cured salmon, dill & lemon cream cheese, and the zucchini turned into a rather good creamy fettucini dish tonight.

I'm looking forward to a more normal week next week. But we haven't done too badly.

Monday, 24 March 2008

The Festival is Over

Phew, what a weekend! It has been a lot of fun, but also very busy. We had five houseguests, all attending the folk festival. I went every day, too. I love the atmosphere there - it's a small village, with all its denizens going about their business in their own way. Sit and sip a Guinness, and watch the world go by. You'll see teenagers in bright hippie clothes and silly hats; a random parade of five kinds of morris dancers; ancient bearded blokes in rough work gear; belly dancers in full jingle kit; small children busking with tin whistles. I could have happily done without the kid playing a tin whistle with his nostrils, though. Ew.

There's plenty to see, and also plenty to do, with lots of participation in singing, playing instruments, and dancing. The festival is outgrowing itself, though - this year seemed more crowded than ever, and more and more venues were packed beyond possibility of squeezing in. I mostly missed out on Mal Webb, Martin Pearson, Spooky Men's Chorale, Counterfeit Gypsies, and more. Some I caught a few songs while standing outside the packed venues. It's interesting that a lot of the most popular items are non-traditional. Comedy and eastern European or Gypsy music seems to get more of a crowd than the old Irish and Celtic standards.

If you get bored with the music, the dance displays, the dance classes, and the session bar, then you can always go shopping for jewellery, hats, clothes, musical instruments and much more. I bought lots of hippie-ish clothes that I'm not convinced I'll wear, but they were cheap! And I ate lots of street food and watched lots of acts and generally had a good time. I especially enjoyed the hilarious Morris-Belly Dance Challenge (won this year by the Belly Dancers); the lively Klezmer Connection; a blast from the past with Judy Small; and Martin Pearson's Pratchett reading.

With a huge captive market, the various street food stalls do a roaring trade. Most of them return year after year. There's kebabs and fried foods; Indian, Thai and Ethoipian curries; veggie burgers and pasta and lots more. I always seek out the Turkish Gozleme - a sort of fried flat bread, stuffed with spinach and cheese, served with a squeeze of lemon. The "Lemozade" stall does a great tart fresh lemonade of the old fashioned flat variety. Also noteworthy is "Spaghetti Junction" - they make their own fresh pasta, and it's very good. Pick your sauce - an old fashioned bolognese or Nonna's goat ragout, perhaps. The walnut cream is great, the chermoula is a bit iffy; and the vegetarian puttanesca is good but I miss the anchovies.

While on the topic of food, Friday night's dinner party went well. I made cured salmon canapes, with lemon-dill cream cheese and pumpernickel, and we had some Maggie Beer Pheasant Farm pate and crudites to round that out. Helen brought a main course - a lamb roast with carrots and sweet potatoes, and a chicken pot roast with potatoes. I steamed some broccoli, and made a zucchini and olive dish from the Chocolate & Zucchini cookbook. Dessert was my sorbets, with cinnamon shortbread by Helen. The apricot sorbet didn't work, but the rest were good. I'll add a note to the original post about that.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Sorbet, sorbet, sorbet

The bloke's been away and the first batch of our houseguests has arrived. I haven't been cooking much - just a few leftovers from the freezer, some cheese toasties with salads, that sort of thing. I have, however, put some salmon to cure, and have been determinedly making sorbets.

So far I have quince, pear, and chocolate sorbets in the freezer, and an apricot mix ready to freeze tomorrow when the bowl has had time to chill again. The chocolate sorbet is from the recipe I gave earlier. For the others, here's the minimalist recipe.

Recipe: Simple Fruit Sorbet
750g soft fruit
2/3 cup caster sugar
1 cup liquid
very tiny pinch salt

Puree in blender; freeze in icecream maker.

Notes: Easy, huh? Aren't gadgets great to have around. You probably want more detail, though.

For the fruit, if it's already soft like a mango or ripe peach, just puree it without cooking it. If it's harder, then cook it until it's soft, and make sure it's well chilled before proceeding to freeze. If it's not already a sweet fruit, as with quince or rhubarb, cook it with just enough sugar that you would be prepared to eat it. Don't count that as part of the 2/3 cup; you still need that.

For the liquid, use mostly water, or perhaps a compatible juice. A couple of tablespoons of some liqueur can be used, but don't overdo it. I used vanilla vodka with the pears; calvados with the honey and vanilla poached quinces; and amaretto with the apricot.

The apricot sorbet is even more experimental and lazy. I read a lychee sorbet recipe somewhere out on teh interwebz that was as simple as imaginable: "puree a large tin of lychees, syrup and all; freeze". I decided to try that out with a big tin of apricots. I'll let you know how it went. I'm also contemplating Clotilde's Nutella icecream - in theory, I can freeze the apricot mix tomorrow night and the Nutella on Friday morning if I get my act together enough. I might not get there in time for the Friday dinner party, though. There also must be hot cross buns. And two more houseguests. And a folk festival. It's a busy time.

P.S. The sorbets worked brilliantly - I felt the quince was outstanding, but had a few votes for the pear to win. The nutella ice creamturned out great, too, a really nice texture despite my initial worry that it wasn't freezing enough in the churn. All worked, that is, except for the experimental apricot one. It came out far too solid and icy, and the single teaspoon of mixed spice somehow became very unbalanced and dominant. It tasted excessively powerfully of cardamom. I thought tastes became more subdued when frozen; this seems to have strengthened. Oh well. If all experiments worked, they wouldn't be experiments. Four out of five is pretty good going. (Updated 24 March.)

Friday, 14 March 2008

It's a Miracle!

Last week I missed the routine fridge clearout, since I was down at the coast. I started on it today, fully expecting some bags of slime to throw in the compost. But no! A bag of Glenn na Meala salad leaves, bought from Choku Bai Jo a full two weeks ago, is still quite edible. The tomatoes, while a little squishy, were still fine for roasting. That's what you get for buying ultra-fresh. I'm impressed.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Down the Coast

I'm told that simply nobody, darling, stays in town for the Canberra day long weekend. So like a proper Canberran, I did my duty and went to the coast. It was a great weekend - cool on Friday, but sunny and warm for the rest. Belinda has a share in a little house at Guerrilla Bay, a tiny little beach a bit south of Bateman's Bay. You can sit on the couch and look out the window at the water sparkling in between the trees. The bay is quite calm and protected, great for rock hopping and investigating the tide pools, or snorkelling about looking at all the fish and sea urchins. And of course there is interesting food to be had.

Bungendore Food Lovers Market

Bungendore has a lot of cafes and restaurants, and this one is really more of a deli, with a cafe on the side. They serve good coffee and light meals, and sell an assortment of gourmet products and local produce. Beth and I had lunch there on Friday, and I was so impressed with the ham on my ploughman's lunch that I had to buy some. It turns out that it is a house specialty - cured without preservatives (except salt, of course), it's tender, moist and very tasty. I must try to remember that Bungendore is really close. It's only half an hour's drive from my place, and that ham is worth it! The garlic sausage was pretty good, too.

Suzanne's Bakery at Mogo

Suzanne does organic sourdough, and it is seriously good stuff. The fruit loaf is a solid and heavy beast, stuffed with fruit and spices and set on a base of nuts. It keeps well, too, and makes the best toast. The shop includes an assortment of good quality organic drygoods - dried fruits, nuts, flours, lentils, etc.

The River at Moruya

Fantastic! This restaurant has a wide deck overlooking the river. We were a bit back from there, but the space is so open that the tranquil view easily extends to us unbooked peons up the back. The service was terrific - we rocked in without a reservation, in our T-shirts and shorts, ordered coffee to start, went for the cheapie lunch special menu, made trouble by trying to swap things off the special menu, and we were still treated with perfect charm and courtesy.

The food was superb. I had a silky duck liver pate, followed by a perfectly cooked chunk of salmon, set on spinach, with a tomato butter sauce and olive potatoes. We had a side salad of plain baby cos lettuce vinaigrette, which was perfectly crisp and fresh. Such simplicity has got to be just right to work, and it was. We didn't need dessert, but I had to try the dark chocolate tart with white chocolate icecream. Purely for research purposes, of course... It was beautiful - a very smooth and rich dark chocolate filling, like a heavy cream custard in texture. Even with three of us sampling, we had to leave some behind, and we didn't eat much dinner that night. My friends had the velvety spinach, walnut and roquefort soup for entree, and Belinda had the rather Christmassy chicken ballotine with fig vinaigrette. Although there was no vegetarian option on the special menu, the chef whipped up a delightful strongly flavoured tomato risotto for Beth.

The lunch special was $28 for two courses, or $33 for three, including a glass of the house wine. This was a French Georges du Bouef sauvignon blanc. The selection is very limited compared to the main menu, but the value is unbeatable. We hope to go back for a birthday dinner for Beth on the ANZAC weekend. The dinner menu is rather pricier, closer to the usual Canberra standards - entrees and desserts in the $15-20 range, mains about $30. But we expect it will be worth it.

Friday, 7 March 2008

Two Dinners in Dickson

I had dinner in Dickson on Wednesday and Thursday, quite randomly. I had planned to make a silverbeet and fetta frittata, but on Wednesday I was just tired and couldn't be bothered, then yesterday The Bloke had some visiting workmates from Sydney who needed dinner.

Firestone, at 14 Woolley St, is relatively new; we ate there once last year when it had just opened, and the paint and varnish smells were still a bit strong. It's now settled down, although the decor remains a bit industrial, with a polished concrete floor and cement-fronted bar. There are comfortable banquette seats along the wall opposite the bar, and by the window. On Wednesday night it was fairly quiet, enough diners for a pleasant atmosphere, but not enough for the acoustics to be a problem. I suspect it could be unpleasantly noisy when it's full. But young people (who should get off my lawn, damnit) might enjoy that vibe.

The food was good, and unusually for Canberra, the service was very good. Our waiter was unfussed, helpful and unobtrusively attending to detail. She spotted some dirty cutlery and whisked it away for replacement without being asked. Our drinks and meals arrived at a good pace.

Firestone is a modern pizzeria, with thin crust wood fired pizza and calzones a major feature - including dessert pizza. I wanted to try the apple, cinnamon and marscapone one, but alas, I was too full. Perhaps a lunch with the grrls is in order... They also do salads, risotto, pasta dishes, in a good mix of Italian classics and more modern styles. There's also a few "sharing plates" which can work as entrees or tapas, as you wish.
We started with a simple sharing plate of ciabbatta with persian fetta, then I had gnocchi with a creamy rabbit and porcini ragout. The Bloke had a pizza with chorizo, fresh hot chilli and tomato, and a topping of rocket. We shared a bottle of Cab Merlot. I enjoyed mine very much - the ragout was smooth, mild and creamy, with well balanced flavours. The generous serve of gnocchi was very slightly undercooked, though. I had a taste of the pizza and it was excellent, a beautiful thin yet robust yeasty crust. I enjoyed it all very much, and have no hesitation recommending them. Pizzas about $10-15, main meals$15-20, tasting plates $5-10. They also do takeaway.

Yesterday we had a very enjoyable dinner at TurkOz, Dickson's only pide house. We had a bad experience there when we first moved to Canberra - the service was truly abysmal - so when we heard that it had been sold to the chef a year or so back, we had to try it again. And it was greatly improved. Wonderful!

The menu at TurkOz is fairly classic Turkish dips, pides, and grills. You pretty much can't go wrong, although be warned that the servings are huge. One pide is enough for three people, especially if you've got a salad and had some dips. The grills come on large plates, with generous quantities of salad and rice. Only one person finished theirs, and he's a fit and active young man.

We shared a mixed plate of five dips ($20) to start - the hommous was the standout, I thought. Between the five of us, this was quite adequately sized, with generous amounts of bread. Three people had individual grill plates, which smelled and looked great, and The Bloke and I ordered a pastirmali pide and a TurkOz salad to share. The pide was brilliant - fresh, hot and perfectly cooked, plenty of cheese with the tasty cured beef. The salad was interesting - I had expected a standard green salad with fetta and olives, but it was all quite finely chopped and crumbled, closer to a tabouli texture. It was delicious, if perhaps a bit rich to offset the pide. No stingy hand doled out all those olives and cheese! Even though we left a lot of it, we still ate too much. We couldn't face breakfast this morning except a little bit of fruit and coffee.

TurkOz is officially on Challis Street, but the entrance is actually in that plaza off Woolley Street, near Zefirelli's. You can't see it from Challis street, but it is there, if you go round the back of Trinity bar. There's plenty of outdoor seating, very pleasant on a mild night, with the coloured lights twinkling down Woolley St and the people coming and going. It's a good place for a party. If you can't decide, they have a banquet menu. You can get dips, bread and pide to take away, too, of course.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Hot Asian Stuff

Four Rivers in Dickson does a very nice yum cha, even if their Szechuan food is blanded out to ridiculous extents. OK, so yum cha isn't usually very fiery, but we did go through a lot of chilli sauce with our dumplings.

Cooking Coordinates in the Belconnen Market is a nice place to browse for kitchen equipment. There's a nice range of toys equipment from Kitchenaids to silicone spatulas; a lot of cake decorating supplies; and you can rent large odd shaped cake tins, should you ever be in need of a Thomas the Tank Engine cake, or a giant loveheart, or even a cup cake stand. They also stock a small range of gourmet ingredients, including Herbie's spices.

They usually have some sort of demo or class on the weekends, in their little kitchen theatre out the back. Pick up a flyer and book ahead. Last Saturday, Kate McGhie did a Thai cooking demo and I went along with Belinda. We got demos, samples and recipes for a terrific meal - ma hor, a crab salad, a divine pork and tamarind curry, a chicken cooked in lemongrass, and a coconut pandan icecream. I intend to make the pork and tamarind curry sometime soon. Interestingly, it was served on shredded cabbage, not rice. Very good. The chicken was rather less successful - something went wrong and the room was filled with smoke. Oops. I'm fairly sure that wasn't supposed to happen.

So of course I had to make Thai food this week, even though I'd already shopped and didn't have all the ingredients. I ended up making a red curry of prawns, with green beans, bamboo shoots and pineapple - fruit is quite traditional in a red curry, but no other colour, I believe. I also made a coriander salad to have on the side -very inauthentic, but it worked really well, so I'll write up the recipe.

Recipe: Thai-ish Side Salad
1 bunch coriander, leaves only - save the roots, though
2 large spring onions, sliced on the diagonal
1/2 red capsicum, chopped to julienne shreds
1/2 lebanese cucumber, chopped (optional)
1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce

the coriander roots, scrubbed and pounded in a mortar & pestle
1/2 tsp sambal oelek
1/2 tsp mint paste
1 tsp palm sugar
1 tsp fish sauce
juice of half a lime

Mix the dressing well. Taste and adjust for preference. Mix all the salad vegetables together, and stir in the dressing.

Notes: Serve as a side dish with a rich coconut-based curry. It's a very refreshing contrast. I have the cucumber on the side, because The Bloke doesn't like it. I'd prefer to have fresh mint leaves, but the supermarket "herbs in a toothpaste tube" mint was all I had. I thought it worked quite well as an addition to the dressing.

You should definitely taste and adjust the dressing to your own taste. Kate pointed out that Thai food works on balancing sweet, sour, salty and hot, and the salad should have all of those elements. Palm sugar, lime, fish sauce and chilli are the basic notes.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Choku Bai Jo, Pialligo and the seasons

Autumn is beginning. In a seasonally confusing mode, I had my first porridge of the year for breakfast today, with some of the last mangoes of summer. I've been making roasted quince; pear and date chutney (from this month's Delicious magazine); and eating plums and figs and apples.

It's always best to eat seasonal produce. It's fresher, cheaper, tastier, and ecologically better simply because it's less travelled. I admit I'm not a complete purist; I keep frozen berries and peas on hand all the time. But I do love the markets and the direct farm outlets. On Friday I got to two terrific places - Pialligo and North Lyneham, where I had to check out Choku Bai Jo. If you don't know these places, read on - they are essential to the Canberra cook.Pialligo is not a single shop, but a locality. Barely northside, on the way out to the airport, it's a tiny region built along Beltana Road. You'll find nurseries, garden and landscaping supplies, several orchards, a winery, and a couple of cafes. The orchards are open for direct sales as long as they have any fruit - usually this is from late January to May. They've often sold out the week's pick by Sunday; Friday is a good day to go.

On this trip I got quinces and Cox's Orange Pippins at the Apple Yurt; and beans, tomatoes, and gala apples from the little ramshackle roadsie shack that is officially named "Pialligo Apples". It's all organic, and biodynamic, too, I think. They also sell honey, juice, jams and eggs - it's a nice mixed selection. Both of these places sell unusual or heritage varieties of fruit. It's educational to sample all the apples and discover how different they can be in taste and texture.

The new and exciting place to go for seasonal produce is Choku Bai Jo, in North Lyneham shops. This is run by the Pentony family, who were involved in the EPIC Growers' market, and they currently stock produce from a few of the market regulars. It's open 3-8pm Mon-Fr, and 7am-noon on Saturday. They do eftpos and credit cards. It was buzzing with customers on Friday arvo. The decor is currently very rough - trestle tables with cardboard boxes and plastic crates; a big fridge for the Glenn na Meala salad greens; a wire rack of Homeleigh olive oils and free range eggs. They diverged a little from the market's local ethos with a few mangoes from Mareeba - but everything was labelled with its travel distance, so it's up to you to choose.

At this stage, the prices are really excellent, as the direct engagement with the farmers cuts out the middlemen. The quality of the produce was also very high - much of it is organic, and all of it is superbly fresh. You can't avoid a bit of damage, but it's handled well. A few squished fruits were being removed from the boxes as I watched. A customer in front of me was given some dented fruit for free, because it wasn't up to scratch. I came home with some beautiful red capsicums, plums, salad greens, japanese cucumbers, rainbow chard, cauliflower, pumpkin, corn and olive oil. The beetroot and peaches and apples and tomatoes and eggplants all looked glorious - it was hard to resist buying everything in the shop!

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Saturday Flu

I dreamed last night that I was writing a blog post titled "Saturday Flu". Amazing! A precognitive dream! I'll ignore the detail that in the dream I was on a beach. But yes, I felt a little unwell, and very exhausted, and a bit achey, all day yesterday. Got no exercise as I was so tired. Got no serious cooking done, either, so I still have pears and quinces needing work. I did actually go to a Thai cooking class over lunchtime, but otherwise basically spent the day on the couch.

I do have a few things to report on the food front. Coming soon: reviews of Choku Bai Jo, Pialligo, Four Rivers, and Cooking Coordinates.