Scott and I had our 10 year wedding anniversary on July 14th. Our first plan was to go to Fiji, but obviously that couldn’t happen. Then we changed our plan to a few days away in the Bendigo area, but that got cancelled when they announced Lockdown 2.0 [I thought waiting until 4 days before was low-risk enough to book an Airbnb and some fancy meals and spa stuff but no!]. Ah well. Hopefully we’ll celebrate our 11 year anniversary somewhere nice.

Instead we had a couple days off at home.

I decided there was NO BUDGET whatsoever and searched around and found out one of my all-time dream restaurants was doing fancy takeaway. What a treat!!

We started with Kinoko-no-dobinmushi, which had like a dozen different types of crazy mushrooms in a konbu dashi broth. There were three types of little vegetarian dumpling things: taro, tofu, and lotus root, an interesting green vegetable that I have no idea what it was, and some yuzu and lime. One of the mushrooms was hairy!!

Next we had Truffled teba-gyoza. This was insane. It had a perfectly gooey egg yolk (Scott thinks it was duck, as it was pretty large) wrapped in a chicken mince mixture with truffle, pancetta, shiso, somehow stuffed inside a de-boned chicken wing, which was then cooked until crispy. It was so rich and tasty. I don’t know how they did it, you couldn’t see any seams!

Then the main event, Chirashizushi (for two). It had 50 million tiny pieces of absolutely perfect fish on top of a bed of sushi rice and egg slivers. According to the menu we had o-toro, engawa, prawn, tamago, ikura, tuna, trout, Hokkaido scallops, anago, nori, kinshi tamago, cucumber, shiitake, kanpyo and bamboo shoot.

The highlights were the incredibly buttery torched engawa and the super sweet and tender scallops, but honestly every bit of it was amazing. Even the pickled ginger that came with it was extra delicious.

For dessert I chose the Otona banana, which had a Japanese whisky infused banana pureĆ©, Okinanwan black sugar and miso butterscotch, crispy wafer pieces, roll cake layers, fresh banana and vanilla custard. I usually only eat bananas for convenience… but I still loved this. Everything was super smooth and not over the top sweet.

Scott had the Matcha Pudding Parfait. It had matcha pudding, sponge and syrup, adzuki beans, strawberries, raspberry sauce, kanten jelly, mochi and whipped cream. It was very earthy. Scott liked it a lot.

All in all, one of the best meals we’ve ever had, and a very fun at-home experience. Happy anniversary to us!

Minamishima Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

One kinda cool thing about lockdown life has been all the new takeaway options. Fancy places doing cheaper takeaway, where you might have to do a little assembly at home. After weeks of not going anywhere we decided to treat ourselves with Attica at Home, somewhere we probably wouldn’t get to go to normally.

A Simple Dish of Potato Cooked in the Earth it Was Grown – a very tender potato with a tart curd and saltbush.

The Dish That Saved Attica aka Spice Crusted Lamb Shoulder – a verrry tender piece of lamb with some greens and a super rich puree.

Plight of the Bees: Trifle Version – a fairly basic trifle with very smooth cream, cake, raspberries etc.

Baby Holy Goat ‘La Luna’ cheese served with Baker Bleu ficelle and fresh honeycomb – really delicious creamy cheese with suuuuuper chewy rolls, with a delicious hunk of gooey honeycomb.

Cocktail Selection: one sweet, one dry.

Everything was quite nice. We loved the lamb and puree the most, and the cheese was sooooo good. Everything was pretty small so I’m glad I added the extra cheese course. The trifle was the least special part of the meal but it was still fine.

Attica Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Lockdown cooking has been fun, to be honest. We have been eating well.

Homemade sushi with salmon, steamed yam, cucumber, avocado, cream cheese.

Rice paper rolls with shrimp, rice vermicelli, tons of vegetables, cilantro and mint. Dipped in the most tasty peanut sauce.

Scott made this for me after seeing it on Facebook… a KFC popcorn chicken pizza with corn and gravy. LOL.

Scotch eggs and salad. These were a bit hard to make, but sooo delicious! If I made them again I would try to get smaller eggs so it doesn’t use as much sausage per egg. The sausage stuck to my hands so much and was so hard to get to seal around the egg and do the breading, but somehow they held up well during deep frying and in the end came out great!

Arancini and umm… charred broccolini. The deep frying adventures continue. Scott made the arancini. It took a long time but they were delicious!!

Montreal style bagels. Not linking the recipe because I don’t recommend that particular one. I don’t like the bagels in this country much so I have to make my own. Still needs some work.

A quarantine classic, although not sourdough, just regular no-knead bread.

Kouign-Amann. This took me EIGHT HOURS. It wasn’t actually that hard, but the whole process was like “do one fold, roll, then chill for 30 minutes”. It was the one day I was happy that our house is never hotter than 15 degrees…. perfect for laminating pastry.

Scott made Arnott’s Monte Carlos. Yum. Did they ever release the Kingston recipe?

Raspberry cheesecake muffins. They don’t look that hot in the picture but these were SOOOOOO GOOD. I’m coming around on cooked fruit. These muffins have a cream cheese filling and a super delicious crumble topping. I think I’ll make more of these v soon.

Almond Brittle and Salted Chocolate Ganache ice cream. I’ve written a lot about Salt & Straw ice cream. We once drove all the way from Vancouver to Seattle for ice cream. Then a couple months ago I realized that Salt & Straw might have a recipe book. I looked it up and yes they did, and wow it was available at the shopping centre right around the corner from us here in Melbourne. Shortly after I’m making batches of brittle and ganache and making my all-time favourite ice cream at home. And it’s perfect and delicious and I am so happy.

Scott made Boston Cream doughnuts. Don’t they look awesome!?!

Scott made more doughnuts for the one time we were allowed to have a family gathering. White chocolate glazed, and filled with passionfruit curd.

Myles approved.

How we spent our first lockdown. (Besides cooking, I’m saving that for a different post.)

Doing weird household tasks like going under the house to take a look at stuff and thread cables through the floor.

Re-learning how to use a sewing machine so my ears don’t freeze when I’m biking to work.

Finishing crochet projects that I started a year before.

Getting back into cross stitch and re-invigorating my Etsy shop.

Drawing cartoons for my weightlifting club’s newsletter: Isolation Edition.

Playing every single board game we have. I saved all of them to my Instagram stories if you’re interested. A forgotten favourite was Lords of Waterdeep. A forgotten loser was Tsuro of the Seas.

Doing yoga.

Crying that we didn’t get to go to Canada and having to get Rosemarie to mail us all our Arcteryx goodies.

Picking lemons. This doesn’t really fit the post but I’m just so happy with our lemon tree.

For a brief two weeks: Going out for breakfast! Going back to the gym! Having family dinner!

But then cases started going out of control again and we got put back in the strictest lockdown. :(

I guess I have finally gotten bored enough to get back to this poor neglected blog. So let’s catch up! We’re going way way back to… BEFORE COVID. Whoa.

My friend Pity from weightlifting invited a few of us over to do a still life drawing session. I haven’t sketched like that in ages. It was fun and I liked what I drew and I liked seeing everyone else’s take on the same object. Would be nice to do this again, some day.

I did a picture framing class at a framing shop near our house. Yes I have done this before but this one uses way better tools and once you finish the course you can go back and frame whatever you want and just pay for supplies. Except I haven’t been able to go back. Sigh.

I was supposed to do a weightlifting competition in March. Training was going really well and I was feeling good but then the competition was one of the very first things that got cancelled here in Melbourne. Everyone thought it was so stupid that it was cancelled because at that point I think we were still allowed to have 500 people at events and you’d be lucky if there were 20 spectators at the average local weightlifting competition.

Anyway my coach and I decided to just do a mock comp at Phoenix instead. I snatched 43x/43/45 and clean and jerked 50/53/55 (PB!). I was excited because it was the first time I got to use the blue plates. The 55 was so easy I got to do a Bonus Attempt at 57 but I just smashed it into my sternum instead of getting underneath it.

That same weekend we had Kyla staying with us for a mini break from her family trip around Australia. We took her out for a very Melbourne laneway pub crawl around the city. One of my very favourite things about this city is taking people down weird alleyways like the one in the picture and finding a super cool bar.

There were not that many people out so we didn’t have to wait to get in anywhere. We had parmas in a pub, then went to hidden bars, rooftop bars, bubble tea cocktail bars, speakeasy bars, and even tried to go to a floating bar (but got turned away for being too ugly[??]). It was a fun night.

And then that was it! We went into the first stages of lockdown that week.