Not the best month tbh. Still in lockdown. Everything still closed and still can’t see anyone. Although it was exciting when our radius doubled from 5km to 10km. :/

I still decided to take a week off from work, and Scott took a few days too. Even if we can’t really do anything it’s still nice to have a break from working. We spent the week cooking elaborate foods, doing a lot of crafts, watching ER.

Here is a bunch of jumbled pictures from the last month.

Making chicken wontons in my dumpling sweatshirt.

At home hotpot with leftover wontons, lots of mushrooms, tofu puffs (didn’t like them though), and veg. The broth was sooooo spicy.

Ottolenghi harissa eggplant and beef kofta. This was very very good.

Rice paper rolls with basa, mango, lots of veg, rice noodles, coriander and mint, with peanut dipping sauce.

I decided to paint the wall in the garage on my week off. I wasn’t sure how hard it was going to be so I kept my plan pretty simple. I kinda think it looks like a public library now though…. I’m not that happy with it. I might add a bit more to jazz it up a bit more maybe. Or maybe I’ll just paint over it and start again.

Scott’s parents sent us a card and some money to buy something to make us feel better. We decided to spent it on Caverna, a board game we have been wanting for a long time. It’s a bit like Agricola 2.0. I like it so far.

Scott trying to attract birds?

We were trying to find tawny frogmouth but all we found were a lot of rainbow lorikeets and mynas.

I fell off my bike. By biking straight into the boom gate at work. It really hurt.

However the Dees winning the Grand Final cheered me up after my accident. It was a great game. We started off strong in the first quarter, then the Dogs pulled ahead in the second quarter creating some tension, then part way through the third quarter the Dees kicked approximately 1000 goals and absolutely dominated for the rest of the game. By mid way through the fourth quarter we actually could relax because we were so far ahead.

Of course I’m sad that we couldn’t go to the game either here or in Perth. I’m really hoping that they are still good next year and we can actually go and experience the excitement in real life. The games should have great crowd atmosphere next year with all the Melbourne supporters coming out of hibernation.

The fam sent us an awesome charcuterie box for the game.

What I thought was going to happen when Maxy hoisted the cup with Goody after the win. (Or that Goody’s arm would get ripped out of its socket.)

I sewed myself an apron because I splash food on myself while cooking all the time.

I ordered a cheapy weaving loom off ebay for fun. It is pretty relaxing to use and works up way faster than a lot of my other types of craft hobbies. Dunno if it’s my new favourite thing or anything but it’s alright. Anyone need any coasters?

Nice flowers on a walk around our neighbourhood.

SITTING IS ILLEGAL.

Scott figured out how to crochet adorable baby hats! He has a new project in mind but the yarn is backordered and the postal system is paralyzed at the moment so it might not happen for a while.

Other unpictured stuff:

  • we planted some of our summer crops: carrots, zucchini, herbs, spinach, lettuce, sorrel, chinese eggplant, beans, chilis. It’s all started ok except the eggplant still hasn’t sprouted.
  • I did an online trivia night with my internet friends. It was fun. We won.
  • Still squatting a lot in the garage. Strength program is going pretty well.
  • I actually got called in to work. My third time in three years, lol, super different than my old job!! I just need to get called in three more times and then I can buy myself the RF 100-400mm lens I have my eye on. Might take three more years….

We had five days of freedom at the beginning of August and then have been in strict lockdown (#6) since then. :(

My weightlifting friend gave me a snapper! Her husband likes to fish and stayed up all night fishing between lockdowns. It was so fresh and smelled so good. It was my first time cooking a whole fish, so I kept it simple and just stuffed it with lemon and herbs and roasted it. Served with a side of pasta puttanesca. Fingers crossed for more fish in the future!

I spent a lot of the beginning of August in this position, quad-screening the Olympics. I have never watched so much summer Olympics in my life. But we didn’t have much else to do.

This is golden wattle, Australia’s national flower. Wattle in bloom = engage antihistamines, spring is here!!

I always feel a bit guilty taking pictures while out for a walk. Technically we’re only allowed outside for exercise, not for leisure, so I feel bad when I stop for more than a minute.

More illegal activities: eating sandwiches in a park. We walked to Saul’s in Carnegie for porchetta and cubano sandwiches and I didn’t want to walk all the way home before eating. They were both very delicious.

Scott made profiteroles, filled with custard. They were very very good. It’s a good thing I still work with other people because there were a lot. My coworkers were very pleased, except for our receptionist who exploded one all over his shirt.

We finally finally finished our joint granny square blanket! I think we started it in 2017!! The most procrastinated step was tucking in all the yarn ends. THERE WERE SO MANY. I like that (I’m pretty sure) there are no exact repeat squares.

Scott’s really into crochet now. He made a simple hat for himself, and then immediately started another hat: an adorable baby hat with ears!

Sophie dropped Gelato Messina goodies on our doorstep. That was an especially nice treat as we are outside their delivery radius but I still follow their instagram account… to torture myself?

Backyard photography.

Our backyard is like 2 meters wide. I’M SO BORED OF IT. At least we have one though. UGHHH.

Sugar snap peas are growing like crazy. They’re the only thing left at the moment, but we just planted a bunch of new stuff for summer: lettuce, spinach, sorrel, carrots, zucchini, Chinese eggplant, beans, herbs. And we started tomato and chilies inside.

Unpictured things:

  • I also went on an illegal walk with TWO friends. Wow this post is a real confessional. It was an emergency walk for mental health… essential care… don’t arrest me please.
  • Our boardgame friends organised a virtual birthday party for two of them. We played Jackbox games which I was mostly terrible at. I need like 5 hours to come up with funny things, not 5 seconds!! :P
  • We got Lune delivery croissants again. They were amazing. I dropped some off at Sophie’s. I’m watching and waiting for Mork delivery next.
  • Training is going well. I am on week 3 of a squat program and surviving so far. It feels like a good use of garage time, less overhead stuff, more growing my tiny legs. Hopefully the program gets me some gains.

We were supposed to spend the first half of June in the Northern Territory and South Australia, but ended up being restricted to a 5km radius from our house instead. Lockdown 4.0. So the month started off pretty bad, but I tried to make the most of it.

Instead of watching the Melbourne Demons vs Brisbane Lions game at Traegar Park in Alice Springs, NT, we watched it at home in our freezing house. :'( Dees won though. And we had delicious sushi bowls.

I had two weeks booked off work but cancelled the first week and worked instead. We were in strict lockdown so there wasn’t much I could do anyway. I actually got pretty depressed. It was just extremely frustrating that I was back at work, not on holiday, couldn’t reschedule the holiday, couldn’t go to the gym, couldn’t plan my training, couldn’t see my friends, couldn’t look forward to anything.

So I decided I needed a project.

I used that quiet week at work to plan and gather supplies for the following week.

My Saturday gym sessions currently have two exercises from blocks: block snatch and block cleans. I am very lucky that I can train in our garage, but I didn’t have blocks, which meant that I have to do the exercises from a hang position instead. I HATE HANG SNATCHES SO MUCH. Enough that I decided that I wanted to make my own blocks for home.

Originally I was going to make very simple criss-cross ones like I’d seen on the internet, but 1) I wanted to them to have two height options, and 2) I calculated that it would need around $150 worth of wood. So I emailed dad to ask if I could make them without the center supports because I don’t actually lift that much weight. He wrote back with a few questions and then 24 hours later he’d made me a brand new design in OpenSCAD! I could edit the dimensions to what is available here and it even generated a list of supplies. Very cool. Thanks dad. The new plan only used about $70 of wood!

It took me three afternoons to put them together, but I honestly found it very satisfying (other than stripped screws, which was remedied by replacing my screwdriver bit). I had fun using my new drop saw and circular saw, and didn’t even lose any fingers. Thanks dad for reminding me of when mom had to go to the hospital after a drop saw accident at the cottage AFTER I had finished cutting all of the pieces.

They work great! They nestle together perfectly and they don’t bounce or move at all. I’m very happy. I’ll probably add strips on the top to stop the bar from rolling off when I’m not holding it. I only used them one time so far though because the gym re-opened the next week lol. But there is covid in NSW at the moment so it’s probably just a matter of time before we are back in lockdown again. :/

Hide The Pain Harold Katrina.

If you’re in lockdown and don’t bake bread, DID YOU EVEN LOCKDOWN?

I made this bread with leftover whey instead of water, because the internet told me you could do that. But it tasted weird, I don’t think I would do it again. Or at least I would use 1/2 whey and 1/2 water.

Another lockdown cooking project: beef bourguignon. It took 3 days!!! And an entire bottle of wine!!! But it was dang delicious, and made like 8 servings, so in the end I think it was worth it.

One very good piece of news was that my citizenship test didn’t get cancelled. At that point we were allowed to go 25km from home and I guess they decided that it was essential enough that they could let the immigration officers work in the office.

They told me it would take 2 hours, and I had to bring in all sorts of documents. But the dude only asked for my passport and drivers license and I was out of there in 15 minutes, including doing the test TWO TIMES… because I failed the first time….. OOPS. (I got 95% but I failed one of the essential questions because apparently I am a monarchist. I got 100% the second time btw.)

So I spent a couple hours wandering the quiet city with my camera. I went to the Lululemon outlet, got bubble tea, borek, and popped into a whole bunch of shops too. It’s a good thing I didn’t get covid because my exposure site list would have been very long, haha. Most of my pictures didn’t turn out very well. I am definitely still learning how to use my camera.

I’m back. Let’s catch up.

Our March #smaj activity was clay target shooting in Carrum Downs. I was worried about it! I don’t think I have very good hand-eye coordination, and I’d never even touched a gun before. But it was actually super fun! I did better than Scott!

We got to do three rounds. In the first round, they shot one target at a time and they told you where it was going to come out. In the second round they shot two, but told us where they would come out from. And in the third round they also shot two, but you didn’t know where they would come from. I think I got about 70% of my targets which is WAY higher than I would have guessed.

The guy standing next to me in the picture who ran the whole thing went to the Commonwealth Games! Maybe it’s a new hobby for me when I retire from weightlifting. :D

We went to a AFLW game. We got to see the goal of the year!

Terrible picture but Da Boys came over for lunch and games. We played Tiny Towns and Camel Up, and ate sausages and mac and cheese.

I was doing regular, uneventful back squats and thought “Hmm, my finger feels kinda weird” and then watched it turn purple right before my eyes! I must have burst a blood vessel or something?

Waiting after jab #1. My work got us vaccines very early. We all thought we were category 1B, but we got them nearly straight away with category 1A. We got AstraZeneca, then literally the next day they started having all these news articles about how you could get blood clots and they were going to stop using the vaccine in many parts of the world. Felt great man. But we all survived (so far) and I’m due for my second dose this week.

It has been reassuring being half vaccinated while still seeing lots of patients, many of whom are immuno-compromised. (And also don’t wear their masks properly.)

Just a random tasty meal. Honey gochujang baked salmon with green beans and rice.

Other things not pictured:

  • Scott played A LOT of lawn bowls. He got promoted to the club first team, and they made it to the finals.
  • He also made it to the grand final in his basketball league.
  • We had a few family lunches.
  • We went to this progressive dinner thing in Kew where we had entree, main, and dessert at different restaurants within walking distance. I didn’t take any pictures but it was fun. We ate so many different things and also way too much.
  • We started pottery class. I think I’ll make that into its own post.

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.