Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


I've hardly been home.

The family lunch.
A kind of pre-easter gathering as several of the party will be away at Easter.

Two brothers, one sister, one brother-in-law, two nieces, one daughter-in-law, two grandchildren, one mother, one wife.

Roast beef. Roasted parsnips, potatoes, pumpkin, carrots. Salads. Bread. Red wine. Tea. Cheesecake.

The yellow labrador which lives next door wandered over to see what all the fuss was about.

Well, we are loud sometimes.

The birthday dinner.
Saturday night at Atami Japanese restaurant, a favourite with local families. After all, you can't introduce small children to raw fish too early.

Sukiyaki passable, seaweed salad sensational, sashimi good but only two types of fish, service typically excellent.

The birthday party.
Sunday night at Andrew and Natalie's for a birthday dinner.

Andrew showcased his yummy fish curry with tamarind - not too hot, just a nice slow burn. The kind of heat that gives a warm inner glow without cauterising taste buds. (Mind you, I like it that way too!)

Accompaniments: hot, fluffy garlic naan, yogurt, green salad, chardonnay. dessert: trifle, chocolate log (thank you Delia).

Canisha, 6, presented me with a home-made card. It read: 'Happy Birthday. I can't believe you're just 47!' Don't kids say the cutest things! Plus, she had placed a $2 coin in the envelope as a gift for me! Kids are just so cute.

Morning coffee in the plaza.
Saturday mornings, we often visit Coburg market, a busy magnet for locals who are drawn to its vast variety of inexpensive produce. It's a meeting place for the elderly Italians and Greeks - the menfolk of whom stand around in vigorous conversation with each other while the women fetch the shopping.

Everything you need is here - fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, smallgoods, cheeses, eggs, grains, nuts, dates, beans and more wonderful goodies. There is even a honey stall and a religious artifacts stall.

There used to be only one coffee shop on the plaza. Now there are four. They all operate from small shops and have allocated tables and chairs outdoors. having finished our shopping, we sat with our coffee and watched the passing parade.

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