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


Happy Australia Day.

Yesterday, Melbourne was a cauldron. The official top was 36 degrees, but a thermometer at Melbourne Park registered 47 in the shade. They halted the Australian Open quarter finals and drew the roof over Rod Laver arena.

It was far too hot to eat any earlier than eight-thirty; sat outside, beneath the apple tree, with the sun burning angrily away on the horizon before dropping out of sight, turning the trees to liquid gold as it did so.

The dogs lay exhausted on the lawn. We ate a cool salad of lettuce, tomatoes, onions and a simple vinaigrette followed by an easy pasta dish of spirals folded through with cannellini beans and a rich pesto with extra basil leaves on top.


We sweltered overnight, the temperature fell no lower than 25.6. Today's top is an expected 36. Despite this, the CFA has not imposed a total fire ban, so the traditional barbie will go ahead.

Lamb fillets, kebabs, sausages. Steaks, chicken fillets marinated in soy, ginger, garlic, lemon. Calamari, prawns, barramundi. Grilled zucchini and eggplant. Grilled onions. Salads of many kinds. Cold beer, maybe some cold white wine from the Yarra Valley.

Happy Australia Day. Wherever you are in the world.

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