Yes, it was hot - the hottest New Year's Eve on record.
(I'm posting this on New Year's Day although the dateline says December 31. Maybe I should fix the dateline.)
A cool southerly kept the morning relatively cool and at 10 a.m. the weather bureau revised its forecast top from 42 celsius down to 33. Someone hit the forecast release button seconds too soon - the wind stopped dead in its tracks and the mercury shot up like a fairground hammer bell. Melbourne hit 42.9 at 5.14 p.m. while Horsham cranked out a lazy 46. I wonder what the temperature was on the bitumen into the wheatbelt town?
Down here at the beach, the shallows were rippling gently when we finally panted onto the sand around five in the afternoon. It was simply too hot earlier and we had stayed in the shade of the back garden with cold drinks.
On the beach, William wore nothing but a cute bonnet, pale blue gingham with a lace trim around the face and two tie ribbons under his fat little chin. He laughed at the wavelets. T. and I lay in three inches of warm Port Phillip Bay brine, cradling him as he sat and smacked the water with his dimpled hands, laughing some more as the boiling, angry sun moved a bit further west but not a lot.
Back to the house about seven. We had a simple salad and some chilled wine and William had some pureed peas and potato and got it all over his little hands and all over his little clothes and all over his little rocker seat. Did I mention he loves his food? He's on solids now (along with his mother's milk) and is loving every last spoonful.
But here's what we had the night before:
Baked Tasmanian Atlantic Salmon.
I usually grill it but T.'s mother suggested a Scottish method, baking it with just a dash of malt vinegar and half a cup of water. I sliced an onion over the top and added about twenty capers and a dozen whole white peppercorns - they're more aromatic than the black ones. I baked the fish twenty minutes and meanwhile boiled up some sweet potatoes and sebago potatoes chopped into large chunks. Snow peas in at the last minute.
I poured the juices from the baking pan into a pot, added a dash of cream and boiled it down a little then poured it over the salmon to serve.
It was a superb dish. Try a nice buttery chardonnay. Or a cold beer. Or a Scotch with water. There was plenty of salmon and potatoes left over and this made the basis for a New Year's Eve heatwave lunch - chilled salmon and potato salad.
Dead easy - place the leftover cold potatoes in a bowl. Add mayonnaise. Add slices of beetroot. Add some finely chopped onion. Flake the smoked salmon over and throw in some more capers if you ate all the ones in the original dish. Add some chopped dill.
As I mentioned, it's New Year's Day here. Three in the afternoon. It's pouring rain right now. I might go outside and stand in it for a while.