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


The wind, the bees and the cucumber.

I lifted the sash window in the loungeroom and a blast furnace came into the room. I closed it again and the blast stopped, but the room was about ten degrees hotter than before. The loungeroom faces north and the wind was a northerly and it was a big wind and it was an angry wind.

The temperature topped out at 42 yesterday. The overnight was to be 30, about the same as Tennant Creek and Broome and a degree or two lower than Port Hedland.

Why so hot down here, then? The wind sweeps the country from top to bottom, across the dead heart, sucking heat from burning rock and molten sand and dumping it on Melbourne before blowing out across Bass Strait and on to Tasmania, the full point to the mainland's question mark.


The night swam by in a barely-remembered swelter of black heat. The boys slept surprisingly well. Tracy, not so well. I slept like a log. The heat doesn't bother me.

William had stood on a bee in the late afternoon. I had set up a small pool on the lawn beneath the spreading canopy of the old grapefruit tree to give the boys some relief from the heat; parched bees came from wherever parched bees rest and crawled over blades of grass seeking moisture. William stepped on one. I managed to extricate the sting without pressing the sac; and after a few minutes of bellowing, no further ill-effects were observed. We sat him in the loungeroom with a drink and placed his sore little left foot on the bottle of frozen water that we use to chill the travel cooler.


We ate outside. Nothing special; grilled fish with oregano and olive oil and the usual salad of tomato, red capsicum, feta, black olives and red onion. Too hot for bread. Not too hot for chilled white wine. William picked a cucumber (big crop this year) from the back garden (shoes on, now), brought it inside and I washed it and chopped it and put it straight into the salad. So much for your food miles, except it's paradoxically illegal to hose your vegetable garden. (You're allowed to drive to Safeway and bring one home in a plastic bag, of course.) I have to confess I have flouted the rule on one, perhaps two occasions. I used less water than I would have used by bucketing the stuff. Buckets tend to slop and spill. The water police will get me one day.


That was yesterday and this is today and it's 40 degrees again. What to eat? Might be a night for curry, spicy and hot and intense of flavour and a delight to the tastebuds when tastebuds are jaded by heat. Let's fight fire with fire.


patrick roberts said...

another thought about food, now that you mention it, sometimes it tastes better re-heated too.

Jo said...

*sigh* summer.

Remind me I was jealous of you when it is August and I am whining.

Julie said...

Your definition of "nothing special" for dinner is far, far different than mine. Haven't you ever heard of grilled cheese??

Oh, and I'll be over for dinner tonight. Yum.

kitchen hand said...

Patrick, I agree: much food tastes better re-heated - curries, stews, pasta sauces, pizza the next morning ...

I shall, Jo. With frozen fingers.

Julie, grilled cheese is a gourmet item for me. My favourite is grilled Kraft cheddar on thick white toast: the cheese goes black on top and bubbles underneath. The best snack on earth.

rose said...

Have you got basil in the garden? What about bruschetta tonight? If it's still hot not a problem, no cooking!

Marie said...

Oh my that does sound hot. I cannot imagine 40 degrees. I think I'd want to die. Congrats on getting the stinger out without disturbing the venom sac! I've never been able to do that myself!

Red Dirt Mummy said...

Uggghh... that's hot alright and I'm not too far from one of the places you mentioned! We hit 47 the other day but have settled back to about 37 today. Still darn hot but much more bearable.

kitchen hand said...

Rose, most years I wait for the tomatoes to ripen before making bruschetta, then we eat it every night or until the tomatoes run out. They're late this year.

Marie, yes it is rather warm. William was very good and didn't struggle.

RDM, I've never experienced 47. Might come up for a visit!

Dr. Alice said...

The loungeroom faces north and the wind was a northerly and it was a big wind and it was an angry wind.

...It was a RED wind. [g]...

You're channeling your inner Raymond Chandler, I see.

kitchen hand said...

The way he describes weather and geography are eerily appropriate to here.