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


Winter turns a corner.

It was 5 o’clock on a darkening Monday evening. I was in the local library doing some research, called browsing, with one eye on a book and the other on the high window that looks over Victoria Street and beyond. Outside, the north-west sky was a giant black cloud crying its heart out. Beneath it was a grey veil of rain stretching from Footscray to Broadmeadows. The cloud moved nearer and the downpour hit the library like thunder. The street outside turned that intense storm colour, a kind of seething yellow grey, like reflected lightning. The lights in the butcher shop and the shoe store across the road pixillated and a flash of red was a raincoat running for cover towards the shopfront verandah.

By the time the rain stopped and the black cloud had rumbled east towards Heidelberg and Kew, it was almost dark anyway. I walked home in the cold wet dusk to the white house with the perennial borders. The pelargoniums are still in flower. Or again. They never stop.


Oh look, Al Gore is back in town, visiting from the other side of the world to tell us to turn off a light. Being a politician he's doing it diplomatically:

"I don't want to interfere with Australian affairs -- or at least I don't want to be caught doing it," he said.
Thanks, Al. Goodbye. Ah, Al: that’s the road to the airport. You didn't fly here, did you? If a balsa raft was good enough for Thor Heyerdahl ...


It's that critical time of winter, a kind of seasonal hump day when you think to hell with all this heavy food.

So to hell with all that heavy food, just for a night. Let's try something lighter. How about some nice fish steamed with garlic and ginger with fresh greens and aromatic rice? Not a bacon bone or a potato or a shank or a jug of gravy in sight.

Steamed Tasmanian salmon with a trio of greens.

I wrapped two slices of fresh salmon (skin on, the flavour is better) in foil with a splash of tamari, a teaspoonful of grated fresh ginger, a scored garlic clove and two spring onions sliced on the diagonal into one-inch strips.

While that was steaming, I set some rice to boil - a cupful of basmati with a tablespoonful of red rice. The red rice on its own can be a little heavy but mixed with the white makes a nice change. Then I quickly cooked a bunch of pak choy - washed and sliced - in its residual rinsing water and a dash of sesame oil, with the rest of the bunch of spring onions complete with their green sections, once again diagonally cut, and a dozen snow peas thrown in with a minute to go. A squirt of oyster sauce to finish it off.

Fish on a plate, rice beside, greens over the rice. Jasmine tea.


Anonymous said...

Sounds very similar to a dish from MasterChef .. was this your source of inspiration? (tongue firmly in cheek - you mentioned your disenchantment with MasterChef in an earlier post).

Seriously though, your descriptive writing style is glorious (and extends far beyond food-related discussion).

Dr. Alice said...

It sounds as though the Gore Effect has struck again. :) As always, your meals sound incredibly appealing.

I would love some nice cold rainy weather right about now. I was hoping to travel to Australia this year but had to ax that idea when my aunt got sick (I will be spending two weeks with her in August or September) while she undergoes a stem cell transplant). Well, maybe next year.

kitchen hand said...

Thank you, Anon.

A shame, Dr. A. Hope your aunt makes a full recovery.