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


Adana kebab.

It's been hot for a week now. It was 29 degrees at 2p.m. Late in the afternoon, storm clouds piled up in cylinders of violent purple and gold. Later, they were black, and distant thunder rumbled and crashed and the sky flickered like a thousand broken neon lights. But no rain. Not here anyway.

Usually at this time of year the cool air creeps in after dark and chases you inside but the air stayed humid all night. We sat out under the grapevine, turning red now, and dined in the kind of heat they call Indian summer in some parts of the world, so it may as well be that here.

The differences are striking. In summer you can't escape the sun in the garden, except directly under the canopies of the trees. Now, a long shadow falls across the yard, providing welcome respite. The trees are red and gold, but the leaves haven't yet started to drop. And the lawn is lush thanks to the late rains of summer.


Dinner was easy work. Minced lamb mixed with a finely chopped chile, a dash of chili powder and an egg. Formed into duck-egg shapes and pressed gently to flatten slightly. Then on to the barbecue over a bunch of mint leaves growing in the old double concrete trough next to the shed. Five minutes, turn, three minutes. Done. (You can use flat metal skewers to speed the cooking; they heat and cook it from inside as well.)

Fresh flat bread from A1 in Sydney Road. On each piece, a line of lettuce, a line of sliced tomato, a line of sliced onion, a line of garlic-infused yogurt. Then the grilled lamb. Two or three each depending on size and appetite. A good squirt of lemon juice, a shake of salt. Wrap tightly. Slice cylinder in two, fold two halves back on each other on the plate.

Glass of red, for a change. We walked about the weather and names for girls. William and Thomas were easy. Naming a girl is harder. I wondered why.


The distant thunder rolled on, somewhere else. I felt a drop of rain. It hardly made the ground. It just made the air more humid.

Enjoy your Indian summer. I like the colours and the heat and the fact that every warm day that passes means a shorter winter.


paula said...

girls names? congratulations!

hey, have you tried the egyptian falafel in coburg mall or victoria mall or whatever it's called. sooooo good and with a coffee it's only $8.50! AND they cook the felafel from scratch. i'm addicted...

kitchen hand said...

Thank you, Paula.

Yes - Half Moon cafe is great. I also take home tubs of their babaganoush or hommous. And I love those red turnip pickles dipped in tahini - the best snack in the world.

White Dove said...

Stop it with the food already.....I'm home again and missing Melbourne !!!!!

Girls names ?????

Janis Gore said...


You have a heck of a lot more energy and courage than I.

That said, congratulations!

The last girl baby I've heard of was named Margaret, fourth generation within the maternal line.

The one before that was Mallory, my great-niece. My sister calls that a sorority name.

jo said...

Congratulations! It sems like older names are becoming popular again here like Penelope, Sloane, Amelia. I book loads of kids birthday cooking parties so I know that some names like Chloe, Emma and Lucy have been a bit over done.
Place names also seem to be all the rage, Paris, Savannah, Chelsea, etc.
It must be fun to mull them over.
As always, thanks for tilting the axis and sending some warm our way finally.

Dr. Alice said...

I didn't figure out what was going on till I read the comments... and I call myself a doctor!

Congratulations, and enjoy your autumn.

kitchen hand said...

Back in Qld, WD?

Thank you, Janis. We're hoping three is easier than two. Both our families are full of Annes. It won't be Anne. That's all I know.

Jo, place names are popular here as well. The classrooms are full of foreign capitals and states, all spelled different ways. God knows how'll they'll read a map when they grow up.

Thanks, Dr. A. Today was about as perfect as it gets.

Red Dirt Mummy said...

Congrats! And have fun name-choosing. I thnk that's one of the best bits. An aside - I remember sitting on the couch gazing at my newborn second child and sobbing because we had chose the most perfect names for our children. Ummm... yeah a wee bit hormonal there LOL.

kitchen hand said...

Thanks, RDM. Yes, choosing a name is certainly an adventure. Two family trees to climb. Or ignore.