Rocket, fennel, orange and almond salad

Rocket (Arugula to my North American readers) grows in my garden in winter. So, inspired by Amanda Daniel from 2bEthical who made a winter salad at the Adelaide Showgrounds Farmer’s Market demo kitchen, I did a version of my own. All local produce including the olive oil that I used to warm the local almonds with. Gotta love the Mediterranean climate here in Adelaide. Yummy salad.

Desperately seeking downtime

Another day of work (Wednesday) then we are off to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast for 5 nights.  A quick break to make a long overdue visit with Roo’s mum and a chance to not have home chores to occupy us.  It’s all work lately and my body threw a fit last week.  A bit of R&R is in order.

I’ve booked an apartment with kitchenette near the beach.  The place is built around a lagoon-style pool and there is a cafe by the water.  I predict walks at the beach, meals in Mooloolaba (Hot Pippis was good last time) and a day in Noosa.  Some markets, some hanging out with Hilda and some reading by the pool.  Maybe visit Mel’s folks. Not much else.  Desperate for downtime.

Vegetables are our friends too

So, my niece from America might be coming to stay with us for a while and she is a vegetarian.  I mentioned this to my husband, Roo and he thought for a moment and said “Why don’t we go veggie for the year she comes to stay”?  We are both committed meat eaters but we have always been veggie friendly, tending to seek out local vegetarian cafes and restaurants in that endless quest to be healthy.

I was a vegetarian once upon a time for about 6 years.  This period roughly coincided with my university years when I was out living on my own for the first time and meat was too expensive.  In the 70s in Arizona there were plenty of places to find a decent veggie meal around 5th and Mill in Tempe.  My Vego years ended abruptly when I was employed at a Sheep Station in the Pilbara in 1981.  There weren’t enough vegetables to go around at any given meal and mutton was the most readily available food. After the initial bloating and re-learning how to digest all that protein, my body eventually acclimatised. And I enjoyed the meat.

There was a fabulous restaurant called Clearlight in Rundle Street that closed some years ago now, and the style of food served there was the style of food I know I could live on.  The hot dishes and soups of the day were very creative and delicious. At home we have tried to recreate the taste of the mountain bread rolls that were a staple at Clearlight.  I think we’ve come close. If anyone reading this blog knows if the woman who ran Clearlight has another eatery in Adelaide, I would love to know about it.  Or if she has a cookbook. Or runs cooking classes.

Lately we have been frequenting THEA Vegetarian Tea Garden in Gawler Place, Adelaide for healthy and interesting vegetarian meals.

Even though we are meat eaters, for now, we are very veggie friendly.

I discovered a site the other day called Vegeterranean and, my, we have come a long way.  It’s not all about tofu. Not that there’s anything wrong with Tofu (other than the fact that it does require a lot of energy and processing to get from ‘bean’ to all the different tofu products available on the market. 

As I have mentioned in this blog, we are blessed here in Adelaide with fabulous produce and markets. So our vegetarian year challenge may not be that difficult with a little research and inspiration. Watch out veggies!

January things

Locally grown avocados and stone fruits at the Adelaide Showgrounds Farmer’s Market, my husband’s birthday (he just turned 50, young thing), Tour Down Under and the Big Day Out.  These are the January things that have me talking this year.

I dusted off my old Avanti bicycle today and rode over to the Adelaide Showgrounds Farmer’s Market.  It’s just a 12 minute cycle away and is a great way to start a Sunday morning.  Though I should have had breakfast first. I ended up buying almost too much to carry home on my bike. Andrew usually goes with me and we share the load of the veggies and heavier items like olive oil and potatoes. I get excited when I see all that fresh food.  Just as well no one had watermelons on sale.

You wouldn’t think that our dry climate was suitable for growing avocados, but sure enough some guy in the Adelaide Hills gets them to grow in a bit of a micro-climate. Other market winners today; nectarines and peaches.

On Friday I participated in the Tour Down Under’s Mutual Community Tour Challenge with a group from work.  This year’s ride options were 149.5k, 111k or 35k.  Our team had riders in each of these distance categories.  I was in the last group, riding 35k.  Friday was rather warm and the last 35k of the ride was characterised by extreme cross winds  for 23k then a blessed tail wind for the last 12. My goal was to complete the ride without needing to dismount on any of the hills.  I was successful.  It took 2.5 hours but I made it!

Friday was also my young husband’s 50th birthday. We went to our local pub for dinner with good friends Stu and Toni, then on Saturday night Andrew and I went to an Argentinian restaurant in Hutt Street. Very strange crowd in the restaurant.  Some tattooed guys who kept going outside for a smoke and what appeared to be ‘deals’ with people who drove up, parked illegally then disappeared.  The whole dining experience had some disappointments and some highlights. The steaks were excellent as was the Marta’s Vineyard 1999 Malbec. The crème brûlée was generous. The Empanada was deep fried though and the filling tasted like a Bolognese sauce. Not the highlight for sure.

Announcement: I am not going to the Big Day Out this year. I love the web site and poster with the ‘Day of the Dead’ inspired skeletons and paper cut-outs. But none of the bands really excite me. Maybe the Decembrists, but not enough to go for the day (they’re on at 3.45 or thereabouts) or even the evening of a really hot day with a bunch of drunken 23 year olds.

One more January thing – our anniversary – married 19 years and still best mates.  Well done us!