Miso-Roasted Carrots with Green Beans & Soba Noodles

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The half-circle of blinding, turquoise ocean is this love’s primal scene. That this blue exists makes my life a remarkable one, just to have seen it. To have seen such beautiful things.

from ‘Bluets’, Maggie Nelson

I’m reading Maggie Nelson’s cult novella Bluets at the moment. 240 short stanzas ruminating on love and life and loss and philosophy, and the colour blue. Part autobiography, part meditation, part long lyric poem. And it is making me notice blue everywhere – in the slash of sky outside my window, in my daughter’s startling eyes, in the flash of the train coming past, on the underside of the birds that squawk in the wattles by the train line. Continue reading Miso-Roasted Carrots with Green Beans & Soba Noodles

Green Tea Soup with Roasted Eggplant

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Green tea soup – ochazuke – is one of my favourite Japanese dishes. Traditionally, it is served with rice and salted fish (usually salmon) as well as nori or another type of sea vegetable. Ochazuke is a kind of un-cooking. You prepare the elements in advance but then it all comes together at the last in a haphazard way. Pouring over the hot green tea takes care of the cooking of the vegetables, but it isn’t an exact science. A little more of this, a little less of that.

I like the idea of un-cooking. Mostly, I suppose, because it echoes my style of cooking. I seem to have a complete inability to follow a recipe to the letter. Even my own recipes! Unless I’m developing a recipe for the blog (or baking), I rarely use measuring cups or spoons, preferring instead to eyeball the amounts. And I’m always tempted to add chilli, some green veges, extra spices, a handful of herbs, or just a little sumthin’ sumthin’ to make the recipe my own. The beauty of un-cooking is that it teaches you to cook by the seat of your pants, to improvise, to mix shit up. Continue reading Green Tea Soup with Roasted Eggplant

Szechuan Tofu with Soba Noodles

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rain that defies rain’s downwardness
and spools past the windows, frame by frame –
film after film of Edwardian rain.
Rain as a haunting, rain’s ghost train.

– from ‘Rain’ by Jacob Polley

Friday was all kinds of wet. Sometime early in the predawn morning the skies opened up and the rains just kept on coming. I cancelled plans to meet friends for coffee and book shopping in the morning and instead we stayed at home. It was so overcast outside that the house was dark and cool even in the middle of the day. The rain never stopped, coming down hard and the easing off in turns; when it came down hard on the roof it blocked out all sound, a kind of white noise. Continue reading Szechuan Tofu with Soba Noodles

Soba Noodle Salad

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It’s been rather an unusual weekend. For starters, Brisbane has been in the midst of a crazy heatwave (it is still 36°c and it is 7:30pm in the evening as I write this). Our lovely Queenslander house atop the hill usually stays pretty cool, but on a weekend like this, with not much of a breeze to speak of, it is like living in a sauna. Plus being seven months pregnant doesn’t help the situation at all. So basically it has been too hot to go out, and too hot to stay in.

The second thing that made the weekend unusual was the fact that Brisbane is hosting the G20 summit. We live only a few minutes walk from where all the action is going down, and between the police presence, the near-constant helicopters, and the road blockages, going out was a bit of a saga. S did have to head into the city on Saturday morning and alas, a trip that shouldn’t have taken more than an hour ended up taking almost three as Obama was driving through to the summit centre right at that very moment, and S got caught in the street shutdown. Continue reading Soba Noodle Salad

Peanut Soba Noodle Salad

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The day last week that I made this Peanut Soba Noodle Salad turned into a bit of a madhouse. The noodle salad is a variation on a dish that I make regularly and can do with my eyes closed, so my plan was to whip it up and photograph it while W was having her nap, and then when she woke up we’d share it for lunch.

Things didn’t quite go according to plan. Firstly, I had a bunch of rhubarb in the fridge too, so on a whim I decided that I’d also put together a crumble (recipe coming soon!) and that while it was in the oven I’d make the peanut soba noodles. Two birds, one stone. By the time I got around to making the noodles, the kitchen was already quite a mess (I hadn’t cleaned up the breakfast dishes yet) and bench space was becoming scarce. Rather than stop, do a quick load of dishes, and clear a space, I decided to forge ahead with the noodles, making even more mess and balancing bowls and all manner of things precariously on top one another. Continue reading Peanut Soba Noodle Salad