Summer days

23 January 2021

I took an early break yesterday and rode up the street for library books, ice cream and banh mi. It's nice to be back in the habit of riding. Mostly I like feeling the air in my lungs and the sun on my skin, especially while I'm still working from home and in the apartment a lot.

I've started making Sunday a phone-free day, mainly to take a break from Instagram, Whatsapp and the news. So far, it's meant that I end up finishing a book on Sunday morning - Where the Crawdads Sing last weekend and Leave the World Behind the weekend before that.  Two thrillers in a row, a total accident. 

I've been fully embracing made up meals, partly inspired by some enormous homegrown squash and zucchini that were given to us but also because I've been a bit lax around restocking the pantry. Last Sunday I made a dutch baby pancake, which is super fast if you're serving it with fresh peaches rather than roasted fruit. 

I've also been filming food videos for work again, which left us with a raspberry and vanilla ice cream cake to get through, along with a container of leftover plain semifreddo that tastes just like ice cream. I made the NY Times Cooking version of ice magic for it one night, and it was so great! It's essentially a handful of chocolate melted over a double boiler, with half a teaspoon of coconut oil mixed through at the end to help it set, which takes about five minutes and makes more than enough for two.

A handful of other things to share:  

Molly Wizenberg's Granola No. 5. Unfussy but somehow very tasty, over ice cream but mostly with yoghurt and mango for breakfast.

My love for ice cream during the pandemic is clearly still going strong. I want to make these super cute ice cream hedgehogs

Zoe Foster Blake's list of Melbourne recommendations makes me want to think about interstate travel again. (I still feel funny about flying!) 

Ann Patchett's essay These Precious Days is beautiful. It's long but worth making time to read. 

And we're watching and enjoying Pretend it's a City on Netflix. 

Hope you have a lovely weekend. It's going to be so hot in Canberra!



09 January 2021

This last week of holidays has been the quietest and the best. It's also been a week where we felt motivated to spring clean. We got rid of the broken bookshelf that's been sitting in the background of Zoom calls for most of last year. I donated books, went to the tip - I even sponged down my front door. Over the phone, my grandmother told me that cleaning at the start of a new year is just what Chinese people do. And it felt nice, like we were starting afresh but also caring for a home that had sheltered us in a very weird year. When it was all done I baked bread, Nigella's old fashioned sandwich loaf, which came out of the oven looking just like the picture. 

New Year's was low key and lovely. We spent the afternoon at my sister's place for a BBQ lunch. My brother-in-law bought a smoker so we had smoked pork and beef ribs, rolls, salads and another pavlova. Then frozen dumplings and sparkling at home for dinner, which felt both lazy and festive. 

In a small way, I've spent some of this week prepping for a future lockdown. Putting meat in the freezer, reorganising the pantry to see what we have and need, buying an extra bag of toilet paper in our storage locker. And making the home extra nice should we be working here for awhile yet. I didn't feel panicked about it but now know that things can change pretty quickly and it's nice to feel ready just in case.

Some random things to share: 

This supermarket sunscreen is really great! Not too thick, smells nice and is SPF 50+. 

After trying a bunch of different yoga videos, I've started doing a Yoga by Adriene series, the 30-day home one that came recommended by a friend. Such a start-of-the-year thing to do but lovely all the same. 

One of my fave and most decadent roast chicken recipes is Alison Roman's version with anchovy-butter and chicken fat croutons