Wonderful Wednesday

We had beautiful weather on Wednesday - sunny, with just enough clouds to provide some visual relief from all that blue. I decided to walk up to Military to do some small grocery shopping.  I had a dinner idea in mind; but I needed some ingredients to make it happen.  I had the whole day stretched out in front of me so I started exploring.  Instead of just walking up and down the street, I started popping down every side road, through every alley and into every arcade that I saw.

I found a bookstore called Dymocks (seems to be the equivalent of a Borders but much smaller and without a cafe) and had that same moment of sticker shock that every American has the first time they walk into an Aussie bookstore.  Wow...  I saw a new Bill Bryson book, which I could've gotten in the States for about $28 and the prices was marked as $55. So, it was a bit of a depressing moment for me.  I LOVE to read and the knowledge that buying a new book would set me back that much was disturbing.

I also found a fully organic meat shop - not that I have any great feelings one way or the other about organic meat; but it was very interesting - Annie, you would be in heaven!  They had everything that you could think of and their own homemade sausages (those I would be interested in trying).  I walked down one side street and found a fabulous cafe and then, around the corner, the local Salvation Army Store (or Salvo Store, as it is called here).  I was in heaven!  They had a whole upstairs loft full of books for about $3 a piece so I decided that I could just live here after all :)  I bought a basket for my counter that I can put fruit in, some salt and pepper shakers, a wine stopper, a fabulous old dusky rose coloured water bottle (well, I used mine for water but I suppose you could really do anything with it), and some books.  The lady behind the counter was as old and sweet as could be. She wanted to know all about our move and how we liked it so far - she and her husband had traveled the States on vacation when they were younger and she quite enjoyed it.  I walked back up to the cafe and sat with a flat white to enjoy the sunshine and write some letters (this one is for you Vicki!).  Two old men in their eighties came and sat at the table beside me and provided me with a great deal of enjoyment.  Their conversation consisted of (and in this order): how old they were, what they ate for breakfast every morning, what was their favourite kind of bread, how regular their bowel movements were, what time they went to bed each night and then the conversation devolved into talk about trying to watch TV with all the LED/DVR and so on.  They both agreed that they just would just keep letting their wives handle the TV stuff since it was just too confusing :)  It was epic!

I headed up to the grocery store to get my ingredients for dinner and it was a very strange set-up.  Coles is inside of a shopping arcade; but the entrance just says Coles.  There was produce to my left and trolleys to my right so I just grabbed a basket and started going through the produce section.  I really nice guy came over to make sure I was OK (I was confused by the coriander - it didn't smell like cilantro; but it sure tasted like it) - I think I concerned him when he saw me eat a leaf of coriander! 
Turns out, I was in a little produce stand that wasn't connected to Coles at all.  I am extremely glad for the mistake as their produce was much nicer than Coles and very very cheap.  The guy and his dad walked me around the whole stand and chatted me up about America and such.  The son was very interested in American sodas and what I thought of the sodas here.  He showed me that he carried Dr. Pepper and Mountain Dew and told me that he would try to get some Diet Pepsi for me and put it in the back for me. I am going back next week to see if he got it!  The shop carried a range of specialty ice creams and even though they were really really expensive, I got a couple just to make you (and by you I mean my siblings who are addicted to ice cream) drool with envy.  And yes, in case you can't read the labels completely, it does say "Vanilla Bean and Elderflower" and "Burnt Fig Jam, Honeycomb and Caramel".

I finished up my shopping and headed back home - I didn't feel like waiting for the bus so I walked the whole way home with all of my purchases in tow (in total, I walked just shy of 3 miles).  In retrospect, it wasn't a great idea as I was really shattered by the time I got home; and with a headache as well.  On the way home, I almost walked directly into a spider that was hanging down in the middle of the sidewalk.  Ugh...  I tried to take a picture; but it was in shadow so no go.  It was just a small orb weaver; but still very nasty and spidery looking.  I had to wait until it pulled itself up further and then skirt around it on the sidewalk - I'm sure I looked like an idiot; but I didn't end up with a spider on me so I didn't care!

It was really such an incredible day!  I was so full of happiness as I realized that this is what my life is going to be like - waking up, thinking of something I need for dinner or whatever, walking up into "my town" and doing my shopping  - all while in the most  incredibly beautiful place I have ever seen.  I had another crazy moment on the way home (my neighbors must watch me and shake their heads), I was walking down Wycombe with all my groceries when I happened to look up to see the city skyline and the harbour appearing through a gap in the trees.  I just started laughing and I actually said (out loud to myself) "You've got to be kidding me!"  It's gorgeous -every little tiny bit of it is so so lovely!

Well, on to dinner, which was really my main point of writing this (seeming to drag on forever)  post.  I bought some Barrimundi that was on sale and I was quite inspired to make the first time I cooked it an absolute success. So, I was inspired by two dishes...  One was the meal that Joe and I had at Mitchell's Fish Market in Newport on the Levy with my brother Matt and my sister in law Natalee.  The fish was broiled and served over sticky rice with spinach and teriayki.  Nothing fancy; but great flavours and very satisfying with the rice.  The other dish was something we got in a restaurant on George St - funnily enough, it was labeled on their menu as "meant to share" which Joe and I took to mean "big" enough to share.... it was not.  It was six small cubes of Barrimundi that had been poached and were sitting in a lovely liquid with scallions and chiles.  It was a good concept; but poorly executed as it was incredibly bland.

So, I decided to combine the best of the two dishes for my own masterpiece. I made sticky jasmine rice as my base.  I reduced some teriayki sauce with a spoonful of sugar and then cooked a couple handfuls of coarsely chopped English Spinach in the mixture.  I divided the cooked spinach and any sauce between the two plates.  Then I sauteed garlic, fresh ginger and red chiles in olive oil - added white wine and then poached the fish in this mixture.  Added the cooked fish cubes to the top of my rice - spooned the wine, ginger, garlic and chile yum over the top and finished it with scallions and coriander.  Heaven in a bowl!

I think next time I would have also done a squeeze of lime over the top; but I didn't have it so.... Also, the next time I prep food this nicely, I am going to take the pictures with my camera and not my cell phone - these look rather murky.

So there you have it - a full happy day, followed by a splendid dinner!  There was also tea and lamingtons to be had after that so it made for quite a lovely evening (wink wink)!

7 Responses
  1. CoryAlayne Says:

    1. See if Amazon.com can ease your book woes! They have used books out the wazoo, and you may be able to recoup some book fee losses that way.

    Regardless... if you ever want me to get a book for you and it turns out I can get it cheap and even with shipping it's still cheaper than $55, I'll do it! As many times as you want! :)

    2. I want your ice cream. WANT.

    3. I miss you whirling together some fantastic dinner when I thought all we had was frozen chicken, lemon juice, and beer. Or whatever. :p

    4. I love English/Aussie self-heating tea kettles. Used that thing CONSTANTLY when I was in Scarborough.

    Love you, lady, and I love reading your posts. Miss you, hugs to you and Joe.

  2. Mimi and Joe Says:

    Hey you monkey!

    1.) I actually found some great used book stores today; and one of Joe's coworkers sent me some links to some Aussie versions of Amazon :)

    2.) The ice cream was fab - very sophisticated flavours

    3.) I miss you sitting in our kitchen playing your guitar - or singing - or buying me Ben and Jerry's and cute cards - and all manner of things :(

    4.) Seriously, I'm never using a traditional kettle ever again - these things are marvelous.

    I love you too - hugs right back!

  3. Natalee Says:

    I think I'm inspired to cook again lately because of all this talk of your cooking! I mean ... I always COOK ... but I'm inspired to CREATE! I'm so impressed!

  4. Mimi and Joe Says:

    Thanks Natt! I'm actually feeling much more inspired than I ever have! I just can't wait til I get my stuff. I have one tiny skillet and one tiny saucepan - so I think I'll really be able to go nuts with real gear :)

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Don't you LOVE those water bottles?! I've noticed pretty much every person I visit has one in the fridge. I think they are so wonderful. They had some a Woolies for like $2.50 a bottle. I find myself still in awe of the stunning beauty of this place...pictures don't do it justice.

  6. Mimi and Joe Says:

    @ akrozen - totally, and since I got it and shoved a bunch of lemon in it, I just keep refilling it. I am drinking about twice as much water now just cause the stinking bottle is so cute! (total added bonus)

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