Obsessions

Current Obsessions, 15

5/03/2020 12:59:00 PM


Hello hello! Well it's time for another Obsessions Post. It's only been a month since my last one, (and only two normal posts in between), but with our baby and my working from home, I've had less energy to sit down and create my usual blogposts. But at the same time, I've got ample opportunity to obsess over new things, thanks to all this extra time at home due to Coronavirus restrictions!

For the sake of recording what's going on, I'll add that since we last spoke in this format on the twenty second of March, the situation has changed from voluntary social distancing as a precaution (I chose to work from home, only go out when necessary for food or medical appointments, and have no visitors), to mandatory enforced Stage 3 restrictions in my state of Victoria. This means no public gatherings of more than two people (except for your immediate household), enforceable by fines. Basically, we should only be spending time with our immediate households and only leaving the house to shop for essentials; for medical, care, or compassionate needs; to exercise in line with the public gathering requirements; and work or study for those who can't do it from home. So that's where we're at right now.

Here's what's been filling the old noggin lately.

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Schitt's Creek

Schitts Creek
Image source: Schitts Creek Fandom

We watched the very first episode of Schitt's Creek a few years ago, and meant to continue with it, but then got distracted with other shows. Well, we've certainly made up for lost time, binging all five seasons that are available on Netflix over the past three weeks. Now I'm waiting patiently for season six to become available. (No spoilers please!) It's just so great and hilarious. At first the characters are just awful people and slowly, without the viewer really noticing it, they change and develop, and the show becomes more than just funny, and you get really invested in the characters' lives. But the whole time it's still funny and acerbic, and the character development never feels forced or cheesy. It's balanced so well.

Alexis: Ew, David!
David: My God!
Moira: Bébé
Johnny: *the eyebrows*

I've been a huge fan of Catherine O'Hara and Eugene Levy for years (Best in Show! A Mighty Wind!), and it's so great to see them in something new and acclaimed and popular! Also: special shout out for Eugene Levy's amazing suit collection. His suits are just so sharp and well tailored. Love!

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Sourdough Starter Discard Baking

Immature Sourdough Starter
(Immature) Sourdough Starter - Sister Michael

Like everyone else who's been spending extra time at home, I've had a go making a sourdough starter. (Following Edd Kimber's instructions). Her name is Sister Michael and she's lives in the pantry in an old jam jar. It's still early days - I haven't baked a loaf of sourdough bread yet, but I've been going great guns baking with the discard! (For those of you who don't know, making a sourdough starter involves discarding at least half of it every damn day and feeding it with more flour and water). But the discard can be used in all sorts of recipes - I've made absolutely delicious crumpets, waffles, pancakes, grissini, crackers and blini. Such fun! I'll do a longer, more detailed post about it soon!

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The Beatrix Bakes Cookbook

Beatrix Bakes Cookbook and Cookies
The Beatrix Bakes Cookbook

So, you must know that my favourite cake shop in Melbourne is the absolutely gorgeous Beatrix, in North Melbourne. (It's been seven and a half years of loyal and enthusiastic custom and many, many cakes! We bought Beatrix cakes for our engagement party and our wedding, and many other celebrations over the years). I was so excited when owner and cake legend Nat Paull released her cookbook, and Sandra kindly pre-ordered it for me as soon as it was available!

The book is absolutely excellent. Sometimes recipe books from professional restaurants or cafes can be pretty rather than practical (example: NopiSpice Temple), but this is an immensely usable book. Of course it's gorgeous, but the recipes are so well set out and all the steps are explained so clearly. I'm learning lots of new techniques! Great job, Nat!

So far I've made the smoky chocolate chip cookies, the all-purpose sponge cake (the only whipped sponge I've ever made successfully), the crème fraîche chocolate mousse, the hot cross buns, and The Notorious BFC (Black Forest Cake), which I made for my birthday earlier this week. Everything has been delicious and enjoyable to bake. I can't wait to dip into the pastry recipes!

The Notorious BFC, recipe from Beatrix Bakes
Chocolate sponge; chocolate mousse; kirsch; cherry compote; cherry jelly; whipped cream; chocolate glaze; chocolate curls

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Family Walks

Autumn leaves

I've been attempting to keep up my physical activity at home while my gym's closed, but it's definitely challenging. (Especially because we're wrangling a newborn and also because we live in a small flat). I've managed the occasional session of yoga, weights or stretches, but haven't yet been able to make it a regular habit. However, we've started to go on family walks and it's fast become the highlight of my day! (It's a form of exercise that fits in with the Stage 3 restrictions, yay). Almost every day we'll pop the baby in the pram and go for a walk around the neighbourhood for about an hour or so, sometimes getting a takeaway coffee as a treat, other times just enjoying the fresh air. (And keeping a safe 1.5 metre distance from other people). Of course the exercise is great, but it's also been really lovely exploring the neighbourhood (I'd never really noticed half the homes and gardens before); having that time to actually talk to my wife and not be distracted by chores or laundry or bottles; and having a mental break from work. (One of the perils of working from home is that it's really hard to switch off mentally as your work space and living space are the same space).

Simple but awesome. Taking a walk - would recommend.

*****

Fancy Delivery Services

Dinner from Attica
Dinner from Attica - "Classics at Home" menu

I'd been ordering a lot more delivery and online shopping since Maya arrived in February, but my current obsession is with the new fancy food and wine delivery services that have been starting up in response to Corona restrictions. Given the current climate, restaurants, pubs, and cafes are no longer permitted to stay open for dine-in services, so many are changing their business model and exploring new options to keep their businesses going and protect jobs - like takeaway and home delivery. I'm absolutely in awe of how responsive and adaptable local hospitality business have been! And from a purely selfish, consumer perspective, it's been really exciting to see different delivery options becoming available from high-end restaurants. (It's actually good timing for us too - as new mums with a baby, even without Corona restrictions, we probably wouldn't have been able to make it out to a nice restaurant for months). Honestly, I've had to remind myself not to recklessly impulse-buy whenever I see something new and interesting pop up on Instagram.

14 Days of Cheese platter; plus my own sourdough-discard crackers and grissini

We have, however, judiciously treated ourselves to a few fancy deliveries over the past month or so! The first one was the three-course "Classics at Home" meal from Attica (I organised that for the second day it was available). There's also been Lune croissants (check out their Insta for details), and two 14 Days of Cheese deliveries. (One was a surprise from Sandra, the other was a gift from my lovely friend Lisa in the States to welcome Maya). Sandra also organised a sashimi delivery from Nosh for my birthday lunch, and a Mister Sandrino delivery for my birthday dinner - braised beef cheek, couscous, and cassoulet - all divine.

And actually, as I was typing up this post, my good friend An arrived at the door with a surprise birthday present - a (contactless) delivery of a three course meal from Amaru! Holy moly! It's one of my favourite high end restaurants in Melbourne. What an amazing treat! Thank-you An!

Amaru delivery - turnip dashi, fermented daikon, shiso jelly
Dinner rolls & smoked and cultured butter

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That's all for today. I hope you're all keeping safe and well and finding moments of joy where you can.

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1 comments

  1. I'm loving the restaurant deliveries too. I love home cooking but I miss eating out and it's so nice to be able to get a taste of it!

    ReplyDelete

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