Back in high school I played hockey (had all intentions to join a team in Melbourne but that still hasn’t happened), and playing hockey in country Victoria meant the opportunity to come to Melbourne every mid-year school holidays to play on synthetic fields. My family and I always stayed in Brunswick, half way between the State Hockey and Netball Centre and the Footscray fields, and I loved it.
Those weekend get-aways triggered my love for Melbourne. I always visioned I’d be living in a double-story terrace house on that side of the city. Ideally in Carlton, with my vintage style bike. Not too much to ask I would have thought.
Four and a half years later than planned, my dream started to come true. Last weekend my housemate and I moved house. It took six car loads, many hours of driving, two trailer loads and one broken window, but we finally handed back the keys to our old Chadstone house with the green walls and brown tiles. It was a massive job, and I cannot thank my dad enough for insisting on driving three hours from country Victoria to help us. (Also special thanks to Nicole for helping me locate an outfit, shoes, handbag and makeup amongst the boxes so I could make the Burlesque themed hen’s night (great idea btw). It was no easy feat.)
Although I am super dooper excited to be living in a new area, I’m a little sad. That house was my home for eighteen months; that’s the longest I have lived in one place in Melbourne. I also had a fabulously big bedroom.
I’m going to miss the green walls, the brown tiles and the random metal detailing. Sounds rightfully terrible, but it had character and that’s what made it feel like a home.
Anyway moving on (no pun intended), we moved into a two-bedroom unit in Brunswick. It’s no terrace house and it’s not in Carlton, but it does have white walls AND white tiles (Hello in the moment cooking photos) so things are getting better.
After having some well earned beverages Saturday night, we spent part of Sunday exploring our new ‘hood. We believed the only way to tackle a house full of boxes was to start with a good breakfast. Melbourne had put on a glorious day so we walked (!!) down to Sydney road with hopes of finding a table at Green Refectory. Unsuccessful, a quick check on Urbanspoon (one of my favourite apps) had us en route to Tom Phat. Gorgeous looking waiters AND a table outside, it was a great decision. The food was delicious too.
A menu of south-east asian inspired flavours, I ordered the Yunnan Baked Free-range Eggs with tomato, coriander & sweet tamarind pork and a slice of noisette multigrain.
Mary had a grilled pork chop, crispy fried free-range egg, tomato, cucumber & rice (she was over the moon about that bit), and Cameron ordered the seemingly odd combination of French Toast with grilled banana & maple-syrup bacon. With a few coffees, a pot of tea and a lychee & lime soda, we thoroughly enjoyed our first brunch in brunswick. (Brunch in Brunswick, new hashtag? I think so.)
I was actually just really enjoying life. Our new place comes with more luxuries than just a white interior. It is within walking distance to shoe outlets, clothes stores, grocers, trams, Princes Park, and a bazillion cafe and restaurants. My to do list got a whole lot longer that morning. We also have a famous (if channel 9 counts?) pub on our street.
The afternoon was spent unpacking boxes, and trying to get some order in the house. Mary went off to buy her vintage-style bike, and I unpacked the kitchen. Now that made me happy. Seeing all my beautiful crockery wrapped in newspaper had made me a little sad.
I also liked that my massive box of shoes had moved from the centre of the kitchen and it was now functional. After three days of snacking, quick (or no) lunches and restaurant dinners, it was nice to be able to prepare a real meal. So I made a curry. I am currently loving using indian spices in my cooking, and I find this dish very warm and comforting. Perfect for a cold winter’s night.
Life’s good. Happy Wednesday.
Tofu & vegetable curry
This recipe is a great way to boost your calcium intake. By replacing your meat with tofu (be sure to check the label for calcium content) and coconut milk for evaporated milk, you can boost your calcium intake by 400-500mg.
1 tsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 cup vegetable stock
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ginger, finely grated
1/2 tsp tumeric, ground
300g firm tofu
200-300g pumpkin, diced
2 large carrots, diced
8-10 baby corn spears, halved
200-300g cauliflower, fresh or frozen*
2/3 cup light evaporated milk (plain or coconut flavoured)
1. Heat oil in saucepan. Add garlic, cumin, ginger and turmeric, and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add pumpkin and carrot, and stir to coat.
2. Add stock and cauliflower, and bring to the boil. Simmer until pumpkin is tender. Add evaporated milk and corn, stir. Mine needed thickening so I added cornflour (mix with cold water first).
3. Add tofu and stir to coat. Simmer until tofu is heated through.
4. Serve with a dollop of yoghurt and cooked rice.
*There is little difference between fresh and frozen vegetables nutritionally. They are picked in season, blanched and snapped frozen which preserves the nutrients.