Monday, January 30, 2017

An Unusual Weekend - it contained a lot of food!!!

Freyja and Simon gave Jim and me a Red Balloon voucher for Christmas.  This was very exciting.  So many things to choose from.  We decided  that we had to choose fairly quickly.  It is much too easy to put vouchers aside and then to forget about them until close to or, even worse, just after the expiry date.  So I sat down and had a trawl through all the options.

In the end we decided that I would go on an Asian dumpling course and that we would put the remainder of the voucher credit along with some real money for a Christmas/Birthday treat for Jim, a Sunday Brunch cruise around the Docklands harbour on his actual birthday.  We have to wait until the beginning of April for that.

My dumpling course, however, was on Saturday which, quite coincidentally, was the Chinese New Year.  The course was in Richmond, a 25 minute walk from the flat.  So I came down with Lindsey on Friday and stayed over.  Lindsey also stayed over, not because she was doing exciting things on Saturday but because she was working.

The course had about 12 students and was taken by a Vietnamese chef. We learned how to make our own dumpling wrappers.  We made Japanese style gyoza, although he also showed us how to fold money bags and chefs hats and Italian ravioli and we discussed the various fillings you might put in them.  The recipe he used for the gyoza wasn't exactly the same as Kaori's but it was interesting to see how you could make subtle or even quite substantial changes to the taste of your fillings.  We assembled our gyoza and then steamed them and then had them for lunch, along with a bottle of tiger beer or a glass of fizzy wine.  It was a splendid way to spend a morning - and we got to take our left over gyoza home with us!  I might have called into the Chinese supermarket on the way home and bought a small rolling pin, suitable for rolling gyoza wrappers.  I might also have bought a couple of bamboo steamers :-)

Waiting for the other students to arrive

It was a beautiful morning for a walk
and I was glad to be given a glass of lemon cordial
with watermelon, mango and mint on my arrival

Prawn gyoza and money bags waiting to be steamed

Chicken gyoza steamed and waiting to be eaten

Lunch time!

The leftovers came home and were eaten as part of our dinner

After Lindsey had finished work we dropped by Costco (which was filled to bursting with people getting provisions for the Chinese New Year feasts that they were all clearly planning) and then sent to the airport to collect Rachel, a medical student from Manchester who will be shadowing Lindsey for four weeks.  Then we trundled back to Mount Helen where we had the gyoza (properly reheated) as an entree, followed by slow cooked roast lamb with a positive mountain of vegetables for our dinner.

Sunday dawned equally glorious.  Lindsey, Rachel and I went to Buninyong to look at the craft market. Jim and I went last October and didn't find anything that we were tempted to buy.  This time it was smaller, I think, but more interesting.  We did find things to buy!  Then we drove up Mount Buninyong and climbed the fire tower.  Mount Buninyong is an extinct volcano, about 5000 years overdue for an eruption.  Fortunately it showed no signs of erupting while we were there.

Jim and I went up the tower at the very beginning of 2006.  

Lindsey took this photo


This is what it looked like yesterday:




Much better, I'm sure you'll agree!

We went back to the house, collected Ian, Jim and Sam and then headed off to the lake for a stroll and a small spot of lunch.  We sat outside at Pipers and indulged in delicious lunches.  I had a beautiful plate of barramundi, steamed vegetables and a moderately healthy potato cake.  Rachel, on the other hand had a mighty steak sandwich and chips.  I must make sure I have that the next time I am there. My barramundi was absolutely delicious, but Rachel's steak sandwich looked awesome!

The Lakeside was absolutely buzzing.  There were people out having parties and barbecues.  There was a festival of some sort going on.  Even the paddle steamers had people partying on them.  It was all very festive (not Christmassy festive, just lots of people out having fun and enjoying the sunshine)




There's no sunshine today.  We are back in Melbourne and it is overcast and keeps trying to rain!
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