Friday, 30 January 2015

Big City Life

I’m starting this a little late and it now seems that the events of last week are now so far away. Maybe that’s because they are almost a life away. I’d lived a life that week that was not like my own, all in a matter of a few days.

Thursday was my last day at work before I went on holidays. My colleagues threw me a birthday smoko in the afternoon which made me feel quite special. Ren made me a birthday cake, Han made mini pavlova’s and even the entomologist made a mango cheesecake.

The next morning I drove to Darwin. I attempted some shopping and failed (I bought nothing). I visited a friend at her business and then I caught up with another friend at her workplace for lunch at which she saved me from choking on a noodle I had accidently inhaled because I was laughing so hard! Then I went to work... well, a branch of my workplace and humbugged and disrupted various people from their Friday afternoon tasks while the mid afternoon sky was darkened with heavy, monsoonal clouds. After Friday drinkies with the Darwin colleagues I went to dinner with Khams, her cousin, her friends and their friend’s friend. After kicking butt playing pool with Khams as my team mate I caught the plane to SA. Red eye, because that’s the only way to fly in or out of the Darwin airport.

Dad picked me up in Adelaide where I insisted on being allowed a nap. I didn’t get much of one before Dad returned from a spending spree in a tool shop and kicked me in the foot. Such a considerate way of waking someone! As punishment I dragged Dad through Rundle Mall looking for a birthday present for my cousin and something black and white that didn’t look stupid to wear to her party that night.

And here is where the life I wouldn’t normally live begins. Lunch was at the Art Gallery of South Australia. Dad had a miniature steak that was still running around his plate and I was served a salad in a ceramic egg carton. We were, for the most part, surrounded by wealthy women, in clacky heels, who were sipping on white wine and whinging to each other about how hard their lives were. After that it was a stroll through high-end fashion history in the Fashion Icons exhibition. It wasn’t long before I was told off for misbehaving... by a security guard, not by Dad. Apparently it’s not okay to take photos of a Christian Dior outfit that has been photographed a gazillion times already by people that have fancy cameras. There were some really nice outfits in there, some really weird shit too. Who wears a wet suit when they’re not partaking in water activities? I mean, come on!

Dad and I visited art galleries and the Mortlock Wing of the State Library where Dad gave me glimpse of his life in 1973 when we found some old electoral rolls. I bought a knock-off of an Ivor Hele painting from the Royal South Australia Society of Arts. I wasn’t sure that it was a knock off at the time but the title suggested it may have been. Everywhere we ate was either Italian or fancy (Sean Connolly’s restaurant... whoever he is). Everywhere we went there were frigging cyclists in their skinny suits trying to let everyone in the city know that they rode bicycles just like Cadel Evans. We got stuck behind barricades for ages because of the Tour Down Under on King William Street. Lucky I had my new art acquisition to shade me from the sun. We were mesmerised by magic and stunts at “The Illusionists: 1903”. We saw family and friends throughout the weekend, WAY more than I would normally see on a typical trip to Adelaide, including my sister and nieces for lunch on the Sunday who looked absolutely disgusted at my choice of a meal (squid ink linguine). Dad departed Adelaide on the Monday and Mum and Peter arrived. I celebrated my 30th birthday with many members of my family and friends. Mum, Peter and I saw the Australia Day fireworks at Elders Park and stuffed our faces at the Pancake Kitchen with my best friend since infancy.

Tuesday saw us fly in to Port Lincoln where I insisted that lunch was not going to be a pie because I can get a damn pie anywhere in this country. My alternative being a pot full of steamed mussels with a lovely sauce drizzled over the top. It took me about 10 minutes to devour over 30 mussels. They were good! Del Giorno’s for those that want to give those mussels a try themselves! Mum and Peter ran errands while I caught up with a school friend. And then it was over. The high life was finished. Because we drove back to Wudinna, where very little happens except twice a day the grain train rolls in to town and there’s the occasional dust storm. Other than lunch at the cute little cafe in town with Mum and Nanna I spent my time working, sleeping or giggling with Nanna or breaking her sewing machine (just a needle I swear).

And today, I begin the long, unwanted return to Katherine where back to reality I must go.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Recipe: Tastes of Indonesia

Lately I’ve been working a second job caretaking a property outside of Katherine bought by foreign nationals hoping to make their own mark on the northern cattle industry. With them they have brought some cultural differences in the form of little delicacies and cuisine.

Despite my hesitation at trying common Indonesian food in Asian restaurants I was put in a situation where it would have been rude of me to turn it down. So there I sat, in a strangers’ house, with the biggest plate of nasi goreng in front of me. And actually, it wasn’t too bad. It was like the snag and scrambled eggs of Indo… with rice and sweet soy sauce. I now know there is something not too scary for me to eat if I ever travel over the Timor Sea.

I was given a little gift for my initial efforts. A box of Dodol. Think Cadbury Roses but Indonesian style. It’s like a soft toffee of indescribable texture and taste but it is sweet. Nehalennia translated some of the words on the wrappers for me given she grew up in Indonesia. There was chocolate, honey, milk, sesame, date and one we couldn’t figure out what is was.

And then this week there was another couple of gifts. Kuwe koya. I was told it was like cake but upon opening the wrapping is was more like a compressed biscuit of powdered sweetness with a pomegranate filling. It was alright except for the pain it caused in my teeth. And then there was Brem. I was told that was fermented sugar. Nehalennia said it was fermented rice paste. I tried the teeniest bit and thought it was sherbet gone wrong. Very different and requires an acquired taste.

But who knew foods of Indonesia that wouldn’t normally be found in your typical Asian restaurant would end up in my belly. Trying foods that don’t make sense to me (fermented sugar) and flavour combinations I wouldn’t ordinarily think of as a sweet (sesame Dodol). But there you have it. Because the world comes to Australia to try its luck and brings with it their foods. Just as it has since the Chinese brought us tom yum and dumplings in the mid 1800’s. Though I wouldn’t know what that tastes like… yet.

Resep Dodol Betawi
Instagram photo by alidaida99 - Hari ni punya hidangan :) Nasi goreng buatan sendiri hehe :D #Selamatpetang  #Silamakansemua
Nasi Goreng
Kuwe Koya