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one big cock, manta ray boots & a cup of canberra

I’m cooking lamb shanks tonight. The house is empty. Eeeeemp. Teee. My children are cycling at the local park with their daddy. My outlaws are off on a jaunt somewhere in the city. And me, me, I’m just happy to be cooking in my own kitchen again. Little things, like knowing where the tongs are, where the roasted cumin powder lives. 

We’ve just come home after 5 nights in Canberrrrrrrrrrra. It was epic fun. It was also quite cold. I think I froze my testicles off (yes I used to be a man). Kidding. What I’m not kidding about is how much it’s changed in the past 14 years. The city is still all circular. It’s still bloody cold. And it’s still got the Parliament House, War Memorial and the Australian Institute of Sport. 


But the food, oh my god, I don’t think we had one bad meal. Smoque, where we demolished a platter for six in 25 minutes. Sammy’s Kitchen, butter chicken icecream at Frugii, a cup of heaven at Koko Black and a life altering conversation about yoga at Wood & Coal. Where Gonzalo is cool and owns 16 pairs of custom made cowboy boots (one made of manta ray skin cross my heart) and 300 other pairs. And a tea date with my son. And Bitter Sweet and Little Brooklyn. We ate till we popped at the seams…

Manta ray boots

Koko Black

Late last night I finally questioned if I might be pregnant. Exhaustion. Hunger of humongozoid proportions. Nausea. Till my husband pointed out that if every woman who experienced these systems was actually pregnant, the world would stand at 20 billion right now. It’s safe to say everything I felt was a combination of sheer exhilaration, tiredness and overeating.

Exhilaration at watching our kids compete at the Kanga Cup. Exhilaration at watching our teams win. The cheering, the quiet pride, the joy when their little faces light up. 


And then what goes up must come down. Like a floaty red balloon that’s run out of gas. The tiredness. The tiredness at the end of the day. The nerves, the hunger. And the tiredness that comes with sadness… Sadness at watching your team lose at the semis, but like any good meal we tempered the bitter with the sweet. The immeasurable pride in watching our kids play as a team-united in victory, defeat and mud-made it all worth it. 

There is no point to this blog post. There usually never is. Holidays fill us with memories and good photo opportunities, but nothing can compare to that feeling of walking back through your own front door. 

Happy holidays, and don’t forget, two is sometimes better than one. Dee x


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what rhymes with ‘DELHI’

It’s hard when you live away from home for so many years. You come back and see things with such different eyes…

 

Women clutch their handbags so SO close. Men walk arm in arm and don’t think twice about sharing icecream from a single cup. They also have glorious moustaches. Children go to bed at the most ridiculous times.

  
  
My Madras smells like coconut oil and jasmine flowers. And did you know only 1 in about every 10 people wrap you in their arms and give you a jolly good great big hug. With damp patches under their arms. It cannot be helped. We are all going to drown in our collective sweat here.

And there is a lot of noise. Always. Loud talking. Loud horns. Loud calls to prayer. Loud street music. 

   
   

Would I change all this? Not. For. The. World. Because this is where I grew up, it’s all I knew for the first 20 years of my life. It’s where I feel at HOME. And the food. Please don’t make me cry thinking about the food.

We started our holiday with Mahiar’s Biryani. It is a long standing tradition at home that that’s what we eat for our first meal. He loads it up with pieces of succulent mutton and bones filled with marrow that can be sluuuked out in one gusty shot! Then you have to sleep it off for an hour or three and wake up and have some chai. We actually had this two days in a row just because we could.

The next few days went by in a blur. Sweet and spicy daal, masala fried fish, mums oogly boogly amazing cauliflower bacon bake, garlic bread, mutton ras… the list goes on and on. 

As if that were not enough. Greed then got the better of me and I longed to eat chicken malai tikka and daal roti at my favourite restaurant. So off I went with a couple of crazy girlfriends and we ate till we popped at the seams. One of them even taught me what I should do in the event I want to rob a bank. 

  (Chicken malai kebab. My undoing)

  (Disguise. In case you need to rob a bank). 

And this then, my dear friends, was my complete and utter undoing. When you’ve lived overseas for so long you tend to have very sanitized insides. You forget how quickly – and why – Delhi rhymes with Belly. Man oh man. Suffice to say for the rest of the week I lived on jam and toast, lots of lime juice, an occasional chappati and when I was really feeling fantastic, curd and hot white steamed rice. Uurgh. 

But like any brave soldier, soldier on I did. I’ve loaded up on the homeopathy, the ayurveda, the home remedies and even some positive thinking. I think I’m ready to go out again and conquer the food world.

Between yesterday and today I’ve eaten possibly the world’s best Indian Chinese. Twice! I’ve had ginger chicken and dragon chicken and this mind blowingly delicious lollipop chicken. (Yes. There’s plenty of chicken). I’ve eaten an ice-cream sundae at Haagen-Dazs and paan icecream and a DIY butterscotch and nut bar at Ibaco. 

   
   

Next I want to tackle the old haunts. Ajnabi. Oh Ajnabi, how I long to step into the slightly dirty, oily confines of your chaat shop. Saravana Bhavan of old, I need to compare you with the dosas your sister store makes in Sydney. Cakes n’ Bakes, do you still make that sickeningly sweet, disgustingly delicious Japoise Pastry? Ponnuswamys, Samco, how about some Chicken 65 and Egg Masala?

Be still my beating heart. We still have two weeks to go. Dee x