Talk about eating my words. Within 24 hours of my last post, I receive a text message from my in-laws wishing me a happy birthday AND informing me the present was in the mail (like real mail, not ‘in the mail’ mail). I was delighted. Not because I was recieving a present but because the ‘6th year birthday’ proved to be the first celebration. Perhaps I had to be in the family for 5 years before it counts. For those wondering – no, they don’t read my blog. I don’t think they’d know what a blog is! Lets not Steve’s Mum informed us she was practically an expert because her computer tech brother-in-law taught her to use a computer “WITH A MOUSE”. Ooookaayyy. This was compounded by her suggestion when moving out of our place to their new apartment 10km’s away that they simply, ‘use our wifi’ rather than getting their own. I really must ask her where she buys her 10km range wifi devices.
Unfortunately, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree… one day I returned home from work to find a saddened and concerned Steve in the apartment. ‘But what is wrong, oh dearest husband?’ I queried. ‘I went shopping today and when trying to find a store I couldn’t get the information board to work. Turns out it wasn’t a touch screen, it was just an advertisement.’ Hmmm. That said, when my 7-child Aunt emailed me this week and told me she’d mailed my present to the ‘Collins St address your mother gave me’, I pondered if Steve wasn’t the only member of our marriage with scary genes. We haven’t lived in Collins St for nearly 2 years.
After my big day out with the hubby, my birthday was a bit of a non-event. I left work on time (in its own way, an event), came home, ate nothing special and sat on the couch watching TV. It was heaven. I had awoken that morning and opened my birthday card and (as it turned out) Easter card from my wonderful Aunt. At morning tea, Steve had collected and brought to work for me, another card and cash bonanza from my parents. Unfortunately, the movie money from AJ will need to hold strong as the selection at the box-office is a bit mediocre but the donation to the ‘Kirsty buying food for cooking’ fund and the ‘Steve needs easter chocolate’ fund are now drastically closer to zero.
It all started today, my adventure to spend my money from Mum, with a quintessential inner-city Melbourne lane way cafe. We arrived on the street it runs off where there is a beautiful sign above an empty shop. “Ahh” I hear Steve groan in disappointment on my behalf. “No, Steve – that’s not it… that’s it”. Yes. That’s it. See, down the lane way, beyond the bins and other non-exciting lane way garb…The tiny sign with the gold writing!
Yes. Chez Dre. Known for its sweets cabinet, it is a little South Melbourne brunching gem. I had plans to shop out that way, so decided that despite already knowing a death by chocolate location, it is always nice to brunch somewhere new.
After entering, it opens into a full dining area with a garden area out back. In the single digit temperatures of an 8am Melbourne morning, I decided not to try. The kitchen is central to the whole cafe and is open for your viewing pleasure. I love how you enter this place but the atmosphere didn’t come off for us and as Steve said, if someone asked me how it was my answer would be “meh”. The food was nice but not worth raving about. The dessert was yummy for sure but it was simply a dessert. I think we have so many places at our door step to wow you socks off, if a restaurant is merely ‘nice’, it isn’t good enough.
We snuck out of the lane way and the Chef’s Hat store opposite was closed. In fairness, it was 9:10 on a Sunday morning but so we learnt, it wasn’t open until 11. I consider that unreasonable. This however was the warehouse-style kitchen shop I was looking for and I am not easily deterred. We decided to head to Bunnings to kill time and yes, it is here that I purchased my very own, childhood-memory-kindling herb garden! Of course, by herb garden I meant I bought a pot. With no dirt or herbs. But it is a step closer to a garden so shut up. Mum, make sure you tell Dad!!
We headed back to South Melbourne in hunt of my dinnerware and were delighted to find a kitty cat who was in desperate need of a pat! If all else fails (ie. your husband doesn’t buy you a kitten for your birthday) simply find random cats in the street, pat them, give them a name and pretend it is your own. Meet Graham. He is a sun baking, gutter rolling, blue-cross-eyed, short haired warrior. He likes a snuggle.
Having had our snuggle with a strangers pet, we returned to the kitchen store, purchased a delightful bowl, moved on to more kitchen stores, purchased more delightful dinnerware… a pair of shoes for Steve to wear in Europe (did I mention we now have our Rome –> Berlin, Berlin –> Copenhagen and Stockholm –> Turku flights booked!?)… and Subway for lunch. 6 hours after we left the building, we had returned home to enjoy our new Sheridan duvet we maxed out on yesterday (thank you 40% off DJ’s!). Thank you Mumsy for your donation to Kirsty’s kitchen. My photos will appreciate it 🙂 PS. I promise the green dish in particular looks much more beautiful when the photo is taken showing the slate-grey outside!
I suppose after all this family talk, a family recipe is a must. Here goes with Aunty Wendy’s rice recipe. I made this two weeks running because it worked really well cold for lunches. I would definitely recommend as a tasty but simple dish. If you don’t like sultanas cooked then don’t go there as it would be a little bland without them.
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tsp oil
- 1/4 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp unsalted butter
- 1 chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp five spice
- 1/2 cup rice
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 tbsp sultanas (I add 3-4 times that as I looove them)
- 2 tbsp of corn kernels (I didn’t try this but go nuts)
- 1 tbsp of /macadamia/pecan/whatever nuts you have in the cupboard, roughly chopped & lightly toasted
- 1/4 cup small broccoli florets (optional)
- 1-2 tsp chopped coriander leaves (optional)
- 2 eggs, fried (if you’re feeling Japanese and want to add a fried egg to anything and everything
- Sauté the onions and garlic in the oils and butter until softened
- Put the chicken, five spice and ground coriander into a bag to coat
- Add the chicken to the pan and sauté until just cooked
- Add the rice and cook until lightly browned
- Stir in the stock and sultanas and cover pan simmering for 15 minutes or until the rice has absorbed the stock
- Add corn, broccoli, nuts and/or coriander leaves if using