With Australia’s COVID-19 restrictions affecting the way of life, what else is there to do? Create delicious food, of course.
A little background
Returning to Australia from Italy at the start of February 2020, initially, this was to be for just 6 weeks. Renovating a tired rental property is the main reason for returning, before flying out again in early April for a wedding in the UK. Followed by a flight back to Italy.
Booking flights, buses, accommodation – everything – in September 2019, who could have predicted COVID-19? Or, that flights and lockdowns around the world, would be in force for most of 2020?
Six weeks rapidly dissolve into 6 months without any sign of overseas travel this year, because of Australia’s tough stance. I’m not complaining.
It’s the first time in my life that I really don’t want to sit in an aeroplane – germ capsule – for over 22 hours, to travel somewhere in the world. So, concentrate all efforts on renovating and of course, food!
Celebrating birthdays during COVID-19
The many months spent in Australia during COVID-19 sees a couple of important birthdays – ours.
With COVID-19 restrictions not yet in place for the first birthday in February, we take a brief break from renovating. So, venture out on a pleasant stroll for a relaxed lunch in the village close-by.
The New Farm Deli is a great hub, for authentic Italian cuisine but also wonderful home-baked desserts. Established since 1975 the deli serves one of the better coffees in Brisbane city.
The relaxing day follows with a splurge on a Gold Class movie pass experience in the evening, at New Farm Cinema. Another short stroll from the house.
Gold Class movie pass
If you’ve never experienced a Gold Class movie pass, then this ticket offers a small intimate luxury Premium room. Another benefit of this ticket is the food and beverage service, delivered to your seat.
Settling into the comfortably plush reclining seats, the moving World War 1 movie, 1917 is not a happy film. Though how many war movies are happy?
Sadly, by the time my birthday rolls around in April, COVID-19 restrictions are in full swing, definitely impacting the status quo in Australia. Only allowed one friend visiting the house, of course, a scrumptious Red Velvet birthday cake also arrives with the friend.
Cooking during renovating
There’s always time to cook delicacies, even though exhausted and working hard renovating.
Luckily, supermarkets are still open during COVID-19, albeit under reduced hours. Although there are some imposed restrictions, shelves are returning to normal. The panic buying of toilet rolls, pasta, rice, and staples during the past couple of months calm down, thankfully.
Working 12 to 13-hour-days’ renovating makes anyone ravenous. And I love to cook, so cook we do…
Baking an adaptation of crunchy chocolate cookies, with raw Pistachio nuts thrown in for good measure the batch lasts several weeks.
Consuming the bucket of cookies for morning and afternoon teas, remarkably, we don’t gain any weight. Maybe this a result of all the cleaning I’ve been doing, as my tenants of 14 years, left the house in an awful state. Or, the rekindled love affair with my sander during renovating.
Of course, luscious lasagne is always on the menu, several times in fact.
Lasagne is a delicious staple and great filler when you have time restrictions. Added benefits include one dish lasting several meals and quick to reheat – fantastic after finishing an exhausting 12-hour-day renovating.
Going out to a restaurant isn’t an option during COVID-19 restrictions. Anyway, I’m not a big fan of UBER Eats or Takeaways, so cooking at home is really the only option.
Another scrumptious creation in the kitchen is the heavenly Laksa.
Usually, I like to vary the classic Laksa version by adding chicken and prawn together, which may be taboo with traditional chefs. Think that a traditional Laksa is made with either chicken or fish, but not both in the same pot.
Just before serving this delightful dish, I love topping the Laksa with fresh Coriander, bean sprouts, and drizzles of fresh lime juice. Simply delectable and so more’ ish! Have I made you hungry yet?
These are just a couple of dishes prepared while we relentless renovate almost every inch of the house, which my tenants left in a terrible state.
Delicious dinner invitation
When COVID restrictions start to ease even further several months’ later, a good friend kindly invites us to share a sumptuous home-cooked dinner.
In great Italian style, Luciana – an exceptional cook and also founder of successful Touring Abruzzo – prepares the most delicious meal for an intimate gathering of six.
For starters, lovely fresh ricotta with saffron, drizzled honey, and topped with Pistachio nuts, is served. This tantalising starter is accompanied by crunchy seeded crackers containing poppy, sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. And off course, the crackers, are home-baked.
The main course is a slow oven-roasted crispy-skinned Porchetta with Rosemary, served with a medley of vegetables and delicious sauces. Soft melt-in-your-mouth Sticky Date Pudding for dessert ends this feast.
A wonderful evening is had by all. The food is amazing, as always. Enough digressing on food, fun, and frivolity – it’s back to renovating.
Want to read the renovating series?
As mentioned before, the renovating project developed into a much bigger project, than planned originally.
After the cancellation of flights in March 2020, the realisation sets in that travel is no longer an option, so we get to work renovating even more.
You may like to read the renovating series:
Part 1 – the reason for so much renovating
Part 2 – internal and external house painting
Part 3 – replacing the patio and enclosure
Part 4 – refurbishing the kitchen
Part 5 – renovating the bathroom and en-suite
Part 6 – the finishing touches and a video of the final result