Tuesday, January 31, 2012


April, 2015: Garagistes has closed down. 

January 21, 2012
There have been a bunch of articles published lately about the trendy new Hobart. All of them have mentioned two things: MONA and Garagistes. Having tried and loved the first, we arranged with Liz and Carla to meet up pre-P. J. Harvey to sample the second. Garagistes has imported both its refitted warehouse vibe and its no-bookings policy from the trendier parts of the Melbourne dining scene. We turned up around 6 and had about an hour's wait for a table (for a group of 6), but the Saturday evening of MOFO is probably among their busiest nights, so it may not always take quite so long. Given the buzz, the fit-out is surprisingly spacious - it's mostly big communal tables but you don't feel jammed in or overpowered by noise, which gives it a big tick straight away.

The menu, which proudly proclaims their focus on local ingredients, is not amazingly veg-friendly at first glance. There's 3 sharing dishes and a little starter to choose from - the wait-staff were pretty helpful though, happily making suggestions and offering to change dishes around for us (Carla will have some comments on their vegan-friendliness, from where I was sitting they did an okay but not amazing job).

We started with the obligatory bread with deliciously smoky butter. So much wonderful butter.

The first of the real dishes was our courgette kromeskis with caper-leaf mayonnaise and fennel salt ($3.5 a pop).

Look how cute they are! They were also super hot - Cindy chomped into hers and managed to burn the roof of her mouth. Once they'd cooled a bit they were wonderful - crispy on the outside, filled with gooey zucchini mush. Yum.

Next up was the wood-grilled reine de france lettuce hearts with soaked currents and puffed spelt ($14).

I liked the idea of this dish - the grilled edges giving a nice charred flavour to the lettuce, while the puffed spelt and currents provide a bit of sweetness and textural variety. To be honest though, it got a bit much for me by the end - one or two lettuce hearts as a side dish would have been wonderful.

The most visually appealing dish of the day was the carrots - a salad of heirloom carrots, marcona almond and saffron cream with wild olives ($16).

It was also probably my favourite dish - the carrots had been very lightly cooked, meaning that all of their beautiful natural flavours shone through, the creamy sauce provided a bit of fatty depth to the dish and the olives were little bursts of salty goodness.

Our second last savoury dish was the grilled young leek with French beans, nettle sauce, duck egg yolk and toasted quinoa ($18).

This was a nice mix of greenery with a tender leek hidden under it all. The crispy little quinoa pieces were intriguing, and the duck egg yolk was spot on. Not bad at all.

Finally for the evening we had a little twist on one of their dishes, with fennel, lemon and pine-nuts replacing the original sea urchin roe alongside confit kipfler potatoes, pea tendrils and flowers and black egg yolk ($19).

This was another very pretty dish, but it wasn't particularly memorable taste-wise - although that may be related to the number of delicious Moo-Brews I'd made my way through by this stage. The spuds were lightly cooked, and the lemon and fennel gave the dish a nice flavour - the pea tendrils and flowers didn't bring a lot to the table beyond their good looks though. I wonder if this all works a bit better with the original roe included.

Cindy and I were both really keen to sample some of Garagistes desserts, but by the time we'd finished our savouries we were already running late for P.J. Despite the queues that built up around the front of the restaurant during the night, the whole experience at Garagistes was pretty leisurely. You certainly don't get the feeling they're trying to rush you though to get somebody else in. The service on the whole was excellent - happy to split bills and tweak dishes for us and generally being helpful without being intrusive. The food was generally pretty great - lots of fresh veggies served up in imaginative ways. Not all of it was amazing, but it's definitely worth a visit for vegos looking for something a bit fancy (I'd choose it over The Source for example). It's a pity we didn't get to the desserts - a good reason for us to return next time we're in town.

Oh, P. J. Harvey was wonderful, but the venue made seeing her pretty challenging and the crowd decided to chat their way through the whole set, which was kind of a downer.


Garagistes has been a food blog hit - great reviews from Welcome to Andyville, Hobart Food for Thought (after an initial mixed experience), Saucy Onion, redheadedtravels, bri eats, ...it pleases us, Once a Waitress, The Drill Hall Emporium, Food Trail, That Jess Ho, Concrete Honey, Nellevision, Reminiscence of a Food Tragic, Diary of a Hobart Housewife, Convicted Taste, The view from my porch and Kitchen Confessional. Only Black Garlic has been a bit more equivocal.


103 Murray Street, Hobart
(03) 6231 0558
Veg snacks $3.50, dishes $14-$19

Accessibility: Pretty good - there's a flat entryway and the interior is relatively spacious. Bathrooms are accessible and ordering and payment all happens at the table. Note, however, that most of the tables are a bit higher than usual (see chair heights in top picture).

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sweet Envy

January 21, 2012
On Em's recommendation, we hiked up to North Hobart for afternoon tea at Sweet Envy. This prim white shopfront boasts all manner of sugary treats - from the ubiquitous cupcakes and macarons to candy, ice-cream, fancy desserts and made-to-order weddings-birthdays-anything cakes.

After a few panicky minutes overwhelmed with choice, I dismissed the frosting-heavy cupcakes and requested the Nutter Butter ($3.50), two peanut cookies sandwiched with peanut butter buttercream. The peril of the crunchy cookie is that it's impenetrable to the dessert fork and all the icing squishes out the middle - I was forced to deconstruct this, and discovered in the process that the buttercream didn't taste of peanut butter at all. The roasted peanuts, at least, added some depth to a very sweet snack.

Michael's raspberry jam doughnut ($3.50) was pleasant, but had inevitably been sitting on display for at least a few hours. Doughnuts really are best eaten within minutes of cooking, aren't they?

Based on the many other reviews of Sweet Envy out there (see below), we may have been a bit unlucky in our selections. It's not surprising that when dozens of different sweets are on offer, some will be better than others. The icecream here, in particular, has a very good reputation and would surely show up the terrible Cold Rock cups we sampled a couple of days earlier.


Sweet Envy
341 Elizabeth St, North Hobart
(03) 6234 8805
sweet treats $2-10

Accessibility: Sweet Entry has a flat, average-width entrance and is more likely to be crowded with customers than furniture. Ordering and payment takes place at counters of varying heights.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Thai Veggie Hutt

January 21, 2012
Our afternoon got off to a confusing start. We discovered that MONA was launching its own fancy food market, with more live music and cooking demos to boot, but the transporting ferry was booked out 20 minutes before its departure. As an alternative we looked up the Theatre Royal, where Icelandic band Amiina were providing their own instrumental backing to a series of fairytales, animated by Lotte Reiniger in the 1920s.

It was a very pleasant diversion and, even better, allowed us time and stomach space to visit one of Hobart's dedicated vegetarian restaurants.

Thai Veggie Hutt is open Monday to Saturday until 3:30pm, so it's really for lunch only. As we stepped in we immediately got a view of the bain-marie with a few noodle and mock meat dishes plus some yum cha-type snacks (these might be a Saturday specialty). Thankfully I held Michael back from ordering for just a minute or two, because there's also more than a dozen soups, rice and noodle dishes that they'll make to order for a few dollars more. We were both attracted to the mock meat but there are plenty of vege-focused mock-less options and they offer gluten-free meals as well. Almost everything is vegan.

We started out by sharing a box of the steamed buns visible in the bain-marie ($6.50) - they were a bit crunchy on top from sitting around, but plenty hot and still tasty. Each one had a different filling, two of them were sweet and predictably it was the bbq flavoured one we loved best.

My crispy vegetarian duck with rice ($12) looked beautiful and tasted even better. The sauce was simple and salty and I was thrilled with the variety of morsels in it: super-crispy chunks of 'duck', fresh snow peas, tender tofu, earthy mushrooms and some bonus mock chicken.

Michael's vegetarian duck curry ($12) arrived a little later and if anything, it was better still! More of those tremendous crispy duck pieces sat atop a huge bowl of fresh vegetables in a spicy kaffiir lime and coconut gravy. I think even Michael was using his rice to neutralise its heat.

It's rare to encounter a restaurant that gets both mock meat and fresh vegetables just right - we reckon Thai Veggie Hutt pulled it off.

Thai Veggie Hutt
Shop 7 Bank Arcade, 68-70 Liverpool St, Hobart
(03) 6231 1270
veg lunches $6.50-12.50

Accessibility: Entry seems flat but it's pretty crowded inside. Ordering and payment happens at a low-ish counter; the bain-marie is a little higher. Toilets are some distance away in the larger shopping complex, and reasonably roomy.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Summer Kitchen

January 21, 2012

We'd been a bit ambivalent about Hobart's ever-popular Salamanca Market when we were last in Hobart - too busy and crowded and filled with a lot of stalls selling fairly dull wares. Despite this, Lisa's enthusiasm for Summer Kitchen's veg pies meant that a return trip was booked in as a key priority for our Saturday morning on this trip. Summer Kitchen is right at the bottom of the market, so we fought our way through all the crowds and stalls on our way there. The market wasn't as annoying as I'd remembered - there were lots of great local food stalls and a few other interesting bits and pieces scattered throughout the 'Made In China' t-shirt and sock stalls this time around. Still, I was really only there for the pies.

Me, refusing to leave Cindy's photo in case it meant 
waiting an extra 5 seconds for pies

There are five veg pies to choose from (two vegan), including chilli bean, curry veg and more, with not a faux-meat in sight. I chose the lentil shepherds pie (lentils, brown rice, celery, tomato, carrot, parsley, potato, onion, garlic, parsley, dairy-free margarine, salt and herbs wrapped in a vegan wholemeal pastry, $6) with homemade tomato relish on top (on the left of the picture below).

The crispy potato swirl on top tasted fantastic, but didn't really want to stay together with the rest of the pie. Which was fine, because the rest of the pie was wonderful as well - the rich lentil mix and sweet tomato relish were an excellent combo, and the pastry was up there with Funky Pies for flaky vegan goodness.

Cindy ordered the Homity pie (potatoes, leeks, onion, garlic, sour cream, cheese, salt, basil and sunflower kernels in a buttery wholemeal pastry, $6). It's top was less crispy than my potato-based one, being made up of a layer of melted cheese, but just as tasty. The filling was dominated by the potato and leek and whole thing was maybe a smidgen on the dry side from having sat in the pie-warmer a bit long - still, the relish added enough moisture to make up for that.

It's hard to know how good these pies were. Having brekkie at 11:00am tends to make whatever you're eating taste wonderful, and these were no exception - an excellent, cheap and vaguely healthy fast-food option for the hungry and worn-out market-goer.

Darkside of Knitting sampled the other vegan pie on offer at Summer Kitchen and gave it the thumbs up, but nobody else seems to have blogged about them.

Summer Kitchen
Salamanca Markets (Eastern end, Saturday mornings from 8am)
veg pies $6 (they have lots of other baked goods, but we didn't explore any further!)

Accessibility: The market is jammed with people, so it's not amazingly accessible. There's a bit of breathing room once you make your way right down to the bakery, but it's still crowded. Ordering and payment happens at a middling level (see picture).

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Nourish Cafe

Update January 11, 2012: While preparing for our latest trip to Hobart, I've discovered that Nourish has closed down. It's been replaced by another veg-friendly place called Frankie's Empire - we'll report back.

January 19, 2012
The MONA ferry delivered us back to the city around 6pm, giving us plenty of time for an early dinner at Nourish Cafe before it shut at 8pm. Michael noticed Nourish on Happy Cow as a veg-friendly venue and we wandered past it the previous evening. It looked like somewhere that would serve the simple vege-filled meals that we craved after our extravagant, buttery lunch.

Nourish is the kind of casual cafe that I instantly feel comfortable in: friendly staff who're in no hurry, a couch or two, gig posters on the walls and photocopied paper menus with a lineage tracing back to 70s hippy food. (Brisbane's Forest and Melbourne's Las Vegan spring to mind as others of this ilk.) What's notable here is that the menu isn't entirely meat free - there are a couple of seafood dishes amongst it all, though it's majority vegetarian with gluten-free options also well marked.

I was in a mushroom mood again, and after quite some humming and hawing I elected for the herbed and crumbed Rocky Mountain Mushrooms ($13.50) over the mixed mushroom ragout with beetroot risotto balls ($14). It was certainly a mountain of mushrooms, crispy-crumbed and not at all greasy. The strawberry chilli dipping sauce didn't make a stronger impression than the standard bottled sweet chilli, but I barely minded. The side salad was unusually fresh.

Michael ate the marinated tofu with sourdough, sunflower seeds, a garden salad and sate sauce ($12). This was another light, fresh winner; the kind of stuff we aspire to make at home.

We resisted the carby temptation of the mixed vegie wedges, but the bowlful eaten at the next table over looked huge and smelled great. There's also soup, a curry, coffee, lots of tea, juices, smoothies and a dessert cabinet. There's nothing mind-blowingly experimental here, but much to make a vegetarian feel right at home.

We had our share of the unexpected once we hit FOMA afterwards, from the hypnotic Prince Rama to the surprise covers (Nick Cave, Beastie Boys, Neutral Milk Hotel, Black Sabbath, Jacques Brel) and cameos (Brian Ritchie on acoustic bass, seemingly everyone from backstage on riotous dancing) sprung on us by the endlessly entertaining Dresden Dolls.


Nourish Cafe
129 Elizabeth St, Hobart
(03) 6234 5674
veg meals $10-14

Accessibility: Nourish is flat inside, with reasonably spaced tables. We ordered at the table and paid at a low-ish counter. We didn't visit the toilets.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Source Restaurant

January 19, 2012
Visiting MONA was top priority for our Hobart trip; we took the ferry over on our first full day in the city. I'd heard many favourable things about this privately owned art gallery and its intriguing origins, but nothing came close to preparing me for it. MONA is astounding. Like nowhere I've ever been. Like nothing I imagined could really exist. Like Willy Wonka built a contemporary art museum, staffed it with arts students in black T-shirts and started selling golden tickets to anyone and everyone for $20 apiece. I loved it.

The MONA grounds include a cafe, a wine bar, a brewery and a fancy restaurant, The Source. We were high on holidays and figured we'd give The Source a go, stopping by at 10am to reserve a lunchtime table. When we mentioned that we're vegetarian, we were told frankly but politely that the menu's not really designed for us. Nevertheless, the waiter confidently rattled off what we might be able to eat, made an extra note on the reservation list and promised to notify the chef that we'd be coming.

The meal started well - their warm sage and rosemary rolls were spectacular. I can't remember ever enjoying bread more!

As an entrée, we were offered an onion veloute from the dinner menu ($19) - a small, satiny serve of liquified sweet caramelised onions.

Our second entrée of peas, grapefruit, ginger and mint ($21) appears on the standard lunch menu. I liked the flavour combination - and the butter pooling at the bottom of the bowl! - but the peas were over-abundant and over-cooked for my taste.

As a main, the chef made a nicoise-style salad of vegetables ($30) off menu. The produce was lovely, cooked delicately, and served with more butter.

As a second main, we ordered an upsized version of their rhubarb, beetroot, goat's cheese whey side ($12). Though I've never eaten them together before, the crimson sweet'n'sour combination of beetroot and rhubarb was excellent. The whey didn't make much impact.

After all those vegetables, I was up for dessert. Michael and I negotiated two dishes to share, and then when our waiter described their current special dessert ($17), built around fresh raspberries, I spontaneously tossed one of them aside.
I'm glad I did, because this was special indeed. The plate featured three orange marshmallows: dense, fragrant and not at all gelatinous, interspersed with a mousse-like chocolate ganache and pools of pistachio. The fresh raspberries around the edge were dunked in their own coulis, and it was all sprinkled with freeze-dried raspberries and pop rocks. Everything worked, in any combination that I collected them on my spoon. The portion was very generous and could happily be shared between two generous people.

We didn't find ourselves regretting the second dessert, though! The coffee floating island with lemongrass anglaise and bitter chocolate ($15) didn't look as impressive, yet was. The flavour pairing of coffee and lemongrass was exquisite - completely counter-intuitive, perfectly balanced, and surprisingly refreshing on a summer day.

There is much to marvel at at MONA, not least the desserts at The Source! The staff addressed our dietary requirements with good grace (prior notice and a reservation no doubt helps) but not the same level of creativity that we saw in those last two plates. If we ever make it back (rest assured, I'm already pitching a January 2013 trip to Michael), I'll be tempted to pack sandwiches, then sneak into The Source for sweets.

The Source has received favourable reviews on blogs Grimoire and The Foodologist.

The Source Restaurant
655 Main Road, Berriedale, Hobart
(03) 6277 9904
veg courses $12-30

Accessibility: The Source is located one floor above ground level and is accessible by a wide staircase; I believe there is also a lift available. Tables are generously spaced across the floor and there is full table service. Toilets are spacious and located on the same level.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Warung Indonesia

Update January 10, 2013: Our preparations for another trip to MOFO have been hit by the sad news from Hobart that Warung Indonesia has closed. What a shame.

January 18, 2012
As regular readers will know, Cindy had an incredibly busy start to the work year, meaning that mid-Jan was our first real chance for a holiday. Luckily, this coincided perfectly with the MONA FOMA festival in Hobart, so we loaded up with PJ Harvey and Dresden Dolls tickets and flew on down for a long weekend. Thus, this week is going to be filled with Tassie-themed posts - in four days we managed to eat very well indeed.

Our first night saw us arriving later than we planned (thanks Jetstar) and with no real plans for dinner. Thankfully Liz tweeted us a link to a very handy Hobart food forum, which led us straight to Warung Indonesia. Warung Indonesia is going for a hawker-style vibe in a restaurant space - right down to the built-in food cart.

Dishes are $4 each (plus $3 for rice) - we ended up ordering everything vegetarian on the menu, seven dishes in total. The waitstaff were super-helpful - checking in with us about the secret anchovies in the eggplant and generally making sure we were sorted out. First up were the two deep-fried dishes: stuffed tofu and bala bala (veggie fritter). Both were crispy and delicious, but fairly mildly flavoured - I should have ordered the optional chilli sauce.

Next up was a three dish combo plate: vegetables with coconut, fried potato and green beans. The liberal sprinkling of toasted coconut added some interest to a fairly rudimentary cabbage stir-fry, while the little fried potato cubes had a delicious sweetness to them. But both were overpowered by the green beans, which were generously dosed with chilli and had a hot vinegary kick. They were outstanding, but did benefit a bit from having the milder accompaniments to spread out the heat.

The vegetarian curry was a mild and coconutty dish, with a good mix of fresh vegetables swimming in delicious gravy, but the star of the evening was the tempeh. Our love for tempeh is no secret, and this was a crispy, sweet ode to the stuff. The kind of dish that makes me want to travel straight to Indonesia and eat nothing but tempeh for a month.

Warung Indonesia was a stunner - a veg-friendly Indonesian restaurant was not high on the my mental list of places we were likely to stumble across in Hobart. They're cheap, friendly and serve up a wide array of great dishes. I'm not sure whether they vary much week to week, but we'll definitely go back to find out next time we're in town.

Warung Indonesia
144 Harrington Street, Hobart
0466 695 440
veg dishes $4 each

Accessibility: There are a couple of steps up as you come into the restaurant, and ordering takes place over or around a fairly high bain marie (see photo above). There's a reasonable amount of space throughout the restaurant, and payment happens at a low cash register area.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Killiney Kopitiam

January 15, 2012
As Lygon St approaches Queensberry St, the Italian spruikers give way to casual Asian eateries. One of the newer eateries is Killiney Kopitiam, an Aussie outpost of a Singaporean chain. It offers what I understand to be the usual range of kopitiam snacks, meals and drinks: toast, eggs, noodles, nasi lemak, coffee, tea and Milo.

Among them is a vegetarian laksa ($8.30). Michael wasn't too inspired by the eggs and veges within, but the coconut gravy was spicy and very, very tasty.

We liked the cold teh tarik ($3.30) too - sweet and filling, with the bitter edge of black tea.

My small snack of kaya toast ($2.80) seemed more like an accompaniment to the teh tarik than the other way around!

The savoury menu is dominated by meat curries, though there are a few eggy noodle dishes that look vegetarian-friendly (we didn't interrogate the staff about hidden shrimp paste so proceed with caution.) The drinks and desserts look easier to navigate. We're no connoisseurs of the kopitiam tradition and can't vouch for Killiney's authenticity, but it's great to have this style of eatery represented in the neighbourhood. I hope it brings the South-East Asians of Melbourne more joy and nostalgia than disappointment.

Killiney Kopitiam has had a mixed reception so far in the blogosphere; check out mochii eats, Who Told You That?, Makansudah!, EAT AND BE MERRY, FOR TOMORROW WE DIE(T), Couture Foodie and Oh So Yammy!.

Killiney Kopitiam
114 Lygon St, Carlton
9650 9880
veg dishes $2.80-8.30

Accessibility: Limited. The cafe is split level and high density, with orders made and paid for at a counter on the upper level.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Fox Hotel VI

January 14, 2012
Arriving home after a couple of intense weeks out of town, I had a hankering for a pub meal. It may have been little more than a subconscious desire for chips. Regardless Michael was willing to humour me, so willing to humour me that we even walked - rather than cycled - the length of Alexandra Parade. It was the perfect evening for strolling the streets and sitting in the Fox Hotel's beer garden in a light coat.

I was in a mushroomy mood and poised to reorder the lasagne until I saw the new veg options on the summer menu. The mushroom, quinoa and pine nut burger with spinach, beetroot relish, caramelised onion, cheese and chips ($17) had all the savoury smoky flavours I was craving. The patty had a tendency to smoosh out the sides of the bun as I worked my way through, but the crispy crust and terrific taste far outweighed this inconvenience. Next time I'll request that they skip the cheese.

Michael tested the pumpkin and zucchini fritters with smoked cherry tomato, goat's cheese, grilled corn, chilli almonds, rocket and spinach with minted yoghurt ($17). The fritters were puffy and only mildly flavoured but the accompaniments set them off nicely - Michael was particularly taken with the almonds.

It's great that the Fox is still mixing it up with their menu - these new dishes certainly maintain their high standard for vegetarian pub food.

You can read about many of our previous visits to the Fox: one, two, three, four, five. It has since received positive mentions on Parma Daze, Gluten Shmooten and two munch, two mixed reviews on juganaut's foodie thoughts, and a disappointed account on Pram Sandwich.

The Fox Hotel
351 Wellington St, Collingwood
9416 4957
fully licensed
veg entrees $6-17, veg mains $17-18

Accessibility: There's a small step at entry level. Several of the indoor rooms (and probably the ground level outdoor space) have widely spaced tables; the beer garden is up a narrow staircase with rail. All orders are taken and paid for at the high bar. Toilets are at ground level.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Catering for a crew

January 3-14, 2012
As Michael has already hinted, I've been away on an epic adventure in science. Over the past few months, designing a field experiment has taken up an increasing proportion of my time and mental space. I barely took a break over Christmas; slinking off to a quiet corner with my laptop for hours at a time (not nice guest-like or host-like behaviour, and I was both), heading into a deserted office for a day or two, writing list upon list upon list, and even mobilising friends to help.

It all culminated in a ten-day trip to Falls Creek with more than a dozen of my colleagues, a talented team of supervisors, co-workers, assistants, students and volunteers. And not only was I supposed to order them about the field, making observations and taking measurements: I needed to feed them.

This is what $600 worth of groceries 
(and the Moody Noodles' torsos) look like

My plan unfolded, thus:

1. Taking stock of dietary requirements. At our peak we were fourteen adults, with two pescetarians and two fully-fledged vegetarians; one gluten- and oat-avoider, one gluten- and onion-intolerant. I aimed mostly for this lowest common denominator, offering requirement-friendly adaptations on a few meals.

2. Starting with starches. On Limes & Lycopene, I recently wrote about centring my meals on fresh produce. Anxious to keep fourteen field workers full, I actually flipped my meal plan around and started with starches. Rice, polenta, and potatoes are all gluten-free; bread and pasta can be adapted occasionally.

Preparing plots

3. Following up with protein. I kept the meat minimal and optional, making sure there were tofu, lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans and/or cheese in most meals.

4. Packing in some flavour. At home Michael and I have a huge condiment collection, but I imagined it'd be much easier to rely on single-use flavour packages out of town. These ranged from home-prepared blends (lila masala and a onion-free adaptation of this taco seasoning) through packages I know and love (Maesri curry paste, gluten-free hoisin sauce, sambal oelek) to bottles I'd never usually consider buying (this red wine and garlic sauce).

On Wednesday it snowed. No new data for us.

Breakfasts and lunches were a mix of cereal and toast, fruit, sandwiches (with meaty and gluten-free options), tea, coffee and juice. I had enormous quantities of water, trail mix and jelly lollies on hand to sustain people throughout the day and a few chocolate blocks for evenings spent playing cards and Scrabble.

For dinners we ate:
  • lentil tacos (no onion, home-made seasoning, flour and corn-based tortillas)
  • pan-fried haloumi with lemon-parsley potatoes and a garden salad
  • char koay teow-inspired rice noodle stir-fry
  • risotto with mushrooms, peas and white beans
  • Thai red curry with rice and cashews
  • broccoli pesto pasta (with a separate gluten-free batch)
  • red wine lentils and sausages on polenta (with packet mix sauce, meaty and vege sausages)
  • marinated mushrooms with Jos' famous potato gratin and a garden salad
  • spiced chickpeas on rice with lime pickle and mango chutney
  • Mexi-style beans with leftover rice, baked polenta, tortillas, guacamole and more salad.
Restoring plots in the frost early on Thursday morning.

Other things that helped make it happen:
  • Michael, K & Toby generously helped me shop and transport all the non-perishables a few days before departure.
  • I bought only the first few days of fresh stuff to start with. Later-arriving team members helped out with top-ups as the week went on.
  • On most mornings, I'd take 10 minutes to scrawl down the dinner plan and set the right pantry ingredients on the bench. Usually the last one to arrive home from the field, I'd often find several people already in the kitchen chopping vegetables and selecting pots.
  • A bit of flexibility. While 80% of meals were served exactly as planned having garlic, stock cubes, canned tomatoes and cheese on hand allowed for some improvisation with the fresh stuff that needed finishing, such as Jos' potato gratin and Kate and Sacha's Mexi-bean mush.
Notice the pattern? Help, help, help. People are happy to pitch in, once given a couple of pointers. What works in the field goes double in the kitchen.

Friday was stunning, reminding us all why we volunteered to work here.