A friend remarked the other day just how big the life change has been - new country, new apartment, new job, new specialty, new hospital, new moving-in with a partner.. even new flour can be challenging! Even with the ups and downs, it truly has been the most wonderful time and I could only hope to capture some of it in this post.
Unfortunately our balcony only gets afternoon sun and my attempts to grow lettuce and radish have been thwarted, nevertheless we started this cute little herb garden.
I don't think I'd even had sage before trying this "traditional" Italian combination of cannellini beans, zucchini, garlic and sage with a healthy slug of olive oil.
We have been eating lots of the Asian foods that I missed while in Europe. I bought a tub of gochujang and made a spicy soup with vegetables and tofu, served over sweet potato noodles.
I'm totally obsessed with these thick hand-cut noodles, here I had them with some radish and my friend's fish-head curry without the fish-head (a bit too much for me!)
I'm very pleased to report that Barney is now doing very well in Toronto and seems to have adapted to the local conditions. What a resilient boy he is!
My friend brought us a bag of traditional Montreal bagels when she was visiting family there. Here is the quintessential Canadian breakfast for me, a few Ontario strawberries, a Montreal bagel and a slice of Uncle Tetsu's cheesecake. I know Tetsu's is everywhere now, but I will always associate it with Canada where I tried it first.
A lemongrass tofu banh mi from my favourite banh mi shop in Chinatown
For my birthday I had a zoom party with my dad in China, he invited some family and friends over in Shanghai and we had a slice of cake for breakfast here. It looks exactly like the cake emoji on your smartphone! The candles are on beautiful Huon pine coasters I bought from Tasmania.
In the evening, S organised a wonderful surprise birthday party for me. He even got the concierge in on the action - he called from the lobby saying there was a parcel delivery and when I went downstairs my friends jumped out from behind a pole! My birthday present was playing the Dvorak piano quintet, what an extraordinary treat with musical friends. We only have 4 chairs so the upper strings had to stand and the audience had to sit on the bed, what a memorable experience! And these were my birthday desserts - a light-as-air lemon cake and a gluten-free trifle with cherries and blueberries.
And now that we have made dumplings in our new place - these were with a filling of napa cabbage, tofu and red capsicums flavoured with sesame oil and ginger - we have truly moved in and christened our place our own.
Finally, the curveball...
I moved out of home in 2001 and haven't had a piano since. The piano I played when I was a child is still at my dad's place. When S and I moved into our new place, we thought about renting a piano. In the end we just decided to buy this, a cheap and cheerful Yamaha electric piano. Of course it's not a forever piano but the finger-touch is surprisingly good and it serves us just fine for our purposes. We have been playing through the book of Mozart violin sonatas, choosing a different one to play everyday before dinner. It's a wonderful way to mark the end of our busy days and to relax into the evening. Everyday we are reminded of how fortunate we are to finally be here together in person, and also how fortunate we are to have this extraordinary connection through music.
I'm sending this to Sherry of Sherry's Pickings who hosts the monthly IMK series - thanks Sherry!