Last weekend was one of those perfect weekends, munificent with its bounty of delights, all laid out against a backdrop of perfect weather. And I say this with a twinge of nostalgia, sitting here amidst the incessant rain and hail that has plagued us for the past few days in Victoria while New South Wales burns to crisps around the edges. Crazy times.
Last weekend we made watermelon, feta, mint and shallot salad for the first time since last summer and brought it to Point Leo Boat Club. This is the definitive hot weather salad. Refreshing and unexpected, every mouthful is packed with a embarrassment of textures and tastes, the tart sherry vinegar marinated shallots, the green freshness of the mint and the succulent sweetness of cool watermelon. Every once in a while you get a splodge of kalamata olive or a crumbly cube of feta, just to spice things up. I am one of those people who hates fruit in anything but dessert, but I carve out a concrete exception for this salad.
We saw the craziest beautiful moonrise. It was brighter than the sunset due to the eclipse which occured the night before.
First the sun faded and sank away.
And then, as we sat on the deck eating charred greek lamb and That Watermelon Salad, we saw an iridescent copper orb float up from the horizon. I thought it was the sun coming back for an encore, and then realised that it was the moon.
It was the freakiest thing, as the sky grew brighter and more radiant, the rose gold moon suffusing the entire surface of the sea with rippling, flashing slivers of eerie salmon pink light.
The next day we went to one of the Peninsula’s best secrets according to our kids, the Ripe and Ready trout and cherry farm in Red Hill, for some trout fishing.
Finn was absolutely delighted as he managed to catch a beautiful golden trout not 2 minutes after he lowered his rod into the dam. There were so many trout the whole surface of the dam exploded like a field of squibs every time we threw bait into the water. We ended up catching about 20 trout and throwing all of them back but four. They charge you by the kilo at the trout farm, a very expensive pursuit if you’re as dedicated a fisherman as Finn! But we thought he deserved this little expedition given that he had been fishing for the last 6 times and caught nothing but one squid at the Mornington Pier.
The farm has about 20 varieties of cherries and the kids picked blossoms and checked the development of the cherries while we cleaned and gutted the fish.
They didn’t last for long and the kids declared they were the most delectable, freshest tasting fish on earth. We stuffed two of them chock full of herbs and limes from the garden and grilled them for dinner. And the other two were smoked over wood chips and had for lunch.
Then it occured to us that this past couple of weeks half of the meals we had eaten were from things we had caught ourselves – our Muscovy drake which became roast duck, duck quesadillas and then fried duck rice, and the trout. The kids are learning a lot about where their food comes from and all of us are treating meal time with a lot more respect and gratitude.