It's been an absolute marathon not just organising a 10-month holiday but also cancelling or changing all our utilities, insurance, and everything; recurrently preparing for open homes as we try to rent out our apartment in a disappointingly terrible market; packing up our entire apartment and moving it into storage way out in Campbellfield; making an array of fantastic Burning Man outfits; preparing our tax returns; visiting doctors and dentists; and saying goodbye to everyone we love, including a particularly harrowing night farewelling little Salty. So, you know, stress and anxiety have definitely been trumping excitement.
That's not to say there haven't been some good moments in the packing process. When you find something in the kitchen that you genuinely didn't know you had and add it to the op-shop pile without a second thought. When you find a pamphlet for Yosemite National Park from the year 2000 with an adorable hand-drawn squirrel on it. When you find a special notice from the Llama Appreciation Club (silverchair fan club) from 2004 explaining that 'with the rising popularity of the internet, we can no longer guarantee that you will be the first to know news about the band via this newsletter.' Yep, that internet is pretty darn popular.
My hatred for wastage has also meant that in the final days when there was still way too much left to pack, I was cooking like a maniac trying to use up all the ingredients left in the pantry. The enjoyment I got from consolidating the herbs and spices shelf bordered on lunacy. But thankfully it's meant that for several days running we've been able to continue to tick off items on the to-do list unhindered by the need to prepare sustenance!
Even now we've left Australia, somehow it still doesn't feel real. There have been moments of excitement, but they've mostly been overridden by the fact that every day I see someone (or something) else I love for the last time. Well, for many, many months anyway.
A couple of nights ago we said goodbye to the city we love with a night of (really, really good) comedy at Spleen Bar and cocktails at Bar Ampere, concluding with a run for the train only to spend what felt like an hour on the city loop and then to be so cold and windswept we had to get an Uber from the station at the end of it all anyway. Ah, Melbourne. I feel sure I'll never love a city as much as I love you!
I took the cover photo for this recipe weeks ago, sure that if I had the recipe and the photo out of the way it would be easy to squeeze in the writing of the actual post. Not so! But I got there eventually, albeit a month after the last post.
To be honest, I can't remember any of the context around this recipe; I just remember there was a moment where I decided I had to make a salad combining pumpkin and apple. They provide two very different kinds of sweetness that are complemented nicely by the sharpness of dijon mustard, the tartness of apple cider vinegar and the saltiness of feta.
From here, (I hope) the posts will be filled with my take on foreign ingredients and recipes, prepared with a minimum of implements and probably plenty of dodgy ovens and cooktops – or none at all! This is where I'll give you the weekly/fortnightly/monthly digest (we'll see how it goes!), but I'll include a link for those who want to see more photos and the finer details of what we've been up to.
I'll also be maintaining the usual fetahands Instagram, as well as introducing a new account – fetahands_travel – for the non-culinary aspects of our travel adventures.