Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Seasonal.

Although the Australian calendar keeps track summer, autumn, winter and spring, those distinctions are not terribly useful up here in the tropics. The important seasons are not marked on the calendars—mostly because they change wildly from year to year. Right now, we are well into cyclone season. Cyclone Ellie, five weeks ago, dropped lots of rain on us and left some nearby towns under water. Our most recent visitor was Cyclone Hamish. He formed on Friday morning and there were serious concerns that he would cross the NQ coast. But he’s kept a respectful distance, staying just off the coast. His maximum intensity (so far) has been category five—similar to Hurricane Katrina. Hamish was expected to pass Townsville on Saturday evening, so the whole day was a bit tense. We woke up to beautiful, cheery blue skies.

But all morning, the skies went back and forth between that, and this:

Look at Mount Stuart in the distance—it appeared and disappeared every ten or so minutes for the whole morning. We got some rain around midday, but it cleared up pretty quickly. Hamish passed without note, and now he’s much further down the coast and dropping in intensity. Of course, cyclones are unpredictable and anything could happen. And cyclone season isn’t over until April/May, and the Bureau of Meteorology is expecting at least one more to form before then—so we may get some more excitement yet.

While anticipated Hamish’s arrival, we cooked. As you do. For dinner one night, I baked some portabella mushrooms which had been marinated in orange juice and jerk seasoning. Since we like to fill up our oven, I also threw together some sweet and plain potato chippies. Andy stuffed a few ugly tomatoes with leftover tofu scramble, and we heated up a leftover stuffed sweet potato. A bit of lime-garlic aioli made the meal complete.

On Saturday, after a relaxing day (despite the cyclone potential) at the vegan spa with some friends, we made yum cha. I made some steamed dumplings, using the dough recipe from the last VegNews magazine. I filled them up with some BBQ tofu filling.

I'm not so great at closing the dumplings.

We also made dim sim, using store bought dumpling wrappers and stuffed with a tofu-veggie mixture before being fried. Unfortunately the camera batteries died, so I don’t have any photos of the finished products.

Even though it’s technically autumn, it's still the hot season--the end of the wet, when it's still humid and could rain at any time, but the skies are mostly clear and the sun beams down. Yesterday felt like a particularly summery day as we biked home—hot, sunny, and still—so we had an appropriately summery meal. A few weeks ago I made a double batch of SusanV’s BBQ seitan ribz and froze half. We defrosted them and put them under the griller with some sauce and had a very quick main meal. To fill the plate, I made a salad out of millet, chickpeas, wakame and ninja vegan mayo (Praise 97% fat free).

Who needs winter, spring, summer and fall when you've got The Dry, The Wet, cyclone season, mango season, stinger season and avocado season?

16 comments:

VeggieGirl said...

Hang in there with the weather!!

Mmm, love the SWEET POTATOES, especially :-D

Gina said...

Ooh, I like the sound of those mushrooms. Stay safe!!

madaboutudon said...

Oh no! Stay safe!
Awesome yum cha... I wish I had your talent.

Vegetation said...

I've been hoping you were okay while watching Hamish on the news! Glad to see that you are!

I love your Yum Cha. Mmmmm yum cha! I haven't had one in years and years and years.

VeganWoman said...

Definitely stay safe. I would love a Vegan spa. love the yum cha!

the little one said...

That's a whole lot of cooking! I'm sure such good stuff will keep the bad weather at bay.

steph said...

those dumplings look cute!

DJ said...

I love your round-up of the tropical seasons! I wouldn't mind mango season... not AT ALL!

Vicki's Vegan Vice said...

I heard about Hamish on the news -- looks like you made good use of your time - the dumplings look totally fabulous! I'd take the mangos & avocados any day! CHEERS, Theresa!

Vaala said...

I think we've managed to successfully bypass autumn and head straight on into winter over the last couple of weeks! Seasons don't mean that much over here either!

Cooking while the weather is turning all grey and dark is great though - keeps you warm and entertained while it rains outside. Your meals look delicious as usual. Feeling a little jealous as I haven't had much time to cook lately!

nora said...

yeah, it's gotta be like the worst communication breakdown in vegan history!

the ribz look goodz :)

I'm Philippa O said...

yum!!! home made bau, so good!

Azzahar said...

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About your blog, I wrote:
The Tropical Vegan, that makes me wanna pack up and go live in Australia :)

Kati said...

I have to say, cyclone season seems to be inspiring delicious looking food! It will be interesting to see what you grow in your garden, given the wildly different seasons than we have here. I think we're just about to break into thaw/mud...

Hopefully the storms will continue to pass you guys by - stay safe!

Mr Clickety Cane said...

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Liz² said...

haha, excellent rundown of seasons. I'll take mango season! And neat double photo of the sky...

The plate with the chippies is also looking very tempting, yum!