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It’s winter in Melbourne, we had the shortest day of the year yesterday and the weather is getting chillier. I have always like cooking, and the cold weather seems to be bringing out my European peasant roots (my Dad’s family is German and I’m going to pretend that’s what it is).

I ordered a box of ‘make at home pretzel kit’ from Pretzel Australia a while ago when Victoria went back into lockdown after a rogue COVID-19 positive person was wandering about causing spikes. We’re still under restrictions but they’re a lot more relaxed than they were this time last year that’s for sure! But back to the pretzel kit, it took a couple of weeks to reach me which meant I was still waiting for it after we were let out of lockdown.

Last week I made them, I kneaded by hand because I don’t have a fancy dough hook type mixer. It was a good ab workout that’s for sure. They turned out even better than I had hoped, the first one straight from the oven was so delicious, but the subsequent ones were also tasty.

To serve, I have been eating with mustard, or pickle, and sauerkraut and polish sausage and cheese. It’s a very German version of a ploughman’s. Some photos of the process are below (note I do have a mirrored splashback on my stove).

Prior to my adventure into pretzels I made a beef stroganoff, which was really yummy but super rich. So much creamy stew. Next on the list is something with red wine; coq au vin or ragout.

There’s something about cold weather and slow cooked food, soups, and home made bread. I’m sure it’s not just the peasant in my heritage but something about cocooning and storing calories.

I haven’t been doing much writing the last few weeks. I have a manuscript on which I have done one pass of edits. I hope to have it ready to publish with it’s sister manuscript in early next year, though I probably need to get a wriggle on with booking the editor.

I like being at home, but I don’t like being trapped at home. I used to enjoy going out a lot and I’ve dipped my toe in the water a couple of times when Melbourne restrictions allow and it’s been fun, but also confronting. Being in crowds isn’t something I’m used to anymore. I hope once everything settles down and the vaccinations are all rolled out we will be able to go out and feel comfortable in crowds again.

I hope you’ve been able to keep going with your projects and life, whether you’re working from home, home schooling, going to work even with the lockdown or trying to keep yourself entertained at home because you can’t work. Nourishing the body is worthwhile, especially in times of stress, and I like cooking.