I shocked my family and friends last Sunday, when I voluntarily got up at half past 6 to head to Toowoomba‘s PCYC Market. I hadn’t been there in a while, and I wanted to check it all out again. The Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley floods only took place a few weeks ago. What were the effects on our fresh food market?

I was quite uncharacteristically enjoying the early morning stillness as I drove (sorry, I probably shocked friends and family again!). There were already quite a few people there when I arrived at 7am. Almost immediately, I am arrested by the sheer variety of goods, old and new, on sale. I took a walk around to see what there was to see, before plunging into a buying frenzy. Everything looked fresh and, I was glad to see, in abundance, and the bargains had me sa-li-va-ting!

A bundle of lemongrass for a dollar?? I quickly scooped up this bargain because these were going at $1.70 per STALK at the supermarket!


I didn’t need lemons but I wasn’t going past this particular bargain either!


3 for $1! Sometimes it really pays to have a quick scout around before you open your wallet! 


In Queensland, we’re pretty lucky to get strawberries in winter, and most of the way through summer as well.


These garlic bulbs were enormous! And somewhat out of my price range at $8.50 for the biggest, which was bigger than my fist!


An organic farmer had all manner of squash on offer. I fell in love with the white giant squash, in the pic above this one. I also liked the yellow zucchini that looked like they belonged in a maternity ward!


Some stall owners had a bunch or two of flowers amongst their other wares, for sale. There were also stalls that were alight with colour, offering nothing but perfect flower upon flower – at cheaper prices than the normal retail.


I was quite excited when I saw these! Any guesses as to what they are? Why, pumpkin leaves! I had a somewhat thrilling conversation with the stall owner about how to cook them. But that deserves a post of its own, so I’ll tell you all about it another day. And yes, I bought some!


Real! Sourdough! Bread!


Into my bags went corn, peaches, cherries, strawberries, lemongrass, pumpkin leaves, snake beans, carnations, figs, white giant squash, lemons, sourdough bread – I had to stop because I ran out of time and money! I can’t remember the last time I had this much sheer fun, this early in the morning – ever. As to the effects of the flood on the market? I couldn’t see that it had that much of an effect of the supply of fresh produce-there was certainly plenty to be had. The one thing that struck me was the way many people, stall owners and customers alike, asked each other how they fared through the flood, and people stopped to swap their flood stories. It gave me a sense of solidarity and belonging, that we had been through something together and there was a tangible bond now, because of it. I packed that feeling away inside me and took it home, that one priceless bargain I got at the market that everyone gave each other freely.


Dear Readers,
Well, I’m back at last! And I am determined to stick around, this time. Quite a bit has changed since my last post-all the way back in 2009 (blush). At the end of 2009, my little family moved from the Sunshine Coast to Toowoomba, a hinterland city on Australia’s Great Dividing Range. I took a Sabbatical to settle ourselves in our new town. This year our little girl started school, and I’m back into the writing game. So-here we go!
First, just a quick recap of 2010, starting with T’ba’s culinary offerings. I discovered that T’ba has a few Asian grocers. I even came across a little cafe offering a small selection of good yum cha dishes. One of the best things was the discovery of an excellent green grocer, and we’ve been able to enjoy fantastic fruit and veggies. Eating out in T’ba is expensive, and so we only venture out on the rare occasion. So-more homecooking, and more experiments!
Treasure from the Toowoomba PCYC Market – from commonplace corn, lemons and peaches, to little known giant white squash, snake beans and pumpkin leaves
 I was fortunate enough  to do a bit of travelling in 2010, and of course these inevitably turned into culinary adventures. In March and again in September, I had a couple of weekends at Gold Coast. In August my little family and I went back to my hometown in Kuching, Malaysia, where I grew up. We also spent some time in Brunei, where my parents live. October saw me in Melbourne for a Spring Wedding.

Frog Leg Congee –  Lunch for the intrepid, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Meat Platter at Mr Ho’s ,  Kuching,, Malaysia – a breakfast that defeated a pair of ardent carnivores

Linguine Pescatore, one of my favourite dishes ever – Cafe Maggiore, Melbourne


We have a had a rather wet and cool Summer in T’ba. It was much deplored by most people around me, but I secretly revelled in it. (5 years in hot and humid Sunshine Coast gave me enough heat to last me a lifetime!) I loved staying inside in while it rained outside, and with the advent of Christmas, I happily went on a baking spree. Christmas and the arrival of my parents were the only excuses I needed to bake and bake.

 Bagels for my Mum


Stollen for my Dad


Lebkuchen for me!


 I’m hoping the blog opens up some opportunities for me as far as a writing career goes. I would love for you to come with me on this journey! And now-off to do more research. See you tomorrow!

Hard at work with the researching