Friday, 16 March 2018

Sydney visit: Aquarium, Habour Bridge, Opera House etc

On the weekend, I flew to Sydney with Sylvia to visit an old work colleague from my days in Scotland.  It was a whirlwind trip but we managed to see a few icons, spend a lot of time by the water (sadly no swimming) and eat at a few places I've dreamt about visiting.  Here are lots of photos and reflections on the trip.

We stayed a night at the Capital Square Hotel.  It was pretty basic.  And by that, I meant that when it said "free toiletries" that meant a shower cap and some soap dispensers on the wall of the bathroom!  But it is was clean and comfortable and close to Central Station.  It would have been a nicer location if they weren't digging up the road for a new light rail system on the Capital Square Hotel.  But roadworks and scaffolding seem to be part of a big city!

We stayed on the edge of Sydney's Chinatown.  It seemed much bigger than the one in Melbourne.  Trying to find lunch there was challenging.  We ended up walking into a place where they said yes there was vegetarian food but (after some miscommunication about spring rolls) it was a tofu dish that was too spicy for me.  So Sylvia and I ate rice and drank soft drinks while my friends ate with a higher tolerance for spice.

Then we went to the Chinese Garden of Friendship.  This was possibly my favourite place and I will write a separate post on it.  We had intended to go the Powerhouse Museum afterwards but it was too late to go there or explore Paddy's Market by the time we finished at the garden.

Instead Sylvia played in the little fountains instead of the International Convention Centre.  It doesn't take much to tempt her to get her shoes off and her clothes wet.  I stood by and enjoyed the wonky reflections of the city skyline on the building.  We then hurried off to eat dinner at Gigi's Pizzeria (which I will write about in a separate post).

On the train home from dinner I decided to detour via Circular Quay to see the Harbour at night (left is the Habour Bridge and right is the Opera House).  It is such a great view to have from a train station.  I really loved the trains in Sydney.  Sylvia was very excited that they were double decker and the seats could be changed to face either way.  I loved that we could get a train to the city in 10 minutes from the airport and that the underground stations have a fine history that is reflected in their decor.  And the city circle train is a great way to get around the city.

The next morning, once I had got over my drama of my camera battery dying and my phone charger being left at home (thank goodness on the second request, the hotel found a spare one in lost property), Sylvia and I took a bus to Bourke Street Bakery (another post coming on this).  Then we headed to the Sea Life Aquarium.

The Aquarium has one path that you have to follow to the end - no detours.  It has lots of really interesting information as well as lots of little windows with different sea creatures in the early stages.  We really loved this board which had names of fairy penguins and descriptions of them (such as "over dramatic, a good mum, loyal" or "good homemaker, keeps to himself but can cause trouble").  Kids could look a specimens wearing a lab coat or play a game to educate them about too much plastic in the sea.

One of my favourite parts of the exhibition was the jellyfish.  I could have stood for hours watching them moving about so elegantly.

I had expected that the tunnels would be my favourite part.  Last time I visited the aquarium I was mesmerised by the light infused perspex tunnels that allow punters to walk through the ocean seeing larger sea creatures such as dugongs and stingrays swim beside and over them.  But there were lots of little kids screaming and crying, which echoed around the tunnels.  It was so unpleasant that Sylvia just wanted to rush through the tunnels and get out.

She was not at all impressed by the stingray floating over her.  The dugong did not interest her at all.  I felt a bit the same about the dugong.  Then we went upstairs after seeing it and both were quite interested when we read about it.  Unfortunately there was no going back, we just had to keep going.  To the shark tank.  Sylvia had enough of the tunnels but now but we had to go forward.

By then she wasn't that impressed by the fish that looked just like they came out of Finding Nemo.  Nor was she impressed by fighting the crown to see the penguins in the snow.  We hurried along the rest of the path, which seemed long by then, and were relieved to finally get to the gift shop.

As we walked out of the aquarium, we were both thirsty.  After reading all the damage that plastic does to our oceans, I was horrified to see them selling plastic bottles in the aquarium cafe.  Sylvia begged for a drink from the fridge but I insisted that we walk on and drink from the reusable bottle in my bag. 

So no ice cold drink but we did have a Rivareno Gelato each.  Sylvia chose the raspberry one first and I was exercising great self control until I tasted it.  Then I had to have one too.  They were lovely to eat while watching the ferries glide past on the Harbour.

One of my favourite things to do in Sydney is to take the local ferry service from Darling Harbour to Circular Quay.  It is a quick and cheap way to see Sydney from the water, to take in the iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House, without having to fork out for a long expensive tour.  Above is one of the traditional green ferries.  Ours was not the traditional type.  But it was called the Shane Gould which pleased me as she was a great Aussie Olympic swimmer.

Our ferry was pretty crowded so I did not have the best view but I did insist upon being outside despite the sea spray in our face, which did not please Sylvia.  We got a great view of the city skyline.  When I see Sydney Tower I still remember my first visit to Sydney with my family when I was 14.  Who could ever forget a roadtrip from Melbourne with seven kids in a station wagon!  I think that might be the only time I went to the top of Sydney Tower.

I am also very fond of the old warehouses on the wharves between Millers Point and Dawes Point.  I went to a building heritage conference in one of the old buildings, many years ago.  In the above photo they are dwarfed by the bridge.  I especially wanted to be outside on the ferry just so we could look up in awe at how huge it is when we went under it.  The Coathanger is wonderful to behold in the flesh.

Sydney Opera House is also quite special to see.  Sylvia had seen the postcards of it lit up with rainbow colours.  She looked at it musingly and said, I would love to see it lit up.  Bemused, I responded, but you did last night.  It turns out I had assumed too much and she had only noticed the Harbour Bridge lit up.

When we alighted at Circular Quay, I chose not to walk towards the Opera House (as we had when we took Sylvia to Sydney when she was 1).  For this trip I had decided I would like to visit the Rocks.
It is a fascinating area with a colourful heritage of slum dwellings and unions imposing green bans to stop the buildings being demolished in the early 1970s.  These days the area is far more gentrified but I still am grateful to the unions for their stance in saving the historic buildings.

I had intended to walk around the Rocks to look at the old buildings that huddle at the foot of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.  However we did not have much time and Sylvia still had to buy some souvenirs.  So we mostly spent money in the Rocks.

We were still thirsty so I bought this Roogenic Native Strawberry Iced Tea.  It was quite sweet but had a really nice flavour.  (And it came in a glass bottle.)  So refreshing on a hot day when we had been walking around a lot.

Finally it was time to collect our case from the hotel, hop back on the train to the airport and watch a few planes before we flew home.  I took a photo of our dinner.  It was quite surprising to have just one hot dish.  Mostly airplane meals seem to have lots of little dishes.  The pasta with olives, vegies and cheese was nicer than many airline meals I have had.

It was a bit of a comedown as we had flown business class on the way there in quite fancy seats.  The chairs could be moved in all manner of ways and had a massage function.  The screen was big and the headphones were more comfortable.  The food was nice and the service was prompt and friendly.  However they were so fancy they had big screens between the seats.  Not so great when your neighbour is your 9 year old daughter. 

Coming back it was nice to not have to lean forward and crane my neck around the partition to see her.  The plane was really quiet so there was plenty of room for her latest cuddly companion to have his own seat!

Monday, 12 March 2018

Tempeh and corn loaf with tomato tahini basil sauce

Tempeh has the ability to divide a crowd.  Some hate it, some love it and others are scratching their heads in ignorance.  I don't eat it a lot but it can be brilliant if used well.  One of my favourite tempeh recipes that I made regularly is tempeh and corn soup.  So when I saw a recipe recently for a tempeh and corn loaf, I was curious enough to give it a go.

The recipe needed tweaking because it used tinned corn and was aimed at one person rather than four.  Once I had mixed all the ingredients together it looked more like a scramble than a loaf mixture and I had to give it a good press into the tin.  (Even more than in the photo below.)  However it sliced up pretty well once it was cooked.  (For those who remember my current oven problems, yes my oven worked for that loaf but the saga continues.)

The recipe suggested serving it with a mushroom tahini gravy.  This seemed a bit heavy old school vegan for me.  I love a good home made tomato sauce with any loaf ans saw it as a great opportunity to use some basil from the garden.  In a nod to the recommendation I added tahini.  Tahini adds a lovely richness to a tomato sauce.

The final meal was very good with some leftover fried pizza (yes that is oven problems) and greens.  We had the loaf again a night or two later with rice and greens.  Then on the last night I didn't have enough loaf left so I crumbled the loaf and mixed it with the tomato sauce through some rice and it was very good.

The corn added an interesting texture and flavour to the loaf that is quite unusual and I would highly recommend.  I can't promise it will convert the hardiest tempeh hater but I didn't notice the tempeh too much.  I suspect the loaf might go well in a sandwich.  It would brighten up a celebratory table, especially in spring and is a great alternative with vegies for a roast dinner.

More tempeh recipes:
Pumpkin and kale soup with tempeh crumbles (gf, v)
Tamarind tempeh with noodles (v)
Tempeh and corn soup (gf, v)
Tempeh and pumpkin lasagne (v)  
Watercourse Foods tempeh burger (gf,v)
Will's mini farmhouse pies

Tempeh and corn loaf
Adapted from The Single Vegan by Leah Leneman
Serves 4

300g tempeh
kernels of 2 corn cobs
1 cup water
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion
100g wholemeal breadcrumbs
3 tbsp soy milk
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

Simmer slab of tempeh and corn in water and soy sauce in a saucepan for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile fry onions until browned.  Drain tempeh and add to onion mixture and mash with potato masher.  Fry a few minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add breadcrumbs, milk, thyme and season.  Press into a greased and lined loaf tin.  Bake for 30-45 minutes or until top is lightly browned.  Leave 5-10 minutes and then turn out onto a plate to serve. 

Serving suggestion: Great with rice and greens and tomato sauce (below).

Tomato tahini basil sauce
an original Green Gourmet Giraffe recipe

1-2 tsp olive oil
1 onion
400g tin diced tomatoes
remains of soy sauce and water mixture
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp tahini
handful of chopped basil

Fry onion in oil until browned.  Add tomatoes, soy sauce mixture, and maple syrup.  Simmer for 10-15 minutes until thickens slightly.  Stir in tahini and basil.  Thin a little with water if desired.

On the Stereo:
Donkeys 92-97 - Tindersticks

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Cat cupcakes

We've had some busy times lately with Sylvia's 9th birthday.  As usual there were many plans, pouring over cake books and changes of mind.  There was a visit to a trampoline/rock climbing centre, fun at the pool, cat cupcakes, sparkly cupcakes and lots of sausage rolls.  Exactly what a little girl needs to celebrate.

She wanted vanilla cupcakes for school and her party so I made some for school and froze some for her party.  Though I didn't have to do much with the visit to the activity centre, I had a light lunch afterwards.  Sylvia had cats as the theme of her cupcakes and party bags.  

She wanted our cat Shadow to be there too.  Two days before her party he disappeared.  After 36 hours we were beginning to fear the worst.  Luckily a neighbour arrived late at night just before Sylvia's birthday with our slightly nervy cat who had been shut in a back shed when the door blew shut on him.  Poor wee thing.

Sylvia decided on both white cat cupakes (to remember our cat Zinc who was white) and black cat cupcakes (for Shadow who is black).  They were fairly easy to make.  Sylvia did a lot of them.  I regretted not buying more smarties.  I bought both smarties and MandMs.  The smarties were bigger and better for the eyes.  We found some gel black food colouring in the supermarket that was pretty intense.

So the party lunch was just sausage rolls, cupcakes and a fruit platter.  Honest good party food.  Everyone enjoyed it.  They were starving after two hours of intense activity on trampolines, rock climbing walls, tightropes and jumping into the foam pit.

We also went to see family in Geelong where Sylvia had requested a Victoria sponge and vanilla cupcakes.  I don't know how I ended up with a daughter who just wants vanilla.  I didn't take photos of the school cupcakes but we had leftover teal buttercream icing to bring down and some leftover black from the cat cupcakes.  Sylvia had fun decorating the cupcakes with mini freckles and popping candy.  I took down sausage rolls and a salad for lunch.

As well as cakes there were meringues, caramel tart, lamingtons, aero mint slice and fruit.  I was happy to have some chocolate and Sylvia loved everything.  After lunch we headed to the pool for a swim.  The kids all had a go on the monster slide with adults in tow.  So I got to go twice with different kids and my heart was pounding after a couple of steep drops down that slide.  It was Sylvia's first time on the slide and she loved it.  A great end to her birthday celebrations.

More animal cakes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Animal cupcakes: chicks, pigs, frogs and mice
Hedgehog cake
Monkey cake
Owl and spider cupcakes
Panda cupcakes
Viking cat cake

How to make cat cupcakes:

You will need:

1 batch of vanilla cupcakes (or cupcake of your desire)
vanilla buttercream frosting
black colouring and cocoa (for a black cat)
smarties for eyes
red mini MandMs for noses
liquorice strips for mouths and pupils of eyes
liquorice for black ears or white chocolate for white ears cut into triangles

To put them together:

Colour icing if you desire black cats.  Spread white or black icing on cake.  Arrange nose and eyes.  Use a tiny dab of icing to stick pupils to the Smarties.  Arrange the black liquorice in the shape of a mouth (beware it curling wherever it wants) and ears at the top with either liquorice or  white chocolate.

On the Stereo:
Sweet Liberty: Cara Dillon

Monday, 5 March 2018

Fried pizza or What to do when your gas flow goes low!

Ever since our new gas maters were put in, whenever it rains we have trouble lighting our oven.  So much trouble that on Friday night when I tried to light the oven to bake pizza, I ended up frying pizza on the stovetop.  It was ok but not the same as baked pizza.  But as I  may have to do it again, I thought it was something to write about.  It seems crazy to fry pizza but it is an option when ovens break or you don't want to turn on the oven in a heatwave.

I have had a few times when I could not light our oven. Or rather the oven lights but will not stay lit, or even more frustratingly will seem to stay lit until I check in 5 minutes, 10 minutes or even when a cake should be baked and it is out.  I have had more than one occasion when I have sat with a newspaper to read while I hold my hand against the oven knob to keep it on to bake sausage rolls.

So right now I usually bake with contingency plans in mind.  Meaning that I am quite cautious about what I bake and am baking far less than I would like.

The pizza I made is my regular Fast track sourdough pizza dough. Let me tell you how I fried it:
  • This pizza recipe makes a very sticky dough so I had to pat it out on baking paper.
  • Flip the dough with paper still sticking to it upside down on a buttered frypan over medium high heat Fry for a few minutes with the paper on dough and a lid on the frypan until it gets a cooked dumpling look - doughy but less floppy.
  • Peel the paper off the dough.  If it sticks the pizza is not quite cooked enough and might need another minute or so.
  • Flip the pizza (I used an eggflip), it should have brown markings on the underside when it is turned
  • Spread the tomato paste and sprinkle with grated cheese.
  • Cook a further few minutes with the lid on again.  It is cooked when brown marks on the underside and the cheese is melted.
  • Slide it onto a plate cheese side up!

Next time I might put it under the grill at the end to crisp up the cheese.  I lost the will to add extra toppings but might if I fry pizza again.  If I wanted to put extra toppings on top I would make sure they are cooked before cooking the pizza (eg mushrooms and red peppers) or use toppings that don't need cooking (like olives and tinned pineapple).

Yes I was pretty annoyed about my oven.  I blame the gas company because this has only started to happen since the new gas meters went in.  So as I stood there in despair over my oven I rang the gas and was told they would check the meter.  Ironically instead of having my pizza cooked by 6.30, it was not cooked until about 8pm when I was doing the last pizza.  At which time the gas man arrived to turn off my gas and check the meter.  I was pretty unimpressed at how hard it was to cook a pizza!

He says there is no problem.  I say there is.  He checked my appliances and found the gas hose under my oven is pinched so the flow is not great.  So I need a plumber to fix it.  But it still doesn't explain why I have had poor gas flow since I have lived in the house and why it got even worse since the new meters arrived (as well as them doing their best to ruin the bit of garden by taking out all the plants and then leaving off the garden edging so all the soil ran out when it rained next).

 Yes I am frustrated.  Indeed.  But I am relieved that I can fry pizza!  And can you blame me if I need a chocolate dessert pizza to get me through the night!

Friday, 2 March 2018

In My Kitchen - March 2018

I can't believe it is March and in some ways I am glad.  While January is the fun summer month, February is the one to grit our teeth and begin the year in earnest with back to school and back to work.  March finds us somewhat more settled (and even somewhat more unsettled as life continues to throw up challenges).  The past month has found me busier that ever and sadly that means less blogging energy than I would like but hanging in there.

Above is some goodies from the Coburg Farmers Market.  Apples and peaches are signs that summer fruit is giving way to autumn fruit.  We sliced up the raspberry and coconut cake and put it in the freezer for school lunches.  I loved the sourdough bread (as life is conspiring against my bread baking energy) and we were very impressed with the crumpets made in Brunswick by Holy Crumpet, which I had not seen before.

Another new find was the Kefir drink from The Good Seed.  It was refreshing in the barely sweetened way that Kombucha is.  I found out that I have been stunningly ignorant of kefir which I always thought was milk based.  This fermented fizzy water drink was really lovely.

Here is one of the Holy Crumpets with melted cheese.  They were so much nicer than the supermarket species.  In the background is a smoothie.  We have been drinking lots of smoothies for breakfasts.  This one managed to showcase all the ways of preserving fruit: refridgerated bananas, home made frozen plums (from my brother in law's tree), commercially frozen raspberries, tinned pineapple and stewed peaches.  It was delicious with some milk and chia seeds and ice blocks.

We have been making smoothies from whatever fruit needs using.  It has been great for quickly ripening stone fruit and some of the stewed fruit I have made.  I have even to the kitchen to find Sylvia making her own smoothie and washing the blender properly.  Sylvia asked me to take this photo of her smoothie with a cute straw and some milo cereal toppers.

It was Sylvia who requested I made cheeseymite scones when we went on a picnic with some friends at Rippon Lee.  It was great to visit one of Melbourne's grand homesteads as it has been quite some time.  It was also lovely to see our friends and their kids who have grown so much and were very amusing, especially the two year old with his pants constantly threatening to fall down.

As I have mentioned, life has been busy.  Even so it did not seem a big thing to make pancakes for Shrove Tuesday.  If only!  Sylvia and E were more interested in eating ice cream.  I was more interested in making chocolate sauce.  Pancakes were a low priority and I ended up taking a few banana oat pancakes out of the freezer to top with ice cream and chocolate sauce.  Must do better next year!

I was pretty taken by Lorraine's raving about radiatore pasta and could not resist buying a packet.  She said it was great to hold the sauce.  Sylvia and I had fun with clicking the stripey sides together like lego building blocks.

My other pasta fun recently was making a big gnocchi bake based upon Wendy's bake of long ago.  i had grand plans of baking eggplant and pumpkin to cook into a tomato sauce and then baking it together with gnocchi under a layer of mozzarella.  Except my own let me down.  I really should have done it all on stovetop except roast vegies are so good. 

The eggplant and pumpkin almost made it before the oven gave up.  The mozzarella was browned under the grill.  And there wasn't enough gnocchi for all the sauce so we ended up cooking more pasta to serve it which made it go even further than I expected.  Luckily I really loved eating it.  But you can see why I have been baking less lately, given my dodgy oven.  I'll write a bit more about frying pizza soon.

One reason I made the pasta was to put lots of basil in the tomato sauce.  I have been pleased at how well my basil has grown (middle tub).  My parsley on the bottom tub seems to be regrown which is very pleasing.  Even my leeks have regrown over summer - they never seem big enough to use like shop leeks but they are good to chop up for a little oniony flavour in dishes.

I am sending this post to Sherry of Sherry's Pickings for the In My Kitchen event, that was started by Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial,  If you would like to join in, send your post to Sherry by 10th of the month.  Or just head over to her blog to peek into more kitchens. 

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Lentil, tomato and rice dish

Recently I had tomatoes that were going really soft because they are cheap and plentiful but sometimes negelected in the kitchen.  I left them on the stove to cook slowly and forgot them until they were reduced to a pleasing intensity.  They were great tossed with some tinned lentils and leftover rice.  I liked it so much that I then took it further to use up basil.

So today I bring you a version of my second go at this dish which had less lentil and tomato but had a gorgeous fragrance from the basil.  I can show you that the tomatoes were really tasty by themselves.  If you look at the below picture you will notice a few tomatoes had been swiped while they sat overnight before I put the meal together.

It was a really easy after work meal.  And used up lots of basil which has been growing like crazy.  But as I say in the notes below, it is a pretty flexible sort of recipe.  I would probably do it a little differently next time depending on what is in the kitchen.

It is not quite a standalone main dish but doesn't need much to make it a meal.  The first night I served it with sausages, forgetting I had planned to put some greens with it.  The second night I served it with coleslaw, steamed corn, tomatoes and rocket.

Work has been busy lately so it is fitting that I have some random moments from work to share with you:
  • Where I work we have heavy security.  I have to swipe my security pass twice to get to my desk, and once to go and fill up my water bottle!  The other day I helped an elderly gentleman find the button to open the gate to exit the building.  I said it was hard to get out and he said, tougher than Pentridge.  This amused me because Pentridge is no longer a high security gaol but a fancy housing estate.
  • I saw a woman I vaguely know at work the other day.  Do you have these people who you don't know well but they seem to pop up in unexpected places.  This woman had a child with Sylvia in childcare, who also went to the same gymnastic club, and comes to our local pool sometimes and now I work in the same building as this woman.  The embarrassing thing is that I can never remember her name.
  • We had a group lunch out at work recently.  At the end when I helped to tally up the individual payments we were $20 out.  This happens.  What annoyed me was that they said they would check their batching and let me know if they were out.  They did ring but quite arrogantly told me "we were 100% right".  Well they might not have been out on the batching but they really got me offside with their lack of grace.  It is unlikely that I will return.

I am going to send this to VegHog for Eat Your Greens (co-hosted by Allotment2Kitchen).

More dishes to use leftover rice on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Cheesy cauliflower and rice soup (gf, v)
Fried rice with tofu scramble (gf, v) 
Italian rice and beans (gf, v)
Stuffed peppers with brown rice, nut roast and fennel
Tahini lime rice with kale and cashews (gf, v)
Zucchini and rice burgers

Lentil, tomato and rice dish
Serves 3-4

olive oil
1 onion
200g cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp maple syrup
3 cups cooked basmati rice 
400g tin of brown lentils
1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
big handful or two of basil leaves
seasoning mix

Fry onion in 1-2 tsp olive oil until browned (about 5-10 minutes).

Fry cherry tomatoes in 1-2 tsp olive oil in a medium frypan with red wine vinegar, maple syrup and 1 to 2 good pinches of seasoning mix.  Check seasoning and fry 5-10 minutes or until most of the liquid is mostly evaporated.

Place onion, and rice in large frypan and mix until warm.  Stir in tomatoes, nutritional yeast flakes and basil leaves.  Season with a pinch or two or seasoning mix or as required.

NOTES: Many variations are possible.  When I first made this I used more tomatoes including 2 skinned larger tomatoes and less rice.  Basil makes it very fragrant but is not necessary if you don't have it.  I would like to try adding finely chopped spinach.  I fried the oninos and tomatoes the previous night and used leftover rice so it was very quick to put together.  

On the stereo:
Ilo Veyou: Camille

Sunday, 18 February 2018

White Night Melbourne 2018

If you were an alien arriving last night in Melbourne to see how it functions, you would get a very different image of the city to its usual self.  White Night is an annual night when Melbourne is lit up to reveal wit, wonder and secrets that are hidden in the usual humdrum of everyday.  Streets are closed to traffic and filled with the curious, images are projected onto buildings, and everyone seems very convivial.

After missing last year, I summoned the energy to go along and was thrilled by the creative images on offer, despite the crowds and queues.  I managed to get along to the Exhibition Buildings and the State Library.  Here are some of my snaps of the video projections.

My first port of call was the Exhibition Gardens - an easy walk from the State Library.  I got there half through a cycle, watched another full one while taking photos and watched another while taking no photos.  So I sat through two pauses between cycles.  The countdown was helpful and the way the sections of the buildings moved about gave an indication the messing with our minds that was to come.

The actual cycle through the video was fast, moving along to pulsing insistent dance music with lots of colour and movement.   There is a dome behind the two towers but I guess logistically it was hard to include it.

Lots of colour.

A snake.  Indigenous artwork?

A dragon coming through the artch.  Because it was also Chinese New Year last night?

Creating buildings ...

To form an artist's representation of the actual building the images are projected on.

Then the building crumbles to pieces.

Then the building rebuilds as a person (hard to see but there is a head with arms stretched out the length of the building (that really needs a panorama shot to represent properly).

Then the whole building seemed to be made of ice and cracking up.

And lastly lots of cool swirly stuff.

I would have liked the energy to walk around to the Melbourne Museum for more light shows but instead I walked down the avenue of trees to Victoria Street where there were lots of blow up koalas, spiders, spacemen etc and then cute anime girl.  I found it hard to walk around with so many people everywhere.  My moment when I most wished away all the crowds.

I happened across these mounds of light and sound as I walked away from the Exhibition Buildings.  I don't know what they were and heard someone saying maybe it was nothing wrapped up to look like something.  It was busy walking back to the State Library but the roads were closed and there was room for the crowds.  I joined a queue to get into the dome which took about 20 minutes.

I had visited the State Library on White Night a few years back.  It was absolutely spellbinding.  This year's was not quite as wondrous but that is not to detract from the sense of wonder I had upon walking in.  Books flew from the shelves and opened to immerse the library in their subject matter:

The jungle.


Under the sea.

After the long queue it was easy to find space to sit inside the library and watch the video projections.  Coming out into the gallery behind the dome I was surprised how many people were there.  (It is much quieter at other times of year and I prefer those times but maybe the bean bags were just too tempting for others.)  Come out, the computer terminals had interesting screens like the above set up to hide them (and stop people looking up that elusive book at 4am?).

Outside I liked the video display on the exterior of the State Library better than I did two years ago.  The music was dreamy and I loved all the flora and fauna.

I had enjoyed looking at this installation at the last part of the queuing for the Dome.

And had it not been late I might have stayed to just enjoy the music and images for a while more.

Instead I looked with awe at all the crowd across Swanston Street and then realised with horror that I needed to get across this crowd to get to the train station.  It was not as bad to get through as it looked at first glance.  I only had to wait a few minutes for a train and got home just after midnight.

Read about my previous visits to White Night: