Well, what a month!
We're in the second half of the year, and I have a squirming, sometimes screaming, but always adorable bundle of chubbiness in my arms. Not-so-little Ava arrived in the world on the 7th of July, and since that date, I've been feeding more than I've been eating, so this is going to be a limited Best Eats post!
For the readers that are not acquainted with the Asian tradition of confinement, let me explain what I've been doing since Ava was born. Confinement is a tradition for post partum ladies and has evolved since years yonder when times were much tougher and life much less luxurious. The rules of confinement vary across Asian nationalities, but generally the agreed standard is that the mother and the child are not allowed to leave the house for 4 weeks post birth, and the mother must follow a set diet which is designed to replenish her body of all the energy, nutrients and good vibes that were expended during the labour and birth of the baby.
There are some variations to confinement - die hard traditionalists will also say that the mother should not shower / bathe or wash her hair for the entire four weeks (sponge baths are apparently ok), whereas others say that you can't open any windows in the house either. Thankfully my parents are pretty cool when it comes to this stuff, and so they didn't take such a hard line - showering daily was definitely happening, and my hair was being washed as per usual, and my windows and balcony doors were open. I was even venturing onto the balcony every day for stints of fresh air and vitamin D - and this would've been a big no no for some!
As you can imagine, confinement, lack of sleep and looking after a newborn does not leave much time or opportunity or inclination for heading out and eating some really good food. So there's not much to report this month apart from the following:
Hello Banh Mi!
Oh yes. We have finally been reunited. Banned during pregnancy due to the cold cured meats and the mayonnaise, dear hubby bought me one the day after I had Ava and I inhaled it in 2 seconds flat. So damn good.
At 20 weeks of my pregnancy I underwent the standard glucose test - and failed. Only just, but still, it was a fail. I was so upset as I had never failed anything in my life before - and I wasn't looking forward to getting onto a diet... I have never dieted in my life!! I underwent the second and longer glucose test, and was borderline for that one. As such, I was advised by my ob to manage my diet conservatively and watch my sugar and carbohydrate intake. So for the last 10 weeks of my pregnancy I was eating really clean and curbing my sweet tooth. For someone who ate chocolate daily to go cold turkey, it wasn't easy!
Screw you ginger...
Confinement food is big on ginger. A 'hot' food, I had kilograms of the stuff delivered to my place by my parents - either raw so I could cook with it, or in various forms: chicken & ginger broth, stir fries which seemed to just be ginger, etc. Confinement diet dictates that the mother must eat 'heating' foods to replenish the body - that means avoiding eating things that are cold. I was encouraged to not even drink cold water, but have it warm, and I was lectured every day on dressing warmly, wearing socks and extra layers.
All my food tastes the same... one more week of this and then ginger and I will be going on a much needed break.
Char siu at Ramen Ikkyu
If you live in Sydney and haven't heard, read, seen, eaten at Ramen Ikkyu then you've either been in hibernation, confinement or live under a rock. This tiny ramen place, located in the only clean food court in Chinatown, opened up earlier this month and I was so dedicated to trying it that Keith and I went to visit it on a Saturday whilst in labour. Yup, I rocked up and ate ramen whilst having contractions that were about 10 minutes apart. It was tough work trying to focus on the food but two things stood out to me - the noodles in the ramen and the char siu... fatty, soft, melt in the mouth, it was delicious. You can read all about my thoughts on Ramen Ikkyu here.
Cookie Couture @ Flour & Stone
Imagine this: two days after coming home from the hospital, bundled up indoors with my beautiful little newborn and husband, when the doorbell rings. Hubby goes off to answer the door, we had been receiving bouquets of flowers and gifts throughout the day so we didn't think much of it, when I hear him call out from the front door: "Babe, you are gonna LOVE this!"
In he walks. With a huge Flour and Stone bag.
This was the sweetest and most unexpected surprise ever. The gorgeous Nadine from F&S sent a care package to us - pannacotta lamingtons, little tartlets, the chocolate fudge cake and two packets of her amazing cookies which I had never had the opportunity of trying before. Highly recommended, they were just perfect with a cup of hot tea on a cold winters day as we spent our time staring at our baby. Happy memories were made in that moment!
So those were my happy food moments (or not so happy ones re: ginger) for the month of July. August sees an end to my confinement which means more opportunity to get out and about to eat some delicious things, and also means reuniting with SUSHI!!!!!!! I had erroneously thought that I would be able to eat sushi immediately post birth but my mother put a stop to that. As it is a 'cold' food it was on the blacklist... but soon we will be together once more!
I bet everyone had a far more delicious July food wise than I did - what did everyone out there eat? Any must haves that I should explore once I'm out of confinement?