Lunch Lady Besties // Yumi Stynes’s Sesame Salmon

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LUNCH LADY BESTIES //
Yumi Stynes’s Sesame Salmon
17 August 2016

Happy Wednesday lunch ladies and lunch fellas. I hope you’re all getting that sneaky hint of spring in your life, like I have here.

Today’s Lunch Lady Bestie is the ace Yumi Stynes. She’s the lady who had my music obsessed 20 something dream job. She works on telly, runs a lot and has four kids. She also writes stuff for Lunch Lady. When I read Yumi’s writing I often find myself exclaiming to whomever maybe nearby, “OMG, YES, THAT’S EXACTLY ME!”.

LAST TIME YOUR HOUSE WAS CLEAN
My house is clean every Wednesday for fifteen minutes. I have a team of Chinese cleaners come in weekly. I didn’t know true love until I found these cleaners! They are the best. They are one of the reasons I was so psyched to move back to my home city, because I hoarded that phone number like some people treasure the mobile numbers of their drug dealers. My mother-in-law says she wants to inherit my cleaners when I die. Anyway, they do the sheets, which is the main reason why I love them so passionately. 15 minutes after they leave, the house is a disgusting mess again. But at least I go to bed with clean sheets. And it’s only a week until I see them again. I look forward to it like ice-cream.

LAST THING YOUR KID SAID
Kid #1 (age 14): “You’ve made the cutest baby right there, that one!”
Kid #2 (age 12): “Hey Mum, you wanna see a magic trick? I can make all this part of my bottom lip disappear. Look.”
Kid #3 (age 2): “Light ON! Leave light ON!”
Kid #4 (age 10months): “Waaah.”

LAST TIME YOU SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT
I was tricked by my third baby, Mercy, who was a brilliant sleeper from the outset. She slept through every night from one month old and has never wavered from that pattern, even when sick, sleeping solidly til at least 7am, 8am on weekends! Because of her commitment to brilliant, fat sleeps, her younger brother was conceived and I don’t think I’ve had a proper night sleep for a year.

LAST TIME YOU WENT ON HOLIDAY
I took all four kids and MY MOTHER to Japan in April. “How was it?” people ask. “A massive goat f***,” I want to say, but most of the time I answer, “It was brilliant.” It was both. Highlight: hot-spring bathing in a gorgeous ryokan in Hakone. Lowlight: navigating the subway stairs with a pram in Tokyo with two squalling babies.

LAST TIME YOU CRIED
Last night. My fella insists on taking the wheelie bins out in his socks and it disgusts me and I want to kill him and when my murderous fantasies subside I am filled with a weary sadness that can only be expelled through tears.

LAST TIME YOU IRONED
Before my Dad’s funeral in 1994. I remember quite clearly thinking, “After this, I am never ironing again.”

LAST MUM WIN
Forcing my two big ones to run the City2Surf 14km race with me. They whinged and complained and walked most of the way but in the end they got the endorphin win, which was the whole idea.

LAST MUM FAIL
Spending months telling my 14 year old, “Stop complaining: it’s puberty, YOU’RE MEANT TO BE TIRED!” then finding out she had glandular fever the whole time.

LAST TEXT YOU GOT
My best friend: ‘Delivery for Ms. Y Stynes X’ and an emoji of a letter with a love heart. She had left a bunch of flowers at my front door.

LAST TEXT YOU SENT
A photo of the flowers in a vase back to my best friend. With a kisses emoji.

LAST INSTAGRAM OR PODCAST FOLLOW
PODCAST: Song Exploder – a really interesting (if uneven) chat with a different musician each week about the writing/recording process of one of their well-known songs. Works best if you know the song and if the artist is a good talker. (As someone who’s spent years interviewing musicians I can attest that making good music is no guarantee you can string a sentence together.)

INSTAGRAM: Gaten Matarazzo – usually I’m following artists, foodies, or people I know but this kid is the actor who played Dustin in ‘Stranger Things’. I just started following him today then felt ashamed of myself for scrolling through his life and looking at his biz when he’s just a kid because it’s really quite voyeuristic.

LAST MEAL YOU ATE
During my third pregnancy I went off meat completely. My sense of smell has always been keen, like, I could win competitions with my nose. Pregnancy enhanced it to the point where I could smell the odour of slaughter on meat. My aversion to meat hasn’t really abated since. The other day I was driving past a café and read a sign in chalk that said ‘PICKLED PORK’ and I physically gagged. I still love seafood though, so we eat a lot of fish at home. Last night we had a whole side of ocean trout grilled for 12 minutes, served with braised fennel and spring onions, topped with chimchurri. I go to the Fish Market with an open mind, buy what looks fresh, affordable, and smells right, then google recipes when I get it home.

YOUR NO-FAIL-GO-TO RECIPE
Sesame Salmon

WHAT YOU NEED

  • 1 portion of salmon per person, skin on
  • sesame seeds, to sprinkle
  • salt and pepper, to season
  • plain flour, to dust
  • coconut oil or olive oil, for frying (lately I’ve been using coconut oil because it smells like holidays but olive oil works just as well)

to serve:

  • avocado
  • rice
  • seaweed
  • Japanese soy sauce
  • sliced daikon pickle, optional

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO

  1. Season the salmon portions with salt and pepper.
  2. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, then dust all over with plain flour. Heat the oil in a heavy-based fry pan or BBQ, but take it easy: it’s not a steak, you don’t want it nuclear hot. Aim for a medium heat.
  3. Fry skin-side down. Set your iPhone to count down 5 minutes.
  4. Turn fish over when the alarm sounds. Cook for another 5 minutes but the exact time depends on the thickness of the fish. Particularly thick pieces can be fried on all four sides.
  5. Serve on hot rice. (My kids love to make hand rolls with salmon, avocado, and daikon wrapped in seaweed.)

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