I woke up today and, just like that, it is spring. The air has lost its chill, the first of the jasmine is in bloom, the sky is the clearest highest dreamiest blue. A glossy fat lizard is sun-baking in our neighbour’s front garden, birds are singing on a wire, and I’m walking around in bare feet.
A short post today. I’ve had an emotionally draining week this one just past, and not nearly enough sleep. After a weekend of overcast skies and probably too much introspection, blue skies is what I needed to wake up to this morning. Too maudlin for a food blog? Perhaps. But there you have it. Continue reading
My desk is a small, white, wooden number with a set of drawers on the left. The desktop is chipped and nicked, scarred and smudgy. I’ve had it for over seven years now. It’s seen me through all sorts of houses and various endeavours – planning festivals, uni essays, story writing, starting this here blog.
I brought it up north with me from Melbourne. I first got it when we lived in the small terrace house by the train line. It belonged to a friend of my mum’s and despite its small size, it does have a wide girth and so wouldn’t fit in the front door. We had to rope it in through the front window and so it continued to live in the front room, overlooking the trains and the cars and the raggedy white rose bush in the front garden. Continue reading
Since she was born, W has spent some time almost every day hanging in the kitchen with me while I cook. When she was a tiny bub she would be in the sling carrier, or lying on her rug on the floor. Since about the age of six months, she would either sit in her high chair in the middle of the floor or, her favourite spot, up on the bench where she can watch the chopping and stirring and cutting right up close.
These days she likes to get in on the action. When I’m mixing together a salad or whisking eggs she always wants a turn with the spoon. She steals veges off the cutting board for a taste, and likes to grab handfuls of oats to put in the pot when I’m making porridge. Her favourite refrain in the kitchen, said with a questioning sing-song lilt, is ‘Waratah helping.” Continue reading
Sometimes my six month old son takes his time falling asleep at night. He likes to be fed and rocked and cuddled and fed again. When I’m low on patience, or have a million things waiting for me to do once he does fall asleep, this can drive me crazy. But then, once he is fast asleep in my arms, mouth open, gently snoring, I run my hands over his small bald head and soft round cheeks and there is love, too much love.
When they’re awake, toddlers are crazy and loud and hilarious and exhausting. And when they are asleep and the house is warm and quiet, they are all kinds of perfect. Before I go to bed I always sneak into W’s room, tuck her into the blankets that she has inevitably thrown off herself, stroke her hands and flyaway curls and kiss her cheeks and there is love, too much love. Continue reading
It’s a mid-winter afternoon. The skies are heavy with bruised purple clouds, the light low and dark. I’m in the kitchen, sock-clad and lights on. The oven is heating and the room is warm; it smells of spices and roasting and comfort. The kids are sleeping and I’m listening to Philip Glass soft in the background. The bench is covered in peel and peppercorns and all kinds of mess. I’m cooking soup.
Soup is the ultimate comfort food. And spending time in front of a hot stove on a cold day is one of life’s pleasures. Soon after we moved to Brisbane we bought a big red Le Creuset pot. Over time it has become marked with use; scarred, if you will. No longer one of many exactly the same, but uniquely ours. There is something timeless about cooking a pot of soup in the Le Creuset, a sense of connecting to a long line of women cooking soup in big pots. My friend Nev describes it as a harking; “Le creuset is of a historical period, steeped in tradition and pretend memories.” Continue reading
We were woken up at 3am on Sunday morning with a sudden roar of wind and rain. W cried out in fright, and it sounded as though the trees out the front were creaking and cracking and breaking. Whenever I’m cosy in bed listening to wild weather outside I’m always reminded of the fantastic tornado scene in the Wizard of Oz. Although of course when we woke up on Sunday morning we were still in Brisbane.
And so I bundled the kids up in jackets and scarves and beanies in anticipation of the cold front that was predicted to hit. Indeed, it was forecast for -3°c in Brisbane. And let me remind you that Brisbane is in the sub-tropics, so that is crazy talk. Turned out the cold front wasn’t quite that cold. Sure, it’s been chilly, and we’ve been wearing or woolens for the last 48 hours, but it hasn’t quite reached into the minus degrees. Not even close, thankfully. I did not move all the way to Queensland to be cold. Continue reading
When you go to the supermarket you usually find three or four types of apples – golden delicious, granny smith, pink lady, fuji. Sometimes you might come across a jonathan, or a red delicious. Truth is there are scores of different heirloom apple varieties – sundowner, jazz, alvina, cameo, eve, royal gala, winesap, bramley… These days, though, commercial apple farmers grow the apples for their look and their ability to be stored and travel well. Taste, sadly, is not on the top of the list. If you want to delve into the many different apples available, you need to head down to apple country and find yourself some growers.
We’re pretty lucky to have found a grower down at our local market who comes up from Stanthorpe – Queensland’s apple capital – every week. Each week he’ll have some 8 – 10 apple varieties to choose from, along with – season depending – pears, quince, persimmon. I tend to go for crunchy not-overly-sweet apples, and for ages I was loving the alvinas until they went out of season. Lately it’s been cameos, but they are now at the end of their season too. Continue reading