“…balance of humors, coconut liquor thinned / by broth, sour pulp of tamarind / cut through by salt, set off by fragrant / galangal, ginger, basil, cilantro, mint, / the warp and woof of texture…”
– from ‘Hot’ by Craig Arnold
Lately, both kids have been climbing into our bed at various points through the night, so by the morning all four of us are squeezed in together. We’re not sure if it’s these cold winter nights that have them seeking extra body warmth, or just that natural childish desire to be close, but either way it is a habit that is equally parts endearing and exasperating (much like parenting more generally, in fact). Continue reading Coconut Turmeric Noodles
The beetroot is in my roots, borscht in my bloodline.
My great grandmother was Ukrainian. The story goes that during a pogrom in the early 1900s she stabbed a Russian solder who was attempting to rape her, then escaped with nothing but a pair of brass candlesticks. I can’t vouch for the truth of this story – it could be that my mind has simply embellished a snippet overheard in childhood – but I’m not too bothered either way. As a storyteller, I’m a fan of narrative embellishment. What is true is that my great grandmother eventually made her way to England where she married a Polish man and had four children, one of whom is my paternal grandmother. Continue reading Winter Borscht Salad
Spoon of everyone. Spoon
of the belly. Spoon of the empty belly.
Spoon of the full one. Spoon of no one
hungry. Spoon for everyone.
— from ‘Spoon Ode’ by Sharon Olds
I’m writing this sitting at our wooden kitchen table, early on a Friday afternoon. The big window above the bench is overlooking a grey sky, treetops bending low under the wind. The rain started up sometime during our sleep last night, and washed everything cool and clean and white. The oven is on, and full of trays of roasting vegetables sprinkled liberally with za’atar. W is playing next to me, sorting star anise into piles. T is fast asleep in our bed. S is stretched on the couch doing some work. The apartment feels warm, cosy. A rare moment of stillness in the chaos of our lives. Continue reading Carrot, Beetroot & Pickled Fennel Salad
“But then the dark skin of night would peel off and there would be a fresh day waiting for us, glossy and colourful as a child’s transfer and tinged with the same sense of unreality.”
– from My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
Pre-dawn on Monday morning T and I boarded our train home. I had no coffee, and T was yawning, but watching the sunrise unfold along the horizon from the window of a speeding train made up for all of it. The first lick of colour was an egg-yolk yellow fading up to green, silhouetting the trees in front a deep black. Ever so gradually the sky began to blush blue, until the fiery orange sun finally broke its banks. T’s excited yells woke all of the sleeping train passengers; such is the beauty of discovery as a child. Continue reading Roasted Carrot, Cauliflower & Black Lentil Salad
come on sweetheart
let’s adore one another
before there is no more
of you and me
— from Fountain of Fire, Rumi
It’s Monday evening as I write this, cool enough for the first time this year to be wearing socks and a jumper. The kids are asleep, their soft breathing barely audible from the next room. I’m at the kitchen table, staring out through the big window that overlooks the city, the huge gum tree in our neighbour’s back garden a black shadow against the lilac-and-honey-streaked sky of sunset. Continue reading Sautéed Beetroot, Broccoli & Chickpeas
If you’re not interested in a quick side of politics with your panzanella, scroll down now. If you are, though, let’s take just the briefest of moments to celebrate the solidarity, where around the world millions of women stood up against racism and hate-mongering, stood up for the rights of the marginalised. Critique and reservations notwithstanding, it warms the cockles. Some amazing pics of the marches here, and some good reading here and here and here.
#NastyWomenEverywhere #WomenMarch Continue reading Eggplant Panzanella
“Things have a life of their own,” the gypsy proclaimed with a harsh accent. “It’s simply a matter of waking up their souls.”
– from One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Over a decade ago now I spent some months in Colombia. I travelled from Ecuador up through the green coffee-clad mountains to the coast, searching for warmer waters and the landscape of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. After a spell in Cartagena – a bright, vibrant city – I caught a boat with a Frenchman to a small, impossibly glorious, island in the Caribbean waters. There was nothing on this island but a dirt road, a tiny town, and a hut with a thatched roof and no walls where we could sling our hammocks and fall asleep watching the stars reflecting off the ocean. I would have scrambled eggs for breakfast every morning, and the freshest fish for a late lunch. I spent my days reading and reading, and exploring the beaches and rocky shores. It was a bizarre and beautiful time in my life. Continue reading Orecchiette with Ricotta, Eggplant & Black Olives