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
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
Her chariot is an empty hazelnut
Made by the joiner squirrel or old grub,
Time out o’ mind the fairies’ coachmakers.
And in this state she gallops night by night
Through lovers’ brains, and then they dream of love;
– from ‘Romeo & Juliet’, Shakespeare
First up, an apology. Things have been sporadic and rather quiet around here of late. Mostly because the last few months have been crazy for us – we moved interstate in April and since then it’s been a cacophony of new jobs, new daycare for the kids, new houses, renovations, getting used to the cold cold Melbourne weather. It’ll be another month, at least, ’til things settle back down. And then I will definitely be back – I’ve got a long list of kitchen ideas on various bits of paper, in my diary, on the back pages of books I’m reading. Continue reading Roasted Cauliflower, Spelt & Za’atar Bowl
We went out to the bush last Sunday. It turned out to be the kind of winter’s day you wish all winter’s days were like; cold and crisp, bright and just warm enough in the sunshine. W waded into the shallows – shoes and all – so that she could set leaves afloat into the current like miniature boats and T took the greatest of pleasures throwing handfuls of pebbles into the water.
We feasted on coffee cooked over the trangia, thick slices of homemade kale & potato pie that our friends brought, humus and rice crackers, crunchy apples, and sticky fruit buns that we picked up on the drive over from Sourdough Bakery in Seddon. We strolled through the bush (alternately carrying or chasing after small people), and ended the morning lying on the banks of the creek in the midday sunshine as the kids splashed in the stream. Continue reading A Beautiful Winter Coleslaw
Most weeks roll on like the ones before, and the ones after. We eat and sleep and play. We work and go to the park and the library, drink coffee and bake bread. We laugh and argue and snuggle up in bed at night to keep warm in these cold, cold nights.
This week, however, this week has been a special one. Continue reading Radicchio & Roasted Carrot Salad