Winter Borscht Salad

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

A Beautiful Winter Coleslaw

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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

Radicchio & Roasted Carrot Salad

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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

Beetroot, Quinoa & Hazelnut Salad

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My older brother and his daughter have been coming around on Wednesdays to spend the day with us. The kids fight play together, and we hang out, shoot the shit. He lives in Taiwan these days, so it is especially nice to be able to spend some time together. It is also especially nice to be able to spend some time with my niece – she is small and sweet and funny.

Brothers are a lovely thing. I have two. One older, one younger. Having lived away from my hometown for the past six years, my favourite part of homecoming thus far has been having my brothers (and my nieces) in close proximity. There is something tangible about the sibling bond that I had forgotten about these past few years. They are the only two people that I feel comfortable punching with all my strength, that I can whinge with without feeling guilty, that love my kids in the way that only family can, that laugh at their own bad jokes in a way that is somehow endearing. Continue reading Beetroot, Quinoa & Hazelnut Salad

Golden Beetroot, Shallot & Grilled Apple Salad

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My kids have decided that they will no longer nap at the same time during the day. My hour or two of midday quiet is gone. I won’t lie – I was pretty upset at first. I relied on that hour or two. But they’re both still damn cute, and I roll with the punches.

So yesterday morning, while T had his long morning sleep, W and I holed ourselves up in the kitchen. She helped me slice and roast and grill and photograph and then we sat on the floor and ate. W had avocado on toast and slices of grilled apple. I had goat’s cheese on fresh rye bread and great delicious big forkfuls of this salad. Continue reading Golden Beetroot, Shallot & Grilled Apple Salad

Potato & Brussels Sprouts Salad

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I’ve recently discovered the enjoyment of the journey. Normally, getting from one place to the next, like from the bus stop back home, is about functionality, the necessity of moving from one space to another. I’m often listening to music or checking my phone, composing work emails in my head or thinking about what to cook for dinner. Not paying much attention to what is going on outside of me.

Lately, though, W is just full of curiosity. Her favourite game is to point at the sky, a bird flying overhead, a car, a tree, all with a sweet questioning sound, prompting me to pay attention so that I can talk to her about the world around us. She is also full of beans, and more often than not on the way back from a walk to the shops or the park, she’ll start wriggling and decide she wants to get down and walk. Suddenly a five minute trip home becomes a twenty minute amble as we stop to play with some bright red berries growing on a bush on the nature strip, lean against a sun-warmed rock, pick up some smooth strangely-shaped sticks from the gutter, or back track to examine a particularly interesting collection of stones. Continue reading Potato & Brussels Sprouts Salad