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
“The walls were wet and sticky, and peach juice was dripping from the ceiling. James opened his mouth and caught some of it on his tongue. It tasted delicious.”
– from James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
We woke up this morning to grey skies awash with a light rain. The arrival of autumn is always bittersweet. Crisp mornings and cooler days, deep purple twilights, pots of tea and woollen scarves, apples and persimmon. All of these are things that I love. But it also means the end of summer, with its long days and bounty of fresh stone fruit, warm night breezes and morning swims, icy cold slices of watermelon. With the arrival of autumn, the endless horizons of summer come in a little closer to home. Continue reading Peach & Fennel Salad with Ginger-Lime Dressing
We just got home from a lovely long weekend down in Sydney. We stayed in the heart of Surry Hills where we walked the streets, ate a ton of good food, visited markets, and even took a ferry ride in the Sunday morning sunshine. As weekend trips often are it was both relaxing and exhausting in equal measure, but it always feels good to be away from home and exploring someplace new. I’ll post some pics and food tips from the trip later in the week, but in the meantime this post is going to be short and sweet coz a warm cozy bed is calling my name! Continue reading Bean & Fennel Salad
If anyone should ask, tell them mandarins.
Tell them eucalyptus sap that rubies on the bark.
Tell them snow crunch and grass burn
and skipping a hosewater rope.
If anyone should ask, tell them
bluebottles, cuttlefish, sea glass
and wild raspberries that charge
blood for fruit…
From ‘Such riches’, Michelle Dicinoski
Continue reading White Bean, Fennel & Dill Salad
I recently bought a new bicycle after having my old one stolen from under the house (I’ve no luck with bikes – that was the third one I’ve had stolen!). Although I used to ride daily to and from work, it had been over a year since I’d been on a bike; once my pregnant belly started getting in the way at about seven months I had to stop cycling, and since W was born there was never the chance. Now that she is almost one, though, I can steal a few extra hours for myself on the weekends, so on Saturday mornings I jump on my new bike and head into work while S hangs out with W.
From our house to get to my work I cycle alongside the river, sun reflecting off the water, in and out of the shady trees. I had forgotten how much I love bike riding; the sense of freedom in movement, the ease of propulsion. Cycling is both rhythmic and effortless – legs go up, legs go down – a meditative motion. Much like swimming laps, I find the physical exertion clears my mind. Daily life is so full of stimulus; while I’m on my bike though, my mind is free to wander as it wants, letting the debris settle. It promotes untethered thinking, that balanced space where ideas and dreams rise to the surface. Continue reading Autumn Pasta Salad with Fennel & Goats Cheese