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

Pear & Strawberry Muffins

Now the leaves are falling fast…

– from ‘Autumn Song’, W. H. Auden

The day we made these Pear & Strawberry Muffins last week was unexpectedly lovely. The morning was the first really cold one of the year. Thick socks and hot cups of tea kind of cold. Frosty breath in the morning air, clear blue skies, thin yellow sunshine turning the autumn leaves still clinging onto tree branches all the shades of gold there are no names for.  Continue reading Pear & Strawberry Muffins

Rhubarb & Rosemary Scrolls

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“I want everything
to have
a handle,
I want everything to be
a cup or a tool,
I want people to enter a hardware
store through the door of my odes.”

This excerpt from ‘House of Odes’ by Pablo Neruda seems a fitting welcome for a food blog. An invitation, if you will, to cook and make and share. With me, with your friends, with your family. Food is, after all, a communal experience. Continue reading Rhubarb & Rosemary Scrolls

Saffron & Aniseed Cake with Yoghurt Glaze

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It is necessary to pick 150,000 crocuses
in order to produce one kilogram of saffron.

Soon, she’ll crouch again above each crocus,
feel how the scales set by fate, by misfortune
are an awesome tonnage: a weight opposing…

– from ‘The Saffron Picker’ by Judith Beveridge

For a traveller to India, there is wealth of beautiful goods to bring back home. Textiles, silver jewellery, gemstones, pashmina shawls, perfume extracts, darjeeling tea. But for me, travelling as light as possible, the treasures that I always made sure to stow deep in my bag before leaving India were small rectangular boxes of deeply crimson saffron threads. Continue reading Saffron & Aniseed Cake with Yoghurt Glaze

Peach Pistachio Galette + A Melbourne Trip

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“I’m not a prophet / or a stone age man / just a mortal / with the potential of a superman…”
– David Bowie

My first memorable encounter with David Bowie was the tripped-out fantasy film Labyrinth. To this day, one of my favourite movies. The thing is, Bowie’s legacy is so much more than his music. He was an artist in the way we all want to be artists. He was brave and daring. He blurred boundaries. He was enigmatic and beautiful. He was deeply creative and he embraced the otherwordly, whether by design or inclination or a little of both. He made us feel proud of our weirdness, our queerness. He was inspired and inspiring. Continue reading Peach Pistachio Galette + A Melbourne Trip

Apricot Eton Mess(ish)

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Christmas is done, and the New Year is almost upon us. We had a quiet Christmas up at my mother-in-law’s place in Maldon, where we ate loads of lovely food, W gorged herself on homemade chocolate biscuits, and we enjoyed the array of weather that Victoria has to offer – sweating in shorts one day and rugged up in scarves the next. We’re back down in Melbourne now hanging out with friends and family for another week of holidays and eating and chatting and beers and playgrounds and coffee and all kinds of nice things.

I don’t generally go in for new years resolutions, but for 2016 I’ve resolved to only read books written by women, with an emphasis on women of colour. Last week I was reading Rebecca Solnit’s fantastic essay ‘Men Explain Lolita To Me’ (she nails it every. single. damn. time.) and the final paragraph struck a chord: Continue reading Apricot Eton Mess(ish)

Roasted Carrots, Crispy Lentils & Spicy Yoghurt

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The crazy vegetables
Uncurled
Their tendrills and leaf-crowns,
Throbbing bulbs,
In the sub-soil
The carrot
With its red mustaches
Was sleeping…

From ‘Ode To The Artichoke’ by Pable Neruda

Pablo Neruda was one of the first poets that I learned to love, and one that I still love to this day. I have several of his collections sitting on my book shelf, tattered and well-thumbed, as all good books are. A prolific poet, his work is considerable. He is probably best known for his love poems and sonnets which are, undoubtedly, some of the finest you will ever read. Continue reading Roasted Carrots, Crispy Lentils & Spicy Yoghurt