Pistachio Butter Birthday Cake

With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.

– from The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare

The waratah flower, native to the south-east coast of Australia, is a striking plant. Its deep crimson flowers bloom on top of a branch whose spirally-arranged leaves are serrated along the edges. It is known to be difficult to cultivate and can take five years from seedling to flower. It is in season for just a short few weeks in late spring. The name comes from the Eora Nation, the sovereign peoples of the area known as Sydney. We named our first born Waratah, our bright spark of a child.  Continue reading “Pistachio Butter Birthday Cake”

Pistachio & Rosewater Cake with Cardamom Frosting

— the dusk light, the cloud pattern,
recorded always in your heart

and the rest of the world — chaos
circling your winter boat.

– from ‘Last Ink’, Michael Ondaatje

The hot days are starting to roll across Melbourne, stretching out, settling in. The trees lining our street are heavy with new green leaves, the sky is a high blue question mark up above, dissolving at the horizon. Sweat beads across my upper lip as I bake bread in the morning.  Continue reading “Pistachio & Rosewater Cake with Cardamom Frosting”

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”