Hello February. Most of the kiddies are back at school and folks have returned to work after the holiday season. The roads are busier first thing in the morning, not that we're out there mind you, it's just that Peter and I can hear the stream of traffic going past our house from about 6.30am onwards. Ho hum, I yawn quietly as I pull the linen sheet up over my head before drifting back into slumber for another hour or longer. So are the days of our lives in retirement.
I have always been one to celebrate the changing of the seasons – particularly when it comes to the abundance of fresh new produce that arrives at local greengrocers and fruit markets. The tender spears of asparagus that herald Spring; plump mangoes and cherries in Summer months; crisp apples and sweet pears in Autumn; and those wonderful root vegetables during the depths of Winter.
I remember the first time I ever saw a field of pineapples. My (soon-to-be) husband and I were on our way to Noosa on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, and we were so amazed by the sight of the massive pineapple plantation that we stopped by the side of the road to take photographs.
It's technically still September, as I compile this In my Kitchen (IMK) post for the first day of October. I will be travelling in the NSW Southern Highlands over the next few days and, as the new host of IMK, I wanted to appear a little bit organised. ☺
Aussie shoppers will have noticed that fresh strawberries are in plentiful supply right now at local greengrocers and supermarkets. In fact, the fruit has come on with gusto and there's such a glut of them, that strawberry prices have come tumbling down.
If you've been following my adventures on Instagram at all, you will be aware that Peter and I have only just arrived back home, after a whirlwind month of travelling in and around the New South Wales Southern Highlands, as well as the townships of Kiama, Gerroa and Gerringong in the Illawarra on the South Coast.
It can be said that both regions are distinctly beautiful parts of the world, and if one was looking to make a sea change or tree change, or take a short break from the world, then the Southern Highlands and the Illawarra should most certainly be at the top of the list of places for consideration.
Still on the subject of great produce from the NSW Southern Highlands, I'm sharing my recipe for this rib-sticker of a soup, created last week using a smoked pork hock from the good folks at Maugers Premium Quality Meats in Burrawang and Moss Vale.
When a food producer presents you with a fine sample of his (or her) goods, I believe that you should treat the product with absolute respect. For example, this beautiful Rainbow trout, which came snapping fresh from the Robertson Trout Farm in the NSW Southern Highlands.
It's not every day that you bump into landscape architect, permaculturalist and effervescent TV personality, Costa Georgiadis, on the grounds of a grand old manor house.
Once upon a long time ago, in my father's back garden there was a duck, or kacsa (pronounced cot-yah in Hungarian). I was a small child at the time and all I can remember is that it turned up one afternoon and quacked incessantly. It stayed long enough to chase me around the yard on numerous occasions, and it pooped all over the paving, much to the annoyance of my parents. And then, just as suddenly as it had appeared, the duck was gone.
Join me as I share with you recipes for all seasons, postcards and morsels from my travels, conversations with cookery writers
and chefs, and news on food and cooking.
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I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.