'What does truffle taste like?' a reader asked recently. Good question. 'Well, it's sort of earthy,' I replied. 'Yes, they grow underground, so I figured that. But what are they like?' she replied.
Canberrans will have a rare opportunity to spend time in the company of the folk from Feather and Bone, in a MasterClass and five-course Feast of the Beast banquet to be held at Pialligo Estate this weekend.
We're in the depths of winter here in Canberra and, on a minus five degree C morning, I can hear the delightful sound of frost crackling on the grass underfoot as I step outside to bring in the mail.
When my oldest child (my son) was just a wee baby, I lived two doors away from Val, a lovely stay-at-home mum, who had two little boys of her own. Like me, Val loved to cook, and we spent many happy hours together cooking, taste-testing and discussing recipes - particularly the quick and simple, old fashioned Aussie kind.
There was a time when I thought that life was too short to be bothered with roasting chestnuts at home. Sure, I enjoyed buying bags of them, steaming hot and freshly roasted, from sellers at market stalls - but had struggled with preparing them myself. And then I discovered that there are different varieties of chestnuts, some of which are easier to peel than others.
The wintersong chorus has begun at our place with sniffles and snuffles, muted coughs and the constant clearing of throats. Peter has a 'man cold', which he assures me is worse than I can possibly imagine - even worse than my trivial head cold, apparently. Serves us right for being brave enough to take our bicycles around the duck ponds on chilly afternoons, I expect. We did rug up, but clearly we weren't wearing enough layers. Himself always tells me that you cannot 'catch' a cold, but somehow I beg to differ.
I poked my head outside for a moment this evening to check if Mars was visible in the sky, but all I could see was the fog coming out of my mouth and nose. It's bloody cold out there, which augers well for the region's truffle growers and the upcoming Truffle Festival - Canberra Region.
Vivid displays of burnt orange lantern-shaped fruits caught my eye as I walked around our local farmer's market at the weekend. I am referring to sweet persimmons, which are in bountiful supply throughout autumn months.
It's a rainy autumn Sunday and there's sufficient chill in the air to remind me that winter is coming. I've switched on the heating for the first time, and in my kitchen there's a pot of smoked hock and lentil soup simmering gently on the stove.
It's almost the weekend, when many cooks who work full time during the week turn their thoughts to baking. Even though I have retired, I can still remember when Saturdays and Sundays were reserved for special 'me-time' in the kitchen. Is it like that at your place too?
Cooking and writing have been a lifelong passion.
Join me as I share with you my favourite recipes; postcards and morsels from my travels; conversations with cookery writers
and chefs; and news on food, cookbooks
- Liz Posmyk
NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.