My first taste of a gooseberry was during the 1960s in the garden of my friend Sandra's house. The family was English and Sandra's mother, Norah, grew rhubarb as well as the gooseberries.
Growing up in a Hungarian household, there was never any mention of fruit mince and fruit mince tartlets or pies in my mother's kitchen. It would be years before I knew such things existed. If memory serves me correctly, a high school home economics teacher may have lectured about them in a class on suet.
One of my favourite guest presenters at my former cooking school was French-born cookery writer and television chef, Gabriel Gaté. Not only is Gabriel a magnificent cook, he is also a delightful person.
One of the things I love about travel is that I can indulge myself and taste a selection of the foods that the locals eat in the area we are visiting - and then walk off the calories when I'm sightseeing. Thank heavens for good walking sandals.
Apricots are in abundance at my local farmer's market and greengrocer right now. I love eating them fresh from the hand - with that burst of soft, sweet tasting flesh. Sometimes they have been picked a little too early and that's when they're perfect for baking into a tart.
My kitchen has enjoyed a good workout over the last several months as I succumb to the delights of life in retirement and baking almost every other day. Of course with a plentiful supply of home-baked goodies we've had to step up our entertaining calendar, as well as our exercise regime. But then I'm not complaining. Life is sweet.
'There are many borek-type recipes in Arab, Turkish and Armenian manuscripts, one of the oldest is sanbusak which is found in Massudi's Meadows of Gold. Another is oughi-dobrag - 'brains in a bag' - found in an eleventh-century Armenian manuscript.
The time has come for me to confess to a relationship I've enjoyed since I was a little girl. A spicy, delicious and sweet love affair that I have often shamelessly fantasised about.
It was raining on the morning that we arrived at Borrodell Vineyard, so our scheduled 'Heritage Apple Walk' had to be put on hold until after lunch at Sisters Rock restaurant. There were two courses. A sumptuous chicken salad followed by Bramley apple pie. We were dining in a restaurant in the midst of an orchard overlooking the spectacular Towac Valley on the outskirts of the city of Orange, renowned as the 'apple capital' of Australia. The apple pie was destined to be good. Doing my best to seem nonchalant, I looked on as a finely-dressed woman at the next table prepared to take her first mouthful of pie. She took her time, deliberately scooping up some of the crème anglaise, raspberry syrup and double cream, along with a chunk of the pie. She put the spoon with its contents into her mouth, closed her lips around it, shut her eyes, then smiled and nodded pleasurably. Be still my beating heart! From that sneak preview, the pie was very, very good, and I was already salivating!
One of the things I miss greatly from my childhood is nuts in their shells. There were always walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, almonds and Brazil nuts in my mother's kitchen, and as a family we would often sit together shelling nuts—for snacking on as well as preparing walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds for one of my mother's artisan cakes.
I'm Liz, a.k.a Bizzy Lizzy,
the writer, cook and traveller behind
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.