The festive feasting is officially finished at The Blue House. We've eaten our way through the Christmas ham, puddings, brandy custard and one or two boxes of panettone (!). Light and luscious foods now head up the agenda, along with daily cycling, swimming and post-dinner power walks.
Whoa there big fella... put the brakes on a little will ya! I mean, what the heck happened to November, much less December? We're ticking days off the calendar before we can blink, and Christmas is just ten days away. Woot!
It's mid November (already!) and at this time of the year my thoughts turn to cleaning up the barbecue to get ready for cooking and entertaining outdoors. I'm also starting to think about menus for various al fresco events, as well as gifts for food-loving family and friends. Enter, Ross Dobson's King of the Grill.
Broccolini is one of the vegetables that always makes an appearance in my market basket. I love its sweet, mild flavour and the goodness and crunch it offers in any dish. Better still, it's one of the greens that my Peter is happy to eat on a regular basis. So imagine my joy when chef Yotam Ottolenghi prepared a salad of broccolini (and other greens) with sweet tahini at the literary lunch at Nomad that we attended in Sydney recently. 'If you make this for us at home, I'll eat it,' Peter told me after the first bite. *Happy dance* time!
'You need to make this salad!' Coming from my man, those words make my cook's heart sing. He's not really the salad type, you see, and the prospect of nagging him to eat his greens for the sake of his wellbeing doesn't sit well. But, every now and then we stumble upon a salad that he loves. And when that happens, I'm so there!
'So, how is your retirement going?' my ex-husband asked when we were chatting on the telephone the other day. 'It's good, but surprisingly busy,' I responded. Indeed, the day that he'd called it seemed as though I'd been pottering from early morning to late afternoon — well and truly living up to the Bizzy Lizzy nickname. Thankfully, I'd made a big pot of my chilli con carne the day before, so all I had to do was whip up a tasty side dish to go with the leftovers.
'These pecan nuts are so good, they're not at all bitter,' Peter commented as he munched into a larger-than-normal serving of green beans with pecans. 'That's because they've been candied and they are most likely super fresh,' I replied, adding that nuts can turn rancid and bitter very quickly. 'Oh?! Well, you've got to make them then,' he said, nodding his head and pointing at the plate with absolute determination.
'From the obligatory [special] dinner to the unexpected glass of fresh-squeezed juice, the act of preparing food for another (or with another) speaks louder and clearer than most words. It says, with no exceptions, I love you. I want you. I care for you. You are worth the effort.'
Summertime. Canberra. 1960s. My childhood. Life was carefree and simple--and when it came to keeping cool there were only a couple of rules according to my parents: 'Go outside and play under the sprinkler'. And, 'Come, eat some fresh watermelon', or dinnye (diɲːɛ) as it is known in Magyar.
Fresh, light and healthy. That's my vision for 2014, in terms of both the food I prepare and how I'd like to feel from head to toe. I'd like to spend more time at the beach, too, basking in the goodness of the sun, surf and sand. Sounds like a well-considered plan, no? Well, let me tell you, things are well underway.
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.