The richest memories can be evoked by the simplest things—a basket of cherries, a soda pop, and a convivial afternoon in good company, for example.
Peter and I popped in to see our neighbours for Christmas and presented the family with a basket of cherries. They were export quality cherries—big, plump, delicious and deep red in colour. It was a hot day and as we chatted our host served cool fizzy drinks prepared on a sodastream. This reminded me of the very funky, cherry-red Sparklets Globemaster soda syphon that my father bought in the 1960s. With this top-of-the-range item, the household was never short of szódavíz or soda water. My parents had a large group of close friends who would stop by frequently for conversation, a game of Gin Rummy, and sometimes even a haircut (my father was a barber). On arrival, visitors to our home would be offered a Spritzer mix of white wine and soda—my parents weren't drinkers per se, but they kept a cask of Coolabah on top of the fridge especially for their friends. I was very fond of that soda syphon and while I didn't understand the principles of how the little gas bottles made it work, I enjoyed making tropical flavoured soda drinks for myself using the black Isabella grapes my father grew.
According to my research, Sparklets Ltd (previously known as 'Aerators Ltd') were the pioneers of the soda syphon, dating back to 1896 with the production of an aerating bottle, which was exhibited at the Paris International Exhibition in the year 1900. The London-based company produced the first mesh-covered soda syphon with 'Edwardian contours' (don't you love that description!) in the early 1900s. Production of glass syphons ceased in 1955, apparently due to the short supply of high quality glass after the war, and this was when the coloured anodised alloy range was introduced. The iconic Globemaster series was launched in 1960.
My father clearly had good taste, for the Globemaster was not only the most expensive and très chic in the range, but it was also 'the ultimate party soda syphon'. It took two Sparklets bulbs and therefore lasted twice as long without a refill. Boxes of those little Sparklets bulbs were always on my mother's shopping list and my parents kept a good supply in the drawer of their cocktail cabinet, along with a set of frilly plastic Pimms No. 1 Cup drink coasters and some ice tongs.
Gee, I wish I knew what happened to that cherry red soda syphon. According to Google, they're a sought after item these days. If I can find one in good nick and working order, I might just buy it for myself as a new year's gift!
Happy new year...
On this first day of 2014 dear readers, the 1960s seem to have taken place such a long time ago. Am really I that old?! Wow.
Happy new year to you and yours, and may all of your hopes and dreams come to fruition! Tell me your news. What are your plans? Have you made fresh resolutions?
My rather exciting news is that as of tomorrow, 2 January 2014, I will have officially retired from my work for the Australian public service and, all going well, my focus will be on regaining good health and fitness, spending time with Peter (who is currently on long service leave) and my family, travelling when the whim arises—and also cooking more, reading more, writing more, gardening more, relaxing more, napping more, and sharing with you, my friends, plenty more good things in the form of recipes and photographs.
Fruit and herb infusions...
Last year, I formed a friendship with fellow cook and writer, Marian, who blogs at Apricot Tart and The Living Well in Retirement Challenge. Marian is a dedicated pinner and through her delicious pins has reinvigorated my participation in Pinterest. While browsing Pinterest over the last few weeks, these amazing fruit waters caught my attention. I've always made sure that I drink plenty of chilled (tap) water while at work and now that I've retired I'll continue to do so. I will also try to encourage my man to drink more water as well (bearing in mind that adults need six to eight glasses of water per day). We keep a good supply of mineral water in the chiller, so I've tried serving it on ice with a few flavour combinations, including pomegranate and rosemary; strawberry, lime, mint and pomegranate; and blood orange with strawberry and thyme. Good news is that Peter likes it too.
Remember, there's no need to add any sugar syrup and fresh is best with these infusions. Just combine your choice of fruit or vegetable slices and herbs with some mineral water (or still water if you prefer), add lots of ice and refrigerate until ready to serve. So, here's cheers to the new year and to your good health (and mine too!).
Here's cheers to the new year and to your good health (and mine too)...
Now tell me your news dearest readers. How did you see in the new year? What are your plans? Have you made fresh resolutions?
Incidentally, if you are on Pinterest too, please do let me know so that we can follow each other xox
Hello. I'm Liz, a writer, cook and traveller based in Canberra, Australia.
Join me as I share with you my favourite recipes, postcards and morsels from my adventures, conversations with cookery writers
and chefs, and news on food and cooking.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.