In one of his Calvin and Hobbes comic strips, Bill Watterson quipped, 'The trouble with retirement is that there's never ever time to do all the nothing you want'. Once upon a moment, I would have scoffed at the mere thought, but now I can confirm that this is, in fact, correct. Life in retirement is crazy busy.
I am only just coming up for air after eight solid weeks (perhaps more), where the days were shared between travel and truffle festival events - with spells in between devoted to the careful perusal of the manuscript for my first book. Oh, and organising new tortoiseshell reading glasses, too.
On the topic of the book, squeeeeeeeeeal! I have some exciting news. The first proof has now gone back to my designer - having been read out aloud, scrutinised and polished. Between my creative vision for the book, the assistance of my perfectly pedantic editor, Kerry Anderson, and my like-minded designer, Michael Priest, the book is taking shape rather beautifully, and will be ready for publication later this year.
Thank you to those dedicated readers who sent messages recently, checking if all was well. I know that you have missed my regular articles with recipes. Some have wondered if I have stopped posting recipes. The answer (with a smile) is 'no, absolutely not', but I simply haven't had the wherewithal to do all that I've had to do, as well as cook, photograph and write about what Peter and I have been eating.
Once that old familiar rhythm returns, I will bring you more of my Good Things, in the form of recipes, reviews and reminiscences. Promise.
Frankly, I feel so blessed to be able to spend my days as I am doing right now. Reading through my journals from 2013-14 last week, I realised how badly the pneumonia and glandular fever had knocked me around. Now that my body has recovered, it feels wonderful to be alive and well. As my father used to say, 'Every day is a gift.' That's my mantra in life, particularly right now.
So, now that I've told you what I have been up to, let's take a peek into my August kitchen...
In my kitchen this month...
The best blood oranges I have ever eaten are back on the menu thanks to my friends at Redbelly Citrus. Grown in the heart of the Riverina, where climatic conditions are closest to those of Sicily, Redbelly blood oranges have a distinct flavour that is reminiscent of Sicilian blood oranges. More so than other blood oranges grown in regions of Australia. Redbelly blood oranges are available now through to November from selected farmers' markets and quality greengrocers. Ask for them by name if your local doesn't stock them.
Peter and I were invited to One bloody big seasonal feast - the launch of the Redbelly blood orange season at the renowned Lucio's restaurant in Paddington, Sydney. We were greeted with blood orange cocktails created by the team from Solerno - the most amazing tasting blood orange liqueur. More about the launch lunch at Lucio's, and Solerno, in an upcoming post.
At a lunch held at Pialligo Estate recently, I met the lovely Theresa, free range egg producer, from Gunning BumNuts. Both keen on bartering, we exchanged fresh produce - double yolkers for me from Theresa, and some kaffir lime leaves and Meyer lemons from me to Theresa. Peter and I are enjoying a soft boiled bum nut (egg) for lunch. So simple and yet so good.
As we piled into the taxi outside Lucio's after the Redbelly lunch, third generation citrus farmer, Len Mancini called out, 'Liz, Peter, would you like some to take some juice home?' Our answer? 'Is the Pope a Catholic?!' Blood oranges contain anthocyanins, which have been proven to have a range of health benefits. Peter enjoys a shot of this juice every morning. I like mine later in the day.
Imperial mandarins are particularly good this year. With few seeds and being easy to peel, they make a great mid morning or mid afternoon snack.
There was a coffee and chocolate expo held at the Convention Centre in Canberra last weekend. To be honest, the show was pretty much 'ho-hum' - particularly the samples of weak and watery plunger coffee on offer, which did little to inspire either Peter or myself to invest in new brands of coffee beans.
That said, we did enjoy seeing our good friend, John Marshall, a.k.a Mr Frugii, the ice cream man and his son (pictured below) with his hand made Venezuelan chocolate gelato - which was exquisite.
And we discovered these delicious little morsels (pictured above). Produced down south in Devonport, Tasmania, Rhuby Delights are sweet and tangy treats with a crunchy freeze-dried rhubarb centre dipped in chocolate. Needless to say, the pack did not last long. Fortunately, the product is available to buy online.
Note: In my kitchen is a monthly roundup that I have been contributing to for several years now. It was founded and previously hosted by my friend, Celia, but then my friend, Maureen took it over, until she needed to rest and recuperate after back surgery. Wishing Maureen all the best for a full recovery. xxx
Thank you again, my dear readers for keeping Good Things on your reading list. Now tell me, have you ever tried Solerno? Is life keeping you busy? And do you like the thought of eating freeze dried rhubarb?
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I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.