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.
Fortunately we can 'light the fire' (put the heating on) and snuggle on the Chesterfield while we recover. Thanks to the generosity of the good people at Ginger Catering and Sassafras Nuts, we have some beautiful chestnuts (above) to roast this evening. As I cook them, I will be thinking of my maternal grandmother, Erzsébet, who grew (and foraged for) chestnuts, and roasted them in a metal tub on a street corner in her village in northern Hungary, long before I was born. My sister tells me that they were hugely popular with the local folk.
I have been munching on these tasty little sunflower sprouts, bought from Mister Microgreens at the Capital Region Farmers Market. I love that they have lasted longer than a few days, which is all I have come to expect from the supermarket varieties.
'Forgive me if I reek of garlic,' I said sheepishly to some colleagues in a meeting this morning. What with having a wee cold, I have boosted my intake of both raw and fermented garlic. This little jar of Bredbo Black garlic with iodised sea salt, and the miniature scoop, were also purchased from a stall at the Capital Region Farmers Market. This was delicious sprinkled over the Lángos (fried bread) that I cooked yesterday. The recipe is one of many Magyar dishes in my upcoming book.
I could hardly resist the vibrant red of this micro amaranth, also from Mister Microgreens. It brightens up my kitchen windowsill, tastes great and looks so lovely scattered over salad.
A dear friend, CC, came back from South Australia at about the same time that I went over for Words to Go and Tasting Australia (story to come soon). As a gift for my friend in food, I brought back some Maggie Beer quince paste and a jar of Beerenberg mint jelly, while she presented me with these pretty bottles of New Norcia extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Mushroom risotto is a favourite at The Blue House and these exotic mushrooms, also from a stall at the Capital Region Farmers Market, were extraordinarily fresh and delicious. If I am to be honest, the photograph does not really do them justice.
Over to you, dear readers. What's happening in your kitchen this month? Do you have a memory to share about chestnuts? And have you ever tried fermented garlic?
Cooking and writing have been a lifelong passion.
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- Liz Posmyk
NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.