According to news reports on the ABC this morning, 2013 was Australia's hottest summer on record and 2014 is likely to be the same, if not hotter. With that in mind, I'm gearing up with a range of refreshing spritzers that are health-giving as well as thirst quenching and cooling.
With today's busy lifestyles, those delicious weekend getaways we so enjoy can find themselves pushed right to the very back of the back burner. And yet there is so much to explore on our doorstep, if only we can make some time.
Time is such a curious thing. When we want it pass to quickly, it seems to go so slowly. And when we want it to slow down, the days, weeks and months whizz right by.
One of the best things about working in the city (apart from my 12th floor sweeping views across Canberra) was that my office was located right across the walkway from the Handmade Canberra Shop on City Walk. I'd often pop down and browse at all the goodies, sometimes purchasing a special gift for a friend or indulging in a handmade gift for myself.
Following on from the first season, Yotam Ottolenghi returns in an all new series of Mediterranean Feasts, exploring the unique foods, flavours and culinary traditions of the Mediterranean Islands. Each episode features a different 'dream-holiday' destination from Corsica to Mallorca and from Sardina to Crete. All of the destinations showcase amazing, envy-inducing island scenery with turquoise waters, blue skies, mountain farms, seaside towns, local markets, olive groves and winding roads. Sounds wonderful, no?
No one realises how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.
This year's harvest of Australian macadamias is almost finished and the season has been a cracker, so make sure you pop some Aussie macadamias into the market basket when you go shopping this weekend.
Is there anything quite as soothing for the mind and soul as watching nature at its best, I wonder? As I stand at my desk compiling this post, there's a family of Superb Fairy-wrens building a nest in the tumble of Jasmine vines right outside the window. While the energetic little female, which I call the Jenny-wren, flits back and forth with wads of nesting matter in her beak, the adult male, or daddy bird, keeps a careful watch. He didn't seem to mind me taking this quick snap, though I did sense that he might have been asking me cheekily, 'May I help you?'.
When it comes to variety and availability of ingredients in food shopping, my Peter and I count our blessings. Five minutes from our home in one direction there are several excellent grocery stories, including specialty Indian, Persian and Asian; as well as a Halal butcher. And about five minutes down the road in the opposite direction we have the wonderful Capital Region Farmer's Market, as well as a well stocked Korean supermarket and butcher.
Watching the food and wine scene blossom and grow over the years in my home town of Canberra has been nothing short of tremendous. The area now boasts a number of award-winning wineries, smokehouses, bakeries, and brewers among a delicious list of local producers. Meeting the makers has been at the top of my list of good things to do in and around the region. Now, the innovators behind a street food event called 'The Forage' have created the ideal opportunity for Canberrans to get up close and personal with the faces and producers behind the businesses and the produce.