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.
Tickets have almost sold out for the Cherry Blossom 'Long Lazy Lunch' which will be held in an orchard at Young on Sunday, 21 September. The luncheon is the official fundraising event for the Cherry Queen entrants in the National Cherry Festival and proceeds from the day are split between the entrants' chosen charities.
'Oh my goodness,' exclaimed my friend. 'I couldn't possibly eat all that!' She was referring to the three large scoops of ice cream served in a tall martini glass. 'Just wait until you've tasted it,' I replied, with a knowing smile. All four of us watched as the spoon went into her mouth. One... two... three... 'Oh yum, that is really good, isn't it,' came the response, as my friend licked the spoon.
Successful cooks rely on good, solid equipment — the kind that's designed to last a lifetime. One of the best-loved and most-used tools in my kitchen is an 'East West' Füri knife produced by Füritechnics, a company previously owned by mechanical engineer, Mark J. Henry. As the co-owner of a cookware store and cooking school in a previous lifetime, I sold dozens of Füri knives, and many of my readers will no doubt have seen them used and recommended on television by celebrity chefs around the world. Mine is still as good as the day I bought it, many years ago. So, from my perspective it's good to see that Mark is back on the scene with a new product.
Spring is perhaps the most beautiful of the four seasons that we enjoy here in Canberra, the capital city of Australia. Perhaps as a celebration of sunshine and warmer days, there are festivals and events galore — including Floriade and Nightfest, the Canberra International Film Festival, The Canberra Latin Dance Festival, Tidbinbilla Extravaganza, as well as — perhaps one of my absolute favourites — the Thai Food and Cultural Festival, which is held at Sala Thai on the grounds of the Royal Thai Embassy.
'Dear Liz,' read the invitation, 'At V Spot Café, we are passionate about promoting clean eating and nutrient dense, minimally-processed food that is low in sugar and high on taste. We’d love to showcase a delicious range of breakfast items from our menu. With this in mind, we hope you can join us for an intimate evening of Breakfast (our way) for Dinner.'
In the 1960s when I was in primary school, my friends and I would pop over to the milk bar at the village shopping centre that was right next door to our school. This was in the good old days when a kid could buy a decent-sized bag of mixed lollies with around twenty cents. Looking back, I don't really know how the owner of the store stayed sane, with a gaggle of little children standing at his counter for what seemed like ages, eyes wide, umming and ahing, and doing their best to choose a good selection of sweeties. I do know that my dentist was a happy man, that I can tell you for certain.
Among the gems in my library of cookery books is a 1970 edition of The Colonial Cookbook, which is an abridged version of the first Australian cookbook, The English and Australian Cookery Book: Cooking for the Many as well as the 'Upper Ten Thousand, which was written by 'An Australian Artistologist', Edward Abbott and published in 1864.