As the marketing and events manager of a fresh produce market (in a former lifetime), one of the initiatives I implemented was market tours for school groups. I felt a little bit like the Pied Piper of Hamelin, leading groups of 60 children or more, and their teachers, through the centre. With the help of the store owners, the tours became quite an adventure and the children were always delighted, awestruck and fascinated.
'My philosophy on food is much like my philosophy on life, to look for and make the best of beautiful ingredients: minimum of fuss, maximum of flavour.'
A good friend said to me recently that she was more so than ever looking forward to her eventual retirement, so that she too could spend her time cooking to her heart's content, as I am doing now. I must say, apart from having to stay off my feet post operatively for a few weeks while my broken foot mends, I have indeed been doing plenty of experimental cooking, and I'm loving it (as is my Peter).
There comes a time in a person's life when they find themselves morphing into one (or both) of their parents. It may be in mannerisms, appearance, body shape, health (both good and bad), habits (yes, good and bad), or things that one thinks to themselves or (heaven forbid) speaks out aloud. It may be just one, or all, of the above (ouch, was that I shudder I heard coming from your direction?).
If you find it hard to believe that fruit and vegetables can suffer the indignity of fashion trends — particularly here in Australia — take a look at blood oranges. Ruby-fleshed blood oranges were popular in Australia back in the 1920s — that is, until they went out of fashion. So much so, in fact, that most growers removed the trees. Fortunately they have made a comeback and Australian orchardists are now growing blood oranges in quantity.
'In Sicily I came to relish the digestive Limoncello, taken at the end of a meal. It is made by steeping lemon peel in alcohol spirit for fifteen days and then blending with sugar syrup. My head rested peacefully on the pillow with the scent of lemons in my nostrils and a vision in my mind of citrus orchards glistening in the sun'.
— Kevin Donovan, Salute! Food, Wine and Travel in Southern Italy
My father, András, was a barber for most of his life. Thinking back it all seems so deliciously vintage now, if you understand my meaning. He wore a crisp white jacket and there was a red and white striped post out the front of his barber shop, Budapest Hairdresser. Leather and chrome swivel chairs took pride of place on the chequerboard black and white linoleum tiles, and mirrors lined the walls. On the bench tops, thin black combs sat in tall glass canisters filled with a mild solution of disinfectant. I can still remember the smell. Rolls of delicate white paper towelling sat alongside jewel-shaped plastic spritz bottles filled with water, together with soft-bristled wooden-handled brushes, electric clippers, brown rubber squeeze gadgets containing talcum powder, and rows of scissors and cut-throat razors which were tucked neatly into a cloth pouch. Working from home and doing what she could to help, my mother sewed stylish capes from black and white patterned fabric especially for the shop.
Peter and I have been celebrating the bounty of new season Australian pears over the last few weeks. Indeed, pears have been on my shopping list every single day. I so enjoy slicing into one mid afternoon for a snack, knowing that it's going to be just perfect to eat. That slightly fragrant and delicately sweet fruit, ripe and succulent. Oh my! Even more so, I love teaming them with spices like vanilla, cinnamon, saffron or bay, transforming them into sublime desserts.
This 'Food Verse' post is dedicated to Dorothy Shaw, a gentlewoman and award winning Canberra poet.
Beautiful baskets spilling over with cumquats (a.k.a. kumquats) are on display at local market stalls during Winter through to early Spring. One time, I bought a bagful of freshly picked fruits from a little old Vietnamese lady selling them on the footpath in Sydney's Cabramatta. They were the best I'd ever tasted!