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.
In the early 1960s, my mother and I would catch a bus across town from the inner north suburb of Downer, where we lived, to the Kingston shops, so that my mother could do her weekly shopping. As the bus rattled along Wentworth Avenue, I would always gaze out the window in awe at the rows of buses parked en masse outside the bus depot. Fifty years later, that bus depot is now renowned as the Old Bus Depot Markets and since 1994 has been a hugely popular Sunday tradition in Canberra.
'These pecan nuts are so good, they're not at all bitter,' Peter commented as he munched into a larger-than-normal serving of green beans with pecans. 'That's because they've been candied and they are most likely super fresh,' I replied, adding that nuts can turn rancid and bitter very quickly. 'Oh?! Well, you've got to make them then,' he said, nodding his head and pointing at the plate with absolute determination.
Floriade, Canberra’s world-class floral extravaganza, returns to Commonwealth Park for its 27th year in September, promising another fantastic program of events inspired by the 2014 theme: Passion. In addition to the outstanding flower displays, visitors to Australia’s largest celebration of spring can pick up gardening tips from experts; learn to recognise the different spice and herb profiles in wine and food; listen to inspiring musical performances; enjoy delicious culinary demonstrations by world-renowned chefs; and keep the youngters entertained with a fun line-up of activities.
Allow me please to introduce you to 'Chocolate Fluff' — a soufflé-like, delicately-flavoured chocolate sponge cake — one of the absolute favourites on my baking repertoire. Every time I make it, I'm reminded of how very, very good it is, and I always find myself going in for seconds, as do my guests who sample it. It's simply one of 'those' cakes.
From time to time during the latter years of his life — particularly when my mother's health began to deteriorate — my wonderful father would don an apron and take over the kitchen for the afternoon. Slow-roasting was one of his particular specialities and I have yet to share a couple of his recipes here, but will certainly do so in the fullness of time.
'I'm going to take a stroll along the boardwalk,' I said to Peter as I headed out the door of our holiday apartment. 'Oh, are you,' he replied, turning his gaze away momentarily from an action-packed movie he'd been watching. 'Yes,' I replied. 'And if I'm not back within half an hour, you'll find me at Berardo's having oysters and cocktails.'
Before I launch into this snippet, I would like to thank Bellatrix, Nymphadora, Minerva and Poppy, the lovely ladies (or 'laidies') who provided the eggs which made this story possible. Named after females in the Harry Potter books, the hens are owned by my good friend 'The Dog' and his family, and must admit I had a chuckle when I heard about their individual personalities.
A quirky new café opened recently at the village shopping centre just five minutes from the Blue House, so Peter and I were quite eager to check it out. To our delight, we discovered that the service is cheerful and prompt, the food is fresh and tasty, as is the coffee — and there's a delicious selection of reasonably priced cakes and slices. Needless to say, we've popped in a few times already.