Revive the senses through feel-good food. Just do anything food-wise, no matter how small, that makes you zing: pour hot water over fresh herbs for a fragrant tea; buy a whole organic pumpkin for a kitchen table centrepiece; thank a farmer at a farmers' market; put your hands on warm earth; spot a local rosemary bush; snag some for your lamb roast or your hair (Why not? Go nuts!); and comment to share your feel-good spring snippet. If stuck for ideas, mine are yours. Let's unite in support of feel-good food and ethical food practices. Thanks to all too who supported my Spring Feel-Good Food Project. I had a blast! While my food interests are diverse, so is my food writing history (and lifestyle freelance writing and corporate writing, yada...). Please see below right and my new FoodLit Website. Yeah! Please also subscribe for occasional food-fuelled news, ventures and opportunities.
Tuesday, 19 January 2016
Not one for wasting precious garden space on growing something I can't eat, I've never bothered much with flowers. Yes, pretty. Yes, fragrant. Yes, probably earth's way of smiling, but without a more practical function, like frying, roasting, or braising, it's not just the soil space I can't justify, but the time and energy required to raise these little babies too.
It's a peasant thing. When you've grown up with parents who grew what they ate in their home country, and much of what they ate in Australia, flowers always took a back seat to beans, broccoli and basil, unless, of course, they were zucchini flowers chopped into a glistening zucchini, potato and noddle soup, finished too with a sweet sprig of the said basil.
So, what possessed me pop a few sunflower seeds in? I've always loved yellow gerberas, none that I've ever grown of course, but their happy, smiling, nodding heads always pushed my sentimental buttons. Sunflowers have the same bright disposition so, after I was given a small packet of seeds at a garden show, I tossed a couple in and, with the busy-ness of life, quickly forgot about them.
Some time later, I couldn't make out 'the weeds' that were growing along the back fence. (Yep, it's been pretty crazy busy of late). Perplexed, I left them in in case they turned out to be something I could munch on. It finally dawned on me once they reached about waist height - and I did a little skip of glee around the garden. I was stoked - or showered with sunflower anticipation. I was being smiled upon indeed.
The results are more than I could have imagined or expected. The sunflowers I've seen usually have one long stem with one flower perched atop. My babies have so many heads, so many flowers, so many buds waiting to bloom with just another good ray or two of summer sun, I'm buzzing like the bees buzzing around my babies with shared excitement. Either these smiles are of a different variety or I'm more blessed that I thought - and I'm running with the latter.
Of course, when I showed my gardener - an elderly Italian from the same village as my parents who basically does the lawns and shares produce and good food stories with me - he gave me a non-plussed, almost confused look. Always polite and forever diplomatic, he searched for his words a bit and then said, "Um... You can eat the seeds of those, can't you?"
Saturday, 9 January 2016
When the world gets
Too much to bear,
Take to the hills
And pluck berries
In the fresh country air.
So we did - on a weekday in the dawning days of the new year when all is supposed to be, as they say, rested, relaxed and rosy. On the contrary, the congealed leftovers of a too busy work year served with an accompaniment of almost losing a loved one and a sticky sauce of family dynamics left us gasping for earth, air and the comfort and perspective they bring - and they did.
The gelling negativity started melting as we played 'I Spy' in the car for replacing thoughts with moment-to-moment presence. It thinned and seeped away as we farm-hopped for the best pickings of cherries, raspberries, plump-as-you-please blackberries and blueberries. It dissipated as we squashed a colourful palette of berries between tongue and palate and licked sticky juice off stickier, purple fingers.
|BIG bucket. They must've seen us coming.|
It rose from our shoulders like steam from a just-roasted shoulder of lamb as we felt for the ripest, tasted for the sweetest and looked for the largest. It evaporated as we filled the kitchen, our hearts and our stomachs with inventive berry dishes as we struggled to make use of the multitude of multi-coloured berries we over-bought in our excitement.
The heaviness melded into the earth as sugar melded into hot fruit boiling in readiness for jam. Hands wrapped in tea-towels to twist hot lids onto hot jars, we sealed it right out of our jelling jam - tight.
It completely disappeared as we stopped the already busy, new year work schedule and made the time - to simply stop and make jam.
Then we ride back
To our car on the
Back of a bumpy truck.