back from a break…

so after a weeks holiday and then two weeks back at work, catching up on the work i missed while on holiday, i am back! we had a great time in melbourne, a lovely wedding, full of smiles and good thoughts, catching up with friends, and some great shopping.

spent some time at a great bookstore, just above cookie on swanston street, called metropolis. fantastic range of books, and they don’t seem to have marked up the prices too much. nick had thoughtfully scouted out the best books for me, and so it didn’t take me long to pick up three new food books. the first was salades by damien pignolet. i have one of his other books: french, which is a fantastic introduction to french cooking designed to work with australian produce. what i would probably rate as my favourite dish of all time is from this book: roast pheasant with bread sauce, beurre noisette and beetroot and witlof salad.

one of favourite defence strategies against winter is to eat salads. no carb heavy, filling, comfort foods for me – i want to fill my house will fresh, vibrant salads so that i can pretend at least for a few hours each day that winter is something that happens to other people. so when nick talk me that he had found salades i was stoked. and it doesn’t disappoint.

the second book that i purchased was paella by alberto herraiz. although i have yet to read through it all, at this point in time i would describe it as the bread bible for paella. detailed instructions and advice, and a wide range of recipes for different cooking contexts (inside, bbq, oven, etc). it was fairly hard to resist this book just from the lok of it – covered with cloth similar to the cloth bags that we buy calasparra rice in.

and the third i was initially not too sure of: the flavour thesaurus by niki segnit. but after five seconds glancing through i was hooked. my initial issue was that i thought it would be information-free; basically a nice idea of how to mix flavours but on the light side. i was so wrong. this is a fabulous book that provides an almost comprehensive overview of how to mix flavours. this is not a book for people who are new to cooking, it rarely gives complete recipes. but the reason that it can fit in so much into such a small book, is that it is a reference to classic combinations, and recipes that you can find within specific food cultures, other food books or restaurants. it is kind of like having a conversation with someone who has been to all of the restaurants that you want to go to, and who has read all of the food books that you want to. but it has enough in it that you can have a go at creating the combinations that are included.

the last night of our trip to melbourne was spent with friends, watching the eurovision final: a tradition that we will hopefully retain, just relocated. eurovision is a lot of fun, but this year i was a little disappointed by the lack of crazy acts – it’s the only reason that i watch it. at least moldova did not let us down.

when i returned to adelaide, it was to realise that i had far too much work to do in too little time – lectures to write, contracts to work on, and just general _stuff_ that needed attention, and so i have been very quiet here since my return.

one highlight of the past week has been my discovery of persimmons. i had tried persimmons before but not the fuyu kind. they are a new delight, crunchy, sweet, kind of like a pear covered in honey. and then the discovery of a new salad to go with it: persimmons mixed with watercress and toasted hazelnuts and topped with a pomegranate seed dressing. i can thank sunday suppers at lucques for another great recipe.

being a member of food connect has helped realise that i have been wrong about one part of winter – the seasonal food. i had assumed that as the days got colder, that my food connect delivery would become more stodgy – filled with classical, and beautiful in their own way, vegetables: carrots, potatoes, cabbage, etc. i have been very surprised though. my box is probably more varied now than it was throughout the summer months. and of course i’ve put in an extra order of persimmons for this week!

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