Search This Blog

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Seven Things...

Not me but I wish it was! Image by magic74 via Flickr.

Tracey at Quiet Paws has kindly tagged me with the Versatile Blogger Award - thanks so much Tracey! As part of the deal I'm to share seven things about myself and I'd like to tag Estelle, Katie and Rachele if they'd care to play along too.

Here goes...

1. I used to be a flamenco dance addict. Before I had children I used to train three times a week and did several masterclasses with international teachers. Words cannot express how much I miss it.

2. I've never been to the snow.

3. When I was little I really, really wanted to be a witch - pointy hat, black dress, cat and broom - the whole shebang.

4. I only eat eggs when they are mixed together (fritatta, scrambled, in cakes) never when they are separate (fried, poached, boiled).

5. I tend to make up words when I'm in full flight. I find that if I deliver them with enough gusto most people don't seem to mind.

6. I trained to be an archaeologist.

7. I'm always on the look out for signs and omens. I hadn't seen my flamenco teacher for 7 years and this week I ran into her twice (see No.1!)

So there you go, seven random facts about what makes me me. Hope you all had a lovely Easter...

Friday, April 22, 2011

Food, family and fun...

Image via

Image via

Image via

One of the things I love most about Easter is the tradition and symbolism surrounding the food we share - hot cross buns and fish on Good Friday, lamb on Sunday and, of course, all those chocolate eggs. There is something so comforting about preparing and eating the same food at the same time of year, year in, year out. It gives the year a certain rhythm, allows us to look back and compare with other Easters and gives us the chance to pass family traditions on to the next generation. This week I discovered three beautiful new Australian cookbooks, that in their own individual ways, gave me a privileged insight into the way in which food traditions have shaped other people's family lives.

When I first saw Keepsakes, Recipes, Momentos, Miscellany by Frances Hansen it was love at first sight. This exquisite book is so much more than a cookbook. Nestled among beautiful drawings, painting, photographs and collages are handwritten and typed recipes collected by Hansen and her family. The original book was made by Hansen for her sister's wedding and although it is an intensely personal book in one way, its evocation of food and family in 1970s Australia and New Zealand really struck a chord with me.

Similarly, while Teresa Oates and Angela Villella wrote Mangia! Mangia!: Authentic Italian Food Rituals and Family Recipes to honour and preserve the food traditions of their Italian parents and grandparents, there is so much in this book for the rest of us to enjoy. The book is teeming with stories, personal photographs and family recipes and lovingly descibes important annual rituals such as preparing and bottling the passata, preserving the olives and making your own proscuitto and salami.

And then there is the delightful, My Grandma's Kitchen by Louise Fulton Keats. This gorgeous children's book features bright illustrations, a sweet story about cooking with Grandma and a selection of never-fail recipes to inspire the little ones. As if that wasn't enough, the Grandma in question is none other than Australia's original domestic goddess, Margaret Fulton (the author is her grand-daughter) so you can be sure that the recipes are tried and true!

May you and your family enjoy many happy hours around the table this Easter...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Year of Reading Backwards - Book 2: 'The Woman In White', 1860

Image via Yowser! What can I say about Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White except that it's a cracking good read? If you like a bit of 19th century mystery, madness and mistaken identity then this is the book for you. The story was first published in weekly installments in Charles Dicken's, All The Year Round before its publication as a novel in three volumes in 1860. As you would expect from a story that originated as a serial there are plenty of twists and turns and cliff-hanger moments both large and small. The book also features the redoubtable Marion Halcombe (the very antithesis of all those silly, simpering 19th century heroines) and the wonderfully vainglorious villian, Count Fosco. I'd read the book again just to feel Marion's righteous indignation and to re-acquaint myself with the charmingly manipulative Fosco and his pet canaries and white mice. Intrigued? If you haven't already had the pleasure (or should I say thrill?) maybe this is one to put on your list... Next books in The Year of Reading Backwards take me firmly back into the 20th century as I tackle George Orwell's 'Animal Farm' and 'Nineteen Eighty Four'. Sorry about the lack of paragraphs - can't seem to change the spacing!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Link love...

Image via Etsy

Autumn is here, there's a chill in the air and Henry has decided that 5am is an appropriate time to get up every morning. To say I'm a bit sleep deprived would be an understatement. I'm seriously thinking about just getting up and dressed at 5 and being done with it rather than pleading, begging and coaxing Henry back to sleep (with very little success). Maybe I could use the time to find some more gems like these ones...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

War Horse...

This week I've been fascinated by the amazing puppetry of the Handspring Puppet Company - the powerhouse behind the award-winning theatre production, War Horse. If you don't have time to watch the whole thing, scoot through to about the 10 minute mark to see the horse in action - it will take your breath away.