sharing recipes from one generation to the next
On my kitchen bench are two hand woven pandanus leaf baskets. Indigenous women in Arnhem Land in Northern Australia collect the strappy fibrous leaves of the pandanus palm, dry them then dye them various colours using native plant dyes. They then weave baskets and dilly bags for the fine art market. No two baskets are alike, each an expression of the artistic sensibility of the weaver. I had often admired pandanus leaf baskets in art gallery shops, but was deterred by the huge price tag. We travelled into Arnhem Land in 2010 to visit rock art shelters with an indigenous guide. At the Injalik Art Centre at Gumbulunya the source of pandanus leaf baskets, I was fortunate to find my treasures without the mark up value of a big city shops. I keep tomatoes in one as it allows the air to circulate, and in the cooler month the other basket holds walnuts in the shell and a nut cracker.
In my kitchen I have eggs, real eggs, layed by free ranging chooks who scratch and feed on an organic farm. The eggs have traces of poo and bits of straw from the laying box stuck on their shells. As a city apartment dweller it’s a big bonus to be able I buy fresh hen eggs at the farm gate, eggs fresh enough to poach, too fresh to boil and peel, eggs that make deep golden omelettes, rich custards and crisp meringues. Thankfully, I regularly drive past his wonderful farm gate.
In my kitchen I have a well organized, well stocked spice drawer. Spices have an important role in my kitchen and I’m fussy about their source. My favourite supplier is Herbies in Sydney who sell the freshest and best, easily procured online. My mantra is buy small and use quickly for a robust and true flavour. Spices should be stored in sealed containers away from the light to maximize the shelf life. Most of the dried herbs I cook with come from Wild Dog Biodynamic Herbs at the Saturday morning market in Apollo Bay. I saved dietary supplement bottles over a long period to create my alphabetical storage drawer. Does this look a little OCD? Maybe, but I can easily find what I’m looking for quickly and nothing gets pushed to the back and forgotten.
On the wall of my kitchen is a framed Mother’s Day greeting card lovingly made by my eldest daughter Leah ( sharing the food we love ). It’s a work of art and each time I look at it I think of my beautiful girl who lives 2000 kilometres away. It was Leah who got me into this blogging lark!
Out of my kichen I look west to the Melbourne city skyline. I love to contemplate the city with my morning wake-up cup of coffee. On clear mornings late summer through to early winter, I see vibrantly coloured hot air balloons in my view. In winter, mist, fog and rain present me with a wall of white and approaching storms turn the backdrop blue-grey, fire works often light the sky at night. I see the sun set behind the tall buildings, I see the sunrise reflected in their mirrored glass. I love my home town for its multicultural population and the exciting food culture it brings with it. I love the vagaries of our weather, the four distinct seasons. I love the vibrant arts culture, the fantastic shopping, the trams, the plethora of events, but mainly I love it because it’s home.
Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial host a monthly global “In My Kitchen” feature. Hop on over and see what’s happening in other cook’s kitchens and why not think about joining in the fun yourself!