Creating food has been a long, love affair for me. This affair has been like an endless, twisting road with a few potholes, some steep hills and many stunning, breathtaking vistas.
For me food is about colour, love, wholeness, sharing, beauty, nourishment and, mostly, comfort….
My journey as a passionate cook started at an early age.
As a small child living in a remote highland region of Papua New Guinea, my memories are strong of Missy, our housegirl, taking me and Emma by the hand in the mid-afternoon before the rain came. She would proudly take us down the road and buy us both a treat. Each day our treat was some cow-cow, jacket-cooked sweet potato or peanuts cooked by the side of the road….
When I was ten, I lived with my family on a little island in the Puget Sound in Washington, Whidbey Island. The island was lush and green and memories are of friends’ thriving vegie patches, Amberly’s mother’s kitchen with its strong herby smells, my mother sending me off to school on a yellow bus with my brown bag lunch. I relished trips with my big brother and sister down to our little beach to pick wild blackberries, returning home to make them into thick, syrupy jam.
A treasured moment was when my mother took me shopping and bought me a Betty Crocker cookbook for children. I couldn’t wait to get home and remember baking the chocolate chip cookies and sitting in the kitchen eating the hot cookies, paying special attention to the melted chocolate chips…. I fell deeply in love with cooking and cooked nearly everything in that book, a book I still own today.
At age sixteen, I found a few friends who loved good food as much as I did. We spent many Saturdays cooking all day and hosting very grown up dinner parties at night. Andrew and I made cooked fresh fish in tin foil, cooked succulent roasts with crispy potatoes and rolled our brandy snaps into flutes and filled them with fresh strawberries and sweet cream. These days and years were filled with a sense of purpose; good food.
When I was 20 I left my university studies and went to Switzerland. There I discovered Betti Bossi and made every dish in several of her books. I cooked pasta, sparsely coated in tomato basil sauces. I rolled out fresh pastas, filled them with herbs and chicken and cooked them in milk, adding a touch of butter at the last minute. In Switzerland I learnt to let each ingredient speak for itself and not to crowd the plate with too many strong voices.
There are so many memories of travel, family and friends. And for me, most of them are strong memories of beautiful food shared around a table….
Now I cook every day for my little family. I make hearty breakfasts for my athletes. A lot of my life revolves around feeding them well. I cook what I like, I cook what makes me happy. I treat each meal as a way to nourish souls and to jam pack as many life-preserving nutrients as possible into our bodies. I make most things from scratch. My fridge is packed full of fresh vegetables, homemade condiments and homemade pastas. Each week I visit a few markets where I buy seasonal fruits and vegetables. My friends and I often trade food as tokens of our love for each other. We fill bags with herbs and vegetables or baked goodies.
And each night, to calm me from the day just gone, I snuggle into my bed with my recipe books from my collection. I read through the pages, relax and go to sleep thinking about what food adventures lay ahead for the next day.
The posts in this blog will be filled with my eclectic and mood-driven food adventures. I have been known to travel for very long distances in heavy traffic to get the perfect ingredients.
Above all, food for me is all about love and comfort.