belinda jeffery's news and events
1 september 2013
Spring has started early in my part of the world. Last week there was frost on the ground in the early morning, however it’s hard to believe today, as the temperature has been 25C with a balmy breeze blowing and the garden is a riot of spring flowers. The wisteria and jasmine are massed with fragrant blooms; freesias have popped up through the lawn (they remind me of my childhood when we would pick bucketsful of wild freesias which grew on the cliff tops near our home); the last lemons are dropping off the trees to make way for tiny new fruit, and the hum of contented bees is the background music to my day. I absolutely love it! And create every possible excuse to make a foray into the garden. However I really do have to stop, as the deadline for my new manuscript is the end of the month and there is still a somewhat alarming amount to do!
Of the numerous excuses I make for a trip outside, my favourite by far is to spend a few minutes weeding and watering the veggie garden. I find it incredibly therapeutic to do so, as my mind slips into neutral and for that brief time I’m oblivious to anything else. It’s not a very large patch, but chock-a-block with greens which never cease to surprise at the vigour with which they produce. My time out today was to plant a very healthy-looking black Russian tomato given to me by my green-thumbed neighbour; to pull out the last of the Tuscan kale to go into tonight’s pasta, and to clip back the dill and celery which will end up in the tuna salad which is this month’s featured recipe.
A friend reminded me of this recipe recently, as I gave it to her many years ago and it has since been handed down through her family. Apparently her daughter makes it at least once a week for lunch, and it has become her just-left-home son’s staple diet. It’s so lovely to hear these things, and on receiving her note I immediately made the salad for us, and I must admit I had forgotten just how simple and good it is. It’s chock-full of healthy greens, rice, tuna, dill and eggs all bound together with a garlic-y dressing - and easy as pie to make!
I’ve also been doing a bit of travelling this month, the most exciting trip being a visit to Sydney where I spent a very happy morning with some of my all-time favourite Australian food writers including Stephanie Alexander, Kylie Kwong, Maggie Beer, Margaret Fulton and Anna Gare. What a talented and lovely group of women they are. Here’s a photo of us all taken on a rather brisk Sydney morning; fortunately you can’t see the goose bumps!
Just before I sign off, for those of you who love food, reading, cooking, and writing I can’t urge you enough to look at the program for the Food & Words Festival which is being held at The Mint in Sydney on Saturday 19th October. I was fortunate to take part in last year’s inaugural event, and I have to say it is the best food writers’ festival that I have ever been to.
The Mint is a truly stunning location for this wonderfully intimate and exhilarating day, where you will hear a dozen or so conversations ranging from the super-talented Peter Gilmore (executive chef, Quay restaurant) chatting about seeds, plants and cooking; to Paul Allam and David McGuiness from the Bourke Street Bakery telling the story of their Bread and Butter Project, a social enterprise venture that invests in bakery training and creates employment opportunities for individuals and communities in need; to yours truly talking about the anatomy of a recipe, and what makes a good one (and a not-so-fabulous one!). Last year the talks were really thought-provoking, and brought up all sorts of issues which were passionately discussed over the delicious morning and afternoon teas, and the fabulous picnic lunch. (On that note, you can bring your own lunch, or for a treat this year two of Sydney’s most highly regarded chefs – Martin Boetz and Alex Herbert – will be whipping up fabulous lunchboxes to buy there).
And on that note had best sign off, and hope to meet you at one of the many up-coming events.
It seems it’s festival time! The month kicks off with the Living Earth Festival on Sunday 1st September at the Mullumbimby Community Gardens. I learnt so much at last year’s festival, and this year’s promises to be even better with the most fantastic range of workshops, demonstrations, and fabulous food. Two of my favourite gardeners, Costa Georgiadis and Jerry Coleby-Williams from the ABC’s Gardening Australia, will be there to help celebrate in fine style. www.mullumbimbycommunitygardens.org/living-earth-festival-2013
Hot on its heels, the terrific Sample Food Festival in Bangalow kicks off on Saturday September 7th, and it’s well worth marking the date in your diary. It’s a really special day – there’s fantastic food, cooking demonstrations, great music, a showcase of local produce, and that wonderful chilled-out vibe for which the Byron region is justly famous. I’m one of the judges for the Golden Fork awards, so please drop by and say hello if you’re passing by. http://www.samplensw.com/ff_eventd.html
Belinda’s ABC interview details:
To see my in-depth television interview with Jane Hutcheon from ABC's One plus One, click here...www.abc.net.au/oneplusone
To listen to my radio interview with ABC Brisbane’s Mary-Lou Stephens about my latest cookbook, Desserts click here...
My favourite charity
Just A Drop - www.justadrop.org
My lovely sister-in-law, Fiona Jeffery, started this international water aid charity in 1998 when she learnt that less than $2 can deliver clean water to a child for up to 10 years. From this knowledge, and her passion and commitment, Just a Drop was born, based on the premise that if people can be encouraged to give a little then collectively we can make a huge difference. I’m so proud of all she has achieved over the years and encourage you to visit the site and see the fantastic work they do.
Favourite websites & blogs