It’s the 21st of June and the winter solstice here in the southern hemisphere. Adelaide is putting on a true winter day for us; cold, dark and quite rainy.
Each season brings its own wonderment – different sights, sounds, events, foods and attitudes. But the period from Australia Day on 26 January, until the end of April, is special in Adelaide. It’s the festival season and we spend so much time outdoors.
It was summer
Celebrating Australia Day in the Abruzzo-Aussie way. Lamb arrosticini and a caprese salad.
Sunset at Glenelg on our 25th Wedding Anniversary.
The walk to work.
Music! Great music.
The cherry season was great this year.
Chilling in the heat.
Zucchini flowers to stuff.
Under the veranda.
Reading under the veranda.
Hot days, light lunches.
A bit dry in the garden…
Fresh figs signalling the last days of summer…
Then it was autumn
Autumn stayed warm, but with cool nights.
Autumn beach walks at Glenelg.
Cake time with an Abruzzo ciambellone.
My mother’s favourite meal; mussels and spaghetti.
Autumn glory on the Torrens River.
Running into friends at Womadelaide.
Angelique Kidjo on stage at Womadelaide. What a great night.
Fish, fennell and peas in a simple broth
Sure sign of autumn, quinces.
late harvested zucchini and tomato from our garden
Norfolk Island pines say Adelaide Beaches.
The bottlebrush always blooms for ANZAC Day.
Asian chicken broth at the Whistle and Flute
Pretty and delicious dehydrated chocolate and peanut mousse, yes, with salted caramel, at the Whistle and Flute.
Lunch with friends at Oliver’s Taranga vineyard
A perfect autumn celebration of continuous food and wine. Seriously, we had to tell them to stop! Delicious flavours and passionate crew hard at work all afternoon.
And then Italy
I was fortunate to travel to Italy again this year to study Italian and travel. I’ve documented some of that trip on my other blog here.
And now winter
It’s time to recharge the batteries. What’s not to like about baking, stews, soups, winter salads, wooly layers and rainy Sundays with cat snuggles. And a trip to Sydney is on the books.
Well, for a change, I am not actually ‘at large’ but at home in Adelaide. I did have a very long trip to Europe which started in Italy (2 months there), continued to Switzerland and Austria then on to the UK before finishing with a few days in Dubai.
My companion blog ‘With my heart in Abruzzo‘ is where I am still writing about my adventures in Italy, with a focus on our time in Abruzzo.
Sadly, upon our return, Andrew’s mum was unwell so we headed up to Queensland to be with her and her companion. Hilda passed away two weeks after we got home. We were fortunate to be with her for the few days before, but we aren’t certain she was really aware of who we were. Her dementia had gotten worse than before we went away and we tried to just agree with her and make sure she was comfortable. Rest in peace dear Hilda.
Back in Adelaide some weeks now we are contending with summer. It’s hard, I know, but seriously, it had been hot and sometimes uncomfortably so. I’ve had to resort to spending time at the beach or reclining with a fan blowing on me while I read books.
We’ve day tripped down the Fleurieu Peninsula to enjoy the coastal scenery, cooked a few summery meals, drunk some yummy wines and generally enjoyed ourselves.
My hubby, Roo, gardened and completed some painting and picture-hanging tasks while I relaxed and contemplated returning to work and dreamt up schemes for another adventure.
Old fashioned flat peaches
Down the Fleurieu peninsula
our garden. Basil – basilico
Beach day – good reads
or garden. Salad greens for summery meals.
Vietnamese food, missed while in Italy
A bit of Italy in Adelaide, melanzana parmigiana
Our first zucchini
Roo in holiday mode
José chilling, happy we are home
Speedy bonding with Roo
Batteries recharged, it’s time to get back to a routine.
So we are both back at work. I am doing a casual writing job that has started out full-time for a month or so then will slow down a bit to part-time.
I am planning another trip to Italy to continue my study of ‘la bella lingua’, this time for a month in Lecce, Puglia. That’s way down on the heel. I have not been that far south before and look forward to studying at the University of the Salento and exploring ‘il tallone dello scarpone’, ‘the heel of the boot’ that is Italy.
January is nearly over already. I hope you are all starting 2016 out right and enjoying life, wherever you are on the planet!
A few weeks ago my friend Kat sent me a spreadsheet listing the dates of a number of cheese masterclasses run by the iconic Smelly Cheese Shop at the Adelaide Central Market . With Kat’s birthday imminent and she being a fellow cheese-lover, we had a quick email exchange whereby she nominated a few dates she could be available. We agreed on the first in the 2015 series called Cheese and Sparkling Wine Pairing with the Italian Cheese and Wine Pairing class later in the year as a backup should this class be full.
As it turned out, the first choice was available and we toddled off on a hot summer evening to taste some delicious and refreshing sparkling wines from France, Italy and Australia with some familiar cheeses and a few that were totally new to us.
Our host for the evening was Valerie, one of the original founders of The Smelly Cheese Shop who is also a Frenchwoman from Normandy (home to Camembert cheese). Valerie gave us a tour of one of the three specially designed cheese rooms on the ground floor of the company offices, just a street away from the Adelaide Central Market. In the hard cheese room we learned about the ageing process of different cheeses and were told some seriously scientific terms about the moulds and bacteria that create the flavours distinctive to the different cheeses.
The cheese room was a chilly 12 degrees celsius so we were glad to head upstairs to the tasting area. What awaited us were two beautifully set tables with a board of cheese for each person, some tasting glasses, water, plus a an extra round of cheese for each table.
A room full of cheese lovers, eager for a new experience waited patiently (well, I nibbled a few sultanas) while Valerie talked to us about the first cheese from Ile-de-France and called Brillat-Savarin. This is a soft white cow’s milk triple-brie named after the 19th century gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin. Monsieur Brillat-Savarin authored a book in 1895 that has never gone out of print; it is entitled – wait for it – The physiology of taste, or, Meditations of transcendent gastronomy; a theoretical, historical and topical work, dedicated to the gastronomes of Paris by a professor, member of several literary and scholarly societies. Amongst his famous quotes about food is this favourite of mine:
“Those persons who suffer from indigestion, or who become drunk, are utterly ignorant of the true principles of eating and drinking.” ~ Brillat-Savarin
The Brillat-Savarin was paired with an exquisite sparkling Burgundian Chardonnay called Cremant de Bourgogne Blanc de Blanc NV (Non Vintage) by the Andre Delorme estate. This was a brilliant pairing with the triple creaminess of the cheese just cut by the fine bubble of the wine. The wine itself has an elegant, not-too-sharp finish.
Our next pairing was an elegant goat’s milk cheese called Vermont Coupole, made by the Vermont Creamery in the US state of Vermont, alongside a local Adelaide Hills sparkling wine called Ngeringa Eclat NV from Ngeringa Vineyards. This pairing was spot on for me as the slight tartness of the goat cheese went well with this sparkling Chardonnay/Pinot Noir. We were told that the wine was made in the ‘no dosage’ style, meaning that no extra sugar was added after the disgorging and before the final corkage. This makes for a less sweet sparkling wine and was, in my opinion, a great choice for the Vermont Coupole.
Pairing number three saw a washed rind cows milk cheese from Champagne-Ardenne in France married with a French Champagne called Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve NV. The cheese was a Langres AOP* in its own little box and had a sort of well in the middle that comes from it not being turned as are most cheeses during the ageing process. The well served a purpose. Valerie had us poke a few holes in the top of a round of the Langres and pour a bit of the champagne on top. As it absorbed into the cheese we were instructed to add another dose.
We then passed the cheese around and took a generous dollop each onto our plates. The Langres, even after being doused with champagne, had a smooth and creamy yet firm texture that was a fine match with the elegant restraint of the tight-bubbled Billecart-Salmon. Flavour-wise, this cheese and the champagne were somewhat mild and a good middle point for my excited palette!
Our fourth cheese and bubbly pair was a Parmigiano Reggiano DOP** and a very refined lady called Eliza. Many folks use Parmigiano only for cooking but this crumbly, nutty gem deserves to stand alone. Just break off a chunk and eat it! The Padthaway “Eliza’ Late Tirage 2002 sparkling wine from the Padthaway region in South Australia had a lovely lemony nose and mineral finish that well complemented this gift from Emilia-Romagna in northern Italy.
Cheese number five was a Gorgonzola Dolce DOP** from Piedmont in northwestern Italy; a classic blue that even non-blue cheese eaters would have to love. The ‘dolce’ in its name comes from the sweet creamy texture. Punctuated with the slight tang and saltiness of the blue mould, this beauty was paired with a Guerreri Rizzardi Extra Brut NV Prosecco from the Veneto region of Italy. This was no sweet, cheap and cheerful fizz. The Guerreri Rizzardi had a slight just-ripe pear overtone that was a welcome addition to the evening, freshening the palate after the last two salty cheeses. I loved every moment of this pairing.
In fact, I loved every moment of this evening. I met other ‘cheesophiles’, got to hang out for a few hours in the presence of passionate food and wine experts and discovered some new and interesting taste sensations. Now where is that booking sheet for the next masterclass…?
To find out more about The Smelly Cheese Shop, their cheese club and their Masterclasses, visit the links in the first paragraph of this post.
*AOP – Appelation d’Origine Protégée (Protected Designation of Origin)
**DOP – Denominazione d’Origine Protetta (Protected Designation of Origin)
It’s late spring and BBQ season here in Adelaide, so recently we have been giving our gas and charcoal BBQs a workout. We like cooking on the grill because of the ease of clean up, especially on a busy weeknight after work. Some simply seasoned meat, a salad and that’s dinner done.
Last night featured thick pork loin chops, marinated with a little soy while the grill heated up. The salad was a simple mix of two types of cabbage, purple and white, finely sliced on the mandolin, a grated carrot, two spring onions cut into rings, a red capsicum (bell pepper) and some ripped coriander leaves.
To follow with the Asian theme I whipped up a dressing for the salad with a combination of soy, canola oil, a drop of sesame oil, a squeeze of fresh lime and a few teaspoons of a sesame nut spread that we normally use for toast. The salt of the soy sauce was balanced by the sweetness of the nut spread and the addition of lime created a freshness that matched the season!
A grind of fresh pepper on the chops, toss the salad and serve up. A thirty-minute meal for busy people. Leftover slaw for my lunch. What could be finer?
Adelaide’s spring is a fickle affair, one day 16 degrees (62F) and blowing a gale, the next 30 (90F) and clear blue skies. But one thing is for sure. After the winter rain, the weeds make an appearance along with the first buds and fruits. Andrew has pulled out the worst of the weeds and now the garden is looking grand!
We have a brand new fig tree planted about a year ago and it is already showing good-sized fruit. The apricot tree is full of small apricots this year and if the birds don’t get too many, it could be a bumper crop. The first tomatoes and basil have been planted and the herbs are looking lush after all that rain and cool weather. Adelaide summers are long, hot and dry so this is probably the greenest our garden will be for a little while now.
The change of weather causes a craving for lighter meals and a few Friday nights ago we dined at the very old school Ding Hao on Gouger Street by the Central Market where we enjoyed some sang choy bow and beer!
My Italian Language Meetup group gets together each fortnight on a Sunday morning for ‘un caffè e una chiacchierata’ – coffee and a chat – in italian. Where there’s caffè, there’s usually biscotti!
I welcome spring and riding my bike home from work in daylight, dining al fresco, watching the garden grow, breakfast on the verandah before work, long weekend breakfasts, planning BBQs and recipes we can make with the bounty from our garden and enjoying a cold beverage at the end of a long day while the sun goes down.
Speedy is an amazing little creature with no end to his curiosity. In the garden he is always on the move, investigating, sniffing or digging. He’ll chew anything. So far he has left the garlic chives alone…
I’m excited to start taking some pics with my new Panasonic DMC-TZ40. I’m not quite ready for a full on digital SLR camera. I’ve enjoyed a previous Lumix and the controls here are familiar. This photo was taken with my iPad 2.