Tag Archives: cooking

“The Colour of Food. A memoir of life, love and dinner” by Anne Else

“The Colour of Food” by Anne Else is one of the most enjoyable books I have read in 2014. Its popularity was indicated by the wait I had until the local Library copy became available to me. I see on the cover of this easy to hold book, that it is already an International EBook bestseller.
I love adopting a comfy reading position, holding a book, turning the pages and referring back and forth amongst the contents with ease and at a pace that suits me.
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From the first chapter I was hooked. I particularly enjoyed reading of Anne’s many and varied experiences of eating food as a child, as a new, young wife struggling to learn the tricks and art of cooking and then how being exposed to different cuisines from around the world her love of food and cooking developed and grew into a passion and a pleasure. The internet now allows her to share her creativity and pleasure with food via her blog:

At times the experiences she describes around love are very intimate and evoke emotions across the spectrum. There were many times as I was reading when I would pause and reflect on my own life and experiences, as signposts in her words touched me or pointed me back to a link in my past.

I follow Anne’s personal blog and her life without her beloved Harvey so some parts of this book already felt familiar. I also have Harvey McQueen’s “This piece of earth” on my bookshelf which meant I already knew of their special love and companionship and some of their enjoyment of food and cooking together. This familiarity certainly enriched my reading of this memoir.

So much social history is detailed in this book and when I look at my late mother’s recipe books which contain many of her mother’s recipes it is obvious that food provides a rich feast of detail on how we live our lives and how life changes. From my own experience I can well remember the advent of Kai Si Ming ( really mince with a stack of sliced cabbage and a packet of chicken noodle soup stirred through it, but a new idea in Mum’s kitchen) and Coleslaw! Cabbage had always been cooked to a very unappetising gooey mass before shredded raw cabbage came into vogue.

So reading this book was a treat, in a way food should be, and it was a surprise when I turned the final page to find the memoir’s end. As all good books do, it left me with questions unanswered and plenty to reflect on especially around what constitutes “women’s work” and our need to be creative, while also using our education, training and skills. I’ve spent time since finishing the memoir considering the many and varied aspects that food and the preparation and serving of it play in our social, emotional and psychological lives.

And like a very good meal this book left me wanting more. For good measure Anne includes 24 recipes to sample, ranging from very simple to exotic, but with her guiding hand all very achievable. And to tempt readers further she has included two lists of books which have inspired her. These include Memoirs and Recipe books.

I’ve already jotted down her “Fresh Courgette Salad” recipe as I watch the first small courgettes ripen on my plant. Yum!

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A gift of 100 apples

We are totally spoilt for choice in New Zealand when it comes to choosing apples to eat nowadays.

This morning a gift of 100 Kanzi apples arrived on our doorstep. They are fresh off trees in Hawkes Bay.

The Kanzi is a new variety of apple, combining the Braeburn and the Royal Gala apples. I love both of these varieties, which are quite different.

Both are very juicy apples and crisp eating apples when fresh. The Braeburn has a sharper quality in taste, compared with the Royal gala which is sweeter and quite perfumed.

I have tried one of the Kanzi’s and have found the Braeburn qualities predominate but every so often I was pleasantly surprised with a bite full of sweet Royal Gala speaking of summer weather.

Apparently Kanzi’s cook well too but I think we will eat these delicious treats fresh from the refrigerator.

A bitter wind today

We have a bitterly cold wind gusting about us this morning. So far the sky is clear and the sun is doing its best to offer some warmth. However with snow and sleet predicted for much of the South Island and the high hills and mountains of the country it is a day to hunker down inside.

The slow cooker is working away on Moroccan lamb and couscous for dinner, the soup pot is now bubbling away gently on the stove, the tea- pot and toaster are at the ready. All to help keep the chill out today.

Jazz has a cozy spot by the gas heater to do his stretching exercises and I’ve got layers of wool on. If you are a New Zealander reader keep warm today wherever you are living.

Prompts

Over the weekend I saw this suggestion for encouraging writers to write. Begin sentences with “I write of”. Here are some of my sentences from today:

I write of nature because it contains so much beauty, power, rhythm and a space for me from the pressing things of life.

I write of things quirky because I have a sense of humour and a curiosity that enjoys such things.

I write of the ordinary and the good to offer a balance against the glitz, hype and unpleasant that occurs in our world.

I write of the ordinary and good because I know the value that both offer to me and to others.

I write of simple traditions such as cooking for others, writing letters, gardening, knitting, singing in a group, walking, spending time with people we love and connect with.

I write of books simply because I love books.

I write of books because they have helped me in a myriad of ways throughout my life.

What do you write of?

Another prompt I found was over at http://concernedwithstory.wordpress.com was to write beginning with “Right now….”

So for me today, Monday 25th July 2011:

Right now I am very grateful for heating, warm clothing and warm food on such a cold day.

Right now I can see the birds enjoying the apples I have hung for them for winter food.

Right now I am pleased to have paid the bills and grateful for having the money to pay them.

Right now I am wondering if my cat will increase his food intake.

Right now I am processing the information I received about a family member who served in WW2.

Right now I am thinking a lot about resilience and the notes I made this afternoon.

Right now I am pleased to have fixed the errors in the socks I am knitting my grandson.

Right now I have meal preparation to do so I am off to begin that:-)

When I ran self awareness groups I would use a “Right now” exercise at the beginning of the session to help clear the immediate, scattered stuff that was “on top” for participants. Once this happened, focus was easier for everyone in the group.

Writing “right now” sentences offers me similar but different clearing, focus and more.

I’d be interested in your discoveries from writing some “Right Now” sentences.

Garlic and Gumboots

Saturday dawned sunny, mild and windfree so with the shortest day just behind us I decided to plant my garlic. I had prepared the tubs a few weeks earlier to allow the sheep pellets, lime, compost, bulb food and dry all purpose plant food to simmer away in the weather in order for the soil to be ready for the bulbs.

I have two tubs for garlic this year. One is planted with elephant garlic and the other with ordinary garlic. The beauty of elephant garlic is that small bulblets form off the head which can be planted next season to produce more large, tasty heads. My two elephant garlic heads this summer yielded 13 bulblets…..a kind of elephant family herd size I reckon. I have planted all 13 bulblets so I expect to have masses of elephant herds next summer

I prefer the cloves of elephant garlic. They are large and their papery skin is easily pealed. One clove is often enough for the dish I am cooking. The taste is somewhat milder and nuttier than ordinary garlic. The stalks and flowers are pretty impressive in height and size too.

“Garlic used as it should be used is the soul, the divine essence, of cookery. The cook who can employ it successfully will be found to possess the delicacy of perception, the accuracy of judgment, and the dexterity of hand which go to the formation of a great artist.” – Mrs. W. G. Waters
I’m not sure that my cooking with garlic reaches the heights of great artistry as Mrs Waters says it will but it is really satisfying to know that growing garlic to cook can contribute to the soul and divine essence of cookery. That has to be good for us.

While the weather was fine and dry on Saturday we have had plenty of rain and the grass is sodden. So later in the day it was gumboots time while we trimmed trees and did some general tidying up in the garden. Thank goodness for gumboots as they keep your feet warm and dry but there is also something very satisfying in sloshing about in gumboots. It is probably a memory from childhood when gumboots allowed you the freedom to jump in puddles, wade through shallow streams, mess about in mud and enjoy different sensory experiences on the ground.

We even have a quirky, comic song about Gumboots here in New Zealand, written by John Clarke. Here is the chorus and a verse:

“If it weren’t for your gumboots, where would ya be?
You’d be in the hospital or infirmary
‘coz you would have a dose of the ‘flu, or even pleurisy
If ya didn’t have yer feet in yer gumboots.

Now there’s rugby boots and racing boots, and boots for drinkin’ rum.
But the only boots I’m never without, are the ones that start with “gum”.
I’ve got short ones and long ones, and some up to me belt.
I’m never dressed ’till I’ve got on me gumboots.

If it weren’t for your gumboots, where would ya be?
You’d be in the hospital or infirmary
‘coz you would have a dose of the ‘flu, or even pleurisy
If ya didn’t have yer feet in yer gumboots.”