New York New York


Some people say “Home is where the heart is” however that causes conflict for me. My heart belongs to my family like most of us but my family is not in the place where my heart sings. Now that I have returned from my American tour I know that it is not just travelling that I enjoyed when I lived in France it was France itself. I enjoyed New York and Washington and I think I could live in New York but it does not feel the way I felt when I was in Paris or France. Do you think it is possible to have stored memories in your genes? Is this why I feel so right when I am in France? God knows I will never be french, as much as I try.

It was my first time to “The Big Apple” and I was filled with impressions from TV shows and movies where New York seemed to be a formidable place that only some people would be able to conquer. However it was quite the opposite. It was easy to navigate and the people were so friendly and helpful. I enjoyed my interludes with the local people. One day we were walking through Chelsea trying to find the Magnolia Bakery when a very nicely dressed older woman asked if she could help us. We ended up talking about how she had lived in the area most of here life and that she was the last of her family in New York.

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Magnolia Bakery was crowded when we found it and the window was full of cakes that had that home baked look. I joined the queue and ordered some cupcakes to try. They were moist and the icing was the best part.

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With icing on our lips we decided to keep walking and discover what else was in the area. The streets were so pretty with tulips flowering. The weather was just right, cool but not too cold.  I loved the way you see so many dogs going for walks with their owners and dog walkers. Lots of them were “muts” too. They weren’t as keen as Australians on designer breeds and pedigrees. Being an animal lover I stopped and talked to people about their pets. This one named Smudge, was especially wonderful.

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One of my favourite things to do when travelling is checking out the local produce. We walked to Dean and Deluca and Eataly and enjoyed finding many things we do not have in Australia. Look at these juicy green fern-like vegetables! They are called fiddleheads and are only available fresh in Spring. You can use them like any other green vegetable and serve with pasta or in a salad.

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And how about fresh Garbanzo beans! They are also know as chickpeas and can be eaten fresh from the pod. I have never tasted fresh chickpeas and how good did they taste! I wished I had a kitchen so I could go home and cook with all the amazing things we saw. I got the impression most people in New York eat out or buy something ready made like in Paris. The choices were unbelievable and lots of healthy options.

New York certainly is an amazing city with so much to discover, I look forward to telling more about my adventures in the next post.

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Roasted Vegetable Soup


I first wrote about his soup when I was travelling through France and it is still a family favourite now. I have to spoken to Kelly Higgins-Devine on 612ABC Radio about how easy soups are to prepare and how the roasted vegetables give it that extra delicious taste.

We are half way through our trip now. The thought of it ending fills me with trepidation. I love being here. Paris makes my heart sing.

I have enjoyed the short trips to other places but when we return to our little apartment in St Germain, I am happiest. Even though my apartment in Brisbane has a modern kitchen with many more gadgets, not once have I missed them. It is strange how you want things and then later realise they haven’t really made the impact on your life you thought they would.

The markets are one of the things about Paris that bring me great joy. I know we have markets in Brisbane and they are great, but here there is one within walking distance of most places.  I have bought a “chariot-course”  to carry my purchases. Everyone has one here so you don’t have to be concerned about your image. The weather here means that you can walk there, take your time purchasing anything your heart desires and on the way back I stop with the husba and have a coffee. This is another of my real joys in Paris. No not the coffee, it is pretty terrible most the time, it is people watching while I sit at cafés. I have included some of the wonderful things I have photographed while sitting at the café.

 

 

 

So this week it has turned cooler in Paris some days it is even cold. We have come home after buying way too much at the markets and I have thought, now what am I going to do with all of this.  The answer, a Roasted Vegetable Soup. Easy to make, full of goodness and delicious.

Roasted Vegetable Soup

Ingredients

Any vegetables you have on hand. I used potatoes, leeks, onion, garlic, beans, tomatoes,carrot and sweet potato.

About 4 cups makes enough soup for five.

4 tablespoons of olive oil

dried herbs of your choice, I used parsley and oregano

Salt and Pepper

1 litre of Vegetable Stock

A nice fresh loaf of bread.

Method

Cut and peel all the vegetables and garlic into similar size pieces and place in a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and herbs, salt and pepper. Toss well. Place in an oven on 175 degrees and allow to roast until tender and golden.

Take all the vegetables out of oven and place in a large saucepan. Simmer on a low heat with vegetable stock. When vegetables are really soft mash with a potato masher. If you prefer your soup smooth you can blend it. I don’t have any gadgets like that at the moment.

Serve with a drizzle of oil and a crusty loaf of bread.

 

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Fresh Produce


(Competition Entry) Greengrocer Story

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For those of you who know me well, it will come as no surprise when I tell you that fresh fruit and vegetables are my inspiration. I base my meals on what is in season and I love walking around perusing the produce. When I find a fruit and vegetable shop like SuperFresh at Crows Nest that shares my passion, it is a wonderful experience. I know you can find all sorts of Greengrocers, they range from the very high end ones that display the produce like art and the original ones that have been the same for fifty years. I enjoy visiting all of these but SuperFresh at Crows Nest is within walking distance from where I live when I am in Sydney. Situated in Atchinson Street it has on-site parking and is often busy with customers. The residents from Crows Nest and surrounding areas come from many different cultural backgrounds and SuperFresh stocks all the fruit and vegetables they like to cook with from Bok Choy to Fennel, it’s all on the shelves.

The business is owned by a husband and wife team, Carmelo and Natalie Develi, and they have owned the business for a year and purchased it from Carmelo’s Uncle who had owned it for almost thirty five years. It has been in Italian/Australian hands all that time. When I walk in I often find Carmelo stacking the shelves and talking with customers, lamenting that the last of the figs have been sold. I listen and smile because I am the same and can tell what time of year it is by what’s on the shelves. I always seem to be asking for something before it’s in season and I’m excited to sample this years crop and cook with it. I enjoy buying Borlotti beans, Persimmons, Figs, Fennel, Feijola and all sorts of other produce that you don’t find everywhere. It’s the little things I notice like the cucumber’s have flowers on the end of them and zucchini too. That’s how you know this produce is fresh.

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There are lots of young people working behind the counter speaking to each other in Italian. It is almost too good to be true that over one side there is a deli and coffee shop where I can sit and have a coffee before walking back home.

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We are very lucky in Australia to enjoy some of the best produce I have ever tasted. Enjoying the simple routine things of life can make everyday so enjoyable and just like Carmelo enjoys working with his produce, I enjoy finding the best I can and cooking with it. I also believe in shopping with the independent greengrocers as much as possible. It’s better practice and better produce as far as I’m concerned. I like to have a personal relationship with my greengrocer and my butcher. Nothing better than walking into the store and being told they have kept something for me, knowing that I would appreciate the quality.

 

 

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