This month marks one year since I started writing Cooking From The Heart (with a post on spanakopita strangely enough). Starting this blog has given me a gentle push to continue exploring recipes and ingredients that would have otherwise ended up on the ‘one day’ list.
It’s reinforced for me the idea that the enjoyment and experience gained by cooking and sharing food is much like a savings account. For every deposit you make (trying a new recipe or ingredient, or learning a new skill), your account of confidence and memories grows. You can spend that experience at any time and, unlike a savings account, you don’t suffer the loss of any investment. In fact the more you share, the more you get back in return – perhaps the term ‘compound cooking’ is appropriate?
Sienna’s kindergarten class has been learning about planning and building projects, so it was with much excitement when she announced her first ever homework project would be planning on making sushi. I may or may not have beamed with pride from the inside out.
I’ve wanted to make stuffed zucchini flowers since the first time I tasted them at an Italian restaurant in Leichhardt many, many years ago. They used to be so hard to come by at the shops and then every time they were around I wasn’t sure what else I needed to make them. Well, I could have used just the flowers without any stuffing, but in my books that would be like eating empty cannoli.
OK, so I am making my way through some homemade goodness this year. So far I’ve mastered yoghurt, labna, jam & scones and ramen. Now I can add ricotta to the list. Man, oh man! I can’t quite believe I’ve waited this long to discover homemade ricotta. I don’t know why I was so surprised to discover that ricotta made by hand tastes and looks a million times better than the stuff I’ve been buying at the supermarket. And it’s so, so easy to make.
There is a little park in my neighbourhood hidden along a laneway. The back fences of surrounding houses border three sides of the park and the entrances from the main roads at either end of the laneway are disguised to look like the driveway of a house. It’s only the residents within several blocks who are aware of its existence.
The tired look of the park makes it seem as if even the local council is unaware of it. The only clues to confirm Council knows of its presence are that the lawns are mowed every six weeks and the rubbish bin is emptied on a Monday morning. The play equipment and seating is dirty and worn out. The log fence along the laneway fell over long ago and boring tag graffiti features along the backyard fences. At the far end the ground dips down into a hollow and someone had dumped broken chucks of concrete as fill.