Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Winter is knocking

It's raining today.
I'm sure this is not a significant thing to note in many places, but this is Perth. For future readers that are not familiar with our little city, Perth is a city of the sun. This summer has been one of the longest I can remember, it actually feels like it has been 34+ degrees Celsius for the last 7 months straight. The months before, staying in the mid to high 20's and peaking at the height of the summer well into the 40's. We are a city bathed in Sun. After the end of summer it rains, everyone then stands around palms outstretched, eyes looking upward in a haze of confusion as if we have all forgotten what rain actually is. I love this city, but everything good about it seems to disappear in the wet season. Gardens never really recover from the drought season, so the view out the window is never too exciting. The traffic is worse because no one wants to take public transport and risk getting wet. Swimming pools turn green, late fees are finally paid off at DVD rental stores and bored dogs bark louder and longer.
At the beginning of every winter I envision myself rugged up on the couch in front of a fireplace with a bottle of red wine and a good book, unfortunately reality is not so picturesque. Our couch is vinyl and cold, red wine makes me sick, I barely have time for a page here and there (this is how I read books: I get to work 5 minutes early I get in two pages, quick toilet trip equals one page, lunch break at work, three. I'm lucky to get through a chapter a week) so actually sitting down long enough to read for even half an hour is a stretch. To top it off, most houses have cold tiled floors, and fireplaces? I haven't seen houses built with fireplaces since the 1960's.

It's raining today.

There is one thing I do like about winter....
The food.

Roasted meats with crispy baked potato's, Guinness stew, hot fresh crusty bread, pudding's, cooked breakfast, braised pork ribs, spicy meatloaf, slow cooked lamb shanks, laksa and hot noodle soups. My favorite food group comes well into season (green vegetables!), my teeth turn yellow from too many cups of hot scolding tea, all the things that don't make sense in summer come to life in a winters' kitchen.

I am inspired by the ways of old and the first touches of winter draw out my desires to pursue that which inspires me. How to bake bread. I am still yet to perfect the English roast. What I know in preserving can certainly be stretched. Yesterday I went to lunch with some friends who have most certainly mastered a good roast and made her promise to teach me. Having been reading 'A Year in Provence', I found myself flicking through a french cooking book and made these little beauties:

All I can say is, this winter I am determined to make the most of my kitchen.

Stuffed Baby Zucchini:
Pre-steam zucchini's, take out centre and fry in a little oil.
Add crushed garlic and fresh basil for last few minutes in frypan, 
then mix with fresh breadcrumbs, ricotta,
finely grated parmesan cheese,
currants and pinenuts.
Bake in hot oven till golden.

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