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Newsletter 73 – I Have Been travelling

I Have Been Travelling

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Tony at Trentham

Firstly to Trentham to see how my friend Tony Tan was getting on. Two years into his new life as a country gentleman and first-time gardener and carer of chickens he is enjoying life and enthusiastically preparing to hold cooking classes soon in his purpose-renovated  spaces.

It is always an absolute treat to be looked after by Tony. Such delicious things we ate. Tony was astonished I had never discovered rice cakes. Soft and squishy like pasta…

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Newsletter 72 – Marvellous March in Marvellous Melbourne has now slipped away!

A rainy afternoon. It is many months since I have watched the rain fall for most of the day and happily it has coincided with a day I had set aside as Recovery Day after three weeks of in-studio photographic shoots for my new book.  Exciting and scary to taste my creations be cooked by two splendid cooks (thanks Jenny and Ben) and then become beautiful photographs under the talented hands of Carolyn Velik and Armelle Habib.  To know that only I could change the quantities and method, and know that only I will be held responsible if the recipes do not work for a fabled, but often-quoted Mrs Jones.  Now the text has left my hands after I made some minute adjustments and I must wait…

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Newsletter 71 – Summer holiday with the girls

Shoreham beach

It only took an hour and a half from Melbourne to be in holiday mode. A friend recommended that we lunch at Ocean Eight winery until our Airbnb house was ready for us. A splendid suggestion. We picked a beautiful spot under a gum tree and unloaded our camping chairs, low table and even spread a Turkish towel as an elegant cloth and to stop our wine glasses sliding. The buttery Chardonnay was a splendid match for the plate of spiced St Helen’s oysters recommended by owner Mike Aylward. The rest of the family pulled up minutes later and we tucked into steamed prawn and ginger dumplings, and soft spring rolls, expertly prepared by Bia Hoi BBQ.

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Newsletter 70 – Hope springs eternal

Before embracing the new year I have to linger a little on my delightful Christmas. (Isn’t this red tea-tree beautiful?) ‘It is now part of family tradition’ I was told by the 5-year old granddaughter that she stays with me and Santa miraculously finds her. And he did too and there were lots of presents, and an Elsa braid and loads of paper. And then the family gathered.

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Newsletter 69 – I have had a BIG birthday

Stephanie Alexander 's 80th birthday

I know I announced there would not be another newsletter until the Covid emergency was over. Well none of us imagined that we would still be waiting for that moment into November. Melbourne calendar milestones took place as never before – the Grand Final in Brisbane and Cup Day without crowds.

However, on schedule Spring has sprung and this morning I was overwhelmed with the beauty of the sun on the new leaves, the shine on the back of the young blue-tongued lizard that takes a sunbath on the paving, the flash of two rainbow lorikeets swinging in the golden blossoms of the grevillea, and then to cap it off I had a kookaburra sitting in an old gum tree just a few metres from my door. Well I tried to take pictures of all three wild creatures but they were too clever and at the first squeak of my door they were gone.

To read more, subscribe to the Cook’s Companion Club. You’ll be sent an immediate email with links to my current and past newsletters.