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Hanging With The Wrong Crowd

I am, utterly, a creature of the seasons. Spring feels like the long stretch after an afternoon nap, and I find myself daydreaming about pinks and greens, contemplating bolts of linen that will be sewn into summer suits, rummaging about in the suitcases for cotton cardigans and short sleeve blouses that will be washed and dried on the back balcony in anticipation.

Summer is about painted toe nails and sashaying about in favourite floral frocks. Drinking a glass of pinot by the Harbour with Mr Tall Dark and Handsome, watching the tourists from the day’s monster liner moored at The Quay scatter like ants, blinking in the harsh summer light. Brushing the remnants of sand from your skin and the taste of salt on your lips from an afternoon spent floating on the skin of the sea, or the smell of rain on the concrete as the evening rain washes away the blistering humidity of another 40 degree day.

I have a love/hate relationship with This City, but I struggle to hate it in summer. Despite the humid nights that make sleep impossible, December is when I really thank The Universe that I was lucky enough to be born in this country. The joy of Christmas morning as children race neighbourhood streets on new pushbikes, squealing with delight. Taking the whole of January off, to laze about with summer books and endless afternoons of doing nothing, hopscotching the puddles of frangipani fallen on the footpath and the early morning Magpie song; I truly do not want to be anywhere else.

January disappears in the blink of an eye, and February is when the Australian work year really starts. Before we know it March is here (yipee for March) and the sun starts rising a little later. All of a sudden you find yourself pulling a cotton cardi across your shoulders, or paddling about your floorboards in folded-over cotton socks. The leaves quietly fade as autumn red slowly seeps into their veins.

And I find, in these early Autumn days, my thoughts turning to food. And I’m not talking about the quick fix of smoked salmon on light as air crackers, or home grown tomatoes with chopped up basil and a grind of black pepper. I’m talking about Autumn food and I find myself spending the early evening browning chicken pieces or braising beef, pouring home made stock into cast iron pots, chopping vegetables and shredding herbs and letting it bubble away until the golden afternoon turns pink and orange and your tummy tells you it’s time to lift the lid and see how it all turned out.

Food has become obscenely fashionable in this city of show-offs, and I find my cheeks turning pink at the thought of writing about food – the world hardly needs another food blogger telling you all about the latest food fad. I’ve never been a follower of anything, and I’m hardly going to start now. What I’m interested in is educating myself in all the stuff I don’t know, trying ingredients I’ve never tried before, or trying things in ways I’ve never imagined.

And, as I have my days to myself at the moment, it’s the kitchen I keep returning to. Either to leaf through reference books contemplating the seasonality of food, or to flick through the newest glossy magazine, which adds to the repertoire. Blogs, for better or worse, are a diary of days, a peek inside otherwise unknown lives. They are an extraordinary way of connecting with people whose paths we might never cross in the real world. At the risk of appearing to be yet another foodie wannabe, I hope you’ll come back, break bread and perhaps share what things are filling your belly and possibly replenishing your soul right now.

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