The earth is the earth as a peasant sees it,
the world is the world as a duchess sees it,
and anyway a duchess would be nothing
if the earth was not there as the peasant sees it.
There is a sharp chill in the air that makes my nose feel brittle. I feel ice in the small of my back and my breath draws a kaleidoscope of steamy patterns before me. I picture my fluffy orange Australian alpaca blanket and look forward to its embrace as the darkness quickly creeps in to draw to the end, the shortest day. It is Yuletide in Australia.
Though some habitually say that things get better from herein, I look deep into the tunnel that represents two more months of winter and uncover my repertoire of heart warming meals for my beloved - who still exercises outdoors in the frosty elements. In my tiny kitchen this is often a juggling act between rib sticking rich braises, rustic stodge and Asian chilli dishes. My pressure cooker is rarely in the cupboard and my claypot is unearthed.
So in the midst of piling on more layers of clothes, I eagerly embrace the mushroom season. At the start of winter I look forward to the appearance in the markets of the Pine Forest Mushroom or Saffron Milk Cap, a type of fungi said to have been imported into Australia from Latvia. They grow as the name suggests under Pine trees and in season when driving around the country roads in the Daylesford area, I have spotted people jumping out of their cars to go and forage for them. And they're stunning, don't you think? I even find the green blemishes and bruises beautiful.
These ones pictured above will be devoured simply with some fresh herbs on creamy polenta. We usually partner them with blanched nettles, but this weekend I left my run a little late to get some. Instead there will be one of Winnie & Mal's Black Welsh beef Jack Horner sausages each and some watercress. My definition of Winter heaven.
Which dish personifies winter to you?