22 June 2008

Tugging my cap

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.

Gertrude Stein

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?


Anonymous said...

Nice piece Sticky.
For me its gotta be a thick sort of soup, like pea & ham or a minestrone like number, with heaps of bread & lashings of butter.
Or a braise, heaps of mash etc.
For afters, steamed pudd, hot custard or apple pie. Cliched all I know but what can you do, its winter!

Lucy said...

Lovely. Evocative.

They ARE stunning.

Slow-cooked bean dishes, luscious vegetal gratins is my winter kitchen rythmn.

Here's to longer hours of light.

purple goddess said...

slow braised lamb shanks.

pumpkin soup.

le swoon

Anonymous said...

Whenever I drive to visit my parents in the hills, I always make sure my passenger is looking out for these mushrooms by the roadside. There are some areas that are great for them, but no one will tell you their secret locations :)

In winter, I love a creamy, cheesy risotto.