I’m just back from RWAustralia and, as usual, it was a weekend full of the 3 L’s. Love, laughter and learning. Full of catching up and networking and replenishing the well.
And Sydney sparkled in an all its winter sunshiney glory. Although, it was kinda cold outside despite the deceptive sunshine….
The Wenworth Hotel is a grand old beauty full of art deco loveliness including the most amazing chandeliers in all the publice spaces. They were stunning and I reckon I took about 500 pics of them while I was there!
The food was pretty good too.
And there was even some Karaoke!
Not to mention some very interesting day time content about consent and romance’s responsibility in the age of #metoo And a interesting talk about naming our, ummmm, lady parts… ?
And glamour and parties and fun, of course!
But now its back to reality and the WIP, refreshed and raring to go again after a weekend with my tribe.
I rely on the internet for information. A lot. More than I should. That was brought home to me when I opened a cabinet door I rarely use and saw a familiar sight: my mom’s handwriting peeking out of an old wooden recipe box.
I pulled the box down and opened the lid, and I was swept away on a wave of nostalgia. My mom has been gone for almost sixteen years and yet seeing her handwriting was so…her. I recognized it immediately. And it made me think. Have I done that for my children? Will they be able to one day look at something like a recipe and see the essence of who I was?
I don’t know. And that makes me sad. If I want to find a recipe nowadays, my first instinct isn’t to go to that treasured box. Instead, I go online and try to find the best of the best of that recipe. How many positive reviews has it gotten? What hints do the reviewers give for making the recipe even better?
And once I’ve made that recipe, I’d be hard-pressed to be able to find it again. How have I come to this point and why? Maybe because I think it’s faster. But what about future generations of my family? Am I losing something in the process?
It could be that it’s time for me to slow down and leave a trail of breadcrumbs so that my children can find their way back to me. Don’t they deserve the same bits and pieces like the ones my mom left me?
I think they do. So I’m going to start thinking a little more about the way I do things. And hopefully one day, my kids will find a treasured recipe or a journal or a photo album that contains my handwriting.
Do you have a special way of passing something down to your kids or relatives? I would love to hear it. Or maybe there’s a special recipe you’d like to share. This is the perfect place! I’m taking notes.
I love food. In fact, it’s my favourite pastime. Pizza, pasta, cheese, cakes, biscuits, seafood, roasts (preferably with Yorkshire pud), seafood; Indian, Mexican, Thai, Vietnamese, French, Spanish… You name it, I’ll eat it.
But ‘celebration’ food is the kind I love best. Whether you’re celebrating for personal, religious, cultural or family reasons, those are the times you’re feasting with people you love, building traditions.
For example, my birthday is the only day of the year I stand a chance of getting my I-am-so-over-the-kitchen mother to make me a winter lemon cake. This cake – a delight of airy white sponge, lemon curd and cream – is so delicious, my siblings and I have been known to erupt into spontaneous physical dispute whilst comparing slice sizes.
In the lead up to Christmas, my Australian half begins salivating at the thought of a visit to the Sydney Fish Market, while my Italian half begs for a roast leg of pork. And of course there’s gingerbread, plum pudding, fruit mince tarts, and so on. Yum, yum, yum.
Halloween is generally not celebrated here in Australia, but does that stop me from going on a search for candy corn? No, it does not! And if I can find a packet of black cat lollies while I’m on the hunt, all the better.
Being Australian doesn’t stop me from thinking about pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. Nor did it stop me fasting during Ramadan alongside my Muslim colleagues when I was living in the Middle East, when my favourite Iftar treat was qatayef – delicious light pancakes filled with sweet cheese, dates, nuts or coconut.
I’m thinking about celebration food at the moment because Easter is approaching – and my food of choice for Easter is the hot cross bun. Every year from March 1 until Easter Sunday I am a woman on a mission, scouring bakeries to find the very best of them – and those suckers sell out fast, so I have to be on my toes during this odyssey.
Now, there are plenty of arguments for what constitutes a good hot cross bun. Your plain, humble bun, studded only with sultanas/raisins/currants? Should they include a smattering of mixed peel as well? What about chocolate chips? Last year, I even found a sticky date and caramel version. Now, I’ve always been a bit of a purist – plain and simple please, hold the fancy extras – but have recently been seduced by the addition of dried apricots, and it’s got me thinking about whether I would be equally susceptible to cranberries and cherries.
I’ve decided there is only one thing that’s a definite no-no: eating buns with sultanas year-round in some kind of faux hot cross bun binge. For one thing, any aficionado knows they’re nothing without the cross on the top. And for another… Well, what would be the fun in that?
It’s a bit like ANZAC biscuits, which, yes, you can buy and eat all year… But for me, there’s nothing quite like digging out my trusty old Commonsense Cookery Book on the day itself – ANZAC Day, April 25 – then donning my baking apron and getting stuck into it from scratch.
For those who don’t know, ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps – which gives me a perfect opportunity, as an Aussie, to give a shout out to New Zealander and fellow Harlequin medical and Kiss author Louisa George, who was last week announced as a finalist in the Romance Writers of America 2015 RITA awards!
I have two new titles out this month – The Millionaire’s Proposition (Harlequin Presents) and Wanting Mr Wrong (Random Romance) – but since I’m talking about food, I’ve decided to take this opportunity to instead show off the cover of one of my earlier romantic comedies, Here Comes the Bridesmaid, because its heroine, Sunshine Smart, is a self-confessed carnivore and sugar addict.
I’d love to hear what your favourite food occasion is. Meanwhile, I’m going to go and pop a hot cross bun in the oven.
Happy Easter everyone!
Can she make organising her friend’s wedding any harder?
1. Sunshine Smart has only got two months until the big day! 2. She has to include the grouchy, surly Best Man, Leo Quartermaine – a top chef and her complete opposite! 3. Said Best Man is extremely handsome & sexy – and knows it! 4. He has no interest in décor, flowers, clothes or shoes…but has an uninformed opinion on all four! 5. And just a few days in, she’s already slept with him…Rookie mistake…