Replenishing springtime’s seed trays
Sydney’s summer-taunted springtime is playing havoc with the veggie patch. Parsley, which typically provides a steady supply throughout summer, is already growing like a weed and most of it has bolted; spring onions, which usually grow slowly skywards for weeks, are shooting fast and quickly going to seed; small, tender salad leaves have sudden growth spurts then turn bitter and bossy — crowding out all else around them; and seed trays — planted with a plethora of precious jewels — are relinquishing the fight to the heat and dryness and yielding nothing but the occasional weed. Seedlings that do survive are petulant and thirsty and, frankly, downright hard work.
Facing a one-day weekend (i’m working Sunday and my partner is away) on the tail-end of a tumultuous (and occasionally torturous) week, and confronting a difficult decision for which i don’t have an answer, i contemplated giving the morning the eye mask, ear plug, and head under the pillow treatment, rising only when I felt fit and fully rested. But with a cat and a couple of loads of laundry demanding attention i roused myself relatively early and got on with lonely one-day weekend life. It was the best thing i could have done: in fact, the most therapeutic. Continue reading
So what do you think about penalty rates in the hospitality industry? These are additional rates of pay that employers must legally pay staff for working outside so-called ‘normal’ hours. Penalty rates paid to hospitality staff include a 25 percent premium to work on a Saturday, and 50 percent premium on Sundays. Staff who work weeknight evenings are paid a 10 percent penalty between 10pm and 12am, and a 15 percent penalty between 12am and 7am. But are they are farce in today’s 24/7 society? Continue reading
A bequest china tea set still resides in the only home it has ever known.
When I look at you, I imagine tea parties with pretty cakes, cream scones and ladies, lipsticked and hair lacquered. I imagine a kettle whistling on a stove top, a hostess wearing a flowered apron tied at the waist and a coiffed 1950s hairstyle. I imagine the tinkle of teaspoons and the soft timbre of female chatter – and occasional peels of high-pitched laughter – from the sun-filled dining room beyond.
Other times I imagine a trio of diners – mother, father and young son – sitting down to a family meal of the roast meat and three veg variety served on your handsome dinner plates, followed by a pudding – or perhaps fruit salad – in your dainty dessert bowls. Continue reading
Getting down to business with a creme caramel in Auch, France.
It’s unsettling to come back to normality, when you’ve been galavanting around Europe for eight weeks having some of the best culinary experiences of your life. It’s unsettling to be back at work, sitting at a desk — or multiple desks (the wise ones at Fairfax have decided hot desking is the name of the game so we’ve become a workforce of wandering refugees, — forever without a home). It’s unsettling to look at your out-of-date blog and question if it’s worth continuing or throwing in the tea towel. The post-holiday plan is not to get bogged down with too much to do — to come up and smell the roses from time to time, which the wise one in our household points out i don’t do often enough. What to do? Life is a juggle. Continue reading
“Julio! Uno!” That was the waiter who greeted me at Barcelona’s Bar Cañete screeching my dining status to his colleague in the bowels of the restaurant, and indeed to the entire street. Fortunately, solo dining doesn’t bother me. As a food writer, it comes with the territory. And sometimes, frankly, I prefer eating alone. You see, I enjoy my own company. I’m quite good friends with me, and I’m exceptionally good friends with food, so our table always gets on like a house on fire: no bickering over who sits where, sulking over lack of menu options, or negotiations over who eats, or pays, what. Continue reading