LARRY MY LETTUCE IS NOT AS DUMB AS I THINK HE IS

Larry

I’ve known Larry since he was a seedling. I’ve nurtured him like he was one of the family and although it’s true that I always planned to eat him that doesn’t excuse his current behaviour.

reading bench

With the onset of the warm weather Larry began to grow quickly and a week or so ago I inadvertently left a bottle of salad dressing on the table. Well by the next day his size had rapidly increased and he had befriended these two flower buddies.

the threeflowers

The three of them are as thick as a hedge and have taken over my reading bench. There’s hardly any room for me to rest my coffee when enjoying a book and I can feel them collectively waving their leafage at me. I feel intimidated, bullied and generally apprehensive.

When I sit in the lounge room enjoying a bit of television I know they are staring at me. As a result I’ve been forced to lock the balcony door and at night I leave the deck light on just to be safe.

He pretends he’s a flower and I reckon he probably thinks he’ll escape the salad bowl if he hangs around with these guys. I don’t get fooled that easy. I can tell green from blue and I know his frilly ruffled leaves are meant for munching.

Trying to see his side of the argument I went to the ultimate authority, yes Wikipedia, and as it turns out Larry the Lettuce isn’t as dumb as I thought he was. Apparently Larry the Lettuce is an annual plant of the daisy family. Yes a DAISY!!!

He’s doing my head in. Is he a flower or is he a meal?

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ABUNDANT STRAWBERRIES

Hunting and gathering is an ancestral thing in my family and as a result, I myself, have long been a contemporary hunter gatherer, fisherman, supermarket shopper and agricultural producer. I rely heavily on this foraging activity and trips to the supermarket  to maintain my independent existence.

Way up on the balcony of my 2nd floor apartment I have become self-sufficient. It’s not a big deal this growing of strawberries because on the world scale, Australia is the 28th largest strawberry producer by volume, with the USA, Spain and Japan being the top three .

There are nearly 600 producers of strawberries in Australia and I’m the smallest of those.

But as you can see I rank very high in production efficiency, producing at least 11 strawberries off one plant, in one small tub, on one small table, on one small deck, in a suburb with a population of 1660 which does not even exceed its post code number, which is 2219.

Surely a highpoint for any above ground apartment gardener is eating your own berries, the ones you have nurtured yourself, they just taste sweeter. I love their herbaceousness, their ground-hugging habits and of course who can walk past their simple five-petalled blooms.

If only ice cream grew in the garden then I’d have the perfect present in a pot plant.

I’M OVER THE MOON FOR NUTELLA PIZZA

I went out for dinner with friends last Saturday night. We slipped over to Randwick, a suburb of Sydney to an Italian restaurant called Prima Luna.

I had a great time, as usual, and I really enjoyed my meal. For the main I had Rotolo di pollo con spinaci e fetta which is slow cooked chicken breast roll.

It’s filled with spinach and fetta cheese and comes with rosemary sauce, roasted potatoes and vegetables. It was just yummy.

But what was really great was the desert.

I shared a Nutella Pizza. Yes a pizza.

It’s a pizza base topped with Nutella, fresh Strawberries & Vanilla Gelato. It was just beautiful.

I lifted up my first slice. The warm melted Nutella caressed my mouth. The soft white creamy rich vanilla gelato made my lips gleam and the red flesh of the plump heart-shaped strawberries filled my palate with a burst of sweet succulent flavour.

I joyously ate more than my fair share and it was to be one of the most delicious deserts I’ve ever had.

I’m now totally addicted. I’m going to try to make a Nutella and ice cream sandwich.

PLUMP, RIPE AND SHIRT-STAINING

 

I am now a punnet pundit.  This palette of fresh berries brought summer into my life. I stare at the berry delights and have warm dreams of kind tender hands spending fruitful hours in romantic fields picking delicious strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries.

Usually berries become jams, pies, tarts, mousses, flummeries, scones and pastry-topped desserts including muffins and bagels. Today they are fresh and I decide to eat them with my fingers and not only appreciate the aroma and taste but to indulge myself in observing nature’s expression of colour, art and beauty.

The scarlet hue of strawberries, the crimson of the raspberries, the dusty blue and purple blueberries and blackberries, the golden-yellow of the pineapple, the soft green of the melon dew, the translucent grapes and the strong purplish red of the cherries need little encouragement to be transformed into a magical plate.

I am nourished both in mind and body by this fine offering of colourful fresh fruit.

THE FESTIVAL OF THE TOMATO

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I noticed on my friend Ronelle’s beautiful blog myfrenchkitchen that it was recently the Festival de la tomate 2009 in her part of France. 

As usual she gives great coverage to the event with wonderful pictures wrapped up with truly romantic descriptions.

I worship tomatoes and have always tried to live my life by this well known tomato creed.

“Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad. (Miles Kington).”

BAR AMALFI. OUT TO LUNCH OR AM I CRAZY

light lunch

Monday and it’s back to work. What’s for lunch? I realise it’s a bit late but I still feel hungry. I never know what I want for lunch and always make a spontaneous choice when I’m at the serving counter.

There are so many questions. White? brown? Wholemeal? Butter? Margarine? Salt? Pepper? And the questions go on and on, and that’s before the main ingredients are mentioned. I usually find it’s easier to give in and agree with the person making the sandwich. They seem to know what a person who looks like me wants for lunch.

Today it was a snack which exhibits no airs, haughtiness, or showiness. To say it was modest is an understatement. At Bar Amalfi today I had the most relaxed and unassuming of meals, a toasted wholemeal, buttered salted and peppered cheese, tomato and avocado melt.  My choice involved both social as well as economic factors. The social factor was that I didn’t want to share it with my friend so it had to be filling but not excessive in size, and economic because I’ve decided I’m going to live on a budget so $5 was the limit.

The luncheon was precisely what I wanted and it sustained my mind and spirit: I always laugh when I say I’m “out to lunch” because it probably means I’m not in touch with the real world; and if I think I can still afford to buy lunch in today’s economic climate then I might even be crazy.