Updated: Aug 15
This morning I woke to the chorus of the Bushman's Clock. A mix of cackling laughter, chuckles and hoots, I do love the sound of a laughing kookaburra at dawn. After a few sunny days I wondered whether they were letting me know that the rains were coming back or maybe they were just marking out a territorial fence line for their family. In any case it was a pleasant way to be woken from the depths of my slumber.
It is not often that I will start off my correspondence by talking about a movie, however for any of those that have not already seen it I can highly recommend setting aside time to watch CODA, playing on Apple TV. I didn’t know that CODA was an acronym for Child of Deaf Adults and this is what is portrayed in the story of Ruby Rossi, the titular child of deaf adults, and the only hearing member of the family; her parents Frank and Jackie, and older brother, Leo, are all deaf and rely heavily upon Ruby to help out with the family fishing business and as an interpreter in their everyday lives. Because of the nature of her family, Ruby is ostracised at school. She loves to sing and decides to audition for the school choir when she notices her crush, Miles is also signing up. The choir teacher “Mr V” discovers her beautiful singing voice, which previously had only fallen on deaf ears, and pairs Ruby up with Miles for a duet at the upcoming choir recital. Later on “Mr V” encourages Ruby to audition for his alma mater, Berklee College of Music, and offers her private lessons to help her prepare, however he becomes increasingly frustrated when she is constantly late as she tries to juggle her commitments to the family business and the need to interpret for them alongside her commitment to singing practice. She decides to forgo her dream to attend Berklee College and to join the family business full time, however this all comes to an abrupt halt after Ruby’s family attend her choir recital, and whilst they can’t hear her sing, they notice the positive reception from the rest of the audience. As a result, her father decides that she should pursue her dream and the family drive her to Boston to audition for Berklee. Ruby’s family sneak onto the balcony for her audition and when she sees her family she grows in confidence and appreciation for their support for something they cannot hear. Your emotions will spill over when she begins to sign the words as she sings the second verse of Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now, echoing the complete love between both sides of the family. This rendition will leave you touched beyond words and wiping away a tear or two. The adjudicators surmise the family situation and Ruby is later accepted into Berklee. The family return to their fishing business where the hearing workers have been learning sign language, which enables them to communicate with and interpret for the family. A truly beautiful and heartwarming story that shines a light on an often marginalised group of society.
If CODA is not your jam and you are looking for something a little more comedic you can’t go past the popular Bollywood movie 3 Idiots, now showing on Netflix. A story about two friends Farhan and Raju who embark on a quest to find their long lost buddy Rancho who they met at Delhi’s Imperial College of Engineering, the movie follows their travels to find their friend, whilst also flashing back to the shenanigans of their school years. It also highlights the importance of creativity and passion above grades and knowledge when reaching for your dreams. A truly funny movie with an important message.
There is something cathartic about cooking on a wintery day, especially when it is a heartfelt activity and currency of love for your family. This week I have been busy cooking soup, chicken soup for the soul, first for two members of my family that have finally succumbed to COVID, and also for my significant other who contracted the flu at a family birthday celebration, all of them needing a healthy immune boosting bowl of goodness. Whenever I make chicken soup I feel nostalgic. Fondly known as papas penicillin when I was growing up, my dad would make a hearty bowl of chicken soup to nurture me when I was feeling a little under the weather. The steam from the soup would clear my nostrils, the flavour from the spices would bring my tastebuds back to life, and the salty broth would sooth my scratchy throat, however it was the love that went into making it that would make me feel better. I hope the recipients this week could feel that love when they eagerly slurped it down. It was good soup, made from a slow simmered broth packed with chicken bones that was gelatinous and healing, turmeric and ginger to reduce inflammation and fight against bad bacteria, garlic for natural antibodies, immune boosting and flavour enhancing herbs and spices and a whole lotta love. Good enough to kick those pesky viruses to the curb even if I do say so myself.
Immune boosting chicken soup
Another focaccia experiment to dunk in the soup. This one is rosemary and sea salt, and after hearing about a savoury hand milled wheat sourdough of fenugreek and sesame at A.P Bakery on top of Paramount House, I’m thinking these might be the next flavours I experiment with on my focaccia journey. Apparently these flavours are quite delicious served with warm salted butter and a sweet jam or honey.
Rosemary and sea salt focaccia
And lemon, passionfruit and honey gut gummies to soothe a sore throat.
Honey, lemon and passionfruit gummies
On my reading list are two new novels, the first, Sunbathing by Australian author Isobel Beech about a grief stricken girl who travels from Melbourne to Altino, a small rural town in Italy to heal after the death of her father (it's the combination of melancholy and the setting in Italy that grabs my attention). The second is The Registrar by Neela Janakiramanan which offers a rare insight into the world of an up and coming surgeon and her patients in a broken hospital system.
After listening to the latest Highly Enthused Podcast I’m also lusting after Sian Redgrave’s neon green Cavolo Nero Rigatoni, a palatable kale pesto made with blanched cavallo nero and garlic, and blended with shavings of Parmesan cheese, a glug of olive oil, salt and pepper, and then emulsified in the pan with butter, soy sauce and finishing vinegar, before adding al dente pasta and extra Parmesan. If this description has you salivating you can find the recipe on her Instagram @sian_redgrave where it is saved in her highlights.
I’m keen to watch a film, also recommended on the Highly Enthused Podcast called The Worst Person in the World, a Norwegian film set in Oslo and directed by Joachim Trier, described as an existential tragicomedy, it gives an insight into what a young messy millennial goes through in grappling with their identity and what they want to do with their lives. A comedy with tragedy and some laugh out loud ridiculously funny moments. This was the movie that catapulted Renate Reinsve, the lead actress to fame just before she was about to give up on her acting career. It is available on Stan or to rent on Apple TV.
Last but not least, for a quick snack I’m seeking out a Taiwanese brand of sun dried, as opposed to deep fried, handmade instant noodles called Kiki, available in both Szechuan pepper or scallion flavour. These can be purchased at some Asian grocery stores or online here.
Until next time may your days be both serendipitous and enjoyable.
PS. Unashamedly I might have scoffed one of these down whilst writing this newsletter….
Buttery croissant filled with lemon curd and toasted meringue from Flour Shop, Turramurra