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It's raining again, let's escape to the Amalfi Coast & go cooking.

It’s back to regular programming this week, cooking, market days, listening to podcasts, going to the movies and staying indoors! Why? Because it’s raining again!

I’ve heard it said that Sydney only has rain twice a week, it rains for three days and then it rains again for another four! Sydney is about to take over from Melbourne which previously lay claim to the most unpredictable weather. Whilst they say that Melbourne is known for having four seasons in one day, Sydney can now lay claim to having one season all year…known as the wet season! I have taken to approaching my daily walks with much trepidation, not because it’s wet, windy and cold, but because the footpaths have more lichen growing on them the ancient forests in The Ring of Kerry in Ireland, and I’m worried I’ll slip and end up with a bruised ego and a bruised backside!

I’ve decided that right now I’d like to be basking in the sunshine and sipping limoncello on the Amalfi Coast, at least in my dreams if not in person, which is why I’ve attempted to change Siri’s accent on my phone to Italian. Surely the Italian language must be one of the most romantic languages in the world? What is it that makes it so special compared to another Romance language like, let’s say French? Well maybe it’s because the language was created by artists - writers, poets and playwrights whose priorities were beauty and melody, rather than by government administrators developing an official language understandable by all of the French. Whilst each region of Italy has its own dialect, it was the Tuscan one that prevailed over the rest, evolving into the Italian we know today. The Tuscan Italian has the right balance between light and heavy sounds. Words like Cuore mio - my heart, amore - love, ti amero per sempre- I will always love you, are words and phrases you might hear used over a candle-lit dinner in the rolling hills of Italy. The words spoken emphatically with passion and emotion rolling off the tongue with such rhythm and romance and a dose of hand movements for good measure. You couldn’t argue that the swoon levels are off the charts?! Now where was I? Oh that’s right, dreaming of sunshine in Italia!

Memories of beautiful Ravello, Amalfi Coast, Italy

So what’s a girl of Italian heritage to do when she’s trapped inside because it’s too wet and dangerous to leave the house? Well cook, of course! Sticking to the Italian theme, making focaccia seems like a good place to start. I’ve never made focaccia before, which is surprising because it’s quite easy. When I was travelling back to Sydney last week after our road trip, I noted as we were travelling down the M1 motorway how few places there were to stop for a bite to eat. This got me reminiscing about road trips to the big smoke when I was a child when my Italian father would always prepare food for the trip and we would pull into a rest stop for a picnic. Always packed in the boot of the car was a homemade focaccia, made in a baking dish and wrapped in a tea towel to keep it fresh. It was so satisfying and delicious, the top often dotted with anchovies, olives, tomatoes, garlic or rosemary and sea salt. Recently I saw a story pop up on my Instagram feed and the focaccia reminded me of the one my dad made when I was a child. After enquiring, I learnt that the recipe was from @bonappetitmag and I made my very first focaccia. It was light, airy and delicious and brought back memories of my beautiful dad. You can find the recipe here.

Shockingly Easy No-Knead Focaccia

Whilst I’m still holidaying on the Amalfi Coast, the next thing I thought of that the Amalfi is known for was lemons. Wherever you are in Italy, you can count on an abundance of lemons because Italy has the perfect Mediterranean climate to grow them. Also known as sfusato Amalfitano, sfusato meaning spindle, presumably a reference to the lemons’ elongated shape, Amalfi lemons are an iconic symbol of Italy’s bountiful produce and have been coveted for over a thousand years for their sweet flavour and powerful citrus aroma. Lemons being cheap and abundant at the local market at the moment, I decided to buy some and use them to make into a lemon curd. Our local lemons being much less sweet than the Amalfi variety, I added some meadow honey to the curd, and with the addition of some grass fed gelatin, I turned the curd into lemon and honey curd gummies. These tangy little jelly snacks tasted like lemon pie and will bring a little sunshine to your day. You can find the recipe below.

125gms butter, cubed

⅓ cup meadow honey

4 farm fresh eggs,

zest of ½ lemon

Juice of 1 lemon

3 tbsp of grass fed gelatin

Combine all the ingredients in a heatproof bowl over a pot of boiling water. Whisk until butter has melted and continue whisking for a further 10 minutes until mixture has started to thicken. Remove from heat and place the bowl into cold water until it has cooled. Pour curd into molds and place in the freezer for around 30 mins. Remove from the freezer, pop the gummies out of the mold and store in the fridge for up to three weeks or until the gummies are eaten.

Lemon and honey curd gummies

On the weekend we ventured out, with our gumboots and puffer jackets on, to shop for fresh fruit and veggies at our local market in North Sydney. With the price of food escalating, we prefer to buy seasonal produce that is often picked fresh from the farm on the same day, whilst at the same time we know that the money is going direct to the farmer rather than to the bottom line of a large corporation that is most likely screwing the farmer on price. Afterwards we warmed up at our new local, Celsius Coffee on the wharf at Kirribilli as the rain continued to fall.

The ‘wet’ season in Sydney at Celsius Coffee, Kirribilli

And once more, as the rain bucketed down non stop on Sunday the only place to be was either at home in bed or sitting inside a warm movie theatre. After a delicious pumpkin and goats cheese toastie At Neutral we headed to the Art Deco Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace at Cremorne to see Baz Luhrmann’s, Elvis. The film explores the life and music of Elvis Presley seen through the prism of his complicated relationship with his manager Tom Parker. The movie stars Austen Butler playing Elvis in an outstanding performance in the lead role, Olivia de Jonge portrays his leading lady Priscilla, and Tom Hanks as his manager. Austin brings such incredible humanity and authenticity to the character as Elvis. Having lost his mum at the same age as Elvis he was almost destined to play the role. He makes Elvis a real human being who is very spiritual and unusual. The film is framed through the villain of the piece in his manager Tom Parker. The show is about jealousy and the tensions between the two that kill his spirit. Olivia de Jonge does a great job of portraying the femininity of Priscilla who finds a lot of strength in her softness.This balances out the masculine energy that is being thrown around in the film. All in all, a very spectacular movie.

On the box I have been watching The Dropout, the story of Holmes, the former CEO of a healthcare company that claimed to revolutionise the diagnosis of disease with a single blood test. Her deceit puts millions of lives at risk and she ends up losing everything.

I’m also watching The Twelve, a ten part Netflix series inspired by a true story, where twelve jurors must decide the outcome of the case of Fri Palmers, a woman accused of killing her best friend and her daughter eighteen years later.

Some recipes I have saved from the Interweb this week include

Hot chocolate gummies @jordiepieface

Roasted garlic and burrata toast with hot honey butter @bon__abbetit

Baked oats @wholenaturalkitchen

Raspberry & Chocolate O’Night Oats

Ginger, Lemon and Honey Cake @italyonmymind

Soba Noodle Salad @juliaostro

Chocolate and Strawberry Galette @panaceas_pantry

Meatless Meatballs @daisy_scoopwholefoods

Turkey and lentil rissoles @thegirlinthegreenapron

Potato Focaccia @juliaostro

Until next time may your days be both serendipitous and enjoyable.


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