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The sweet life and things Italian

Petrichor! I love the sound of this word and the joy that it brings. El Niño has delivered everything it promised this summer and in Sydney it has been wet. We’ve had rain, lots of rain, and even more rain. However, the one thing we can look forward to that emanates after a long dry spell and before the rain sets in, is the perfume of the earth, or petrichor, the smell generated when the humidity increases before it rains and fills the pores of the earth with tiny amounts of water. A unique odour occurs when the blood of the stone or petrichor is released into the air, and is accelerated when the actual rain arrives and makes contact with the earth, spreading the scent of the earth's oil into the wind. Even better than the petrichor released before the rain, is the petrichor emitted after the rain, especially the invigorating scent that emanates from the lawn when the grass gets mowed. That’s Petrichor personified and it’s the one thing I truly look forward to after the rain has gone.

Like many people, I love a good podcast. Podcasts open up my mind to a lot of things I didn’t know that I was interested in. When I listen to podcasts I learn things and I enjoy the company of others. When I listen to people being interviewed about their lives, their successes, their failures, their discoveries, their travels, the food they cook, the things they enjoy, I often feel like I am part of the conversation. It’s like meeting up with a special friend for a cup of tea and a chat, without actually meeting up in person. I enjoy the stories and the storytelling. Whether that be learning about ‘Why standing is more tiring than walking’ on the BBC Crowd Science podcast, the shortcomings of Alain de Bottom on the How to Fail with Elizabeth Day podcast, Flight of Fancy with all the latest tips and tricks for hassle free adventures, and a big ball of non-stop laughs and nonsense on the Hamish and Andy podcast, there is always something for everyone. The intrigue and lure to step into the darkness is within all of us, which might be why a lot of us like a good true crime podcast with a murder mystery to solve. If this sounds like you, here is a shortlist you might well like to explore on your favourite podcasting app.

West Cork

Welcome to your fantasy

Stay Away from Matthew MaGill

Anything for Selena

I’d also love to hear your recommendations.

In other news I’ve been boosted, although I felt anything other than boosted the next day with fever, headaches and arthritic hands and joints, our house got broken into whilst we were out enjoying dinner, champagne and oysters and a delicious buffet of fine foods at my daughters house, and at home I’ve been trying out a few new recipes including this divine Pea, Mint and Feta Crustless Quiche, and also making up a batch of my favourite summer tomato sauce. Whilst vine tomatoes and fresh basil didn’t meet on a tinder date, when combined together with some olive oil and garlic they certainly are a match made in heaven.

Homemade Tomato Sauce, recipe from Sarah di Lorenzo The 10:10 Diet

Much of the past week has been spent on the lounge watching the tennis, I haven’t felt as engrossed in the game as I’d normally admit to. Sans Roger, nothing is the same without Roger, and the competitiveness of the villainous player, whose name shall not be spoken, and who is now back in the cold climate of his home country contemplating his future tennis career, things seem a little less compelling. Having said that, the games I have enjoyed have been ones involving the ever petulant, yet entertaining bad boy, Nick Kyrgios, past champions such as Andy Murray and Rafa, both of whom have struggled with career threatening injuries and through sheer hard work and determination have returned to the court to give us something to cheer about, the ever optimistic Victoria Azeranka, who after becoming a mother has had a renaissance and brought with it a new and balanced perspective on life, and last but not least the unique, lanky and cartoon like Daniil Medvedev who entertains us with his crazy antics and darn good tennis. It would be remiss of me not to mention our very own and extremely talented and delightful Ash Barty who in her calm way just goes about her business. I really do hope she goes on to win the tournament and her first grand slam at home.

I’ve been hankering for a trip back to Italy, however with all the uncertainty sweeping the world, and not knowing when carefree overseas travel will be back on the agenda, a big family gathering picnicking in Centennial Park, cute little Italian cars, and Italian love songs, (cue….when the moon hits the sky like a big pizza pie….) ringing in the air, or Stanley Tucci’s conversational new book Taste, My Life through Food, have all transported me there, made me feel uplifted and brought a big happy Italian smile to my face. Oh! Did I mention the easy on the eye Italian tennis player, Matteo Berrettini? Now there’s a dish that’s hard to forget. 😉🤣

I’m also looking forward to the opening of a new Italian neighbourhood trattoria coming to Surry Hills. I’ve heard whispers that Pellegrino 2000 has tripe on the menu cooked in the Italian way. No white sauce thank you, just a stew with lots of tomatoey goodness like my father used to make. If only I’d taken more notice of how he’d made it when he was still alive. I’ve only had it made his way once since he’d left us over twenty years ago and that was in a small Italian restaurant in the cobbled back streets of Rome. An Italian friend who lives in Rome and works as a window dresser for Louis Vuitton took me there when I told him of my longing for a plate of tripe that tasted like my dads. It was amazing and I still dream of going back to that tiny little family restaurant, however right now I’m even more excited about the opportunity to eat tripe made the Italian way right on my doorstep. I’ll report back once Pellegrino 2000 opens and I’ve partaken in this guilty pleasure, although I’m well aware it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

Take me to 🇮🇹 please

I heard a gory story this week that made me squirmish. I don’t know why, however I really feel compelled to share it with you. It was a story about a lady who was out enjoying a bush walk in the Lamington National Park, in tropical far North Queensland. The conditions as you would expect at this time of year were very humid, and along with the humidity came an abundance of leeches, one of which had attached itself to the bottom of her leg. Whilst in the process of trying to flick the leech off her leg, it released itself and rather than flying off into the vegetation it landed in the ladies eye. Of course she did what anyone does when they get something in their eye, and tried to pick it out with her fingers, however in doing so she pushed it further into her eye socket and underneath her eyelid. As she was remote in the bush and far from any medical assistance she decided to walk to a nearby kiosk where she could seek out some salt and water, with the hope of using it to try and wash the leech out of her eye, or maybe with a little luck cause the leech to shrivel up and die. Unfortunately this remedy was unsuccessful. She was left with no other option but to return to the car and go to a medical centre over an hour's drive away. As she travelled, her eyelid started to swell up and she could feel the gruesome creature feasting beneath it. I cannot begin to imagine how revolting this must have felt and how triggering this must’ve been for her. Upon arriving at the medical centre, the doctor attended to the situation by anesthetizing the leech and removing the very plump blood filled creature from beneath the lady's eyelid. A gross story with a happy ending.

It would be inept of me to end this newsletter with such a dire tale, so feast your eyes instead on this delicious Chargrilled Murray Cod fillet I recently enjoyed alongside a tomato and nectarine salad and hand cut chips, whilst overlooking the sea in Rose Bay. It was from Josh Niland’s, of Fish Butchery fame, at a new eatery called Charcoal Fish. Reminiscent of pork belly done well, with the crispiest skin and the most succulent melt in your mouth flesh, it was simply delicious.

Chargrilled Murray Cod fillet from in Rose Bay.

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


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