Filling the Bottomless Pit

February 6, 2008 at 1:29 am (Uncategorized)

The woman who gave birth to me wasn’t much chop as a parent (actually, she was shit, and I’m delighted she’s out of my life), but I will say this for her: she liked her food. And I remember her curiosity about and delight in all manner of food when I was a little girl, and I have to say I’m glad this one quality of hers seems to have rubbed off on me. I absolutely love food, it is hands-down one of my favourite things in life. I feel sorry for – actually pity – people who don’t love food.

I don’t know about you, but I think about food the moment my eyes open each day. This morning what I really wanted was a Belgian waffle. I almost went and got one from my favourite local cafe, Barefoot, where they make them to order, but then I decided that the German gingerbread cookies (Pfeffernusse) and dark chocolate pudding I scoffed during the rainy day indoors yesterday (a very productive 12 hour day on the manuscript, I might add; humble apologies for sacrificing my post to the unbroken run) had programmed my body for a sugar hit first thing. I resisted the slippery slope of sweet things and had a banana on cereal instead. I don’t understand people who can get by without breakfast. I feel crazy and violent if I don’t eat.

For the past two days, I haven’t been able to even get to midday before falling on my lunch like I’m actually, really, medically in danger of starving to death. Yesterday I had one of my favourites – a simple ham-off-the-bone, Hot English mustard and gherkin sandwich – and today I had leftover Thai chicken stirfry (Pad Grapaow) on toast.

Then I noticed two bananas had become rather ripe overnight. ‘Banana bread,’ I immediately thought with undisguised glee. ‘You beauty!’ I have a great banana bread recipe in Bill Granger’s book – he makes it with dark chocolate just to be on the safe side – and it’s open on my kitchen bench right now waiting for my working day to be done. If Llew plays his cards right, he’ll be home just in time to lick the spoon before it goes in the oven, and then I suppose it would be churlish not to try just a little end once it’s hot and buttery and melty and mmmmm…

One of my friends – a Polish Canadian – is living in Barcelona, lucky cow, and has started the Barcelona Food Girl blog you may have seen on my blog roll. She’s eating her way around the city, and it makes mouth-watering reading. It was her birthday on Sunday, and I was busting – busting, I tell you – to check her next blog because I knew that her celebration, whatever it entailed, was going to involve scads and scads of food glorious food, and that she’d describe it in detail on BFG for global edification. Needless to say she did not disappoint.

And on the weekend, we had a couple of friends over for brunch, and by some happy accident, the ‘what are we going to feed them?’ question was answered by ingredients we already had in the fridge (oh all right, not so accidental…I’d been to the market two days before and loaded up). I put together a fruit platter just to keep us out of trouble (plums and grapes in particular are fabulous in Sydney right now), steered Llew and the ingredients over to the food processor to make me a basil and macadamia nut pesto, then I slow-slow-sloooow-roasted a tray of egg tomatoes in the oven – seasoned and brushed with a wonderful Peloponnese olive oil in a beautiful bottle called Koron – grilled some bacon and toasted some rye bread. Then I ‘buttered’ the toast with Labna, a delicious yoghurt-based cheese, topped it with the other ingredients, spooned over the pesto and sprinkled the lot with coriander leaves. And if I don’t mind saying so myself, the result was fucking fabulous (we tried replacing bacon with avocado with the last of it, and that was possibly even better). That the recipe just came out of my own head whilst I leaned into the fridge contemplating the contents just made it all taste even better. Cooking is so satisfying, but making up your own things to cook…well, that’s verging on exhilarating.

SO GOOD. Food is just so good. Now what’ll I make for dinner…



  1. Tina Russell said,

    I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

    Tina Russell

  2. doctordi said,

    Thanks so very much, Tina, and a warm welcome to you! I sincerely hope DoctorDi proves worthy of your future interest.


  3. Barcelona Food Girl said,

    Mmmm…the breakfast toast sounds delicious, especially the macadamia nut pesto! Send me the recipe if you can! BFG

  4. doctordi said,

    Years and years ago, before I met Llew so at least 11 years ago, I bought a small book at a supermarket checkout published by Family Circle (Murdoch Books) and entitled The Essential Book of Sauces and Dressings. It cost the princely sum of $AUS2.95.

    I love this paperback recipe book. I could not even begin to tell you the number of times I’ve hauled it down from my cookbook shelf. What’s interesting about this book is that it’s one of only a very few cookbooks I’ve ever bought myself. Llew and I have a fairly impressive range of cookbooks, but about 95% of them were gifts. And they are the gifts that just keep giving.

    So. Onto the pesto recipe for BFG and any other interested parties out there. We no longer use quantity measures, but I’ll provide them here. Just play around with the ingredients until it tastes good. Also remember you can use other herbs instead of basil – continental parsley and coriander immediately spring to mind – and other nuts instead of macadamias – such as good old pine, cashew, almond and even Brazil if that’s what you’ve got to hand. These are good things to know, I find, because the original recipe from the book is for basil and pine nuts and as we all know I ignored that.

    Wash and dry 2 bunches of basil. Place in food processor with 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts (confession: I have never toasted them), 2 cloves crushed garlic (it’s going in the food processor – chuck ’em in whole!), and 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese. Process ’til finely chopped; with motor running, and 1/3 cup olive oil in a thin stream until well combined and season with salt and pepper. I usually add lemon or lime too because either matches beautifully with the other flavours.


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