belinda jeffery's news and events
Where on earth has this last month flown! Admittedly, I was away for a few days teaching in Tasmania, but even so it seems to me that I’ve blinked my eyes and it’s over. I don’t know about you, but I find that life appears to be getting busier and busier. The way we are so connected with each other over the internet is fantastic, but it has brought with it a host of difficulties too. I know I’m not the only one that finds it hard to create space for a little down time when there is a constant stream of emails, text messages, and Facebook and Instagram posts to respond to…and the expectation that the response will be pretty much immediate. Aaagh!
I try hard to counter this by not checking any of the above too often, however they are an awful temptation at times, especially when I should be doing things like…writing this! However, I must admit that I’m getting better at it. My phone now doesn’t live on my desk when I’m working; I set a task to be done before I check my emails; and I just turn the whole lot off when it gets too much. I know that’s not very professional, but it can be a sanity saver at times.
My other sanity saver is my garden which, I’m delighted and relieved to see, after it’s scarily rapid growth spurt over summer is finally starting to slow down. Living as we do in the sub-tropics, I spend half the year walking around with a pair of secateurs in my back pocket constantly using them to nip off a wayward branch here and a waving tendril there before their owners start to invade the house like triffids! Honestly, if we are away for a few weeks in summer, I swear we nearly need a machete to cut our way through to the front door!
However now the soil and sun are cooling down, I have at last started to plant my autumn and winter greens. I’ve given the veggie garden a good rest and feed these past few weeks, (as I think it has been as exhausted by the weather as we have) but now it’s time to plant. So to my joy when I look out the kitchen window, I see neat rows of lettuces, rocket, cavolo nero, sugar snap peas, mustard greens, spring onions, ruby chard, and beetroot (I’ve planted gorgeous, candy-striped Chioggia beets for the first time and have my fingers and toes crossed that they will flourish), all pushing their first vivid green leaves above the ground. It’s such a lovely sight! Although I’m also aware that this means the battle lines will be drawn up between me and the grasshoppers, which have been here in epic numbers this year. However Denise, one of our local farmers who grows the most beautiful lettuce, told me to spray both sides of the leaves with a mixture of molasses and water (if you’re having the same problem, the proportions are 1 tablespoon of molasses to 1 litre of warm water) and it should keep them at bay. It certainly smells delicious, and hopefully it will do the trick.
So for me it will be a month of writing (I only have three months to go until the deadline of my next book...eek!) and cooking (this month’s spicy egg-free and dairy-free carrot cake is on my must-do list for Easter); and when it all gets a bit too much, pulling on my old gardening boots and heading out into the garden, spade in hand, to do some of that supremely satisfying physical work that is the perfect antidote to the ups and downs of daily life.
To see more of what I’m up to, you can follow me on Instagram.
Upcoming events and news
I have firmed up another cooking class for this year, and it will be at the Accoutrement Cooking School in Sydney on Tuesday 14th July at 6.30pm. I would love to think that I see you there. If you would like to find out more about the class, you can do so at www.accoutrement.com.au
I’m really chuffed to let you know that I shall be returning to the wonderful Agrarian Kitchen cooking school in Tasmania in November 2015 to teach two baking classes. At this stage the dates are yet to be locked in, but if you are interested in attending they do have a waiting list. This brilliant cooking school has a holistic paddock-to-plate philosophy that informs everything they do. Their website is really lovely and I highly recommend a visit...I rather suspect that, like me, you will be hooked once you read it! www.theagrariankitchen.com
I was recently on Channel 7’s The Morning Show, making Asparagus and Goat’s Cheese Tarts …if you’re interested in watching the segment, follow this link… http://au.tv.yahoo.com/video/watch/25322696/springtime-asparagus-tarts/
My favourite charity
Just A Drop - www.justadrop.org
My lovely sister-in-law, Fiona Jeffery, started this international water aid charity in 1998 when she learnt that less than $2 can deliver clean water to a child for up to 10 years. From this knowledge, and her passion and commitment, Just a Drop was born, based on the premise that if people can be encouraged to give a little then collectively we can make a huge difference. I’m so proud of all she has achieved over the years and encourage you to visit the site and see the fantastic work they do.
Favourite websites & blogs