belinda jeffery's news and events
I’m sitting here on a soft, grey afternoon with my windows flung open to catch the lovely smell of rain. After months of dryness we’re at last getting decent downpours, and it’s such a treat to hear it pattering on the leaves outside and to feel a cooler breeze wafting through the house. I’m obviously not the only one revelling in it, as one of our resident green tree frogs has set himself up in the downpipe and is croaking to his heart’s content. They do this a lot, and it always makes me smile, as the pipe amplifies their croaks and they sound as though they’re enormous yet they would fit comfortably into the palm of my hand. How I love them! In fact, we have quite an orchestra tuning up at the moment, as the first one has set the others off!
It’s also a joy to see the garden soaking up every drop of rain it can after the past week where the temperature has hovered in the mid to high 30Cs, and it’s been unspeakably humid. I had pretty much given up on the veggie garden as most of the greens have been badly burnt by the fierce heat, yet as I look outside now I can see some tiny new leaves unfurling, and there are nearly-ripe berries on the strawberry plants, so hopefully all is not lost. Although the poor old fig tree has suffered, and it has been a constant tussle between me, the birds, and our resident possum to see who gets the few remaining figs. The score to date is birds 5, possums 2, and Belinda 0!
I wish that I could report that it’s a hive of activity here and that I’m well underway with my Christmas baking...but I have to confess that’s not the case at all. And I have decided that I shall stop making resolutions each year that the following Christmas will be different, as I’m obviously a lost cause! If I’m lucky I shall start on some Christmas baking next week, and hopefully get some of the pickles and jam made that I would like to give as gifts…but I’m not promising anything! However, there is definitely one thing I shall be making, and that’s our Christmas biscotti. I love these crisp, crunchy little biscuits, and it wouldn’t feel like Christmas to me without a jar of them tucked away ready to pull out when the urge for a little something sweet strikes. I have great plans to make enough to give as gifts too, but I suspect that I shall have to hide them somewhere very safe, for if they’re discovered beforehand, that will be the end of them! If you would like to give them a try, I’ve just put the recipe up on this month’s recipe page.
Before I sign off, I would like to thank you for all your letters, comments and encouragement throughout the year – I so often feel overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness that I’m shown. Christmas isn’t always the easiest time for many people, and I hope these final weeks of the year are gentle and peaceful for you.
To see more of what I’m up to, you can follow me on Instagram.
Upcoming events and news
Please come and say hello to me at Bangalow Farmers Market on Saturday 13th December where I shall be signing cookbooks and answering any cooking questions you may have. The market is behind the Bangalow Hotel at 1 Byron Street, Bangalow from 8am – 11am. I’ll also be signing books and chatting about food on Friday 19th December from 8am – 11am at the Mullumbimby Farmer’s Market which is held at the Mullumbimby Showground.
I was asked to write a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into making one of my cookbooks, if you would like to read about it, follow this link... www.womensstuffbook.com.au/lantern/blog/behind-scenes-belinda-jeffery
Candy Baker from the lovely new on-line magazine, Verandah, has written a feature about me and my books in the latest issue. If you would like a peek, go to www.verandahmagazine.com.au
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/
I have mentioned a number of times the wonderful Food & Words Festival in Sydney. If you haven’t been able to make it there, they now have the audio of many of their speakers on their website. I’m really thrilled to be one of the speakers whose talk is featured, to listen go to http://foodandwords.com.au/audio/
What I'm reading
Two very different but beautiful books have been released recently. The first one, A Fig at the Gate, (Allen & Unwin 2014) which I’m currently reading, is by the wonderful author and poet, Kate Llewellyn. I was introduced to Kate’s books when I was a young woman, and I have been a rusted-on fan ever since. Kate is in her seventies now and this memoir and perspective on her life is every bit as wonderful as her other books. There is great beauty, and at times shocking frankness, in her writing, and I find my reading is slowing down as I near the end of this lovely book which makes me laugh out loud one minute, and be close to tears the next.
Poles apart, but again wonderfully written and researched, is Dee Nolan’s Food Lover’s Pilgrimage to France (Lantern 2014). The photos by Earl Carter are stunning, and although I have only just dipped a toe in the water as far as reading it goes, Dee’s words and descriptions immediately make me feel as though I’m tramping alongside her as she experiences the beauty and heartfelt hospitality of those she meets on her pilgrimage.
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