belinda jeffery's news and events
Could someone please tell me how it can be February already! I had such great intentions to have so much achieved by now, yet when I look at my list I realise that the greater part of what I wrote down is still waiting to be done. Although that said, I am trying to be more sensible about what I think I can achieve in a day. For years I’ve written list upon list of ‘to-dos’ for each day, and when the evening arrives and I haven’t done many (or at times, any!) of them, I can feel so disheartened and disappointed with myself. However after all this time, I have finally decided to lower my sights. With the busy, connected and demanding lives so many people lead, I’m know I’m not the only one who is desperate to slow down a bit.
I must admit that I’m not one to make New Year Resolutions, but in my heart of hearts I did make one this year, and that is to slow down and to take time to appreciate the beauty of the world around me, and the small everyday things that add so much richness and joy to life. So today after I pegged out the washing, rather than heading straight to my desk to work, I spent an hour quietly watering the garden. As I went, I pulled out weeds; watched two very bedraggled, but riotously happy, friar birds splash in and out of the birdbath; snipped a big bunch of rocket and basil for tonight’s dinner; and with great joy watched our newest lodger, a young water dragon, scamper over the mossy statue of Ganesh who stands welcome by our front door, and dive into an old copper-lined plough disk that I fill with water for the birds each morning. It was truly spellbinding. By the time I sat at my desk I felt serene, happy and energised, and so far I’m pleased to say, I think I’ve achieved far more than I might have done had I reluctantly sat at my desk earlier on. Hopefully this will be the start of a positive change…fingers crossed.
As I mentioned last month, I shall be doing more teaching (and events, but more of that in a moment) this year, and I’m slowly but surely getting classes slotted in, which I have listed below – there are many more to come, and I shall add them to the list as their timing is confirmed.
As to events, I’m really delighted to be taking part in this year’s Tasting Australia which runs from 1st to 8th of May in Adelaide, www.tastingaustralia.com.au. I was fortunate to be at the inaugural TA in the 1990s (and even more fortunate to receive one of their coveted gold ladle awards for my TV segment). It was on this visit that I was completely won over by Adelaide’s thriving Central Market, and the joy and passion for food that flourishes in this lovely city (I well remember my tiny hotel fridge was bulging at the seams with cheeses, smallgoods, and all sorts of treats that I hadn’t been able to pass by in the market without buying just a wee slice to try...as I discovered, if you buy enough wee slices you can easily fill a fridge!). So when I was asked by the directors of Tasting Australia to take part in this year’s event, I didn’t miss a beat in saying yes. I’ll be involved in a number of events, but the two big ones are a very special High Tea at the lovely Mayflower Restaurant, and a day-long sponge cake Masterclass with the fabulous women from South Australia’s Country Women’s Association. Seeing as how tea and cake are two of the things I love most in life, I feel so happy and excited about both events. If you would like to find out more about either, I have put all the details below this letter.
And finally, speaking of tea and cake, this month’s recipe is for simple, but lovely coconut, oat and pecan bars with a luscious sticky date and orange filling. They certainly aren’t the most beautiful-looking things (farmhouse rustic is a good description!), but they have a truly lovely flavour, and are a great favourite of mine…and it goes without saying that they’re perfect with a cuppa!
I hope you have a peaceful and happy month.
To see more of what I’m up to, you can follow me on Instagram.
Upcoming Cooking Classes, Events & News
When we first moved here 14 years ago, I was asked by lovely Helen Nott to teach a class at her wonderful cookware store and cooking school, Pepper Tree Kitchen in Lismore. I loved the school and loved Helen, and have returned every year since. This year I’m really chuffed to be doing 3 hands-on classes for a maximum of 12 people. This autumn class will be my first, and we’ll be cooking dishes that fit beautifully into this in-between time of year. For bookings and enquiries, please contact the Pepper Tree Kitchen at www.peppertreekitchen.com.au and click on the link to their classes. You can also phone Helen on 02 6622 0180.
1st and 2nd of April
I’m really chuffed to be returning to the wonderful Agrarian Kitchen cooking school in Tasmania in April to teach two baking classes on Friday 1st and Saturday the 2nd of April. (At this stage I believe the classes are full, however there is a cancellation 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 shall be hosting and talking at a very elegant high tea at the Mayfair Hotel’s Mayflower Restaurant and Bar in Adelaide as part of this year’s Tasting Australia. Bethany Finn, the hotel’s executive chef, and I shall be working on a menu of delicious sweet and savoury treats to savour with a glass of Petaluma Croser, and cups of tea and coffee. I would so love to see you there.
Join me and the SA Country Women’s Association in a sponge cake masterclass. Award winning contributors from the SACWA Calendar of Cakes cookbook will share trusted family recipes and valuable prize-winning knowledge in this hands-on experience. Together, we’ll reveal tips and tricks to achieve beautiful, mouth-watering sponge-based cakes that are worthy of many blue ribbons! Proceeds from this event will assist SACWA to continue its work in the community. Tickets include a signed copy of the Calendar of Cakes cookbook, an SACWA apron, lunch, and a gift bag containing SACWA products and recipes.
To find out more about both these events go to www.tastingaustralia.com.au, click on the What’s On link, and then go to the Program.
Saturday 13th August
I taught for the first time at Kitchen to Table last year, and I’m so glad to be returning to this lovely shop and cooking school in Yamba. This is an intimate demonstration class (read much chat and laughter!) where I’ll put together a simple but delicious lunch using local ingredients. (BTW, I have a new cookbook coming out in October 2016 so you may well get a sneak peek at a recipe or two from it!).
For bookings and enquiries for this class, please contact www.kitchentotable.com.au, or phone them on 02 6646 1577.
Wednesday 24th August
This hands-on class is my second for the year at Lismore’s fabulous Pepper Tree Kitchen cookware shop and cooking school. I must admit, I haven’t sorted out exactly what we shall be doing yet…sorry! However, we’ll be focusing on using beautiful local produce to create a fabulous casual menu. For bookings and enquiries, please contact the Pepper Tree Kitchen at www.peppertreekitchen.com.au and click on the link to their classes. You can also phone Helen on 02 6622 0180.
As I do just once a year, I shall be teaching at the renowned Accoutrement Cooking School in Sydney on Tuesday 18th October @ 6.30pm, to coincide with the release of my latest cookbook on Salads. For booking enquiries, go to the Cooking School page at www.accoutrement.com.au
I think there’s nothing nicer than both giving and receiving handmade gifts for Christmas. There is just something so special about knowing that someone has put all that TLC into making you something, so I thought it would be a lovely time of year to do a class on simple but gorgeous edible gifts. For bookings and enquiries, please contact the Pepper Tree Kitchen at www.peppertreekitchen.com.au and click on the link to their classes. You can also phone Helen on 02 6622 0180.
If you would like to watch me making Asparagus and Goat’s Cheese Tarts on The Morning Show, 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