belinda jeffery's news and events
Oh, I do love winter! We’re really fortunate to live in a sub-tropical climate so the weather over these next few months is truly beautiful – mild, sunny days and cool nights with just enough of a nip in the air to make snuggling down under the blankets an utter treat. It’s also a blessed relief to have lots of energy again – the unrelenting humidity of summer means just walking about takes quite a lot of effort, but now I find myself full of beans and getting stuck into the garden again.
Winter is when we get lots of our big garden jobs done, and when our veggie garden comes into its own. It has been looking rather sad these last few months, but my heart lifted as I gazed out the window this morning onto a sea of vivid green; and better still, I picked an armful of rainbow chard to have with poached eggs for breakfast. There is nothing quite like the joy of picking something that you’ve grown yourself and having it in the pan within a few minutes – it’s incredibly satisfying.
We don’t grow masses of vegetables, but it surprises me just how much we do pick from our small plot. There is always a plethora of greens – three different varieties of spinach; an assortment of lettuces; gorgeous plum-coloured plumes of mustard greens; tall spikes of Tuscan kale; and lacy heads of Elkhorn lettuce whose delicate looks belie their peppery bite. A few hardy cherry tomatoes sprawl across the back of the bed, and bush beans, rocket, and my favourite winter herbs – dill, chervil and chives - take up the rest of the space. I’ve given up on beetroot and eggplant, they’re just not happy here, but chillies thrive, and I’ve been busy making harissa, so much in fact, that I think we have at least a year’s supply!
However unfortunately, I have to discipline myself to stay indoors for much of these next few weeks, as I have a manuscript due into my publisher at the end of June (says she taking a rather large gulp of air!). No matter how much I try to not have a mad dash at the end of writing a book, so far a calm, steady finish has eluded me. However, I have learnt to accept that’s just the way I work, and I try not to worry about it too much or I end up in a complete and utter panic!
So there won’t be much news from me this month, however one thing I have done is confirm a cooking class in August at the lovely cookware shop Kitchen to Table in Yamba. I’m so looking forward to it, as I have visited the shop, but never taught there. It’s shaping up to be a really lovely class, but more of that next month.
Ooops, I nearly forgot to mention this month’s recipe! I absolutely love soup, and with so much harissa at my disposal I’ve been making all sorts of spicy soups with it. A great favourite is a fragrant Carrot, Red Lentil and Coconut Soup from my most recent cookbook, Utterly Delicious Simple Food. It has such a vibrant colour, with a wonderful deep, spicy flavour, and it’s just perfect at this time of year when carrots are at their sweetest and best.
To see more of what I’m up to, you can follow me on Instagram.
Upcoming events and news
I have firmed up a hands-on cooking class at Helen Nott’s terrific PepperTree Kitchen in Lismore on Wednesday 22nd July from 9.30am – 1.30pm. If you would like to find out more about the class, you can do so at www.peppertreekitchen.com.au and click on the link to their classes.
I also have a class 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
On Wednesday 26th August, I shall be teaching at Kitchen to Table in Yamba. Details are yet to be confirmed, but will soon be up on their website, www.kitchentotable.com.au
I’m really chuffed to be returning to the wonderful Agrarian Kitchen cooking school in Tasmania in November 2015 to teach two baking classes on Friday 20th and Saturday the 21st. 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