belinda jeffery's news and events
Despite the changing of the seasons, in the part of Australia where I live it's still hot and humid and will remain so for a few weeks yet. However, having said that, there are subtle signs that autumn is slowly but surely making inroads. We woke last night as a wind sprang up, rattling the windows and huffing and puffing around the house. With it came a welcome coolness, and for the first time for months we actually pulled on a light cotton blanket and snuggled beneath it. And although I'm sitting writing this wearing shorts and a tee shirt, even today there is a mildness in the air that we haven't felt for so long, and my thoughts keep turning to cooking and eating something more substantial than the salads we've been living on.
I've noticed in the farmers market too, that the seasonal wheel is turning. Bunches of dusky muscatel grapes have replaced summer's peaches and nectarines; a neat stack of persimmons (my most favourite fruit of all) appeared last week, and we've been feasting on them daily as their hard, astringent flesh softens into a luscious burnt orange jelly. There were finger-length carrots just begging to be tossed in olive oil and roasted to a glorious golden brown; crisp apples and wine-red plums piled high in boxes; and last, but not least, pumpkins - lots of pumpkins - some split open to display their dense orange flesh. Needless to say, the promise I made to myself to be restrained with my shopping (not my strong point in a farmers market!) went entirely out the window, and I filled my trolley until it was brimming.
Once home, the carrots were duly roasted, the plums and apples turned into a fragrant crumble, and the pumpkin propped in the cool of the shed for another day. So this morning with my thoughts turning to all things autumn, the pumpkin sprang to mind, and as I write this there is a big pan of pumpkin soup bubbling gently on the cooktop. Although I make all sorts of soups this particular one is a favourite, for unlike many pumpkin soups it's not enriched with butter or cream but gets its flavour from smoky bacon bones, red kidney beans and a big handful of greens. It's surprisingly light and is one of those soups that you can feel seeping into every corner of your being, nourishing and warming as it goes; and with the newfound coolness in the air, this will be our dinner tonight with chunks of warm sourdough bread to mop up every last skerrick from our bowls. If you would like to make it, just head over to the recipe pages and you'll find it there.
On a final note, many of you have asked about my classes and events for this year. I've listed all the ones that have been confirmed below, but there are still more to come as the year unfolds, and I'll update the list regularly. I would love to think I see you at one.
P.S. FREE WORLDWIDE DELIVERY OF MY BOOKS!
Hooray!! The Book Depository is now stocking all my books and is offering free worldwide delivery. To buy them go to www.bookdepository.com/search?searchTerm=belinda%20jeffery&search=Find+book
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
Tasting Australia - Adelaide
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 the details below.
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