One thing I love about food is the way in which people use it to connect. We become passionate about, and obsessed by our most favourite of things, and delight in the opportunity to share our experiences and indulge in a good meal with friends. But this often unspoken generosity stretches far beyond our nearest and dearest such that there is a delightful gifting of produce, time, and ideas between both family and strangers alike.
I've been very lucky to be on the receiving end of a great many wonderful things of late, including the idea that should you be unable to get a bone-in lamb shoulder for that long-craved Sunday lunch, you can still accompany your crisp winter salad with a meltingly tender slow roast if you just stuff it with a black pudding first (genius!).
And there was the gift of my two most favourite of autumnal pleasures as some dear friends' not only gave me their time in taking me foraging for the first,
but then promptly sent me home with a car load of of the beautiful second.
I do try and give back where I can, and so bake night certainly generated some small, share-worthy delights:
lemon coconut cakes (gluten-free)
Hazelnut and carrot cakes (gluten-free)
Chocolate custard muffins with treacle chocolate fudge icing
But even the pre-arranged tart-for-horseradish exchange was met with a bonus of blackcurrants that were quickly churned into a luxuriously smooth sorbetto di ribes.
And when this was paired with some lemon verbena sorbet thanks to yet another generous garden it was suddenly summer all over again...
Food is a lovely medium through which to share, and I count myself lucky to have friends as equally food-obsessed as myself. One such friend moved back home to Germany over Christmas, and I have been attempting to maintain our Friday morning swim-then-breakfast ritual ever since. Aside from her desire to see as much of Melbourne as possible, our outings were driven by my friend's quest for the ultimate bircher muesli. Guiltily, she never tried mine, but there was often some complaint that, while nice, many of them just weren't very interesting. I haven't quite kept up with the breakfast tradition, but the swims are still there and with an eye out for any muesli with a difference, Miss J, this bircher-style freekeh with pistachios and sour cherries is just for you...
And while there'll be no cake today, as always, we're still thinking of you. Happy birthday, SR, we all wish you were here...