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I’ve made some mention already of the beautiful new book Sunday’s Kitchen.  A wonderful combination of social history and recipe book, it documents food and lifestyle at Heide, the home of influential art patrons John and Sunday Reed.  Sunday was a talented, intuitive cook interested in european styles of cookery before they were widely popular in Australia, and made an art of growing and preparing food and keeping house, along with fostering and feeding some of the greatest Australian modernist artists.

I was lucky enough to take part in the test kitchen for the book, and through good timing, MY cake appears in the book on the desserts chapter heading and on the back cover!!  The recipe is Von’s Heide Fruit Cake, by Evonne Harris, wife of poet and John Reed’s publishing partner Max Harris.  Von  made this cake to bring on the train from Adelaide to visit Heide.  I used Evonne’s actual recipe, which has since been somewhat standardised in the book.  It was fun to interpret and recreate.  It is an unusual light fruit cake with ground almonds and cherries, and is topped with marzipan (which I have never made before).  Von’s final instruction (which doesn’t make it into the book) was “Paint an artwork on the top”, with her daughters note that Von always drew a face.

Well, in the interests of historical accuracy, I had to comply – and what better than a face from an iconic Heide-associated artist?

Lovely Mr. Foxy-Woxy

Born Melbourne, 1959

(After Gethsemane by Joy Hester)  2009

brush and blue food colouring on marzipan

22 cm. diam.

(since devoured by the artist, cake-maker and staff of Heide Museum of Modern Art)

Well, Mr Foxy said he was better at drawing than I (which is probably true), and that he should do it.  It did look fabulous, and was a great hit with the staff at Heide.  The cake itself was also enjoyed, with many who don’t normally like fruit cake saying that they liked it.  The painted top is not included in the book, but I love that you can just see an intriguing touch of blue in the photographs.

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spring 009a

I know it started yesterday, but it really feels like Spring today!  The air smells of Spring, and it’s warm enough to throw open the windows and doors and let the air in, sunny enough to hang the washing on the line instead of on the clothes-horse near the heater.  Pleasant enough to enjoy lunch outside, and let the babies crawl out the door and on to the deck.

Subtle changes too in our daily routine.  A bit of a pattern is developing, two daytime sleeps and a big sleep at night (still interrupted unfortunately) for the babies.  They are eating solids better, and not so reliant on me feeding them, which means that I might get a little more freedom.

spring 010a

On the weekend I ventured out alone with three children to meet friends at the art gallery to see the Dali exhibition.  I duly went in (hooray for prioity queues for parents with little kids), but had to concentrate so much on guiding a double pram and four-year-old through the crowds that I didn’t really see much of the exhibition.  But this adventure was really more about getting out and seeing our friends, also with children.  We did see the film Destino, a collaboration by Dali and Disney, which was really wonderful and worth the trip.  Eventually we headed out to the sculpture garden to let the 3- and 4-year-olds run around, while my friend’s older children looked at the rest of the show.  From what little I could gather, it looked like a very interestingly curated and presented exhibition.  Dali isn’t a straightforward subject and although historically important has perhaps been criticized for his overt marketing and commercialising of his own images.  I’m not sure how the exhibition dealt with this, but it did include examples of his many collaborations.

After a quick feed for the babies, Mr Foxy collected all my children to take them home for lunch, while Ms E and I went back to see a little more of the exhibition, then sped off to the cinema to see The September Issue.  Three whole hours to ourselves!  The film was a really well-made documentary about putting together the largest issue of American Vogue, with the natural drama of the interaction of the dictatorial cool-business-headed editor Wintour and the passionate and artistic creative director Coddington.  And some footage of Paris and frocks to enjoy too.  The whole thing was so nicely handled, truthful but respectful, dramatic but non-sensationalist, a welcome respite from the brash culture of tell-all reality tv.

spring 019a

There’s alot to like about seasonal changes and the opening up of possibilities.

Inspired by Michelle‘s Veg Wednesday posts …

444px-Waldorf-Astoria_1904-1908b

Joseph Pennell (U.S., 1854-1926)
Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Thirty-Fourth Street and Fifth Avenue (original location).  c. 1904-08
drawing on brown paper : colored crayons over pencil sketch ; sheet 29.3 x 23.1 cm
Library of Congress
Image via here.

The camera was charging so I couldn’t take a photo of the real thing, so here is a picture of the Waldorf itself.  I love Waldorf salad, it somehow seems classic yet whimsical at the same time, and I am always happy to revisit it when I remember it.  It’s a boon when there isn’t an otherwise cohesive collection of ingredients on hand – I actually prefer some limitations as it often results in more creative menu-planning.  (My Veg Wednesday forays are more about including more vegetables in our diet rather than being strictly vegetarian.)  So this is what we had the other night based on what was on hand.

Oven-baked risotto (inspired by a Donna Hay recipe for pumpkin risotto from The Age years ago)

  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 2 cups stock
  • 1/2 cup water or wine
  • 2 medium zucchinis, grated
  • kernels from 1 medium cob of corn
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 30g butter
  • salt and pepper
  • Parmesan

Combine everything except cheese in a lidded casserole/oven dish.  Overlap some foil over the top of the dish and put on the lid.

Bake in moderate oven for about 30-40 minutes, until all liquid is nearly absorbed and rice is firm but tender (al dente I guess).  Be careful not to overcook or it will be mushy.

Grate in some parmesan, stir and replace lid for a few minutes.  Serve with more parmesan.

Waldorf Salad  (You probably don’t need me to tell you this, but this is what I did)

  • celery, finely sliced
  • red apples, cored and diced
  • walnuts
  • just enough mayonnaise to dress

Combine all ingredients.  Serve in a bowl lined with cos lettuce leaves if you like (I actually used some iceberg).  Stephanie Alexander also includes orange segments in the salad, but I haven’t tried this.

Stephanie also mentions that the salad can be dressed with sour cream.  Although usually one for a chef-approved shortcut, I couldn’t resist the lure of homemade mayonnaise.   I made mine with 1 egg yolk, salt, a small squeeze of lemon juice and 100mls oil (1/2 e v olive and 1/2 peanut as I find all olive oil too strong).  I used about half of this for my salad.

And for dessert, chocolate chip cookies from the River Cottage Family Cookbook.  These were at the behest of my young sous-chef and they were REALLY good.  (And the book is too.)

knit 059a

For Words and Pictures, hosted by Meet Me at Mikes

joy hester

Albert Tucker (1914-1999)

(Joy Hester at Heide)  c.1940’s

silver gelatin print

Collection of State Library of Victoria

PIC 1027

I love this photograph of Joy Hester, one of Australia’s leading Modernist artists.  It’s so light-hearted and, well, joyful!  There is an accompanying photo of Joy doing a handstand, this being taken immediately afterwards.  The photographs taken by Albert Tucker at this time are so evocative of the Melbourne artworld in the 40’s, when times were tough and new thinking was aplenty.  And despite breaking new ground in intellectual and artistic circles, there was always time for frolicking at Heide.

(There is currently an exhibition of Tucker’s photographs at Heide Museum of Modern Art.)

KNITTING 465

The other day I had the pleasure of a trip to Heide to see the Modern Times exhibition, a treat for fanciers of Modernist art, design, architecture and social history.   I would love to present some insightful and eloquent impressions of it all, but I really can’t go past marvelling at Percy Grainger’s towelling outfits.  (These are not the ones in the exhibition, but the shorts in the left photo look similar.)  Ahead of his time or extremely eccentric, probably both, he was on to “repurposing” well ahead of the current trend.   But kind of like Paul Poiret meets Split Enz.

The accompanying exhibition Narelle Jubelin: Cannibal Tours is a stunning companion to all that satisfying, idealistic modernism.  Her textile pieces are amazing!  The finest petit-point renditions of artefacts and documents and canvas work that quotes woven Bauhaus textiles (as seem in Modern Times).  All in intricate Tramp Art frames.

And the grounds at Heide were looking so beautiful in their autumnal mantle.  As if you needed another excuse to go.

Unfortunately I didn’t take any relevant photos to include with this post, so please find above some granny squares I have been making from scraps, inspired by Pip.

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