Cook-a-thon

So last weekend the cooking bug got the better of me and boy did I give in! I mean, what else do you do on a cold wintery weekend??

I made it all, cupcakes, bread, cold rolls, lamb shanks…But the thing I felt most passionate about was something from my Italian roots.

I like to call it my Nonna Sauce (not the most creative name I know, but it’s true to itself)

So, a little about me, technically I am 1st Generation Aussie as my parents were both born in Italy and came here with their families when they were children. I’ve been lucky enough to have grown up with all of my grandparents until I was well into my 20’s. So what does this mean for my Italian roots? Well to me, the one thing that has always connected me to my heritage is the food. Especially when i have been able to learn great things from 2 of the best home cooks I’ll ever meet – my Nonnas (that’s grandma in Italian).

Over the past few years I realised that these family recipes made so well by these great home cooks may one day be lost if nobody bothers to learn them. So my mission has been to learn them and practice practice practice until perfect.

My Nonna Maria’s pasta sauce was one of the first things she taught me. I have to say, my last attempt was by far my best.

The one thing I have learnt about some of these recipes is – It’s not always about what you put in the dish (although important) but rather the technique in which you make it. Little things like, when to add the herbs or how high the burner should be make all the difference to the overall result.

Anyway, I was pretty pleased with myself and wanted to share my success with you all. I did however forget to photograph the final result with pasta and all.

Sorry about that. Maybe next time.

What's inside??

What’s inside??

Magical tomato-ey goodness

Magical tomato-ey goodness

Almost done!

Almost done!

Bread-a-rising

Bread-a-rising

Bread

In the oven

Baking

Crusty. Crunchy. Dense.

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My stroll to Circular Quay

I travel quite a bit for work to visit my interstate clients. When I tell new people what I do and mention the travel that is involved, I often get comments about how great it must be to get an all expenses paid trip to another city.

Those of you who also travel for work will understand me when I say working away is often unsettling and exhausting, more-so than any regular day in the office. You’re getting up at 4am to catch the Red Eye, driving from appointment to appointment in an unfamiliar city, and eating on the run (if you get a chance to eat at all). Top that off with returning “home” to an empty hotel room that may be nice and clean, but its just not your bed or your regular environment.

What this usually means for me is a pretty sleepless night which for some reason I spend most of my time thinking that the morning alarm wont go off (even though it seems to work fine every other day).

Did i really set the alarm??

Maybe the timezone hasn’t updated properly….

Was it set to 6.00am or 6.00pm??

Aah the irrational thinking patterns of the human psyche. Our minds just like to make things a little difficult for us sometimes.

I digress.

What I always find difficult on these trips is to see and experience what the City has to offer. In particular Sydney. I’d been on 4 trips so far, yet had never seen the Opera House or Circular Quay for myself. On this last trip I made a concerted effort to get my walking shoes on and head over to see what all the fuss is about.

The walk from my Darling Harbor hotel was about 30-40 mins each way. By the time I got to the waterfront the sun was starting to set so I scrambled in the last light to get a couple of selfies and some shots of the city lighting up before heading back to Darling Harbour for a spot of dinner. I probably only spent 15 minutes by the water, but i felt it was enough. I’m not sure why. Perhaps I was just wanting to get back and relax at the hotel or perhaps it was because I was alone with no one to share the moment with. Maybe the next time I allow myself to visit will be on holiday. Things might feel different then.

On my walk back I starting thinking about my travel experiences and the impressions that each city and country have left on me. I have strong memories and special thoughts about every place in the world that i have visited.Sydney has yet to make its true mark on me.

Maybe next time. Maybe next time.