Paddock to plate … literally

Can I take you on a little food journey?

It begins at The Zin House in Mudgee at their annual Farm Forage.

zin house farm forageWith pink peppercorns a plenty.

pink peppercorns at the zin house

Not so lucky though with the yabbies and farm prawns. They’re there, all three of them, heads and tails smashed and sautéed in butter and drizzled over scrambled eggs laid by the girls this morning. Pass some of Kim’s freshly baked bread please. So much yum in one little dish.

scrambled egg with yabbie and egg

Borage and chive flowers. Rocket. Freshly pulled onions pickled in a little vinegar and sugar. Local cheddar foraged from Kim’s fridge.

rocket and borage salad

Autumnal prettiness, Zin style.

scales and quinces

Brown Hound and Chief Raspberry Thief. Yes we’re on to you Louie.

brown hound

Roasted apples, crab apples, feta and hazelnuts washed down with a sangiovese rose – if I remember rightly – but please don’t quote me. The courses kept coming, six in all. And so did the wine. Say no more.

Crabapples, apples, feta and hazelnuts

Good mates and kiwis both. Kim Currie with Guest Chef and Chief Forager, Jared Ingersoll.

Kim Currie and Jared Ingersoll

Fast forward to Friday, to a Food Styling and Photography Workshop with 2013 Australian Blogger of the Year, Sney Roy of Cook Republic fame.

Who says you can’t play with your food?

Sney Roy Food Photography and Styling Workshop first exercise

I love these days. When you work by yourself so much, it’s wonderful to be surrounded by so many talented and inspiring girls, a number of them nutritionists setting out to get people on the right track with their food.

Sney Roy Food Photography and Styling workshop

Lots of playful exercises.


a Food Styling and Photography workshop.

And group. (I came home and did a bit of post on the shots I took and added some text just to see how it might play out.)

bok chou with writing

I’ll leave you with a little dash of wabi-sabi from Sneh’s kitchen to finish with. She wanted to fix it and I said no, I like it just as it is.

whatever you are, be a good one

What ever you dooo this week

have a good one.



    Bhutan and the Thimphu Drubchen Festival

    I could quite happily have sat on the steps of the Thimphu Dzong and just spent the whole day people watching. The fabrics in Bhutan, the weaving, the combinations of patterns and colours are like a human kaleidoscope.

    drubchen festival bhutan

    drubchen festival bhutan

    But as much as I was enjoying my people watching …

    drubchen festival thimpu bhutan

    … it was time to tackle the Thimphu Dzong and the crowds.

    drubchen festival thimpu

    For a little while we thought this was all we might see, caught in a hot human impasse.

    the human impasse thimpu

    But fortunately we had a local friend in a red scarf and like Moses parting the Red Sea, suddenly the crowd opened up and we had a welcome path to some fresh air and a close up view of the annual Drubchen Festival.

    drubchen festival thimpu bhutan


    the dancers details

    dancer drubchen festival

    A glimpse of the Chief Abbot, the most important monk in Bhutan…

    a glimpse of the chief abbott

    monks watching the drubchen festival thimpu bhutan

    A rare photo opportunity from on high.


    drubchen festival thimpu dzong bhutan

    And an equally rare opportunity to catch up with an old friend from university days.

    kinley and co

    Crazy where life takes you.


      Sunday morning from the safety of home

      backyard final

      Sunday morning. A hint of autumn. Blue. Clear. The trickle of the fountain. Sitting under the filtered light of the grapevine and Tammy Wynette drifts over the fence from our neighbour’s.

      “Stand by yerrrr mannnnnnnn…..”

      Not what I’d pick but it’s surprisingly soothing so I am going with it.
      Home is so damned comforting at times.

      I’ve been thinking about fear a little bit lately because for the first time in my life I’ve been feeling a little bit frightened. I think it’s partly a post-op thing. Certainly a getting older thing. In the past, when I’ve looked to the future, there’s rarely been a cloud of fear on the horizon. Doubt yes, confusion plenty, but fear, not really. I didn’t see this coming but as I look ahead to the next 18 months – when Darce has finished school and Maddy has finished uni – and we are staring down the barrel of our own big plan to travel the Mediterranean, there are definitely little fears creeping in at the edges.

      What if we one of us gets sick? What if the kids really need us? What if, what if …

      It would be so easy not to go. Not to think about it.

      “Jolene. Jolene. Jo-lene. Jo-lee-e-eeeene… I’m beggin’ of you please don’t take my man.”

      The Middle East is such a mess at the moment it’s highly likely we’re going to have to skip a significant part of it. For now, I guess we just play it by ear, or, as one of our friends says to his young soccer team: “Just play what you can see fellas.”

      But the fact is, we are getting to a point where we are no longer needed so much by the kids. This chapter of our lives is coming to an end and I have such mixed feelings about that.

      Fear of failure.

      That’s a different beast altogether. It’s such an intrinsic part of running your own business. I’d so hoped to get a piece on Bhutan printed. That’s why I’ve been holding back many of the photos. But after five weeks of doing a travel writing course with the Australian Writer’s Centre I’ve realised where I’ve gone wrong. And why National Geographic (among others) hasn’t been rushing to the phone. It’s the same message I took away from Carla Coulson – you’ve got to tailor your pieces for the publication you want to be featured in.

      The interesting thing is, I’m not sure I actually want to tailor my writing at all. I love writing from the heart. I love writing here. And I’m not really sure I want to fit in.

      Maybe sometimes you’ve got to work out what you don’t want to do, to work out what you do want to do.

      Maybe sometimes you’ve got to fail, to work out how to fly.

      keppel street bathurst

      keppel street the naked bud

      On a less fearful note, it’s been a great week. I’ve been back in my old comfort zone, spending Thursday and Friday on a shoot for Bathurst Council. We’re putting together some videos showcasing Bathurst. Big, long days but lots of fun, especially Friday which was spent with Australian actress and Bathurst’s Australia Day Ambassador, Paula Duncan. She’s fallen in love with Bathurst and given Council a day of her time to do some pieces to camera all around the city. A really good sport. Big thanks too to Brendan Cooper at Cooper Films. Couldn’t have done it without you Brendan. Here’s Paula, in ex-Australian Prime Minister (and Bathurst boy), Ben Chifley’s bathtub. Apparently he used to hold meetings here with local Councillors and constituents – men only (we are talking the late 40’s early 50s here). Fortunately they had things called flannels back then.

      margaret hogan and paula duncan

      So much on the horizon.

      A big year for all of us.

      A year of launches.

      Just play what you can see.

      Play what you can see…

      “Well the note said Mrs Johnson you’re wearin’ your dresses way too high
      It’s reported you’ve been drinkin’ and a runnin’ round with men and goin’ wild
      And we don’t believe you oughta be a bringin’ up your little girl this way
      And it was signed by the secretary Harper Valley pta…”

      Give me strength. ;)

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