A couple of years ago when I first started writing this blog I thought about what it was that I wanted to share.
It started as a way of me sharing my food knowledge and my passion for preparing real food for our families.
More importantly though I like to think that I give people the confidence to appreciate that the magic that is the Family dining experience is NOT just about the food.
While the food is what draws us to the table it should be considered but ONE of many things that are shared and indeed NOT the most important one.
LOVE to me should always be the single most important ingredient that is shared at our family table. Without LOVE the food and the entire dining experience is just another meal. But with it our souls as well as our tummies are nourished.
It is with this in mind that on Fridays I will be sharing with you my new series- The Family Table- where super special guests share their family dining experiences with us. It is a way of appreciating that there are infinite ways of dining together.
My wish is that every single one of my readers makes The Family Table part of their own family life.
I am so excited about this series and have some of my very favourite family sorts lined up to share with us their Family Table experiences over the coming weeks.
This week I am thrilled to share with you a super talented creative lady that I have admired from a far for quite some time & was SOOOOOOO excited when she said YES to being part of this series.
Adriane Strampp is an artist in Melbourne. You may or may not know of her amazing works. Have a closer look thorough her portfolio here.
She lives in Fitzroy in a very gorgeous( and now very famous) apartment. I know it as Adriane's place but may know it as Patrick & Nina's apartment in Offspring.
Adriane paints locally in her Fitzroy studio where she also runs Beginners painting & drawing classes- you can find out more about them & book yourself in to the upcoming July one here! ~ http://fitzroypainting.com/
Over to Adriane ~
1.) Can you please share a little about how your family shares food?
My family is spread all around the world but when we get together cooking and eating is what we do best. My earliest memories are of my American grandmother's pies, there were always at least two to choose from, but blueberry was always my favourite. Having homes in different countries means we tend to cook whatever is local and in season. In Italy we make pasta, and in Thailand fragrant Thai dishes. The family home is in England and that is where we probably have our most formal meals. On Christmas Eve my mum throws an enormous dinner party for family and friends in the conservatory and that is pretty special. Lots of flowers, candles and glass, and an open fire. At home we always eat at the table. I have an Aga and that makes everyone gravitate to the kitchen.
My Australian family is made up of friends, and I love cooking for them. We have regular late Sunday afternoon tapas get-togethers where everyone cooks one dish and we get to catch up (usually at my place!) without a lot of fuss. My daughter Lucy is a great baker and I love it when she is home. She is also an artist and film-maker, as well as making videos for restaurants and delis, including Melbourne's Alimentari.
2.) Do you have hard & fast eating rules?
No rules, but I always have a good breakfast as sometimes the day can go downhill from there! I tend to eat pretty healthily, shop at the market most weeks and grow a few things in my vegetable plot. I try to avoid things with too many names on the label that I don’t understand. Having said that, salt & vinegar crisps with a gin & tonic are a weakness!
3.) Can you share with us where your cooking influences/inspiration are from?
My mum, and Elizabeth David. When I was 16 I started reading every cookbook she wrote and that formed the start of my culinary journey.
4.) Do you have a favourite cuisine?
Not really, I like fresh, simple and seasonal. Anything spicy! Cooking is a creative down-time for me, sometimes it's hard to switch off from the studio and I find cooking relaxing. If I have time I make my own seasonal things like passata, olives, and quince paste, most recently I made a few jars of cumquat marmalade.
5.) Can you recall a super special meal or eating experience that has stayed with you forever?
A date with an ex-boyfriend. It was years ago and he took me to Da Noi, it was one of those perfect nights where they kept bringing out amazing dishes, each one was more incredible than the last. The chef was on fire. We still talk about it.
6.) Would you please share the recipe of your favourite family meal with us?
That would have to be Kedgeree, great comfort food, especially in winter.
Rather than give exact quantities, I have given a guideline to be varied as you wish, depending on how much you wish to make, and how spicy you would like it. Other variations could include the addition of small prawns. For precise recipes try Elizabeth David’s recipe in Spices, Salt and Aromatics in the English Kitchen, or Jamie Oliver.
Smoked cod (3 pieces for 2 people with left-overs)
Eggs (1 per serve)
Basmati rice, rinsed
Madras curry powder
1-2 red chillies
1-2 bay leaves
Olive oil or butter
First chop the onion and chilli and gently sauté with the olive oil or butter in a large deep frying pan. When soft and translucent add a good tablespoonful each of cumin and coriander, two of Madras curry powder and cook until fragrant. Put aside and in the same pan toss in the rice with a small splash of olive oil or knob of butter and stir for a couple of minutes. Add enough water to just cover the rice and cook until water is absorbed and rice is ‘al dente’.
Meanwhile, place the fish in a frying pan and just cover with milk. Add a couple of bay leaves and a grinding of pepper, and gently poach for about 5-10 minutes. Separately boil the eggs until just hard-boiled. Peel and quarter.
Once the rice is ready, gently toss together everything including the poaching milk and transfer to a baking dish. Don’t worry if the mix looks a bit wet, it will be absorbed. Bake for roughly 30 minutes until the top is lightly browned. Serve with lime pickle and/or mango chutney, lemon wedges and lots of freshly chopped coriander.
7.) What song would be playing at the dinner table?
A lot! But this one would be one I'd be cooking to before my guests arrive, the beautiful Nick Drake and Northern Sky.
Thankyou so much for sharing your Family table Adriane.