Rainbow Lorikeets

Lately a few rainbow lorikeets have been visiting us, stopping to snack on the ripe figs hanging over the neighbour’s fence. How gorgeous are these beautifully coloured little birds! I have also seen huge flocks of them feasting on flowering bottle brush trees along the Northcote railway line.

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Green Combo

Loved the eclectic mix of green crockery at Jardin Tan, a great cafe recently opened at the Melbourne Botanic Gardens, Observatory end. Part of the Shannon Bennett stable so fabulous food and coffee. The espresso cup contained chocolate mousse capped with a dollop of passionfruit  cream…delicious!

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Phuket Thailand

Nothing like a tropical holiday to recharge the batteries in the middle of a chilli Melbourne winter. Five days of way too much fabulous food. The highlight was a cooking class that revealed a few secrets about Thai cuisine. And hooray! my quest to find a non-rubbery Thai fish cake ended at the weekend Phuket Night Market. 8 for 20 Baht (about 80 cents) plump, juicy and delicious.

 

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Dandelion Spanakopitas

I’ve been reading about the extraordinary health benefits of dandelion leaves. On the way home from Northcote station one day I spotted some beautiful dandelion plants and picked some leaves to make spanakopitas.

My recipe for spanakopitas changes every time according to what I’ve got in the fridge but here is the general idea…Instead of spinach I used dandelion, chick weed and dock leaves. Cook up 1 chopped onion in some olive oil on very low heat so it softens slowly, add garlic, smoked paprika and chilli and cook for a bit. Add washed and chopped leaves and sauté briefly before adding a slash of water and simmering for about 5-10 min to cook the leaves a bit. Dandelion and Dock leaves have a slightly bitter flavour like chicory. Chick Weed doesn’t need much cooking and can be eaten raw so mix it in last if you are including it.

Take off the heat and mix in ricotta, fetta cheese and a few toasted pine nuts salt and pepper. Prepare your filo pastry sheets as per instruction on the packet. Wrap your parcels and brush the tops with olive oil or melted butter then sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Bake in hot oven -180C- till nice and golden. Yumm! (and very healthy)

Just a note on foraging for and eating weeds. Please do your research as many weeds are toxic. Edible Weeds and Garden Plants of Melbourne by Doris Pozzi is an excellent reference book.

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The spanakopitas were photographed on a plate available at Myer, which is part of the Heritage Dinnerware Botanic Collection designed my me!

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Persimmon Tree

My dad’s gloriously colourful persimmon tree was always a heartwarming sight on a grey wintery day. Every year it was laden with persimmons, the branches sagging from the plump orange fruit. The year before last we picked 10 big bags full and delivered them to all the Greek and Italian families in the street who just love them. Panagiotis next door, would get the most bags. This was our payback for all the beautiful lemons we could help ourselves to from his tree which overhung the fence.

Sadly I no longer get to see this tree or enjoy its fruit because my dad’s house has been sold but I do have some photos to remember it and they do cheer me up when I see them.

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