Until relatively recently, my culinary skills could, at best be described as rudimentary. This I attribute to my childhood. The kitchen was a place where I had to mop the floor and peel potatoes. It was the place where my sister Jenny always got to wash up, while I had to wipe up and put away the dishes, a much more time consuming task. To this day, I don’t know how she managed to convince our mother that she was the superior washer upper when she completed the task in a time worthy of an Olympic 100 m champion. So, in protest at my unfair treatment (and a desire to finish my current book), I avoided the kitchen as much as possible. As a result, I left home knowing how to pour milk on cereal, boil an egg, cook toast and open a can of baked beans – real survival stuff!
But one of the joys of living in Byron Bay and the Northern Rivers is the foodie culture.. There are an amazing variety of restaurants and cafes to sample. This week, I revisited The Cyprus Tree, our local Greek restaurant. This restaurant never fails to deliver memorable and delicious food,from souvlaki to scrumptious seafood, perfect for a birthday dinner for my friend Annie.
As well, the area is full of really knowledgeable, capable people willing to share their skills and help you develop yours. This week saw the inaugural meeting of Byron Library’s Recipe Club. The club will meet on the third Tuesday of the month at 2pm, at the Library. There was a very promising roll up of interested parties. The guest speaker was the bubbly, Julie Ray.
I had met Julie before when I had attended her seafood paella class in Lismore at The Pepper tree Kitchen. I shared the photo of my success on that occasion with as many friends as possible. My culinary efforts had never looked or indeed tasted so impressive! So I was looking forward to listening to what she had to say. I was not disappointed. She came laden with ideas about interesting ways to use macadamias, a totally decadent recipe for a passionfruit cream curd cake and her chai energy muffins which we shared for afternoon tea. The muffins were delicious and you can find the recipe at Julie’s website, julieray.com. I noticed that she also had a great recipe for Gramma Pie on her website, that she had sourced from Bangalow grandmother, Mrs Jarratt. I love trying heritage country recipes. Maybe it’s because I love to daydream about all things historical.