Monday, September 27, 2010

ode to two very special people

Today I was invited over to my piano tutor's house for lunch, which may seem a little strange to some people. But not for us. Susan and John were my piano teachers for a very, very long time.

I had piano lessons once a week, every week of the school term for 13 years (not including double-lesson weeks and extra exam preparation). At times I saw them more often than my dad. They gave me the gift of music, and taught me so many things about perseverance and reaching my potential. They are both incredibly generous, passionate and dedicated teachers who I owe so much to because they were willing to give up the one thing that is so valuable: their time.

Being an asian kid, I am always eating rice, noodles, or rice. And more rice. And sometimes, rice. I know I was very lucky to have a mum who cooked me delicious chinese food every day of my childhood, but you gotta admit the grass is always greener on the other side. I get excited by these flavours like sundried tomato, fetta and marinated olives because I never grew up with them. I loved these.

Amber's Vegetable and Pesto Pastries.
Serves 4.

  • 2 sheets ready-rolled puff pastry, thawed
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomato pesto/basil pesto/olive tapenade (from the jar is fine)
  • Assorted antipasti - marinated artichokes, olives, marinated mushrooms, sundried tomato strips, roasted capsicum strips
  • Fresh tomato slices
  • 150g feta cheese (or other cheese)
  • Fresh basil (optional)

    Preheat oven to 220C. Cut pastry sheets in half. Place on greased or lined oven trays. Fold in edges of pastry to make a 1cm border. Spread pesto within the border. Arrange tomatoes and veges over hte pesto and sprinkled with crumbled cheese. Bake uncovered until pastry is puff and bronwned - about 10 to 15 minutes. If trays are on different shelves, swp them over halfway through the cooking time. Serve topped with fresh basil and with a side salad.

    Susan and John are the only people I know who make their lemon-lime bitters from scratch, with a bottle of bitters bought from the liquor store. Which automatically makes them awesome in my eyes. Do you know anyone else who makes their lemon-lime bitters from scratch? Nup?

    Didn't think so.

    I have waited so long for an excuse to buy Maggie Beer Ice Cream from the IGA down the road from my house. I bought the Vanilla Bean and Elderflower to go with our dessert of apple crumble, but they also had Strawberries and Cream and Dark Chocolate and Orange available. That ice cream is heavenly.

    Furthur evidence that Susan and John are awesome: they buy Gloria Jeans coffee, the vacuum bag types. John made me a cup of Hazelnut blend. I dearly wish there was a button on this window to 'attatch' a smell, not just photos. The aroma from those beans... yum.

    And for an end note: Susan keeps her spices in these old antique Spencer's tins. Gorgeous.
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