What Have You Been Cooking Lately?
Every Saturday, as an expression of thanks and support, I cook for several key South Eveleigh community leaders and deliver these meals to their homes. They always leave me hand-picked, home-grown herbs and vegetables on the front doorstep. Mardi Giles of Weave Youth, left me the sweetest, plumpest tomatoes, the freshest bunch of mint and a handful of delicious birds-eye chillies. I immediately cooked with them in the fresh Hokkien noodles which my uncle Jimmy makes in his local Asian noodle factory. Everyone loves noodles and when cooked with lovingly grown and harvested produce, they taste even better. Hokkiens are nourishing, versatile and work beautifully whether stir-fried, served in a home-style soup or eaten at room temperature with a piquant dressing and Asian herbs.
What Have You Been Scrolling Through?
Staying connected with our dynamic and caring South Eveleigh community is one of my top priorities. I remain engaged and up-to-date, via the websites and social media of several of our great ‘Key Community Leaders’ - Rob Caslick of Two Good, Ronni Kahn AO of OzHarvest, Helen Silvia of Women's’ and Girl’s Emergency Centre, Siobhan Bryson and Mardi Giles of Weave Youth Services, Elder Aunty Ali Golding and in the Kings Cross community, Jon Owen of Wayside Chapel.
I have been enjoying the Biennale of Sydney’s NIRIN online content, as well as the Art Gallery of NSW, recently launched ‘Together In Art’ online project. I am learning so much via the NGA, MCA and NGV’s online content, and the Carriageworks Journal. I spend time reading more art content on The Art Newspaper, Frieze and Gagosian online platforms. I’ve been keeping up-to-date on all the best restaurants in Sydney who are now offering delicious Take-Away options, via the inspired Saving Plates (@savingplates) initiative, created by Tristan Lutze (@tristancooksandeats) and of course, on a daily basis, I love salivating over the innovative and too-die-for culinary delights by Fish Butchery, Ester, Café Paci and Lankan Filling Station.
Do You Have A Go-To Comfort Food That Always Makes You Feel Good?
Apart from Hokkien noodles, I love cooking my family’s version of fried rice, another super easy and accessible recipe. I also love Italian-style food, so roast chicken with rosemary and roasted vegetables with a simple, fresh green salad is also on high rotation.
What Are You Reading At The Moment?
Right now I am savouring New York Times bestselling food author, Ruth Reichl’s, ‘My Kitchen Year’. Reichl was the editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine for ten years and the NYT chief restaurant critic for many years. Upon finishing her extraordinary memoir, ‘Save Me the Plums’, I just had to have more ‘Ruth Reichl’ in my day-to-day, such generous words, wonderful humour alongside delicious descriptions and stories around food, family and friends.
What Have You Been Watching?
I’ve been watching the National Gallery of Australia’s inspiring Iview series titled, ‘This Place: Artists Series’ which documents the life and art practices of six amazing Indigenous artists; Julie Gough, Mabel Juli, Vernon Ah Kee, Yvonne Koolmatrie, Banduk Marika and Ken Thaiday Sr. Inspirational story-telling and exquisite production values.
What Are You Listening To?
I am enjoying listening to new works composed by my dear friend, leading classical pianist and composer, Elena Kats-Chernin. During this isolation period, Elena has been composing short pieces for piano and texting them to her friends, lucky us!
What Have You Discovered Since Staying Home?
Through necessity, I have taught myself a lot about the digital world and I have to say, I am really interested and enjoying how, even though we may be physically distanced from each other, we can still maintain an incredibly deep level of spiritual, emotional and mental connection.
What Items Are Making Staying In Joyful For You?
My iPhone and laptop with their ability to directly connect me to the world. Also, I would not call this an ‘item’ as such, but I am revelling in the quietude outside my apartment windows – what is usually a low urban-hum of cars has now become a gorgeous daily chorus of distinct and beautiful bird calls – seeing, smelling, hearing and feeling nature so happy right now is one of the best things to have emerged from this lockdown.
Is There One Thing You Try To Make Time For Every Day?
Yes, there sure is. Every day I express deep gratitude for all that I have in my life, rather than focusing on what I do not have or what has been ‘taken away’.
What Have You Reflected On During This Time?
How absolutely vital, regular community engagement, daily gratitude and Caring for one other is, in terms of maintaining one’s overall sense of genuine happiness and wellbeing. Small acts of kindness and a simple thank you go a long, long way.