Winter Down Under – Cook, Eat, Drink & Read Books Old & New

Winter in Australia is the perfect time for pursuing the art of the home. Taking time our for rest and recreation is good for our well being. So gather your friends and family around you and enjoy a great time together by planning and preparing a special meal that celebrates togetherness. It doesn’t have to be grand! The best party ever is a Pie party, where everyone can arrive en casual wearing their favourite winter jumper, scarf and beanie – just perfect on an Aussie winter day, costume that puts everyone in an immediate mood of relaxation.

Serving yummy Pies both savoury with a great glass of warming red and/or a sweet pie with a sticky white is a great way to go. If you are lucky and live in Sydney you can just call on The Pie Society…but if you prefer to DIY then Marika Gauci a London chef runs workshops teaching people how to make pies.

If you don’t live in London she has just given up her favourite recipes in The Little Book of Pies: Sweet and Savoury Pies and Tarts For All Year Round. This is a great place to start. You can learn how to crimp, lattice or plait your pie for a perfect finish; and how to store and reheat them so that not a crumb of your hard work goes to waste! www.bookoffers.com.au

Winter is definitely the time to try out a great red. Top 2 of my vineyard list by far is Farr Rising and Turkey Flat, both in South Australia. The single vineyard estate Farr Rising has been growing fruit for both their chardonnay and pinot noir since their vines were planted in 2002. They also add purchased fruit from nearby as well as some sourced from Merricks on the Mornington Peninsula for their stunning soft, round and truly delicious Pinot Noir to die for.

Turkey Flat in the Barossa Valley are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year. Their Butcher’s Block, White and their truly sensational Shiraz are always in demand. The vineyard boasts some of the oldest Shiraz vines in the world. Planted in 1847, today these hard-working gnarled old vines are still producing fantastic grapes, ‘giving the wine deep colour and bright aromatics’.

How great to curl up on a cold winter afternoon with a good book. In the new variety you can enjoy: The House on Carnaval Street, a life-affirming sea-change memoir by Deborah Rodriguez author of the international bestseller The Little Coffee Shop Of Kabul, The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden By Jonas Jonasson, a quirky and utterly unique, a charming and humorous account of one young woman’s unlikely adventure or The Place at Whitton by Aussie author Tom Keneally,  an old psychological mystery re-released as an anniversary edition.

Agatha Christie at Home by Hilary Macaskill is indeed special. It explores and illustrates the significance of Devon in Christie’s work, and of Greenway her house in particular and as well their is the delightful and truly wonderful Anatomy of Fashion by Colin McDowell, an engaging book that delights in defining why we dress the way we do.

If you want to change your sedentary ways then get into the action and take up ‘sugarcraft’. Cakes in Bloom by celebrity cook Peggy Porschen is the ultimate reference and inspiration for all prospective or seasoned sugarcrafters, reflecting Peggy’s complete mastery of a breath-taking array of flowers, creatively used on a variety of cakes. Make it your goal: to enjoy an Australian winter this year with those you love. Celebrate the art that is life this winter season.

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