Wednesday, 7 March 2007

Not quite the real thing... but one step on a journey of a thousand miles

In 2005 my Dad took me on a family pilgrimage back to Europe. Whilst in Poland my great Aunt introduced me to her biscuit of choice, the simple but delectable 'rose filled rogaliki'. Now I've never been particularly fond of rose flavoured foods (I suspect caused by an overdose of lack lustre turkish delight) but these little tidbits really wove their magic on me. In fact I can pretty much blame my travelling 'excess baggage' on the number of these I scoffed on my very short Polish stay.

As can be expected - being long back on the other side of the world, I've been craving their delicately floral shortbreadishness ever since. Now initially I was not too despondent, because living in an area of melbourne with a surfeit of European cake shops, I assumed tracking them down wouldn't be too hard - or at least something to scratch the itch. Alas after much searching (and sampling) none to my knowledge make these particular style treats. Not being able to speak or write Polish made googling a recipe for some morsel I did not even know the name of at that stage, actually started to give rise to a sense of panic - as you know, a spoilt palate is forever tainted... until accidentally and unintentionally I stumbled upon this photo while archiving some files - and TA DA! The name of my secret culinary desire was revealled.

There followed a scramble to translate the recipes the internet did finally proffer. Unfortunately the Polish translation engines I found only produced indecipherable hieroglyphics (largely due to the colloquial nature of a cook's instructions I later discovered). Anyone I knew and met with a slightly wog name was grilled about whether they or anyone they knew spoke or wrote Polish or happened to imbibe vast amounts of Polish vodka thereby having the requisite translation skills needed to bring me closer to my goal. I was about to insist my younger brother prostrate himself to his abusive (but suspected Polish - bless them) elderly neighbours - when by chance the friend of a friend dropped by and OMG not only spoke and read Polish but had her mother immediately on the on the phone to give sage advice and cooking directions! Bless you Al.

I was saved.

And pictured above is the fruits of this near 2 year quest. Whilst not quite on the money (in a moment of weakness I decided to have a go sans rose paste substituting plum, apricot and boysenberry) it is my first attempt at shortbread. Fears of overworking the dough and burning the jam filling were unjustified. Simple yet tasty, they are my metaphoric base camp, from which I hope to ascend to a delicately floral shortbreadish summit. Onward and upward chaps!

Thursday, 1 March 2007

Family Tree WIP

This is an idea I had for a cushion cover some time back and am just getting around to. Continuing with my obsession with birds (can you blame me? its such a simple and elegant silhouette) I had an idea where I had a perfect excuse to use their motif but actually put the little buggers to work...

I fashioned my own tree design which was transfered to fused fabric and machine stitched to a linen backing. And now for the birds - one for each member of the family (obviously there's room for more babies!). The cushion is for Bronald, Ferg and Imi, with whom I'll be visiting in Syd soon. My last visit there was a flurry of activity and new house decorating - in which I introduced B to the joys of "acid yellow" (border colour anyone?).

Truly an addictive palette - it is fresh, has the wow factor and excitement of canary yellow - but is ever so slightly in the 'cool' spectrum, thus is charmingly soothing and relaxing. A welcome addition to any home. Part gift, part "I promise this colour will be OK..." And as a thankyou to F for putting up with our decorating maelstrom - I've used the beautiful italian cotton from one of his old shirts for the birds.