Tag Archives: on the kitchen table

Autumn pumpkins in Australia…

On the kitchen table… a couple of pumpkins we bought from a farmer’s roadside ute near Esk. I love being able to buy straight from a farm ingredients that are in season at their peak and pumpkins even have autumn colours! These will help make many meals but my first thought was pumpkin and ricotta crespelle with crispy sage leaves and a little Parmigiano on top. (Luckily Roger is a fine maker of crespelle, crepes, or scrippelle as they’re called in Abruzzo.)

For centuries in Abruzzo, pumpkins have remained a significant part of folklore and the farming calendar with late autumn being a time of reconciliation and thankfulness when harvesting is over. With the end of the growing seasons and the ‘dead’ of winter ahead, it’s also a time of acknowledging those before us, now gone. Cocce de morte (death heads) are carved from pumpkins and a candle lit inside to illuminate them, welcoming past loved ones to join those present back at their houses and tables for a feast from the harvests. With its roots in pagan times there is dancing, singing, bonfires, gratitude, new wine and plenty to eat and, of course, pumpkins! A lovely tradition melding the past, the present and acknowledging what the earth and hard work can provide. Zoë x
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Filed under dishes + recipes, inspiration + history, italy

Trees and memories…

On the kitchen table today while in lockdown… cypress cuttings from the backyard in a vase I brought back from beautiful Orvieto many years ago. (And its potter’s mark.)

I don’t know if it’s just me or if anyone else names trees in their backyard but we call this cypress, ‘Annibale’, after Nonno Anni and it’s special to me because Mum gave it to us in a tiny pot to remember him when he died and not so long after, we lost her too, so this tree feels doubly special.

(Evergreen is a symbol of immortality and in ancient times the custom was to place fresh boughs to salute the departed and console the bereaved, such a lovely tradition, especially in winter when there were no flowers and the green lay stark against the snow.)

Fifteen years on, the cypress tree, ‘Annibale’ continues to thrive, is quite tall and burly (a bit like Nonno Anni was) and home to our lovely resident possum, Tabitha and a nest of honeyeater birds. (And its fronds have a lovely fresh scent on the kitchen table!) Hope you are keeping safe and well wherever you may be, in or out of lockdown. Zoe xx

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Filed under garden + vintage linens, inspiration + history, kitchen stories