Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


Recipe for a cold night in front of a gas fire. (Warning: elephants on the loose.)

It was a cold day, a Tuesday, and it rained all morning and all afternoon. Now it was early in the evening and William was being an elephant in the hallway, as you do when you are 23 months old and it's six o'clock at night. Thomas was laying on his side in the portacot, holding a soft toy block with big coloured numbers on each side and beating it against the side of the portacot as you do when you're seven months old and have just discovered motor skills.

The radio on the mantlepiece was playing some jazz music broadcast from 3MBS, Melbourne's first FM station. There was an aroma coming from the kitchen. It was good.

Smoked pork hocks on garlic mash.

Place two smoked pork hocks in a pot with a chopped onion, a chopped carrot, a chopped garlic clove, a bay leaf, a teaspoonful of peppercorns and half a cup of chopped parsley. Cover with water, bring to boil and simmer, covered, for at least a couple of hours and possibly longer; until the kitchen windows steam up and the aroma fills the house and you can't stand it any longer and you absolutely have to eat right now.

Make potato mash - fold through three or four cloves of roasted garlic, a tablespoonful of horseradish and some chopped parsley. Place pork hocks on top and serve with our current favourite beer.

It's winter in a few days. There'll be more of this kind of fare.


7.30pm. The gas fire is humming away and the 3MBS announcer, the one who talks too much, has stopped telling the composer's life story and is playing his music instead.

The elephant is no longer stamping. It is snoring in a little heap in a corner holding a teddy.

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