I’ve got something to confess. I’ve lost my zest. And not the citrus kind.
My job has been so crazy the past few months that after getting through each day, being on the road, eating some very questionable food and drinking at some very questionable places, the last thing I have felt like doing is coming home to my laptop and pumping out another few hours’ work.
Come Saturday morning I want to sleep in, go for a run and go eat breakfast; not get up before the sun to catch the golden light to photograph my glorious apple pie.
I’m exhausted. 6733km travelled on dusty, roo populated roads exhausted.
I’m not the sort of person that can push through, fake it and no one will know the difference. I’m a typical Taurean, digging my heels in the entire way and are plain transparent. I’m a terrible liar, and even more so at pretending I’m enjoying something.
When I was about eight years old I commenced piano lessons, an event that I knew from a very early age was inevitably approaching. My mum had inherited a beautiful Pianola from her grandmother, a proud piece in our lounge room in all its mahogany and ivory glory. There was a promise made which was something I always viewed as a terribly sacred pact between women in our family that my sisters and I would learn to play. I had grand dreams of being the tiny musical prodigy who had neighbours popping around for a cup of tea just to catch a small moment of the evening’s practice.
I distinctly remember turning up to my first lesson, nervous and filled with excited butterflies. For years I’d listened to my sisters transition from clunky twinkle twinkle little star renditions to beautiful melodies and could hardly wait until my little legs could reach the peddles from that hard wooden stool.
After all that build-up and expectation I realised after a few months that I really hated it.
I really sucked.
My parents actually got to the stage where they were bribing me to practice at the going rate of 10c every 5 minutes. After a while, even that satisfying chink of that coin hitting the bottom of the jar at regular intervals didn’t cut it. It wasn’t my thing, and no promise of extra pocket money could convince me otherwise.
So here’s my point. Where do you draw the line between having a little self-love and letting yourself indulge in ‘just not feeling it’ and when do you pull your socks up, get into it and hope you’ll tumble out the other side miss motivated?
A few weeks ago, in the middle of a particularly crazy week, I was invited by Barilla to attend a masterclass as part of the Good Food and Wine Show. For days before getting that invitation I was telling everyone who would listen about the amazing weekend I had planned doing absolutely bugger all and here I was signing up to a 7am class on a Saturday morning. It certainly was a moment where I needed to put my game face on, cover those under eye circles and show up to life.
The class was run by Sammy and Bella from My Kitchen Rules, where we made Seadas, a fried breakfast pastry from the island of Sardinia filled with ricotta, pecorino sardo, orange and lemon zest and smothered in honey. Granted, this type of food doesn’t regularly fit into my regular philosophy when it comes to food but it was ridiculously delicious. Somewhere between being taught how to roll and fold the pastry, just as the girl’s grandmothers did and hearing the stories about family and food I started to remember why I started all of this. There is something so powerful about food and family memories that can unite a group of food lovers from all walks of life.
I may not be frying up a batch of these most mornings, but I realised the smooth, sharp and zesty filling can be certainly adapted for those more health conscious. I only wish I could fold and twist these tartines as you can pastry, as it was certainly very therapeutic.
I’ve been sitting on this post for a while, unsure of how to put it together. It wasn’t until I was looking back on these photos that I realised how important it is to sometimes jump in headfirst and remember it’s all part of the journey.
50g pecorino sardo
Grated zest from 1 lemon and zest from 1 orange
12 pieces of rye sourdough
3 bananas, split lengthways
Raw honey, to drizzle
Salted roasted pepitas
1. Combine ricotta, pecorino and zest in a small bowl
2. Cook bananas in a heavy based saucepan sprayed with coconut oil until caramelised
3. Toast bread
4. Spread toast with ricotta mixture, top with bananas and pepitas and drizzle with honey