The world feels pretty topsy-turvy right now so to help us all feel a little more grounded, we'll be sharing a fortnightly wrap-up of thoughts, ideas, recipes, words & inspiration. If not for anything else than a little distraction. After all, scootch, is a feeling made scootchier when shared. If you've read, eaten, heard, done or seen something wonderful, let us know! Send us your ideas in the comments below or to email@example.com, we'd love to hear them!
Jessie & Catherine
WHAT WE'RE READING...
The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating - Elizabeth Tova Bailey
This little gem of a book has long been one of our favourites and feels like the perfect companion at this very surreal moment of enormous adjustment, as each of us is brought to stillness by social isolation.
A story of survival and resilience, Bailey, besieged by a mysterious illness and confined alone to bed, discovers a woodland snail living in a pot of field violets on her nightstand. Through beautiful observations; from the brilliant accomplishment of his architecture to his daily routines, Bailey and the snail’s lives merge into a society of two, reminding her and us, how even the tiniest part of the natural world can illuminate our human existence and what it means to be fully live. Lyrical and prophetic it’s a glorious page pauser.
A Cake you can take with you anywhere - Dorie Greenspan for the New York Times Magazine.
Like many others self-isolating at home at the moment, I've been finding comfort in baking. Though I don't profess to be very good at it, there is something so simple and soothing about following a recipe right through to the end, using your hands to transform ancient ingredients into modern delights and if possible, the ultimate salve, to share a slice with someone you love. Perhaps this is why I was so moved by this piece I found when recipe hunting online.
The notion of a "visiting cake", a cake "built to be wrapped, packed & bundled", a cake that travels and delights, welcomes neighbours in or friends, home, made me weep after nearly a fortnight of living the life interior. So at odds with the face-timing, "zooming", tech-rich but soul-poor world of communication in front of us, I found the simple gesture of receiving or making a cake, "protected by a tea-towel and nestled in a basket" completely charming.
Not to mention Greenspan's very own "Lemon-Spice visiting cake" recipe which I will definitely be baking ahead of the next report!
You can read Greenspan's piece here.
So you're stuck at home. Here's a guide to finding great art while in isolation. - Sebastian Smee for The Washington Post. Available to read here.
"Maybe you're into art. Or maybe you're not - but you always secretly thought you might be if you only had the chance...Well, now you have the chance!".
Sebastian Smee is the Australian Pulitzer Prize winning Art Critic at the Washington Post. In this article, he has done the heavy lifting for us, scouring the globe to find passage ways into the artworld via podcasts, art documentaries, video art, museum websites and more.
WHAT WE'RE COOKING...
We should start this section off by explaining that Jessie is a Pescatarian and Catherine...isn't. We'll try and ensure we cater for everyone as the fortnights go on but naturally you will see quite a few veggie/pescatarian recipes thrown into the mix...but when fresh meat is somewhat difficult to get your paws on at the moment, this might not be the worst thing!
So...here's what we've been cooking this week.
Designed to be served as four individual pies, I turned this Donna Hay recipe for Black Pepper Fennel Fish Pies into one large family-style pie because I didn't have suitable individual ramekins at hand and it was deeeelicious! Decadent in depth but subtle in flavour - not too fennelly, it was just delightful. Better yet? No home-made pastry required, just a sheet of puff-pastry, Donna's words, not mine!
Alison Roman's "Lemony Turmeric Tea Cake". Arguably social media's "dish of the pandemic" so far and we know why! Easy, resourceful and oh-so-flavoursome. You can find the recipe here. As an aside, one of the best investments I have made this year has been a subscription to the New York Times Cooking website. It costs AUD $7.00 a month and there are SO many wonderful recipes uploaded constantly.
Sian Redgrave describes herself as "a cook, a food and fashion stylist and recipe developer" but we would add to that, that she's also a brilliant writer, a visual artist, talented creative and generous spirit. Sian has been sharing recipes for free on her instagram all week and we've picked the Five Ingredient Zucchini & Burnt Butter Pasta to share with you. You can find the recipe saved in Sian's instagram highlights, here.
WHAT WE'VE SEEN...
This fortnight, we've both been watching European series'. Both recommendations are subtitled but don't let this deter you.
Jessie: In my first weeks of self-isolation, I have absolutely sped through the first series of "The Bridge". My boyfriend and I are currently split between states and have been synchro-viewing ("1,2,3 play!" ... yeah, we're really daggy) an episode each night. If you haven't seen it, you must! The season begins with a murdered body, found placed exactly on the border of Sweden and Denmark on the Öresund Bridge, invoking the detective work of both Swedish and Danish police in a case that unravels throughout the rest of the series. This is some of the best screenwriting I've seen in a very long time. It is pithy and to the point in that very Scandinavian way but its characters are funny, flawed and very endearing. I promise you won't be disappointed.
Available to stream in Australia via STAN. Series are subtitled.
Catherine: "Call My Agent" is a wry French Comedy that takes you behind the scenes of the dog-eat-chien world of a fictional film agency, set in the heart of Paris. A beguiling cast of talent agents, vying for influence and access, put-upon assistants and a literal lapdog called Jean Gabin; navigate the vagaries of business, art and life, whilst nurturing their clients - a steady stream of real life French super stars, playing themselves. Sharp, funny, intelligent, poignant and brilliantly written, it is at heart an ode to French cinema. I found all three series faultless, and myself dreaming in French. Only one complaint. Three seasons just weren’t enough. 5 stars but more if I could. J’adore. And can’t wait for season four!
Available to stream in Australia via Netflix. Series are subtitled.
If you read, cook or watch any of our suggestions from this fortnight's report, we'd love to know about it! Tag us in your pics @_loveafterlove_ on instagram or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
xx Jessie & Catherine.