The Taste of Home

After reading a week or so ago on Adam Roberts's blog An Amateur Gourmet about the importance and rarity of the perfect first bite, I wondered what our first bite should be when we arrived in Australia.

Considering that, for Graeme, this trip is a homecoming, I thought I'd let him decide.

I cheered when he said meat pie.

I love meat pie.

A meat pie is a savory pie, with either a traditional crust or a flaky phyllo crust. The pie is filled with tender-cooked meat in a thick, rich gravy, seasoned with herbs and spices.

So, yesterday, when Graeme's parents picked us up from the airport, we asked if they would please take us to Vili's for meat pies. They were a little surprised, as it was 10:30 in the morning, but they obliged. When we got there, the place was already packed. We're not the only ones who love meat pie.

We stepped up to the busy counter where people were ordering everything from meat pies, to sausage rolls, to vanilla slices for dessert, and we drooled over our options:

At Vili's, the pie crusts are phyllo-style. Pie choices include the meat pie, which is a traditional beef pie; beef steak and mushroom; chicken pie; chicken satay pie; curry pie, which is a beef pie seasoned with curry; goulash pie; kangaroo bushman pie; lamb, mint and rosemary pie; and the new beef and beer pie, for which the beef is marinated in beer prior to cooking it.

Graeme went for the beef and beer, while I, though curious about the kangaroo bushman, went for beef steak and mushroom. Next time, I'll try the kangaroo for sure.

It really was the perfect first bite. The flaky crust was both crispy and airy. The meat was fresh and tender and rich in flavor. The gravy was thick and provided the perfect suspension for the meat.

We shared a pint of Farmer's Union Iced Coffee to wash it down.

Three years ago, when I first had one of these, I found it way too thick and way too strong. The coffee was so strong, it tasted like motor-oil. The milk was so thick, I thought it had to be half-and-half. I called it a heart-attack in a carton.

I don't know which of us changed in the last few years, but yesterday, I thought it was perfect: strong, mildly sweet, and creamy.

Thanks, Vili's for the great start.

For the next six weeks, as Graeme plays his way across Australia, I plan to eat my way.

When I get home in six weeks, I promise to post my recipe for meat pie for you, so you can make it and try it yourself. I make a traditional pie crust. For the filling, I slow-cook the meat for a few hours to make it tender. I like to cook it with blend of thyme, fresh if possible, garlic, a little onion, tomato paste and a little flour to thicken it up, and worcestershire sauce to give it a little kick.


PS: Today's photos were downloaded from the internet. My camera battery died when I sat down this morning to upload my own photos. I need to get an adapter this afternoon so I can charge it. Hopefully all photos will be originals soon.


We're Off

The last few days have been a whirlwind.

There is too much to do when preparing to leave home for six weeks. There's so much still to do that I probably shouldn't be writing right now. I should be packing odds and ends, cleaning the fridge, throwing in last bits of laundry, blanching the veggies from our CSA pickup this week and tossing them in the freezer for safe keeping, but I need to let you know what's going on.

This afternoon, my husband and I are leaving for six weeks in Australia. Graeme, being a pianist, is going on a concert tour. I, being a lover-of-adventure, am going along for the ride. I'll do my fair share of CD selling, but I'll also do plenty of exploring, taste-testing, picture-taking and writing, so stay tuned. For the next 46 days, we'll be talking about the wonders and delights of the Land Down Under.

But now, I have to finish packing my carry-on. Did I mention we're not checking luggage? I'll let you know how that goes.


It's Nice to Meet You


Is anybody out there?

I've been thinking about starting a blog for a few months now. I'm a little late on the scene, I know, but better late than never, right? 

I've wondered these last few months what, if I were to blog, my angle would be. There are so many lovely things in life, it's hard to choose just one aspect about which to write. So, I've decided I won't have one narrow topic. Rather, my writing here will have to do with any of the sweet and simple pleasures of life. This will be a place for me to practice the craft of writing, and a place to explore ideas and inspirations, to pause for a moment and enjoy the view. While the topics may vary, most posts here will have something to do with travel, nature, crafting, family, or food. Actually, they'll have a lot to do with food. I hope you'll join the conversation.

In light my sort-of mission statement, I'd like to share one of my favorite poems with you. It's by Edna St. Vincent Millay, and it's entitled "First Fig."

First Fig

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But, ah, my foes, and oh, my friends-
It gives a lovely light.

Fitting, isn't it?