Bread, a new oven and David’s Birthday

October 25, 2014

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Each year my family gathers together on October 23rd. We hang out and cook, make cookies or cake and distract ourselves with little tasks. It’s a day to just be. My older brother was a 1982 baby, three years older than me, so he would have been 32 on Thursday.

I’m getting used to the fact that our family is smaller, decidedly quieter, since he died. It’s not the same and I miss the old “us”, but I love the new us too because we cherish our time together. We’re different… we will never be the same and we’ll always feel somewhat empty, but life is sweet now that we can breathe again. And I try to think less on the life he had yet to live, and more on the good life he did live.

This year I helped mum clean out her wardrobe (well, really I just took a few pieces I’ve always loved) while we waited for her oven delivery, watched movie trailers with my younger brother and baked bread with dad. I’m working on a couple of articles about bread, and was keen for time with our resident bread master. We experimented with different flours, baking in the woodfired oven, and tasting the nuances of flour and method, which was totally fun. I will absolutely be talking more about bread in the future and will share my thoughts when I do.

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Mum’s old oven was ripped out to make way for her well-deserved upgrade…

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…but before it went she made a batch of David’s favourite peanut butter crinkles.

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We’ve recently experienced a few hot days, which has left me craving ice-cream rather than my usual cookies for David. Though Thursday was quite chilly, I went ahead and made vanilla ice-cream (recipe link) for the five of us using my parents’ outdoor camp stove.

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I then folded vanilla bean through defrosted raspberries, which I swirled through the nearly set ice-cream. And though it needed a few more hours to set in the freezer, I just had to sneak outside to snap and share the almost end result with you. When I’m feeling low I tend to be a tad dramatic, and my propensity to not do things by halves is exaggerated. I quite think David would have approved of the fact that I added a shitload of vanilla to this custard. And I do so love a raspberry swirl.

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Woodfired Roasted Wine and Thyme Mushrooms

The Australian Mushroom Growers‘ association sent me a box of goodies this week (thanks, team!) and I promptly decided their fate would be the woodfired oven. To a large tray of mixed mushrooms I added four garlic cloves (skin on), a few good knobs of butter, fresh thyme leaves from my parents’ garden, sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, as well as a few good slugs of red wine and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. They roasted for about 20 minutes before I added the delicate enoki mushrooms, then everything roasted for a further 10 or so minutes. You could easily do this in a hot 200 degrees Celsius oven inside.

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The wine, butter and mushroom marriage in the pan made the most luxurious sauce, which we devoured with dad’s freshly baked spelt sourdough bread. We also roasted baby potatoes in the oven which were deliciously served alongside mum’s sorrel pesto (recipe link) and creme fraiche.

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People would never think them brothers but they are just that.

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Each year, each day, my brother gives me the gift of knowing of how fleeting our time here really is. It’s painful but important. And I am so grateful. I genuinely treat each day as a gift. Because it is. There is beauty in each and every day. And since losing my brother the good is magnified, elevated. Stress, confrontations and headaches are demoted… and spontaneous kitchen dance parties, cool breezes and a plate of pasta is promoted. David has made my every day so beautiful. I just wish I could tell him thank you and live this life with him. We miss our musician. Happy birthday, David.

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Heidi xo

 

 

 

 

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30 Comments

  • Reply Lindsey October 25, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    Beautiful, Heidi xoxo

    • Reply Heidi October 29, 2014 at 11:13 am

      Thanks, lovely x

  • Reply Millie l Add A Little October 25, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    Looks like a beautiful celebration and the food looks amazing Heidi!

    • Reply Heidi October 29, 2014 at 11:13 am

      Thank you, Millie! x

  • Reply Kate October 25, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    Heidi, your words and sentiments are so beautiful. As is your family. What a special way to celebrate and honour your brother xx

    • Reply Heidi October 29, 2014 at 11:13 am

      Thanks, Kate 🙂 It was lovely x

  • Reply Natalie October 25, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    So beautiful Heidi and such a wonderful lesson to learn. Although I am so, so thankful to have learned it my way instead of yours, I feel the same after recovering from being unwell. Life is fleeting, we are super precious and delicate. Pasta is amazing! (And just look at that bread!!). Sending love xx

    • Reply Heidi October 29, 2014 at 11:13 am

      Thanks, Natalie, I so appreciate that. Right back at you x

  • Reply jac October 25, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    So much to love about this post. I love when you write about David because you express the pain of loss so eloquently whilst embracing the joy of living. Love the photo of your parents and I love the photo of Ben and your brother. Perfect caption 🙂

    • Reply Heidi October 29, 2014 at 11:14 am

      I thought so 🙂 Thanks, Jac x

  • Reply tricia October 26, 2014 at 2:36 am

    Hi Heidi!!! Love Love love you blog!! I know this may be a silly question, but what kind of camp stove do your parents have? What is the brand name? I am looking for a new one, but don’t know much about these products 🙂

    • Reply Heidi October 29, 2014 at 11:12 am

      Hi Tricia! Thank you & sorry for the delay, juts checked with Dad & he said they got it at Aldi. But named Coleman as a good brand too. Hope that helps! x

      • Reply tricia November 2, 2014 at 3:16 pm

        Thank you!!

  • Reply Laura October 26, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    I love the way your family celebrate Heidi, you have it all right xx

    • Reply Heidi October 29, 2014 at 11:14 am

      Thank you, Laura x

  • Reply Hannah October 26, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    I almost feel that when I see you in just over a week’s time, I’ll start hugging you and I won’t be able to let go.

    This is a beautiful post. There is so much love, and strength, and beauty in your words, and I feel so grateful that, each year, you share them with us.

    Thinking of you. xo

    • Reply Heidi October 29, 2014 at 11:14 am

      Thanks, love. So excited to see you x

  • Reply Nicole - Seeking Victory October 27, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    I’m very new to your blog, I just wanted to say how sad I am that David is no longer here. You write such beautiful tributes to him and I really admire the way that your family has managed to find their way together through the unimaginable grief that is losing a son and brother. He gave you the gift of perspective, and while I know you would give that gift back in a heartbeat if it meant David was still here, you have all done well to accept that gift with love and cherish it.
    On a lighter note, those peanut butter crinkles and your ice cream look magnificent x

    • Reply Heidi October 29, 2014 at 11:15 am

      Thank you for your words, Nicole. x

  • Reply InTolerant Chef October 27, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    It looks like your family is even closer now, and it seems like a lovely way to celebrate the life of someone you loved xox

    • Reply Heidi October 29, 2014 at 11:15 am

      Indeed, Rebecca x

  • Reply Felicity Curtain October 28, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    So, so beautiful Heidi. xxxx

    • Reply Heidi October 29, 2014 at 11:15 am

      Thanks, Fel x

  • Reply laurasmess October 28, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    I’m sitting at my local coffee shop, a lump in my throat and heaviness upon my heart. No words are sufficient in times like these, when absence is felt in the most raw, poignant kind of way. I am so glad that you had Ben and the rest of your family to wrap their arms around you on David’s birthday. You’re right, life is short (I keep experiencing a bigger realisation I this fact each year) and togetherness is something worth treasuring. When you write about David, I always feel like he lives through your words, through the butteriness of his favourite biscuits and the feasts made by the hands of those who knew him best. Thanks, as always, for lingering in these thoughts with us. Much love to you beautiful xx

    • Reply Heidi October 29, 2014 at 11:16 am

      Oh thank you, Laura, you’re divine x

  • Reply Sarah October 28, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    Those mushies look divine, if only my plus-one favoured mushrooms…ah well..more for me maybe?

    I wish I had a ‘Dad-who-bakes’, although I’ve recently been talking to one of the Studio Art Teachers at work and he’s been sharing his adventures with sourdough culturing and bread-making (I’m considering taking him on as a surrogate father..)

    A beautiful post, Heidi. The ones we love don’t fade away, they walk beside us everyday – it sounds like you have such wonderful memories and a have a wonderful way of celebrating life xx

    • Reply Heidi October 29, 2014 at 11:16 am

      You’re so right, Sarah. & I so support your sourdough adventures x

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