The beautiful Heidi invited me to her parents' place on the Mornington Peninsula. Heidi's husband Ben is away in Sydney working at his awesome tutoring business for two months, and then they're going to America for three months (I KNOW, RIGHT?!), so she's back living with her parents. As I expected, they're so wonderful too - friendly, welcoming, and foodies. Such foodies. If my parents and Heidi's parents got together they'd start a restaurant, I'm sure. That or they would talk about food for a week. They have ham on the bone and a love for different cheeses. Like me, they're wholefood fans, and adventurous. We had a pizza festival last Sunday afternoon. Oh it was wonderful. It featured food cooked from scratch, food cooked with love.
Heidi took me for a drive around the area. In the 10 years I've lived in Melbourne I've only been to Mornington once. We started off by going to a cafe/provodore and then the Shoreham beach - Heidi has lovely memories of the beach and I feel privileged she shared them with me. The sea air smelled amazing and I have returned with enough sand in my shoes to feel like I've had a seaside holiday.
Their garden is lush and rambling - filled with roses, fruit trees, herbs and vegie gardens, plus pretty decorations that make it homely. I'm not a fan of the outdoors, as you know, but on Sunday, I really liked being outside.
my boy confusion, and how she's so in love with Ben - her love for him is so cute!!), music (we are both currently loving The Lumineers), American travel and food. So much talk about food. I love Heid's passion for food - she told me how she adores making pastry, and she's always reading cookbooks and learning about wholefoods and nutrition. And I joked that she was a "walking boom box" when she ensured we had music everywhere we went - courtesy of her iPhone in her pocket. So much innuendo captioning this photo!
On the left, there's chorizo, bocconcini, tomato and Parmesan, and on the right is button mushroom, shiitake mushroom and Parmesan.
And potato pizza - the potatoes were par-boiled, thinly sliced and then layered with anchovies, rosemary sprigs, garlic and Parmesan.
And then we ate them. With some kale salad that Heidi massaged with lemon juice to soften (like a ceviche). But not before we took approximately 172 photos of the food - and giggled about it being ok to delay eating for blogging purposes. I apologised to the kale for not photographing it.
The pizzas were served on boards - Jamie Oliver style. If you've been following me on Twitter you'll be aware of my gripe with Jamie Oliver serving his meals on boards. Sure it looks good, but how practical is it? What about taste (and germ) transfer? I wince at the weepy stews seeping into the wood one night, and then soaking up the juices of a fruit salad the next night. We all agreed that pizza is an acceptable food to serve on a board.
The pizzas were so delicious. I may have eaten six slices. The chorizo one was packed with flavour, the mushroom one was simple and mild. I loved the potato pizza - it was like eating cheesy potato bake. And the fig pizza was sweet and salty and creamy. Wonderful.
I was getting into serious pizza coma territory and needed some caffeine to pick me up for the drive home. Heidi's parents have a whizz bang coffee machine. But I don't drink coffee, unless I'm on a plane or it has some chocolate in it. Her Dad made me a strong black with equal parts coffee and Nutella stirred in. So delicious. Pizza coma averted.
Heidi had prepared an apple and fig tart which was cooked in the pizza oven. She adapted the recipe from here. She'd made rye flour pastry (which she calculated as being somewhat healthy, given the rye and the low butter content - and I'm taking her word for it because she's a dietician and knows her stuff. Even though she told us "the apples were cooked in a shitload (an actual measurement) of butter". Healthy!
The base of the tart was spread with fig jam so it kept the pastry crisp and went all caramelised. The apples were just sweet enough. It was beautifully rustic. And a success in the pizza oven. We ate it with home made vanilla icecream. Seriously, it was all amazing!
I am so glad to have made the trip to see Heidi and her parents. It's friends like her that make my world a wonderful place.
Thank you all for a great, memorable Sunday. I can't stop singing the Presidents of the United States of America's Peaches now.