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Mirka & Georges – A Culinary Affair by Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan (+ a recipe for Oysters roasted with Almonds and Butter)

Food, art, culture…intertwined in a way that is both enjoyable and informative. One of the best culinary themed books I have read in 2018.

Mirka & Georges – A Culinary Affair by Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan explores the extraordinary lives of Mirka and Georges Mora, their invaluable contributions to the art and culinary scene of Melbourne.

Mirka & Georges – A Culinary Affair by Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan (+ a recipe for Oysters roasted with Almonds and Butter) - thespiceadventuress.com

Lesley and Kendrah are senior curators at the Heide Museum of Modern Art (Heidelberg, Melbourne) who have previously co-authored the books, ‘Sunday’s Kitchen: Food & Living at Heide’, ‘Sunday’s Garden: Growing Heide’ and ‘Modern Love: The Lives of John and Sunday Reed’.

I have always been a fan of Heide Museum, visiting whenever time allowed me. It all started when I first took Adi for a holiday program at the museum but it would be fair to say that I fell in love with the space. It’s more than art at Heide; the beautiful expanse of greenery around, the vegetable gardens, the café serving absolutely vibrant delicious food, all of it inspires me to keep returning to the Museum.

The first time I came across the name, Mirka, was also at Heide. There was an exhibition featuring her art works and also copies of this book at the store inside the museum. But I initially dismissed it thinking the book is going to be all about art, not even paying attention to the word ‘culinary’ in the title. Little did I know that ‘A Culinary Affair’ is not just a glorious illustration of Mirka’s works and their life story but also contains lots of classic French recipes that are absolutely brilliant.

A beautiful sky blue hard bound book filled with the most beautiful drawings and illustrations, mostly by Mirka along with many personal photographs adorns the pages. The narrative begins with a brief introduction to Mirka’s childhood in France, growing up during the period of the Second World War, the perils and tragedies faced during the Holocaust, meeting Georges and finally moving to Melbourne in 1951.

‘Bohemian’ is perhaps the best word to describe Mirka’s and Georges’s way of life. Both of them led a very colourful, enterprising, creative, free-spirited lifestyle peppered with sophisticated food, sexual intrigue and artistic endeavours.

Their contributions to the culinary landscape of Melbourne are immense with the Mirka café, Balzac Restaurant and Tolarno French Bistro. The book tells us about their journey into opening each eatery, how it became the hub for rich and famous including the likes of Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, Ava Gardner, Gregory Peck etc…. to name a few.

Mirka and Georges also contributed immensely to the artistic scene of post war Melbourne. Their apartment was often the den for artists and artistic discussions. Today, the name Mora is much revered amongst the culinary and art circle of Melbourne and imprints of it can be seen at Heide Museum, MoMA etc…

The authors have done an excellent job in giving us a glimpse into the culturally rich and vibrant life of the Moras. For a relatively new migrant like me, the book is a peep into the stories of some of the people who have shaped Melbourne as we know today. And the Moras led such an exciting life than parts of it almost feels like fiction to me. I now understand that the post war Melbourne was anything but boring; it was grand, exciting and full of adventures. The only thing similarity that I can draw to the modern times is that this beautiful city that I now call home was welcoming to people from all walks of life from all over the world, just as it is today.

Coming to the recipes outlined in this book, I intend to try out each and every one. But the one that caught my attention was a recipe for Huitres Grillees Aux Amandes or Grilled Oysters with Almonds and Butter.

Mirka & Georges – A Culinary Affair by Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan (+ a recipe for Oysters roasted with Almonds and Butter) - thespiceadventuress.com

Mirka & Georges – A Culinary Affair by Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan (+ a recipe for Oysters roasted with Almonds and Butter) - thespiceadventuress.com

Mirka & Georges – A Culinary Affair by Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan (+ a recipe for Oysters roasted with Almonds and Butter) - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 12 fresh oysters
  2. ¼ cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  3. ¼ cup almond meal (or ground almonds)
  4. 1 ½ tsp Grand Marnier (optional or replace with brandy as in original recipe)
  5. 1 small garlic clove; grated
  6. Cayenne pepper
  7. Lemon wedges, to serve

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (fan forced)
  2. Cream the butter and almond meal; grate in the garlic and add the Grand Marnier. Also add a pinch of cayenne pepper. Mix well to combine.
  3. Pour off the extra liquid from the oysters and cover each with a tsp of the almond mixture.
  4. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes.
  5. Serve immediately garnished with a pinch of cayenne pepper

Mirka & Georges – A Culinary Affair by Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan (+ a recipe for Oysters roasted with Almonds and Butter)

Mirka & Georges – A Culinary Affair by Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan (+ a recipe for Oysters roasted with Almonds and Butter) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

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April Favourites

What a wonderful month it has been.

A happy month as I would like to call it because there were lots of great moments with family and friends. It was also the month of birthday parties which is always a nice occasion to catch up with friends.

It was school holidays at the beginning of the month so it was all about spending time with Adi, planning playdates and taking him for workshops and activities. One of our favourite places for creative workshops is at the Heide Museum of Modern Art. This time, Adi enrolled in the stop motion/animation class which was quite an exciting one for him. And after the workshop, we always make it a point to visit the ongoing exhibitions at the museum.

The museum has an extensive open space which is absolutely stunning and the perfect place to plan a picnic. But I equally love the café too, the food is just brilliant.

The best thing at the gallery is that they have interactive activities for the parent and child in relation to the ongoing exhibition which is a great way to engage a young child to appreciate the finer arts.

Heide museum of modern art - thespiceadventuress.com

When Adi was away, I relaxed inside this beautiful hut with a coffee and my favourite book. The best kind of relaxation!

The other highlight of the month was the Michael Jackson tribute show, The Legacy Tour by William Hall and his live band. We had gifted Adi the tickets to this show as his birthday gift. Though he had to wait for more than a month to enjoy his gift, he was absolutely ecstatic being a crazy MJ fan.

He even got the opportunity to go on stage and dance to one of MJ’s songs which I think he did full justice too. Many of you even wrote to me about his ‘moves’ after watching the video on my Instagram page.

Michael Jackson 'The Legacy Tour' - thespiceadventuress.com

Getting back to food, I finally have the recipe for this chickpea dish (Sundal) on my Facebook page. Lots of friends have been asking for it and since it’s a pretty common one, I decided to post the recipe on my page than dedicate a full blog post to it.

Sundal (Chickpeas with Spices and Coconut) - thespiceadventuress.com

The Sunday chicken curry used to be a very memorable tradition in most Indian households. And even though the novelty has worn off these days, I still try and continue with my version. Find the recipe on my Facebook page.

Sunday chicken curry - thespiceadventuress.com

Also in love with these plates I picked up while I was on holiday in India; totally digging the wildlife theme. The salad spoons are from Nigeria that I bought on Ebay eons ago.

Animal print props - thespiceadventuress.com

 

Other favourites:

I love savoury breakfasts, especially if it involves egg and bacon!

Homemade extracts! Now this is very informative….

This ravioli looks too pretty to eat.

This chicken tagine and this chicken piccata.

Pork stir fry and green beans. Not a combination I would generally try but this looks so yumm.

Mexican frozen hot chocolate……this is chocolate heaven, guys.

Mother’s day is almost here, so how about some interesting gift ideas?

Can’t beat this rather unique ‘sausage bouquet’! Definitely for a foodie mom….

If a quiet tea time is her thing, then this exquisite tea set collection is a must buy.

But I have been throwing hints about this one. Beautiful, isn’t it?

 

 

 

 

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