Saturday, March 20, 2010

Pass the panna cotta pronto

I can’t believe I have got to the age of 44 without discovering the joy of panna cotta. For some bizarre reason, probably due to my woeful linguistic skills, I had assumed panna cotta was a type of bread – I think I am actually confusing it with panettone. As a result I have always ignored it on dessert menus on the grounds that it was an Italian version of bread and butter pudding. How wrong could I be? A friend brought round a large pot of it to go with summer pudding and I was completely smitten. Sydney is full of fabulous Italian restaurants and delis and this particular panna cotta was definitely the real deal. My mother divides foods into foods worth getting fat for, and the also rans, and panna cotta is definitely on the right side of the ‘worth getting fat for’ line. Acting on the general principle, also a legacy from my childhood, that leftovers are always even more delicious the next morning, illicitly eaten from the fridge with a large spoon, I had a glorious breakfast of porridge, given life and flavour by lashings of summer pudding and panna cotta. If at this point you have an image in your mind of Paddington Bear exploring the bottom of a marmalade jar, well you are not far off the truth.

Apart from getting to grips with the bliss of Italian desserts, one of the things I love about moving countries is the discovery of new authors and books. My favorite book of last year was ‘Jasper Jones’ by Craig Silvey, a 28 year old Australian author from Western Australia. Craig Silvey is really hitting his stride this week in that not only has ‘Jasper Jones’ been long listed for the Miles Franklin Award but he has also been nominated for Cleo Bachelor of the Year. They are both major awards/competitions, in the Australian psyche, though one deals in literature and the other with how ‘hot’ candidates are. I am considering a new party game for aspiring authors based upon the premise of which would you rather win?

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