Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cop a whiff

How good is smelling? I think its up there on my "favourite senses" list (don't pretend you don't have one) just behind hearing because I don't think I'd survive without music.

So many memories are triggered by a whiff of something, someone or somewhere. Me? I will forever relate the smell of Burberry Brit perfume with the winter of 06...many cold weekends spent going to see bands play, being imature and admiring the singing front men. The smell of incense will always remind me of my mum and my most favourite bit about coming home from overseas is stepping off the plane and breathing in the deep scent of your own country.

Remember when the Spice Girls brought out a deodorant impulse spray? I stumbled across a can of it awhile ago and its fragrance instantly transported me back to primary school and the time of glitter denim jeans and hair mascara. Every time I open a new bag of coffee beans at work I inhale deeply while empting the bag into the grinder and it's like the best smell in the entire world, well that and the smell of books. In highschool after sport we would have to get changed back into our identical uniforms and if we werent sure whos ugly tunic belonged to who we'd just have a small sniff and be able to identify its owner, since everyone has their own unique aroma. Seriously though, the nook of the inside of my elbow has a faint aura of peanut butter. It's like a scratch and sniff!

I love how you can even smell the cold and the heat - you know those moments in late autumn when you breathe in and you can smell that winter is on its way? And there is nothing better than the scent of the boy you love.

The same goes for food. I have so many favourite smells that can conjure up warm and fuzzy feelings with their associated memories and experiences. The whiffy aroma of HP sauce will instantly remind of my dad, who is probably the only person in the world who enjoys eating that stuff. There's nothing like the smell of spaghetti bolognese to get a face smiling. And the smell of pear vodka is enough to produce a gag reflex from me, memories of that night refreshed in my mind.

Often when I go for a jog around my area, I catch smells of what everyone is making for dinner. Last week I was positive my neighbour at number 24 was going to be tucking into a spicy curry later that night. Back when I was younger, I remember driving to my weekly hockey training sessions and honestly there was this one house we would drive past that would have the most intense smell of garlic coming from it every week. I always felt envious, imagining the most amazing lasagnes being served up there while I had to run around in the cold.

So what smells are emitting from your house tonight? I've got one of my favourites - roast pumpkin and garlic, and I'm sure the neighbours are jealous...


Pearl Barley Salad

- this is one of the most satisfying 'salads' out there, for me it ticks all the right boxes

1 cup pearl barley

2 cups water

2 cups (or so) roast vegies - sweet potato, pumpkin, eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, fennel... anything!

150g baby bocconcini balls

Huge handful of mint, basil and parsley

100g walnuts

Place barley in a saucepan, cover with the water and bring to the boil. Once boiled, turn heat down to a simmer and cover with a lid and continue cooking until the barley is tender, cooked through and chewy. You may need to add more water at some point, the whole process usually takes about 15 minutes. Drain the barley and set aside. To make the roast vegies just cut up a generous amount of any vegies you like into bite size chunks, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, maybe a bit of oregano and chuck in about 5 whole garlic cloves. Cook in a moderate oven until golden and soft.

Combine the roast vegies with the pearl barley and add in the roughly chopped herbs. Stir through the walnuts, and the baby bocconcini. Now to make a nice dressing usually I use a mixture of a couple of tablespoons each of vino cotto (you can use a thick balsamic vinegar instead if you don't have this), olive oil, a bit of verjuice or red wine vinegar, salt and pepper and some lemon juice. Now for the best bit - squeeze the inside of the roasted garlic cloves into the dressing and mix it all about to get it mushed up and incorporated. This gives an amazing subtle sweet roasted garlic flavour to the dressing. Pour over the salad just before serving. Yum.


  1. why didn't i stay at your house last night?! you should've seen my dull veg and tomato paste. it was nothing compared to this delicious looking meal!

  2. if heaven exists, there would be a 500kg bag of coffee beans waiting for me at the pearly gates. on arrival, god would hand me the scissors.

  3. you dont know how much i enjoyed your comment anonymous, whoever you may be!