The Gallery is perched on the harbour with wonderful views from inside and outside this lovely golden sandstone building. After the galleries of Europe, with their associated crowds, this is just such an accessible place to enjoy art. Its’ light filled rooms hold a fine collections of Asian, Australian, Impressionist and Aboriginal Art and I’m always finding something new – like this painting of the Tweed Valley where I live now. It was painted nearly 100 years ago by Elioth Gruner and I suppose the stark thing that struck me, in both senses of the word, is that it shows such a desolate landscape – through indiscriminate burning and tree clearing -so different to the verdant lushness of today. It gives me hope that there are maybe some things we are getting right.
|Tweed Valley, northern NSW 2012|
I was wandering around the gallery starving – waiting for a two hour session at the dentist to wear off. Finally, I made my way to the lovely cafe, overlooking the Woolloomooloo Finger Wharf – where many migrants, arriving after a long sea voyage caught their first glimpse of Sydney, – to try and find something soft on the menu!
This dish was so simple in it’s conception, and so absolutely delicious that I sought out the chef to find out the recipe. It is very simple and no tricks to it at all.
Baked Mushrooms with Ricotta – this serves 2
2 large field mushrooms
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley or chives
A few fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp freshly grated parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil and balsamic vinegar to brush on the mushrooms
Turn oven on to 200o. Remove stalks from mushrooms
TIP: Never wash mushrooms – it ruins the texture – simply brush off any loose dirt.
Brush mushrooms with oil, balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place on a tray in the oven for 8 minutes.
Mix ricotta together with herbs, parmesan and salt and pepper.
Remove mushrooms from oven and pile ricotta mixture on top, bringing it to the edges.
Place back in the oven for a further 10 minutes until ricotta has golden tinges.
Serve with a wild rocket, pear and walnut salad with a balsamic dressing – the sweet, sharpness of the balsamic brings out the flavour of the mushrooms and ricotta.