(Moon and Stars watermelon)

As most of my friends know, I am a keen and adventurous gardener! Spending a lot of time in the country during my childhood gave me an appreciation for the art – and hard work – of growing food. I will never forget eating the first young beans I grew, or shelling the first peas. It was like magic. Since then, my love for gardening has continued and I have always had fresh herbs and vegetables on hand, even when I lived in an apartment! In anticipation of winter I have planted three types of beans, two of peas and am preparing for an assortment of root vegetables. And I have a large container for my Jerusalem Artichoke  – you only make that mistake once. As much as growing, I enjoy cooking and of course, eating! My grandmother was always a fan of salt and I inherited her love of flavour.

As a child I would always sprinkle a flake or two of salt on a fresh picked tomato or a sprinkle in a summer salad, bursting out hidden layers of flavour. I still make my own salt-preserved lemons each year. But it was Eve Minax who, during a trip to San Francisco, introduced me to the world of gourmet salts. Her passion for food and her collection of exotic and wonderfully flavoured crystals inspired me to start my own. From the classic rosemary salt to the sulfurous black salt, my taste buds have delighted in the strong and subtle flavours such salts can enhance and create in food I have grown.

Strong and subtle is how I would describe my favourite coffee. Rich and earthy, with a scent that fills my home every morning. I remember waking to the smell of freshly percolated coffee every day, and I have continued this morning ritual as an adult. Although, I am grateful the invention of the Aeropress has meant I no longer have to travel with my beloved Moka pot! I will always remember seeing the red coffee berries growing on trees in Timor, and walking past Cooperativa Café Timor every day I was in Dili. And nearly having my kilos and kilos of coffee confiscated by customs during my second Timor visit! It remains my favourite coffee and it is indeed available in Australia.

The family tradition of growing food awakened my passion for enhancing food flavours, which converge in my morning ritual of fresh coffee.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, traditions, passions and rituals. What is an unlikely tradition that you have inherited? Do you have a unique passion? How do you start your day?

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