11 Apr 2013

First came the seeds...now comes My Mother’s Harvest

BOOKLAUNCH - April 18th 2013

Next comes the movie contract...the mobile phone app...the fast food outlet...the musical...only kidding - but that is how exciting it feels to announce the fruits of our labour

With the kind support from The Victorian Womens Trust, 

Dur-e Dara OAM – Restauranteur & self-confessed foodie

along side Mary Crooks, Executive Director VWT

will celebrate the launch of My Mother's Harvest, a collection of family recipes & short stories.

this colourful book is more than just another cook book – it contains recipes from my childhood, flavours that have nourished three generations and stories that I can pass on to my children and grandchildren. The colour-filled book has been lovingly created and designed with the help of Bee Williamson and we raise a toast in celebration of mothers everywhere – so if you can make it, we would love to see you there...

The following excerpt comes from one of my stories in the book to give a sneak peek into the flavours of my Spanish-Aussie childhood.

 Heart of her Nest

Mum sneaks into my room and throws open the yellow curtains. ‘Close your eyes.’

I blink rapidly as a shaft of sunlight splinters across my pink bedspread. Dad follows closely behind and bursts into a familiar song, impersonating Spike Milligan from the Goons, and with a huge smile trills,

‘Happy birthday dear Maribubbles.’

Our curious hound, Caspar, wanders in to join the early morning party. Paul echoes a ‘happy birthday sis’ from his neighbouring room and as if Christmas had just arrived on my thirteenth birthday, I rip open my presents.

My eyes widen as I savour this moment, opening a box to reveal a riot of colour. Six nested tiers of delicious Derwent pencils. Velvet-smooth, round-barrelled, elegant waxy spires of seventy-two fine art pencils, and I cannot believe they are all mine.

I dive-bomb my gift-bearers, ignoring Caspar’s disapproving growl.

‘Pity you don’t like them.’ Dad laughs, attempting to free himself from the excited drop-bear clinging to his chilli-red cardigan. 

Sweeping up my wands of colour, I follow my mother to our sun-filled kitchen. Here in the heart of her nest, surrounded by the warmth of saffron tones, is where I feel most inspired to draw.

A wooden dresser towers on one wall, cluttered with pots of mum’s attempts of pottery. I watch my mother slip on a cotton apron and swiftly tie the straps in place. She throws me a smile and begins to prepare the rich tomato sauce for our Spanish brunch.

I trace patterns of dancing sunlight onto a blank page, blending delicate shades of primrose yellow and orange chrome that swirl before my eyes. Mum peeks over my shoulder and kisses the top of my head.

Dad enters the room and pulls out a chair. He moves the coffee cup mum has just poured to his left, encroaching onto my drawing territory guarded by Derwent soldiers. His large hands grip the inky pages of The Saturday Age, flicking them like clashing paper cymbals.

‘You can finish that later, darling,’ mum says, reaching for the padded oven gloves, ‘lunch is ready.’

One by one, Mum takes sizzling dishes out of the glowing oven. The spicy chorizo sausage smokes my brother out of his bedroom: happy to trade his six-string guitar for mum’s Eggs a la flamenca and put song writing fantasies aside to celebrate my birthday.

Mum serves each of us our fragrant meals, the felt gloves blackened with the heat of the silver dishes. She moves swiftly from oven to table, puffing little puffs as she warns us to blow the piping hot sauce. The edges of the oven poached eggs bubble in a sea of floating tomatoes. Plump peas wobble in the web of the egg white, virgin-olive oil, black olives and spicy sausage – a rich taste of Spain all over again.

Maribel with her mother
Maribel with her Mother

before you were conceived I wanted you
before you were born I loved you

before you were here an hour I would die for you
- this is the miracle of love’

-Maureen Hawkins

To read more details about the book launch, where and when, or how to order a copy, visit my website:


© 2013  Maribel Steel

No comments: