Some dreams come to pass right away. Some change or end. Others take years and years of work and dreaming and set backs and trying, trying, trying.
This week a dream came true for me that I’ve been cherishing since I was a little girl. I’ve been commissioned to write an Australian history book on a town called Freestone. A real, honest-to-goodness book with pages you can turn and photos you can trace with a helpful finger. I’m so excited.
I started initial research last year and was immediately drawn to the place, the way the stories of its citizens captured the history of the settling of Australia by immigrants from all around the world. I’ve loved learning where these early settlers came from, how they forged a life out of bushland and related to their Aboriginal neighbors, how they preserved food, traveled from place to place, and connected as a community.
I’ve been fascinated by the changes that have taken place over the last nearly two hundred years, changes in transport, communication, and education, how some things have changed completely while others have steadily endured. I’ve especially enjoyed interviewing community members whose family members have lived in this area since the early 1800’s, hearing their stories both heart-breaking and laugh-out-loud hilarious. I can’t wait to put their words and memories to paper and preserve their stories for generations to come.
I will be sure to let you know when it is published in case any of you would like to learn about the history of this part of Australia.
To celebrate the opening I’ve added a new item: pint-sized, personalized wooden mixing spoons for children. They make me smile.
Over cuppas we chat and plan and discuss and I think this might be the best part of all.
Our favorite treats this week are Roasted Ham-wrapped Dates. How we love them! Simply wrap nice plump dates in thin slices of cured Black Forest Ham or Prosciutto, roast for 15-20 minutes until they’re nice and crispy, then devour most happily. It would be lovely with all sorts of different fruits: figs, peaches, etc. Any fruit that will stand up to roasting and give a delicious caramelized balance to the saltiness of the meat.
Roasted Ham Wrapped Dates
10 slices cured Black Forest Ham or Prosciutto
10 plump dates
- Preheat oven to 400 F (205 C).
- Lay out strips of ham with one date at one end.
- Starting at date end, roll up until all of ham is used.
- Place each roll loose side down on paper-lined baking sheet.
- Roast for 10-20 minutes until ham is browned and crispy.
- Serve warm or cold.