France’s fleshy fungi taste “Magnifique!”

Escoffier’s Estouffade a la Provencale

What to do with those two cepe mushrooms I found on the roadside? Well, a French recipe is a must because I first ate the fleshy fungi in France. I find a perfect recipe in  Auguste Escoffier’s book 2,000 Favourite French recipes, which is the only one of his works written for the home cook. He wrote it a few years before his death and I find a simple Provencial Stew recipe Estouffade a la Provencale.


500 grams diced chuck steak; flour, 200 grams streaky bacon, butter or oil, 3-4 onions, salt, pepper, 1 bottle red wine. 2 ½ cups of stock or water, bouquet garni of 2 sprigs parsley, 1 bay leaf, 2 sprigs thyme; 1 clove garlic  and 500 grams of mushrooms. (I added 2 carrots for colour).


Sprinkle diced steak with flour. Dice the bacon; brown in butter or oil for a few minutes and remove to a plate.

Put the meat, quartered onions and sliced carrots into remaining fat, add salt and pepper and sauté for a few minutes. Add the wine and cook until reduced by half. Add the boiling stock or water, the bouquet garni and crushed garlic. Cover and simmer for 2 ½ hours.

Pour through a sieve and put the pieces of meat back into the pan with the bacon and the quartered mushrooms, which have been  sautéed in butter.

Skim the liquid, return to the pan and simmer a further 15 minutes.

Escoffier suggests 2-3 tablespoons tomato puree and a few black olives may be added at this point.

Serve with mashed potatoes, macaroni, noodles or gnocchi.

(This is a flavoursome dish, heavy  with the flavour of red wine and I don’t think it needs tomato puree, although I added a few olives for decoration and served it with mashed “Nadine’’ potatoes.



Mushrooms and memories on hillside stroll

I am trying hard to nudge out grief from my mind by paying attention to the joy of life around me.

There is delight simply by walking down my street with Oscar on his lead sniffing at every blade of grass and piddling to claim his territory. It is strange to do it alone, but then we never did walk these uphill downhill streets once we returned from renting at Hindmarsh Island. You were too ill and I didn’t want to walk without you.  Now I begin again walking a new dog as our old Shi Tsu dog, Jackson, has been dead two years now.

I notice the koala turds on the road and look up into the gum tree to see if it is still there.  And there he is. A fat specimen wedged in the fork of a tree. I run home and get a camera and snap him, who stares down at me.  A  medley of birdcalls pierce the still, wintry mist. If only you were here with me this crisp morning because the winter creek, which runs across our property and along the side of the road, is rushing with water.  Such a rare occurrence that I cannot remember if we ever saw it gush like this.  For 360 days of the year it is as dry as Oscar’s bone, but now it zips along flattening weeds and grasses on its journey down the hillside.  There are magpies, too, hopping around, flying overhead. And I notice it all on my hillside stroll.

However, around the corner in High Street, where we walked a hundred times in eight years, lies undiscovered, your joy of joys.  Under the tall pine tree, no more than 10 metres from the corner I find two cepes!   I almost shout our loud with joy and pick them both carefully. And we turn for home.  “Here comes breakfast!’’ I tell myself. “And a beef and mushroom casserole.’’

Before I met you, I had no idea that finding rare mushrooms could be so much fun. One is almost as big as a saucer and neither have been infested with grubs.  And as I walk briskly home, my mind floods with the memories of our mushroom adventures last May when we went into the Kuitpo Forest and found so many we didn’t have enough bags in the car to carry them.

Armed with this precious knowledge – and I remember how Yvette would never tell us her secret places in Adelaide environs where she would collect cepes each year –  we returned to pick more mushrooms to pickle.

We had stepped over the fence into the ploughed earth which bordered the forest to find cepes by the score popping up through the bare ground. But you insisted on going into the forest anyway  – a dark place, dangerous to walk with the broken branches and years of pine needles covering rocks.

“No, let’s just go home,’’ I had said when you beckoned for me to join you. “Look how many we have to pickle.’’

“I will hold your hand, darling,’’ you had replied.

“This is fun.  I will show you some magic mushrooms; they are bound to be here somewhere.’’

So I traipsed alongside you through a wonderworld of countless fungi and we picked our way over the fallen branches, rocks, and pine needles, treading carefully onward with the smell of pine cones all around us.

Into a clearing where tall trees had long been felled where mushrooms of a different kind now grew in gay abandon.

“Aha!” You cried out in joy. “Magic mushrooms. You eat them and you will get as high as on marijuana.’

Now I smile at the memories and yet am sad to think you missed finding the same cepes, which sell for $80 a kilo in French provincial markets, growing wild no more than 100 metres from our house.  Now I can only imagine the joy that would have brought you.

A Memorable Encounter with Music

Today, June 23, is Olivier’s birthday and a strange thing happened. Friends Ruth and Graham Bettany invited me to visit them at Oakbank in the Adelaide Hills to keep my mind off the significance of the first big “anniversaire” since his death six weeks ago.

Ruth took me to Avalon, a new purpose-built cafe in the pretty Hills village of Woodside and as we stepped into its exciting space, with its Francophilic homewares at one end at the cafe at the other – I could hear a familiar song. It was  Dance Me To The End of Love – the music by French chanteuse Madeleine Peyroux which I had chosen as background to the slide show at Olivier’s funeral.  Perhaps I am recovering somewhat from my grief, because I was filled with wonder at the “co-incidence”. Surely Madeleine is not a popular singer in Down Under music culture and yet this new cafe in such a small town was playing the tune I chose to reflect our life together.   I know people will sneer, but in my heart I know Olivier was with  me in spirit today. And my heart jumped with joy and I felt a familiar warm glow of memory, not the awesome sorrow of these past weeks.

When I think of the serendipity of my purchase of that CD a week before his death, the significance of today’s incident is heightened. I am not a music person. I have stepped into Blackwood Sound shop, probably four times in the eight years I have lived in Belair.  Yet that day I was driven to buy three CDs to bring my husband pleasure as his condition deteriorated.  On a whim, I chose Careless Love by former French street busker Madeleine Peyroux, a name I had never heard of and an inappropriate CD title for our purist love.   Yet, when I heard the first song, Dance Me To The End of Love, it so reflected our married life, how our time had been such a wonderful dance with life, that I slotted it away in my mind for when he would finally leave me.

To uplift me further, on the blackboard in the cafe was written “Reflect Upon Your Present Blessings….Of which everyone has many”.  And this is the thought I took back into the drizzly Hills day.






Marie’s Take on Hindley Street A Winner.

It’s known as Adelaide’s seedy strip, but renowned naïve artist Marie Jonsson-Harrison has captured Hindley Street in a whole new light – as a colourful, eccentric streetscape – and her images are to be taken to the world on a new range of contemporary bed linen.

The naïve artwork has been reproduced on the Art’N’Bed (Our Art, Your Bed) product label by Israeli entrepreneur, Mr Lior Rapaport, who bought the copyright for bedding and March will receive royalties per set sold.

He discovered her work while browsing the Museum of Modern Art on Facebook where he found one of her paintings someone had posted there.

“He really liked it and he went from there to my website to see “who is this artist?’,’’ recalls Ms Jonsson-Harrison.

Ms Jonsson-Harrison’s Hindley Street naïve art is one of three images in the range. It will be launched in New York on June 16/17, following its successful launching at Passover in Israel in April. The range will be launched in Japan and the United Kingdom later this year.

The exciting quilt features all the one-time familiar icons of Hindley Street –Jules Bar, Downtown Leisure Centre, Flash Coffee Gelateria and Jerusalem Restaurant in a splash of vibrant street life.  Crazy Horse nightclub is depicted alongside Goodwill Stores.  And the instantly recogniseable eclectic imagery is jammed with a multi-cultural crowd of people.

Swedish-born Marie Jonsson-Harrison, a former international model, said she wanted to capture the excitement and “naughtiness’’ of Hindley Street that she remembered from her youth.

“He wrote me an email and he said he was interested in featuring the Hindley Street artwork.

Her Hindley Street artworks were originally displayed at Greenhill Galleries.

Why Hindley Street?

“When I was a teenager we would “crack a Hindley’ where you would go in the car and cruise down looking at what was happening.  The whole scene was so much fun, with the tourists and the cruisers hanging out of cars.’’

Mr Rapoport has also commissioned Marie to capture the city of San Francisco for Art”N”Bed quilts and pillowcases.

Marie began painting in the naïve style 25 years ago when she had asked her brother, a sculptor, to decorate her newborn daughter’s nursery.

But when he was too busy with his sculptures, she decided to decorate the wall herself. “It was such fun, I continued painting,’’ she said.

Adelaide art dealer, Jim Elder “discovered’’ Marie soon afterwards and she has been painting professionally since.

However, Marie’s career has hit the international stage once she launched her website and offers to show her work flowed in.

A UK publishing company, wiuth 1200 outlets in the UK, has commissioned her to do a poster of the London Olympics to capture the city of London and its icons. These limited edition Giclee artworks will be available through some of the outlets during the Olympics.

The same company has also commissioned her to do an iconic artwork on Paris and has chosen five of her previous works for limited edition Giclee prints to be marketed around the world.

Marie has an established clientele in Japan through gallery exhibitions and from her website, she has made inroads into the European naïve art scene. IN May her works were written up in a French magazine, Artension Magazine France

She also was featured in January in Normandy France in the Henri Rousseau exhibition in L’abbaye de Montivilliers on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of his death.

This month her artwork will be also featured in the by invitation only Naive Festival, Katowice Poland.

Former president of the Hindley Street Traders’ Association and one-time owner of Downtown Leisure Centre Frank, Sebastyan, denies Hindley Street was ever the haunt of prostitutes and pimps.

“It never was a street of prostitutes,’’ said Mr Sebastyan, who scotches its notoriety. “There may be the occasional prostitute, but it is not a pickup street.”

He says Hindley Street has struggled with an unfair reputation for years.

“It has always been describe ed as the entertainment street of Adelaide… Today it is largely a street of entertainment, night clubs, bars and coffee shops.’’

For further information, contact Marie Jonsson-Harrison on n 0438 508 659 or 83873386.






Grief Grabs Like Fear

It was C.S. Lewis who stated on the death of his wife that “I never knew grief felt so like fear’’.

However, I would say my grief is like a juggernaut, a frightening feeling which squeezes out all joy, happiness and any sense of normality in my life.    Instead of happy emotions – contentment and feelings of wellbeing – now there is devastation at the enormity of my loss… a sadness, an emptiness which cannot be satiated.

Bed is a sanctuary, morning the hardest time and even the energy and naughtiness of our puppy Oscar is now an irritant, instead of a joy.  Yes, he is a happy little bundle of energy who gets me out of bed each morning with his whining, but his antics cannot soothe my pining for my lost husband.

I know I wallow in misery and that’s exactly where I want to stay.  But something deep inside my broken heart, a whispering in my ear from husband that he doesn’t want me to suffer like this, propels me to search for comfort.   The uncontrollable weeping has stopped which offers hope that this despair which pervades me will also lift.  Intellectually, from my past writings I know that grief has phases, shock, guilt and anger, for instance, before time brings recovery. Profound grief can impact on your physical body, (think of that saying “died of a broken heart”, play havoc  with your emotions, cause depression and trigger bizarre behaviour. Grief can cause madness.

But the turning point to healing also must be triggered by something and I search out the things which brought me much joy when Olivier was still with me, and we did enjoy our life together even though he was ill for the past six months of his life.

This brings me to my love of flowers, which I have shared on my Life and Style by Nadine Williams Facebook.   The floral arrangements and wreaths  I received are now dying in this house and I spend the morning pulling the arrangements to pieces and throwing them out.   While I work,  I am reminded that my thoughtful friends have surrounded me with care and kindness.   Yes, I want to crawl in a hole somewhere and cover it with sack cloth and ashes, but those wonderful human beings, who are blessings in my life, close friends, family members, keep dragging me out into the sunlight.