I finished Oscar and Lucinda propped up in bed on Sunday, one eye keeping tabs on the local gang of cockatoos, wheeling and screaming around the orchard, through a narrow opening in the curtains. At the precise moment that two of them chose to swoop low past the windows - a blur of white against the towering gums out front - Peter Carey’s Mr Jeffris, deep in the bush, murderous and angry, ‘took a pot-shot, but with no real intention of killing – just a shot which threw the white cockatoos into the air like screeching feathers from a burst pillow’.
I cannot offer a better, nor more hilariously apt description.
A couple of hours later Poppy and I watched them bursting from the pears and apples as we shooed them away, she barking, I waving arms wildly and laughing myself silly. Unlike the polite parrot couples, quietly eating their singular, ripe(ish) pieces of fruit, the cockatoos arrive en masse, willfully destroying fruit both ripe and unripe indiscriminately, yelling at the top of their lungs the entire time.
Summer, at last, arrived this weekend. There have been a few vague attempts at hot - and a lot of flooding rain - but mostly, it's been a fairly cool, and mild, and, yes, sane summer. But today? Today is an old-fashioned scorcher, dry and windy and h-o-t out, the kind of weather I dread. Had been hoping we might miss out...no such luck.
Hot weather means cool food. You need good tomatoes for this salad. The ones I was gifted the first time I made it had been homegrown by an eighty-year-old Italian man, so I don’t need to tell you that they were bloody good. It comes from Casa Moro (swoon) by Sam & Sam Clark, and is simple, sharp and sweet, with all the right sort of textures going on. Bread is essential. You know, for moppage. Perfect heatwave eating.
Tomato, walnut and pomegranate molasses salad
Chop tomatoes - juicy ones with loads of flavour – into chunks. Toss them in a large bowl with a palmful, more depending on how many tomatoes you had to chop, of roughly broken walnut halves. Make a dressing using a crushed clove of garlic, a ¼ tsp of ground cinnamon, 2 tblsp of pomegranate molasses (this is what makes the whole sing so beautifully), 1 tblsp of hot water and 4 tblsp of olive oil. Season, whisk, taste and season again if required. Drizzle generously over the tomatoes; toss over and over, adding some finely chopped parsley or coriander just before serving.