You know the feeling when you meet someone and you know in an instant that that person is your brother or sister, mother, father, aunty or other kind of family member even though you have no real blood relation? The kind of person who feel instantly connected and comfortable with and don’t have to hold up any kind of pretensions in front of? The kind of person whose house you’d walk right into and go and have a look in the fridge…just to see what’s inside? It’s a feeling that goes beyond race, nationality, age or gender and can sometimes seems to pop up in the most unexpected of times and places and with the most unexpected and unassuming loveliness.
Ideally, it’d be great to feel this way about everyone in the world. But occasionally there are some who, within moments of being in their presence, you feel like you have known forever. I feel that way about Peta. It might be because we both have insane passions about whole, raw, organic foods and both run our own food blogs, or that we’re both homeschooling mothers who dream of self-sufficiency and like to grow things. Maybe its because we both grow sprouts on our kitchen benches and don’t mind taking three days to create a meal. It might be because we both have freckles and red dreads and both run a dreadlocking business, or perhaps its our similar realistic but simultaneous whimsical and over-excited outlook on life. Whatever it is Peta is my sister.
Peta lives with her husband, their two kids, two goats and a dog named Dave, out the back of a little country town in a delightful little Eden surrounded by creeks and rainforest. Besides Simon and Felix’s place and where Carla lives, it’s one of the most exciting places I know of. There’s a swimming hole full of crystals and strange and unusual worms and tadpoles, a house made by hand from stones and timbers from the surrounding land with snakes and other reptiles that live undisturbed in the ceiling. There’s jackfruit trees, old mango trees, jabuticaba, star fruit, bunya nuts, every kind of citrus (well established) expansive vegetable patches, tires swings, a trampoline and hundreds of native palm trees. Are you jealous? I am. But I figure most people are at least a little jealous of their older sister, so its ok.
On my first visit to Peta’s house I was unashamedly snapping away with my camera at every moment. Mostly, when I see a place that I’m madly inspired by I try and capture every plant and tree and landscape and food-source. But at Peta’s place, I simply couldn’t stop wanting to photograph her family. We even did an impromptu ‘family shoot’, which I realised was my first time ever. But with subjects as gorgeous as these, the photographs pretty much took themselves.
Photo shoots and creek adventures aside, Bhumi and I just wanted to be at the kitchen table. Because honestly, at Peta’s place, it’s an incredible place to be. I could sense Bhumi was also feeling very much at home as she returned to the kitchen table again and again, just to finish things off.
A couple of posts back I mentioned the magical Jabuticaba. Originating in southern Brazil, the jabuticaba bears a wonderfully aromatic fruit, a little like a dark grape but with larger seeds and a sometimes tough and tart skin. Some like to eat them simply by sucking out the insides and discarding the seeds and skin, but I like to chew up the whole thing and enjoy its tart but mellow sweetness all at once and also take advantage of the high levels of vitamins and antioxidants. Growing directly on the trunk of the tree the fruits resemble black ball bearings (or maybe bullets…used by pirates) and are totally gorgeous to look at (and taste!). The fruit also has many medicinal uses. Traditionally, an astringent decoction of the sun-dried skins has been used as a treatment for hemoptysis, asthma, diarrhoea, and gargled for chronic inflammation of the tonsils. It also has several potent anti-inflammatory anti-cancer compounds.
On my most recent visit, after collecting bowl-fulls of jabuticaba (and eating many along the way) Peta asked us in for green papaya salad followed by a heavenly little dessert of raspberries and chia with a big spoonful of jackfruit icecream made purely of fresh-frozen homegrown jackfruit. Jackfruit is a delicacy, with a flavour a little like bubble-gum or Juicyfruit chewing gum. When ripe and fresh from the tree however, its texture can be a little disconcerting (unless you don’t mind effortfully chewing on a slug that refuses to masticate between your teeth). But once frozen and blended into a smooth creamy consistency it becomes the ultimate in all natural, easy, deliciously sweet ice-cream. When Peta served me this dessert I had to sit back in my chair, stop talking and listening and close my eyes. Shamelessly I helped myself to seconds, and thirds…and fourths and made it home with a bulging bag of jabuticabas and not one, but two bags of frozen jackfruits.
I appreciate that ripe jackfruit probably isn’t available to many of my readers, so you could also use blended frozen banana, mango, or a combination of the two instead.