Winter in Australia is very different than winter in France. I really enjoy walking in the parks and I am always surprised to see so many lively colours during this “cold” season. In Europe, we say that during winter nature needs its beauty sleep before going to the spring ball but it seems than in Australia the whole year is a never ending party with an explosion of green, yellow and red!
In Australia, winter starts on 21 June and I can’t recommend you enough to pay a visit to Carrick Hill to celebrate it! The park and gardens are so beautiful with a large diversity of trees and flowers. The view is fantastic and it is so poetic to walk in this romantic atmosphere surrounded by the sweet music of the Aussie birds. Australian birds look so exotic to me: some are white with a yellow head, some are green and red and one is black and white but produces the most amazing sound I have ever heard!
I spent a wonderful day end of June at Carrick Hill with my two lovely friends: Nasim (from Iran) and Jessica (from Mexico). We sat on the grass during hours enjoying the view, chatting, dreaming about our future, making plans… We took many pictures also and there is even a video of me dancing under an arch of trees (crazy girl). We also enjoyed an afternoon tea outdoor, we like to do that sometimes! Generally we order 3 different cakes and then share and then discuss about the flavours, texture and colours and decide which one deserve the 1st rank in our heart!
There is also a beautiful mansion to visit and interesting stories to hear about. I highly recommend to take part to the guided tour (if you are lucky, Naomi will show you around, she is an absolutely charming tour guide). It was the previous home of an eccentric couple: Sir Edward and Lady Ursula Hayward! They were important art collectors and have decorated their home with pieces from all other the world (but mostly from UK and France). They were famous for their eccentric lifestyle and used to host big parties with controversial artists, good food, wine, music, amazing conversations and dancing! Their home was always filled with laughter but above all with love because they were soul mates sharing the same passion for life and art! A true romantic love story ❤
46 Carrick Hill Drive
Springfield SA 5062
Ph: (08) 8433 1700
(Free Admission to Gardens & Grounds except for Special Events)
“Art is the only way to run away without leaving home” – Twyla Tharp
What if I told you that I know a place here in North Adelaide to travel the world, escape the routine and embrace history, would you believe me?!
The David Roche Foundation is an impressive arts collection gallery featuring two centuries of European designs. His founder, David Roche, was passionate about antiques and fine arts. He devoted his whole life traveling the world and acquiring unique objects. When it came to arts he had absolutely no limits and he adored everything: furnitures, paintings, sculptures, porcelains… His home was filled with treasures from the past to be cherished and kept secret! But David Roche had a dream: he wanted to leave a legacy to Australian people! His foundation is his last gift so visitors can enjoy his legendary collection and learn more about history through unique and original pieces.
I really recommend to visit this art gallery. It is fascinating to gaze at all these original objects and hear about their origins. It is like traveling to the past: it is a beautiful journey from the early rococo of France to Faberge in Russia. Furthermore David Roche is quite an intriguing character and it is interesting to hear about his life. The gallery is run by an amazing Lady called Ann, she is absolutely fabulous and I could honestly listen to her for hours presenting each item of the collection: so fascinating! Besides she speaks English beautifully (crystal clear) so for foreigners like me, it is a really good practice! In my opinion, she speaks the “Queen’s English” and it is absolutely divine! I think she really adds something to the whole experience!
As for me, thanks to Ann explanations, my favourite piece was actually a Napoleon dessert service depicting views of Paris. It was made with delicate and finest porcelain and it looked really precious. The emperor offered this set to his beloved sister Pauline! And if you paid a closer look to the dessert plates, you could see on one of them the “Jardin des plantes” and 2 kangaroos as part of this beautiful scenery! Actually the French emperor was fascinated by Australia: in the 1800s it was considered as the most exotic, exiting and unexplored place of the world! No wonder that at that time an expedition was orchestrated by Napoleon himself! He appointed the French explorer Nicolas Baudin and instructed him to bring back to France typical Australian plants and animals! It is nearly a miracle that the kangaroos survived the 6 months journey on the ship (when I can hardly cope with the 21 hours trip by plane from Adelaide to Paris) and could be seen in the famous Parisian botanical garden. So as you can easily imagine I really enjoyed gazing at this beautiful Napoleon dessert service, it is more than an object, it is all the (hi)story it represent and what Australia means to France and French people ❤
So next time, you happen to visit the fancy Melbourne street on North Adelaide, pop by the lovely cafe E for Ethel for a nice lunch or a latte and then head to The David Roche foundation and don’t leave the gallery before having found a favourite piece to remember so you can tell me all about it in the comment section 😉 I’m really looking forward to hear from you!
237 Melbourne Street
North Adelaide SA 5006
(08) 8267 1755
Entry by donation of $2 per person
Tuesday to Thursday: 10am to 3pm – Friday to Monday: Closed
Here are some informations about the antiques presented on the different article pictures:
The pair of moulded and carved terra cotta figures are allegories of Spring (with the posy of flowers) and Summer (with the buch of grapes) and are in the style of Charles Percier (1764-1838) and Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine (1762-1853). They are from France, early 20th century.The silvered and parcel-gilt electrotyped copper wall plaques are referred to as “Chargers” and were made by Elkington & Co. in England in 1869, from French designs.One is “January-June” signs of the zodiac, the other is “July- December” and each has a different season portrayed in the centre.
The black and white earthenware Pot-pourri Vase is by Pratt & Co. of Fenton, England and was made circa 1880. It is in perfect condition, and is in three sections with a domed lid, an inner lid pierced with holes and a base with two handles attached from the shoulders to the rim, decorated in black over white with painted and transfer printed classical pattern borders and figural designs and gilding. The Pratts called this type of pottery their “Etruscan” ware.
The patinated bronze statue of the Madonna is by British sculptor, Nic Fiddian-Green who was born in 1963. It is titled ‘Mother of Mercy’ and was produced in England circa 1999. This sculpture was created for the new millennium as an edition of only three – the first is in the Vatican in Rome. On completion of the third and final cast, all moulds are to be destroyed by the artist.
“A classic and comforting recipe from the French countryside that will please your palate during winter, especially after an outdoor walk in the biting cold.”
For 4 people:
• 400 g onions
• 2 liters of chicken stock
• 70 g unsalted butter
• 150 g of Bleu d’Auvergne (blue cheese)
• 4 slices of country bread
• Coarse salt
• Ground black pepper
• Peel and chop the onions.
• Melt the butter in a large saucepan add the onions and gently brown over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spatula.
• Then add the chicken stock, seasoned with a pinch of coarse salt.
• Stir and bring to a boil and allow to simmer about 1 hour over low heat. Stir from time to time during cooking.
• Meanwhile mash the Bleu d’Auvergne (blue cheese) in a bowl with a fork until you obtain a creamy texture.
• Lightly toast the slices of country bread and while still warm, spread the cheese on the top of them.
• Once the soup is cooked, remove half of the volume of onions with a skimmer or a slotted spoon. Let the mixture cool down and put it in the blender to obtain an onion puree.
• Then put the onion puree back into the saucepan, mix, adjust seasoning to taste adding salt and pepper and mix well again.
Serve this traditional dish in preheated soup plates. Place the toasted bread spread with bleu d’Auvergne on the side ready to be immersed in the soup.
A little trick to avoid ” crying ” while mincing onions: use a sharp knife! Actually a bad knife crushes the pulp of onion instead of slicing it – it spreads a fine mist of onion juice in the air followed by a river of tears!
If you can’t find Bleu d’Auvergne, you can use a local blue cheese as well, in that case choose a creamy and flavourful one.
Bon appétit 🙂
Kellie, who is the North Adelaide Community Centre coordinator, asked me to take part to a good cause by writing a recipe from France. The idea was to create a “City Community – favourite soup recipes” book in order to raise money for the Welcome Centre of South Australia – http://www.welcometoaustralia.org.au/ – so they can replace a trailer which was recently stolen from them! The goal was to obtain a collection of recipes that reflect a little bit about our family and heritage. I really liked the initiative and I was happy I could help! I chose to translate this recipe into English because I originally come from Auvergne and I liked the idea that “Bleu d’Auvergne” (a typical blue cheese from this region) was part of this comforting dish. My favourites French cheese are: Bleu d’Auvergne, Fourme d’Ambert (another blue cheese), Cantal, Saint-Nectaire, Salers and Gaperon – all made in Auvergne haha! Luckily some of them can be found at the Adelaide Central Market which is good when I am missing French cheese.
Who would have guessed that South Australia’s most iconic cake is actually a “frog cake”? When you think about Australia, you think about a koala, a kangaroo, a platypus… but a frog?!
But it is true and it is a popular cake which was created in 1922 by the famous Balfours Bakery and they became the mascot of this institution. It is said that the creator found his inspiration after traveling to France!!! I am not showing off… I am just telling what I know 😉 Afterall, aren’t French people called “the frogs” or in Aussie language “the froggies”? My theory is that Mr Balfour felt in love with France and one of our iconic cute pastry called “petit cochon” (little pig) and he thought that it would be so nice to have a cute animal shape cake in his shop that would remind him of France and French people, and tada the frog cake was born! Hey… a French girl can dream?! Anyway good on him…because like I said it was a huge success. In 2001, the frog cake was listed as a state heritage icon of South Australia… so you’d better respect the frog!
So basically a frog cake is is a very sweet dessert with the shape of a frog’s head with its mouth opened. The texture is pretty smooth: it is a sponge base with cream and covered with thick layer of fondant icing. Originally you could only find those in green colour (most popular choice) but with the success they also created a pink and a brown frog! I think they look adorable and they must be lovely for tea time, they add colour to the table and give a kind of Alice in wonderland style!
A lovely exhibition took place recently in Adelaide to celebrate this iconic South Australian dessert! One hundred artists and institutions (School, hospital staffs etc) were given a ceramic Frog cake (3 times the size of a normal cake). They were asked to imagine their own frog cake for this special event raising funds for mental health. What a lovely and inspiring idea I must say…
When I heard about this exhibition, my curiosity was challenged and I had to go. First because I have seen those unusual cakes a couple of months ago but never imagined it was part of SA culture. Secondly I loved the idea that they turned this classic cake that seems to be quite ordinary as birthdays treat into something creative, original and extraordinary!
My friend Nasim (from Iran) was happy to join me in this adventure! We are the same we like to discover more about our new culture! Futhermore, she loves art so it was really interesting to visit this gallery together and share our opinions.
The ceramic frogs were nicely decorated, it was very creative since each artist gave its own vision. We saw great pieces and we actually spent a lot of time gazing at each one and trying to understand the point of view of the artist.
We particularly both enjoyed Emma Hack’s work (she is a famous for her body painting and owns an art gallery in North Adelaide), her ceramic frog was the expression of beautiful mother nature.
I also liked Sophia Nuske’s frog and the Women’s and Children’s hospital’s decorated frog. There were many beautiful smily frogs and I wish I could get one for my home!
I have really enjoyed this exhibition and I thought it was a beautiful way to honor and celebrate this South Australian heritage. Nearly all the cute frogs were sold to help a good cause!
It seems that South Australians still have a sweet spot in their heart for this unusual but classic little froggie cake ❤
Sadly the exhibition in Light Square Gallery is already over but if you have missed your chance, you can always cheer you up by biting into this typical South Australian cake… and what a better place than the iconic Balfours Bakery! For those who are not into frogs they also offer an amazing range of pies that must be delicious! As for me, it should not be an issue, since French people have the reputation to eat frogs legs and to LOVE it… so this sweet version should be a… piece of cake for me haha!