13 May, 2012


The weekend arrived and our Aussie Autumn put on a glorious show of natures elements. “Could the sky be more blue or any softer?” I wondered as I gazed out through the windscreen of my car. I had just pulled up against the curb at New Farm. I was invited to dinner at a friend’s house through the week where, once upon a time, they had a delicious jar of Chilli Jam. I was on my way to the Farmers Markets on Saturday morning to replace it. Because I devoured most of it. Because I’d never tasted anything like it in my life. My friends assured me I’d find it with an Asian man selling steamed dim-sums. I locked in the co-ordinates: MISSION CHILLI JAM.

There was something special about being alive this morning. An air of Village Life filled my lungs as did the people passing me by and every molecule of it felt saturated with Love. Couples floated through the streets like they had just kissed and giggled their way out of entanglement beneath the sheets. I imagined how sweet the soft breeze must feel on their skin. Noah wasn’t silly, he knew life was better in two’s.

It was busy. A slow moving, vibrant kind of busy, which is a romantic way of viewing a crowd I suppose. I was enjoying the Farmer’s Market pace of little steps, close proximities, head swivel right and left, ensuring you didn’t miss something you didn’t know you needed. No wonder all the Lovers flock there together. A perfect pace for Mission Chilli Jam too.

Dogs. Everywhere. Behaved. My boys, Archie & Jasper, I choose to leave at home. Wisely. Anti-social or misunderstood or a Lhasa Apso breed trait, they don’t like big crowds and the tail wag lasts about 10 seconds upon meeting other dogs and then the teeth take over the greet. Or perhaps a mirror image of their owner, who up until 2012, would only ever see them for 5-6 months of the year. So I can only accept 45-50% responsibility. This is a dramatization, of course. They are gorgeous little souls with heavy hearts.

Two laps of the perimeter and Mission Compromised by a German Bakery, a big chunk of Ciabatta, a 4 shot-latte and the lure of shaded grass along the banks of the River. Happy that my muscles are still good for something, I ripped into the fresh bread like a battle-starved Roman Soldier. I soon found myself remembering my wonderful Summer’s in Verona, Italy. A chunk of Ciabatta and Italian Cypress Tree Dreams will take you places! Strolling the narrow, cobble-stoned streets of Old Town Verona, tip toeing in & out of all kinds of shops and then being swept away high into the hills at night to secret restaurants designed for Locals. Then, even taken higher up to sip ‘Fragolino’ (Private Strawberry Wine from the Veneto Region) over a distant city view and full moonlight. How I miss my life-long friends and long-time Veronese locals, Nico e’ Baghi! (I must come and see you again soon! I have a beautiful tent for Chiara… please ask her to clean my apartment!!!)

Mission Chilli Jam was aborted, not abandoned. I will catch you eventually Asian, Steam Dumpling Vendor-Man and plan on buying jars & jars of your heart-warming product for my friends, New Farm Lovers and my fellow Romans. Ciao, Ciao for now xx

JOURNAL: Sunday 13th May, Mother’s Day

LOCATION: Brisbane Powerhouse

  • A QUICK UPDATE, SUNDAY 27TH MAY: I met 'Chilli-Jam" Man yesterday at New Farm Markets and his name is Phillip. He sported a Panama Hat with round eye glasses, enthusiasm, a cute accent and was very friendly. He had sold out of Chilli-Jam but promised to keep a few jars aside for me at the Markets next week. It's his own recipe. I'm almost there...

  • TA-DAH! MISSION CHILLI JAM COMPLETE, TUESDAY 26th JUNE! A month and a half in the making and I'm eating it straight out of the jar tonight. I'm always good for a confession or two, I don't like carrying around the extra weight, so I didn't actually pick the jars up myself. I enthusiastically encouraged Dave to collect them for me last Saturday. It's just that Dave is the friend who inspired this whole journal - It was his Chilli Jam I initially devoured. Everything has a beginning and an end I suppose!