Saturday, 12 July 2008


This morning I heard of the tragic death of Brigita Whiting, the wonderful woman who gave so much of herself to those of us who went to her house in October last year to learn about making Turkish style breads and using a pizza oven. She and her husband Tony had such plans for their olive grove and their future is what I wrote about that day....

A couple of weekends ago the Slow Food group had a day where we learned to use a pizza oven. It was run by Brigita and her husband Tony and focused on middle eastern breads. The setting was beautiful - in their garden on Waterfall Gully road, next to the flowing stream. Tony was a wizz at getting the oven the right temperature for all the different things we prepared and Brigita was so lovely and patient with her fumbling students, giving us recipes and tips and of course, all that food to eat and to take away with us. I don't think I should put the recipes on the blog as that wouldn't be fair to her but, if you get a chance, go to one of the sessions and learn some of the skills yourself.
Viv and Vincent were there as well as Deb, Roger and myself, together with about 10 others. While some of the slower breads were cooking we went for a walk up the steep slope behind their house to see their goats and the olive grove that was planted with many different varieties early on in Adelaide's settlement days. You could see the sea from the top and Tony is keen to build a little hut up there - you sure need something to drink when you finally reach the end of the track. As it turned out, the only hardy souls who made it to the top were Tony and the members of the Hills and Plains Seedsavers !

As the oven cooled, Brigita explained that full use could be made of it by cooking desserts such as the baked pears she prepared for us and then by cooking roasts and stews. Last of all, fruits and herbs could be dried, so the idea is to get everything organised before you start and make use of the varying heats and beautiful flavour, while having friends around and doing all the work together.

Cooking together is a great way to share time with friends, especially for people like me who don't like sitting down for long !

When you have life, you have everything. Seize the day.


Unknown said...

Ah - I'd love to have a pizza oven. Our family makes homemade pizza one day a week, but normally we cook it on a stone in the regular oven, or grill it on the gas grill.

Maggie said...

How very sad for her family and friends.
I remember you all talking about the wonderful day you spent together and how much you all learnt.
I was going to say some people are special but I guess we are all special.

Deborah Cantrill said...

Your right Maggie everyone is special and has much to give. For me Brigita was special, although our paths only crossed twice.
The first time was at the Taste of Slow in Melbourne while we where representing SA. She introduced me to Turkish food & I experienced her smile and engaging personality for the first time.
The wood oven day was a fun, special day where I learned how to make Turkish pide, Peynirli pride, both of which I’ve made many times since and the olive pickers bake. Even more I fell in love with the smell and taste of nigella seeds which now top a lot of my breads and baking so much so that now I am growing them to harvest the seeds. Only last week the plants in the tunnel house flowered. These little seeds always reminded me of that day & now they will remind me of Brigita’s smile as well.