Let me preface this by saying that Australia has never held any great thrall with me. I suppose if Oprah paid my way to go and visit I might board the plane. That being said, I love Donna Hay and Stephanie Alexander. It was because of Alexander that I ran across Sunday's Kitchen: Food & Living at Heide as she wrote the foreword.
I knew nothing about Sunday Reed but it seems she and her husband, John, we big art patrons in Australia. They purchased a house they called Heide, short for "Heidleberg" and began inviting artist friends to stay there. They wanted a self-sustaining farm with gardens and animals and orchards and they worked for years to make their house magical.
This exhibition explores life behind-the-scenes at Heide, the celebrated haven for progressive modernist artist and writers. Heide was the home and personal Eden of John and Sunday Reed, two of Australia's most significant art benefactors. Settling on the fifteen acre property in 1935, the Reeds transformed it from a run-down dairy farm into a fertile creative space. They extended their hospitality and resources to now-famous artists such as Sidney Nolan, Albert Tucker, Joy Hester and Charles Blackman and developed a culture of collaboration, eclecticism and idealism which helped change the course of Australian art.
At the centre of activity was Sunday Reed, a passionate cook and gardener, who ensured the artists she championed received sustenance for the body, not just the mind. Drawing on her experiences in the south of France, she established two abundant kitchen gardens and developed a ‘garden to table’ approach to cooking, enhanced by fresh milk, cream, butter and eggs all produced at Heide. This emphasis on subsistence living, coupled with a self-styled domestic aesthetic, became an inspirational model for those in the Reeds’ wider circle.
Sunday Reed was greatly influenced by the time she spent in France. Much of her cooking came with a French influence. One of her specialities was chocolate mousse. It is an extremely simple recipe but the finished product is lovely.
4 eggs, separated
Melt the chocolate, allow to cool a little, then work egg yolks in well. Whip the egg whites until stiff and fold them into the chocolate mixture a little at a time. Pour into a glass dish and chill.
Well, I admit, I knew nothing about the Reed's or Heide but I am convinced that really need to visit. Oprah, are you listening?