The Quirk and the Cool is me – Inga Scarlett from Sydney Australia. I’m a cook, who reads about food, talks about food, watches food programs, and I do a lot of cooking and eating as well! I’m fascinated with the art and science of food, and curious about food history and traditions.
Music is another huge passion, and creating theatre events.
I should mention my cooking companion is the Quirky Cat, Possum, so named for her stripey tail. A constant and knowledgeable critic of food, so long as it’s Hills Science Diet…
The Quirk and the Cool is a blog primarily about food: cooking, eating, reading, conversation. A forum where I can share dishes, recipes, techniques, trends. It’s also a ragbag of other interests and views, a place to record the eclectic and eccentric, but much more likely the homely and the mundane. This random information is being documented more for the records of this quirky writer, but also for people who have a passion for food, who seek recipes and cooking advice or for those who may have similar pursuits.
The name The Quirk and the Cool references “the quick and the dead” (the Apostles’ Creed) and the “the Quirk and the Dead ” (Overnights ABC local radio). It’s an excellent segment if you’re ever listing to the radio in the wee small hours.
You can read more about my music interests in the Music Page and in Music posts, and more about my approach to food in Food Philosophy.
As I write in Food Philosophy, my favourite chef is Jamie Oliver and he has been a big influence on my cooking since he first started making television shows and writing books.
Rustic, down to earth, Italian influenced, Jamie you’re the man!
Jamie’s food ethics are what I adhere to, as well. Higher welfare, free-range, ethically sourced, sustainable, healthy – Jamie has shown that these goals are actually achievable.
I cook and blog a lot of Jamie’s recipes because they are so achievable and I want people to see how easy it is to cook his food – whether it’s healthy, simple, cost saving, comfort food or just plain delicious.
Family cooking, recipes and traditions handed down from generation to generation are important. I still cook from handwritten cookbooks that were written by my maternal grandmother and my mother and I have recipes handed on by other family members too.
I love eating out – but I want the food to be good! There is so much great food in Sydney, but a lot of pretension out there too. Some of the best food comes from local restaurants and even pubs. One of my favorite places for food, ambiance and quirkiness is Shakey Tables in the Hunter Valley in NSW.
I live in Rozelle, an eclectic suburb in the inner west of Sydney. Ten minutes from the city, Sydney Harbour at the bottom of my street, it has quaint old sailors’ cottages and commercial premises as well as dazzling new architecture. Historically a working class suburb, you now see a whole range of residents, yuppies, dinks and prammers, artists, actors and advertising gurus as well as some long established residents who have lived here for yonks.
Rozelle and nearby suburbs Balmain, Balmain East and Birchgrove on the Balmain peninsula are famous for their pubs and the area may well contain the most pubs per capita in Australia – at one time, the peninsula contained up to eighty pubs! And add to that a cafe or restaurant on every corner and you have a vibrant food and wine scene. And the Orange Grove Markets down Balmain Road are some of the best in Sydney for local farmers’ produce.
The Peninsula, as it’s called, is a lush garden suburb, with gardens flowing over front and back fences, creating a lovely “shared” streetscape. Bougainvillea, jasmine, briar rose and native violets proliferate and overflow from garden to garden and onto the nature strip.
And lastly, I’m a dreamer. An insomniac who spends many nocturnal hours, thinking, dreaming, listening and sometimes the edges get delightfully blurred. Ambient music is the soundtrack of those hours.
Below, the Sydney skyline at dawn, from the bottom of my street, and Possum, the Quirky Cat.