Many Canberrans are familiar with the Sydney Harbour paintings of Brett Whiteley.
We have also heard Wendy Whiteley speaking at the National Portrait Gallery about her Secret Garden which she developed on unused and overgrown land above a redundant railway line in North Sydney.
The garden, open to the public, is above Lavender Bay. Five of us went there in February 2007, climbing up from the water's edge, and I returned two years ago via Lavender Street.
The site was given official recognition in 2015.
Now you can eat not-for-profit dark chocolate to complement Brett Whiteley's Sydney Harbour paintings and support the trust to maintain Wendy Whiteley's Secret Garden. Rebecca Knights, owner and chocolatier from Coco Chocolate in Kirribilli makes regular visits to Wendy's garden with her children and she approached Wendy to collaborate to create signature chocolate bars.
They are sold at their store in Milson's Point, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Brett Whiteley Studio, Accoutrement Mosman and you can order online for express post to Canberra.
With a background in design, Rebecca Knights was trained as a chocolatier in France and the United Kingdom.
The range covers milk chocolate with lavender (depicting on the wrapping Brett Whiteley's The Balcony 1975), white chocolate with hazelnut and sea salt (Self Portrait in the studio, 1976) and the most luscious dark chocolate with orange (Big Orange (sunset) 1974.
The carrot on top
If, like me, you sharpen pencils using a safety razor blade, you might still fancy the shape of a pencil sharpener.
Cooks have the opportunity to use one to make curlicues or ribbons from carrots, zucchini, cucumbers to add crowning flair to soups or warm winter salads.
Mine is bright orange, a two-way Avanti Homewares carrot spiretti vegetable sharpener/cutter and peeler. Try Sauvage Urbain for varieties or go online and take great care with the sharp blades.
Ten days ago a friend took me for a picnic next to a paddock where big black cattle were grazing, Aberdeen Angus I presume.
Next to us was a large Casuarina tree in which a yellow-tailed black cockatoo was zigzagging up the branches and eating the seeds of the tree as well as using its sharp beak to tear away bark and eat wood-boring grubs.
That was not a quiet activity.
Our lunch came from Three Mills Bakery at Brindabella Business Park.
Two of the chefs there were formerly at fine dining restaurant Attica in Melbourne and our hot pies were excellent - vegetarian garam masala and creamy chicken.
With coffee, we had perfect salted rye chocolate cookies available in a three pack from Three Mills or from IGA Ainslie and Kingston Corner Store.
At home, I put takeaway spoon and fork into the compost bin, the thing to do if you see the word "compostable" imprinted on off-white handles.
I have sets from BioPak and wooden sets from Greenmark. Some months ago a friend (thank you, Jim) gave me a small tub of worms with their vermicompost castings and eggs (which produced more baby red wriggler worms).
It seemed appropriate that my worms started to use cutlery.
At the National Museum of Australia's Endeavour Voyage: The untold Stories of Cook and the First Australians there are botanical drawings and awe-inspiring specimens from the 1770s and the immersive film by Alison Page, The Message: The Story from the Shore.
However, another exhibit caught my eye. Writing in his Journal or ship's log, Captain James Cook referred to sauerkraut being the food that kept the crew well - interesting in these recent times when fermented foods have become so fashionable and health-inducing. He also said there were weevils in the biscuits.
A Canberra termite and pest inspector told me that weevils, also known as pantry moths, are still found in kitchens and he recently had to treat a pantry in Griffith ACT where they had got into the grains, all of which had to be thrown out.
Remains of the pumpkin
Instead of tossing pumpkin seeds in the compost heap, when roasting thick slices of kent (also known as jap) or butternut pumpkin with the skin on, I wash the seeds and dry them, toss the seeds in olive oil and add them to the pan towards the end of cooking time (they only need 15 minutes).
This results in healthy crisp little taste bombs.
Unlike green pepitas, the pumpkin seeds are unhulled, and are therefore even more nutritious.
Serve with slices of homegrown lemon, parsley and hydrated figs.