(Photos and recipe courtesy of Linda Peek at cafecat.com.au)
English-born Linda Peek has cooked for rock stars, dignitaries, and royalty in her role as a diplomat’s wife and is now sharing her stories and recipes at her amazing Canberra, Australia food blog.
There aren’t many food bloggers who can list “Diplomat’s Spouse” as a former career, but for Linda it was a natural progression from one experience to the other. She lived in Geneva, Switzerland until she met her husband Matthew, a member of the Australian Diplomatic Service. “We’ve been privileged to live on five continents with postings to Tel Aviv, Kuala Lumpur, Pretoria, Santiago, Paris and Copenhagen, with home postings to Canberra in between. That’s fairly unusual. Diplomats who learn a difficult language like Arabic, Chinese or Japanese, tend to get posted back to countries where they can use those hard-earned skills,” she adds.
“The most important duty of an ambassador’s spouse is entertaining, event management and catering. I was fortunate because I enjoyed these responsibilities and managed events without employing expensive caterers,” she says. Having travelled the world for over 35 years in the diplomatic corps, Linda refined her cooking and catering skills for diplomatic events and receptions. (Linda manages her own brokerage company, Oztrade Pacific, which handles frozen fruit, juices and purees from various countries into Australia/New Zealand, Europe and South America and Australian cheese into South America. For inquiries/information, go to: https://www.oztradepacific.com.au/.)
“I began collecting recipes when I was at school. Some of the recipes in my large collection have been in my family for generations, others were passed on by friends and chefs around the world. Many have been adapted over the years to make them lighter or update their presentation. I’ve served them to royalty, PMs and other VIPs, and there have been no complaints.”
Linda’s Spicy Eggplant and Tomato Soup recipe was first published in 2013 at: www.cafecat.com.au. “This is a very satisfying soup. I created it when a friend was coming for lunch, and I had one lonely eggplant sitting in the fridge. I stuck the eggplant in the oven and let it cook for a while. The final mixing and reheating takes less than 10 minutes, and it’s that easy,” she says.