Flavours of the Middle East, flowers and friendships are the hallmark of a good life for Sue

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Flavours of the Middle East, flowers and friendships are the hallmark of a good life for Sue

June 11, 2021

There’s something special about the kitchen in Sue Picot’s ground floor Rushall Park apartment which she loves.


It could be the many drawers, the up-to-the-minute oven or the layout and the proximity of the balcony where Sue keeps her herbs and barbeque.


Either way, the kitchen is her special place, a place to dream up new recipes, return to old favourites, and to bake goodies and plan dinner parties and sharing meals with and for other residents.


During the two lockdowns last year, Sue made the most of her kitchen making marmalade, biscuits, muffins and banana bread for the honesty basket run by the village’s Residents’ Committee. Her recipe for salted peanut butter cookies was included in the recipe book published in December 2020.


Sue lives in the Lucy Coppin building, one of the latest developments in Rushall Park.


“One of the unforeseen benefits is being on the ground floor, the upper storeys act like insulation from the elements and the double glazing means that the inside temperature remains fairly constant so that I have less need of the heating in winter and cooling in summer until late in day when the sun is on my balcony,” Sue said.


Like everyone in the village, Sue is relishing the easing of pandemic restrictions and the camaraderie of village life. She makes full use of the well-stocked library and the village kiosk, which she says is a great meeting place and the place to go and enjoy coffee mornings, Friday evening pizzas or a sausage sizzle.


When she is not socialising, she loves sauntering through the English gardens which are planted out with roses, herbs and productive fruit trees.


This new life is a far cry from her early days as a nurse, training first at the Alfred Hospital before travelling overseas where she worked in an agency when not travelling.


“Nursing gave me flexibility to allow travel with assured work on reaching the destination due to the national and international reputation the Alfred Hospital enjoyed,” she said. A highlight was the year when she and another nursing friend drove around Australia in her Morris Mini 850 in 1966 working in Adelaide, Perth and Darwin.


While nursing allowed her to travel, it also opened her eyes to other possibilities. In 1969 and 1970 she studied the HSC at night school and won a Mature Aged Scholarship that allowed her to go to Monash University in the 1970s where she completed Honours Arts followed by Honours Social Work.


She did placements at the Action Resource Centre established by the Brotherhood of St Laurence and at VCOSS, both of which were cutting edge in terms of social action. Her first job after graduation was in a research project for the University of Melbourne Department of Paediatrics studying the health, growth and development of children in relation to family function. From there, Sue enjoyed working on policy and planning for government departments.


Never one to rest on her laurels, she then turned her talents to writing fiction and non-fiction before studying a Diploma of Visual Arts at the CAE.


“I had always drawn and painted in water colour. When I travelled, I took a Moleskin sketch pad and did small studies of places I visited. The Diploma opened up other genres: printmaking, sculpture and oil painting, allowing me to hone my drawing skills,” Sue said.


Over the years, Sue has participated in several student and group exhibitions at various galleries: Albert Park Secondary College Art Show, Brunswick Street Gallery, Firestation Gallery in Malvern, Gipps Street Gallery in Richmond, and Jasper Gallery, the Melbourne City Library Gallery and Pigment Gallery all in central Melbourne, plus the Pink Lady Art Show (various venues) and The White Room Gallery at the old hospital in Castlemaine.


But it is in the kitchen that Sue comes into her own. A self-taught cook, Middle Eastern is a particularly favourite cuisine.


“One of the benefits of being at Rushall Park is that we are close to so many places. I really enjoy going to Oasis Bakery in Fairfield and browsing their grocery aisles,” Sue said.



This recipe is a family favourite, my sister made it every Christmas but I’m not sure where it came from originally so I can’t attribute it to anyone.


Chodlick soup

2 med sized beetroot or 3 small ones

4 cups chicken stock

1 tsp sugar

3 tbspns lemon juice

Salt and pepper

1 cucumber

2 hard boiled eggs finely chopped

6 spring onions diced finely

120 gms prawns, shelled and deveined

Half a cup of cream



Grate beetroot, cook in stock with sugar for about 5 minutes, strain. Season liquid with lemon juice, salt and pepper, strain and chill. Grate cucumber, add a little salt and stand for one hour. Drain the cucumber and press out excess liquid. Mix the cucumber with the eggs and spring onions, chop prawns finely and add. To serve, add cucumber mixture and lastly add cream. It should be a bright, clear red colour and served icy cold.


The grated beetroot can be used as a side salad by adding, oil and vinegar and a little seasoning of salt, pepper and sugar. Or you can add diced onion and a little sour cream as an alternative.





Leith Park is a wonderful place for single older women because of the community and the age-friendly accommodation. I don’t think I have ever felt as safe as I have here.

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