Four days in Melbourne

26 April 2017

We had the best time in Melbourne. Being in town for four days meant we had enough time to check out the Festival of Photography, spend time with friends and eat well too :) Here are a few highlights:

Soon after we landed, I jumped on a tram to meet my friend Mei Ying for lunch in Collingwood. We ordered big bowls of pork ramen from Shop Ramen and inquired after the sweet pie of the day. When I was in uni, Mei Ying helped me get a job at the tiny Adriano Zumbo patisserie in Sydney, where she had a dessert named in her honour. I used to read her food blog religiously and she gave me a few pointers for our Melbourne stay.

One of her recommendations took us to Good Days in Brunswick, where we had an amazing noodle salad, which came with a pile of crunchy spring rolls. We tried so many new places this trip, and somehow managed to keep most of our meals under $50.

The next day we headed to the National Gallery of Victoria to check out the Festival of Photography. The Patrick Pound exhibition was my favourite. It was made up of found photographs, curated into unusual groupings. One section featured photos where someone's face had been cut, burnt or scratched out. It was both unsettling and mesmerising.

We were in Melbourne so that Tony could install an exhibition at Nicholas Projects, an artist-run-space in the city. The show opened on Friday night and we were stoked that a few friends from Wagga Wagga and Melbourne could come along.

On Saturday I picked up a box of penguin shaped chocolates and caught the train to my friend Danie's house. She served ricotta fritters and salads for lunch and carrot cake for dessert. We spent hours chatting and I left feeling full of creative energy. It was one of the highlights of my stay.

By the time Sunday rolled around, we were ready for a lazy day. We slept in, had breakfast at a cosy cafe in Fitzroy and generally took our time. I wanted one last look at the Patrick Pound show (there's so much to take in) and then we managed to score a table at Chin Chin, without the usual two hour wait. I'm so glad we went!

Here are two more places we really enjoyed, which Mei Ying directed us to. We ate meatball sandwiches at Spring Street Grocer and came back for the gelato before our flight home (I was still talking about my scoop on the plane!). 

D.O.C Pizza and Mozzarella Bar was such a fun place for a late-night dinner, and conveniently close to one of my favourite bookshops. We don't know when we'll be back in town, which makes me glad that we crammed so much goodness into this visit. 

Hope you're travelling well this week! It's pouring here and perfect weather for being home.

All things April

24 April 2017

What are you getting up to in these few days of the month? I have a batch of Anzac cookies in the oven (I'm trying this recipe) and have just started the last season of Girls. Everyone's been saying it's the best season yet.

I finally bought a new fragrance while we were on holidays in Melbourne. I haven't worn perfume for years and this essential oil based fragrance is bright and floral without being too full on. It's my first roll on perfume and I love that it's pocket sized.

I'm going to try Jamie Oliver's chicken in milk, which has been described as "a slightly odd but really fantastic combination that must be tried." Bonus - it's a one pot meal.

And I'm about the finish the first season of How to Be a Girl, a podcast about parenting a transgender child. The host, who uses the pseudonym Marlo Mack, is warm and honest while sharing one of the biggest challenges of her life.

Weekend links

21 April 2017

Hello from Melbourne! Tony has an exhibition opening tonight and we've been bumping into friends and eating lots of great food. How has your week been? I've been trying to avoid all of the Girls spoilers and powering through a spooky novel. Here are a few things to share:

A tiny pause.

My winter splurge.

Salted dark chocolate and coconut bites.

A beautiful weekend.

Adding this Japanese place to my Sydney restaurant list.

Pay what you want (and help save the planet while you're doing it).

Mint choc chip cookies!

Julie Synder on the making of Serial.

And I was feeling a little ordinary this week - these words from Joy perked me right up. Make sure you check out all of the linked posts for maximum perspective :)

Winter face

19 April 2017

After getting into the habit of cycling to work - and showering there too - I've updated my make-up bag. I've narrowed it down to six things: a CC cream that's SPF 30+, an easy-to-use concealer stick, an eyebrow cream with an inbuilt brush, the lightest powder (for my shiny nose), a peachy cream blush and a magical eyelash curler. It feels good to be working with less.

I've also started stashing this hand cream in my bag to combat the cooler and drier days. Lipstick is still a date night/going-to-a-wedding occurrence, I'm working on that :)

P.S Here are two things I'm keen to try - Joni's go-to eyeshadow and mascara.

Meals for cold nights

17 April 2017

Did you cook anything new over the Easter break? While we were sweating our way through summer, I was scrolling through recipes for warming comfort food from a handful of American blogs. I've been saving them for these very months, which are my favourite for cooking... and eating. Here's what I'm planning to try:

Gnocchi with preserved lemon alfredo sauce
Brussel sprout and speck mac and cheese
No boil pasta bake

Broccoli, cheese and potato soup
Spicy roasted vegetable ramen
Taiwanese spicy beef noodle soup

Hearty mains
Tomato-glazed meatloaves with mashed potatoes 
Beef goulash with soft egg noodles (I've never made goulash before!)
Savoury winter cobbler (which happens to be vegan too).

Chocolate blackberry pudding
Pear, ginger and pistachio crumble
Rose apple tart

P.S - Here are my favourite weekday dinners from 2016. Nigella's quick chilli, apricot balsamic chicken with rocket and creamy tortellini with prosciutto and peas are three of the best.

Long weekend links

14 April 2017

Hello! I hope you're relaxing into the long weekend. It's a beautiful day here - the air is crisp, the sky is blue and the sun is out. We're about to ride our bikes into town for coffee and I have the simplest of plans for the days ahead. On today's agenda - making spaghetti bolognese for dinner. That's it :)

Trying out this clever self-watering pot (mine's yellow!).

Baked chicken with mushrooms, cream and thyme.

Design, Instagram and a cult cafe.

"All you did was throw things away."

40 movies about photographers via Garry. I haven't seen a single one and am intrigued by #9.

Sage advice from journalist Jenna Price.

I'm insanely excited about this collection of recipes from Bon Appetit.

And I whizzed through Making Oprah this week - it was such a fun podcast. Next on my list - How to Be a Girl. I'm also keen to check out Terrible, Thanks for Asking.

Have a great Easter!

Sourdough pikelets

12 April 2017

Every now and then I make a pile of sourdough pikelets. We bring out all of the spreads and top them with butter and strawberry jam, Nutella and banana, lemon juice and sugar, and yoghurt and maple syrup. And we almost always have leftovers for breakfast the next day :)

I use a recipe from Sophie Hansen's cookbook, which I've adapted to include some leftover sourdough starter. If you don't have any starter, the recipe will work just fine without it.

Sourdough pikelets 

Serves 4

You will need:
1 cup self-raising flour
1 cup milk
1 egg
Finely grated zest of one lemon
1 tbsp caster sugar
3/4 cup active sourdough starter

Here's how:
Place all of the ingredients into a medium sized bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside for 20 minutes. 

Heat a fry pan on medium-high heat and add a small knob of butter. Cook 2 tablespoons of batter at a time, flipping each pikelet when the surface begins to bubble. 

Keep your growing pile of pikelets in an oven on low heat to keep them warm.