Almost summer

21 November 2020

It's starting to get properly hot in Canberra, so I've made a hard switch to cold food. This weekend I'll be making Hetty McKinnon's chilled soba noodle salad with quick pickled cucumbers and avocado. It's delicious - I made it the other week to film a video for work and it's somehow refreshing and filling at the same time. It's so good I'm going to make it for Christmas.

Also on my list is this simple lentil, pesto and cherry tomato salad from a few years ago. It means I can still do some fun cooking over the weekend (making pesto!) without turning the stove on. 

I have a new, lazy dessert inspired by Elizabeth Hewson's cookbook Saturday Night Pasta. She recommends serving a simple dessert of ice cream, olive oil and sea salt. I was intrigued and a little scared but it's totally delicious! I have a container of cheesecake base crumbs in my freezer, leftover from the time I made this jelly tart - and I've been sprinkling it on top of this ice cream combo for a little extra crunch.

This might be the most 2020 thing but I bought myself a flour subscription! The flour comes from a mill in country Victoria and every month it's a surprise selection of flours plus a handmade zine with recipe ideas. I've never baked with Rosella wheat flour before and have heard it's the best for cakes and sponges. But first up, I'm going to try my hand at Russian Rye bread (I'm imaging it with smoked salmon, which I haven't had for almost a year). And I'm going to take some to Sydney for my friend Angie to have a play with. 

I'm starting to feel excited for Christmas and the summer holidays. I haven't had a week off since March, which happened to be the same week everything was shutting down. It wasn't the most relaxing week so I'm very much looking forward to three weeks off this December. 

In the meantime I'm watching The Crown at night (yay!) and seeing friends for pizza picnics, yummy lunches, and morning coffees.

Hope you have a lovely weekend! I'm going to walk up the street to get the paper and a coffee (there's a new place near our house that's great!), and maybe some baking supplies. Claire Saffitz's cookbook Dessert Person arrived this week and it's so much bigger than I anticipated. I'm thinking of starting with her pistachio pinwheel cookies.

And then on Sunday Tony's taking me out to lunch at our favourite restaurant :) He sold a big painting this week and we feel like celebrating.


Hello weekend

14 November 2020

I have a bad back at the moment (which makes me feel so old!) and was lucky enough to see a physio yesterday to get it seen to and strapped in time for the weekend. Now the pain is subsiding, it's actually been a nice excuse to hang around on the couch with a heat pack and do a little less. Still, I'm planning to make ravioli for dinner 😜 I've been squirrelling away lots of good things to share. Hope you enjoy:

The joy that is this episode of The Sporkful podcast with special guests Samin Nosrat and Hrishikesh Hirway that's all about cookies! 

I've bookmarked this beautiful Christmas cake and added it to my shortlist. 

Speaking of Christmas, if you love baking biscuits as gifts, Julia Ostro has a lemon and almond shortbread over at ABC Life. 

My new favourite TV/movie snack aka fancy Malteasers. I blitzed through all four seasons of Insecure in the last month (on Binge - so so good!!!) and we've just started watching The Queen's Gambit on Netflix because we've heard so many good things about it.

I really needed to hear this podcast about taking care of yourself at work in 2020, which was recommended by a lovely coworker.  It's from Harvard Business Review's podcast Women at Work. Surprisingly, one of the biggest takeaways was not fixing work but knowing who and what you care about and letting that lead the way. 

I treated myself to the cutest packet of nail stickers designed by Beci Orpin :)

Fired up, ready to go. A sweet animation of an Obama speech that popped up in the week of the US election. I'm super keen to watch The Way I See It, a doco about Pete Souza, the official White House photographer for the Obama and Reagan administrations. 

It's still been cool enough for comfort food and the week of the election (and let's be honest, non-stop refreshing of news sites) I thoroughly enjoyed the delicious distraction that was making Heidi Sze's chicken sausage rolls. This recipe makes heaps so we had enough for two dinners with enough for another two stashed in the freezer. 

I have the longest list of new recipes I want to try, including Hetty McKinnon's kimchi mac and cheese and salted caramel peanut butter cake

I'm still doing yoga at home and loved this energising flow from Good Vibes yoga in Melbourne.

P.S Check out my baby eggplant! My friend Angie brought a seedling down when she visited for her birthday and has a very inspiring Insta account for her veggie garden that's mostly grown in pots.

A very busy October

12 November 2020

It's nice to be back here after a super busy month. We had visitors, weekend road trips and catch ups with Canberra friends every single weekend for the month of October and into November. Plenty of cheese was consumed, birthday candles were blown out and there were some much needed belly laughs too.

I made Rachel's peach and raspberry jelly tart when I knew we'd be having a little person over for dinner. It was a hit with the adults too :) For dinner I made Deborah's perfect meatballs which were fast to prep (I doubled the recipe so I could freeze some), and just left making a simple sauce and reheating the meatballs when our friends arrived. 

Tony and I both had close friends visit on back to back weekends. It raining both weekends, which meant fewer long walks and more cold-weather comfort food (my fave). We ended up booking a table at this pizza cafe in Gundaroo two Sundays in a row because we loved it so much the first time. A guy from our favourite wine shop recommended it and we probably wouldn't have found it otherwise. It's down a little path from the main street in a cosy old barn. They let you order half and half pizzas and serve old school tiramisu for dessert. 

Last weekend we went to Wagga Wagga, where Tony was hosting an artist talk for a print maker he's collaborated with who had an exhibition in the gallery. It was a little surreal to be back - next month will mark 10 years since we moved there (we've been in Canberra for about 5 years now!). We were only in town for two nights but I loved that we could run into most of the people we knew in that time. I miss funny things about Wagga, like a very particular noodle dish at a Thai restaurant that I've never seen anywhere else, which I made sure to eat on the first night.

The highlight was easily seeing some of our favourite people at our friend's place for a pasta night. And hanging out with kids I held as newborns, who are now in primary school. We stopped in Yass on the way home so we could visit Clementine's Bakery. A few years ago we went to their restaurant for a fancy lunch, but they've had to close it due to the pandemic and open a bakery in town instead. We had pastries, sambos and the most delicious chocolate and raspberry mousse tart. I bought some beautiful looking milk buns for the freezer (such a random running theme of this post), and we also went home with eggs from our friends Sophie and Tim's chooks and flowers from Soph's flower farm too!

And now we're back home with very few plans for the weekend :) I've just finished Christmas shopping (gift wrap and all!) and buying pressies for December birthdays, along with a few things for myself. Mainly coloured candles (these ones are cute and not too $$), Kindle books and a novelty cushion. 

Most of the time I can't believe it's November, even though I really want the year to end! It's been tough going through a restructure while working from home (I think they're hard at the best of times) and being a lot more social than usual has really helped take my mind off things.

Christmas wish list

04 November 2020


We're going to be hosting Christmas for my family this year, a summer version of our June reunion. I'm planning to make a pavlova and maybe some mini bagels to go with smoked salmon and pickled onions. I'm also going to stash a few boxes of mango Weiss bars in the freezer :) Aside from deciding what we'll eat, I'm excited not to be posting presents this year.  

As is tradition (and a nice distraction from this week), here are a few things on my list. First up... a cookbook! I love the look of Yossy Arefi's Snacking Cakes, which includes recipes like powdered donut cake.

I upgraded my round cake tins earlier this year, before making my brother's wedding cake. It makes a huge difference having a cake tin that's the exact size most recipes call for. Now I'm keen to replace my square and loaf tins with ones that have crisp square edges, rather than rounded ones. 

I rarely wear pants anymore - just trackies and leggings while WFH, so I'm keen for a pair of bike shorts for comfy days at home, walks and trips to the shops.

A pretty hand towel because we're still at home a lot and I'm craving more colour in unexpected places. I'm slowly making the apartment more and more like a hotel :p

A panettone from a favourite Sydney bakery to eat alongside mango on Christmas Eve, and to make into French toast on Boxing Day. Last year I bought a 1kg panettone in Melbourne, which took up a lot of space in my suitcase. 

And a cute little pasta cookbook with plenty of new sauce ideas, because it's still mine and Tony's most favourite food.

Lovely little things

23 October 2020

Hello! I've been busying myself with nice things like buying mint-chocolate ice creams for the freezer, making dumplings for a friend and ordering Christmas presents. I still lose track of where in the year we are, but hang out for little weekly anchors, like a new episode of a podcast or a favourite newsletter. I hope you've been well. Here are some nice things to share:

This mini-podcast episode called 'Let your pile of small good things grow' got me out of a funk the other week. Now, I write a list of nice things for the day in my journal before I write out my work to-do list. 

Definitely going to make Claire Saffitz's malted 'forever' brownies

Classic spaghetti puttanesca with a dollop of ricotta. 

Death, Sex & Money has been running a week-long audio festival, and it's been a great way to discover new podcasts. This episode broke my heart - some of the interviews are so raw.

I made Dorie Greenspan's lemon-spice visiting cake and it looked just like the picture. I took it to my in-laws place with some seedlings for their garden and coffee pods too. It feels good to see people again.

Chat soon! 


Chiffon cake and nice weekend things

10 October 2020

The very best thing I did last week was bake a passionfruit chiffon cake for my parents who came over for lunch. It was the first recipe I tried from the Beatrix Bakes cookbook and the same cake I ordered when I visited the bakery back in 2018. It was so tall and fluffy and tasted just like the real thing :) After a rainy week, we're going to head out for a lunch in the sun and zone out. It was a short week but a big one. Some things to share:

Helen Garner's lockdown diaries interview on the 7am podcast is great. I especially love how the interview almost ends. Via Jess.

One of the nicest things I listened to all week was this conversation between Samin Nosrat and Wendy MacNaughton about how they collaborated on Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. It's another podcast by Hrishikesh Hirway :) 

I finally watched Knock Down The House, the Netflix doco about AOC's election that follows three other first-time female candidates.

If you're a fan of Lindt balls, guess what? They come in block for too! My friend Jen sent me one in the mail and it's a revelation. 

Sky Ting yoga's 20 minute strength practice comes with its own playlist and goes fast. I loved taking a look into one of the co-founder's tiny NY apartment complete with a bathtub in the kitchen.

Cup of Jo's Ultimate TV guide looks great! We're going to start Olive Kitterage because I loved the books and Bill Murray co-stars.

And a little bit of wanderlust - camping in Zion National Park, Utah. We're hoping to book a coast holiday soon, it's been so long.

Have a nice weekend!


October joy

04 October 2020

There's the news and everything else 2020 has thrown our way and then there's rainbow birthday cake. I made this for my niece's party and found sorting Skittles into colour groups to be a very calming and mindful activity. Tony encouraged me to make the biggest rainbow possible and it was such a happy cake, art directed by the birthday girl herself with vanilla cake and hidden lollies inside. 

My parents are here for the long weekend and my niece's birthday. We haven't seen each other since June and are enjoying the simple joy that comes with sharing meals and exchanging gifts - just-read books and propagated plants.

Here are some other lovely things gathered throughout the week - hope you're having a lovely weekend:

Bryan Washington on what it means to be a cafe regular during the coronavirus pandemic. A beautiful piece of writing that's less about special occasion restaurants than the casual places we visit most weeks.

Tips for hotel quarantine if you need them. A soda stream sounds genius. 

A highlight of this week was Alana Dimou's food zine arriving in the mail. She chronicled some of the meals she made and ate during the first lockdown. I love the writing (so honest and funny), the gorgeous food photos and the occasional recipe too.

We've been watching The Trip to Greece the TV series, which is on iView. The movie wasn't my fave The Trip film (I didn't know many of the references!) but am finding the television series a lot funnier. 

"Oftentimes when the world feels chaotic, we feel as if it is somehow inappropriate to have joy. Have you joy," writes Cleo Wade. Discovered via the gals at Slice.

Hetty McKinnon has a new cookbook, To Asia, With Love. Reading the intro made me teary - she writes about being a Chinese girl who was born in Australia. Just that description alone made me feel very seen and understood, as did the photo of eggs in a bowl with a fish drawing, which my mum and grandparents have. You can sample some of the recipes here. I'm planning to make the life-changing udon for my parents on Monday for lunch. 

Parts of this interview with American TV cook Ina Garten made me laugh, "I go through the recipe with them and I find out they didn't have any chocolate so they used sardines instead."

And after listening to Home Cooking with Samin Nosrat and Hrishikesh Herway, I'm getting into his new Netflix show Song Exploder, based on his own podcast (which I've actually never listened to! Excited to check it out too).