Birthday wish list

21 July 2019


I'm turning 35 super soon and I have the grey hairs and multifocals to prove it 😝I haven't always loved the idea of being in my mid-thirties but now I'm feeling ready - excited even. For my birthday this year, we're taking a road trip to Gundagai to stay in this fancy hut. I'm hoping to wake up to a foggy Sunday morning and stop at Jugiong on the way home for a much-loved caramelised onion, cheese and chive toastie. Stopping at Jugiong always reminds me of the long drives we used to do between Wagga Wagga and Sydney.

As is tradition on this blog, here's a just-for-fun wishlist of fun things I'd love to receive, starting with.. a weekend away. In the last year or so, I have gotten so much energy from short road trips. I love the change of scenery... and also the chance to cook in a different kitchen, preferably one with a view. I currently have my eye on this Airbnb just outside of Canberra that's part of a flower farm.



It's not a birthday wish list without a cookbook (or three). I'm a big fan of BonAppetit, especially their test kitchen YouTube videos, and am curious about the food director Carla Lalli Music's first book, Where Cooking Begins. I can cook my way through recipes confidently but would love to cook more intuitively now I know the basics.

I'm also very excited about Alison Roman's second cookbook Nothing Fancy that drops in October. In my 34th year I discovered that I'm actually not so introverted after all.  After work-filled weeks, it's so nice to share a meal and hang out with friends. It's also a great excuse to make a decadent dessert.


On a practical note, a backpack to fit my laptop with a separate compartment for snacks! Lately I've had a bit more brain space for things other than work or cooking and have been enjoying taking my laptop out to work on fun projects on weekends. I also like the idea of travelling light for weekends away. This pale blue one looks cute too!


Fancy soap is almost always on my list because it's something I love but never buy for myself. I've tried this one and the matching lotion at an Airbnb, and my favourite Sydney yoga studio, and love how natural it smells.


Finally, a giant jar of chunky peanut butter because few things make me happier than a peanut butter and honey sandwich for breakfast.

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Hello weekend

19 July 2019


Hey there! I saw this cartoon the other day and have decided to stop describing every other week as crazy busy ;) After a few quiet weekends at home - mooching around, making food, generally relaxing and recovering from colds - I am so ready to welcome some friends who are visiting! We're going out for Laos food on Saturday night and I'm hoping to bake a cake to share too. For your weekend (hope it's a good one):

I listened to my first-ever Australian Birth Stories podcast this week. Thank you to Sarah for recommending this episode with Heidi Sze. I've been reading Heidi's blog for some time and am lucky enough to work on recipes with her. Normally anything birth-related makes me nervous (I am very squeamish and have never been to hospital!) but Heidi's interview is so calming and informative.

Also lovely on the podcast front - Nigel Slater's interview on How to Fail. Tony and I both have favourite cookbooks of his (Kitchen Diaries for me, Eat for Tony), and he's thoughtful and honest in this conversation. Thanks to Sophie for the recommendation.

Aziz Ansari's special on Netflix is fun. And he opens and ends the show by addressing the sexual assault allegations that were raised last year.

On a very different note, Tony and I watched The Final Quarter doco last weekend, about AFL player Adam Goodes and the constant boo-ing he was subjected to for several years. It screened on TV this week, and you can watch it for free online. It's definitely an intense and confronting watch but I found it so illuminating. Hope you can watch it too.

Still on the granola train and really enjoyed this nut-heavy version with tahini, coconut and maple. I couldn't skip the oats, and went 2 cups nuts, 1 cup oats. It's so crunchy and easy to make. I mixed up a batch in my pajamas on Sunday morning :)

This episode of the Soul Music podcast took me back in time. It's all about Amy Winehouse's song Back To Black.

I have been watching a ton of BonAppetit YouTube videos of late. This week I sampled their Baking School, which is all about layer cakes. I learnt heaps - including things that normally put me off because they sound really sciencey (gluten development anyone?) - and it's the nicest way to unwind before bed.

Because winter really is the season to bake, the bread and butter pudding of my dreams made with brioche and marmalade. It has pockets of melted chocolate and is custardy in the best possible way.  I tested it a couple of times and wasn't sad about eating it for two weeks straight.

Also - I'm writing a winter food newsletter for ABC Life. If you'd like to read, you can sign up here. The baking edition goes out on Saturday morning. Next month I'll be sharing recipes that look forward to spring.

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A favourite new food show

15 July 2019


I started watching The Chef Show the other day when I was at home with a cold and it is so. much. fun. The pairing is what makes it the most enjoyable for me - chef Roy Choi had previously trained writer, producer and actor Jon Favreau before he shot the film Chef and played one on screen.

In the Netflix show they reunite to cook together and with friends. Their exchanges are friendly and gentle, and they just seem like they're having fun making and eating a bunch of food together. It's a nice break from some of the more serious and macho food shows out there.

My two favourite episodes so far are the ones where they recreate meals from the movie, and the one that pays tribute to the late LA food critic Jonathan Gold. But most of all, I enjoy watching Jon have a go, occasionally freak out and Roy gently correct and encourage him. If you haven't watched the movie (I hadn't until last weekend) the series is still super fun.

Another lovely food thing while we're here, if you're a fan of Alison Roman too, I loved her interview on The Cut podcast.  Over the weekend I finally baked her famous cookie (they went viral last year). I am normally more of a chewy choc chip cookie type but boy these totally live up to the hype.

Hello weekend

11 July 2019


Are you doing anything to mark NAIDOC week? We're going to a screening of The Final Quarter this weekend, the documentary about Adam Goodes and his final seasons as an AFL player. I've heard it's intense and I'm looking forward to watching. Also, I made a donation to AIME, the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience, which pairs uni students with Indigenous high school students. I used to walk by their tutoring headquarters on my way to catch the train home from uni many years ago, and am proud to support them.

A few things for your weekend, I hope you have a lovely one:

Two songs I've had on repeat (hooray for a new Hot Chip album).

Excellent relationship advice.

Samin Nosrat is delightful on Radio Cherry Bombe, talking about how her Netflix show changed her life and what it's like to be a woman in working kitchens.

This Thai tomato salad looks amazing.

The sweetest tiny house in regional Victoria with an especially dreamy kitchen.

We watched 20th Century Women the other night and it was really fun. It was a little bit Wes Anderson and a little Woody Allen too, and it's on Netflix atm.

Christina Tosi has a weekly newsletter. Should be fun!

And an Insta vid that is so nice (via Ali Wong).

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Great things, inspiring things, silly things

06 July 2019


Hello from my favourite corner of the couch. Things have been busy round here - Tony's midway through a residency at Megalo print studio (his first prints are looking zany!) and work has been a little crazier than usual. I'm also adjusting to... multifocals, which make me feel about 100. They seem to have banished my days-long headaches, which makes life so much cheerier. I'm also wearing scrunchies again to balance things out :)

Here are a few lovely things to share and something silly too, because every now and then things don't quite go to plan:

I've been getting back into the Longform podcast after hearing about the Sloane Crosley episode on The High Low. Every episode features an in-depth conversation with a writer, and I also enjoyed the Wesley Morris interview (love how he talks and writes about race and culture - it's nuanced and thought-provoking) and the Michael Pollan episode was inspiring and had me in stitches.

While I don't write much for work these days (aside from short things like recipe wraps), I've thoroughly enjoyed the shift to editing stories and supervising videos. It's unusual work because it's invisible work, but there is something immensely satisfying about shifting words around on a page and making subtle (and sometimes big) tweaks to make a story the best it can be. Most recently, I felt privileged to edit this story by Ben, who had his prostate removed at 36 and is now trying to start a family after cancer.


And now for something silly. This puttanesca-inspired baked risotto might be my favourite Hetty McKinnon recipe ever. I first made it after a long weekend trip to Sydney when I was a little weary and craving a home cooked meal. It was fast and comforting and I loved the addition of lemon juice.

Then one Monday night I figured I'd make a double batch to share with a friend... which almost overflowed πŸ˜‚ Tony helped me save it, which involved transferring it to another slightly bigger but still too-small pan at the end and I am proud to say the giant batch of risotto survived and no one cried or yelled.

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Hello weekend

28 June 2019


I hope you've had a good week. Mine went by in a flash, with yoga classes, work, lots of yummy things to eat (baked risotto, creamy soups!), tiny pockets for reading and voice memos exchanged with my brother. This weekend, I'll be roasting a chicken, testing a couple of recipes (making another bread and butter pudding, because every now and then I burn something) and hopefully watching a movie too. Some things to share:

Friends, family and workmates have recommended The Recording Studio and I finally watched an episode on Monday night. It's such a lovely concept and comes with all of the emotions that you get from watching Queer Eye.

Also entrancing (in a very different way) watching a pastry chef try and make a Twix from scratch. A Twix was bought and consumed in the days afterwards.

On my to-make list, this shell pasta bake with cauliflower, ricotta and spinach.

Two movies on my to-watch list, If Beale Street Could Talk. I missed this at the movies and it's based on a James Baldwin book and directed by Barry Jenkins (of Moonlight). Also Free Solo.

The High Low podcast has been especially great lately, and I loved this snap of hosts Pandora and Dolly recording their first episode.

Finally, a creamy one-pot pasta from Julia Ostro that is lemony and comforting, and super quick to make.

Have a lovely weekend!

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Good habits

24 June 2019


When things get busy, most of my good habits start to slide. This happened recently and I found myself I dropping yoga classes in favour of sleep, forgetting to make plans with friends, and getting lazy with meal prep too. Suddenly, I was in the middle of a flat spell and wondering why. Thankfully a trip to Sydney and time with friends snapped me right out of it, and now I'm keen to make sure these five things are part of most weeks:

A good book and time to read

Reading gets my off my phone and out of my head too. Recently I read Educated by Tara Westover (it barely lasted a day!), Heartburn by Nora Ephron (wanted to love it more and was bothered by a coupled of lines), and then something super funny, Calypso by David Sedaris. Currently on reserve at the library, The Farm by Joanne Ramos, Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner. I'd also love to read Sloane Crosley's first book of essays, I Was Told There'd Be Cake.

Good-for-me meals and snacks

When I'm not feeling my greatest, I'm often not eating well either. Sometimes it comes from travelling and eating out non-stop. When that happens, I try to make an extra effort to eat well. The cheat's version is a green smoothie, and then returning to good-for-me staples like oats, leafy greens, roasted veggies, avocado on toast, soups and veggie-filled dinners.

Weekend and after-work plans

I used to crave downtime at home, but lately nothing makes me cheerier than catch ups with friends. My introverted-self is shocked πŸ™ˆLately we've been going to friend's places for mid-week dinners, heading to more art openings, and I've been making an effort to book things ahead of time. Next month we have tickets to see the Adam Goodes doco The Final Quarter, as well a reservation for a cheese, potato salad and sorbet night (!).

Exercise and remembering to go outside

I've just gone back to morning yoga classes and have discovered that it's just the first 15 minutes of the day that are hard - in between the alarm going off and making it out the door. And someone recently joked that the first 15 minutes of any day are hard, no matter what time you get up. And something I can easily forget to do in winter... is to go outside. But lately I've been taking breaks to go for walks, or walking instead of driving whenever I can. The air is super fresh and our new neighbourhood is especially lovely for exploring.

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