A desk warming and a cookie lucky dip

11 December 2017

Every now and then a silly idea takes hold. Years ago, it was an Easter egg hunt for my apartment block in Sydney. I set my alarm for 5.30am on Easter Sunday, roused Tony, and the two of us quietly hid eggs and put up posters in the common areas.

This week it was a desk warming party, because I've moved from one end of the newsroom to the other and closer to a window :) There was a cookie lucky dip (featuring gingerbread, my favourite choc chip cookies, and double choc macadamia cookies), filter coffee from my new machine - there was even an e-invite.

There hasn't been too much time for baking or silly projects for the last while (unlike 2016 when I made cakes in the shape of rubber ducks, owls and horses!), so this felt extra silly and festive.

If you want to host your own desk party - it's easy! Put up a bunting, brew some coffee, and bake or buy some sweets. Don't forget to invite your buds. To make a cookie lucky dip, wrap different combos of cookies in a layer of baking paper and then pretty wrapping paper, find a vessel to put them in and you're good to go.

Weekend links

08 December 2017

It's been a crazy busy week, with stops in Melbourne and Sydney and a few nights in Canberra too. Melbourne was a highlight - I bought a summer dress at Obus, picked up the Martha Stewart issue of Cherry Bombe at Magnation, had dinner with my friend Danie, and made it to a favourite breakfast spot too. That marks the end of work travel for 2017, it's been a whirlwind, and I'm so excited about sleeping in my own bed for a good while.

This weekend I'll be making a few Christmas plans - sketching out a menu, picking up a panettone, and putting a few last gifts in the post. On that note:

A simple tip for the festive season - just be there.

Christmas cookie inspiration.

Just finished this book, which is crazily my 22nd of the year!

Same-sex marriage is finally legal. Watch David Marr pay tribute to "those wonderful warriors" who paved the way. And this made me teary at my desk.

The two new Broadsheet books are beautiful - What to Eat & Where to Get It featuring Sydney and Melbourne.

And I'll be flicking through Sophie Hansen's Christmas Baking e-book. I've been really enjoying her happy and food-filled e-newsletters, perfectly timed for when that Monday feeling kicks in.

Catch you next week.

Presents in the post

04 December 2017

Every second year we spend Christmas at home, and this is one of those years. It's so nice to chill out at the end of the year, and not have to worry about travel or accommodation. This year I'm trying something new - instead of putting a big box of presents in the post, I'm mainly giving vouchers. They're super easy to mail and can be really fun. (Spoiler alert: if you're family - it's time to bail!)

My Dad is a sweet tooth, just like me. He's getting a voucher for Black Star Pastry in Sydney. It's a crazy gold token, which he can use to try their new mango cake. It should cover coffee and cake at one of their cafes, plus a few takeaway goodies too!

I'll still be buying presents for my niece and nephew. My friend Kristy recommended this beautiful book for my niece (it has the loveliest message and I especially like how multicultural it is). She's also getting a packet of bright markers that are part chalk, part crayon and part watercolour! I have my eye on this Thomas the Tank Engine wagon for my nephew, who has just found his feet and loves Thomas.

And I am sending two small presents overseas, to my brother and sister-in-law who moved to London this year. I thought it was important that they had proper gifts for their first Christmas away. I flipped through Michelle Mackintosh's Care Packages book before deciding on a few light but comforting items. There are two thick pairs of woollen socks (from the Big Merino, no less!). There's also a block of my favourite dark chocolate for my brother, and some clippings from The Good Weekend for my sister-in-law, who loves to read and write.

That's Christmas gifting pretty much done :)

Weekend links

01 December 2017

Happy December! We're hosting an early Christmas lunch tomorrow, and might even put up our tree. I'm serving mushroom burgers with sweet potato fries, followed by choc chip cookies and mangoes :) Then on Sunday I'm off to Melbourne for work. I hope most of the rain will have passed! I'm excited to see my friend Danie (we're going here!), and want to check out The Big Design Market too. To share:

You make your own paradise.

A new foodie and farm blog to love. Perfect pikelets please!

A funny podcast episode with a great take home message - to eat less sugar, bake a cake - featuring Yotam Ottolenghi.

A super cute Canberra wedding.

The New York Times coverage of Manus has been amazing.

Christmas gifts for kids and adults for less than $25.

And I've been cooking from The Savvy Cook this week, which I borrowed from the library. We've had fennel and lentil bolognese with tagliatelle, a veggie and haloumi bake, and brown rice bowls with miso broccoli. Yum.

Bircher Muesli with Hazelnut Crumble

26 November 2017

After a brief obsession with overnight oats, I've returned to an old faithful - bircher muesli. With fresh berries or banana on top, it's cool and filling. With crunchy hazelnut crumble, it's even better. I make a bircher to go a few times a week, for the days that Tony and I go to yoga before work. It's a little reward for getting up early for class, and gives us some extra time to get a coffee too.

The bircher recipe comes from my friend Vanessa. I've added a few extra things, like chia seeds and bee pollen. You can experiment and add whatever you like! There's a bircher stand at our local farmers markets that uses sunflower seeds in the dry mix, and apple and ginger juice in place of almond milk and apple. The hazelnut and ginger crumble is inspired by the same stand. Their crumble is a bit more cookie-like, and I look forward to having it every Sunday. I've toned mine down for weekday eating :)

Bircher Muesli 

Serves 2

I split the ingredients into two containers as I'm making it, for breakfast on the run. If you'll be having it at home, just make it in the bowls you'll be eating from - it's less washing up!

You'll need:

1 cup of oats
1 green apple, grated
1 cup almond milk (you could use regular milk, apple juice or water)
4 tablespoons of yoghurt


A pinch of cinnamon
2 teaspoons of chia seeds
1 teaspoon of bee pollen
Small handful of sultanas

Here's how:

Place all of your dry ingredients in a bowl (or divide equally between two bowls or containers) and mix to combine. Then add your yoghurt, milk and apple (make sure you add the juice too!) and mix again. Cover and leave in the fridge overnight. Bircher keeps pretty well, so you could always make a double batch for the week.

Hazelnut and Ginger Crumble

This is the best bit. Makes enough for 4 bircher bowls

You'll need:

2 handfuls of hazelnuts
4 heaped tablespoons plain flour (I've used wholewheat before and that works too)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Tiny pinch of salt
2 1/2 teaspoons of coconut oil

Here's how:

Set the oven to 160°C and roast your nuts while you prepare your crumble. Place them in a small ovenproof dish and roast for about 10-15 minutes, this will make them extra crunchy. You can smell when they're done! If they're blanched hazelnuts, set them aside to cool. If they still have a dark brown skin, gently squeeze the nuts when cool to remove it. I prefer hazelnuts without their skin, as it's less bitter.

To make the crumble, combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl and lightly whisk to combine. Then add your coconut oil, and pinch the ingredients between your fingers gently, until the mixture has an even crumb-like texture.

Place the mixture in a lined baking dish and bake for 15 minutes, stirring gently at the halfway mark. Set aside to cool and crisp up. Later, gently stir in the hazelnuts and transfer to a jar until you're ready to serve.

To serve, top your bircher with fresh berries, a few scoops of hazelnut crumble, a dollop of yoghurt if you're extra hungry, and a dash of maple syrup to taste. When we're taking ours to go, I keep the berries and the crumble separate so nothing goes soggy. Enjoy with a hot cup of something and have a lovely day :)

Weekend links

24 November 2017

This week was a bit of a funny one. There are some big changes happening at work, and my anxiety got the better of me. But there were lots of things that perked me up - riding to work, chats with friends, big chats with Tony, and early morning yoga. We're home this weekend and I'm excited to try out this pork and pineapple adobo while it's rainy, and make some cookies from my new cookbook (I caved and bought this). Here are a few things for your weekend - sure hope it's a good one!

A very beautiful Instagram account from Melbourne, with especially lovely writing.

This special kid's episode of The Daily is very cute, while delving into gender and identity. Plus, they remade the theme song just for the show!

Another podcast recommendation - I really enjoyed this episode from Here's The Thing, featuring former Vanity Fair editor Tina Brown.

A day in the life of Esther Perel. Her office is in the Flatiron building!

I hope to be this passionate about my work when I'm ready to retire - Margie Rowe looks back on her career in law. She's my friend's mum :)

And if you get the chance, check out the Pipilotti Rist show at the MCA in Sydney. Take a friend and give yourself a couple of hours. It's a really fun show that's surprisingly relaxing too - there are comfy cushions and even beds to lie on while you take in the zany video and sound installations.

My Christmas wish list: 2017

21 November 2017

At the moment, my notebook is filled with present ideas for friends and family. I love choosing gifts and am crossing a few names off my list each week. After a big year of travel, we'll be spending the holiday in Canberra - sleeping in, riding our bikes, and cooking up some delicious food. Here are six things I have my eye on, starting with some delicious coffee for my new machine.

Perfect for summer - a soft shoe that's part ballet flat, part sneaker. I like this silver pair too, to wear with summer dresses, and chuck in my bag for weekends away. For northern hemisphere friends - check out these fleece-lined booties!

I just found out that my favourite Canberra ice cream shop sells gift vouchers. A summer of free ice cream would be a dream come true!

I'm doing a lot more yoga these days, it makes me feel strong and relaxed. This is something that's practical but very necessary - a yoga top that ties up on one side. Also, these yoga tights are the best.

MUJI has the cutest mini lamps that double as essential oil diffusers - I spied one in Ebony's Nagano flat. I'd use peppermint oil with mine (when I'm not sprinkling it into the shower or bath). Fingers crossed MUJI comes to Canberra one day.

And it's not Christmas without a new cookbook :) Like the magazine and the podcastCherry Bombe: The Cookbook celebrates women in food. I hear it's dedicated to the likes of Alice Waters, Ruth Reichl and Martha Stewart - women who continue to lead the way.