Weekend links

30 September 2016

Did you have a good week? I spent a few days at an un-conference, meeting a whole bunch of new people and talking about everything from knowing your neighbours to calling out racism. It was so good to take a break from the day-to-day to think big... and play wall ball. This weekend we'll be catching up with some special visitors and finally starting Cooked. Have a fun weekend!

When life gives you lemons (naturally pasta is the answer).

A short (and entertaining) history of US presidential debates.

How far should an ally go?

A decadent coconut cake.

Calling the dead.

Super keen to check out this podcast.

31 genius acts of vandalism via Vanessa.

Your Facebook friend said something racist. Now what? (The flow chart is especially great).

And I made Smitten Kitchen's most popular recipe this week, which tastes like a cross between an apple pie and an apple cake. I took it to work the next day and two people asked the recipe. It's that good.

The best choc chip cookie recipes

29 September 2016

Last week I stumbled across this gem at a $10 book store and the introduction is so good. Christina Tosi is a bit of a hero of mine. She's the owner of Momofuku Milk Bar and a dessert chef who believes that cookies can help make the world a better place.

She writes, "I want to create a world where cookies let people know it's going to be okay and remind them to let their imaginations run free."

While I haven't had a chance to make any of the cookies from Milk Bar Life yet it did inspire me to share my favourite choc chip cookie recipes - I have five! Right now they include:

Ovenly's salted choc chip cookies - my staple recipe that I love to make for people in good times and bad.

Smitten Kitchen's version is packed with chocolate and the ultimate comfort cookie.

These coconut choc chip cookies have a lovely texture to them, and they're chewy too.

Joy the Baker's milk chocolate and cream cookies are worth the effort (they also have crushed Oreos in them!).

And as a kid, I was obsessed with Neiman Marcus cookies, mainly for the nuts and the insane urban legend that goes with the recipe.

P.S I'm also constantly refining my list, so if you've found a good one, I'd love to know about it. And if you're brave, I stumbled across a recipe for pumpkin and oatmeal choc chip cookies the other day.

Binge listening to...

25 September 2016

Last week I blitzed my way through the first season of Millennial, a podcast that documents what it's like to be in your twenties and on the hunt for your your first real job. My friend Sarah had mentioned it over lunch and that same week my sister did too.

It's hosted by Megan Tan, who graduates from college and sets out to become a radio producer. She moves out of home, waits tables while she's applying for jobs and records everything along the way.

I'd been warned that there were parts that were hard to relate to, for anyone who's not in their early twenties and that was true. But I found the hardest (and best) episodes to listen to were the ones that I could relate to a little too closely, that captured things we often keep hidden.

There's everything from trying to work out big things like money, when you've just moved out with a boyfriend to trying to keep your ambition in check when it comes to competing against other graduates for work.

It's a super honest podcast about having a professional goal and sticking to it, and parts of it were recorded in a closet!

P.S I'm late to the party but I also started listening to the Token this week from The Guardian. The series started in Australia and has since moved to the UK newsroom but it explores something that's been on my mind a lot lately - race, identity politics and the news.

Photo by Megan Tan.

Weekend links

23 September 2016

Hello, what do you have planned for the long weekend? On Sunday I'll be heading to my very first conference here in Canberra. I'm really nervous so I'll be trying to chill out before then. We're having burgers with friends tonight - I can't wait! Here are a few things for your weekend:

Tiny moments of contentment.

"We had nothing in common except for the fact that we weren't white."

The comedian trying to make it as the French Jerry Seinfeld.

A pretty dress for work and weddings.

Simple chocolate truffles, three ways.

And a slightly healthier version - double chocolate bliss balls via Tegan.

P.S Wholewheat banana and walnut pancakes as pictured above for your Sunday :)

A new dress for spring

21 September 2016

My spring dress arrived last week and for once it's not black. It's actually part of a shopping ritual that started accidentally, a couple of years ago when I bought a black Witchery dress for a job interview.

I didn't get the job but I've worn the dress everywhere, to my hen's party, on my honeymoon, out to dinner and to work most weeks. It's still going strong after two years :)

So inspired by my fluke purchase (and my attempt to give my jeans a break every now and then), I've been buying two new dresses each year. One for the warmer months and another for the cooler ones. 

My most worn dresses are super flattering, work in the office and on the weekend, and they're always machine washable. The last three dresses have been either black or polka-dotted or both - so I'm especially excited about wearing some colour as the weather warms up.

P.S If you're interested, this was my autumn/winter dress from last year. I still wear it every week.

Rainy Sunday fun

18 September 2016

This morning after a pancake breakfast and a visit to my favourite farmer's market, I joined a cake decorating workshop. Best rainy Sunday! Check it out:

It was a cake topper workshop hosted by The Floral Society, whose work I adore, and it was free! There were a bunch of flowers and greenery to work with and a mini buttercream cake too.

When it came to working with the flowers I was really hesitant at first but went with it and was super happy with how my cake looked in the end. Ta da!

Other good Sunday things - I finished my book, listened to this interview with Helen Garner that Kristy sent me and watched a doco that a friend's been working on. Oh, and there's a whole cake in the fridge to help ease us back into the week. Hope you had a lovely weekend.

Weekend links

16 September 2016

Did this week fly by for you too? I love when that happens. This weekend we're having dinner at Monster Kitchen with friends. I'm going to order the yabby jaffle. And I'm keeping my fingers crossed for another sunny Spring weekend because there's a sweet street fair I want to check out. I hope you have a relaxing weekend ahead:

This chicken dinner.

Martha Stewart is hilarious on Radio Cherry Bombe.

My true self.

A hand cream that actually works.

This cookbook is on high on my wish list (sample lasagna recipe here, there's turkey and ricotta meatballs too).

Loved this episode of More Perfect about the crossover between race and justice.

I made these chocolate cupcakes with green tea icing for bake off this week and they were a hit :)

The latest season of Chef's Table is set in France, and it's excellent.

It took me a couple of sittings but this account of where President George W. Bush went immediately after the September 11 attacks was compelling.

An awesome vegetarian cookbook

13 September 2016

My latest go-to cookbook is The Love & Lemons Cookbook. I bought it for myself last month as a belated birthday present :)

I used to go to the farmer's markets with a very specific list of ingredients for whatever recipe I wanted to cook that weekend. I love this book because all of the recipes are built around one hero ingredient. It makes it easier to buy what looks good at the markets and make a meal around it.

The book is based on the blog of the same name and it's divided into 17 chapters, each based on a different fruit or vegetable. So far I've made the crispy baked eggplant (my favourite), miso and brussel sprout fettucini, pumpkin and black bean enchiladas (a hit with Tony) and the almond granola. It's been an excellent way to eat more veggies, which was one of my goals for the year.

If you're curious there are plenty of recipes to try on the blog. I started with this pumpkin and sage penne and added parmesan cheese and chilli flakes. I'm keen to try these almond butter brown rice crispy treats soon.

P.S - When it comes to eating more greens, I've been washing and spinning a big batch of rocket or salad leaves on a Sunday. And I've been making heaps more salads as a result :)

Spring garden update

11 September 2016

Over the last month, I've been slowly adding new plants to our balcony in preparation for spring. The new additions include baby spinach, spring onions, coriander, thyme, basil and flowers too. We're also growing parsley, mint, strawberries and one determined radicchio.

I'm a novice when it comes to gardening. When we left Wagga Wagga, my friend Sophie gave us a few starter plants, which has helped me build my confidence and work out where the sunniest spots are.

I've had a lot of help from friends. Dave recommended repotting our mint, to give it more room to grow and it's really taken off. And Sam's told me where to buy the strongest veggie seedlings in town (here if you're interested!).

I planted my basil a little early - it's still very cold in the mornings - so these guys will be staying inside for the next little while.

Aside from herbs and veggies, I'm growing flowers for the very first time. Here are my seaside daises :)

And now that the days are getting that tiny bit brighter and warmer, I'm getting back into the habit of earthing down after a day's work.

Weekend links

09 September 2016

How was your week? I've been researching a science story at work, so my brain needs a really big rest :) I'm home alone tonight and tucking into comfort food (spaghetti bolognese, red wine and choc chip cookies) while catching up on this week's Foreign Correspondent. I hope you have a fun weekend ahead, here's a small contribution:

Almond croissant meets choc chip cookie.

Tiny houseplants.

25 famous women on body image.

Love this handbag.

Dream small.

A yummy looking pasta dinner.

A denim dress for spring.

A no-knead bread I made this week, over three days (I punched it down every 18 hours as recommended by Ruth Reichl).

And finding the Asian Oprah (via Halla).

P.S I made the lamingtons with banana caramel from Lunch Lady this week, inspired by Rachel :)

Second wedding anniversary

08 September 2016

We celebrated our second wedding anniversary on Tuesday night, which was the best excuse to be festive and go out.

Before work, Tony picked up coffee and pastries for breakfast because cereal doesn't cut it on an anniversary :) We exchanged presents too - we stick to the traditional themes and this year was cotton.

I gave Tony a new dress shirt (which was the same one he wore to our wedding, only a different colour) and a couple of t-shirts from his favourite stores. And he picked a black mini dress from a shop I love! We both wore our new clothes out to dinner that night.

There's something extra nice about a joint celebration. And after spending our first year of marriage chasing work opportunities and spending some time living apart, it's felt especially nice to spend this last year settling into a new city together.

Easy cheese pizza

04 September 2016

My friend Liz taught me a clever trick last week. If you make your pizza dough before work and stick it in the fridge, it's ready to roll as soon as you get home. Simple but genius, right?

I love Donna Hay's basic pizza dough, and normally top it with sliced baby bocconcini, shredded mozzarella, chilli flakes and fresh basil. It makes the yummiest cheese pizza. You can tell when it's ready when you can smell it - about 20 minutes.

Every now and then I'll make up a big batch of pizza sauce on a Sunday and stick it in the freezer. Lunch Lady has an easy recipe that's basically passata, tinned tomatoes, olive oil and garlic cloves, simmered for as long as you can. It makes a decent pasta sauce too.

We still have lots of pumpkin in the house, so this week I'm going to make a pumpkin, fetta and caramelised onion pizza with fresh rocket. Have a good week :)

Weekend links

02 September 2016

How's it going? I'm happy to be feeling better in time for the weekend. I'm going to be reading the latest Lunch Lady, making pizza and banana and choc chip muffins too. I'll also be shopping for a last minute anniversary present - if you have an excellent idea for a cotton-themed gift please let me know :) Have a lovely weekend and enjoy these few good things:

How to shop for clothes online (hint: you need more than a tape measure).

Sweet breakfast.

Or maybe you prefer a Japanese style spread first thing in the morning.

Check out my sister's funny illustrations.

I... hid a bunch of power cords inspired by these two ladies and it felt good. (If you're interested, I used a few of these.)

This is me all the time.

Blank Goods is having a massive sale.

The first part of This American Life's European refugee special was top notch.

And here's something I had the privilege of working on. I produced the podcast for a story a colleague has been diligently investigating for months.

One night away

01 September 2016

Lately we've been getting away just for the night and it's been a really manageable and fun way to travel. We've stuck to places close by (like Sydney or Wagga Wagga, which are both about a three hours drive), stayed somewhere affordable but nice and packed just the things we need.

If it's just one night away bulky things like shampoos can stay at home and I'm not tempted to pack too many different outfits. And after lots of travel last year, I've learnt to check the weather forecast before we go and always bring a mini umbrella.

Here are a few other things that always make it into my bag - a comfy nightie, a pair of warm socks, a spare t-shirt, my warmest jumper, something to read and my favourite tea bags.

I have a few handbags but I always bring my trusty mini backpack, which holds water, snacks, a scarf, my camera, a small packet of tissues, hand sanitiser, a canvas tote bag and a phone charger for the car.

I have a go-to travel outfit too. It's good for meeting babies, going to art galleries and generally running around. I wear jeans, a cotton t-shirt, white sneakers and a comfy jumper. Our next overnight trip is in October and I'm off to scope out Airbnbs now :)