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.

Weekend links

17 November 2017

I did something scary today - I pitched a podcast! I almost chickened out but I've been mulling over an idea for weeks and just needed a bit of courage to get it down on paper. What's on for you this weekend? One of my nephews is turning three, and we're going to a friend's exhibition opening. For your weekend:

Are you a Kevin Kwan fan? My brother-in-law put me onto a great talk he gave at Google that touches on everything from writing a novel (he had a completely different career beforehand) to the lack of cultural diversity in Hollywood.

This is so cool - more inclusive ways to talk about gender. "Instead of ladies and gentlemen, try distinguished guests."

I loved this profile of Tina Roth-Eisenberg, who writes the Swissmiss blog (among many other things). Her approach to parenting is especially admirable. Whenever she has creative friends round for dinner, she helps her kids look up their work beforehand so they can ask questions! She says, "all I want to do is help my kids realise that there's so many different ways to make a living."

Ta-Nehisi Coates nailing why the n-word isn't for everyone.

So proud to live in the city with the highest Yes vote - check out the celebrations :)

Traybake dinners ftw! Many more here, including the anatomy of a traybake so you can invent your own.

And I really, really want to make a pecan pie. I blame all of the Thanksgiving photos on Instagram.

P.S We saw this cute street library in Sydney. We passed another that had two copies of Cormac McCarthy's The Road.


15 November 2017

Did you watch the announcement today? I was so nervous - and then excited and relieved. Watching the coverage has been emotional (this photo!), and I hope that it's not too long before same-sex marriage is legal in Australia. I've already volunteered to make a wedding cake :) Let's continue to look after our LGBTIQ family and friends because it's not over yet, and we can help keep the good vibes going and look out for one another too. Some other good things:

My copy of A Modern Cook's Year by British cook Anna Jones arrived last week and it's easily my favourite cookbook of 2017.  So far I've made the ricotta gnocchi with a quick cherry tomato sauce (so good!), and her latest one-pot pasta with asparagus, lemon and peas, which came highly recommended from a friend.

I'm also keen to try the rhubarb and rose ice cream and this smoky mushroom and roast kale lasagna. There are eight recipes from the book here (god bless the Guardian), including two desserts and a bunch of hearty mains.

I am holiday ready! I bought this cute cotton nightie to pack for beach holidays and lazy summer mornings. This one is pretty too. I've also rediscovered the secret to a good night's sleep - exercise that gets the heart thumping at some point in the day.

I finally had the chance to watch a few episodes of Humans of New York: The Series. I love that the city is such a big part of the show (maybe even a character in its own right), and that each episode is based on a big theme, like independence, purpose, parenting and imagination.

And two things you can do to make the days feel longer -  one, make a simple dinner. This one's from Sydney nutritionist Kate Levins. She's also written about a healthy eating day, and it's changed how I eat fruit. Secondly - I've turned off all of the notifications on my phone, from Facebook Messenger to my podcast app. Things have been peaceful. 

Weekend links

10 November 2017

Hey there, how was your week? Tony and I managed two yoga/breakfast dates and a midweek dinner with friends, so I'm feeling good. We're getting ready to celebrate my brother's 21st birthday this weekend. He'll be making burgers for everyone and I'm in charge of the cake. I might also get a start on my Christmas shopping :) Have a great weekend!

It's rhubarb season! Here's what we can make.

Eco gifts for practical folks. I love the candle holder.

A spring dinner we tried this week - spiced lentil bowls with your favourite veg.

Can't wait to see this film!

What do you wear to work? Six women share their go-to outfits.

A book for kids about change (and a video that moved me).

My new nighttime tea, a lovely gift from friends.

And I just started listening to Never Before with Janet Mock. I can recommend two episodes - an interview with Tina Knowles-Lawson (if you're a fan of Solange's A Seat at the Table, you'll recognise her voice!). I also got a lot out of this chat with Tarell Alvin McCraney, whose play went onto become the film Moonlight.  

Real Girl Wardrobes: Sophie Kesteven

08 November 2017

Sophie Kesteven is a journalist from Far North Queensland who has spent the last little while living in Canberra, where we met at work. I loved seeing her outfits each day, they were always eclectic and fun. Sophie's just moved to Sydney but before she left, she came round for some cake and shared her bowerbird approach to shopping, a favourite dress that once belonged to her grandma, and how she manages super bright lipsticks. Let's get into it:

How would you describe your everyday style?

I would say I'm a chameleon. I remember when I was working up north, I could have my hair down and wear a certain style one day, and the next have my hair tied completely back and look almost like a different person. Being a bit of a chameleon can have its advantages because you can really mix up your look - it's mysterious in a way!

I really love how you put outfits together - where do you think that comes from?

I think a bit of that comes from my mum. She's not afraid to wear colourful clothes and I definitely get a bit of that from her - be proud, embrace all of the different colours, and I think that's a Far North Queensland thing too. I like to inject a bit of colour into my surroundings and patterns as well.

I'm in no way a person who will go out and buy expensive, designer gear. If I stumble across some nice designer stuff at an op shop, I'll buy it. But I think it goes to show that you don't have to buy the most expensive thing on the rack to put a nice outfit together.

Where do you take inspiration from? 

I would say as well as a chameleon, I'm a bit of bowerbird. If I see something vibrant, I'm there! It's nice to wear bright clothes because it's reflective of your mood and maybe makes you a bit more approachable to other people. Some people like to wear neutral colours and they do it really, really well and some people like to be a bit daring - maybe it doesn't always work but sometimes you've got to take that risk!

I’ve seen you in a few amazing pieces that used to belong to your grandma or aunt - how did they find their way to you?

Up in Ainslie, there's the old family house and they're starting to look into selling it or renovating it, so they're starting to clear out a lot of things in the house. I've had the opportunity to go through a lot of the old wardrobes in the last six months.

It's amazing coming across all of these different things because my grandparents and my aunts and my dad grew up in Italy and Rome for a lot of their childhood. You see a little bit of influence in some of the fashion there.

If you've got good quality clothing, hold onto it because it’s so easy to let something go and be like, ‘Oh, I'll never wear this again’. But you never know, in another 30, 40, 50 years time it does come back around and I've seen that in the wardrobes of my aunt and my mum.

How do you shop for clothes?

I can go to the shops and try on about six different outfits and I'm just not happy! When I was in my teens I would be like - yep, I like this - but now that I'm in my late twenties, I'm getting a little bit more fussy about things. I think it's important to know your body shape and know what outfits work well on it.

Are there any particular shops or labels that you love?

I like going into little boutique places because I think you can find some good quality clothes. When I was in Townsville, I'd go into a lot of the boutique shops there. There was a lovely Italian lady there, Enza, who came to know me quite well!

And when I was out at Charters Towers, in a little country town for my first newspaper gig, there was a boutique down the road. It had just as nice things in it as some of the places in the surrounding towns and I became really good friends with the shop lady there too.

I don't mind Zara because they do have a lot of colourful things but I don't know if we'll have it in 40 years time - is it still going to be as good quality?

Do you ever shop online?

I have shopped online in the past but I find for myself it can be a struggle because I might like the look of something and it arrives and it's more like on a top on me than a dress because I have a long body. I'm 5'11" so I have to keep that in mind as well. I would love - if I had the time - to get my own label off the ground and cater to taller girls.

What's your approach to accessories? Do you carry a handbag? 

My mum and dad get out to Italy probably once every three years. My mum is really good to me, she comes back with a nice Italian leather handbag, which I will wear the hell out of for the next three years.

But I think one of my favourites is a leather handbag that has this rainbow crochet bit on the top of it. I got it from the Witches markets when I was in Bolivia. It was really functional, it had some nice inner zips. It was this nice tough, dark leather but it softened over the years.

What about hair and make-up?

I go through phases. I used to straighten my hair all the time in my teens and early twenties, now I'm starting to embrace my own look a little bit more. I think it's nice to go with the natural look sometimes because it doesn't look as forced.

With make-up, I like bright lipsticks but then I also like matte lipsticks, particularly if you've got a super bright outfit on - it's not too crazy. I probably have at least 15-20 different shades. If you choose to wear a really bright bold colour, sometimes it's better wearing it just out for drinks. Whereas if you're having a big meal it can get on your chin!

Something I would like to get a better at is eyeshadow and the eyes. I've only recently started to teach myself how to use eyeliner properly.

Do you have any go-to outfits?

There's a dress which I call the handbag dress, which was my grandma's dress. If she went out to work, it was a dress she could put in her handbag if  all of a sudden her husband said - we're going out for dinner or drinks with friends. It didn't crease or anything like that. It goes quite well with some fun shoes. If I was to do my own label, I would design a handbag dress for all the women out there!

How do you pick an outfit for work? 

Some days I feel like I'm just going to be in the office, so I'll wear some pants and a nice top. But I also like wearing dresses because I find dresses very comfortable! I think in the work environment, it's good to wear dresses that are knee length or a little bit longer.

And I really embraced boots since living in Canberra. I bought a nice pair in Kingston and they're Italian. Italian has always been my thing but they're just the most comfortable boots.

What do you wear if you're going for a drink with friends?

At night I like to wear dresses that showcase the waist a little bit. And things that fall nicely on you and your particular figure. And again, I love shades of blue, I love shades of green, yellows, the earthy colours as well.

And on a lazy Sunday? 

If I'm still going to go out and get a coffee, I'll wear some ripped jeans, probably a singlet and some sneakers to go along with it. If I was staying in the house, I'd probably be wearing a loose summery dress or some bamboo pants with a comfortable flowy top.

Lastly, what are you looking forward to wearing now that it's warming up?

I would like to wear my handbag dress a little bit more often. Also I've got a pink dress that I bought when I was in Mackay from a local designer there, Jason Chetcuti. I was covering a fashion show for work and this model came out wearing this beautiful pink maxi dress.

Pink isn't a colour that I've been drawn to in the past but I just thought - wow, it's such a statement piece, I've got to have this! So I bought it and the first occasion I ever wore it to was the Mackay beach races and it was perfect for that occasion.

I wore it in Canberra in my first couple months of being here. I went out for lunch with some family members and there was a couple sitting at the table next to me. And when they finished, they lady came up and she said - I just want to say that you look absolutely beautiful. And I was like - I need to wear this dress more often!

Thank you Sophie! And good luck in Sydney :)

Weekend links

03 November 2017

I took the day off work today, to catch up on errands, have lunch at one of my favourite restaurants but mainly because my sister and her family are arriving this afternoon! We'll be taking the kids out for an early spaghetti dinner and probably for ice cream too :)

This week has been super fun. We tried a new pizza joint in town, booked a beach house for summer, and grinned at photos of our niece and nephew in their Halloween costumes. I hope your week has been just as good. To share:

The cutest Halloween cake.

Downtime: Deliciousness at Home could be my all-time favourite cookbook title. It's not out in Australia yet but you can listen to this fun interview with author Nadine Levy Redzepi and I found six recipes from the book here. The Danish apple dessert looks great!

Cheering up my work lunches this week - toasted slices of this sundried tomato, feta and spinach loaf, along with fresh tomatoes sprinkled with salt and pepper.

Are you a Rosie Waterland fan? A friend put me onto her podcast Mum Says My Memoir is a Lie - it made the drive home go by in a flash.

6 podcasts by women to try.

Also... what is my podcast habit doing to my brain?

'She wrote that book'.

This tea pot!

Also for mornings - Japanese breakfast bowls.

And this is not an easy read but it was easily the best thing I read (and watched) this week - The Lost Children of Tuam and the amateur historian who found them. "If you don't find something, you don't leave it. You ask why it's not there. You use 'why' a lot."

See you next week x

P.S - A porridge bowl at the markets is fast becoming a Sunday ritual. This one had the best hazelnut crumble on top. The week before, there was custard :)

Avocado Toast with Pesto and Hummus

01 November 2017

I made a great green sandwich the other day, by accident, while waiting for a cake to come out of the oven. It kept me full until my friend came round for cake and tea :)

Now that it's spring, I'm eating more open sandwiches and a lot more colours too! When it warms up a bit more, I'm going to start carrying my Turkish towel (the perfect picnic rug for one) for outdoor lunch breaks and lazy weekends of reading and eating by the lake.

Avocado Toast with Pesto and Hummus
Serves 1 as a hearty snack, double the recipe or add an extra piece of bread for a decent lunch

You'll need:

The biggest piece of bread you can find (think middle of the loaf!)*
Spinach or coriander pesto
1 tbsp hummus
Half an avocado, sliced
Parmesan cheese, grated
Chilli flakes
Pinch of sea salt, pepper
Two lemon wedges

* If you're Canberra-based, I'm a big fan of Three Mills Bakery bread. They sell extra large loaves of sourdough (pre-sliced!!) at Ainslie IGA.

Here's how: 

Toast your piece of bread and slice your avocado while you wait for it to pop.

When it's ready, spread a generous layer of pesto on your toast, followed by a thick layer of your favourite hummus. Lay your avocado slices on top, then garnish with sea salt, a few turns of pepper and a sprinkling of chilli flakes.

Grate some parmesan cheese on top (I use a microplane to keep it light) and then squeeze over some lemon juice. Enjoy in the sun :)

Weekend links

27 October 2017

I am loving everything about spring - the lovely bright nights, the faint smell of flowers whenever I open our doors, the hopefulness of it all. I chilled out a lot this week, eating meals that had been stashed in the freezer and going for long walks after work. This weekend I'll get a start on my brother's 21st birthday cake, which is going to be a three-layer cake with chocolate, hazelnut and coconut! And I'll continue to be consumed by A Little Life. Some internet-y things to share:

Lots of good things arrived in time for the weekend, including a copy of Peddler journal by Hetty McKinnon, of Neighbourhood and Community food-fame. As with all delicious things, Lee Tran Lam tipped me off. If you're keen to sample the publication, she's published an interview here.

I bought a filter coffee machine (a Moccamaster!) and it feels like a big deal. I'm planning to enjoy my first brew with these sticky cinnamon buns. The recipe is yeast-free and makes quite a few, perfect for stashing in your freezer for weekend treats :)

I am a huge fan of The Strokes (I once lined up overnight to get tickets to a secret gig! My friend Garry photographed the queue) and stumbled across a release I missed last year - Future, Present, Past. This is my favourite song.

Two women that inspired my week with their common sense advice, heart and persistence - Anna Sale sharing the 11 things she learned while making a career leap and Lolly Bowean from The Chicago Tribune on how she gets things done. Both listens may seem super specific to the media but their advice is solid.

For my expectant friends - 'Ten Things I Always Tell Pregnant Women'.

And a movie we're watching this weekend (a Netflix new release!).

Catch you next week :)

Finding a morning routine

24 October 2017

I did something funny the other day - I went shopping for a clock radio, which made me feel like I was in high school again. I ended up getting this one, and after it was set up, I moved my phone charger into the lounge room. 

Now my phone doesn't come into the bedroom, which has made more time for reading at night and has helped me get up when my alarm goes off in the morning. The switch took a little getting used to - I always think of a million things before bed, like Christmas present ideas for friends or something I could do on the weekend. So I've put a small notebook by my bed to capture any end of day thoughts or things I want to look up later.

I've been curious about setting up a morning routine ever since I had a week off work, because I wanted my weekdays to feel less rushed and include some creative time too. So far there are only two things I do every day - I wake up to classical music (Tony's idea!) and make myself a hot drink in my morning mug. 

I'm not waking up any earlier but without the distraction of my phone, I have time to brew tea or coffee (I used to only have time to wolf down my breakfast), plus time to do one good thing before I have to leave for work. 

The thing changes day-to-day but lately it's included a few chapters of my book, a short yoga sequence at home, a yummy breakfast (I've been scrambling lots of eggs lately), a bit of blogging or coffee at a favourite cafe. Exercise always perks me up (and keeps worries at bay) so I'm keen to try a mountain walk and a morning class at a new yoga studio some time soon.

It might sound crazy but limiting my time on social media has helped me focus on what it is I want to be doing at any given time. Aside from deleting the Facebook app on my phone (I check in when I'm at a computer), I've turned off notifications on Messenger and Whatsapp too. It's surprisingly freeing.

P.S - Because I'm a nerd, I researched other morning routines and loved this illustrated guide. Right now, a very loose routine is working for me :)

Weekend links

20 October 2017

I'm so looking forward to a quiet weekend after a quick trip to Brisbane during the week. I'm going to bake an almond and blueberry cake from this sweet book, go for a hike and pick up some new seedlings for my balcony garden. Hope you have a few fun things planned. Here are a few things I enjoyed this week:

I deleted the Facebook app on my phone last weekend and really enjoyed this (short) podcast episode about using Instagram more mindfully.

Excellent camp food inspiration - warm breakfast bowls and chunky spaghetti sauce.

Speaking of food, Julia made me curious about taco rice bowls. I'm giving this recipe a try.


"Even the term 'violence against women' is problematic."

And daily affirmations for the week ahead.

P.S - The gardens in my apartment complex are so green at this time of year :)

How to feel at home anywhere

18 October 2017

I am packing my bag again this week for a quick trip to Brisbane. There will be just enough time to stick my head into GOMA and check out some foodie recommendations from Hannah before a day at work and my flight home.

These last few months have been full of travel and from them I've learnt to pack light and move quickly. I've finally invested in a retractable make-up brush (!) and most importantly a carry on bag with wheels that fits my laptop and saves my back (I scored this Crumpler bag on super sale!).

The one thing that makes me feel at home no matter where I am is a good cup of tea. I take this little pouch of tea bags wherever I go, usually with a mix of English Breakfast, Earl Grey and Peppermint teas. And when I stay at a hotel with individually wrapped tea bags, I take a few for the road :)

A quiet tea in a hotel room keeps me going after a 4.30am start, and has soothed a sore throat after a cold and far too much talking. Tony drinks Rooibos, so before our trip to the mountains, I bagged up some of his loose leaf tea so he could have it at the ready.

A few other things that make me feel at home on the road - texts from my sister, funny Whatsapp messages from my girlfriends, quick calls home and a good book. I'm reading A Little Life at the moment. It's brilliant but I am bracing myself for what's to come.

Recent discoveries

15 October 2017

These last few weeks have been filled with small and satisfying discoveries. This weekend, at my brother's recommendation, I listened to Stevie Wonder's classic album Songs in the Key of Life from start to finish. When I listen to music, I tend to listen to individual songs over and over again but listening to the whole album and concentrating on it was something I really enjoyed.

I've also been listening to Dirty John, a new podcast from the LA Times. It's an addictive tale of a deceptive relationship that begins to impact a whole family. It's based in Orange County and the opening minutes of the first episode almost put me off - they're violent and graphic - but it's worth listening even if it means skipping that part or listening with one ear.

My very first housemate (we shared a little cottage in Sydney's inner-west) used to work in the organic shop in our neighbourhood. We could rarely afford to buy anything but every now and then she'd bring home a block of Green & Black's dark chocolate. I stumbled across it in the supermarket the other day and I am hooked. It's much richer and more satisfying than other dark chocolate, so it gets savoured. Also - have you tried dark chocolate Maltesers? Another recent obsession :)

We had a book sale at work last week to raise money for the Indigenous Literacy Fund and I was lucky enough to pick up Brooke McAlary's new book Slow. Tony and I have been taking turns reading chapters, and of all of the books on slow living and minimalism I've sampled recently, this one really brings everything together. The best thing? It encourages slow change, which feels exciting and achievable.

And I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of Anna Jones's new cookbook, The Modern Cook's Year. Every Christmas I receive a book voucher from work and I've been saving my 2016 one for something great. We make her kale, tomato and lemon spaghetti all the time and have been shifting towards veggie-filled meals of late. The new book is due out in a few week's time.

Speaking of new cookbook releases, I've been loving the sample recipes from Helen Goh and Yottam Ottolenghi's book Sweet. I've bookmarked this apple and olive oil cake with maple frosting.

Weekend links

13 October 2017

I am so excited about the weekend. I'm getting my haircut, making a sponge cake for an afternoon tea, and going to see Bladerunner 2049 with Tony. It's great to be feeling capable and energetic again :) Now, some things to share:

Coconut berry layer cake.

I am obsessed with Esther Perel's podcast Where Do We Begin? Every episode features a couple who attend a session with the relationship therapist. It's fascinating but still dignified for everyone involved.

The best plants for your desk at work ;)

A beautiful advent calendar (we're at that point in the year!).

I watched a bunch of movies last weekend and these are my kind of rom-coms. We started with Begin, Again, which was made by the same writer/director of Once.

I have been looking for this advice - and courage - everywhere. This article made me feel like it's in me - handling offensive comments and conversations.

And two recipes from the Joy the Baker archives that I'd love to make - sit and stay awhile apple crisp and peanut butter pecan biscotti. Joy made a version on Instagram stories this week with chocolate chips. Yum.

Real Girl Kitchens: Sarah Malone

10 October 2017

I'm excited to bring you the second instalment of Real Girl Kitchens, this time featuring my friend Sarah Malone. Sarah grew up in Canberra and was one of the first people I really clicked with when I moved to the city last year. She knows all the best local things to do and eat, has great advice on surviving the seasons, and is always listening to a fun podcast.

Sarah and I work in the same office and I love finding out what she's having for dinner. Her meals always sound cosy, nourishing and delicious. Today she shares the recipe for a favourite pie, what she's craving during her first pregnancy, plus how she came to have her own pudding recipe.  I'll let her take it from here:

Weekend links + a new video

06 October 2017

This week I am grateful for hot showers, Frozen-themed boxes for sending presents to my niece (she's four this weekend!) and the weather for being so warm and lovely. It's been a funny one - I've been without a voice for most of the week and at home a lot while I waited for it to return.

While I was taking things easy, I read my book, watched episodes of Midnight Diner (my brother's recommendation!) and binge listened to a new podcast, Alone: A Love Story. I have two episodes to go and I'm saving them - for a nice long walk on the weekend - or just because I don't want the story to end. You should give it a go - I haven't been this into a podcast since S-Town came out.

I also made another video, this time featuring clips from my birthday, travels to Hobart, Blackheath and Sydney. I hope you like it!

Now a few more things to share:

Two recipes I'll be trying next week - cauliflower 'meatballs' with Marsala sauce and an easy baked pasta for a little crowd.

Did you read In The Company of Women? This is a sequel of sorts - the extraordinary lives of older women.

14 things to do with friends other than dinner.

Wes Anderson's cafe in Milan is beautiful - exhibit a and b.

I'm a big fan of Noah Baumbach films and recently watched The Squid and the Whale. It's on Netflix and had elements of Woody Allen and Wes Anderson movies too.

And for the all the aunties and uncles out there, here's what I chose for my niece's birthday - a rainbow mermaid's tail for dressing up, a giant crazy crayon with 64 colours, and a pink hat with a cloud on it (from here) for playing in the backyard. I watched her open them over FaceTime and she was so so happy!

I also think these hand knitted dolls are beautiful - they come with their own birthday, character notes and every doll helps feed 10 children in need.

Catch you next week :)

Good stuff - the food edition

05 October 2017

I've been keeping an eye out for some nice-looking reusable produce bags and found these cute ones from a new-to-me Australian brand called Sustomi.  When we shop together, Tony often laughs at the impractical lengths I'll go to in order to avoid bagging my fruit and veg (picture apples almost rolling away at the register). I've ordered the 3-pack polka dot mesh set to avoid future embarrassment.

I am slowly working my way through the archives of Heidi's food blog Apples Under My Bed. So far I've made the stovetop granola (so clever and perfect for the warmer months), and I've been snacking on peanut butter filled medjool dates, inspired by her Instagram account. Lately I've been gravitating towards really personal writing and cooking, and more whole foods too. Heidi's blog delivers all three with heart.

Soon I'm planning to try Pinch of Yum's 30-minute marsala paste recipe, which I've seen a few times on Heidi's Instagram stories. It could be me but I love watching other people making their weekday dinners in real time :)

I was very curious about the Simple Fare cookbook after sampling the dark chocolate olive oil cake recipe several weeks ago. A found a copy at Kinokuniya Sydney (they have a cookbook sale on at the moment!), and it's easily one of the most beautiful cookbooks I own. It's quite a tall book, with glossy magazine-like pages and beautiful design.

Despite this, the recipes are achievable and everyday - with a tiny bit of decadence. The banana bread has hidden chunks of dark chocolate, a crunchy cinnamon sugar top and is served with creme fraiche and a pinch of salt! I made it for a recent hike and have tried the slow cooked coconut oats with honeycomb too. If you live in a different hemisphere, the Fall/Winter edition came out last week.

I've been making lots of pesto lately using greens other than basil while we wait for summer to arrive. We keep a jar in the fridge to cheer up sandwiches and mix into scrambled eggs or green beans. This coriander and pepita pesto is a recent favourite, I'm not sure how it can be so delicious and cheese-less at the same time. Joy the Baker also has a great spinach version in her latest cookbook, there's a similar version here, and another from the Love and Lemons blog.

Lastly, I've been at home sick this last week, so there's been a lot of time to read and rest. I downloaded a stack of new magazines from the library (all free!). I sampled Slow Living and read the latest issue of Bon Appetit in one sitting. It's such a fun food magazine that's full of inspiration, good humour and very practical tips. I'd love to make the cover menu - classic spaghetti and meatballs served with a big salad and cheesy garlic bread.

I also started listening to their podcast, Bon Appetit Foodcast, starting with this episode about Chinese food in America. Late last year Adam Rapoport, the magazine's editor-in-chief, spoke about food media and politics in this episode of Radio Cherry Bombe. I really admired what he had to say, and love that the magazine is so culturally diverse in the people and food that it features.

P.S - I'm also tempted to order a copy of Peddlar Journal, a new indie food magazine by Hetty McKinnon of Arthur Street Kitchen. 

Real Girl Wardrobes: Anne Barnetson

03 October 2017

It's been awhile since I posted a Real Girl Wardrobes interview so I am extra thrilled to introduce you to Anne Barneston, an illustrator, keen reader and a very snappy dresser. Anne works in a Fremantle bookstore with my friend Kristy, which is how I came to follow her on Instagram.

I admired her bold and colourful outfits from afar and took to reading books she'd draw too (I'm halfway through this one - it's fantastic!). In winter, I plucked up the courage to email and see if she'd share her approach to getting dressed. Today Anne shares some of her favourite Perth stores, two style lessons she learnt from her mum, and a good whisky for beginners. Let's get started:

Weekend links

29 September 2017

Hello, did you have a good week? We spent part of it in the Blue Mountains, relaxing at Tony's parent's holiday home. I'd planned a hike with a friend and a big cook up but ended up coming down with a cold on the first day of my week off. Still, it was the perfect place to chill out, catch up on some reading and venture up the road to visit a much-loved bookshop.

At the village shops I picked up Joy The Baker's latest cookbook (it has a recipe for sausage and egg breakfast muffins!), along with some supplies for a simple salmon dinner. One nice surprise - our favourite cafe opened a sister store, five minutes down the mountain. We visited twice for gruyere and greens sambos and immunity boosting tea.

On Wednesday, we drove to Sydney for the opening of Tony's exhibition at Galerie Pom Pom. When we met, Tony was still in art school and would go to openings at the gallery whenever they were on. A year or so later, we lived in in an apartment across the road from the gallery, so some nights, we'd peer out the window and see a group gathering and head down.

That made the exhibition extra special, as did so many of our friends, family, colleagues, and Sydney friends from back-in-the-day coming along to show their support.

It's really nice to be back home with a few more days off. I've lost my voice but my energy is slowly returning, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a walk in the sun and some french toast before the weekend is out.  And now - some suggestions for the long weekend:

I loved Laura Jackson's beachy wedding dress (she also served lemonade and crab claws after the ceremony for snacks!).

"When you're out on a morning hike and pause at a beautiful overlook to pull out your thermos of hot chocolate, it's nice to have a bag of breakfast cookies. When you're flying by the seat of your pants out the front door with your hairbrush still in your hand, it's most definitely nice to have a container of breakfast cookies (even if they are lost at the bottom of your bag for a bit)." - Four breakfast cookies and when to eat them

Homemade blueberry ripple ice cream, for cheats :)

I watched I Am Not Your Negro earlier this week and highly recommend it. The doco is based on the published and unpublished work of James Baldwin. It's chillingly relevant and yet inspiring too.

Pitch-perfect - "I'm racist on the inside."

Two fun movies to watch if you're at home sick - Bridget Jones's Baby and Iris (which is on Netflix).

Plus... 10 things you might not know about me.

See you soon!