Weekend links

28 July 2017

Hello! I am happy to be home after a busy week travelling for work. In my down time I watched the sunset in Darwin, ate dumplings in Adelaide and finished two books while flying :) I'm making a little video of my trip, which I'll share later. In the meantime, a few favourite things:

The beach cure (loved this).

Aussie podcasts for creative types. I'm listening to Starving Artist.

My favourite Arnott's cookie is now an ice cream sandwich.

Perfect for the season - a garlic and cheese toastie.

10 ways to survive airplane travel (especially relevant this week!).

A dream birthday cake (with spots!).

A fruity cake to bake.

And I'm keen to watch Remembering the Man, which screens on the ABC this Sunday.

Have a lovely weekend!

Birthday wish list

23 July 2017

I'm turning 33 in less than a month! On the day, I'm planning to climb a mountain and pack a donut and coffee picnic :) It falls on a Sunday so I might even make my own cake, inspired by this London bakery. Here are a few things I'd love to receive, starting with the latest issue of Cherry Bombe magazine, with Martha Stewart on the cover.

A silk pillowcase, because I always wake up with creases on my face!

This cookbook of Japanese cult classics, so I can make yakisoba and katsu-don at home. I've borrowed a copy from the library a few times and the recipes are straightforward and achievable. One cookbook is never enough... I also have my eye on Salt, Fat, Acid Heat. There's so much buzz about it!

My brother makes the best playlists - I am still listening to the ones he made for my wedding a few years ago! I asked him for an updated one as a birthday present. I'm listening to his show while I wait.

And I'm keen to give a Kindle a go, one with an inbuilt light for early morning reading. I recently packed two books for a four-day work trip, including one hardcover!

Weekend links

20 July 2017

Just a handful of things to share this week because I'm about to head off on a trip! I'll be travelling to Sydney, Adelaide and Darwin for work and my head is still spinning from all of the prep. Right now, I'm getting excited about trading my puffer jacket for a singlet and maybe even going for a swim. Mostly edibles this week:

Lazy butter chicken.

Ira Glass is now a sandwich. If you're a fan, I thought this interview was great.

Do you ever trade recipes at work? I hear Nigella's pea and pesto soup is quick and delicious.

And my friend Kristy added me to the Chat 10 Looks 3 Facebook group this week. I was a bit intimidated at first but it's filled with people sharing recipes, cooking fails and articles. Let me know if you need an add.

P.S - I hope you're well! X

Dark chocolate and caramel brownies

19 July 2017

In July, I made a lot of brownies. Maybe it's because the days were much darker, and colder, than usual. There were also celebrations big (new babies!) and small (winter solstice), and a few intensely busy weeks too. Baking a batch of brownies became my default response.

These brownies can be made in one-bowl and come together really quickly. They're fudgy and rich, and are best eaten with one hand. That makes them especially good for new parents, road trips and unfussy dinners with friends. They also freeze well, so you can have them on hand for especially cold or ordinary days :)

Dark chocolate and caramel brownies
Adapted from Round to Ours by Jackson & Levine

You'll need:

100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped*
125g unsalted butter, cubed
200g caster sugar
50g light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp sea salt
80g plain flour
20g Dutch-process cocoa
12 pieces of caramel-centred chocolate (Nestle's Rolo requires no chopping, I've also used Cadbury's Caramello bars, and quarter teaspoons of Nutella in a pinch!)

* It's worth buying the nicest cooking chocolate you can afford. I use Lindt's dark bittersweet buttons, which are 58% cocoa. Lindt Dessert is 70% cocoa and can be found at most supermarkets. Other cooking chocolate will give you a slightly sweeter and less chocolatey brownie.

Here's how:

Preheat the oven to 180°C and lightly grease a 28 x 20cm brownie tin. You can also use a square 20 x 20cm cake tin and make thicker brownies. Line the tin with baking paper and let it hang over two of the sides to create a sling. It'll help you lift your brownie out of the pan later.

Fill a small saucepan with a few centimetres of water and warm it slowly, on medium heat. Place your chocolate and butter in a bowl and rest it on the saucepan's rim. Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water. As the water starts to steam and simmer, the butter and chocolate will gradually melt. Mix them together with a wooden spoon.

As soon as it's melted, take the chocolate mixture off the heat and mix in the sugars with a whisk. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking after each addition. Then add the vanilla extract and half of the salt and whisk again.

Sift in the flour and cocoa and whisk slowly until just combined. Pour your batter into your tin and smooth the top with a spoon. Before you pop it in the oven, add your chosen chocolate. Gently push it into the brownie batter at regular intervals. Sprinkle the remaining salt over the brownie, crushing it up between your fingers as you go.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or up to 30 minutes if you're using a square pan. The top of the brownie will be a pale brown and starting to crack when it's ready. You can also use a skewer to test for doneness. The brownie will continue to set as it cools, so don't worry if the skewer comes out a little sticky.

Let your brownie cool before slicing them. This recipe is a good one to make the day before, you can leave the brownies in the tin overnight and cover with a beeswax wrap or clingwrap. Aside from freezing well, these brownies can also survive the post! An entire batch of brownies makes a very good gift, and if you add candles it's a birthday cake :)

Weekend links

14 July 2017

What's on for you this weekend? We have tickets to see The Beguiled (we're watching it in the afternoon because of the gory bits) and I might make my favourite chicken curry. It takes a bit of time, so it only gets made once a year :) For the weekend:

Make your own mushroom burger.

The nicest Instagram feed.

Really enjoying through this book about minimalism (and powering through it!). You can sample it here.

Wise words from Miranda July.

A fascinating (and slightly terrifying) read about life on the road, with social media. #vanlife

And if you're a fan of Broad City, Abbi Jacobson has a new podcast called A Piece of Work. It's all about contemporary art - she visits MoMA each week with a friend and chats to gallery staff about an artist or a period of work.

Cute mail project

11 July 2017

The other night I sat down to write out a recipe for Naomi Bulger's Meals in the Mail project. I found out about it through Pip and love the idea - you share a recipe that's special to you and post it to Naomi's PO box - no email submissions allowed. She's going to collate them into a coloured book and send a copy to everyone who submits a recipe. How nice is that?

I wrote out a dark chocolate brownie recipe that I've been tinkering with, trying to make it extra fudgy and rich. I'll share it with you next week, it comes together really quickly and brightens ordinary days.

If you want to be part of Meals in the Mail, you still can! Your recipe has to be postmarked by this Saturday, July 15. I almost chickened out because I can't draw and lots of the submissions are beautifully illustrated. But I'm really glad I did it. There was something lovely about sitting down to write a note on a Monday night.

P.S Here's what also went in the post today... a Bill Murray pin! It's on its way to my sister-in-law. I hope it makes her laugh :)

Staying warm and happy

09 July 2017

Since it's the middle of winter, I've been making a special effort to plan ahead, so I don't go stir crazy while the days are icy and grey. The first step is dressing for the cold. On weekends I live in thin merino jumpers from Uniqlo, a black down jacket, and my pom pom beanie (similar), which is equal parts warm and silly.

Then I go outside. On weekends, I've been going on long walks while the sun is out. I walked up Mount Taylor on Saturday and listened to this fascinating podcast about the gut with writer and medical student Giulia Endres. It was recorded at the All About Women Festival and you can also watch the presentation and see all of the funny illustrations.

After that it was time for a big bowl of food. We went out for ramen and miso sweet potato poke bowls at Lazy Su. For weeknight dinners, I am loving Joy the Baker's bowl of food series - the baked eggplant and creamy polenta bowl is next on my list.

And finally, a few things to look forward to... Sofia Coppola's remake of The Beguiled comes out on Thursday (check out the trailer for the original!). And on my to-bake list are these chocolate fondants with sea salt.

(Chocolate fondant photo by Khoollect.)

Weekend links

07 July 2017

How was your week? Mine was peppered with lots of good things, squeezed in around work. We tried out the new ramen bar near my office, sampled the sunniest lemon tart, and I treated myself to breakfast out to catch up on some reading. I'm hoping to go on a hike this weekend and have a poke bowl while Tony's busy in the studio. Things to share:

Pizza toast. Cute and easy.

My dream pyjama-style shirt.

I love today.

funny wedding card.

Tempted to give parkrun a go, have you tried it?

A decadent winter dessert.

And I'm saving the latest episode of How to Be a Girl for a big weekend walk.

Girl power

04 July 2017

How great is this poster? It's free to download from The House That Lars Built and it's by illustrator Libby VanderPloeg. I'm going to print a copy and save it for the little studio space that I'm slowly pulling together at home.

The poster was inspired by In the Company of Women, a thick book of thoughtful interviews by Design*Sponge founder Grace Bonney. I treated myself to a copy when it came out last year and have scribbled down so many great quotes.

Over the weekend, I started listening to Violet Sessions, a podcast that comes out of Violet Bakery in East London. It's hosted by Claire Ptak, who owns Violet Bakery, and journalist Danielle Radojcin.

I especially enjoyed their conversation with Penny Martin, editor of The Gentlewoman magazine and this funny chat with broadcaster and supper club host Alice Levine.  (Side note: check out Alice's pretty apartment!)

And finally, here's something I stumbled across in a comments feed on Instagram from Nirrimi, whose blog I admire. She was responding to a comment about her friendship with another talented photographer Georgia, - "I have a saying, don't be jealous be inspired."

Hope you're having a good week!