Hello weekend

16 November 2018


Happy weekend to you! Tony wrapped up teaching for the year today, so we'll be celebrating with homemade burritos and beers (I'm really into sour beers atm!). Hope you have some fun things planned. We have a kid's birthday party, and a visit to a whiskey bar with some friends. My picks for this week:

Really loved this episode of the BBC's Women's Hour - Is motherhood for you? A life coach weighs in.

Do you have Ottolenghi's latest cookbook Simple? Here are 16 recipes to try - I'm interested in the honey and yoghurt cheesecake, the lamb and pistachio patties, and the harissa and olive pappardelle!).

Also on my to-make list, this salmon and brown rice bowl from Julia of Ostro fame.

One of my favourite podcasts is back with a new season, This is Love is always surprising.

And I've been thinking about this banana and coffee cake that my friend Sarah made for a poolside picnic last weekend. That's it there in the photo above. It was so good, I went home and looked up the recipe :)

Catch you soon!

X

A just-for-fun Christmas list

14 November 2018


I love gift giving, especially at Christmas. But for the first time in a very long time, I haven't gone overboard shopping for it, and don't plan too. My family will be in Canberra for Christmas this year - including my brother and his wife all the way from London. Because we haven't all spent the holiday together for years (at least three!), we're just excited to be in the same city and country.

But just for fun, here's my annual wish list of things big and small that'd be fun to open on Christmas Day. Starting with these snacking containers for summer picnics, or a stainless steel bento with built in dividers!


A pair of high-rise yoga leggings from Girlfriend Collective, which come in the best colours. A couple of girls at my yoga studio have them and really rate them. A tie-up shirt would be lovely for practice (and weekends) too.

What is a Christmas list without a cookbook? I have my eye on Alison Roman's Dining In. She's formerly of Bon Appetit magazine, and now writes for the NY Times. I'm also all about eating in! Annabel Crabb's latest looks good too. I love this description, "Hosting your friends is not about showing off; it is about delighting others."



Abbi Jacobson's book looks like the perfect summer read, Lily Allen's too. I would also like a copy of Ta-Nehisi Coate's book of essays that cover the Obama presidency. I borrowed a copy from the library earlier this year, and while it wasn't an easy read, I learnt a lot from it.

And something fancy - vineyard glamping, complete with a basket of pastries for breakfast the next morning. Just not while the snakes are out!

P.S - one of the best Christmas gifts I ever received was a box of mangoes from my uncle Mark. There must've been 20 mangoes in there, just for Tony and I, and they were right at their peak.

Hello weekend

09 November 2018


I am settling in for a long weekend... one that I made myself :) It'll be a little holiday at home. I'm hoping to make it to a Sunday night yin class (my new obsessions), try this mushroom carbonara (it has no pasta but still looks great!), and have plans to go swimming with friends. For your weekend: 

My new girl crush is Alison Roman. And I haven't even made her famous cookies yet!

"I'm 34 and at a point where instead of thinking of what I have done I often, unfortunately, think about the things I haven't done yet." Curious to read Abbi Jacobson's new book.

This mini episode of Hurry Slowly was the best way to start my Thursday. I'm actually planning to re-listen to it soon. It's all about being kinder to yourself, and not always having a plan.

Plus, an easy frittata with peas, eggs and cheese. I've made this for dinner and for work lunches, which means I just need to try it out for breakfast. Might do it tomorrow morning :) 

Have the best weekend!

X

Emergency snack - tuna crackers with pickles and cheese

05 November 2018



I get hungry very quickly. During the week, I'm limited to the fruit and nuts I take to work but on weekends and just before dinner, I love being able to fix a snack with more ingredients at my disposal.

On high rotation at the moment, greek yoghurt with mangoes and golden syrup (hooray for mango season!), and a tuna cracker with cottage cheese, pickled onions and pepper, which always tides me over til the next meal. On toast, it makes a decent lunch or late night dinner. And the pickled onions make it seem fancy enough to serve as a starter to guests.


Tuna cracker with pickles and cheese

You'll need:

Crackers, any kind will do or a thick slice of bread.
Cottage cheese or ricotta
Tuna in olive oil, drained
Pickled red onion, I use this recipe
Pepper

Here's how:

Spread cottage cheese over your cracker or slice of toast and then crumble some tuna on top. Top with pickled onions and freshly cracked pepper and enjoy.




Hello weekend

02 November 2018


Hello! I am freshly back from Sydney where I was lucky enough to see friends for dinner, sample a rooftop yoga studio, eat an amazing matcha ice cream sandwich... and go to work! On my final day in the office, there was a surprise Q&A with Rukmini Callimachi from the Caliphate podcast. I loved hearing about the making of the podcast, and of course, her voice IRL.

As always, after a few nights away, I'm stoked to be home in time for the weekend. I'll be going to the markets, cooking something from scratch and reading. To share for your weekend:

This Canberra Instagrammer, who is responsible for my current obsession with this wilderness hotel.

The Layers style podcast is back!

Keen to try these mini chocolate pavlovas.

Trail mix cookies with some sweet thoughts on making your own magic.

Do you read birth stories? I'll always have a read if it's written by a woman I follow online. It's such a privilege to read their accounts and experiences. This week I read this story from Heidi, about the birth of her son Walt. I admire her intuition and trust in her own body.

We had our first properly hot day in Canberra on Thursday. So it could be time to have a go at homemade ice magic!

And because we've finished watching Salt Fat Acid Heat and I miss it, I've been eagerly consuming lots of Samin Nosrat content! This beauty interview was especially nice, and I love the photo from the trolley scene at the very end. I'm also listening to Lee Tran Lam's interview with her, which is pretty delightful.

Chat soon!

X

A new favourite podcast

29 October 2018


What kinds of podcasts are you enjoying at the moment? Lately I've been really into interview shows, especially the kinds that perk me up, no matter what time of day I'm listening. For the last two weeks, my go-to podcast has been Unstyled by Refinery 29.

It's hosted by Christine Barberich, who is a wonderful, clever and empathetic interviewer. She chats to a super diverse range of women about their working lives, covering everything from career trajectories to daily routines. I first tuned in after hearing about an interview with Hanya Yanagihara, author of A Little Life. Since then I've been cherry picking episodes, including this one with Jenna Lyons of J. Crew fame, an interview with Laura Brown, the Australian editor of US In Style magazine, and a chat with Busy Phillips ahead of the launch of her late night talk show.

I only recognise a handful of guests but have since learnt that that doesn't matter. The conversations are heartfelt and wide ranging, and magically I always feel more positive about my day after listening.

Unstyled isn't a new podcast (it's been going since late 2016) but it's new to me, which means there's a decent back catalogue of episodes to work through. Here's hoping I don't burn through them too quickly :)

P.S Another interview show I've been loving (along with Tony) is Without Fail. While I don't have any hard and fast career goals, I'm fascinated by how people build their careers and all of the little choices (and set backs) that happen along the way.

Hello weekend

26 October 2018


I'm spending a good chunk of my week in Sydney from Tuesday, which means... no meal prep is required this weekend! Instead, we might go see Beautiful Boy or A Star is Born at the movies. We also have my parents and brother visiting from Sydney, and we're going out to eat cake. Here are some things to share:

The salad dressing from this Cup of Jo post is truly great.

Also via Jo, I thoroughly enjoyed Chrissy Teigen's most recent Vogue interview. "I think it’s funny when people are like, 'I love how you just don’t give a fuck.' I’m like, 'Oh my God. I give so many fucks.' I want to be liked."

I stumbled across the Ask Mimi series on The Sporkful earlier this week, just when I needed a good laugh. It features 92-year-old (!!!) Mimi Shearton, who was the first female food critic for The New York Times. She answers audience questions about food and life with brutal honesty. There are two more episodes to come.

Mini confession - I go to bed really early, and the exact time I start getting ready for bed is said to be ideal. (For context, my alarm goes off at 5.40am).

Are you watching Salt Fat Acid Heat on Netflix? We only have one episode to go! Love this idea that the series is the antidote to viral cooking videos.

And this week's ABC Life recipe is a fave - cheesy mushroom quesadillas that make dinner extra fun. I tested the recipe right after watching the Mexican episode of Salt Fat Acid Heat, which meant I attempted all of the homemade salsas. They add about half an hour to the dish, and make it a bit more finicky, but taste-wise, it was totally worth it.

Thanks always for reading :)

A mini office pantry

21 October 2018



During the week I eat the bulk of my meals at work, usually breakfast and lunch with a million snacks in between. Years ago, when I worked shifts in a digital newsroom, I found this fact super depressing. But these days, I don't mind it.

Because I head straight to the office from yoga four days a week, I shower and eat my breakfast there before getting into the day. I look forward to flicking through blogs in the morning while I eat my breakfast, it's a tiny pocket of me time before things really kick off.

But lately I've found myself cramming all sorts of condiments, spreads and snacks into tiny containers at night ready for the next day. Or taking a jar of peanut butter to work and then lugging it back home on the bus. It made me realise that if I had a few nicer-than-average staples at work, packing lunch would be a bit easier, and my work days more delicious too.

Just in case working makes you hungry too, here's what's currently in my office pantry (which is actually just a plastic tray that sits on a bookshelf):


Fancy peanut butter - for morning toast, and emergency snacks spread on crackers on bananas.

Nice tea - I drink English Breakfast mid morning and then switch to tumeric for the afternoon.

Honey - to drizzle on top of porridge or add to tea if I have a scratchy throat.

A salt & pepper grinder - to replace the ziplock bag of sea salt and pepper that I've had in a drawer!

Chilli flakes - for avocado toast, and to spice up leftovers when I have them.

Muesli - for backup breakfasts or an afternoon snack with yoghurt or milk.

A jar of cookies - every now and then, for morale :)


And two other things... I bought myself a bowl and brought a nice plate from home that I keep with my food stuff because crockery (along with cutlery) in general is almost impossible to find in an office kitchen. Plus, food is more delicious when it's not straight out of a container :)

P.S - We're having lentils with roasted tomatoes and horseradish for lunches this week, Swedish apple cake from Lunch Lady magazine for snacks, along with fruit and yoghurt.

Hello weekend

19 October 2018


We're in for a rainy weekend, which is perfect because I'm going to attempt my very first Christmas cake. I've been meaning to make one for years but always seem to think of it too late. The only other thing we have planned is a mini road trip to meet some friends for brunch, which should be lovely. Only a few things to share after yesterday's epic post:

Bookmarked so many mushroom recipes this week, including this creamy pasta with miso and a classic cream of mushroom soup.

Loved taking a peek inside this calm and bright apartment.

Made this lemony curry again from Anna Jones and loved it - it's ten times easier if you buy the paneer.

There was something about this interview with Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso that struck a chord. I haven't watched or read #GirlBoss but she's really candid when talking about her company's failure, and how it impacted her outlook on life and values.

And I'm part way through listening to this chat with Hanya Yanagihara, author of A Little Life, as recommended by The High Low. Also cued up, this interview with Keira Knightley.

Thank you for reading, catch you next week!

X

Life lately

18 October 2018


Hello! How are you finding spring? Aside from daylight savings (still adjusting!), these last few weeks have been my favourite of the year so far. We had a quick trip to the mountains, lots of friends and family come to visit, and all of my favourite shows have returned to Netflix. Here are a few notes...

Eating & cooking:
So many new eateries have popped up in Canberra, and we've been making the rounds. My favourite is Taco Taco, a night-time spin off of one of our favourite cafes in town. They serve tacos and burgers but my pick is the bowl with braised meat, pickles, salsa and chips. Next weekend I'm going to try and recreate it at home, with this slow-cooked brisket.

For breakfast and brunch, I've been digging Kyo Coffee Project in Braddon that serves Asian-inspired food and really good coffee. One day we went for filter coffee, and the barista ground it by hand :) I am fascinated by cafes with tiny kitchens that can punch out seriously delicious meals!


And for a recent surprise date, Tony took me to a Canberra establishment, My Rainbow Dreams. It's a vegetarian cafe that we've been meaning to try for months. I ordered the baked beans because I've been wanting to try this recipe for a long time but haven't been able to find the time (it takes 12 hours!).

Despite all of the above, we've been eating the bulk of our meals at home and packing breakfasts and lunches for work. The desserts have been the highlights, an apricot jam tart made late one night to share with a friend, and these insane salted caramel brownies that I tested for work. They are so good that I feel like I could sell them! It was also my first time making caramel - I stuffed it up the first time (took it off the heat too early cos I was nervous) but tried and again and now feel like this will be my brownie recipe for life.


Drinking:
Lots of delicious filter coffee. I bought Tony a Mecca coffee subscription for our wedding anniversary (figured it kind of fit the fruit and flower theme) and it's been super fun! It's been about a year since I bought our coffee machine (we have a Moccamaster) - it seemed like a big purchase at the time but we've both been really enjoying it. We're not home for coffee much so it feels like a luxury to make a pot on weekends.

Feeling:
Like things are under control for the first time in a long time, which is such a relief! I have a bit of a routine at the moment - we go to morning yoga classes about five days a week which is such a nice way to start the day and physically wake up. Tony and I have been buying 6 month subscriptions to our yoga studio which means you can go to unlimited classes. Three classes in a row used to be my max (and I'd be so sore!) so it's been satisfying to build up strength and make it an almost daily practise.


Thanks to these pro tips, I've worked out that Sunday afternoons and Monday evenings are my food prep days, which has given me more headspace and time after work. Speaking of work, I'm still using the To Doist app to keep me focused (along with an online calendar)... and leaving on time. There were a couple of months there where I'd stay an extra 30-40 minutes just to get one extra thing done. It wasn't enough time to finish a task, and I noticed that it kept work on the brain in the evenings, which made switching off hard.

I've also been super protective of my sleep (which I've read is extra important in your thirties!), and we try and get 7-8 hours a night, especially if we're getting up early for yoga. And I've started taking vitamins, mainly echinacea and olive leaf extract for immunity. I think it's been working because I've felt more resilient these last few weeks and I only caught one cold over winter. Last year I was sick at least four times, and once really badly.


Savouring: 
Time away, even if it's just an overnight trip. We drove the back way from Canberra to the Blue Mountains the other weekend, through Taralga and Oberon. It was scenic and beautiful - and looked almost English in some parts.

We went to Tony's cousin's wedding, in Wentworth Falls, which was such a beautiful spot. I'm much more sentimental about weddings, since we had one, and I especially loved learning more about the bride and her family. It was an intimate wedding, and a really nice way to catch up with Tony's family.

Before we drove home, we stopped in Blackheath to visit one of my favourite book shops. And for the road there was coffee from Anonymous, and fancy sambos and a homemade wagon wheel from the deli next door.


We also went over to my sister's house at the start of the month for my niece's fifth birthday cake! I love kid's birthday cakes (this one was chocolate cake covered in freckles and Smarties), and my niece seems to enjoy her birthday more and more every year. It's a delight to observe.

Watching:
All of my favourite shows are back on Netflix! We're making our way through the lastest season of Chef's Table. I feel like the show has always been about finding your voice but this season feels far more political than previous ones. It's no longer about finding your creative voice, or vision as a chef, but understanding your place in the world and wanting to make the world better.

We've also started watching the fourth part of Terrace House: Opening New Doors. It can really perk me up, even when I feel exhausted. I'm keen to try Samin Norsat's Salt Fat Acid Heat on Netflix (so exciting to see cookbooks turn into shows!), and Sorry For Your Loss.



Reading:
Three different books at the moment. I just picked up Sally Rooney's Conversations with Friends form the library (been on the wait list for at least six months!), this book about finding joy in everyday life, and just before bed an interview from this book of Parisian women. I also finished and loved The Incendiaries and The Terrible last month, which are both by women of colour.

Listening:
To a handful of podcasts every week - Dispatch to a Friend, Without Fail, The High Low, and mini episodes of How I Work. This episode of Soul Music, about Sam Cooke's song A Change is Gonna Come gave me goosebumps... and somehow sent me down a rabbit hole of watching YouTube vids of Obama's inauguration party.

Planning: 
To make mac and cheese for dinner tonight! It's perfect weather, it's cool and grey, almost like the seasons are going backwards. We've also been slowly replacing things in our house that were handed down to us that've seen better days. We had an iron and ironing board from Tony's grandparents (!) that we just upgraded and are thinking about buying our very first couch. We've had one from my parents, and one set from Tony's. It feels really nice to be able to buy these things for ourselves, and have a stronger sense of what we'd like (a chaise part of the lounge for afternoon reading please!).

We're also starting to think about Christmas and summer plans. I'm not sure whether we'll be in Canberra again or go to see family in Blackheath and Sydney. But I have started thinking about presents, just a little, which is always fun.

Hope you are well!
X

Monthly recap posts inspired by Melbourne ladies Heidi and Pip.

Hello weekend

12 October 2018


Remember my weekend bucket lists? This time round I'd love to visit my favourite doughnut shop in town, test out a dream couch at Ikea, bake some cinnamon scrolls for two new parents, and maybe make some almond butter cups for home :) What about you? I hope you have a fun and relaxing weekend ahead - I have so much sleep to catch up on from daylight savings! To share:

When you think you're reading an interiors story but it turns into something life affirming.

Missing out on purpose (MOOP!) via Sophie.

This episode of Nancy, The Perfect Son, had me sucking in my breath so many times. Highly recommend.

"My goal is to yell at someone the next time I'm hurt." Yep.

Super helpful - four ways to wrap up your day at work. My fave? Don't forget to say thanks!

Two of the most important stories I've read in a very long time, on being suicidal and helping someone through it from Honor Eastly and Graham Panther.

And for fellow fans of one-pot pastas - an asparagus, lemon and tuna number that is done and dusted in 15 minutes flat.

See you next week!

X

Dinner plans

07 October 2018


What's on the menu at your place this week? We've just come back from a weekend away, so we're keeping it simple. I'm making taco bowls for dinner tonight, we'll see a friend for pizza and gelato on Tuesday (yay!), grab some bolognese from the freezer midweek which will see us through to Friday when it's Tony's turn to cook.

For lunches, I'm four weeks into roasting veggies for a work lunches on a Sunday. We used to take turns making sandwiches on weeknights but I find veggie bowls heaps easier to pack and less fussy too. Plus, Sunday afternoon is a nice time to potter around and listen to podcasts while making some food.

This week we'll have honeyed carrots, miso eggplant, and spiced zucchini with quinoa with some spinach leaves and maybe a boiled egg :) There will also be bircher muesli for the mornings we're going straight to work from yoga.


I've also been a super dag and made a weekly shopping list template in my phone that I copy and paste into my notes every week. It's got the basics, so I just need to add any special ingredients we need for the week ahead.

Last but not least - pasta. Here are two pastas I'd love to eat soon - this super satisfying creamy tortellini and a mac and cheese that my friend May rates from Molly Yeh. I also thought I'd share the recipe for a massive bolognese I made recently. My brother sent me Giorgio Locatelli's cookbook Made in Italy for my birthday, specifically so I could try the bolognese recipe. I made it last weekend and it's really good and makes bolognese for days (or 16!).

Have a good week, whatever your plans!

Hello weekend

05 October 2018


We're going away this weekend and are heading to the Blue Mountains for Tony's cousin's wedding. I'm excited to get away and am secretly hoping to do our weekly shop at this cute farm store. I hope you've had a great short week, some good and slightly confronting things to share:

Did you see the profile of Leigh Sales in Good Weekend? I found it super surprising and hear her interview on Conversations is excellent too.

I learnt so much from editing this story - the benefits of quitting social media.

This week I've been deeply disturbed by the Brett Kavanaugh story in the US and hungry for more information. The video of Jeff Flake being confronted by two sexual assault survivors in a lift is so powerful and upsetting. I was grateful to hear the testimony of Dr Blasey Ford on The Daily, and the follow-up episode The Anguish of Jeff Flake features an interview with one of the women who confronted the senator. Highly recommend, even if both are tough listens.

I also really liked this from Laura - How to talk to the women in your life right now.

I sampled Alex Blumberg's new podcast Without Fail (thank you to Chiara who suggested it in the comments) and think I'll keep listening. It's an interview show that features successful people - in business, sport, and the arts - talking about their big wins and their failures too. Love that the season will include artists as well as company founders.

On a totally different note, pad thai fans (aka me) this noodle salad is heavily inspired by it but far less heavy and greasy. It's vego with vegan options too and I'll definitely be making it again. It's satisfying and light.

And the perfect diary for 2019 - if only I could settle on a colour! Wes Anderson mauve or sunny yellow?

Keep well and catch you next week.

X

Easy spring picnics

03 October 2018


On Sunday afternoon, we grabbed some brie, kombucha and hummus from the grocer near our apartment and headed outside for a late snacky lunch. We went to our favourite spot, a shady area by the lake that played host to Christmas last year, and it was one of those moments that was just really nice. It reminded me that picnics can be just as fun without a homemade pasta salad or a specially made batch of brownies.

The very next day, we woke up early and drove to a national park because we'd been invited to do a yoga class by a waterfall and who says no to that? The class ended up being on top of the waterfall, rather than below it as I was expecting, which was nothing short of terrifying. But we survived and were rewarded with breakfast :)



The hosts served yoghurt, fruit salad, nuts, muesli, muffins and tea and I was grateful to be tucking into my first mango of the season. We chatted and ate on top of a rock that overlooked some mountains, with cool breezes and the sound of the waterfall trickling below us. It was pinch-me great.

And because I have a weakness for chocolate coated fruit and nuts, I was stoked to try the chocolate that was part of the breakfast spread.  Choc chai almonds are my new obsession, from the serve-yourself-nut section of Coles. I am so looking forward to more spur of the moment picnics this season.

Hello long weekend

28 September 2018


I am so excited for the long weekend. We have two things planned, a surprise date (for Tony) and a trip to Gibraltar Falls. Everything else is up in the air. I might test recipes, check out the Japanese Film Festival, or just keep listening to Slow Burn season 2, because it's so good. Also, there's a new season of Chef's Table! Going to try and not watch it all at once. For your long weekend:

Christina Tosi's mum is the cutest.

On being open about your mental health at work.

Such a dreamy light-filled kitchen! I want the t-shirt too :)

I made this jam tart and it was so simple and satisfying. If you're keen to try it, I used a jar of jam for the filling, baked the pastry shell for around 18-20 minutes, and the tart with the jam for around 15 minutes.

Excited about listening to No Feeling Is Final, a brave new podcast about what it's like when the thoughts inside your head are often too much.

And just in time for the long weekend (and the footy finals, if you're into that!), this week's ABC Life recipe is a chargrilled cheeseburger from Raph Rashid. It reminds me of a Shake Shack style burger, minus the peanut butter shake.

Have a relaxing break!

A list for the weekend

27 September 2018


A couple of weeks ago we cancelled our weekend plans because Tony was sick and I had a weepy eye (real life right here!). So, with nothing on, I started jotting down some fun things I'd like to do instead, no errands allowed.

There were 12 things on there that first weekend, and to my surprise I got to all but one. I'm two weekends into writing a short list of fun things and I'm loving it. The activities can be small - like visiting a new bakery to pick up some bread (and a lemon tart with cloud-like meringue), watching a movie on Netflix that you've had on your list for ages, or having a BBQ dinner. For me, the act of writing it down reminds me that it's something I'd really like to do.

I've often admired bloggers like Joy who make a bucket list for an entire season but I find them a little daunting. So for now, I'm running with a week by week one  :)

P.S Almost the long weekend!

Hello weekend

21 September 2018


Just six things to share because the week's been full of surprises. On Wednesday afternoon I found myself in Sydney, watching the sunset over the city from up high. There was a matcha and white choc chip cookie scoffed at the airport on my way home, and then a reunion with my friend Larissa who was visiting from Launceston. We used to share an office, and some very long car trips, when we both worked in Wagga Wagga and it was so nice to see her. I hope you have a lovely weekend ahead! To share:

High on my to bake list - this salted caramel slice.

Garance Dore on depression (and anti-depressants).

Finished this book in less than a week. So gripping.

Love the idea of a prawn risotto that serves just one for the next time I'm home alone.

I'm not usually one for poems but I heard The Inheritance by Stephen Dunn on Dispatch to a Friend and went back to read it too.

And one of my favourite ABC Life recipes to date - a white chocolate and raspberry scone. We have one left in our freezer and I'm sure we'll fight over it tomorrow morning :)

Spring things

18 September 2018



In the last fortnight, like clockwork, the plants on our balcony started coming back to life. It caught me by surprise because I was sure I'd killed them all. Even the parsley. So is the magic of spring, and with it the temptation to change it up in small and simple ways.

In our little home it's meant some spur of the moment spring cleaning. Over the weekend I sorted through the thirty-odd books that'd been stashed under my bedside table and put them away. Now there's a smaller stack of things I'm reading now and am planning to read soon. Makes me happy just looking at it.


I'm waiting til October to bring my spring/summer clothes out of storage but I got a little head start this weekend, folding up heavy coats and bagging a few things up to give away. 

And I actually put some effort into food prep this weekend, after I edited this story about meal planning. The point that stuck? Scheduling regular days and times to do it each week, and making it part of your routine. I make time most days to exercise, but had never thought about food prep in the same way. I always assumed it'd somehow get done.

Over two days I made a half-day rye bread for our lunches this week, a batch of veggie stock, curried coconut lentils for the freezer, plus and a banana, coconut and pineapple loaf. It felt surprisingly easy... possibly because I've been listening to Dispatch to a Friend non-stop since last Thursday and it's all about finding pleasure in cooking. Also, I only planned to make two things (the bread and the stock). Everything else was a because-I-felt-like-it bonus :)


And on Sunday night, the perfect spring meal that's part winter and part summer. I made a roast chicken with potatoes (I love Nadine Redzepi's recipe). Then there was takeaway Gelato Messina for dessert and Flavours of Youth on Netflix. 

Hello weekend

14 September 2018


It's been so sunny and bright in Canberra this week, which has made me feel (and dress) like I'm on holidays. There have been holiday moments - an especially relaxing pose in yoga, leftover homemade muesli that we brought home from our Airbnb, smiley stickers in the mail. And at work, we launched a project that's all about finding more time in your days for the good stuff. I've been working on it for a little while and it's nice to have it out there. Onto some good things to share:

A trail mix cookie recipe with a lovely backstory.

My new favourite Oprah quote courtesy of Girls at Library (thanks Adele for the recommendation!): "Opportunity may only knock once but temptation leans on the doorbell."

Dispatch to a Friend is a podcast I discovered this week. It's all about food, books and our everyday lives as told through letters two friends record for each other. The episode notes of this show are especially beautiful, with beautiful photos, recipes, text conversations and videos that've made me laugh. Can't wait to properly look through it on the weekend.

I found Dispatch to a Friend via The Food Podcast, which I'm getting back into. This episode about walking in Paris was so lovely.

I'm only a few days in but I'm really enjoying Neon in Daylight by Hermione Hoby. My second Brit author in as many weeks :)

Current night-time obsession.

Three Australian Indian girls try on saris for the first time.

A recipe for taco bowls from ABC Life. I'd never made taco bowls before and now I am hooked. The quinoa in this one keeps it light which means more space for chips and toppings :)

And a lovely list of simple pleasures. Some of mine are... cara oranges in spring, hearing my next door neighbour practice her ukulele at night, a whole afternoon to make dinner or bake, walking home with a fun podcast, babies waving, and seeing new leaves unfurl on houseplants.

Chat soon!

S

Life lately

09 September 2018


I've been loving these early weeks of spring, where the changes are subtle but very welcome. Most mornings I see the sun rise on my way to yoga and then set as I travel home from work. And after an intense month of working on the launch of ABC Life, I'm starting to feel a little lighter too. Here's what I've been getting up to, from learning to fire up (and clean!) a BBQ to a quick trip to the coast.


Reading:
So many good things at the moment, plenty of them gifts from my recent birthday. My sister gave me a subscription to The Gourmand, a food and culture magazine that comes out of the UK. I've not read anything like it before. The photography is super fresh and the interviews feature chefs, musicians, artists, and even... Cookie Monster. Highly, highly recommend.

I also picked up the latest issue of Lunch Lady, which coincided with our little trip to the coast. There's an incredible interview with Dee Tang about the death of her daughter Kawa, which I read so slowly. Plus, a lovely piece by Yumi Stynes about taking her teenage daughters hiking in Tassie. On the top of my to-make list, the easy pear cake.


I'd been saving Dolly Alderton's Everything I Know About Love for our weekend away. My friend Sarah gave it to me, and the coast always reminds me of her because we've adopted all of her favourite haunts. I love listening to Dolly on The High Low, and her memoir is entertaining and excellent.  Finally, two books I adored last month, Alone Time by Stephanie Rosenbloom and Less by Andrew Sean Greer. But I had to give up on My Year of Rest and Relaxation early, because it was a bit too dark for me and was starting to bum me out.


Drinking:
Milky tumeric tea in the afternoons in place of a black tea. My friend Tegan put me onto it, and gave me a box of her favourite tea bags from Higher Living, which you can find at some Woolies. I was a bit afraid of it at first (so... yellow) and drank it with honey. But now I love it as a slightly spicy pick-me-up in the afternoons and even appreciate its sunshine colour.

I also feel like I've been treated to lots of very lovely red wine in the last month, from my birthday and other special events. I only ever manage one glass in each sitting but it's always lovely to have a taste.


Eating and cooking:
Weeknight dinners have been extra simple of late. Making a double batch of congee on Sunday nights is easy and gets us through the start of the week. This is also a simple but hearty dinner, a coconut curried lentils with salad and rice. Simple meals at home also help balance out the lovely meals we've had out lately, and the fact that we've become very regular visitors to Gelato Messina since it opened in Canberra last month.


On weekends, I look forward to testing recipes for my new job. I made my first ever burger on a BBQ one Friday night (we only lost one patty!), and this week I'll be trying out a one-pot pasta for spring. I try to only make these recipes when I have plenty of time and am looking forward to cooking. I'm all about cooking for pleasure these days! I'm also slightly obsessed with cooking with fire and can't wait to BBQ again. Is a whole fish too ambitious?

We've also been experimenting with Dinner Ladies, since they're now delivering to Canberra. I've bought meals for friends and family in Sydney before, but this was our first time actually ordering for ourselves. It really saves us during the weeks that we're both flat out. We can cook at the start and the end of the week pretty well, it's often Wednesday night that brings us unstuck. We normally order a soup, a pasta sauce, and something for the oven like a spinach pie or lasagne. A funny side effect - because the main part of the meal is already made, and just needs reheating, I put more effort into making some veggies as a side.


Savouring: 
Some time away. I often daydream about going overseas but actually get so much out of long weekends and road trips. We spent a couple of nights in Milton, in a lovely loft with chickens and bees and a big veggie patch. I made pizza on the first night, and a continental breakfast for us the next morning :)

We had a few lazy days chatting, going for walks and hanging out in cafes. The weather was cool and grey, which made piping hot fish and chips by the lake extra satisfying. One of the highlights was stopping into Casanova's, a newish cafe in Braidwood, for scrambled eggs and coffee on the way there and mind-blowing sourdough pizza and pasta on the way home.


I used to come home from weekends away and rush into prep mode for the week - unpacking my bag, doing a grocery run, and a bit of meal prep. Now I'm all for stretching out that holiday feeling for as long as I can! Which mainly means putting a movie on at night and eating something easy for dinner.

Listening:
I started and finished the Caliphate podcast in a single week and learnt so much. I also loved this episode of The Food Podcast, featuring Australian lifestyle and food photographer Luisa Brimble. It was a perfect weekend listen, gentle but inspiring too. Lindsay Cameron Wilson also has the most imaginative episode intros, and an enviable voice too!

Music wise... I'm still hooked on playlists from my yoga teachers. This one from Evie always peps me up, and I've added this playlist to my rotation for work tasks that need my full concentration.

Watching:
We saw Crazy Rich Asians the first weekend it was in cinemas, and it was a pretty trippy experience, sitting in a full cinema waiting for it to start. It was a little bit nervous too, because lots of Asian Australians and Americans had said that seeing so many Asians on screen had made them cry.

It did get me in an unexpected way, the music during the wedding reception scene reminded me of all of the Chinese weddings I'd been to as a child. It helped me see that while I don't feel especially Chinese in my day-to-day life, my culture is still very much a part of my life. The movie was fun but I still prefer the book to the movie! There's a bit more chaos and drama. I'm also keen to see Spike Lee's latest film BlackKkKlansman soon.


Planning:
A trip to Hong Kong, which we might take in December. I've been curious about it for a little while (it looks like Bladerunner), and a few friends have moved there in the last little while. Let me know if you've been and have any hot tips! We've also been talking about going back to Wagga Wagga for a weekend, before it gets too hot. And I promised my niece I'd make her a unicorn cake for her fifth birthday! Thankfully professional cake-maker Le has given me some much needed pointers.

Loving:
All the signs of spring. Not having to wear a jacket outside, the flowers on our deck blooming, being able to open up the doors of our apartment to let fresh air in. Heading back to the farmers markets on a Sunday. Having things calm down a little at work, and leaving the office on time. Celebrations of any kind! Birthdays, anniversaries, retirements. Hanging out with friends new and old.

Feeling: 
Hopeful and energetic now that spring is here! I'm also feeling creatively inspired from reading a handful of excellent books, hearing Bridie Jabour at the Canberra Writers Festival, and from working with food writers and chefs. It's a really nice feeling and I'm going to try and hang onto it for as long as I can.

Thank you for being here, as always!

Monthly recap posts inspired by Melbourne ladies Heidi and Pip.