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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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