Hello weekend

08 November 2019

Hello! I made a cheesecake last weekend, this ricotta one to be exact, and still feel the need to bake something this weekend. Maybe because the weather's dipped again or maybe because it's the thing that can clear my head at the end of a week. I'm taking Tony on a surprise date tonight, we'll be stopping at a new cheese, cold cuts and wine bar (yay!) and seeing a movie about an artist at the British Film Festival. Also on the cards, a day trip to Braidwood and a favourite bakery/pasta shop with friends. For your weekend... sweets! Thoughtful thoughts! And brand new podcasts:

'I race to relax' is a little too relatable for me. Food writer and podcaster Lindsay Cameron Wilson on structuring her days.

Annabelle Hickson (of Dispatch to a Friend) writes a beautiful newsletter.

After Making Oprah and Making Obama comes the latest season... Making Beyonce. So excited for this podcast!

Also trying out Esther Perel's new podcast, How's Work?

Annabel Crabb's gingernut and caramel ice cream sandwiches via Benjamin Law.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge's Vogue interview (and cover).

And something I'm proud of... No Big Deal Dinner Party is a four-part newsletter series I've been producing that launched this week. It's all about feeding your friends and family without freaking out. The first edition is all about snacks and drinks and you can sign up here if you'd like to receive the three remaining editions.


Hello weekend

01 November 2019

I've got that slightly delirious feeling that comes with finishing the work week - a combination of feeling happy/relieved but also being totally spent. I'm taking things extra easy this weekend as a result and because last weekend was an accidental whirlwind of five cooking projects, tackled over two days. Tony and I are going to make a lasagne (his favourite!) and I am hoping the rainy Sunday that's forecast comes through. For your weekend (and thank you for being here!):

I'll be in Melbourne in a few weeks and am super excited to work my way through Eater's Ultimate Guide to Melbourne in preparation. Their guide to Australian snacks from a US perspective is very fun.

I am... 11 years too late but thoroughly enjoying Elizabeth Strout's Pulitzer Prize winning novel Olive Kitteridge. The best thing about arriving late is that there's already a TV show and a sequel :)

An easy tomato sauce for summer pasta - Julia Ostro's cherry tomato, basil and garlic sauce. Inspired by this pic, we ate ours with bucatini.

Making plans according to your star sign. Can confirm, the Leo one is 100% correct.

Eva Chen was hilarious on The Cut podcast (plus she's a fellow germaphobe).

I've been really into thoughtful foodies of late. Especially Yasmin Khan (author of Zaitoun) on Julia Turshen's podcast and Aran Goyoaga's beautiful video series A Cook's Remedy. I'm waiting for her cookbook to arrive... hopefully it's any day now.

And two new ABC Life recipes to share this week! Hetty McKinnon's zucchini, couscous and preserved lemon salad (snapped above) is Christmas-worthy. Plus, Julia Ostro's sardines with midweek roast potatoes. I was nervous about cooking sardines but loved them - they're so fatty and satisfying, and the potatoes in this recipe are salt-and-vinegar chip like. Enjoy!


Spring things

26 October 2019

It's a super windy Saturday, which is a nice excuse to stay in. I have a giant pot of chicken stock on the stove and the beginnings of a strawberry and ginger shrub. I'm looking forward to making fruit sodas with it later tonight. I'm testing a bunch of summer recipes this weekend - fun stuff like cocktails and ice cream sandwiches. If you're interested in all of the above (well, minus the chicken stock), the recipes will be in a special four-part newsletter I've been writing for work. You can sign up here, it'll be out super soon!

I've been all about tiny novelties lately. Tahini on toast with honey, sesame seeds and a squeeze of lemon for breakfast. Pop-ups around town for dinner on a Friday night. Oat milk lattes, just out of curiosity (verdict: they're good but it totally depends on the brand of milk... and the barista. Oatly and Minor Figures are my faves).

For the last month or so, I've been going to work early on a Tuesday, which means I'm often on my way home just after four. It makes the evening feel long and relaxed - and it's the night I usually tackle something more complicated for dinner and go for a walk afterwards, and still have time to watch TV and have a shower and eat something sweet - it's pretty weekend-like.

Often it's the night I make a recipe from East by Meera Sodha. Months ago, my friend Lisa suggested we both get a copy and cook through it together. It's been nine weeks since we started, and we take turns choosing the recipe for the week. We rarely double up on our selections, so it's been a good way to try dishes I wouldn't have picked myself - like this roasted paneer aloo gobi. It might be my favourite recipe in the book so far. Lisa lives in Sydney, so every Sunday night, we recap the dish and our weeks over email and share a pic of how it turned out. It has become the nicest weekly ritual.

Something else that's fun - my brother Derrick who lives in New York made me a playlist a little while ago, and every now and then he adds a new song or two. It's a fun way to keep in touch, and a luxury to have music chosen for you :)

Finally, I made the ultimate mid-thirties purchase the other week. I bought my own enamel casserole dish - in pale pink. Every other nice pan in my home has been a gift from my parents or a wedding present. I bought it specially for this cookbook, where most of the recipes are based on a 30cm round roasting dish. I'll be making baked sausages with apple and blackberries next.

Hope you've been well!


Hello weekend

17 October 2019

This week, even more than most, has been about cooking all of the things. Salted tahini choc chip cookies, a big Thai green curry from scratch, late night nut bars that remind me of caramel slice. After a few weeks of feeling all over the shop, it's super nice to be full of energy again :) I currently have zero plans for the weekend (aside from making Diana Henry's chicken with feta, dill, lemon and potatoes and maybe an apple crumble, for comfort) and will see what unfolds:

For anyone (everyone?) who's read Three Women, Lisa Taddeo's episode of How To Fail is pretty satisfying.

Given how excellent her brownie recipe is, I'm now seriously considering trying out Meera Sodha's peanut butter and jam blondies.

I'm a sometimes fan of The Cut on Tuesdays podcast (mainly the eps where editor Stella Bugbee hosts), and especially enjoyed this interview with Nora McInerny, host of Terrible, Thanks for Asking. 

My friend made this pomegranate cake with mascarpone and yoghurt icing and it was beautiful and delicious.

In amongst all of the baked goods this week, we've become big fans of the banana oat smoothie in Heidi's beautiful book. Here's a similar recipe from her blog.

And a piece that perfectly explains my love for Bon Appetit's Claire Saffitz.

Have the nicest weekend!


Hello weekend

11 October 2019

How did you go with daylight savings this week? I had no idea an hour could make such a difference. Cheering me up at the end of the day has been this super dense dark chocolate and miso brownie. It happens to be vegan, is great with ice cream and tastes restaurant-quality. I'm all about cafe pop-ups at the moment and this weekend we're heading to a fish and chip night at a fave brunch spot. I'd also like to try this monthly burger night :) Have a lovely weekend, here are some nice things to share:

An old school chocolate mousse. I also love this one from fancy supermarkets!

Everything Madeleine Dore learned from completing The Artist's Way.

I want to own this cookbook for the cover alone.

A mini-seasonal refresh for the home sounds lovely and doable.

Crispy mushrooms with white beans and kale looks so good.

Did you listen to the Start Up podcast when it first came out? I'm excited to listen to the final chapter, about how the company was acquired by Spotify.

Lovely (small) things to try to make your days more creative, productive and satisfying.

And a creamy vegetarian lasagne with zucchini, leeks and peas from Heidi Sze. I'm currently reading her first book and it is lovely, even if you're not a mum. It's full of healthy recipes, kind words on practicing self compassion and gentle reminders to move your body as much as you can.


Hello weekend

04 October 2019

This week had so many small highlights - a new cookbook, my best ever homemade pizza (our house smelt like a pizzeria afterwards!), a long after work walk, plus plenty of time with friends over coffee, breakfast and orange wine. I feel like it bodes well for the long weekend :) Tonight we're heading to a fave cafe that has just started doing nights. And while I loved spending a few sunny days in Sydney, it's always nice to be home. To share this week:

Crushing on this light and bright West Hollywood apartment.

Diane Keaton is on Instagram! And writes all of her captions in caps.

I listened to the pasta special of Highly Enthused and made the spaghetti al limone. As promised, it was the best supper for one.

I bought my very first Diana Henry cookbook this week, to inspire simpler weeknight dinners.

Kate Berry's daily routine (and a peak inside her super sweet home).

And a strawberry shortcake recipe just in time for the long weekend. It's from Julia Ostro and it is buttery, creamy and sweet - basically the perfect kind of afternoon tea.

P.S I bought a painting! A few weekends ago, I found a Sally M. Nangala Munda work that moved me and it was delivered at the end of last week. I stumbled across her depictions of  town camp life on a trip to Sydney in June. I am stoked to own my very own piece.

Spring long weekend plans

29 September 2019

It may still be Sunday afternoon but I'm already day dreaming about the long weekend that's right around the corner. My parents and brother will be in town to hang out and celebrate my niece's sixth birthday. We've talked about a fish and chip picnic by the lake, a trip to a late night Indonesian diner and we almost always end up at the local gelato shop - because my dad loves it.

My favourite thing to do on a long weekend (or any weekend really) is try a new and slightly more decadent recipe. Next weekend I'm planning to make braised beef short ribs and rice and serve an apple crisp with ice cream for dessert.

If you're planning an extra yummy meal too, I can highly recommend Ottolenghi's chicken marbella (roast chicken with dates, olives and capters) and baked saffron rice. I made both this weekend and we ate them in our friend's sunny backyard.

The best thing about this meal is that you can do most of the prep ahead of time - I marinated the chicken for the full two recommended days, turning it every now and then. The rice bakes in 25 minutes (and has onion, plenty of garlic and saffron) and stays warm, so you can easily bake it before the chicken and pack up both if you're heading to a picnic. It meant we could have a decent Sunday sleep in, blueberry bagels and coffee for brekkie before getting a start on the rice and then roasting the chicken. We were out of the house before 12!

Other plans for next weekend... getting stuck into Three Women (my library reserve finally came good) and a lakeside walk with friends from yoga (with a pit stop for homemade salted miso brownies). The only thing left to do is get through the working week ;) I'll be heading back to Sydney for a couple of days, which has been the best excuse to make a booking at Bella Brutta for pizza.

Have a lovely week!


Hello weekend

27 September 2019

After spending last weekend and much of this week recovering from a cold, I feel extra ready to soak up the sun, catch up with friends  and just be a bit more normal. On Sunday, we're making lunch with friends and planning the menu around Jewish new year. I'm making Chicken Marbella from Ottolenghi's book Simple, which my brother Derrick has made and loved. I'll be making a big pot of baked saffron rice too. Onto some good things to share:

A hand cream that smells of smoke and not flowers.

Current obsession: these strangely soothing Instagram dance videos.

Super excited to try Adam Liaw's five mushroom pasta next week, as recommended by Irini.

Lindsay Cameron Wilson's food writing always transports me to another place. I savoured her thoughts on marriage and coffee.

The behind the scenes of the Harvey Weinstein investigation episode of Fresh Air is fascinating, disturbing and well worth a listen. Via The High Low.

I'm reading A Half Baked Idea by Olivia Potts atm and every chapter ends with a recipe. A banana cake with Rolo cake sounds pretty genius to me.

Finally, an actually easy quiche from ABC Life with goats' cheese and asparagus. The filling is so wonderfully silky and I can see that this recipe is going to be so easy to adapt and play with.


Swedish apple pie

24 September 2019

My friend Andy introduced me to Swedish apple pie a few months ago and I've been hassling her for the recipe ever since. It's as comforting as a double crust apple pie (my favourite) but without the effort - it only takes 15 minutes to assemble. In my mind, that makes it a perfect weekday dessert and just the thing for this in between period as we transition from winter to spring (it snowed in Canberra just last week!). Here's a slightly tinkered version of Andy's recipe.

Swedish Apple Pie
Serves 4-6

You'll need:
4-6 Granny Smith apples, peel still on and cut into 3cm cubes
125g unsalted butter (half a block), cold and cut into cubes
125g caster sugar (1/2 cup)
125g plain flour (1 cup and 2 Tbsp)
Vanilla ice cream, to serve

Here's how:
Preheat your oven to 180°C. Lightly grease a 24cm pie dish or baking dish with butter.

Wash and core your apples before chopping them into cubes that are around 3cm in size. Put these directly into your pie dish as you go - until it's almost full. You may only need 4-5 apples.

Make the pie crust by adding the sugar and flour to a medium sized bowl and lightly whisking to combine. Add the cubes of cold butter, pinching it into the flour mixture to incorporate. Once a dough starts to form, bring it together with your hands and lightly knead it. Roll it into a ball and then move it onto a floured surface. If you have time to rest it in the fridge for 20-30 minutes, it might be sturdier to work with, and give you a smoother pie topping. I am never this patient.

Dust a rolling pin with flour and then carefully roll the dough until it's about 0.5-1cm thick and slightly bigger than your baking dish. It's a crumbly dough so you might have to stop midway to dust it with a bit more flour. When you're happy with the thickness, gently drape it over the apple mixture. If it breaks (mine always does), you can do it in pieces, tucking the apple in around the edges, and gently pressing the dough down to meld if it's become more of a patchwork crust.

At this point you could rest it in the fridge if you're making it in advance. You could also brush it with some egg wash and a sprinkling of raw sugar for extra crunch. It's also fine to go into the oven as is. Bake for 40-45 minutes on the middle shelf until it's golden brown and smelling great. Enjoy with ice cream!

Hello weekend

20 September 2019

I hope you've had a good week! The cold that's been sneaking up on me this past few days has finally hit, so I'm resting up and planning to make a favourite chicken noodle soup for dinner. It's a Nigel Slater recipe from his Kitchen Diaries cookbook with plenty of noodles, herbs and lemon. I am also craving... rocky road and chocolate-coated pretzels, which are my new favourite thing to buy from bulk foods stores :) For your weekend:

The latest season of Terrace House is here! The show is back in Tokyo. I'm four episodes in and am already hooked. It's moving much quicker than the previous series and some of the new housemates are great.

I'm loving this pretty Instagram account for food inspo and home styling ideas. Imogene's Sydney apartment is lovely too.

A new-to-me food site with super cute pantry tours!

Good statements for women to practice via Kellie.

And there's nothing like your fave diary coming online for 2020 to confirm that the year really is flying by. Thinking of choosing cornflower blue!

Have the best weekend X

Hello weekend

12 September 2019

Hello from the Gold Coast! I'm in town for the Women in Media conference and feel very lucky to be here. I've been on the move this week and got to visit my brother Zachary in Sydney and tour the Google office where he works. It was fun to catch up over dinner and a few games of ping pong, plus the office itself was mind-boggling. I also made sure to stop at Rivareno gelato on my way back to the hotel and it was well worth the detour. I hope you have a lovely weekend ahead, here are a few things to make it extra nice:

I've just discovered the Highly Enthused podcast and am an instant fan. By the end of the first episode, I'd booked a restaurant for my next Sydney stay and found an engagement gift after months of searching/stressing. It's a fun Australian podcast that recommends great things to eat, listen, read, watch and buy. It started last year and I'm currently averaging an episode each day :) Two highlights - the episode dedicated to toast toppings and the Sydney guide for a perfect weekend in the city.

A romantic (and inexpensive) anniversary gift.

'What being a godmother taught me about love'. A beautiful essay that came recommended by Grace.

Dreamy scrambled eggs for dinner over rice.

I've just reserved this book from the library - love that it's described as a Bridget Jones's Diary from a woman of colour. And because it's been awhile since I've read a graphic novel, I'm also excited to try Bloom as recommended by my friend Kristy.

This baked fish taco recipe from Heidi Sze for ABC Life is fast, festive and healthy. If you're a vegetarian, I've also made it with sweet potato, using the same spice mixture but skipping the marinating time. Depending on the size of your sweet potato pieces, the baking time is around 15-20 minutes.

Finally, if you have the oven on this weekend I've been making maple roasted walnuts, inspired by a porridge I had in Canberra. Just mix raw walnuts in a few tablespoons of maple syrup until they're coated nicely, add some sea salt and roast for 10-15 minutes at about 180 until they're browned. Eat them by the handful or over porridge or bircher. So simple, so good.


A holiday at home

08 September 2019

Tony and I recently took a week off... and spent it hanging out at home. Canberra is lovely in spring and a week with no real plans was more relaxing and fun than we expected. We slept in, read books in bed, went for long walks to nowhere in particular (one had a brewery pit stop!), and saw plenty of movies too. There were so many favourite things:

We made a point of doing things we normally don't get around to when we're working - like visiting cafes that are only open on weekdays. Tony took me to Fekerte's Ethiopian for lunch - it's a tiny pop-up canteen in New Acton that serves curries, veggie sides (I had buttery potatoes, carrots and beans) and the most amazing sour bread. We also spent a morning visiting friends' cafes and had porridge and toast at The Goods before moving onto Marvie & Wolfe for more coffee and a blondie. We'll definitely be back for their sandwiches.

One of my favourite things to do on holidays is cook. I made strawberry shortcakes (a recipe test for work), and when they were finished, they reminded me of the cake in The Grand Budapest Hotel. Side note: I made so many mistakes making them but it didn't matter in the end. I also tested a spring lasagne and Tony volunteered to make the lasagne sheets from scratch.

On the second day of the holidays, I'd cleaned the oven, made a batch of one-pan tomato farro, eaten a strawberry shortcake and roasted some spices and veggies all before 9am. I also started doing my tax return and tackled something I've been meaning to do for ages... setting up a password manager for my laptop and phone (a workmate recommended Last Pass so I went with that).

We talked about driving to a national park to go for a hike but then I realised... I just wanted to eat outside! So while it was sunny, we went for a sushi picnic instead. Afterwards, Tony had a few hours of work so I rode my bike home and made a big batch of sweet potato and spinach dahl for work lunches and the freezer. It's my friend Klarisa's recipe and it's spicy, loaded with veggies, and super delicious.

While we were chilling at home, I finished Mark Scott's On Us and read two Pound Project essays that were a thoughtful birthday present from my friend Sarah. They were High Low themed - Hopeless Romantic by Dolly Alderton and the Authentic Lie by Pandora Sykes. Both were excellent in their very own ways.

A highlight was going to an author talk with Joanne Ramos, the NY writer behind The Farm. I asked a question and loved hearing her talk about the nuances of being a woman of colour who is also privileged - she was thoughtful and inclusive.

We celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary at the end of the week and loved having the day off together. We went to a morning session of The Farewell and then out for pizza and cake. In the afternoon we exchanged gifts (we went with the traditional wood theme - I gave Tony a bottle of whiskey and he bought me a beautiful chopping board) and then spent some time making food for friends who recently welcomed a second baby into their family. I made a banana bread from Kate Berry's new book and Tony made his go-to pesto.

Ages ago, when we road tripped around South Australia, we bought a special bottle of wine for our fifth wedding anniversary. So, instead of going out for dinner, we stayed in and made spaghetti (Tony) and meatballs (me). It was the perfect weather for it - the temperature suddenly dropped and it was drizzly. If you love meatballs too, I can highly recommend Emiko Davies recipe. It's not too fussy (minimal ingredients, only 40 minutes of simmer time) and the best I've ever made. It makes heaps too - enough for meatball subs and dinner for at least another two nights.

Holidaying at home was lovely and we'll do it again - maybe every autumn and spring just to recharge. It was nice to enjoy some of the best bits of a holiday (eating out, reading books, sleeping in), without some of the more stressful parts that come with travel like keeping an eye on a budget or feeling the pressure to make the most of your time in a new city. There are things we didn't get around to - like a day trip to Braidwood or a hotdog from a favourite brewery - but we'll add them to our weekend to-do list.


Hello weekend

05 September 2019

Did you have a good first week of spring? I love all of the little things that come with this change of season - being able to leave the windows open at home, admiring the cherry blossom trees in bloom, and the start of picnic season. I am also glad that summer in the northern hemisphere is over because it means all of my favourite blogs and podcasts are back from holiday break :) I hope you have a fun and relaxing weekend ahead. Here are some cheery things to share:

One of the nicest discoveries of my week was this Month of Sundays newsletter via Sophie. You can read it as a blog but I love the idea of receiving a month's worth of Sunday doings and musings. I've signed up... and read through much of the archive too!

The same newsletter referenced this strawberry cake from Smitten Kitchen, and it's not the first time I've seen it recommended online. I'm keen to try it soon.

Something funny - small therapies/mood enhancers. The helicopter one is my fave 😂

We watched the Aretha Franklin film Amazing Grace last weekend and it was soulful and moving. Afterwards, I watched a bunch of YouTube videos, and loved this Vox video about of her musical genius, along with this live performance that made Obama cry.

Karamo from Queer Eye used to be a social worker, which probably explains why this latest season has been so moving. The Kenny episode  is my current fave.

Call Your Girlfriend's Aminatou Sow was excellent on the Unstyled podcast. This was a revelation for me too: "I'm allowed to not feel great about everything... that's been a huge revelation for me."

Also from Unstyled, I enjoyed this interview with The Real Housewives of NYC star Dorinda Medley. I've never watched the show but found her to be refreshing, funny and wise. Maybe I'm just up for advice atm, but she had a great quote about living in the present and embracing the season that you're in.

And finally, I'm curious about zucchini choc chip muffins (even if they're meant for kids).


Life lately

30 August 2019

By the end of today I'll be on holidays, just in time for the first week of spring :) Tony's off too and I'm excited about sleeping in, going out for breakfast, and working my way through an ever-growing list of recipes to try. We'll also be celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary at the end of the week - time flies! Here are a few notes rom the last month or so, which has been packed with birthday celebrations, trips to Sydney and some new challenges too.

Cooking, eating & pot luck:
This last month of winter has been dominated by roast chicken and soups. I made an anchovy butter roast chook with chunky croutons and a herby chicken with ginger,lemon and thyme. I now understand that roast chicken and buttery baguettes go together very well. Also on high rotation - porridge with golden syrup.

We hosted our very first pot luck dinner recently. I am so used to planning entire meals when friends come round, so it was a bit of an experiment to have everyone contribute a dish. Tony made his specialty - pesto spaghetti from scratch. Our friend Rinaldo brought his best dish, a buttery and oniony Chinese-Indonesian chicken stir fry that was both sweet and salty. It was excellent over rice. I tried a friend's recipe for a Swedish apple pie and will share the recipe here soon - it's super fast and comforting. Even though our dishes were very different, as a meal they magically worked. It also shaped the vibe of the night, with everyone contributing in their own way and no one single person feeling like the host.

Birthday fun (and the greatest cake):
It's normal for me to freak out a little before my birthday, fussing over how I could or should be celebrating it - almost like it's a personal New Year's Eve. But for some reason, this year that just didn't happen. My birthday crept up on me in the best possible way. We spent the weekend beforehand on a special cabin trip and I had a day off, and saw my sister who gave me a present on behalf of all of my siblings. They'd organised it across three cities, which made it extra special :)

I was in Sydney the week after my birthday and used it as an excuse to go to Sean's Panorama for another celebratory dinner with friends. We ate mussels, oysters and pasta by the sea and ordered all of the desserts, including the creamiest cardamom and passionfruit curd ice cream that came with pistachio shortbread.

Sticking with the belated theme, I made a birthday cake the following weekend. It was a recipe test for a go-to celebration cake I commissioned for work to coincide with the project's first birthday. I am so excited to share the recipe.  It's a one-bowl vanilla cake (with a hint of cardamom) with the greatest and fluffiest choc-hazelnut icing. It happened to pop into my inbox on my birthday too!

Novels & non-fiction: 
It's been an excellent month for novels. I sped through The Farm by Joanne Ramos and Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner - they only lasted a week each. Every night I was busting to head home and read a little more. Of the two, I enjoyed Fleishman is in Trouble the most. It was slightly stressful in parts but also comedic and enlightening too - and reminded me of another book I loved, Less by Andrew Sean Greer.

I've started a new non-fiction book this morning, Bee Wilson's The way we eat now: strategies for eating in a world of change. I'm thinking of adding a memoir, for the times I feel like something a bit more escapist. A Half Baked Idea by Olivia Potts is on the top of my list. It's about a British woman's transition from law into food.

Other stuff:
I challenged myself to apply for a more senior role last month and interviewed for it recently. Going for a job definitely changed the pace of my weeks and gave me something extra to work on after hours. Plenty of good people were willing to share their advice, not just for getting the job but how to challenge myself at work regardless of the outcome. It's been a lot to take in - the application process, feeling extra self-conscious after the interview, the goodwill and support. It threw up some big questions about work and life too. I've learnt a lot from the process and now that it's behind me, I'm excited to get out of my head think about things other than work.


Life lately posts are inspired by Heidi's Happenings.

Hello weekend

24 August 2019

I'm coming to you a little later this week because I've just come back from a trip to Sydney. My days and nights were very full, so I treasured little pockets of quiet where I could find them. A solo breakfast at a favourite cafe, a morning walk through my old neighbourhood listening to a playlist my brother made me (he has a music podcast too!), an early yin class. I've had the nicest start to the weekend - the Canberra writers festival is on and I'm just about to take an apple pie to a friends place for dinner. As always, here are some good things to share:

Grace Bonney on how to know when it's time to move on (and how it feels).

I am counting down the days til Kate Berry's cookbook comes out (this coming Tuesday!) and found this lovely interview from a few years ago about the five things that inspire her.

I'm going through an eggplant phase and this black pepper eggplant is high on my to-make list.

A beautiful essay about the joy of solitude and what happens when it turns into loneliness, told through food. I love this recipe column so much.

And the latest quick and tasty dinner from Julia Busuttil Nishimura for ABC Life - a Japanese chicken and egg bowl with rice and edamame. We're already big fans.

Catch you next week!


Eco hut adventure

17 August 2019

We stayed in an eco hut in Gundagai last weekend - an early birthday treat. It was our second off-the-grid trip (we stayed in a tiny cabin last year) and I loved how the absence of electricity set the pace for our visit. We stayed busy keeping the fire going, read books while it was still light, and found creative ways to cook with a handful of supplies. It was also a lovely excuse to pack my camera and take a few snaps. Here are a few faves:

The hut was on top of a hill and we arrived just before it started raining for the night. The trip coincided with the polar low (it snowed in Canberra the morning we left!), so we stayed close to the fire and tried not to venture outside unless we really had to. That meant boiling water on top of the wood heater, which probably took two hours. We were super excited by the time we could make and drink tea.

I was lucky enough to get a copy of Fleishman is in Trouble from the library and it's easily one of the best books I've read all year. There is so much action (and lots of sex 😳). It's such a clever (and scary) reflection on how we live today.

We talked about making Lotus burgers on the BBQ for dinner but decided to wing it instead. I'm glad we did because it was not the greatest weather for cooking outside. Instead, we stopped by our favourite cafe in Jugiong for lunch and picked up some supplies. There was delicious pasta from Griffith NSW, plus smoked trout dip, crackers and cake.

I raided the breakfast supplies as soon as we arrived, and made a pasta sauce using the bacon, roasted cherry tomatoes and baby spinach we found in the esky. Tony managed to cook the pasta on top of the wood heater and grilled some greens there too (broccoli, brussel sprouts and sugar snap peas!). He'd made some chipotle salt and a lime vinaigrette before we left home and our dinner was a triumph.

Later that night we ate chocolate and marmalade cake, tucked into some red wine and played chess (I lost, as usual). Then it was time for bed. I am super glad we had a roof over our heads because it was a windy and wet night. We were both a little relieved when it was light again and the rain eased off. Tony got the fire going again and we were grateful for hot showers with fancy soap, and steaming hot drinks in bed.

Before it was time to go, I ventured outside to make eggs and heat up baked beans that'd been left in our esky, along with the leftover greens. I love cooking on a camp stove and the surrounding paddocks seemed extra green after a night of heavy rain. And then it was time to drive back down the mountain, in search of coffee and the road back home.


Hello weekend

16 August 2019

I turned 35 on Tuesday and feel very celebrated. There has been plenty of cake (chocolate, carrot, banoffee pie!), hangouts with friends, and some fun gifts - including a wheel of camembert! This also might explain why this week's offering is a little scant. Nevertheless, for your weekend:

I started listening to the Book Larder podcast this week and am so impressed by the quality of the interviews. Book Larder is a specialty cookbook store in Seattle. I started with the Ruth Reichl episode about her latest memoir.

Side note: I've recently switched from Apple podcasts to Spotify for podcast listening. I am a nerd and was following the acquisition of Gimlet Media by Spotify and was wondering how it'd impact the discoverability of podcasts - something that can be really clunky. So I checked it out. It's much easier to scroll through the archives of podcasts and I've found it to be a better user experience. Nerd alert over.

Two recipes I'm keen to try - Anja Dunk's speedy apple cake via Sophie. And this one-pan Thai curry via Leslie.

And a recipe I can vouch for - green baked eggs from ABC Life. I made this twice in two weeks, that's how delicious the test version came out. I find it hard to eat my five serves of veggies per day  and this recipe definitely helps. Plus it's dinner and brunch friendly!


Hello weekend

08 August 2019

Hi there! I'm writing to you on a rainy morning with a milky tea and honey on toast for company. I am looking forward to having lasagna for dinner (I bought one from a pasta stall at the markets, and am so excited to try it) and have a long weekend of my own making ahead! We're going away for the weekend, for an early birthday celebration and then I have an extra day at home to get ready for the week and maybe bake a birthday cake. Some nice things to share:

Super wise words from actor Beanie Feldstein (she's in Booksmart and Ladybird). Especially this on missing out: "Now every time I go into an audition, I think - this is either going to be me or some other girl. And if it's the other girl, it's going to be the best day of her life... I love my work very hard. I'm deliberate and committed. So if something is meant to be, I know it's meant to be. And if it's not, that opportunity belongs to someone else."

I am soo late to this party but I started listening to 2 Dope Queens last weekend and am an instant fan. The advice episode with Tig Notaro was so funny it interrupted my cooking :) Also, Michelle Obama. Their Spotify playlist for Women's History Month is also super fun.

So keen to try this popular Smitten Kitchen recipe - one-pan farro with tomatoes. I have cooked with farro once before and it was a disaster but I feel like Deb would never let me down.

And a funny cartoon about doing your best.

Catch you next week!


Tiny joyful things

07 August 2019

Because it's Wednesday, I wanted to share a few things I look forward to every single week. They're tiny joyful things that are part of my routine and help to punctuate the week. Let me know if you have any too! I'm always looking to add lovely things to my day-to-day.

On Monday mornings, I read Sophie's newsletter before breakfast, usually while stirring some porridge. It's a gentle way into the week and it's usually filled with recipe and podcast suggestions, bright pictures and reflections on the season. Monday is also the day a new Unstyled podcast episode drops, and I'll save the episode for a bus ride home later if the week (if I can manage it).

Midway through the week, a favourite blog column comes out. It's called The List and it's written by Leslie of Cupcakes and Cashmere. I have her author page bookmarked on my phone, and it can be the nicest way to unwind after getting home from work.

Round about the same time, a new episode of The High Low comes out too, just as I'm craving something funny/cheery to listen to before and after work.

Anywhere between Thursday and Saturday, I get excited about doing the market shop. It's when I gather ingredients for new recipes I want to try (for work or just for fun). Most weeks I stop at a farm shop in my lunch break or on my way home, and get to the markets every now and then. Or I convince Tony to make a date out of it, and we drive to a favourite produce stand in a nearby town and stock up on veggies after brunch or coffee out. There is something about the colours of the produce and maybe the possibility too that makes me feel so happy and creative.

On Saturday, kind of like how the weekend paper used to be a morning ritual for me, I read Cup of Jo's list of links from the week and always find something to read or enjoy. Erin posts a lovely end-of-week wrap too, and the stories she links to are always surprising and broad-ranging.

And something that happens throughout the week - coffee after my yoga class. The teacher normally brews the coffee, and it's always a lucky-dip to see who sticks around to hang out. Last week, after class coffee came with bonus homegrown lemons.


Hello weekend

02 August 2019

Happy August! I am so excited for the weekend. I had a bit of a teary start to the week (for no apparent reason), which prompted me to make more joyful choices for the remainder of it. You have to make things easy for yourself sometimes! We had the nicest a mid-week dinner out (katsu curry, dumplings and honey ice cream did the trick) and I squeezed in chapters of my book before bed. I have lots of little plans for the weekend ahead - a trip to the farmers markets (I tend to chicken out in winter cos the mornings can be so icy), making a batch of bolognese and watching Booksmart at the movies. Hopefully after eating this burger :) Here are a handful of good things to share:

On our drive down to Sydney last weekend, we listened to a couple of episodes of Heavyweight, including Alex and Rachael. I hadn't listened to this show since it came out a few years ago, and it was just the thing for the drive - funny, surprising and entertaining. A new season starts soon.

If you're a fan of The High Low, I really enjoyed this How To Fail episode with one of its hosts Pandora Sykes. I tuned in while mixing up a lemon syrup cake one weeknight which felt perfect. I listened to the Samin Nosrat episode just yesterday - and especially loved her final failure.

I am daydreaming here, but how nice does this NY yoga studio look? Via Passersby.

This stir-fried lettuce bowl with ginger fried rice (and an egg!) takes me right back to my childhood, when we ate wok-fried lettuce covered in hoisin sauce. This recipe looks simple and delicious.

And if you've hit your pasta quota already this winter, try this warm kale salad instead. It was gobbled up in our house and I'll be making it again soon.

P.S If you're in Canberra on Saturday, Tony's having an open studio day.

Always do the nice thing

31 July 2019

A few weeks ago, I thought about making a cake for a friend who'd just made a big decision. She'd been talking about a citrus olive oil cake for some time and I had just the one in mind. But then... I chickened out. Because every now and then I get self-conscious about giving a gift and hesitate. Is the gesture a bit weird? I wonder. In this instance, I later shared what I'd been hoping to do and was told that it would've been lovely rather than strange.

So, this is a little note-to-self, a reminder to always do the nice thing. Whether it's asking someone if they want to join a coffee run, sending a card to say thank you (this one is finally on its way to a workmate in Brisbane), or giving a small gift for no particular reason, other than you saw it and thought it'd be perfect.

I've also been the recipient of some lovely mail lately - a package of homemade chocolates from my friend Haline. There were three types - freckles with popping candy, a block of white chocolate with pistachios, rose petals and Turkish delight, and a milk chocolate version with macadamias and white chocolate. I reckon she made them with her little ones! There was no note, just some beautifully packaged homemade treats that were so welcome on an icy Friday.

Nice things don't always have to be brand new either. When my friend Vanessa was visiting the other weekend, I gave her a bag of homemade cookies (these ones!), and passed on a book that I'd read that I thought she'd really enjoy too.


Hello weekend

25 July 2019

We're going on a road trip this weekend to meet a new baby. I've been looking forward to it all week and am feeling ready for a change of scenery. It'll be a quick trip with plans to see a friend's exhibition, go somewhere fun to eat, and hold our new tiny niece. Here are a few good things for your weekend - thanks as always for being here!

I listened to both Phoebe Waller-Bridge episodes on How To Fail with Elizabeth Day this week - one that was recorded before Fleabag blew up, the other a year later. I'm still yet to watch the second season but will soon. (via The High Low).

This series about pantry staples, the weekly shop and meal planning is right up my alley! I don't meal plan as much as I make a list of things I want to make each week. Currently, this cult chickpea stew (NY Times) and accompanying yoghurt flatbread are on the list.

Cookbook writer Emiko Davies is visiting Canberra and I've been so inspired by her pics of regular things, like her market haul and bakery treats. She's shared the recipe for her favourite pizza dough recently and I'm definitely going to try it.

I love that Leo season is a thing. I've been seeing it all over Insta this week! My favourite detail: "When Greta Gerwig, a Leo, directed the prom scene in Lady Bird, she wore a prom dress too. She didn't appear on camera - she didn't have to wear that dress. It wasn't a costume, but something else - a way to create a mood, a feeling, an environment of generosity and camaraderie."

And a vegetable soup with a hint of spring, just in case you need a break from pasta.