Hello weekend

28 February 2019

I'm starting to get excited about our move. I've been daydreaming about the first meal I'll make in our new place and a friend is going to give me some seedlings from her garden when we're settled. I'm also looking forward to having a bedroom that doesn't face a main street (first time in almost 10 years!), and silly things like having a shelf in the shower.

We'll have our hands full with packing this weekend but we'll take a break to ride our bikes to the Night Noodle Markets, which always has a lovely atmosphere (and delicious food). We also have friends visiting from Wagga Wagga, and it'll be so nice to see them. For your weekend:

A favourite crepe recipe, found online after I reached for The Little Library cookbook only to realise that I'd packed it.

Lily Allen is the latest guest on Dolly Alderton's podcast Love Stories.

A green smoothie with apple and peanut butter. Yum!

How to host a dinner party in a small space. Also, tablecloth envy.

Olivia Colman's Oscar speech was so funny and sweet.

I needed this: What happens when you put in 97% effort instead of 100%.

And a Netflix show to zone out to - Dating Around follows a NY single on five blind dates. It cleverly cuts between them (they all take place at the same restaurant), and it is so awkward at times.

I'm going to take a short break while we pack everything and move at the end of next week.

Speak soon and take care.


Life lately

24 February 2019

Tony and I are getting ready to say goodbye to our little apartment, which has been my favourite of all the places we've lived. I will miss its white walls, sunny balconies and walk-in pantry. But I'm also excited to be moving just down the road, and into an apartment with a newer oven :) This month has been a bit of a scramble, the last week especially, so it's nice to have a pocket of time to write, reflect and take a break from packing boxes.

Relieved to have a new apartment to move into. We didn't expect to move this year but our landlord is moving back to Canberra at short notice, so we spent last weekend inspecting as many properties as we could and working on applications. We saw 11 apartments in less than 24 hours!

When we first found out that we had to move, I was devastated. I love my home, am a homebody and had imagined we'd be here for a little while longer. We signed a lease on a new place within a week, which had been full of uncertainty and stomach flips. Things are settling down now, and the experience has made me more empathetic because it gave me a tiny glimpse into what it's like to juggle something other than work and home.

We started packing this weekend and surprised ourselves by getting through a lot done in a few solid hours. This Momofuku-inspired playlist helped, I also stumbled across some beautiful things in the process like a written tribute to my late grandfather and the readings from our 2014 wedding.

Lily Allen's memoir My Thoughts Exactly, which I'm really enjoying. I've been listening to her first two albums as I'm reading about them, and they're so nostalgic for both Tony and me. On weekends, I've been reading celebrity features (!), most recently the Vogue interview with Justin Beiber and Hailey Baldwin, and Miley Cyrus's Vanity Fair cover story.

I've been flipping through Ottolenghi's latest cookbook, Simple, and bookmarking recipes to try. I had borrowed a copy from the library and just before it was due back, Tony's brother and sister-in-law gave me a copy as a belated Christmas present. Yay.

And I'm saving the latest instalment of Single Women and Their Spaces for a packing break, along with Cup of Jo's cheery weekly round up of links.

Eating and cooking:
Lots of stone fruit at the moment, especially peaches and plums. I am definitely feeling those end-of-summer vibes, and am trying to cram in as many sunny things as possible before it's officially autumn. Last weekend we had yellow peach, jamon, hazelnut and rocket salads for a late Sunday lunch. It took 5 minutes to make but felt super luxurious.

There have been peaches on top of muesli and in galettes too. And fish and chips as the sun went down one Saturday night, following an afternoon of packing. I haven't had fish and chips all summer and loved people watching down by the lake - it was so busy, I felt like I was in the middle of a Where's Wally? My favourite thing was seeing people of all ages enjoying the last hours of sun, from little people finding their feet to grandparents who were rugged up and on walkers.

Fried food aside, I've eaten a week's worth of ABC Life recipes. Testing recipes and working with recipe writers has taught me a lot about shopping for food, but also being more flexible in the kitchen when it comes to substitutions.

Recently we've had a run of Heidi's recipes from a tomato, red onion and feta frittata using leftover tomatoes from her magical linguini. There was a can't-be-bothered-to-shop macaroni made with leftover pesto from her no-cook lentil salad (which we had for work lunches), frozen peas, rocket and chilli flakes.

Heidi's often raved about Nigella's chocolate olive oil cake on Instagram, and I had a chance to try it out this week when a colleague turned 40. There was something so calming and satisfying about baking a cake on a Thursday night. We had it with double cream and blackberries and it felt like the very best way to end the work week.

We just finished watching Dirty John on Netflix, which was based on a LA Times podcast. It was so intriguing and intense. I have a terrible habit of completely forgetting the plot line of movies I've seen - it turns out that this also applies to podcasts! I don't normally watch thrillers (too scary/gory) but felt more comfortable knowing vaguely where things were headed. We'll get stuck into the latest season of Chef's Table soon :)

Our lovely friends, family and workmates who kept our spirits up this week - from sending texts to check in, to offers of places to stay if we got stuck, packing dinners and moving day snacks, and rental references too. I always appreciate Tony's calm head in times like these (even when we got a place, my brain skipped ahead and worried about whether it had a laundry and where we might put the toaster!), and our yoga studio is such a calming constant in our lives.

March is going to be fun and busy. My favourite Canberra festival starts on Friday, we'll move house and then have a beach break for the long weekend... and our first trip overseas in many years when we head to Hong Kong. So lots to look forward to!

And on a very random note... I bought a linen shirt in Melbourne (in Sofia Coppola blue!) and was given a peach one for Christmas and have been wearing them non stop.

Life Lately post inspired by Heidi and Pip.

Hello weekend

21 February 2019

I have some fun errands to run this weekend, many of them birthday related. We'll be doing a cookie run on Saturday to pick up some delicious salted chocolate and rye cookies for a friend. Then I'll be wrapping presents to gift in person or put in the post (I bought these solar powered bugs for my honorary nephew who is turning 5 - they're so fun!). More cheery things to share:

'An introvert in overalls' - I loved this NY Times profile of Milk Bar owner Christina Tosi and want to watch her episode of Chef's Table again soon.

There are only a handful of podcasts that Tony and I both enjoy. The Drop Out is one of them, especially for weekend drives.

We're also racing through Dirty John on Netflix and only have two episodes left. I listened to it as a podcast last year and find it just as fascinating and chilling as a TV show.

How to care for a grieving person.

Really into My Place by Nowness - a series of short videos that take a peek inside the homes of creative folks like Tavi Gevinson and Florence Welch.

And an end of summer galette, with your favourite stone fruit and berries. This brightened an already great weekend. I went white peach and blackberry and hope to make another before summer's out.

P.S Hope you' re well X

Doing less (and feeling fine about it)

Every now and then I remember that weekends are for chilling out - not just getting a bunch of things done. This hit me a few Sundays ago, when I was planning to go the farmers markets, do my meal prep for the week, wash the car, and then as a reward - take myself out to lunch.

By 11.30am I'd done two of those things and was already hungry and exhausted. So I went back to bed to read, snack and write and called it a day.

The day before, I'd read an article (via Cup of Jo) about how scheduling our free time can make us unhappy. For someone who even makes to-do lists on holidays, it was a revelation. It also reminded me of a really sweet concept called 'should-less days' that I'd heard about on Death, Sex & Money a couple of years ago from Ellen Burstyn.

"I only do what I want to do. And if it's a nap in the afternoon or watch TV, and eat ice cream, I get to do it," she said. "I have wiring in my brain that calls me lazy, if I'm not doing something. I haven't been able to get rid of it. But what I can do is I can put in another wiring, I can put in should-less days, so when that voice goes off and says you're being lazy, I turn to the other wiring in my brain that says, no, this is a should-less day, and I'm doing what I want."

And while we're here, this interview with Heather Havrilesky struck a chord.

Hello weekend

15 February 2019

This week ebbed and flowed. Some days I felt flat for no reason, other days were extremely busy with work. On not-so-flash days it helped to make some plans for the weekend. On the agenda, making a belated birthday present and road tripping to a nearby farm for some fresh produce. It's starting to cool down so I'm thinking about quiches and curries. To share:

For a good dose of joy and wisdom, I cannot recommend this episode of Death, Sex & Money enough - an interview with poet Nikki Giovanni.

My favourite part of Michelle Obama's Grammy appearance.

Clicked on a house tour, got way more than I bargained for. The story of this family with teens cheered up a stressful afternoon. (Doughnut holes helped too).

Been eating lots of red onion lately, which is how I discovered watermelon mints! Sounds a little strange but I promise they're good.

And the very best tomato pasta recipe that I've been dying to share! I tested it for work a couple of weeks ago, and had it again this week. I love that it's a delicious weeknight dinner and worthy of a special occasion too. I roast the tomatoes on the weekend and chuck them in the fridge so I can make this on a weeknight in 15 minutes flat.

I am convinced the linguini would pair well with these mini chocolate fondants. Maybe I still have Valentine's Day on the brain :)

Catch you next week.


Morning muesli with seeds, nuts and fruit

10 February 2019

I am someone who needs to snack often, usually in hour-and-a-half intervals. Often I know what time it is, simply because I'm hungry... again. But the other week, I made some muesli on a whim and it kept me full right through til lunchtime. A mini miracle!

Here's a rough recipe if you'd like to make your own. When it comes to the nuts, spices and seeds, you experiment with what you already have at home. I made the first batch with dried apricots (my favourite), chopped almonds and toasted coconut flakes that were leftover from a giant lamington cake. I added pretty much every seed I could find in the cupboard (thank you pantry clean up!) and I think they helped keep me full.

It's especially great topped with yoghurt and summer fruits, like mango, white peaches and blueberries. I like it with a generous splash of milk too.

Morning muesli with seeds, nuts and fruit
Makes a large jar, usually enough to feed 2 for a week

You'll need:

3 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup coconut flakes
2 Tbsp chia seeds
2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
2 Tbsp pepitas
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/3 hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1/3 cup sultanas
1/3 cup dried apples, diced

Here's how: 

Add the oats to a large mixing bowl, and then add the coconut flakes, seeds and cinnamon. Stir to combine, and add any extra toppings or oats depending on your preference. Then add the hazelnuts and dried fruits, stirring again to mix well. Store in an airtight jar or container. Serve with yoghurt, fresh fruit and milk.

Hello weekend

07 February 2019

Hands up if you're ready for the weekend? I'm especially excited because Tony's coming home on Saturday after a week away, and we'll have a family yum cha to mark Chinese New Year and my niece's first week of school. I'm also planning to make a peach pie (the weather forecast says it'll be a sweet 24 degrees on Saturday) and watch Black Panther before the Oscars. Some fun things to share:

Alone, A Love Story is back for a third season!! Thanks to Sarah for the heads up.

I've also been listening to a lot of Salt & Spine this week, it's a podcast about cookbooks and their authors. I especially enjoyed the episodes with Yotam Ottolenghi and Julia Turshen.

Speaking of Julia Turshen, I made her confetti meatloaf on Sunday night and it was so good!

To go with it, I made this chopped Caesar salad with jalapenos (and no bacon).

Also, peach salad.

Meanwhile, imagine if this was your home at 21! A peek inside Kylie Jenner's home.

I also started reading Sally Rooney's Normal People this week and am really enjoying it. If you have a Kindle, it's only $10!

Chat next week.


Weekly meal prep with two new things

03 February 2019

I made a few kickass salad dressings over summer and they made eating greens with most meals so much easier. So I'm adding at least one bulk dressing to my Sunday food prep, along with roasting some nuts to chop up and sprinkle on top. I also prefer to snack on roasted nuts compared to raw ones, so I roast extra for the week.

For summer, I highly recommend Julia Turshen's shallot vinaigrette. It might be my favourite salad dressing of all time, and it's super simple to make. I also made a jar of Alison Roman's lemony tahini dressing, originally to go with some leftover Christmas turkey. We also ended up eating it with salads and falafel bowls. Molly Yeh has a slightly thicker tahini dressing with sumac, which I love.

Currently, Sunday meal prep is mainly about getting lunches ready for the week - making quinoa, roasting veggies and now nuts, washing greens and making a dressing. Thankfully over the holidays I made and froze a big batch of Heidi's baked falafel, which I'll definitely do again for weekend and work lunches.

I feel like the relationship between food and health has only really clicked for me in the last 6 months or so, and it's mainly come from commissioning and editing stories for work. Specifically Dr Sandro Demaio, whose advice on what to eat is logical and easy to remember (and reminds of me of Michael Pollan). I've also picked up so many practical tips from how to meal prep, snack and cook from nutritionist Heidi Sze. She also sneaks nutritional facts into her recipes, which has made me more aware of good fats.

Finally, after reading a NY Times Cooking story about how to stock a modern pantry, I was inspired to tidy my own and get rid of anything I hadn't used in a year. One thing I noticed... I often buy faddish ingredients like almond milk or alternative flours. I don't have any food allergies so it was a good reminder to stick to the foods I actually like to eat.