Autumn notes

23 April 2019

Long weekends are lovely but having four-days off in a row is especially magical. There's time for everything, from sleep-ins and catch ups with friends, to tackling the last of the unpacking. I went back to work today and already miss lazy pyjama mornings and grazing on Easter eggs throughout the day. To keep the holiday vibes going, I wanted to share a few things I've been enjoying lately, from a classic podcast to surprise dates.

Two new cookbooks:
I bought a copy Nigella Lawson's 1998 book How To Eat right before Easter, after listening to so many stories about its 20 year anniversary. It is as excellent as everyone says it is, though I'm glad I'm reading it now after I've built some confidence and skills in the kitchen. I also loved this conversation between Nigella and Samin Nosrat that covered everything from cooking for yourself to being a TV personality who isn't skinny.

I also ordered Simple Cake by Odette Williams, who is an Australian living in Brooklyn. It's the loveliest book of cake recipes, with 10 cakes and 15 toppings, and lots of suggestions for when to make, eat and gift cake. I got so hungry while flipping through the book one night that I had to go and defrost some cake from the freezer before I could continue.

New recipes to share: 
Speaking of frozen baked goods, my freezer is full of them at the moment, leftover from recipe tests for work. First there was a chocolate olive oil cake with a super glossy ganache. I decorated mine with cacao nibs for crunch and sea salt too.

I also commissioned a special Anzac biscuit. Part of the recipe involves browning butter, and when you mix in the honey it smells like honey joys. I can also recommend Anzac biscuit ice cream sandwiches, which we wrap in foil and leave in the freezer to soften. The best.

Homemade pasta has also made a reappearance at our house, partly because we're more settled but also because we're rewatching The Trip to Italy, the TV series this time instead of the movie. Over the long weekend, I also made Alison Roman's olive oil roasted tomato sauce for the freezer, so we can have this tomato and anchovy bucatini down the track.

Surprise dates:
Surprise dates are still going strong in our house :) They started about a year ago, inspired by a Japanese reality show. Basically one of us will invite the other out for a mystery outing, with the asker organising and shouting. In the beginning, the dates were quite fancy and involved dinners at favourite restaurants usually reserved for special occasions. 

Lately they've been a bit more low key. Last Sunday Tony took me to a ramen pop-up and then for hot cross bun gelato, which I loved. Next on my list... a lasagne and movie night at home, two of Tony's favourite things. I'm just waiting for the movie he missed at the cinema to come out on iTunes.

A favourite podcast: 
The first podcast I ever listened to was This American Life. My friend Vanessa told me about it, shortly after I moved from Sydney to Wagga Wagga. I spent a lot of time driving when I lived there, mainly to different country towns and back again, sometimes spending 5 hours on the road in a day. The TAL back catalogue kept me entertained on those long solo drives but I switched to shorter podcasts when I moved to Canberra, to match my new commute.

I've started listening again - this time during long stints in the kitchen, usually when Tony's at the studio painting. I've really missed this kind of surprising and emotional storytelling. Some episodes (old and new) that I've especially loved - No Fair!, Left Behind, Unconditional Love, Anything Can Be Anything.

Something nerdy - this is one of my favourite stories from This American Life. It's only five minutes but so very visual.  


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