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.

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