Aspirational image of an uninterrupted cup of tea in bed (image by David Mao)
I thought it might be cute to break my blogging drought with a recipe for hot cross buns over Easter, mainly because I’d get to use the pun about buns being in the oven to let you know that I’m pregnant again. But then Easter came and went, and I was dealing with another cold brought home from child care by my 15-month-old kid, and the blog remained untouched.
I liken my first pregnancy to the feeling of being a precious, unique snowflake, growing a miracle while cartoon Disney birds tweet at my shoulder. My second pregnancy couldn’t be farther removed from this experience. Acute morning sickness timed imperfectly with my return to work, child care colds taking out our entire household multiple times, exhaustion and general feelings of overwhelm have pretty much defined the last five months. And the next kid isn’t even here yet. But this pregnancy is quite miraculous nonetheless and growing this new baby has taken priority over cooking for the blog.
Here’s what’s been going on in my kitchen lately, sans styled photos and lovely matching stories: Continue Reading
There is definitely a place for desserts that you’ve spent hours stirring, whipping, folding, baking and icing. But a simple dessert, one that is conjured up from the pantry with unexpected ingredients, oozes effortless cool. It’s all like “Oh this old thing? I just whipped it up. Prepare to have your mind blown.”
As a kid I had a very complex system for making my ice cream after dinner. The ice cream had to be a very specific degree of meltiness before I added a measured amount of hundreds-and-thousands (nonpareils for you North Americans). I then left the ice cream to melt some more before stirring the sprinkles through the now soft-serve-textured ice cream, turning it into a gloopy grey treat.
These three toppings are not as complex, and are definitely more sophisticated, and will turn the bucket of vanilla ice cream in your freezer into guest-worthy desserts, or simply improve a bad day. Make sure you splurge on the quality of your ice cream, it will help make these desserts even better. Continue Reading
5 weeks till Christmas. Argh! I’m hosting Christmas this year, which should be relatively stress free given our family has an all-in approach to Christmas cooking. But I’m still thinking about how I can make the day special.
Recently I was asked to contribute to an article that featured great ideas for throwing a simple and elegant party. I brainstormed with myself when coming up with ideas for the article, and have shared these ideas with you below.
Hopefully this collection will spark something in you and help make your silly season a little easier. Continue Reading
I’ve been thinking about cooking a lot lately. Not the cooking I do for the blog, or the cooking I do for guests, but the everyday cooking that is more chore than pleasure. This year the well-understood rhythm of my life with my husband changed completely with the birth of our baby girl. The balance of the household shifted and that change has extended into the kitchen. Weeknight cooking, once an equally shared task, has now fallen mostly to me.
Some days I’m full of my own useful advice and can whip up a nutritious and tasty meal for us all without too much fuss. But other days 3pm rolls around and it feels like I’ve never cooked dinner before, my mind blank and slightly panicked at the thought of what will happen between 5 and 7.30pm when the kitchen is open for business.
I’m a food blogger, I love food, I read recipe books in bed and seek out new ideas in magazines and online constantly. If I have this stricken feeling about cooking for my family on a regular basis, then I imagine others have it too. Continue Reading
Have you read the blog Green Kitchen Stories? It’s incredibly inspiring, full of delectable food photography and healthy, vegetarian recipes. It makes me want to be virtuous, aspiring to the easy-going, colourful, healthy lifestyle of the authors David Frenkiel and Luisa Vindahl.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made their Seven-Minute Choco-Almond Truffles (it’s a lot) and their Ginger and Turmeric Honey Bomb warded off several lurgies that threatened to invade my body this winter.
I’ve been a fan for awhile, and I was delighted to see that they’ve just released their second cookbook, this time taking their approach to food on the road and collecting beautiful vegetarian recipes from all over the world.
Would you like to win one of three copies of Green Kitchen Travels by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl? Then read on! Competition now closed.
It’s the time of year when lemons arrive on the doorstep. Those lucky people with lemon trees in their yard find themselves with a glut and suddenly get generous, offering their crop to anyone who’s willing to relieve them of their bounty. It’s a tradition that I wholeheartedly support, having never had a tree, I rely on others’ citrus abundance to kick off the start of my spring. And what better way to celebrate finer weather, and use up a bunch of lemons, than with a refreshing glass of cordial. Continue Reading
I’m ever so grateful to the previous owners of our house, because they planted a gorgeous crop of vegetables before they left. The weather this year must be on the side of the lazy vegetable gardener because without too much effort, these vegetables have thrived. Happy, fat worms are going about their business in the rich soil while broccoli kicks on from winter and the spring produce starts to poke its head up. With a handful of broccolini from the garden, a bag of frozen peas and an impulse buy of moghrabieh, or giant cous cous, this salad came into being.
It was the kind of weather that makes vinyl seats a problem. My sticky bare legs make a sucking noise when attempting to shuffle to the middle of the back seat of the car to make way for my Mum on one side and my Great Gran on the other. My Grandparents are in the front of the Sigma, ready to drive us eight hours to Adelaide. I have a broken arm that is itchy as hell under the hot plaster. The car windows have been rolled down in an attempt to provide relief from the heat, and to blow Grandpa’s pipe smoke beyond our immediate vicinity.
We’re en route to our first stop, where, despite the searing temperatures, Grandma will produce a thermos of hot tea and a roll of moist date and walnut loaf, sliced and slathered in butter. This is tradition, a family favourite that is so much a part of road trips that even radiating heat can’t alter the menu for a roadside stop. When thinking about my food memories related to cars for the Paint the Town Ford Challenge, I knew I had to recreate this family tradition. Continue Reading
As a teenager I worked in an ice cream shop and I made a lot of waffle cones. A lot. I wore a turquoise visor, white cotton gloves and rolled hot, sweet waffles around a metal mould to make cone, after cone, after cone. But I never made ice cream, and I haven’t since, because I don’t have an ice cream maker, nor the patience to stir or shake something every hour for too many hours.
Then I read about the magical combination of whipped cream, sweetened condensed milk, and a dash of alcohol. When frozen, this concoction turns into an indulgent, luscious, creamy ice cream, no machine or stirring required. If you can whip cream and have a freezer, you can make this ice cream in the morning, go on with your day, and serve up delicious home-made ice cream in the evening. And do it all again tomorrow, as I have done for the last three days…
A few years ago I stayed at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs. It’s a mid-century motel in the middle of the desert that has been updated to a trendy retro hotel full of hipsters lolling by the pool sipping pink cocktails. It’s super cool. Ever since, I’ve fantasised about buying a motel in a small Victorian country town, doing it up lovingly and running a weekend getaway for all the Melbourne hipsters to visit.
When Ford offered me the opportunity to drive the Ford Kuga Titanium for awhile and blog about it, I decided to live out a little bit of my motel dream, because the thing about motels is that they’re of the era of the classic road trip. Having a pair of hot wheels to hit the open road with is essential. With the Kuga’s giant sun roof open, the Ford navigation lady telling me where to go, tunes playing using SYNC voice control (talking to my car and it listening is really quite cool) and luggage stowed in the roomy storage spaces, I sought out the perfect motel.
The best kind of motels are well preserved relics of the 60s and 70s, complete with drive-through check in, a car park directly outside your room, painted brick walls, avocado-coloured bathroom suites and the essential hole-in-the-wall breakfast door. The latter was my inspiration. I can’t buy a motel, but I can create an awesome, updated retro motel breakfast.