Tuesday, June 28, 2011

morning walk

Inspired by Handmade Romance's fabulous sign spotting, I recorded a few wonderful things I spied on my morning walk to work. Most exciting of which I think may have been a fantastic little cafe discovery in Cafe Hernandez. It's tiny, filled with paintings and has a piano in the corner. Oh and it sells coffee and delicious things featuring chorizo.  Need I say more...


Monday, June 27, 2011

sunshine, chai and a miraculous pie

A few scenes from the weekend. It was a bit of a stunner really, bathed in sunshine and with plenty of great food.

Several coffees and a strong chai from the markets kicked things off in glorious caffeinated fashion. Then we ate lunch whilst watching a rather addictive new tv show - The Great Food Truck Race, which if you're in Oz, you can still catch on iview. It's a pretty simple premise - a bunch of food trucks racing across America competing for 50 grand by trying to make the most profit, but my god is it watchable. If you're anything like me you'll want to race out to find your nearest gourmet burger joint or vietnamese roll store.

Luckily for us we were having dinner at our friends' place (thanks guys!) where we were completely spoilt in the food department - an incredible corn chowder, made from the legendary New England Soup Factory cook book followed up by hands down the best pecan pie I've ever eaten. It was miraculous, in that way that desserts can sometimes be. I sat there afterwards bathed in the warmth and joy that was friends and laughter and pecan pie and everything was good and right with the world.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I've been a bit sick this week so Kristian has kindly made me some wonderfully vitamin loaded breakfasts. Yesterday it was eggs on vegemite toast with a cherry blossom shaped berocca. I pointed out that it may have been the first time I've had eggs on a weekday (how indulgent!) for as long as I can remember.  I think it might have trumped Monday's breakfast bigtime.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

breaking the fast

I don't know about you but I'm a bit of a creature of habit in the breakfast department. Funnily enough this is not the case when I travel but when we're at home there's about three basic breakfast options on constant rotation in our kitchen: porridge, weetbix or vegemite toast. Occasionally a bit of marmalade or a piece of fruit sneaks in there but otherwise it's pretty much the standard fare. Lack of time is usually the excuse but since starting my new job I actually have more time in the morning.

So I've decided, especially during these winter months when mornings can be a dark, bleary and unappreciated time, I'm going to start jazzing up breakfast, introduce some different options: an egg or two, a fruit loaf, some hot bread rolls, even perhaps a scone or a frittata. I'm going to make the joy of breakfast signal the start of an adventurous day.

First up the challenging Monday breakfast. Here goes...

Banana, Honey and Seed Loaf
Adapted from here and here.

1 Tbs toasted sesame seeds
1 Tbs poppy seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pepitas
1/2 cup extra-light olive oil
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs, beaten lightly
1/2 cup mashed banana
1/2 cup buttermillk, or an equal combination of yoghurt and milk
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup sultanas
1 1/4 cup self raising flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp mixed spice

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C fan forced. Grease and line the base and sides of a loaf tin.

Combine the seeds and spices in a small bowl and then place the oil, sugar, honey, eggs, banana, buttermilk, oats, raisins, sifted flour and 2/3 seed mixture in a large bowl and stir until just combined. The mixture should be fairly runny and lumpy. Pour mixture into the prepared pan and sprinkle the remaining seeds on top.

Bake for about 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean. Turn the loaf onto a wire rack and brush the top with some extra warmed honey if you like.

I made this on Sunday, which was a wonderful way to warm up whilst I had the sniffles. This morning it was just a matter of slicing a nice wedge, toasting it under the grill, then buttering and consuming, whilst reading my book and enjoying a steaming hot cup of tea. A great way to kick off the working week. Stay tuned for more adventures in the land of breakfast.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

a delicious week

Week one of my new job is finished and so far so wonderful. Thank you for your kind comments last week. It's always a big relief when you feel like you've made a positive change in your life. It has gone pretty quickly as first weeks have a tendency to do and I realise now that I've hardly cooked a thing but we have still had some amazing meals: an amazing farewell dinner for my pal Sarah at the Duke Bistro on Flinders Street in Surry Hills, a lunch with both sets of folks, yum cha with friends, tea with friends, and toast with each other.

I think this cold weather may warrant some soup making in my near future.

I hope you are keeping warm and dry out there and having a lovely long weekend (if you're in Australia) and a great start to the week otherwise:)


Sunday, June 5, 2011

This weekend I:

got up close and personal with a favourite saucepan to make moroccan stew and couscous

enjoyed coffee and toast in the park with Kristian near where I used to live

had dinner with my parents, who just got back from a month in Italy. My mum made an amazing apricot danish for dessert.

had fun with our kitchen reflections

made scones with sultanas and orange zest

toasted to a new job, starting tomorrow

had an very cute lunch made for me.

finally got around to watching Somewhere and then walked around the neighbourhood in a dreamy mood.

Gosh it went quick. See you next week!


Thursday, June 2, 2011

on the third day of june we drank coffee

Just when I thought it was going to get all wintery, Sydney pulls out a stunner like today. I forget sometimes just how nice June can be. There was nothing for it but to get outside. Since I had the day off, I happily joined Kristian in a trip to the Workshopped Shop in Surry Hills and then we walked around, checking out design stores, bookshops and cafes until we found a tremendously cute little place on Albion Street for lunch, Bruschetteria. I recommend it if you're in that part of town. They serve lots of great paninis and bruschettas and a nutella coffee that was unexpectedly good. All in all a pretty fine day!

Hopefully this weather keeps up for the weekend. There was an ambitious Ikea trip planned but I suspect it'll be a low key weekend with a focus on brunching, friends and sunshine. Hope you have a lovely weekend, whatever your plans!


Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Winter, or winner as I'm now calling it thanks to a helpful typo, is here! Historically, winter and I have a bit of a strained relationship, but this year I'm looking forward to focusing on all the good things about the season and will rejoice in the wearing of coats, scarves and boots and revel in stews, soups and hot, steamy drinks. The acquisition of several warm cardies is also helping immensely so far.

So to kick things off on a high note, let's talk risotto. It's a classic, winter favourite for all the right reasons: versatile, comforting, warming and nourishing. The other night I made it with mushrooms because they seem to have a very enduring love affair with risotto in my book but you can use just about anything - pumpkin, peas, pancetta, chicken and spinach are all firm friends with risotto as well.

Mushroom Risotto
Adapted from this recipe (incidentally, when you stumble across a recipe titled 'the infamous flickr mushroom risotto' you know it's going to be good)

200 grams Arborio rice
300 grams of brown mushrooms
a good dollop of olive oil
salt and pepper
1 litre of chicken stock
generous splash of dry white wine
25 grams of butter
a bundle of parsley, flat leaf
one leek
one garlic clove
about a tsp of grated lemon zest (my new favourite ingredient in just about everything)
as much Parmesan as you possibly dare using (I trust you'll know how much that is)

Thickly slice the mushrooms and chop the leeks finely. Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a large saucepan on medium heat. Saute the leeks and once they're softened add all of the mushrooms. Cook for several minutes, adding extra oil if necessary.  Once mushrooms start to brown, add the rice and the salt and lower the heat slightly. Add the garlic and lemon zest and cook for a couple of minutes then add enough stock and wine to cover the mushrooms and rice and pop the lid on. Keep adding stock and stirring every now and again as the rice begins to absorb the liquid.

Once the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed, add that Parmesan along with the butter and some pepper. Give it all a good stir and then serve with some chopped parsley and extra grated Parmesan.

There were second and possibly third helpings the other night but if you do have any leftover it does very well the next day too.