Pan-Fried Greens with Brown Rice & An Egg

greens-eggs-bowl

It’s Monday night. The weekend just past was a busy one. I spent all of Saturday out at Beaudesert for work, getting home in time for dinner, showers, storytime with the kids, then bed. Sunday flew past as Sundays are wont to do and suddenly it was the start of a new week. It was grey and drizzly all day, fine almost-rain that shrouded the city in mist. The streets were quiet. I dropped W at daycare and met a friend for coffee. I bought a book and read while T slept.

And now, it’s Monday night. Both kids are sleeping and I’m sitting curled up in a corner of the couch with my big slouchy woolen jumper on. There is a rhubarb-orange crumble in the oven (and some vanilla bean ice cream in the freezer), all ready for the eating. The sound of the rain is complimenting the scent of oven-browned crumble. I’ve started watching Orange is The New Black. Tonight my big plans include getting into bed, watching an episode, and eating crumble. Continue reading

Pear & Cardamom Spelt Scones

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Take bread away from me, if you wish,
take air away, but
do not take from me your laughter.

– from ‘Your Laughter’ by Pablo Neruda

I’m all about lists at the moment. Grocery lists, work lists, shopping lists, ten-year planning lists. Writing out the lists makes me feel as though half the work is done. An extremely easy sense of accomplishment. Here is another type of list; the list of a tired woman with two very small and very beautiful children. Continue reading

Parsnip & Sweet Potato Fries

parsnip-sweet-potato-fries

We celebrated the start of winter with a swim at the beach. Such is the life when living in the sub-tropics! We spent the weekend before last out at Stradbroke Island. Stradbroke is barely an hour from Brisbane but the act of getting on a ferry and leaving the car behind on the mainland amps the sense of distance. Along with some friends, we hired a house halfway up a hill with a view of the ocean and lazed away three days walking barefoot on the sand, swimming in the salty sea, pushing W on the swings, cooking and eating and talking.

The lovely thing about going away on holiday is the break from the pace and routines of the everyday. The slowing down. With two small people and work and life, things are pretty busy for S and I these days. Little T has just started teething, and his favourite place to sleep is in my (or S’s) arms. At home I use the kids’ nap times to do stuff – cook, work, write, yoga. But out at Stradbroke Island I let T nap in my arms to his heart’s content. And the smell of his little head and the twitch of his little lips warmed my soul. Continue reading

Simple Spiced Pilaf + Roasted Carrots

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South of my days’ circle, part of my blood’s country,
rises that tableland, high delicate outline
of bony slopes wincing under the winter,
low trees, blue-leaved and olive, outcropping granite-
clean, lean,  hungry country…

From ‘South of my Days’, Judith Wright

It’s the first day of winter today. After a warm weekend the cooler weather finally seems to have settled. The skies are overcast and there is a cold wind blowing. I pulled out the warm baby doona from the cupboard for little T and have all the windows closed even though it is the middle of the day. I’m drinking a pot of tea as I write this, S’s big woolen socks on my feet. Winter brings with it a strange sense of melancholic satisfaction, at once the desire to stay still and go internal, and at the same time to escape to far-flung places. I’m in the mood for watching movies, going to bed early, drinking red wine, listening to jazz, writing stories. And eating all things roasted. Continue reading

Banana & Rosemary Loaf with Tahini-Vanilla Glaze

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I spent Monday driving out to Boonah (or being driven out, as it were). Boonah is about an hour south of Brisbane. An easy drive, we left under heavy grey clouds and drove through until the skies were clear blue, studded with long cotton-wool wisps of white. The country is dry at the moment, shades of brown intersected by the highway and copses of deep green trees. Before we left on our way back, we picked up takeaway coffee and cake from the local cafe The Story Tree. I got a slice of lime and coconut cake and by the time we had walked back to the car, it was gone. And it was delicious.

We spent the day in Boonah launching a storytelling program for the region, an exploration of memory, truth and history. Author Kristina Olsson (whose book Boy, Lost is a heartbreaking and incredible read) spoke eloquently about the slippery nature of truth, about the way that when we tell the stories of our childhood, our families, our histories, everything is filtered through our imperfect and inherently subjective memories. That any single event or moment from the past can have multiple truths, depending on who is doing the remembering. Continue reading

Roasted Beetroot with Crispy Lentils & Dill Yoghurt

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“The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious.

The beet is the murderer returned to the scene of the crime…the dark green sails of the grounded moon-boat stitched with veins of primordial plasma; the kite string that once connected the moon to the Earth now a muddy whisker drilling desperately for rubies.

The beet was Rasputin’s favorite vegetable. You could see it in his eyes.”

– from Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins

Continue reading

Szechuan Tofu with Soba Noodles

szechuan-tofu-noodles

rain that defies rain’s downwardness
and spools past the windows, frame by frame –
film after film of Edwardian rain.
Rain as a haunting, rain’s ghost train.

– from ‘Rain’ by Jacob Polley

Friday was all kinds of wet. Sometime early in the predawn morning the skies opened up and the rains just kept on coming. I cancelled plans to meet friends for coffee and book shopping in the morning and instead we stayed at home. It was so overcast outside that the house was dark and cool even in the middle of the day. The rain never stopped, coming down hard and the easing off in turns; when it came down hard on the roof it blocked out all sound, a kind of white noise. Continue reading