Peanut Soba Noodle Salad

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The day last week that I made this Peanut Soba Noodle Salad turned into a bit of a madhouse. The noodle salad is a variation on a dish that I make regularly and can do with my eyes closed, so my plan was to whip it up and photograph it while W was having her nap, and then when she woke up we’d share it for lunch.

Things didn’t quite go according to plan. Firstly, I had a bunch of rhubarb in the fridge too, so on a whim I decided that I’d also put together a crumble (recipe coming soon!) and that while it was in the oven I’d make the peanut soba noodles. Two birds, one stone. By the time I got around to making the noodles, the kitchen was already quite a mess (I hadn’t cleaned up the breakfast dishes yet) and bench space was becoming scarce. Rather than stop, do a quick load of dishes, and clear a space, I decided to forge ahead with the noodles, making even more mess and balancing bowls and all manner of things precariously on top one another. Continue reading

Lemon & Lentil Soup

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About three years ago I had the pleasure of travelling across western Queensland with the food writer Matthew Evans, on a food writing tour. We drove 800km inland under flat blue skies into cotton country, where green fields stretched into an endless horizon and at every door we were greeted with fresh scones.

After trading in his life as a Sydney food critic, these days Matthew lives on a small farm in Tasmania with his partner and son, where he grows his own veges and raises pigs. Matthew believes in good food – fresh seasonal ingredients grown yourself or sourced from your local farmers market. He believes that mass-produced food and industrial farming sacrifices both quality and ethics. During the many hours spent driving across Queensland, listening to his passion for, and knowledge of, food and food production, it was hard not to agree. Continue reading

Weekend in Sydney

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Last weekend we spent two nights in Sydney. It was a very belated birthday trip for S, and a much needed break for all of us in a busy few months. We stayed in the heart of Surry Hills, which is one of my favourite suburbs of Sydney. An old working class neighbourhood, these days Surry Hills is all beautiful tree-lined streets, double-storied terraces and converted warehouses, pocket-sized parks and corner bakeries, trendy pubs and bookstore-cafes.

But of course this being a food blog, let me tell you about some of what we ate! We started out with lunch at Kepos Street Kitchen. I had falafel with hummus and minty tabbouleh, S had a chicken sandwich, W gorged on chips – it was all quite delicious. Breakfast both mornings was coffee and croissants from the tiny corner Bourke Street Bakery, and Saturday night dinner was a selection of cheeses – cave-aged goats cheese and a lovely manchego – from the Formaggi Ocello. Continue reading

Bean & Fennel Salad

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We just got home from a lovely long weekend down in Sydney. We stayed in the heart of Surry Hills where we walked the streets, ate a ton of good food, visited markets, and even took a ferry ride in the Sunday morning sunshine. As weekend trips often are it was both relaxing and exhausting in equal measure, but it always feels good to be away from home and exploring someplace new. I’ll post some pics and food tips from the trip later in the week, but in the meantime this post is going to be short and sweet coz a warm cozy bed is calling my name!  Continue reading

Hummingbird Cake

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A few weekends ago my brother and sister-in-law came up from Melbourne for a weekend visit. It was the first time they’d been up since W was born and it was especially lovely to watch them play and laugh with her. We didn’t do much – went to the market, cooked good food, ate good food, talked. My kind of weekend.

On the Saturday we spent most of the morning on the front verandah. S cooked us all up homemade baked beans and freshly brewed coffee and we lazed in the warm mid-winter sun. Having been up here in Brisbane for almost four years now, I’d forgotten what an incredible luxury hot sunshine in June actually is. Continue reading

Potato & Brussels Sprouts Salad

Potato-Brussels-Sprouts-Salad-Birdseye

I’ve recently discovered the enjoyment of the journey. Normally, getting from one place to the next, like from the bus stop back home, is about functionality, the necessity of moving from one space to another. I’m often listening to music or checking my phone, composing work emails in my head or thinking about what to cook for dinner. Not paying much attention to what is going on outside of me.

Lately, though, W is just full of curiosity. Her favourite game is to point at the sky, a bird flying overhead, a car, a tree, all with a sweet questioning sound, prompting me to pay attention so that I can talk to her about the world around us. She is also full of beans, and more often than not on the way back from a walk to the shops or the park, she’ll start wriggling and decide she wants to get down and walk. Suddenly a five minute trip home becomes a twenty minute amble as we stop to play with some bright red berries growing on a bush on the nature strip, lean against a sun-warmed rock, pick up some smooth strangely-shaped sticks from the gutter, or back track to examine a particularly interesting collection of stones. Continue reading

Toasted Oat Porridge with Boozy Poached Pears

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Many years ago I spent about 12 months living in a big old share house on top of the hill in Brunswick. It had a bright red front door and a hallway full of bikes in various states of use and repair. It was right next to car wash in which we held some pretty epic parties, and it had a lovely green garden that caught the morning light.

It was a great place to live – I made good friends there, and wrote most of my thesis there as well. The one downside was that it was freezing fucking cold during the long Melbourne winters. My room was out the back and had this great big window overlooking the backyard. Beautiful in summer letting in all the light, but so cold in winter letting in the air gusts between the cracks. I used to hunker down in bed, dreading the midnight toilet run. Continue reading