Potato Latkes

potato-latkes

For the first time in my life, I’m living in a house that has a Christmas tree. And it has presents underneath it! It may be a paper tree about 10cm tall, but it is a tree nonetheless. It was S’s idea to bring some Christmas spirit into the house now that W is (kind of) old enough to catch on to the whole shebang. Usually we would be in Victoria at his mum’s place for the holiday, but as I’m giving birth in a few weeks we’ve decided to stay close to home this year. A quiet one, just the three of us. I think I understand it now – the way the excitement builds as you watch the pile of presents under the tree grow, but you’re not allowed to actually open them until Christmas morning.

We’ve decided not to go overboard on the whole presents thing though. We don’t want Christmas to become all about THE STUFF for W. We’re sticking with a few books this year – and whatever goodies come from the grandparents – and as she gets older we’ll ask her to give away some of her old toys each year to make way for the new ones. Continue reading

Nectarine, Pistachio & Cauliflower Couscous

nectarine-pistachio-cauliflower-couscous-angle

Lately I’ve been waking up in the early hours of the morning, needing to get a drink and go to the toilet. I love walking through the silent house. We leave the blinds and windows open at night so that the cool air and moon shadows drift through. The cold water from the fridge is like honey nectar to my parched mouth, and before crawling back into bed beside S, I always open up the mosquito net around W’s bed and check in on her, fast asleep, snoring ever so softly.

I suppose that moments alone are far and few between these days. Some people recharge through company, others through time spent alone, and I’ve always been someone drawn to solitude. I have also always been an early riser and used to love the quiet of the house before anyone else was awake, whether it was doing yoga with the morning sun, or drinking a cuppa and reading the news in the garden. These days W also wakes nice and early, which of course is its own kind of lovely. Continue reading

Cashew & Cacao Bean Smoothie

cashew-cacao-bean-smoothie-spoon

During our recent Balinese sojourn we stayed in Penestanan, an area just on the outskirts of Ubud. Our house wasn’t accessible by car – to reach the area from the main road below we had to climb a long flight flight of stairs shadowed by tropical plants. Once up the top everything was interconnected by concrete walkways that were bordered on one side by a shallow flowing stream, and on the other side by houses, or greenery, or long drops into fern-studded ravines. The area also had its own little assortment of shops, cafes, and fruit stalls.

On our first day in Bali, after the long lines at customs and the drive from the airport, we arrived in Ubud just before nightfall. W was tired and S and I were fucking starving. Only a few minutes walk from our place, we discovered the Yellow Flower Cafe, having its weekly Balinese buffet. The food was all kinds of delicious – laden with tempeh, peanuts, green beans, toasted coconut. Continue reading

Turmeric & Ginger Juice

turmeric-ginger-juice-lime

Ubud has a whole raw, organic, health food thing going on. Fueled mostly by the expat community and the tourists coming through, the town has yoga studios, health food stores, organic restaurants, and raw food cafes. One of the health food drinks on most of the menus is turmeric juice, which I loved. It was prepared in different ways in different places – sometimes as part of a smoothie, other times just as a juice.

For the last year or so I’ve been loving this turmeric tea of a morning. At the moment though, Brisbane is going through a crazy heat wave. Too hot to be drinking hot drinks. But I wanted to keep drinking my turmeric tea, so I recreated the cold versions that I drank all through Ubud. It is actually really easy to make – it is just a matter of preparing the ‘syrup’ ahead of time, and away you go. The style of turmeric juice I enjoyed the most in Ubud included a mixture of coconut water and lime juice, which I’ve replicated here. Continue reading

Soba Noodle Salad

sesame-soba-noodle-salad-closeup

It’s been rather an unusual weekend. For starters, Brisbane has been in the midst of a crazy heatwave (it is still 36°c and it is 7:30pm in the evening as I write this). Our lovely Queenslander house atop the hill usually stays pretty cool, but on a weekend like this, with not much of a breeze to speak of, it is like living in a sauna. Plus being seven months pregnant doesn’t help the situation at all. So basically it has been too hot to go out, and too hot to stay in.

The second thing that made the weekend unusual was the fact that Brisbane is hosting the G20 summit. We live only a few minutes walk from where all the action is going down, and between the police presence, the near-constant helicopters, and the road blockages, going out was a bit of a saga. S did have to head into the city on Saturday morning and alas, a trip that shouldn’t have taken more than an hour ended up taking almost three as Obama was driving through to the summit centre right at that very moment, and S got caught in the street shutdown. Continue reading

Ubud, Bali

bali-ducksIn the 8th century a Javanese Hindu priest by the name of Rsi Markendya came to Bali. At the place were two rivers met, campuhan, he sat and meditated. Soon a temple was built to mark the holy site, and so the beginnings of what is now known as Ubud. The name of the town comes from the ancient Balinese word ubad, which means medicine, and was once a place renowned for its medicinal herbs and plants.

These days Ubud is all bright green rice paddies and heavy scooter traffic; raw food cafes and roast suckling pig; masses of tourists bussed in for the day from their beachside resorts and hippie travellers staying awhile; yoga studios and wooden penis bottle openers; hindu temples and high-end fashion shops. Continue reading

Purple Cabbage, Zucchini & Dill ‘Slaw

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“It is often mild distraction that moves the imagination forward, not uninterrupted concentration. Thinking then works by indirection, sauntering in a roundabout way to places it cannot reach directly.”

From Woolf’s Darkness by Rebecca Solnit

Sometimes I wish that I had more time to myself. More time in which to read and write, to think, to daydream. It makes me wonder what I did with all the time in the day that was mine before I had a kid. Procrastinated, drank beer. One thing about not having a lot of free time is that when I do have it, I (usually) use it better – when you only have an hour till the child wakes up again procrastination is not an option. Which is why I like the quote above; it reminds me that my creative juices will continue to flow despite everything. Continue reading