Brown Butter Cardamom Cake with Chai Buttercream Frosting


Content warning: many swears to follow, ‘coz sometimes only a fuck will do.

It struck my quite forcibly recently that I’m not just growing up, I’m growing older as well. We live in a house at the front of a rather large block; up the very back of the block are two more houses that share the same path as us, so that to reach them you have to pass by our house. Living in one of the back houses is a young couple recently moved to Brisbane, and the other is a share house of music students. Last week, one of the musicians stopped us on the path to let us know that they would be having a party on Saturday night, complete with a live band. I hope that’s okay. We assured him it was no problem for us. His reply? Thanks for being so awesome about it. He didn’t invite us to come along. Continue reading

Roasted Cherry Tomato Penne with Kale Pesto


We are on holiday. A long overdue, blissful, wonderful holiday. We haven’t ventured far – a one hour drive north plus another almost-hour on a ferry to Stradbroke Island. Despite having lived in Brisbane for just over five years now, we only first made it across to Straddie – as it is fondly known – earlier this year with some friends. We loved it – the chilled out, no-shoes, vibes was exactly what we were looking for. And so we came back.

Right now it’s late on Sunday afternoon. Both of the kids are fast asleep. I’ve got my computer set up at the long wooden table that takes up much of the main room here, big glass windows overlooking the deck. Perched up near the top of the hill, the house faces away from the road and feels as though it is nestled in the treetops. In the distance I can see the green-blue of the ocean, the beating of the waves a constant soundtrack. We just ate big bowls of quinoa salad for lunch and S and I have formulated a plan to stroll into town to eat gelato after the kids wake up. It’s a hard life, this one. Continue reading

Roasted Carrots, Crispy Lentils & Spicy Yoghurt


The crazy vegetables
Their tendrills and leaf-crowns,
Throbbing bulbs,
In the sub-soil
The carrot
With its red mustaches
Was sleeping…

From ‘Ode To The Artichoke’ by Pable Neruda

Pablo Neruda was one of the first poets that I learned to love, and one that I still love to this day. I have several of his collections sitting on my book shelf, tattered and well-thumbed, as all good books are. A prolific poet, his work is considerable. He is probably best known for his love poems and sonnets which are, undoubtedly, some of the finest you will ever read. Continue reading

Roast Butter Parsnips with Thyme Polenta


Do you like our new table? It’s the one in these photos. Rough dark-brown pine, full of knots and flaws. We especially chose something a little on the rustic side, where a few spills and knocks will only add character. Because we’ve got two little kids, and while we don’t want them to trash the house, exactly, we’re never going to be the kind of family that keeps the kids away from the furniture. We’re simply not that precious.

And besides, in the end we won’t love the table because it looks good. I mean I like things around the house to look good – I’m not immune to the simple pleasures of aesthetic beauty – but in the end we’ll love it because it will become imbued with our memories, our stories. We’ll sit at that table every night, all four of us, eating good food, talking about our day, aggravating one another and making each other laugh. Over time the narrative of our family will be deep in its cracks and its crevices. Continue reading

Golden Beetroot, Shallot & Grilled Apple Salad


My kids have decided that they will no longer nap at the same time during the day. My hour or two of midday quiet is gone. I won’t lie – I was pretty upset at first. I relied on that hour or two. But they’re both still damn cute, and I roll with the punches.

So yesterday morning, while T had his long morning sleep, W and I holed ourselves up in the kitchen. She helped me slice and roast and grill and photograph and then we sat on the floor and ate. W had avocado on toast and slices of grilled apple. I had goat’s cheese on fresh rye bread and great delicious big forkfuls of this salad. Continue reading

Heidi Swanson’s Vaghareli Makai + Makhaniya Lassi


In these days of food blogs and online savvy, I’m relatively picky when it comes to buying cookbooks. I have a few on the shelf that I refer to time and again and though I’m always flipping through the glossy pages of cookbooks at the book shop it’s only rarely that I’ll purchase a new one. However Heidi Swanson’s new book, Near & Far: Recipes Inspired by Home and Travel, was a no-brainer.

You’re probably familiar with Heidi Swanson through her blog 101 Cookbooks. In fact, you’re probably already a fan. It’s hard not to be. Heidi’s signature style is unmissable. Her muted photography, easy storytelling, and wholesome recipes are among the gold standard of food blogging. And the same applies to her books. Near & Far is a work of art. It feels good in the hand; textured cover and thick matte paper. Part travel journal, the images weave a story from a door frame in Morocco to the streetscape of San Francisco, complimenting the recipes and the words and combining to create a strong sense of wanderlust. From India to Japan, Heidi evokes a strong sense of place, of looking from within rather than from without. Continue reading

Sprout Salad with Crème Fraîche Dressing


I’ve been staying up later than usual these last few nights (which is still pretty early for most grown-ups). I’ve been eating dark chocolate and doing some creative writing. I am an incredibly undisciplined writer, but I’m determined to get at least one of my perpetually unfinished stories done.

Writing, for me at least, is equal parts pleasure and pain. It takes me forever to get into a groove and I perpetually edit-as-I-write, and am way too critical of my work. All of that said, when I do get into the groove and the words start to flow and my ideas take shape on the page, well, nothing feels quite like it. Continue reading