Rhubarb Pound Cake

There’s a wild sunset brewing up over the Pacific. The water is glowing turquoise, the sky is turning crazy pink, the lights of the Santa Monica Ferris wheel are starting to pulse and spin in the twilight. Life is so interesting I’d like to stick around forever, just to see what happens, how it all turns out.
– from White Sands, Geoff Dyer

It’s been an age since I’ve posted. There are numerous reasons, none of which are particularly original – work, kids, life. But last Wednesday, T requested that we bake something together. He sat up on the kitchen bench and helped me stir and sift (and lick the bowl), small hands sticky with such pride and joy that I found myself wanting to preserve the moment. Continue reading “Rhubarb Pound Cake”

A Flâneur’s Guide to Kyoto

In Kyoto,
hearing the cuckoo,
I long for Kyoto.

– Bashō

I call this Kyoto Guide for lack of a better word. This isn’t a ‘guide’, not really. Rather, it is a motley collection of ramblings, and some suggestions of things to do/visit/eat/drink, from amongst those I enjoyed most during our two-week stay in Kyoto in May. To decide if this ‘guide’ is for you, let me say a few words about the kind of travellers that we are.  Continue reading “A Flâneur’s Guide to Kyoto”

Japanese-Style Mushroom Broth

“There is not city
But the city within.

No door, but the door
To simple wisdom.

We walk, dumb
As newborns.

Into the tremendous and endless
Blessing.”

– from ‘The Hinge’ by Cynthia Cruz

Last night was sweltering, the heat of the day barely letting up. And despite their exhaustion, the kids weren’t interested in sleeping. Too hot perhaps, too sticky. After kissing them goodnight, we could hear giggles and hushed voices from their bedroom. W had climbed into T’s bed and they were laughing, telling each other stories, grabbing toys and reading. Even through my frustration at their refusal to go to damn sleep, I was warmed by their closeness, aware that those stolen moments away from a parent’s prying eyes are the excitement of childhood.

Continue reading “Japanese-Style Mushroom Broth”

Pistachio & Rosewater Cake with Cardamom Frosting

— the dusk light, the cloud pattern,
recorded always in your heart

and the rest of the world — chaos
circling your winter boat.

– from ‘Last Ink’, Michael Ondaatje

The hot days are starting to roll across Melbourne, stretching out, settling in. The trees lining our street are heavy with new green leaves, the sky is a high blue question mark up above, dissolving at the horizon. Sweat beads across my upper lip as I bake bread in the morning.  Continue reading “Pistachio & Rosewater Cake with Cardamom Frosting”

Turmeric-Roasted Cauliflower Salad

Something woke me, something
feathered up against me in a dream.
Perhaps its soft tip of wing skipped
across my face…”

– from ‘Butterfly Kisses’, Ian McBryde

We have a Saturday morning family ritual. We wake up early, the kids tumbling into our bed for cuddles and giggles, burrowing deep under the blankets to ward off the Melbourne-morning chill. Usually around the time one of us receives an accidental knee to the groin, or elbow in the eye, we get up, throw our clothes on, and head over to Victoria Market for our weekly shopping.  Continue reading “Turmeric-Roasted Cauliflower Salad”

Masala Chai


again the emerald green pallu of her sari
tucked in at her hips, across her breast,
and cough it up over her shoulder a hush
of paprika and burnt honey across my face.

—   from ‘Wrap’ by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

India is unrelenting and wildly beautiful. It is an endless array of colour and scent and sound, a byproduct of the sheer density of population. It is also a geographic rainbow, from rolling tea hills to dry desert, high buddhist enclaves at the foothills of the Himalaya to incense-wreathed Hindu temples, the bustling metropolis of Mumbai to long stretches of sand and ocean down south. The one consistent thread, the soundtrack of India if you will, is the chai-wallah call to arms: chai, chai, coffee, chai, chai…  Continue reading “Masala Chai”

Coconut Turmeric Noodles

“…balance of humors, coconut liquor thinned / by broth, sour pulp of tamarind / cut through by salt, set off by fragrant / galangal, ginger, basil, cilantro, mint, / the warp and woof of texture…”

– from ‘Hot’ by Craig Arnold

Lately, both kids have been climbing into our bed at various points through the night, so by the morning all four of us are squeezed in together. We’re not sure if it’s these cold winter nights that have them seeking extra body warmth, or just that natural childish desire to be close, but either way it is a habit that is equally parts endearing and exasperating (much like parenting more generally, in fact).  Continue reading “Coconut Turmeric Noodles”