Chia Bowl, 2 Ways

chia-seed-pudding

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

– from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Imagining the impossible is a wonderful thing to do. Children are, of course, experts at this. Ground down by reality, us adults need a little more practice. Cooking is, I find, the perfect conduit to the creative. In the same way that the paradoxical ‘going forward and standing still’ of train travel lets the imagination break free, so does the paradoxical ‘action and waiting’ of cooking. A flurry of cutting and slicing and chopping followed by a slow methodical stirring; sifting and stirring and kneading and then sitting by the oven, waiting. Plenty of time to imagine the impossible. Continue reading “Chia Bowl, 2 Ways”

Heidi Swanson’s Vaghareli Makai + Makhaniya Lassi

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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 “Heidi Swanson’s Vaghareli Makai + Makhaniya Lassi”

Homemade Oat Milk + Stovetop Granola

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Given the refugee crisis engulfing Europe – and the world – at the moment, writing about milk and oats seems totally trivial. The first time the heartbreaking image of little Aylan Kurdi lying dead on the beach came up in my feed I couldn’t look away. There was something about the way he was lying that looked just like the way my daughter sleeps in her bed at night and I couldn’t stop thinking of how scared he must have been in the ocean, alone, at the end. Of how he deserved to be safe and warm in bed, just like my kids.

It only makes me all the more angry at Australia’s punitive and heartless refugee policies. This is the supposedly ‘lucky country’, and it has been transformed over the last century by immigrants from Europe, from Asia, from the Middle East, from Africa. Made a richer, and a better, place to live thanks to the diverse cultures and hard work of so many refugees and migrants. This is my personal history – my grandparents came over as refugees after World War II – but it is also our collective history, our collective culture. We shouldn’t stand by as cruelties are perpetrated in our name. We may not have voted for this government, but this is our shame. We need to demand better. Continue reading “Homemade Oat Milk + Stovetop Granola”

Leek & Zucchini Frittata

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I woke up today and, just like that, it is spring. The air has lost its chill, the first of the jasmine is in bloom, the sky is the clearest highest dreamiest blue. A glossy fat lizard is sun-baking in our neighbour’s front garden, birds are singing on a wire, and I’m walking around in bare feet.

A short post today. I’ve had an emotionally draining week this one just past, and not nearly enough sleep. After a weekend of overcast skies and probably too much introspection, blue skies is what I needed to wake up to this morning. Too maudlin for a food blog? Perhaps. But there you have it. Continue reading “Leek & Zucchini Frittata”

Rose Petal, Cashew & Olive Oil Granola

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My desk is a small, white, wooden number with a set of drawers on the left. The desktop is chipped and nicked, scarred and smudgy. I’ve had it for over seven years now. It’s seen me through all sorts of houses and various endeavours – planning festivals, uni essays, story writing, starting this here blog.

I brought it up north with me from Melbourne. I first got it when we lived in the small terrace house by the train line. It belonged to a friend of my mum’s and despite its small size, it does have a wide girth and so wouldn’t fit in the front door. We had to rope it in through the front window and so it continued to live in the front room, overlooking the trains and the cars and the raggedy white rose bush in the front garden. Continue reading “Rose Petal, Cashew & Olive Oil Granola”

Semolina Porridge & Maple Baked Apples

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When you go to the supermarket you usually find three or four types of apples – golden delicious, granny smith, pink lady, fuji. Sometimes you might come across a jonathan, or a red delicious. Truth is there are scores of different heirloom apple varieties – sundowner, jazz, alvina, cameo, eve, royal gala, winesap, bramley… These days, though, commercial apple farmers grow the apples for their look and their ability to be stored and travel well. Taste, sadly, is not on the top of the list. If you want to delve into the many different apples available, you need to head down to apple country and find yourself some growers.

We’re pretty lucky to have found a grower down at our local market who comes up from Stanthorpe – Queensland’s apple capital – every week. Each week he’ll have some 8 – 10 apple varieties to choose from, along with – season depending – pears, quince, persimmon. I tend to go for crunchy not-overly-sweet apples, and for ages I was loving the alvinas until they went out of season. Lately it’s been cameos, but they are now at the end of their season too. Continue reading “Semolina Porridge & Maple Baked Apples”

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 “Pear & Cardamom Spelt Scones”