Autumn Pasta Salad with Fennel & Goats Cheese

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I recently bought a new bicycle after having my old one stolen from under the house (I’ve no luck with bikes – that was the third one I’ve had stolen!). Although I used to ride daily to and from work, it had been over a year since I’d been on a bike; once my pregnant belly started getting in the way at about seven months I had to stop cycling, and since W was born there was never the chance. Now that she is almost one, though, I can steal a few extra hours for myself on the weekends, so on Saturday mornings I jump on my new bike and head into work while S hangs out with W.

From our house to get to my work I cycle alongside the river, sun reflecting off the water, in and out of the shady trees. I had forgotten how much I love bike riding; the sense of freedom in movement, the ease of propulsion. Cycling is both rhythmic and effortless – legs go up, legs go down – a meditative motion. Much like swimming laps, I find the physical exertion clears my mind. Daily life is so full of stimulus; while I’m on my bike though, my mind is free to wander as it wants, letting the debris settle. It promotes untethered thinking, that balanced space where ideas and dreams rise to the surface. Continue reading “Autumn Pasta Salad with Fennel & Goats Cheese”

Israeli Cous Cous with Heirloom Carrots

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It’s great when a dish unexpectedly comes together. I’d picked up this Israeli cous cous at Mick’s Nuts (!) a couple of weeks ago with no plan for it in mind, but just because I love it and don’t come across it all that often. It’s the texture that I love – like eating mini-marbles! Then at the market on the weekend S casually pointed out a bunch of heirloom carrots at a stall we were strolling past, and while I was at the register about to pay for them, a big pile of sunset-coloured pomegranates tempted me, so I got one of those too.

The rest came together pretty easily. I’d been wanting to whip up a batch of date syrup to use as an alternative sweetener for a while now, and we always have fresh parsley and mint in the fridge. My mum had just sent me a bag of rose petals (which I had in mind for a whole other dish that I haven’t gotten around to making yet), and we had some baharat spice mix left over from the meatballs that S cooked a while back for our Middle Eastern Feast. Continue reading “Israeli Cous Cous with Heirloom Carrots”

Roasted Carrots with Tahini Drizzle + Middle Eastern Feast cont…

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And for the final part of the Middle Eastern Feast, the humble carrot.

I really wanted to make a dish that featured the carrot front and centre. Carrots have long been one of my favourite vegetables. What’s not to like? Crunchy and sweet when fresh, earthy and sticky when roasted, plus good for your eyesight. It’s a win-win situation. Continue reading “Roasted Carrots with Tahini Drizzle + Middle Eastern Feast cont…”

Chickpea Tabbouleh + Middle Eastern Feast

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Cooking during a heat wave is a real pain in the arse. Queensland spent the weekend being baked to a crisp. The temperature in Brisbane crept up into the high 30s, although other parts of the state had it much worse. The bushfires on Stradbroke Island are still raging as a I type this; 60% of the island has burned and a smoky haze has swept over the city, turning the moon ripe orange.

During the heat of Saturday our house was practically a sauna. And that was while we were sitting still – with the oven and stove-top on it would have been outrageous. Poor W had her afternoon nap drenched in sweat. Wisely, we ate lunch in an air-conditioned pub and then spent the afternoon at the pool. W went crazy for the water, kicking her little legs and laughing her little arse off at S and I diving and splashing around. Continue reading “Chickpea Tabbouleh + Middle Eastern Feast”

Roast Beetroot & Feta Salad

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“The beet is the most intense of vegetables…The beet is the melancholy vegetable, the one most willing to suffer. You can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip… The beet is the murderer returned to the scene of the crime. The beet is what happens when the cherry finishes with the carrot. The beet is the ancient ancestor of the autumn moon, bearded, buried, all but fossilized.”
From Jitterbug Perfume, by Tom Robbins

Since we moved to Brisbane, Saturday mornings are spent at the West End Markets. We like to go early, before the tourists start coming down and the lovely meanderings are hampered by the crowds. We always stop partway through our shop – S will get a coffee and I’ll get a green juice, and we’ll share a gozleme or get freshly baked croissants. W stares around taking it all in, happily chewing on the kale leaves poking out from the bag. Continue reading “Roast Beetroot & Feta Salad”

Herbed Quinoa with Almonds & Cranberries

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Over the last couple of months, since the weather has warmed up again, we’ve been in the habit of taking W for an evening stroll through the streets around our house. Sometimes it’s a quick spin around the block, other times we’ll walk for an hour or more as the light settles slowly into the horizon.

On Friday night as we were strolling through the park on top of the hill behind our house, the sky in front of us was blazing pink and it was all so steeped in lovely that we decided to come back the next evening for a picnic. Continue reading “Herbed Quinoa with Almonds & Cranberries”