Fig, Cardamom & Sesame Seed Kefir Smoothie

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I’ve been down in Melbourne all of this week house hunting for what is turning out to be a very imminent move down south. Which means I’m equal parts excited, tired and anxious. So I’ll leave keep it short here and leave you with this loveliest of smoothie recipes – the ideal meal when your house is half packed and your head is buzzing with to-do lists.

If you’ve not had it before, kefir tastes kinda like yoghurt, but is a lot tangier. It is thicker than milk, but thinner than most yoghurts, the consistency of a smoothie, more or less. It is also damn healthy, chock-full of probiotics to make your gut happy. You can drink it straight up, use it over muesli in place of milk, or do like I’ve done here and add it to a smoothie. Plus, it’s easy to make yourself. The kefir bandwagon is a good one to get on. Continue reading Fig, Cardamom & Sesame Seed Kefir Smoothie

Iced Tea, 2 Ways

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“I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea.”
– from ‘Notes from Underground’, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Brisbane summers are not for the feint of heart. By August spring is on the wind, and well before the new year summer has made herself good and comfortable. The air is heavy with moisture and summer dreaming. The sun is bright and hot up in an electric blue sky. Heat waves on top of the regular sub-tropical weather bring regular programming to a stop; all energy is spent on staying still and keeping core body temperature from boiling over. Continue reading Iced Tea, 2 Ways

Rhubarb Rosewater Syrup

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Summer has settled into Brisbane. The days are long and languid, the sun glaring down from electric blue skies. There is a moment in the very early hours of the morning when I wake up with the slightest shiver and pull the blanket up over me from the foot of the bed where we’ve kicked it to during the night. It doesn’t last long though; by the time the kids are awake the world is bright and hot again.

I spend my hot days in the house and walking the streets with the kids, visiting parks and libraries, swimming down at Southbank or at our local pool. Our fridge is always stocked with bottles of cold, cold water because all of this heat and all of this walking make me perpetually thirsty. The first thing we do, the kids and I, when we walk in the door is sit on the kitchen floor and share some water, taking turns to guzzle straight from the bottle. Continue reading Rhubarb Rosewater Syrup

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

Cashew & Cacao Bean Smoothie

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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 Cashew & Cacao Bean Smoothie

Turmeric & Ginger Juice

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Ubud has a whole raw, organic, health food thing going on. Fueled, I imagine, mostly by the expat community and the tourists coming through, the town has yoga studios, health food stores, organic restaurants, and raw food cafes. While I generally eschewed the raw food restaurants in favour of actual Balinese food, one of the health food drinks on most of the menus, which I love, wass turmeric juice. 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 Turmeric & Ginger Juice