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

Rosewater, Pistachio & Cardamom Cake

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The Melbourne summer is markedly different to the Brisbane one. Up north the heat is well settled in by Christmas time, and the days follow one another predictably hot and steamy. Down south though, the heat is dry and crackly, and a sweltering day can easily be followed by a grey drizzly one. Needless to say, I know I’ve been away for a while when I come to Melbourne without a cardigan or jumper!

W, S and I flew down a few days before Christmas to spend the festive season with our families. I do love coming down to Melbourne, despite how busy our visits are – W is in high demand by the grandparents and assorted family members. It does feel like a holiday nonetheless, and I love walking through Melbourne’s timeworn streets and green parks, partaking of her delicious food (we’re off to Tiamo for lunch today!), catching up with people. Continue reading Rosewater, Pistachio & Cardamom Cake

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

Tea in Hoi An

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I am an avid tea drinker. Our kitchen bench is piled high with teapots and jars of tea leaves. Morning isn’t really morning for me without a cup of tea. Or morning tea. Or afternoon tea. Or bedtime. You get the drift. Tea. I like to drink it.

So when, on our recent trip to Vietnam, we stumbled across a perfect tea house in Hoi An, it quickly became our favourite haunt. It was everything a tea house should be – simple, with wooden beams overhead and big windows in the front to let in the natural light. Jars of tea and spices were arranged along the counter and the handmade tea sets were carefully arranged across the tables. Continue reading Tea in Hoi An

Wattleseed & Macadamia Cookies

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A few weeks ago I bought some wattleseed with no particular plan for it. At first I wanted to bake it in scones, but it isn’t scone weather here for a good four or five months yet. I tossed up a few other options but ultimately decided on a big batch of cookies so I would have enough baked treats to give as gifts.

I made the dough for these cookies a few days ago, but didn’t get around to actually baking them until today. W woke up early from her nap, so she happily played with a finished carton of soymilk on the kitchen floor while I rolled and sugared and photographed. Once I got the first batch in the oven, the whole house started to smell nutty and buttery and sugary and all types of good. Continue reading Wattleseed & Macadamia Cookies

Homemade Muesli Bars

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Last weekend the rains came down in the way that they only can in the tropics. The afternoon skies grow darker and darker, bruised by the clouds rolling in. Then all at once the rain comes down hard and heavy and releases the building heat of the day. There is something wild in tropical rain, like living on the edge.

Our generous front verandah is the perfect rain-watching spot – sheltered from the wet but open to the smell of rich earth and the touch of cool breezes. The tin roof echoes the falling rain delightfully through the house. So we sat and watched the rains come in, and when we went to bed they were still coming. And when I woke up in the early hours to give W a feed and cuddle her into our bed, it was still raining. Continue reading Homemade Muesli Bars

Coconut Almond Muesli

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I could happily eat muesli every day; it tastes like early autumn and is full of my favourite things. S, on the other hand, only eats muesli occasionally and definitely not on the weekends. He says that it’s a workday brekky. To that I dismissively say, pffft! Besides which, muesli is so easily jazzed up if you’re feeling fancy – tropicana with fresh mango and pineapple, in winter with poached vanilla pears, with thick greek yoghurt and maple syrup for a decadent breakfast.

I first learned to make my own muesli when I was eighteen and living out of home. I was the only girl in a big share house in St Kilda; it was like having four big brothers. We shopped communally and ate together – no left-over pizza and instant coffee breakfasts in my uni student days! Continue reading Coconut Almond Muesli