Black Rice & Passionfruit Salad

Morning finds her curled like a prawn
Around a stuffed blue Pegasus, or the smallest
Prawn-pink lion. Or else she’s barging
Into my room, and leaning in close so
It’s her hair I wake to — that coarse, dark
Heaven of knots and purple fluff.

She wants a movie, or maybe
Just the tussle of her will against mine,
That scrape and crack. Horn on rock. Rope
Relenting one fiber at a time. ‘I want that,’ she says,
Punctuating what she just said she wanted.

– from ‘4½’ by Tracy K. Smith

Neither of our children are four-and-a-half. T has only just turned four, and W is almost six. I remember when they were babies, both of them perpetually curled into me – their tiny hands and translucent half-moon fingernails. Everything smelt of breastmilk and sweat and the coconut oil that we rubbed onto their fat thighs and soft bellies. At night I would roll over and there was always a baby there, eyelids flickering, and what could they be dreaming of?  Continue reading “Black Rice & Passionfruit Salad”

Red(ish) Fruit Salad

islands parting tides as meteors burn the air.
Oysters powder to chalk in my hands.

– from ‘The River’ by Robert Adamson

It’s been raining for days.* Heavy rains that leave the air humid and cloying. A sky washed in bruised shades of grey. It makes the spring greens look impossibly greener, the overhead leaves seem closer reflected into prisms by raindrops. T describes the weather in the simplest terms: rain, sun, rain, sun, rain, sun, rain. An apt description. We walked to school the other days in gumboots and umbrellas, W’s skirt tucked up inside her rain jacket. And she still had to change into a dry set of clothes by the time we got there.  Continue reading “Red(ish) Fruit Salad”

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”

Toasted Coconut & Green Mango Salad

green-mango-coconut-salad

Whenever I go someplace new, I seek out the markets. Not the tourist trinket traps, or even the quirky weekend crafty markets (though I’ve a fond spot for those as well). I seek out the produce markets frequented by locals, where they sell the fruit and veg and, if you’re lucky, some damn fine street food. Usually you have to get up good and early to catch markets at their bustle-y best, but each place has its very own rhythms. No matter my feelings towards a new town or city, discovering the markets will inevitably allow me to tap into the heart and the beauty of a place.

A few years ago in India I arrived in Jaipur late one afternoon. After checking in and stuffing my face with delicious aloo paratha I took a stroll around the streets. I turned a corner and stumbled across the most colourful market sprawled in the narrow alley between two rows of buildings. Although I associate produce markets with early morning, this one was doing a brisk evening trade. Baskets heaped high with gleaming purple eggplant, plump sweet peas in their jackets, mounds of turmeric and fiery red chilli, were being picked over by elegant women in saris and salwars, tiny bangle-clad children underfoot. I bought myself a street-side chai, found a perch, and drank it all in. It was during that moment I fell in love with India. Continue reading “Toasted Coconut & Green Mango Salad”

Bircher Muesli

bircher-muesli-figs

Breakfast has always been one of my favourite meals of the day. I’ve never been able to skip it. I love taking my time over breakfast – eating, reading, chatting. I also heartily approve of second breakfasts. In fact, one of the best things about weekends is second breakfast. Followed by brunch, then lunch. And then you can start planning dinner. But I digress…

I tend to get into breakfast grooves. As a uni student living in Carlton, most every day for about two years I would have a big bowl of muesli for brekky while reading my school texts, followed by a percolated coffee and a cigarette sitting on the green bench in our freezing cold courtyard. When S and I were first hanging out, getting to know one another, whenever he would stay over breakfast would be down at the uni cafe – almond croissant for him, orange poppyseed muffin for me, long blacks and hand-rolled cigarettes for both of us. Continue reading “Bircher Muesli”

Coconut Cacao Granola

 

coconut-cacao-granola-milk

When I was growing up all I ever wanted was coco pops for breakfast. They looked so enticing and candy-like, turning the milk chocolate brown. Of course at home it was all healthy cereals and grain toast for us. And here’s the thing, the first time I did have coco pops – at a friends place the morning after a sleep over – it was such a disappointment. They were totally bland.

This granola, on the other hand, is totally not bland. It is, in fact, totally delicious. It is no secret that breakfast is one of my favourite meals of the day – all types of porridge in the winter, and various styles of muesli in the summer. This granola is perfect for the in-between seasons, for autumn and for spring. It is kind of like a treat (and it does indeed turn the milk chocolate brown), but also perfectly healthy and reasonable to have for breakfast. Continue reading “Coconut Cacao Granola”

Raw Apricot, Coconut & Tangerine Energy Balls

raw-apricot-coconut-tangerine-energy-balls-closeup

The past few weeks have passed by in a blur. A couple of weeks ago we took a lightning trip down to Victoria that involved driving all across the state visiting various family members and hanging out with friends. It was both lovely and exhausting in equal measure. By the time we got back W had caught a cold, which myself and then S both proceeded to catch as well. This coincided with a really busy work week for S and a number of work deadlines for me, plus a couple of new teeth for W. Needless to say, it wasn’t my favourite week.

This week though, promises to be a helluva lot better. We’re all recovered from being sick. It is warm and sunny, and yesterday the three of us strolled around New Farm and Teneriffe playing in parks and eating gelato (W’s first ice cream!). It’s a public holiday today so S has taken W off for a play in the park and I’ve had a quiet morning home alone to do things like take a long shower, drink a cuppa on the verandah, and now write this blog post. We’ve also got a trip to Ubud coming up on less than two weeks to look forward to.

Continue reading “Raw Apricot, Coconut & Tangerine Energy Balls”