Roasted Cauliflower, Spelt & Za’atar Bowl

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Her chariot is an empty hazelnut
Made by the joiner squirrel or old grub,
Time out o’ mind the fairies’ coachmakers.
And in this state she gallops night by night
Through lovers’ brains, and then they dream of love;
– from ‘Romeo & Juliet’, Shakespeare

First up, an apology. Things have been sporadic and rather quiet around here of late. Mostly because the last few months have been crazy for us – we moved interstate in April and since then it’s been a cacophony of new jobs, new daycare for the kids, new houses, renovations, getting used to the cold cold Melbourne weather. It’ll be another month, at least, ’til things settle back down. And then I will definitely be back – I’ve got a long list of kitchen ideas on various bits of paper, in my diary, on the back pages of books I’m reading. Continue reading Roasted Cauliflower, Spelt & Za’atar Bowl

Pistachio Dukkah

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I’m sitting on the couch, cross-legged, woolen socks on. It’s late afternoon, raining outside, low grey skies, seeping damp. Both of the kids are asleep. I’m balancing a milky cup of earl grey tea and a thick slice of banana bread on the couch armrest. Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem cookbook is open on the table in front of me – I’m planning Swiss Chard Fritters and Mejadra for dinner tonight.

A moment of calm in the chaos. Continue reading Pistachio Dukkah

Pear Buckwheat Cake with Rosemary, Dark Chocolate & Hazelnuts

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“Flour on the floor makes my sandals
slip and I tumble into your arms.

Too hot to bake this morning but
blueberries begged me to fold them

into moist muffins. Sticks of rhubarb
plotted a whole pie…”

– from ‘Baked Goods’ by Aimee Nezhukumatahil

There is something of the magic in baking.

Whenever we make a cake together, my three-year-old daughter sits up on the bench and helps out with the pouring and the mixing. She’s learned how to crack eggs against the side of the bowl without getting the shell in the batter, and is an expert at making mountains in the flour.  Continue reading Pear Buckwheat Cake with Rosemary, Dark Chocolate & Hazelnuts

Beetroot, Quinoa & Hazelnut Salad

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My older brother and his daughter have been coming around on Wednesdays to spend the day with us. The kids fight play together, and we hang out, shoot the shit. He lives in Taiwan these days, so it is especially nice to be able to spend some time together. It is also especially nice to be able to spend some time with my niece – she is small and sweet and funny.

Brothers are a lovely thing. I have two. One older, one younger. Having lived away from my hometown for the past six years, my favourite part of homecoming thus far has been having my brothers (and my nieces) in close proximity. There is something tangible about the sibling bond that I had forgotten about these past few years. They are the only two people that I feel comfortable punching with all my strength, that I can whinge with without feeling guilty, that love my kids in the way that only family can, that laugh at their own bad jokes in a way that is somehow endearing. Continue reading Beetroot, Quinoa & Hazelnut Salad

Beetroot, Brussels Sprouts & Bourgal Salad with Maple-Orange Dressing

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We were woken up at 3am on Sunday morning with a sudden roar of wind and rain. W cried out in fright, and it sounded as though the trees out the front were creaking and cracking and breaking. Whenever I’m cosy in bed listening to wild weather outside I’m always reminded of the fantastic tornado scene in the Wizard of Oz. Although of course when we woke up on Sunday morning we were still in Brisbane.

And so I bundled the kids up in jackets and scarves and beanies in anticipation of the cold front that was predicted to hit. Indeed, it was forecast for -3°c in Brisbane. And let me remind you that Brisbane is in the sub-tropics, so that is crazy talk. Turned out the cold front wasn’t quite that cold. Sure, it’s been chilly, and we’ve been wearing or woolens for the last 48 hours, but it hasn’t quite reached into the minus degrees. Not even close, thankfully. I did not move all the way to Queensland to be cold. Continue reading Beetroot, Brussels Sprouts & Bourgal Salad with Maple-Orange Dressing

Hazelnut Cherry Granola

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While no one loves being woken up before 5am by a hungry baby, there is something special about watching the sunrise. Still half asleep yesterday morning I sat up in bed, son in my arms, staring out of the window as the sky slowly paled from ink to clear blue, and pink cloud-studded streaks blossomed on the horizon. By the time I lay back down again the sun was the palest yellow, a soft egg yolk hanging low in the sky.

Yesterday was the first day in Brisbane that really felt like autumn had come to play. The evening was breezy and the air fresh rather than heavy with heat. After dinner it was cool enough for a cuppa before bed, and during the night we dragged the doona over ourselves. This morning as I pottered around the kitchen barefoot making tea, I found myself shivering for the briefest of moments. After months and months of crazy humidity and high heat, autumn is most welcome. Continue reading Hazelnut Cherry Granola

Raw Cacao, Orange & Fig Energy Balls

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Girraween National Park in Queensland sits on the border with New South Wales, and is a spectacular display of tumbling granite boulders and a hundred shades of green. Girraween means ‘place of flowers’ in the local indigenous language, although we’ve never actually been there in spring to see the wildflowers in bloom. There are fresh water streams running through the park, and a zig zag of walking tracks to stroll and plenty of mountains to climb.

This year was the third time we’ve gone out to Girraween to camp. Usually we shoulder our packs and spend two or three days hiking through the bush and camping by streams. This year though, with a 12 kilo baby to carry as well as all of our gear, we decided to hike in an hour to Underground Creek and make camp there, taking day walks and hanging out. Continue reading Raw Cacao, Orange & Fig Energy Balls