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
It was bigger than an emu’s dark brown egg
But smooth and glossy. Its outside was curiously hard
If you picked it up. Like a turtle egg it bowed
With a sort of elasticity to the touch. I dug
A fingernail in. Beneath the purple surface.
The taste, we knew, would be strange, perhaps poisonous.
– From ‘Eggplant’ by Thomas W. Shapcott, in The City of Empty Rooms
I’ve had a rocky relationship with eggplant (aubergine) over the years. It was one of the few foods I went off during my pregnancies. It can be difficult to cook well, and after a few kitchen disasters I avoided cooking it myself at all, for many years. So often the vegetarian stand-in for meat at pubs and restaurants, I could stand never to see a soggy slice of eggplant laden down with tomato sauce and cheese again. Continue reading Eggplant Orzo Salad
We are on holiday. A long overdue, blissful, wonderful holiday. We haven’t ventured far – a one hour drive north plus another almost-hour on a ferry to Stradbroke Island. Despite having lived in Brisbane for just over five years now, we only first made it across to Straddie – as it is fondly known – earlier this year with some friends. We loved it – the chilled out, no-shoes, vibes was exactly what we were looking for. And so we came back.
Right now it’s late on Sunday afternoon. Both of the kids are fast asleep. I’ve got my computer set up at the long wooden table that takes up much of the main room here, big glass windows overlooking the deck. Perched up near the top of the hill, the house faces away from the road and feels as though it is nestled in the treetops. In the distance I can see the green-blue of the ocean, the beating of the waves a constant soundtrack. We just ate big bowls of quinoa salad for lunch and S and I have formulated a plan to stroll into town to eat gelato after the kids wake up. It’s a hard life, this one. Continue reading Roasted Cherry Tomato Penne with Kale Pesto
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
I’ve been staying up later than usual these last few nights (which is still pretty early for most grown-ups). I’ve been eating dark chocolate and doing some creative writing. I am an incredibly undisciplined writer, but I’m determined to get at least one of my perpetually unfinished stories done.
Writing, for me at least, is equal parts pleasure and pain. It takes me forever to get into a groove and I perpetually edit-as-I-write, and am way too critical of my work. All of that said, when I do get into the groove and the words start to flow and my ideas take shape on the page, well, nothing feels quite like it. Continue reading Sprout Salad with Crème Fraîche Dressing
“The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious.
The beet is the murderer returned to the scene of the crime…the dark green sails of the grounded moon-boat stitched with veins of primordial plasma; the kite string that once connected the moon to the Earth now a muddy whisker drilling desperately for rubies.
The beet was Rasputin’s favorite vegetable. You could see it in his eyes.”
– from Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins
Continue reading Roasted Beetroot with Crispy Lentils & Dill Yoghurt
I’m going to keep it short and sweet today. Light on the words, heavy on the pictures.
It has been a long week – the whole family has been sick at various stages and sleep has been hard to come by. I’ve barely had any time in front of the computer, and even less time without a child in my arms (in fact my son is sitting between my legs this very instance). Continue reading Brussels Sprouts, Radish & Apple Salad