Orecchiette with Ricotta, Eggplant & Black Olives

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“Things have a life of their own,” the gypsy proclaimed with a harsh accent. “It’s simply a matter of waking up their souls.”

– from One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Over a decade ago now I spent some months in Colombia. I travelled from Ecuador up through the green coffee-clad mountains to the coast, searching for warmer waters and the landscape of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. After a spell in Cartagena – a bright, vibrant city – I caught a boat with a Frenchman to a small, impossibly glorious, island in the Caribbean waters. There was nothing on this island but a dirt road, a tiny town, and a hut with a thatched roof and no walls where we could sling our hammocks and fall asleep watching the stars reflecting off the ocean. I would have scrambled eggs for breakfast every morning, and the freshest fish for a late lunch. I spent my days reading and reading, and exploring the beaches and rocky shores. It was a bizarre and beautiful time in my life.  Continue reading Orecchiette with Ricotta, Eggplant & Black Olives

Roasted Cherry Tomato Penne with Kale Pesto

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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

Brussels Sprouts, Radish & Apple Salad

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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

Lemon & Walnut Linguine with Roasted Broccoli

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It’s been threatening to rain for a few weeks now, and this weekend it finally did. Not quite soon enough though; most of South-East Queensland is now officially in drought. After our first summer up in Brisbane almost four years ago, where it rained relentlessly for months on end, where everything was mildewed and floods wreaked havoc across the state, it has been conspicuously dry. Our grass is now brown, dry and dusty, and no longer needs to be mowed. It is perpetually sunny up here (hence the moniker the Sunshine State).

Except for this weekend. It started slowly on Friday, and when we got to the markets on Saturday morning amidst the drizzle it was much quieter than usual; even half the stall holders hadn’t made it along. We got what we came for, but forwent our customary coffee-and-croissant on the grass as it was all too sodden. The rain built up over the day and by the afternoon was coming down pretty steadily. It is rare to see Brisbane beneath a cold grey wet cloud; I almost liked the change in scenery. Continue reading Lemon & Walnut Linguine with Roasted Broccoli

Pumpkin & Broccolini Pasta with Oregano Pesto

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I slept in this morning. Such a momentous thing is actually worth repeating. I slept in this morning. All the way until 8:15am! I had woken up a couple of hours earlier with W but still felt exhausted (despite falling asleep last night on the couch at 9pm). S needed to get up for work anyways, so he got up to hang with W while I stayed in bed. Usually if I try and lay in while S and W are up making brekky and all kinds of noise I only lightly doze, but this morning I fell back into a deep sleep and probably would have stayed that way had W not come in and sat on my head.

When I did finally get up it was lovely and sunny, so W and I took a nice long walk through the streets then came home where W had her standard bowl of porridge (plain, no honey), and I had a bowl with honey, chia seeds, and the rest of the oven-baked rhubarb (recipe coming soon!) from the weekend. Now I’m sitting on the couch typing this, while W is sitting on the floor playing her latest game which involves folding blocks into a cloth, unfolding them, repeat. And again. Continue reading Pumpkin & Broccolini Pasta with Oregano Pesto

Autumn Pasta Salad with Fennel & Goats Cheese

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I recently bought a new bicycle after having my old one stolen from under the house (I’ve no luck with bikes – that was the third one I’ve had stolen!). Although I used to ride daily to and from work, it had been over a year since I’d been on a bike; once my pregnant belly started getting in the way at about seven months I had to stop cycling, and since W was born there was never the chance. Now that she is almost one, though, I can steal a few extra hours for myself on the weekends, so on Saturday mornings I jump on my new bike and head into work while S hangs out with W.

From our house to get to my work I cycle alongside the river, sun reflecting off the water, in and out of the shady trees. I had forgotten how much I love bike riding; the sense of freedom in movement, the ease of propulsion. Cycling is both rhythmic and effortless – legs go up, legs go down – a meditative motion. Much like swimming laps, I find the physical exertion clears my mind. Daily life is so full of stimulus; while I’m on my bike though, my mind is free to wander as it wants, letting the debris settle. It promotes untethered thinking, that balanced space where ideas and dreams rise to the surface. Continue reading Autumn Pasta Salad with Fennel & Goats Cheese