Pear & Strawberry Muffins

Now the leaves are falling fast…

– from ‘Autumn Song’, W. H. Auden

The day we made these Pear & Strawberry Muffins last week was unexpectedly lovely. The morning was the first really cold one of the year. Thick socks and hot cups of tea kind of cold. Frosty breath in the morning air, clear blue skies, thin yellow sunshine turning the autumn leaves still clinging onto tree branches all the shades of gold there are no names for.  Continue reading Pear & Strawberry Muffins

Pear Buckwheat Cake with Rosemary, Dark Chocolate & Hazelnuts

pear-buckwheat-cake-five

“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

beetroot-quinoa-hazelnut-salad-5

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

Pear & Cardamom Spelt Scones

pear-cardamom-scone-shadows

Take bread away from me, if you wish,
take air away, but
do not take from me your laughter.

– from ‘Your Laughter’ by Pablo Neruda

I’m all about lists at the moment. Grocery lists, work lists, shopping lists, ten-year planning lists. Writing out the lists makes me feel as though half the work is done. An extremely easy sense of accomplishment. Here is another type of list; the list of a tired woman with two very small and very beautiful children. Continue reading Pear & Cardamom Spelt Scones

Green Coconut & Pineapple Smoothie

green-smoothie-pineapple

A few weeks ago S planted spinach, parsley and coriander seeds. They started sprouting just before we went down for a flying visit to Victoria, and by the time we got back were coming along quite nicely. This past week we’ve been enjoying the baby spinach – the first of our spring crops for this year, there is nothing like the feeling of going out the back to pick a vegetable fresh from the dirt and be eating it less than twenty minutes later.

Maybe it is my imagination, but I feel like our homegrown spinach is just, well, better than the stuff we buy from the market. The leaves are almost plump, juicy and full of flavour. Mostly I have it chopped up in a lunchtime salad, but a green smoothie is easily the best way to showcase fresh leafy produce. Continue reading Green Coconut & Pineapple Smoothie

Rhubarb Rosewater Crumble

Rhubarb Rosewater Crumble

This is my last rhubarb post for the year. I do love rhubarb; its tartness, its vibrant colour, its all-round deliciousness. But the weather is starting to get warmer up here in Brisbane and new fruits are beginning to appear at the market, so I think I’ve had my fill of rhubarb till next year rolls around.

This is a straight up crumble – easy to make and the perfect comfort food. Though I usually try and use coconut or olive oil in much of my baking these days, when it comes to crumble I’m all about the butter. I’ve tried it a few different ways, but I just think buttery-crumble is superior. I’ve spiced this particular crumble up with a little rosewater and cardamom, but I’ve made an equally delicious version replacing the rosewater and cardamom with the rind and juice of one orange, or even by replacing the ground almonds with ground hazelnuts. Unlike a lot of other baking, making crumbles isn’t an exact science, so go ahead and experiment! Continue reading Rhubarb Rosewater Crumble

Toasted Oat Porridge with Boozy Poached Pears

toasted-oat-porridge-bowl

Many years ago I spent about 12 months living in a big old share house on top of the hill in Brunswick. It had a bright red front door and a hallway full of bikes in various states of use and repair. It was right next to car wash in which we held some pretty epic parties, and it had a lovely green garden that caught the morning light.

It was a great place to live – I made good friends there, and wrote most of my thesis there as well. The one downside was that it was freezing fucking cold during the long Melbourne winters. My room was out the back and had this great big window overlooking the backyard. Beautiful in summer letting in all the light, but so cold in winter letting in the air gusts between the cracks. I used to hunker down in bed, dreading the midnight toilet run. Continue reading Toasted Oat Porridge with Boozy Poached Pears