Masala Chai


again the emerald green pallu of her sari
tucked in at her hips, across her breast,
and cough it up over her shoulder a hush
of paprika and burnt honey across my face.

—   from ‘Wrap’ by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

India is unrelenting and wildly beautiful. It is an endless array of colour and scent and sound, a byproduct of the sheer density of population. It is also a geographic rainbow, from rolling tea hills to dry desert, high buddhist enclaves at the foothills of the Himalaya to incense-wreathed Hindu temples, the bustling metropolis of Mumbai to long stretches of sand and ocean down south. The one consistent thread, the soundtrack of India if you will, is the chai-wallah call to arms: chai, chai, coffee, chai, chai…  Continue reading Masala Chai

Rhubarb & Rose Muffins

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“I believe that one can never leave home. I believe that one carries the shadows, the dreams, the fears and the dragons of home under one’s skin, at the extreme corners of one’s eyes and possibly in the gristle of the earlobe.”

– Maya Angelou

Moving back to Melbourne feels like… home. The skyline, the trams, the strong coffee, the terrace houses, the bitter winds. All so familiar, like slipping on a second skin. Last weekend I went out for beers with one of my oldest, dearest friends. He suggested a bar in the city. It was a rainy night. Walking up a blue-stoned alleyway, lights reflecting off the wet ground, to a bar all but invisible until you stumble upon it. This. This felt like homecoming. Continue reading Rhubarb & Rose Muffins

Iced Tea, 2 Ways

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“I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea.”
– from ‘Notes from Underground’, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Brisbane summers are not for the feint of heart. By August spring is on the wind, and well before the new year summer has made herself good and comfortable. The air is heavy with moisture and summer dreaming. The sun is bright and hot up in an electric blue sky. Heat waves on top of the regular sub-tropical weather bring regular programming to a stop; all energy is spent on staying still and keeping core body temperature from boiling over. Continue reading Iced Tea, 2 Ways

Rose Petal, Cashew & Olive Oil Granola

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My desk is a small, white, wooden number with a set of drawers on the left. The desktop is chipped and nicked, scarred and smudgy. I’ve had it for over seven years now. It’s seen me through all sorts of houses and various endeavours – planning festivals, uni essays, story writing, starting this here blog.

I brought it up north with me from Melbourne. I first got it when we lived in the small terrace house by the train line. It belonged to a friend of my mum’s and despite its small size, it does have a wide girth and so wouldn’t fit in the front door. We had to rope it in through the front window and so it continued to live in the front room, overlooking the trains and the cars and the raggedy white rose bush in the front garden. Continue reading Rose Petal, Cashew & Olive Oil Granola

Israeli Cous Cous with Heirloom Carrots

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It’s great when a dish unexpectedly comes together. I’d picked up this Israeli cous cous at Mick’s Nuts (!) a couple of weeks ago with no plan for it in mind, but just because I love it and don’t come across it all that often. It’s the texture that I love – like eating mini-marbles! Then at the market on the weekend S casually pointed out a bunch of heirloom carrots at a stall we were strolling past, and while I was at the register about to pay for them, a big pile of sunset-coloured pomegranates tempted me, so I got one of those too.

The rest came together pretty easily. I’d been wanting to whip up a batch of date syrup to use as an alternative sweetener for a while now, and we always have fresh parsley and mint in the fridge. My mum had just sent me a bag of rose petals (which I had in mind for a whole other dish that I haven’t gotten around to making yet), and we had some baharat spice mix left over from the meatballs that S cooked a while back for our Middle Eastern Feast. Continue reading Israeli Cous Cous with Heirloom Carrots