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

Vegetarian Pho + Comfort Food

vegetarian-pho-ten

This post is part of a blog collaboration on healthy comfort foods and recipes, as well as thoughts on comforts beyond the kitchen. Links to the other participants’ articles are below my recipe. 

One of my first ‘blogging’ friends was the ever-lovely Katie Schmidt of Whole Nourishment. Although we’ve never actually met (being in opposite hemispheres), I’ve no doubt that Katie would be as warm and generous in person as she is online. Moreover, her blog is one of my favourite spots online – unpretentious and inviting, replete with thoughtful, delicious recipes that embrace whole foods and mindful eating. In particular, I appreciate the informed way Katie discusses nourishment in a holistic sense, and have learned a lot from her approach to integrating food and life. So, when Katie invited me to participate in a collaborative recipe series around comfort food, I jumped at the chance!

Katie invited myself and four other food bloggers to reflect on the notion of comfort, both in food and in life. In Katie’s words: “Comfort food to me is not only the food on my plate but also the non-food aspects of daily life that nourish me all the same.” These days, when people talk about comfort food what they usually mean is the kinds of sugary/oily/salty food that are too-often used as an emotional crutch. Which isn’t comfort, not really. Katie draws a whole different – and much refreshing – take on it, elucidating the ways that certain foods and the accompanying life choices bring our bodies a genuine deep-seated comfort. Continue reading Vegetarian Pho + Comfort Food

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

Chai Spice Apple Cake

chai-spice-apple-cake

About a month ago now – after our camping trip in Girraween National Park – we spent a few nights in a wooden cabin in Stanthorpe. Autumn had just started and the leaves were turning all shades of copper and gold, perfect for catching the morning sun. The cabin had a wood heater and a deck hidden amongst the trees. There was no internet connection and no phone reception; we watched movies, ate chocolate in bed, and marveled as W took her first proper walk across the room. It was a most lovely way to spend a few days.

We also ate copious amounts of apple pie, went apple picking, and drank the best apple cider EVER. A big old tin shed filled with mismatched wooden tables and chairs, Sutton’s serves sweet and savoury pies and a selection of apple-themed takeaway goods – everything from apple juice to apple cider vinegar. The three of us strolled through their orchards, leisurely tasting apples right off the tree, slowly filling up a bag to take home with us. W definitely loved it – gorging on apples and falling over in the soft grass. Continue reading Chai Spice Apple Cake