Sautéed Beetroot, Broccoli & Chickpeas

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come on sweetheart
let’s adore one another
before there is no more
of you and me

— from Fountain of Fire, Rumi

It’s Monday evening as I write this, cool enough for the first time this year to be wearing socks and a jumper. The kids are asleep, their soft breathing barely audible from the next room. I’m at the kitchen table, staring out through the big window that overlooks the city, the huge gum tree in our neighbour’s back garden a black shadow against the lilac-and-honey-streaked sky of sunset.  Continue reading Sautéed Beetroot, Broccoli & Chickpeas

A Beautiful Winter Coleslaw

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We went out to the bush last Sunday. It turned out to be the kind of winter’s day you wish all winter’s days were like; cold and crisp, bright and just warm enough in the sunshine. W waded into the shallows – shoes and all – so that she could set leaves afloat into the current like miniature boats and T took the greatest of pleasures throwing handfuls of pebbles into the water.

We feasted on coffee cooked over the trangia, thick slices of homemade kale & potato pie that our friends brought, humus and rice crackers, crunchy apples, and sticky fruit buns that we picked up on the drive over from Sourdough Bakery in Seddon. We strolled through the bush (alternately carrying or chasing after small people), and ended the morning lying on the banks of the creek in the midday sunshine as the kids splashed in the stream. Continue reading A Beautiful Winter Coleslaw

Homemade Oat Milk + Stovetop Granola

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Given the refugee crisis engulfing Europe – and the world – at the moment, writing about milk and oats seems totally trivial. The first time the heartbreaking image of little Aylan Kurdi lying dead on the beach came up in my feed I couldn’t look away. There was something about the way he was lying that looked just like the way my daughter sleeps in her bed at night and I couldn’t stop thinking of how scared he must have been in the ocean, alone, at the end. Of how he deserved to be safe and warm in bed, just like my kids.

It only makes me all the more angry at Australia’s punitive and heartless refugee policies. This is the supposedly ‘lucky country’, and it has been transformed over the last century by immigrants from Europe, from Asia, from the Middle East, from Africa. Made a richer, and a better, place to live thanks to the diverse cultures and hard work of so many refugees and migrants. This is my personal history – my grandparents came over as refugees after World War II – but it is also our collective history, our collective culture. We shouldn’t stand by as cruelties are perpetrated in our name. We may not have voted for this government, but this is our shame. We need to demand better. Continue reading Homemade Oat Milk + Stovetop Granola

Roasted Broccoli, Barley & Feta Salad

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Sometimes my six month old son takes his time falling asleep at night. He likes to be fed and rocked and cuddled and fed again. When I’m low on patience, or have a million things waiting for me to do once he does fall asleep, this can drive me crazy. But then, once he is fast asleep in my arms, mouth open, gently snoring, I run my hands over his small bald head and soft round cheeks and there is love, too much love.

When they’re awake, toddlers are crazy and loud and hilarious and exhausting. And when they are asleep and the house is warm and quiet, they are all kinds of perfect. Before I go to bed I always sneak into W’s room, tuck her into the blankets that she has inevitably thrown off herself, stroke her hands and flyaway curls and kiss her cheeks and there is love, too much love. Continue reading Roasted Broccoli, Barley & Feta Salad

Autumn Salad with Tahini-Miso Dressing

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A few days ago a baby gecko was darting about the kitchen. It was the size of my pinky finger and the colour of pearl. I caught it in my cupped hands and showed it to W, who stared at it with a mixture of fascination and uncertainty. I let it crawl up her leg so she could feel its tiny little feet. I’m not sure who enjoyed it more – me or W. The gecko was probably scared shitless.

These days I’m making a conscious effort to block out the noise. I’m re-teaching myself how to be still, how to be observant, a skill I’ve let lie fallow these past few years. When I’m breastfeeding in the middle of the night, or walking someplace in the morning, instead of reaching for my phone I take a deep breath and let my mind wander. Not about what needs doing or what I could be doing, but about the feel of the sun on my skin, or the colour of the bright green grasshoppers that have suddenly appeared everywhere. Continue reading Autumn Salad with Tahini-Miso Dressing

Bircher Muesli

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Breakfast has always been one of my favourite meals of the day. I’ve never been able to skip it. I love taking my time over breakfast – eating, reading, chatting. I also heartily approve of second breakfasts. In fact, one of the best things about weekends is second breakfast. Followed by brunch, then lunch. And then you can start planning dinner. But I digress…

I tend to get into breakfast grooves. As a uni student living in Carlton, most every day for about two years I would have a big bowl of muesli for brekky while reading my school texts, followed by a percolated coffee and a cigarette sitting on the green bench in our freezing cold courtyard. When S and I were first hanging out, getting to know one another, whenever he would stay over breakfast would be down at the uni cafe – almond croissant for him, orange poppyseed muffin for me, long blacks and hand-rolled cigarettes for both of us. Continue reading Bircher Muesli

Cashew & Cacao Bean Smoothie

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During our recent Balinese sojourn we stayed in Penestanan, an area just on the outskirts of Ubud. Our house wasn’t accessible by car – to reach the area from the main road below we had to climb a long flight flight of stairs shadowed by tropical plants. Once up the top everything was interconnected by concrete walkways that were bordered on one side by a shallow flowing stream, and on the other side by houses, or greenery, or long drops into fern-studded ravines. The area also had its own little assortment of shops, cafes, and fruit stalls.

On our first day in Bali, after the long lines at customs and the drive from the airport, we arrived in Ubud just before nightfall. W was tired and S and I were fucking starving. Only a few minutes walk from our place, we discovered the Yellow Flower Cafe, having its weekly Balinese buffet. The food was all kinds of delicious – laden with tempeh, peanuts, green beans, toasted coconut. Continue reading Cashew & Cacao Bean Smoothie