Wednesday, November 28, 2012

lately there's been a whole lot of cooking and eating. tony came back from sydney with a copy of the cookbook his friend recently published and since then we've been feasting on homemade guacamole, smoked chicken, corn with lime mayo and the most amazing burgers. tony's been making his own condiments too! we had friends over for tea the other night and I must admit, it was strange to not be doing anything except sitting around and waiting for the food to be ready. well I did make cupcakes (using this most amazing recipe via little glowing lights).

when I was in sydney I treated myself to a little marimekko cup and now I'm determined to buy a plate when we go back for christmas. I love it, it's just my size.

things are winding down at work and it feels kind of strange. I guess I'm used to being in a constant cycle of production, finishing something but having something else on the boil or something exciting coming up. not long to go til my holidays start! thankfully the slow down has coincided with some very hot weather, which inspired some bircher making. nothing like a cold breakfast to start the day! I didn't have all of the ingredients so I chucked in some pistachios and used passionfruit infused yoghurt and it was awesome.

it looks like this weekend is going to be filled with early christmas parties - I can't wait!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

three teas. I've spent the last two thursdays at my friend janine's studio in central wagga. it's filled with natural light, super sweet trinkets and piles and piles of vintage fabric. I've been working with the lovely sophie on a video about janine. we spent today recording and were treated to tea and sweet snacks in the cosy corner of the studio.

here's the afternoon tea we shared last week, there are so many things to look at in the studio and it changes constantly. and finally, the lovely ladies themselves. hope to share the video with you soon!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

some photos from sunday. I spent a night at my parent's house on my way home from the hunter. each time I go to visit it's subtly different to how I remember it. it's cool and quiet at their home, there's always loaves of fresh bread and fruit and different kinds of small cakes and cookies to snack on.

when I lived there I always yearned to be closer to the city, particularly in my uni days. the long bus and train trips into town tired me but now, living so far away, I have a new appreciation for the place I grew up.  there's a peaceful quietness to the streets, even though the houses have been built up and the streets are now lined with cars.

I stay in the granny flat and as I walked up to the kitchen I noticed that flowers have grown over the roof of my childhood cubby house. I notice that the green paint of the house and the deck has faded slightly too, making all of the gorgeous colours of the flowers and plants pop out.

I'm looking forward to being back for christmas.

Monday, November 19, 2012

a weekend away with some new friends. by 9pm on friday night, I'd caught a plane, a couple of taxis and then driven a couple of hours to a farm stay in the hunter. it was a slightly unusual gathering in that I'd only met six of the ten people who I'd be spending the weekend with, in a timber themed farm stay with no mobile reception.

my job is unusual in the sense that my colleagues are scattered around regional new south wales. we chat every week on the phone but we rarely get the opportunity to meet up in person, which is a shame because we really like each other and come from such diverse backgrounds, both personal and professional.

a couple of months ago we hatched a plan to meet up somewhere in new south wales. it was a bit of a pipe dream at first, it would mean lots of driving for some, flights for others, juggling kids and coordinating time off but we pulled it off and I'm so happy that we made it happen.

we spent the weekend hanging out and cooking for each other. it was so relaxing and lovely. I feel so lucky to have such awesome colleagues that I want to be friends with! 

we ate incredibly well. the property was fairly isolated so a big shop was done and for the rest of the weekend we feasted on burgers, homemade pizza (that was my contribution - I even made the tomato sauce for the base), haloumi wraps, french toast and so so many desserts. on the last night we had super rich cheesecake, a freshly made banoffee pie (one guy ingeniously whipped cream with the top of a coffee plunger given the absence of a whisk) and a piping hot apple and rhubarb crumble.

there was a 5cm wide space beside the window in the kitchen where you could get one bar of mobile reception. there were also peacocks, ponies, eels, cows, bulls, dogs and alpacas. we each brought a regional food specialty to share - one guy brought litres of special milk, which had cream was caked around the opening of each bottle. I couldn't get enough.

by sunday afternoon it was time to go home. one of my colleagues very generously shared 3000 individual sound effects with me from her personal collection before I left, so I went home one very happy girl. we're already planning to organise a similar catch up in 2013.

hope you had a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

hello from tuesday! this week I've found some super cute things at an op shop, swapped a wheel of brie for the loan of a sleeping bag and mat, swapped clothes with strangers, eaten lots of sweet cherries and greedily consumed the archives of this lovely blog.

I've also had my first frosty fruit of the season, feels like summer already.

for the rest of the week, I hope to:
* eat my lunch outside and pack extra yummy lunches
* keep a book in my bag at all times (how did I get out of this habit?)
* do a tiny bit of craft
* keep exercising
* start baking again

this weekend I'm heading to the hunter to spend the weekend with some of my lovely colleagues. we work remotely so I've only met half of them, I think we're in for an interesting weekend. and then on sunday night, I'm going to be celebrating my little brother's 16th birthday with my family.

I found these photos the other week, taken in my old suburb in sydney. I used to walk by 'the cake' house everyday. sometimes I miss it.

Friday, November 9, 2012

this weekend we're trying our hand at making bagels and brioche, reading new books and magazines, going for walks, welcoming friends back to town, eating local cherries and getting excited for our pre-christmas holiday.

I'm also collecting a few little foodie things to take home to my parents, who I'm going to see next weekend! have a lovely weekend.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

coconut and sprinkles. tony came back this morning (hoorah!) and arrived totally weighed down by the many nerd books he'd purchased in sydney. he was weary but happy to be home and I was so glad to have him back!

we went on a small excursion to lake albert before lunch, in search of a bakery that supplies delicious little brioche rolls to our local cafe. we ended up in a little shopping village and unfortunately, as I suspected the delicious rolls are specially made for the cafe and unavailable to buy. but still, we tried and tony's resolved to make his own brioche rolls tomorrow.

here are some funny cakes I saw at the supermarket. so brightly coloured! though I don't know whether I would spend $6.90 on a bright yellow cake.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

two sleeps to go! it's technically my thursday today, tomorrow's my last day of work for the week and I'm very much looking forward to a long weekend especially because tony's coming home. it's been a bit of a long week without him but I've managed to keep myself entertained, consuming lots of us election coverage, movies and radio.

here are some awesome things to watch & read online this week:
pics from a sunset visit to james turrell's work at the national gallery of australia earlier this year. and now it's time for kitchen cabinet! hooray!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

four bright photos from spring. tonight I'm in griffith, listening to david sedaris reading a story by miranda july, eating pasta, trying fruitlessly to watch a dvd on my laptop and missing tony (he's been away 3 days and counting!)

this coming week I'm planning to bake chocolate cupcakes.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

forever ago. growing up, I remember my grandfather being a total hero. he would shout us new archie digests and had a cupboard filled with comics from the 60s and 70s that we were welcome to read but could never take home. sometimes he'd treat us to a book from dymocks and a sweet snack from the bakery and he always had a story to tell. about dropping the house keys into the river in china, about his battle with a pig or a fist fight he won with a badly behaved customer during his restaurant days.

he wrote every day. during the school holidays we'd go over for some entertainment and cooking classes and we'd dance around him (quietly) as he wrote by hand in his A4 book. he said he was writing what had happened the day before.

in the years that he was bothered terribly by arthritis, he tried typing before taking up a dictation style of storytelling, from memory at my prompting. I would transcribe his stories and then try and explain how I'd saved and archived them on his new computer.

he probably still writes everyday.

this year I received a document via email. I'd requested it. it was my grandfather's story or part of it, one he'd been steadily writing for years, possibly decades. I printed it and had it bound, there must be 300 pages in all. the pages I have cover his early memories of life in china and his journey to australia as a young boy. they also contain the details of how he came to marry my grandmother and run a restaurant while raising a young family and trying to support those from the mother country who were keen to make australia their home.

I picked up the book yesterday, it's been sitting on my shelf for months. it daunts and excites me. last night, I found out some incredible things about my immediate family, including the dramatic birth of my mother and how my grandparents met. there were things I thought I knew, some details had clearly gotten muddled as they were handed down. there were things that saddened me greatly to learn and many things I'm just thankful to now know.

I was totally struck by the frankness, detail and beauty of the writing. I realise that some people search fruitlessly for years, often paying money and travelling the globe to find small nuggets of information about their loved ones. I feel like I have everything neatly typed out in front of me. and grandparents who are still alive and able to answer questions.

so I'm excited and still a little daunted and look forward to reading on. I found this photo on my last trip back to sydney. I'd spent the day with my grandparents and they let me look through their old albums. this came from a sunday family day, a weekly ritual for my mum's family. when I saw it I just thought - my grandfather! without a shirt!