Thursday, January 31, 2013

cushions, chocolate cake & the not-too-distant future. this year I've been starting and finishing projects at home. maybe all the cooking has taught me a bit of  patience. I am pretty proud of this cushion I made for a friend who is leaving town tomorrow. I bought a copy of find & keep just before we went away and am only just having a go at some of the projects. I made a bigger pillow with a bigger and brighter pom pom for us to keep. tony thinks it's the best pillow he's ever seen!

at home we've been quietly thinking and talking about some big-ish plans for the next few years, nibbling our way through a chocolate cake and admiring these flowers from friends. I am listening to this song endlessly, which you can download for free (!)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

the sweetest garden party. our friends tim and sophie threw a housewarming party for their beautiful baby blue home in north wagga wagga this weekend. we played swingball until our arms hurt (or rather awoke this morning to discover that our racquet-holding arms were aching), drank homemade lemonade, feasted on the most delicious homemade dips, quiche and potato salad and dipped our toes in the kiddie pool. we even went home with small packets of sunflower seeds in our pockets.

it was a amazingly styled and really thoughtful party. I thought the pale blue plastic cups were especially cute and then I realised halfway through the night that they, along with the napkins and ribbons on the food flags, matched the colour of the house.

the dessert was also baby blue. tony helped me colour the icing for these little cupcakes that we brought, I am really fearful of using too much food dye.

and finally here's sophie and tim's shed at night - look at all of the lights!

it was so nice to be able to celebrate the house and its lovely owners. sophie and tim are the kind of people that inspire thoughtfulness and generosity in others and we are so glad they moved to town.

p.s - how exciting is this? beci orpin's homeware range for urban outfitters. and kyary pamyu pamyu has a silly new video complete with a multicoloured furry monster in a top hat.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

baking rages and burger parties. I love the idea of baking, of carving out time in a day to make something sweet and delicious from scratch, of measuring and mixing, waiting and finally tasting. but every now and then I have a near disaster and today was one of those days where the notion of baking didn't quite match up to the reality.

it didn't help that I hardly slept the night before owing to the heat or that I had a sort-of baking deadline. tony had planned an extravagant australia day party where he would make burgers by hand - the buns, the sauces, everything on the day.

so at 7am, I started making lamingtons for the first time. by 9am I was angry. I had the wrong cake tin, the sieve went missing and the cake itself looked wrong, too buttery and crunchy on the outside. by the time I'd trimmed it back as per the recipe book, the cake just looked really ugly.

the cake nearly ended up in the bin but after some gentle encouragement from tony, I persevered and the outcome although a little wonky looking, was pretty delicious.

hilariously, or disastrously our party was interrupted by a plumber coming to repair the mysterious leak over our stove. much to my horror he discovered that our upstairs toilet was leaking onto our stove. thankfully we'd cooked everything on the bbq and oven. 

this week my head has been racing ahead of me but now with our party is tidied up and a fridge full of delicious leftovers, I'm hoping to smooth things out with some reading and mooching around the house. all I want to do tonight is watch the louis theroux extreme love dementia program and snack on yummy food.

for your long weekend can I also recommend some great radio docos?
  • birds on a wire - a very funny story about an online cockatoo tracking project in sydney
  • what tokyo? - I was on the road to griffith when I heard this piece yet I was completely transported to tokyo, it made me quite sentimental! I've been meaning to listen to more of tony barrell's work
  • separated isn't a radio documentary but it is a moving online photo gallery that gives an insight into how australian parents and children have been affected by forced adoption

Saturday, January 19, 2013

we welcomed guests on friday afternoon and despite being their hosts, they did a good job of  entertaining us for the duration of their short stay.  they brought intriguing books and stories from recent overseas adventures, updates from home and anecdotes from before my time. my uncle recalled what it was like when my parents met and his first impressions of my dad and he also scoped out a very sweet looking cottage that tony and I are hoping to rent. it helps to have an architect in the family.

my uncle snapped this shot just as he and my cousin were driving off, heading for sydney via canberra.

my homebody tendencies seem to be weakening and on saturday night we went round to a friend's place for an amazing summer meal on their porch.

the party was called because there was a special cake that needed to be eaten. the meal was designed around the dessert, which was very decadent so we had salads, fish and watermelon water for tea before the girdle buster pie was brought out later that night.

but maybe the biggest triumph of the weekend was a batch of raspberry friands I made on saturday afternoon. I went out to buy the tin especially and for a first-time effort, they were pretty unbelievable. so far the what katie ate cookbook has been amazing!

best of all, the recipe yielded 18 pretty cakes so we went about sharing with our friends, only to receive other homemade and homegrown goodies in return. and so we start the week with two small boxes of rainbow chillies from my colleague's garden, a box of yummy coleslaw, a bunch of basil and some itty bitty tomatoes. earlier this morning some friands were swapped for some lemons and I made lemon curd for the first time this afternoon. I had to do something with the 10 egg yolks that were left over from the friand making!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

this weekend was a happy one.  my boyfriend made the most delicious hot chips I've ever had, there were homemade crepes, a cute new top found at the sales, a trip to the farmer's markets, an excellent summer mix that I listened to twice, a half-price cookbook that I'd been eying for months, a little nap, a long bath, decluttering around the house and giggling at my new book. the cool breeze makes me think I'll sleep well tonight.

and the week ahead? I've just downloaded a stack of new podcasts, my nails are painted the colour of finger bun icing, I'll be editing an exciting new project, everyone will be back in the office which I will argue calls for cake, some yummy meals we've already planned and shopped for and a visit from two much loved family members.

but now for dessert.

wishing you a wonderful week ahead.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

I'm nearly finished telling you about my tassie trip, it's hard to believe it was about this time last month that we were getting ready to travel there. I've been really saddened to hear about the fires in tasmania, the loss of property, communities and a life. it's been a strange week with the dangerous fire conditions all across the state.

we were sad to leave hobart but excited to get on the road again and we drove up to the east coast to the coles bay area. here are some photos from the beautiful freycinet national park. on our second day in town we bought a parks pass and spent the day exploring. we drove in parts, went on a few of the walking tracks and even dared to dip our toes in the freezing cold water. the shot above was taken from the lighthouse, where the view from the walkway is just sky and sea. it was stunning and scary.

we spent the rest of our time cooking fresh seafood, reading comics and sampling the very delicious and very creamy local ice cream.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

dream breakfast. peanut butter & honey sandwich with a choc chip chai and a new book.

things have been quiet lately, in a good way. we're settling into the new year, trying new recipes, starting a compost and trying our best to slowly save some money for a house (!).

this weekend - the farmer's market!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

the post with many cakes in it. most of our days in tassie were cool but on the stickiest day of our trip I went hunting for the fabled cwa gift shop in central hobart. I wasn't disappointed. rows of christmas puddings lined the shelf behind the counter, the store sells goods made by members and one member who was working on the day had made over 40kg work of christmas puddings in the last month. hers are the ones with the tinsel on them and they were sold by the kilo.

see those trays of mini mince pies on the bottom right? I took a tray home, well back to our b&b and they kept us very happy for the next week. I loved the look of all of the butter cakes but couldn't justify a whole cake for just the two of us.

but a few days later I greedily chose the world's biggest lamington for myself at the jackson & mcross super cute bakery in battery point. tony had his favourite, lemon meringue pie. we probably could have shared but I'm glad we didn't.  

battery point was beautiful. I loved the old fashioned shops, the pastel coloured houses and the englishness of it all.

 tony met a pup that he liked, he looked pretty pug like!

on our last day in town, I bought a christmas cake from the fancy bakery which I nursed all the way back to sydney. it was eaten by my family on christmas day but thankfully we came home with two different types of home made christmas cake. yummy.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

happy new year! ever since we've been home, I've gone a bit nuts with the cleaning and rearranging.  it's nice to start the new year with a slightly cleaner house and some lovely new things (check out our new face vase, a gift from tony's friend doris and our amazing bowl of succulents from sophie and tim!)

this morning I awoke to our first batch of homemade yoghurt, which worked! we're excited to try making a few things at home this year, tony made a delicious batch of ice cream yesterday and come autumn we're going to try our hand at a herb garden again. I'm also keen to try our this recipe for no knead bread.

I've had some really good luck with books this summer. while we were away I read helen garner's 'the spare room', bringing my garner book count for 2012 to three. I promptly purchased her collection of non-fiction articles. I also read haruki murakami's 'dance, dance, dance', which is rivalling 'iq84' as my favourite murakami book. the only new-ish book I read was chris ware's 'building stories' which was confronting and totally consuming. there are 14 items in all ranging from hard-cover books to broadsheet style comics and I spent two solid days working my way through them.

and now for a dvd and some homemade tacos. it's back to work tomorrow!