Friday, March 28, 2014


this time last week we were racing around sydney, on a few small missions to pick up cupcakes and a special corsage before heading to a fancy two course garden lunch. it was my mum's 60th birthday party, and we'd driven up from wagga the day before for the celebration.

I bought this silly photo booth kit from Kinokuniya the day before the party and we mucked around with the beards, moustaches, bow-ties and pipes at my sister's place that afternoon. after a few turns in front of the camera, my mum kept asking for 'her pipe', which had become her favourite accessory.

they were a hit! see tony above with my mum's pipe ;) my sister invented a game for everyone to play post birthday cake, which was a mix of taboo, articulate and celebrity heads. we took turns trying to guess the celebrity our team mate was trying to describe, without making any mention of gender. I'm very competitive when it comes to party games, and our team won.

I was on team Sofa. and in the end we won by more than two points :)

everyone looked so cute and festive in their party hats! they fascinated my niece all afternoon. and then there was cake, a special strawberry tart that my brother made, base and all. he even lined the base with a thin layer of lindt chocolate (totally genius move!) before the vanilla custard went in.

and finally, post feed and nap, a certain little person quickly became the centre of attention.

more cake stories from sydney to come.

p.s - I dusted my dslr off and took it to sydney. it's so old now (I bought it second hand to start with..) that the lcd screen is tiny and grainy in comparison to my work camera. I tried to shoot everything in full manual but my family moves very quickly! still, better than phone photos for once!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

a simple sunday dinner - a recipe from the road

I had a day long shoot in griffith earlier this week, and was grateful when the family I was filming with offered me a bowl of homemade pasta. food can be really unpredictable on the road and in the past I've eaten apples that've gone warm in the car (not recommended!), all manner of muesli bars and sandwiches whilst driving one handed (also not recommended, especially not egg ones at 110 km/h.)

this pasta was simple yet special, and the recipe was described to me in detail before I left. I recreated it for our sunday night dinner, my only day off this week! it's a slightly more involved recipe than one of our previous go-to tomato, butter and onion pasta sauce.

tomato, onion and eggplant spaghetti

  • a dinner plate of ripe tomatoes. (I probably had a kilo plus 2-3 extras)
  • olive oil
  • one large onion
  • 3 small eggplants (finger eggplants are best)
  • salt and pepper
  • place your tomatoes in a deep saucepan (see below) and cover them with boiled water. after a couple of minutes, drain the tomatoes in a colander and when cool, gently peel off their skins.
  • chop your tomatoes roughly into thirds and place them in a blender and blend.
  • in the same saucepan, generously cover the entire base with olive oil on medium heat. this was probably the part of the process that was stressed the most - don't skimp on the oil!
  • finely chop your onion and slice your eggplant into bit sized pieces. when the oil is heated, fry the onion and eggplant until soft.
  • pour your blended tomato into the saucepan and season well. stir gently and turn to a very low heat, and allow to simmer for 2-3 hours. at first the sauce will appear frothy, but it will reduce and become a rich red colour.
  • season again and serve with spaghetti, cracked pepper and finely grated parmesan cheese. yum!

^^ yup, that's a lot of olive oil!

^^ when your blended tomato goes in, it looks a lot like watermelon juice! with the eggplant, you don't have to worry too much about chopping it too small because they melt away as the sauce cooks.

and now for a handful of photos from our mini weekend. I spent yesterday working with a really talented and lovely photographer in adelong, and was motivated to dig out my dslr, charge the batteries and shoot on full manual, which I haven't done at home in a very long time.

my valentine's day flowers are still going strong! and I have a few sydney souvenirs, a new tao lin book (I love the cover design) and a ridiculously oversized tea cup from a girlfriend. I was practicing my depth of field with this mini pug.

I started making breakfast at around 9am and we didn't eat til 1pm! this is my second attempt at homemade crumpets, and while the shape of these ones was much better than the last, they're still a bit too doughy and dense for my liking. I need to work on my air bubbles! this breakfast was a bit of a throw back to a dish we used to share at the cafe near tony's old share house, which was a very decadent serving of thick belgian waffles, served with banana, maple syrup, bacon and mascarpone.

and finally, tony at home.  he did really well at the library book sale on friday afternoon, and bought some excellent art books, all of which were $1 or $2. I picked up the best book for my niece - 'how to talk to kids about art', which includes super cute and kid friendly descriptions of everything fro yves klein to picasso artworks.

wishing you a good week ahead!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

a rainy weekend in sydney

hello! here are some photos from our back-in-a-flash trip to sydney last weekend. we decided to brave the long-ish drive and do a return trip in 3 days, so we could attend a very special first birthday party. it rained for most of our stay but we had lots of things to distract us and had a wonderful time. I do, however need to invest in some non-fabric shoes.

we tried airbnb for the first time and stayed in a small but perfectly sized garden studio. tony says I'm the fussier of the two of us when it comes to accommodation but I'm hoping to go camping this year (proper camping, with a tent! I've never done that before) so it's baby steps for now.

one of the things I was most excited about doing while we were in town was paying a visit to my sister and her baby girl. on saturday morning there were lots of baby cuddles and I had a go at feeding my niece before she went off for a nap. I really miss my sister and sydney girlfriends living in wagga and we had time to drink earl grey tea and snack on banana bread while the rain fell sideways outside and my niece slept.

that night we finally got to go to hartsyard for dinner to celebrate what tony's been referring to as our last anniversary. it was our 6 year anniversary and from here on in, we'll be switching to wedding anniversaries. it's hard to believe that there's just 6 months to go! we had actually thought about getting married on our anniversary this year and in hindsight, we're super glad we have more time to plan and work and save money.

on saturday, I ran between newsagents to find a copy of our newest national newspaper. I may have purchased 3 copies in the end, one for me, and two for friends in bega and tokyo.

and then sunday was a happy blur of breakfast, birthday party, a gleebooks pit stop and then lots of highway. we drove home with a paper plate loaded with lamb and rice and a container of chocolate birthday cake (with suitably kid-friendly yellow buttercream icing and a smattering of freckles), which we gratefully consumed much later that night before falling into bed. and after 3 full years of living in wagga wagga, when we do get back to our own place, it really does feel like home.