This man-made wetland down the road from us is a lovely little calm hideaway right in the middle of our suburb. With friendly quacking ducks, birds, butterflies and greenery and featuring a boardwalk, I love wondering down there, taking photos and just sitting in the sun. If anyone lives near me, it’s a sweet little place! Although contrary to what it says online, you can’t feed the ducks (sadly). Understandable I guess, since they really should know how to find their own lunch for survival.
I’m really enjoying the new ABC historical drama series ANZAC Girls, based on true stories from war nurses’ experiences at Gallipoli and depicting a group of Australian and New Zealand nurses in WWI, their war work and personal lives. As an ex-registered nurse I still love watching anything nurse related and this is so out of the realm of my reality it’s really interesting. The first episode on Sunday night started with the first landing of our troops at Gallipoli on 25th April 1915.
I really like that for once we have a show which recognises nursing personnel in war time! These were mostly young women who volunteered for active service; leaving their homes to travel across the world, putting themselves in danger to perform physically, spiritually and mentally demanding tasks for young men with devastating injuries and with no specific combat medical training or support. Those were the days of just getting on with it, I suppose it was either sink or swim.
I think they were very special people and should be remembered more. Apart from formal recognition which they now receive, I’m not sure that medical personnel back then (or any subsequent war for that matter) were eligible for the same health and social benefits that war veterans had and that’s just plain wrong.
Anyway, I really recommend this show if you’re sort of a history buff like me.
While making my usual winter pumpkin soup recently, it occurred to me that with a few tweaks, it would make a lovely, healthy sauce for pasta, so I gave it a go.
Adding nutmeg, sage and a decent amount of full fat coconut cream, this turned pumpkin soup into a lush, creamy and flavoursome sauce which goes equally with simple dried pasta or fresh filled pasta such as Agnolotti or the larger sized ravioli. I also really enjoyed this with toasted pine nuts scattered over for a bit of toasty crunch to contrast with all that creaminess, but you could also use chopped walnuts or hazelnuts. A nice hunk of rustic bread would be great to mop up the excess sauce here too.
I took these a while back at the start of winter and looking at them now brings back the warmth I felt after being in a cold house.
Get some sunshine this weekend all.
Finally! A diet I can get my head around which is basically all my favourite foods. The (new) Nordic diet is a regional way of eating food which encompasses clean, fresh, natural and local produce such as oily fish, lean meat, whole grains, root vegetables, almonds, greens and berries; studies are saying it decreases your risk of disease and could even extend your lifespan. Anyway, any diet which encourages you to eat salmon, potatoes, berries and bread is ok by me!
I love to read about other cultures and their eating habits so thought I’d link some recipes I’ve made in the past which might be similar to those from the Nordic diet and you can click on them by the above images. Mine are obviously more friendly to the region I live in (I don’t think I could eat reindeer, for example, ahem Rudolph, although I realise how hypocritical that is given I occasionally eat cute fluffy chickens). Also the ‘wild’ components of the Nordic diet are a bit beyond me over here in the Southern hemisphere.
We do have beautiful produce in Australia though, due to our warm climate, so I wouldn’t avoid healthy food like avocados or mangoes, for example, as I’m fairly sure they don’t grow for long, or at all, in some Scandinavian countries and aren’t typically included in this type of diet. Basically, this lifestyle can be adapted to the region you live in (see also, the Mediterranean diet and Japanese diet, both incredibly healthy however both culturally and regionally appropriate).
Some traditional Nordic recipes can be found here.
I made a cake a while back for a birthday. I don’t know how people can make those perfect looking layer cakes, I find it bizarrely stressful. I tried ombré icing but failed at that however, it’s more my icing skills that were sub par, rather than the colours which looked quite pretty. In the end, I gave up attempting to ombré it, lost patience and just slapped on all the icing in this sort of huffy way. I also forgot to sprinkle the coconut on the cake and took a heap of photos then had to take more! Talk about a comedy of errors.
As much as I love to bake at home, I would sincerely prefer to return to nursing in a hospital ward than be a pastry chef, I think I’d have to lodge a claim for work related stress or something (kudos to those who do though).
Anyway, this cake is soft and very lemony. The coconut plays more of a supporting role really, but I loved the texture of the flakes on the icing and the flavour combined with the lemon. It’s a lovely cake for a celebration and was worth all the drama because it’s so massive! It also looks very tall and proud once it’s sliced.
The best thing about making this cake is that you don’t have to do everything on the day. I made the icing a few days in advance, you can buy lemon curd for the filling instead of making it from scratch (although home made lemon curd is amazing and you could of course, make this in advance also) and even bake the cakes beforehand, storing them tightly wrapped in the fridge for a day or two.
Also, this makes a lot of icing. I only used around 3/4 of it so keep that in mind if you’re not into mile high icing on your cakes or .. you could be braver than me and slice the cakes in half for a 4 layer cake and use some icing for the filling.
I had such high hopes …
Host a Breast Ever Brunch campaign for Mater Chicks in Pink + Strawberry, lemon & white chocolate muffins
I made some fresh, sweet little muffins a while back, full of fruit, lemon and a bit of white chocolate.
I thought they’d be perfect to promote the Mater Chicks in Pink, Host a Breast Ever Brunch campaign for breast cancer support in August. Unfortunately I can’t hold my own brunch currently, however I wanted to have a chat about it in case any Brisbane readers are able to hold a brunch this year (it doesn’t have to be August, it can also be held throughout the year). I’m willing to sponsor or make a donation to anyone who decides to hold a brunch and if you can’t, you can always make a tax deductable donation yourself if you prefer. I’ve found in the past with morning teas for campaigns like this that it’s probably ideal to organise through work by asking a few co-workers to pitch in and help, however you can also hold a brunch at home or even in a local coffee shop or café.
Mater Chicks in Pink provide practical, specialised and very real support for people diagnosed with breast cancer as well as contribute to medical research by organising fundraising activities in the way of campaigns, fun runs and providing merchandise for sale; the aim is to raise $100,000 from this campaign so they can continue their important work. They are a wonderful, inspired group of people and should be supported!
Information on easy ways to hold your brunch, including raising money, the host kit and setting up a host page can be found here and FAQ is here. You can also download bunting, posters, handbooks and invitations to organise and hold your brunch.
Go on, dig in.
I’m waiting excitedly to see Get On Up, about the life of James Brown, produced by Mick Jagger and starring Dan Aykroyd (who also starred in The Blues Brothers so hello, another brilliant movie). Like a lot of Gen Xers, mostly thanks to my parents, I love rhythm & blues artists like James, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles. It’s where all the music we listen to comes from after all! And rhythm & blues has so much historical and social relevance, modern music can’t compare. And why is it that wherever I am, no matter how far before my time this music is, if I hear any of these songs, I know all the words?!
Released in August (for the USA anyway, not sure about the rest of us although I did read somewhere it was early 2015 for Australia (come on!)).
Image of James via: Get On Up movie
I love the dreamy, vintage and charming style of Hannah @ Hannah and Landon, a clothing designer and photographer who resides in New York and LA. And there’s a shop! A very very nice one called The Loved One so check it out via the links or images below.
Oh and that kitty mask!
Store items I covet:
All images belong to and used with kind permission from Hannah Metz
I often make sweet baked loaves, in fact, they’re a staple in our freezer for morning teas and things.
But the other day I thought about making a savoury loaf, a type of quick bread, something spicy and warm to have on cold mornings with butter or with a bowl of steamy hot soup. So because I’ve been cooking with pumpkin a lot lately (2 more recipes coming up), I whipped up a roast pumpkin loaf with chilli, a few spices and a decent hit of rosemary. Soft yet fairly dense and a beautifully warm colour, I loved the spicy, savoury flavour with a hint of sweetness and the texture is substantial enough to have for a quick lunch with butter on it’s own.