Sweet Little Something

An end of week ritual – a wordless post, a personal photograph that captures a moment to be savoured, relished and preserved for looking back on. One photograph from Hannah, in the Southern Hemisphere and one from Ria, in the Northern Hemisphere. Feel free to post your questions, thoughts and comments. Have a great weekend!

From Hannah:

From Ria:

What I Love Today

Below are my Top Five Loves Today, but first–are you kidding me with that market post? I thought I had you all in rapture with my round the world farmer’s market tour, but you have to go and make it look downright shabby with your amazing Chinese food, flowers and cupcakes. Are we competing here, or what? Cause I’ll take you on if you want to have an old-fashioned throw down. Just name the subject. Fruit tarts? Bucolic country scenes w/ cows? Portraits of our children’s feet? Okay, rant over, darling. Love!

What I Love Today

1. September colours. We live in a place with lots of deciduous trees (i.e., not first growth), so in the fall it’s pretty amazing. And the past few years September’s been dry too, so the grass still has that golden summer hue, and with the deep blue fall sky…

2. Our studio space. DH spent countless hours under our deck with the spiders, rewiring, insulating and fixing up our wonderful glass multipurpose room (I hate that term–it’s so cold. Flexible room?). Now it’s beautiful and bright and used. Little e plays out there, we have parties in it, we chat with friends there when little e is sleeping and we don’t want to watch our volume, DH does his yoga and cycle training there. It was once a hot tub room, and now it’s our studio–flexible enough for almost anything. Except being a hot tub room again.

Before:

After:

3. The word luscious. I don’t know why. Apparently it was once short for delicious (and don’t we need all the variants of that we can get?).

4. Salted Peanut Butter Cookies. From her. There is a crucial quantity of milk chocolate in these which should really be in the name, so I always tell people they are salted peanut butter cookies with a heavy milk chocolate influence. They are so so good and so so addicting. Be warned. They are The Hunger Games of cookies. Just saying.

5. Writing. I mean, living an affluent life by most of the world’s standards and not being sick and having a healthy, happy family–all of which enables me to write when I want to. Okay, maybe not always when I want to, but most of the time. Like, I don’t have to choose between a basic need and writing a chapter. I get to do what I love and love what I love enthusiastically and often. That’s an incredible thing. I’d love to do it more–and get paid to do it more so I can quit my day job, but right now it’s more than most people dream of. And for that I thank the universe. And, you know, J.R.R. Tolkein.

XO

Ria

How I love thee, Eveleigh

Off we go to another impressive Sydney food market! Are you coming with me? Come on, come on!

This little beauty is called Eveleigh Farmers market and it is based in a Blacksmiths workshop in Darlington near Redfern station. I am a smidge jealous I don’t live in the neighbourhood. Oh to skip across to Eveleigh market every Saturday morning for bread and fresh flowers. I mean, look at this little local fella. Who were his flowers for? Too cute…

We made a bee-line to the most famous person in the place – Kylie Kwong. Kylie is a television / celebrity chef in Australia who runs a restaurant in Sydney called Billy Kwong. Matt and I went one night and ate ourselves silly on sang choi bow, crispy chicken, local greens and pork belly. We practically rolled out of there! So when we heard she personally cooked up a storm at Eveleigh market, as part of her version of community service, we had to try every dish she served. Number one: The Steamed Bun. Fluffy, white treasure troves of delicately spiced, pulled pork – which wound up looking like this when we were done with it!

Number two: Dumplings: slippery, irregularly shaped pork parcels in a tangy, vinegary sauce that made our taste-buds dance. Number three: (This one’s for you, Ria!) Vegetarian pancakes: Handmade pancakes (think Peking duck pancake wrappers) with omelette and fresh herb filling, topped with another delicious zingy, hoisin-y sauce. This might have been my favourite. Or was it just because it was the biggest dish and I am a piglet?

Billy Kwong vegetarian pancake. Look at those herbs!

What for dessert? There were options. Of course. I considered the Freshpops stand.

(That’s not me, by the way, with the svelte figure. Not after all that Billy Kwong food, pah ha ha!) These were the flavours on offer, which would you choose?

I went with Mint infused Apple, after some deliberation (Watermelon seasalt! So tempting…). It was divine. B1 agreed and ate most of it, despite my pleas to share. She wasn’t having a bar of it. To compensate I came close to buying this cupcake from The Cupcake Princess, just because it was oh-so-pretty. Check out at the poppy!

But no, once again my “needs” (did I really need a cupcake after three courses of delicious chinese fare?) were cast aside as B1 threw a well-timed tantrum and insisted on a cupcake for herself. I tried to find the least sugary one on offer. Hmmmm, yes, that’s me, trying to find something with minimal sugar….at a cupcake stall. I know, I’m shaking my head too. I settled on this one. Absolutely covered in what the Australians call “sprinkles” and what New Zealanders call “Hundreds and Thousands” (That begs the question – what do Canadians call them?) She diligently ate all the icing and passed me a soggy lump of cake to finish off my Eveleigh market feasting.

Cupcake sprinkles

And you know what? Even deprived of most of the icing and a little “loved” it was delicious. A proper, oddly dense and fluffy (that’s the real trick with cupcakes isn’t it? To get both those textures?) darling little vanilla cake. What a morning, what a market. Eveleigh, Eveleigh, oh how I love thee! So. Have I tempted you to come visit us in Sydney yet?

Hugs, Hannah x

Sweet Little Something

An end of week ritual – a wordless post, a personal photograph that captures a moment to be savoured, relished and preserved for looking back on. One photograph from Hannah, in the Southern Hemisphere and one from Ria, in the Northern Hemisphere. Feel free to post your questions, thoughts and comments. Have a great weekend!

From Hannah:

From Ria:

Food Memory: Italian Prune Plums

This blog makes me hungry. Actually, it makes me want to eat, which is not the same thing. And it makes my brain want to eat, so here’s another food memory that’s on my mind this time of year.

September: Italian plums. The small, black-purple ones with the greeny-golden insides. I wait all year (if I’ve used up my frozen supply) and then I gorge. I like all plums, I think, but I know these are my favourite.

Some friends of mine have a lovely old plum tree in their backyard, but when they bought their house, they hadn’t had much experience with plums, so the wasps were having a field-day. I happened to stop by for a visit and exclaimed at the gorgeousness of the plums. I was lucky enough to take a bag full home–they were some  of the best prune plums I’ve had. I was pregnant at the time, so hormones may have contributed to the eating ecstasy, but I’m willing to bet they were just amazing plums.

We have a really annoying tree in our garden. It defies categorizing and identifying. Gardeners are stumped by it. I call it the aphid tree because all it seems to know how to do is grow aphids. It sends suckers shooting up in a ten foot radius around itself. And in the three years we’ve been here, it has only ever had two flowers on it, and nothing else. Which only made it more impossible to identify, and more annoying. We’ve been talking about cutting it down and putting in a fruit tree.

Then. I went into the garden after work last week and something caught my eye. It was a trick, clearly. Someone had glued a prune plum onto one of the branches. A nice, fat, dark purple prune plum of my dreams. I wish I had not ripped it off and run screaming back into the house because I have no photo to show for it: The aphid tree (at least one branch of it), is in fact, an Italian plum tree. Praise the fruit gods (who apparently have quite the sense of humour). Now to find an arbourist who can prune us into Septembers of plums…how’s that for a collective noun?

XO

R

PS- That lone plum was delicious.

To Mexico we go.

I have never been to Mexico. I’d like to. I’d really like to (hint hint – please, kindly, win lotto and send me a plane ticket??). How good would the markets be there?! My Mexican fascination began with Frida Kahlo paintings. Then a Mexican bar in Melbourne where I danced on the bartops with my wonderful friend Beth. She now does grown up things like own a gallery (!) but back then she used to make me go a little wayward, that Beth. Naughty. Back to my story…. Selma made that movie. Then Barbara Kingsolver (FAVOURITE AUTHOR OF ALL TIME. Sorry for shouting.) wrote The Lacuna. And most recently my sister in law took me to this great little restaurant / bar, Chica Bonita, tucked into an alleyway by Manly Beach.

Menu at Chicabonita, Manly.

We ordered burritos. Of course. Mine was pulled pork. Matt’s was beef. It had CHIPS in it (a.k.a Awesome). Here it is:

The “California” burrito

You want to see those Mexican sodas don’t you? I can tell. They are yummy. And I’m not even a soda person.

But more about chips, this is what B1 ate – chips with lots of things on top (avocado, beans, peppers) She was in heaven. Check out the concentration.

Fries PLUS.

The happy experience decided our dinner. We had been bitten by the bug and needed to get more avocado into us. Have I told you how wonderful avocados are in Australia? Even better than the oranges. I know, right? People around here use avocados so wantonly it would make you gasp. Surely the collective noun (clearly a current obsession, this collective noun business) for avocados is “an abundance”.

Aussie avocados.

We ate corn chips with guacamole and mushroom quesadillas, washed down with cold beer. It was lovely. I won’t patronise you with a prescriptive gaucamole recipe, rather a description of the only things I put in mine:

Avocados – smashed. Coriander, leaves plus a bit of cheeky stalk – finely sliced. Red Onion – also finely sliced. Chilli – that too. Tomato – deseeded, diced. Lime – squeezed. Salt n Pepper – of course.

Guacamole, my way.

Do you put anything else in your guacamole? Mayonnaise? Garlic? Secret ingredient? Perhaps I am a purist. I like it straight up. With a side of daydream. Ahhh, Mexico….

Hugs, Hannah x

Sweet Little Something

An end of week ritual – a wordless post, a personal photograph that captures a moment to be savoured, relished and preserved for looking back on. One photograph from Hannah, in the Southern Hemisphere and one from Ria, in the Northern Hemisphere. Feel free to post your questions, thoughts and comments. Have a great weekend!

From Hannah

From Ria