My First Christmas (Lunch)

A Very Merry Picnic

Well Christmas Day 2009 has come and gone, a fact I can scarcely believe, because not only does the passing of Christmas signal the end to another big year, but it also means that I have successfully pulled off my very first Christmas Lunch. That's right people, my lovely lady friend and I were in charge of Christmas Lunch this year, we wrote lists, made a few confused phone calls to our mothers (How long do prawns keep in the fridge? What's the name of that sauce you make? Are they pine nuts or almonds in that salad?) and after a lot of shopping and menu-planning, settled on a Christmas picnic in the park.

Fresh Fruit & Cheap Wine

Veggies ready for the oven

I'd highly recommend the Christmas Picnic idea: for starters we didn't have to prepare much food - just some salads and roast veggies, the rest we bought from the markets. Because we cut down on the amount of cooking required, we weren't trapped in our teeny-tiny kitchens with our ovens pumping all day, and we even fed our stinky prawn carcasses to some very happy local magpies, no cleanup required. The weather was bliss, the park was beautiful, and I didn't have to clean my lounge room in anticipation of an onslaught of guests. This picnic idea? Total winner.

Cold Ham - Poor Delicious Piggies


The Menu:
- An assortment of cold meats, cheeses, bread and dips bought from Melbourne's multitude of excellent fresh food markets.
- Four big salads (wild rice salad, pear and walnut, tomato and feta, and fruit salad too)
- A kilo and a half of fresh prawns, complete with home made Rouille.
- Roast veggies (the only addition to the menu that required the oven)
- Choc-Ripple Cake (still delicious, even after a rough commute to the park)
- A truckload of red wine, and G&T's in the esky.

I Love Choc Ripple Cake

I'm really pleased at my first Christmas Lunch. The food and drink: plentiful. The fuss: minimal. Weather: Bliss. Plus because we pulled if off, my Lady Friend and I are officially Queens of Christmas, until we either fuck up royally next year, or let our parents take the reins again. How very merry.

Swings, Flings and Tasty Things

Hello my little bloglings, it's been a while!

Between a broken - in fact, somewhat on fire - laptop, overseas adventures and long hours at the library, I'm afraid I have been neglecting you terribly. But there are many whistles and milkshakes on their way to make up for it.

In the last few weeks I traded in my small city in for this island paradise

Waiheke Island: perhaps the greatest proportion of vineyards to landmass that I've ever encountered. Also beaches, jungle, mountains, family, food and hedgehogs.

I saw the marvelous Animal Collective in Melbourne Town

They were as good as this pictures suggests they might be.

I saw this incredible, beautiful film, and then had to run through Melbourne with an unfortunate case of cryface to make it in time for my flight.

It was so worth it.

And I've started making plans for christmas. Like most of my plans on any given day, they involve baking. I am contemplating these delicious gingerbreads

Ruminating on these delicious peppermints

And I am very much enamoured with these salted truffles....delicious? Why yes, I think they might be.

And I'm going to finish watching this charming film - right now, if you please.

I do so love a good con. And a Gentlemanly Rogue or two.

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String

Last weekend I paid a visit to the fantastic Melbourne Design Markets. I paid a visit specifically to purchase Cookbook, a darling little collection of recipe cards from Melbourne designers Wolfgang & Shlomo, hand printed using the old letterpress at the Melbourne Museum of Printing.

Cookbook is pretty much the most exciting purchase I have made this year. It combines two of my very favourite things, beautiful design and delicious food. Featuring linocut artwork by four talented Melbourne designers, and recipes from local food royalty, the pages of this beautifully printed collection are just so darn pretty, unwrapping my copy set me all aquiver with excitement.

The traditional letterpress printing used to create Cookbook lends each recipe card an organic, textured feel, entirely in keeping with the earthy homestyle recipes inked on each page. I can't wait to try the delicious sounding "carrots cooked in earth with wild onions and clover" - and I'm eager to sink my teeth into the utterly enticing "white chocolate, macadamia and butterscotch tart".

I am completely in love with my Cookbook, and I urge you to get your hands on a copy, if you can (The Narrows Bookstore is the only stockist I can find). All profits go to The Australian Aids Fund, a worthy recipient of your hard earned, and unwrapping your copy of Cookbook for the first time is so totally satisfying, I promise your money will be well spent.

Chai: A Tasty Alternative to Eye Of Newt

When I was a youngin' one of my favourite books was The Witches by Roald Dahl. Growing up, my sister, my friend and I spent hours "brewing" dirt, sticks, detergent (and on one memorable occasion, my grandmother's expensive collection of Lancome cosmetics) into "potions". We kept spell books, recited incantations, and read and re-read The Witches until we were just about able to recite it word-for-word.

Now that I'm all grown up I don't have the childlike abandon required to permit myself to run about the house tipping this, that and the other into my cauldron, gleefully proclaiming magical skill (a lamentable side effect of getting older is that potion preparation at the age of twenty-two gives the impression that one is just a little "off"). Instead, I bake cakes, cook dinners, and tonight I made chai.

To my mind, the enjoyment of chai is as much in the preparation as it is in the consumption. Meditatively stirring a pot of chai, breathing in the smells of warming spices, is about as close as I can get to brewing up a potion without freaking out my boyfriend or cooking up my cat. I've heard it said that you know you're getting old when you get excited at the prospect of a warm cup of tea. Well folks, I'm undeniably getting older, but I get excited for chai not because I'm ageing, but because it lets me indulge my inner eight year old for a little while.

What you will need:
This recipe makes enough for four cups of chai, or thereabouts.
  • 2 cups of milk (Bonsoy works well, for those who like soymilk)
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • Two heaped teaspoons of good quality loose leaf black tea
  • Four or five cardamom pods, bashed so they're split open
  • One cinnamon stick, or about half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • One three centimeter piece of fresh ginger, peeled and bruised slightly to allow it to release its flavour
  • Eight to ten cloves
  • Just a splash of vanilla essence (or some vanilla beans, if you have some)
  • Two large desert spoons of sugar, I use brown or raw sugar because I prefer the way it tastes. Some people prefer to use honey, but I think it overwhelms the spices.

What you will need to do:
Preparation is so simple, it's really just a matter of throwing everything into a pot and simmering until ready - more or less the same method I employed when brewing up potions in the back yard with my sister! Add all of the above ingredients to a pot and slowly raise the temperature until your chai is simmering (don't allow your chai to boil as the milk may burn). Stir constantly for around fifteen minutes, then strain. You can serve at this point, or else transfer back to the pot and whisk until it is a little bit foamy. Home made chai is so much better than the bought stuff, and it's such a lot of fun to make. Enjoy.

"Eggs" by Stephen Fry


One of my favourite food discoveries of recent years came via Stephen Fry in the pretty good film of the very good book, V for Vendetta. In this particular scene, Evey is staying with TV show host Stephen Fry (I’m sure his ‘character’ has a name, but let’s stop pretending he’s not just playing Stephen Fry!) and he makes her breakfast: eggs fried in a hole in a slice of bread.

You’ve probably – unlike me – heard of it before. It’s pretty genius, after all, and comes with a slew of cool names. Toad in the hole. Eggy in a basket. One Eyed Jack. Hobo Toast. Not sure how that last one came about…

Needless, to say, upon tasting the Hobo Toast, Evey flips out. “V made me breakfast just like this!” She points out, a fact I am conveniently ignoring to write this blog. “Maybe I am V?” Stephen retorts. Well, you certainly have the same talent for breakfast. I tell ya, put me in a totalitarian world, and I am totally shacking up with the one man who can source butter and eggs. And homoerotic art.

There are a million ways to make it, but this is how I do it. I would recommend using that bread you made, remember? Honestly, unbelievably delicious. If not, any other thick sliced bread.

Melt 1 tbsp butter in a frying pan until it begins to bubble.

Cut or tear a hole in a thick slice of bread. The hole will probably be around 3ish cms in diameter, but to be honest: it doesn’t really matter.

Coat the bread in the melted butter, and fry on one side until crispy.

Flip the bread over, and break an egg into the hole. Fry until the egg is a bit more than half done. You should be able to see the egg cooking from the bottom up.

Flip again, cook until you think the egg is done to your liking. This is usually ascertained the scientific way, by poking.

Add salt, pepper, and then pick it up with your hands and eat it. And watch Stephen Fry in a sketch from A Little Bit of Fry and Laurie telling you how to be gorgeous:

Thanks, Stephen Fry! You can also see him on QI, series F, screening on ABC every Tuesday night at 9:30. Catch up on missed episodes here.

Hail Mary, Full Of Grace

I've just whiled away a few lovely hours at Melbourne's wonderful Abbotsford Convent. I'm sunburnt and a little sleepy, my fingernails are filthy and I *think* I have goat poop on my tights, but poop notwithstanding I really can't recommend this place enough. Historic buildings, beautiful gardens and plenty of lawn space just perfect for spring frolicking! Farmer's markets, food and drink, antiques, galleries, and the Collingwood Children's Farm just next door. Perfect Right? Right.

Best Lunch Ever! Mighty healthy hangover cure from Lentil As Anything - read about Lentil, they deserve your support

Nature. Turns out it's pretty gosh-darn good

Freshly squeezed OJ icypole - totally worth the sticky fingers

View from The Collingwood Children's Farm

Sleepy baby goat, he and I shared some cuddles

Cranky Sheep, don't mess with him

The beatiful Convent grounds

Today was simply perfect. If you haven't paid the nuns a visit recently I urge you to do so as soon as possible.

Homemade and handmade

My week started with a cooking adventure. I made bread for the first time. It didn’t go too well. But the second time around it worked a charm. So here are some things I've learned about baking bread:
  • There are different types of yeast. Read about them here.
  • You’ll probably use instant or active. The main difference is that instant can be mixed in with the flour, while active should be mixed with water.
  • Instant yeast will last 12 months (after opening) in your freezer.
  • The bread continues to cook while it’s cooling, so be good and don’t cut it for a couple of hours at least. Some people suggest a day or more. But they’re clearly crazy.
  • You should probably make this recipe: No kneading required! But pay attention to temperatures.
  • Fresh bread is the best with ripe avocado, a generous squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper.

Om nom nom.

Apart from making bread, I’ve been blogging about sea creatures over at I Know My Goat. It's not exactly food or music, but there are otters holding hands. I've been recovering from the surreal and wonderful This is Not Art festival, at which I managed to eat a lot of free food, and scored a delicious recipe for rhubarb and strawberry coulis.

And finally, I've been listening to Voss' debut long player, The Inland Sea, which I'm pretty sure you should be listening to also. Especially if you like well crafted songs about myths and maps and legends, sweet and ambling violin, vocal duets, and the sound of rain.

The Inland Sea
is concerned with Ludwig Leichardt's quest to cross the continent, which was, in turn, inspiration for Patrick White's novel Voss. This mess of artistic tribute somehow suits the album, which takes fiction as inspiration perhaps more than fact.

It isn't hard to see much Australian fiction as an attempt to rewrite history - to reinterpret convict suffering not as judicial punishment, but as spiritual trial: at the end of which we receive the promised land, having earned it. This artistic endeavor sees us make heroes of criminals and prophets of madmen. It's an uneasy inheritance, but Voss seems to embrace it. Ludwig Leichardt didn't die: he disappeared into myth. No death mask marked his passing, but perhaps we have been making them ever since.

Recurring themes of domesticity and tribulation, great flights and love, find their way into the lyrics. It's a bit rough around the edges, and hesitant in parts – but it's also surprising and a little bit sublime. A little bit like an inland sea.

Buy it online here. It comes with a gorgeous poster by Alice Carroll (last seen here making jam) and the lyric booklet is tied with string.

Listen to:
Charley's Forest Hall
Leichardt Mask

Check out:

Sometimes Food - Flourless Chocolate Cake with Hazelnut Meringue

One of my favourite lady friends just celebrated her 23rd birthday, and to ring in the beginning of her 24th year I baked her this delightfully girly cake. This recipe is perhaps a little complicated, and unless you have biceps like Agatha Trunchbull you will definitely need an electric beater, but it tastes divine and preparing it makes for an enjoyable afternoon of very busy baking! Don your favourite frilly apron (I rather like this one) and get cooking, your favourite lady friend will thank you!

My super cute new electric beater, you will need one of these!

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Hazelnut Meringue & Raspberries

What you will need:
  • 2/3 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 350g good quality bitter dark chocolate (I used the 60% cocoa variety)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
For the meringue:
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup roasted hazelnuts, chopped (see here for how to prepare them)
  • 1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate
  • Fresh raspberries and thickened cream to serve
What you will need to do:

1. Preheat your oven to 180 C and line the bottom of a 20cm spring form cake tin with baking paper. Grease the sides of the cake tin and set aside.

2. Cream brown sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl until the mixture is pale and creamy. In a separate bowl melt the dark chocolate, I always melt chocolate using this method.

3. Using an electric mixer, add egg yolks to the butter / sugar mixture one at a time and beat gently until all ingredients are combined. Add melted chocolate and vanilla essence and beat well. Your batter should be like a thick chocolate mousse in texture.

4. This is where things get a little bit tricky. In yet another bowl, beat six egg whites until they begin to stiffen and form soft peaks. Make sure your bowl and beaters are clean and dry before commencing this step, any unwanted moisture will spoil your eggs! Stir about a third of the egg whites through the cake batter - you can stir this first third through the mixture quite vigorously - then carefully fold through the remaining egg whites. Be sure to fold the whites thorough gently, otherwise your cake mixture will separate and become slippery and sloppy rather than creamy. I would suggest using a spatula at this step, and try to fold the cake batter over itself rather than stirring it in a circular motion, folding is preferable to stirring as it retains the air in the eggs.

5. Pour the mixture into your greased cake tin and bake for approximately half an hour. Meanwhile, prepare your meringue. (More egg whites!) Beat four egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt until eggs begin to stiffen and form peaks, then carefully add the white sugar a little bit at a time, continue to beat until the mixture stiffens up. Your meringue mixture is ready when you can turn your mixing bowl upside down without the whites falling out. Once the whites are at this point, fold through chopped hazelnuts and chocolate. As above, I would suggest using a spatula, and fold the mixture as little as possible.

6. After about half an hour in the oven your cake should be firming up nicely, a little bit of a jiggle is ok, but make sure your cake has begun to cook through before beginning this next step. Remove your cake from the oven and spread the meringue mixture over the top of the cake. I spread my meringue mixture with a spatula and then used a fork to create some cute little swirly peaks. Return the cake to the oven and cook for a further 30 minutes, or until the meringue has hardened and is browning slightly.

7. Remove your cake from the oven and stand aside for at least half an hour before removing from the tin. Don't be alarmed if your meringue has puffed up - my cake looked like it was wearing a meringue chef's hat when it first came out of the oven - but never fear! After thirty minutes cooling your meringue should have fallen a bit. Run a knife around the edge of the cake tin to loosen the cake before turning it out. Allow the cake to cool before serving.

I served my cake with blobs of thickened cream and fresh raspberries. You can top your cake with whatever you like, but I would recommend something tart to cut through the richness of the chocolate and the sugary meringue. I must also point out that this cake is incredibly unhealthy! It is high in sugar, high in fat, and presumalby bad for one's cholesterol. In the words of the immortal Cookie Monster, this cake is a sometimes food. Still, doesn't it look lovely?

PS. Happy Birthday Sarah! I'm glad you liked your cake, now take Cookie Monster's advice and eat some healthy greens...

A Happy Dweller of a Garden Good

You know, I’ve always fancied myself a gardener. With absolutely no evidence, skill or inclination to back this up. Quite the opposite really: I’ve killed anything I’ve attempted to grow, I sunburn within 8 seconds of being outside, and I’m really pretty scared of bees. (I’ve never been stung, and I'm still waiting for it. I’m pretty sure bee stings – like chicken pox – are something best got out of the way in childhood, because it’s still going to hurt when you’re an adult, and you’re not allowed to cry in public.) It's just that gardening is so - well, lovely. From Beatrix Potter and The Secret Garded, to idealistic visions of self sustainability, gardening is just so very wholesome.

So it was with this foolish sense of optimism, and visions of serene ladies in large hats, that my housemate and I walked across the street to the Garden Centre and harangued the young clerk into helping us set up our very own herb garden.

Now I’m not promising anything. I don’t have any books, magazines or general knowledge about gardening. I’m kind of banking on the fact that if you stick something in the ground, it’ll grow. Think of it as a kind of ‘trial and error guide to a very small amount of gardening’. With pictures!

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. Yes, in that order. Yes, for that reason.

Lettuce and rocket. NB: spread the individual plants out more than we did! See? We trial so you won't error.

We also have onions and mint! Think of all the impending deliciousness!

So it's all going pretty well so far! We bought them in winter, and took them outside in the morning, and brought them in at night to avoid the frost. It all went pretty well, even if we have, somewhat disconcertingly, started to refer to them as our babies. I imagine it might be a bit heartbreaking when we eventually, hopefully, cook and eat them.

I promise to try my very best not to kill them, and to keep you updated on their progress. In the meantime, here are some sweet tunes to garden to.

The Good Gardener - Augie March
The Garden - Mirah
Gates to the Garden - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds


I've had a strange few weeks. Wonderful, exciting, terrifying. I'm emotionally exhausted, and for once I've turned away from the quietly crooning poets that are my usual comfort: I'm not wont to sit in the dark and have a silent cry, rather I'm craving a little bit of fearless feminine strength. These women inspire me, their music marks the soundtrack to my life, and oh - I love them so.

Neko Case

Neko Case is an indie queen, a red headed bombshell with an amazing voice. She sings about tigers and foxes and men who'll tear your heart out. She's strong, totally sexy, and her music makes me feel grounded somehow, even when I'm crying my eyes out over her broken heart.

Listen to: Furnace Room Lullaby - Live From Austin TX

Joanna Newsom

Joanna Newsom got me through my very first year of university. I hated every minute I spent "studying", and listening to this lass croon about bridges, balloons, and Cair Paravel transported me the hell away from university to a vastly more inspired place.

Listen to: Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie - The Milk Eyed Mender

Kate Bush

Kate Bush reminds me of my mother. Of nights spent lying on the floor listneing to Hounds Of Love and feeling totally out of this world. She's a freakin' goddess, unearthly and fierce and vulnerable all at the same time.

Listen to: The Big Sky - Hounds Of Love


My all time favourite Lady Vocalist has got to be the eternally individual Bjork. My love for this lady knows no bounds, she's a staggeringly talented vocalist, a gifted musician and a fantastic producer to boot. I adore each of her albums, they're overflowing with colour, strength and fearlessness. Also, the woman can rock a costume! Lady Gaga eat your heart out. This classy lady occupies a special place in my heart.

Listen to: The Anchor Song - Debut

Watch these beautiful ladies in action too, they're inspiring.

Sugar and Spice and All Things Nice: Easy Muesli Slice

A few evenings ago, whilst half way through an episode of my favourite serial-killer thriller, I was suddenly and inexplicably struck by an overwhelming craving for muesli slice. I can't say where the craving came from, needless to say I'm concerned about the psychological implications of craving baked goods whilst watching this gorgeous man hack up bad guys and stalk around Miami looking broody. But rather than question where my craving came from (potentially getting bogged down in some sort of Freudian appetite analysis) I'm choosing to focus on the positives: my craving was bizarre enough, but the outcome was delicious. A chewy-but-crunchy slice that is so easy to make it's positively criminal. The recipe is my own little creation, and I'm chuffed that the slice turned out as well as it did, given that I haphazardly made this one up as I went along!

What You Will Need:

2 cups muesli (I used a bircher muesli with the candied peel picked out. Peel. Ick.)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup raisins
125g butter, melted
2 lightly beaten eggs
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
A liberal pinch of salt

What You Will Need To Do:

1. Preheat your oven to around 180 C. Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

2. Melt butter over a low heat, stirring through the maple syrup. Allow to cool slightly then add to the dry mixture along with the eggs. Stir until all ingredients are wet.

3. Line a 20cm by 10cm baking tray or oven proof dish with baking paper. Spread slice mixture evenly across the bottom of the dish, make sure to press the mixture into the corners of the dish.

4. Bake until golden brown. This took about 35 minutes in my little oven.

5. Once browned, stand slice until cool. Remove the slice from the baking tray and dust with a little icing sugar. I enjoyed my slice with a second episode of Dexter and a strong cup of coffee.

So there you have it, my very first recipe-free baking success. This is the sort of slice that tastes nourishing and wholesome. Perfect for entertaining flights of fancy involving baking for one's sexy serial killer husband. Of course I could've fantasized about baking for this dream boat, but sadly it's not meant to be... The man doesn't eat.

Spanish Melodrama: Balsamic Roast Vegetable and Couscous Salad

You know, I love cooking - but I hate deciding what to cook. I love grocery shopping, but I often get overwhelmed with choice. A few months ago, these factors conspired in the worst way, and I ended up calling a friend of mine from the supermarket in a slight panic.

"Okay, so I know you'll be at my house in about half an hour, but I'm still at the shops. I have about 10 bucks, no idea what to cook and I'm staring at a wall of tinned tomatoes like a rabbit in headlights."

"Right. Do you have couscous?"


"Buy some vegetables. And some wine. I'll sort you out."

We ended up watching 'The Flower of my Secret' that night, a Spanish melodrama by director Pedro Almodovar. And we ended up eating a delicious balsamic roast vegetable salad that has since become an absolute staple in my house. It's cheap, easy, and works with all sorts of vegetables. It's great warm for dinner, and cold for lunch the next day.

Sophie's Couscous Salad
What you will need:

1 large eggplant
1 large zucchini
2 punnets cherry, grape or baby roma tomatoes
1 red capsicum
3 thinly sliced shallots

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 olive oil
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
A splash of red wine vinegar
Salt & pepper

1 cup couscous
1 cup boiling water
200gms soft fetta

What you will need to do:

1. Preheat your oven to 200 C

2. Dissolve brown sugar with 1 tbsp hot water in a large bowl. Add your other marinade ingredients and whisk well to combine. Season to taste - the marinade should not be immediately sweet, but you should be able to taste the sugar on the finish.

3. Dice zucchini and eggplant into 1-2cm cubes, and slice capsicum into pieces roughly the same size. Cut in half about 2/3rds of your cherry tomatoes, and leave the others whole. I try to leave the smallest ones whole, and halve the rest. Thinly slice shallots.

4. Combine the vegetables in the bowl with the marinade. Stir thoroughly, making sure everything is coated. Let sit for around half an hour, if you have time. Maybe now you would like to clean the kitchen? Have a cup of tea? Call your mum? Clean the house up frantically before your guests arrive? Good idea.

5. Line a baking tray, or two, with tinfoil. This really is a good idea, because the sugar in the marinade makes everything a bit sticky. Chuck your vegetables on the trays, drizzling any excess liquid over the top.

6. Roast for about 20 - 30 minutes. I like the eggplant, capsicum and tomatoes to be well done, but the zucchini should still have a bit of bite to it. When done, put the vegetables in a large, heatproof salad bowl.

7. I normally prepare couscous in a measuring cup. Simply measure out the desired amount, and pour the same amount again of boiling water on top. Stir with a fork, and then cover and let sit for about five minutes. Stir again, and then mix through the vegetables.

8. Serve while still warm, in individual bowls with crumbled up fetta on top.

And if you've got them, some garlic bread, red wine and Spanish melodrama go nicely, too.

A Few of My Favourite Things

Rounding the corner on my walk home

As I sit in bed this evening and type Melbourne is possibly blowing away, disappearing slowly into a giant muddy puddle, or freezing over completely to become a scary icicle ghost town. I wouldn't know, my curtains are drawn, but it sounds altogether antisocial outside. Normally this sort of weather sends me under my doona for a few days, but I'm not hiding under my goose feathers tonight, strangely enough I'm feeling fresh and optimistic.

Before tonights blizzard hit Melbourne I enjoyed a walk home in some delightfully Spring-ish weather, my suburb is overflowing with cherry blossoms, my front yard smells of daphne and sprinkler water. I'm feeling energetic, and I'm oh-so excited about the onset of warmer weather.

So to wave goodbye to the cooler months and say hello to a season of picnics, thongs and delicious summer fruit, here are a few of my favourite things, some recent discoveries that I hope will usher in a happy Spring and Summer.

Fruity Sangria, shared with a lovely lady at a lovely little rooftop ladies lounge

Warm herby olives, brunch in a laneway cafe

Warm chicken salad: the first barbeque of the season

Lemon curd tarts with rosewater fairy floss, from this fine establishment. I plan to recreate these very soon.

Ahh, spring. Will you pull your socks up and stop dawdling please? It's about time things warmed up around here...

Of Acorns and Bowerbirds


I don’t know why, but these two bands are inextricably linked in my mind, despite the fact that I grew to love them many months apart from each other.

Bowerbirds kept me company for a semester spent studying Bacchus and Shakespeare. “You're the kindling still that burns below my heart / You’re the hooves that lead me through the forest” became a mantra as winter turned into spring. The next winter, I found The Acorn. They brought drums and fireflies to long walks home in the early dark, cups of tea on cold mornings and quiet revelations.

There’s something earthy, dark and mountainous about these bands. Their lyrics are full of forests and floods, lockets, brambles, birds, turning tides and dangerous winds, long journeys in fading light. Each song is a small fairy tale, melodious and whimsical.

The Acorn’s first full length album is named Glory Hope Mountain for the songwriter’s mother, Gloria Esperanza Montoya. I think perhaps that sums them up better than I ever could. You can purchase on their label page, here. And listen to the following, here:

Hold Your Breath

Bowerbirds have just released their second studio album, Upper Air. You all really should mosey on down to your local friendly music purveyor and have a listen. But if it's a choice between Upper Air and Hymns for a Dark Horse, their absolutely outstanding first album, I'd say start with Hymns.

Start with this:

Then this, House of Diamonds

Oh and this. Watch this. One of the best film clips of recent years: