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:

Cooking For Friends (I heart Jamie Oliver)

I hosted a dinner party recently, a reciprocal dinner party of sorts, to thank our guests for a delicious meal they'd cooked for The Boy and I some weeks earlier. I would be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about cooking for said friends, the meal we enjoyed at their place was delicious Okonomiyaki and I wasn't sure I could serve anything as tasty. I thought about 'winging it' and cooking recipe free, but I really wanted to serve something perfect, and with unattainable perfection in mind, I turned to my first (cooking) love for a little help: Jamie Oliver.

I know Jamie isn't everybody's cup of tea, but I adore him. He sparked my interest in food and in cooking, and his fourth book in particular (Jamie's Kitchen) taught me how to fillet a fish, bake bread, make pasta from scratch, and really introduced me to the idea that cooking for friends is fun. And it is, when you relax, and I did, thanks to the below recipes:

I didn't alter these recipes much at all. I probably used more herbs in the lasagne than the recipe calls for, and I didn't use anywhere near as much creme fraiche as is suggested either. For the pear tart I baked a pastry shell as per this recipe, it turned out well despite my opening the oven door about thirty times to make sure I hadn't burnt it, and I served the pear tart with a little more creme fraiche which I sweetened with icing sugar and a touch of cinnamon.

When you're cooking for friends who have read your recipe blog, there are certain expectations attached to any meal you prepare, the food had better taste damn good. It had better taste so good that your ceaseless photographing of the meal goes unnoticed, it had better taste so good that your friends won't post "SHE'S A FRAUD!!" comments all over your blog and expose you as an amateur, causing blogging shame. Needless to say, the entire lasagne was consumed, and the pear tart was delicious. Thankyou Jamie, you're my hero! <3