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Meatless Monday – Mushroom and spinach risotto

#meatlessmonday mushroom and spinach #risotto #italian

If you’re like one of the billion of people who stayed up late or wake up extra early for the World Cup final, you’re probably feeling just as wrecked as I am at the moment. After a series of incredibly long, drawn out matches in the last couple of rounds, nothing made me happier than seeing a ball actually hitting the back of the net, and quite satisfyingly so. I just noticed I’ve been posting Italian dishes every Monday. Quite simply it’s because they’re fairly easy to make and with very little hassle. I like my victories delivered on a plate! Read More…

Meatless Monday – Spaghetti alla Carbonara di Zucchine

#365days #365daysproject #meatlessmonday #vegetarian zucchini carbonara

 

With the weather cooling down, I’ve been in the look out for comfort food. I’ve been in the lookout for a vegetarian carbonara recipe, with varying degrees of success. There was a Gilt kale recipe that I attempted and turned out to be disastrous, thought this great blog mastered it. There’s nothing more heart breaking than a failed dish for #Meatless Monday, not only do I have nothing to show for it, I ended up eating the sad rejected dish and hating the experience.

I’m glad to say this was not one of those failed moments. To me a great carbonara should have that classic combination of creamy egg and cheese sauce, tempered with a lovely salty crunchiness that usually comes from the bacon. This recipe from bon apetit is the closest vegetarian alternative I’ve managed to find and I love its simplicity as well.  Read More…

Meatless Monday – Caponata

#365days #365daysproject #meatlessmonday back on the wagon yotam #ottolenghi 'a #caponata recipe with Kalamazoo olive sourdough

Winter is here and after a hiatus in blogging, peppered with a trip around Europe and a new job, it feels right to pick this up again.

There are some dishes that keeps on giving after it is cooked, and this generous dish by Yotam Ottolenghi is definitely one of those. Caponata is a Sicilian eggplant vegetable salad with celery, capers and a sweet and sour vinegar sauce. Traditionally served as a side dish it is also one that can be served as an entree on rustic bread with pecorino or as a main dish tossed with pasta. Read More…

Summer, strawberries and the quest for digital awards

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Blogging to me is like exercising. They both take a while to get back into rhythm and once I do get back in the rhythm inevitably flu will kick me back into bed and shatter another resolution.

They cycle starts and stops, starts and stops.

The only time both have any chance of lasting is if I have a goal and award at the end (warrior dash anyone?), oh and it helps if I gather points along. Maybe it started with owning my iPhone and started the downward spiral of tracking inane actions such as meals I had (foodspotting), places I visit (foursquare), exercises (fitocracy) and my spending (iexpense) to name a few.

In short wordpress, congratulating me when I post is just not enough. Where is my fanfare, my medals, my quests, props from my legions of fans and my dashboard? Creating content is no longer its own reward, I need my ego to be stroked with each post. It could be so easy, create quests based on subjects and whenever a certain topic is reached every nth time I receive a medal or some credit or…something.

While I put away that minuscule first world problem aside, one thing that does give with every effort is my little patch of dirt attempting to grow and bear fruits.

My first real harvest was literally a handful of strawberry lowana grown from seedling during spring until now. This little plant was surprisingly fruitful considering the amount of rain it received during its flowering period. Taste wise I was expecting juicy summer drenched fruits, but aside from the additional crunchiness it is not noticeably sweeter than the store bought variety.

My dwarf beans were growing beans, but the harvest was somewhat pitiful with only 1 bean being harvested and only a single bean within the pod. My kale was growing until a sudden attack of conscience when spying two green caterpillars meant leaving them alone until they grow fat and big and reduced my entire crop into twigs. Caterpillars are cute, yes they grow into butterflies, but butterflies lay eggs within a surprisingly short period of time.

Beginning of the end

Unfortunately no birds decide to feast on my caterpillar family while they feast on my kale. What was a surprisingly effective natural predator was the humble lady beetle. During early spring my Japanese maple was completely covered with aphids, so much so that you can shake the tree and handfuls will just drop. A few weeks later small troop of lady beetles arrived and ate their way within two weeks.

Lady beetles I heart you.

In hindsight there were a number of things I should and shouldn’t have done. Such as completely rejigging the soil and adding a truckful of manure to revitalise the soil. 1 bag of compost, 1 bag of potting mix does not a healthy garden bed make, nor does an imaginary green thumb medal create a harvest, but you can always like this post and make me feel warm and fluffy for all of five seconds.

Lady bettle hoovering


2012 in review

A clever little summary of my non blogging year last year, the only thing I can aim for is to do a wee bit more!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,400 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 6 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Happy Lunar New Year…dragon style!

If you were not glued to the telly watching the epic marathon of a match between Nadal and Djokovic  you might be with the other half of Sydney who were out in force along George Street watching the Twilight Parade.

Dancing in the street #CNY012

It has been a long time since I venture out to the city to see the Chinese New Year festivities. It was quite a sight seeing everyone lined up on the pavement, a forest of arms up in the air with their phone trying to get a second hand glimpse of the street.

Crowd at hungry jack taking photos of Chinese new year parade on George St

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I was a little tickled with the number of sponsorships, St George (wow dragon mascot for a bank! what fateful pairing!), Medibank and Ayam coconut milk meandered past the crowd in their respective floats.

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For more photos check out the official website they are scanning instagram for photos with hashtag #CNYSYD. I’m quite taken with how everything is being organised, City of Sydney well done you!

Coastal walk – Bundeena

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Going through photos yet to be uploaded reminded me yet again how crazy full this year had been. Random walks being one of the unexpected activities this year. These photos are from the coastal walk around Bundeena. We hopped on a ferry and walked around the coast, being mistaken for a pair of tourists on holiday (ok so wearing full hiking gear on my part was a tad overkill).

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Saw some odd looking shell like creature that looks like something that dropped from outer space. If anyone can identify these that will be great. They literred the beach and look rather slimy in a shell kind of way. There are a couple of beaches in Bundeena, all pretty quiet in nestled in a u shape cove, perfect for a half way gate way from the more crowded beaches.

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The draw card for me was the Aboriginal rock carvings found on a flat platform. From sting ray, frog, kangaroo or whale (really big outline of  a fish) they stark lines are so basic and yet so recognisable that it’s actually quite amazing.

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Definitely recommended for a wander just slightly out of Sydney.

Walking into the Abyss

Burgers in the Concrete City – NY part 1 of many

Shake Shack in NYTime is a ticking and there are still so many more photos to upload from New York. New York in summer is rather glorious, despite the scalding bitumen. On a summer day, a lunch break at the Shake Shack consisting of burger and shakes is a must have experience.

Shake Shack in NYThere is no such thing as a not busy time at the Shack. Even hours past lunch, the line was snaking its way around Madison Square Park as hungry mob waited patiently for their burger, shakes and fries.

Shake Shack in NY

We ordered the ShackBurger, Cheese Fries and some milk shake to wash it all down. The burger was smaller than I expected, but the patty oozed enough grease when lightly squeezed. The bun itself was more like a brioche rather than hamburger buns. I loved the melted cheese on top of fries, but it made me feel a little sick after a while. My favourite item out of this menu was my vanilla milkshake. It was thick and creamy and tasted exactly what a good old fashion shake should, complete and utter indulgence of the best kind.

Shake Shack in NYWe stayed in Brookly for the first few days of the trip, revisiting old haunts in what is an increasingly gentrified neighbourhood.

BrooklynIt felt like home when I wandered down the street, with hidden chocolate shops, random furniture stores and craft markets.

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Imagining living here is not such a big stretch…maybe next time?
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Brooklyn

Brooklyn

Just like mum used to make

Like Mum Used To Make

Just like that it’s December and I am still trying to catch up with October. Here are some late photos from the Like Mum Used to Make exhibition at Mars Hill. It’s a bit of a learning curve for all involved, but it turned our rather well and expect to see it again next year.

Like Mum Used To Make

Like Mum Used To Make

Like Mum Used To Make

Spring is here, baby elephant and all

Luk ChaiSpring is in the air judging from the multiple new additions at Sydney Taronga Zoo, but the centre stage belongs to the its baby elephant Luk Chai. So much so that Taronga’s entire website and merchandise had been rebranded to reflect his arrival. I admit there is is something gorgeous about watching a smaller version of a truck sized mammal trying his hardest to over turn a red cover lid for a good five minutes.

Luk ChaiIn other news with the new addition of their brand new car park it is no longer so painful to find parking around Mosman. More reasons to check out this little guy…

Luk Chai