Head & Heart | March 2016

I know, I know. It’s been a while. I always say this, that I’m sorry (because I am), and you are always kind and forgiving (because you are).

But I’m here now, and we should probably catch up. Are you ready?

 

Head & Heart

What I’ve been grateful for:

  • Opportunity. Although I swore a million times that I’d never go back, I’m currently studying. There are files and textbooks and highlighters and post-it flags piled at my feet (and like any good student, I’m writing this while I procrastinate), and I’m oddly happy about it. My Day Job encouraged me to take the leap – I’m studying a graduate certificate in policy and governance at the Queensland University of Technology – and are really supportive about it all. #auspol #nerd
  • Opportunity 2: I’m off to Sydney for the first time! I’m heading over to check out the MAD conferenceat the freakin’ Opera House, no less! The biggest names in food (Kylie Kwong, David Chang, Massimo Boturra, Rene Redzepi) are talking Tomorrow’s Meal, and I can’t even believe that I’m going to be in that theatre, with so many incredible people. So out of my depth. So excited.
  • My girl gang. Last month, I gathered a bunch of ladies that I truly admire for a whole bunch of different reasons, and told them how incredible they were. Some run small businesses, some are creatives, others educators. They are all fierce, giving, kind and generous, and I wanted them to know each other and connect. It was magical and terrifying and I loved it.

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What I’ve been thinking about:

  • This piece – making friends on Twitter. It sums up my experience – mostly positive, highly educational, and the home of my tribe. I’ve met such wonderful people (mostly women) who I couldn’t live without, and I get to indulge in the things I love the most –  politics, comics and feminism – that would probably have my Facebook crew unfriending me in droves.
  • Youtube. I’m so behind on this whole thing, but I’m into now with gusto. With its plethora of cat and fail videos, there’s also so much to learn. And no, I’m not just talking about make up tutorials (though I love those too), there are so many incredibly smart women talking about really clever things. Karlie Kloss is talking to female entrepreneurs, Estee Lalonde is talking periods and sex, Rosianna Halse Rojas is chatting Shine Theory. It’s something I wish I had growing up, and even at almost 30, it’s still interesting and insightful.

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What I’m excited for:

  • Uh, SYDNEY. Bakeries! Wanderings! Adventures! Sephora! I plan on coming home with a very large box of panna cotta lamingtons from Flour and Stone, I’m going to find Black Star Pastry if it kills me, and I’ve already planned a dinner at Billy Kwong with my folks. Mum wants to spend some time wandering around The Rocks, probably catching the Manly Ferry. Other suggestions? Hit me up, I want to hear them pleaseandthankyou
  • If you, like me, make unholy squealing noises when you see cute fluffy things, then please meet Hicks the bunny. He belongs to my friends Marc and Lou, and I’m obsessed with his thumping paws and fluffy white tail. He’s also a sassy, sulking drama queen. I love/hate him.

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What I’ve been doing:

  • Winning the 4th Annual Office Bake-Off, nbd. It’s funny, everyone in my office is competitive for us, while Alex and I just like baking. This year, I submitted feta and herb biscuits, and a panna cotta tart with lemon curd and freeze-dried raspberry. I was pretty proud of that tart, it was a smushing of recipes and a lot of finger-crossing while hoping for the best. TRIUMPH.
  • Getting behind the Safe Schools program. It kills me that our government can be so cruel to speak about our kids in such a disgusting way, and it’s killing kids to not have access to such a vital program (LGBTQIA youth are six times likely to attempt suicide, and transgender people are 76% more likely. This. Is Not. Okay.). Write to your local Members of Parliament and demand that they support funding to Safe Schools. These kids deserve better.

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What I’ve been reading:

  • The shiny and new Broadsheet Perth. Edited by my friend and all round best guy Max Veehuyzen, it’s a website dedicated to the best in Perth. Now I know you think these are a dime a dozen, but Broadsheet does it better with content written by people who know and love what they do, and photography by the best in the business. There’s no washed-up, ex reality tv wannabes here, just quality writing.
  • This post about chocolate brownies, just in case you didn’t get enough chocolate over the weekend.
  • And this about throwing together a dinner party in under an hour. It’s a pretty excellent reminder to keep things simple, more than anything.
  • I attended the Perth Writer’s Festival last month and picked up a stack of books that I’m trying (and failing) to work through. I learned so much from seeing these women speak, and I can’t recommend their books enough!

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What I’ve been spending money on:

  • One of these La Lune prints from Chi Borello. I’m obsessed with everything she does, I can’t even tell you. I picked it up from La Luna, a rad homeware store in Inglewood, which I can no longer venture into unsupervised.
  • This phone case from Sportsgirl – easily the best $15 I’ve spent this month, because I never developed past being a 13 year old girl. This is why.
  • Breakfast at Satchmo Cafe in North Perth. There’s something I really love about Jewish cooking – the ritual of it, the intrinsic link between food and family, the tradition, and it goes without saying that I was excited when this beautiful café opened near home. It’s a place with energy, with a vibe. On weekends, there’s a band playing in the carpark, other days there’s 1950’s jazz wafting from the speakers. I twisted Rob’s arm into picking the brisket bagel, while I devoured the blueberry blintz, and they offer all kinds of different bagels and biscuits.

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Tell me about your month! What’s news?

 

She’s my… |Bourbon Cherry Pie

It’s no secret that one of my favourite things about summer is eating myself sick on stone fruit. I spend all winter dreaming of grilled peaches, poached nectarines and tiny plums

So, when my market was selling cartons of cherries before Christmas, I went a little crazy. Let’s be honest, I don’t make great choices under pressure. What I really wanted, was the recipe for Varnish on King’s Cherry Whiskey Sour, which is probably my favourite cocktail of all time. Sadly, Jamie isn’t giving up the goods, so I settled for putting that cocktail into pie form which was probably just as delicious, and with slightly fewer next-day regrets.

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Pie is a kind of dish that you walk away from feeling accomplished. No one can ever accuse you of it coming from a box, or ‘cheating’ in any way. From having to pit the cherries, to wait for the dough to chill, you earn this pie every step of the way. Should you have any worries that it’s a lot of effort for nought, let me assure you that the final result is nothing short of completely worth it.

Yeah, you bet I played Warren on repeat while I make this sucker. There was hip swaying, and kitchen dancing, and a rollicking good time was had by all (me). In fact, I heartily suggest that you do the same.

 

Vanilla Bourbon Cherry Pie

From Half Baked Harvest

1.3 kilos fresh cherries, pitted (I really only had about 900g, which was fine)
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons cornflour
1/4 cup bourbon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, seeds removed from the pod
zest from 1 lemon
1 egg, beaten
demerara sugar or granulated sugar, for sprinkling (optional)

 

Make your favourite pastry recipe – mine is this one from Smitten Kitchen, and it’s perfect. It’s pretty much foolproof, so if you’re a beginner, it’s a great place to start.

Once dough is chilled, let it sit on your bench for 5 minutes or so to soften enough to be rolled. Grease/butter a 22cm/9-inch pie dish, and heat your oven to 220 degrees C.

On a floured bench top, roll out one half of the dough to a 30cm/12 inch round. Very carefully, lift it into your pie dish. Trim any excess dough from around the edges, then prick the base all over with a fork.

Roll out the second half of the dough on a floured bench in to a 30cm/12 inch round. Transfer onto baking paper.

To decorate the crust: now, it’s up to you how you do this – you can punch stars or holes into the crust, or cut it into strips and go the traditional weave crust – be creative, this is the fun part! If you’d like ideas, check out here. Once done, place the dough in the fridge to firm up.

Add the cherries, sugar, cornflour, bourbon, vanilla and lemon zest in a large bowl, and toss them together to make sure it’s really well combined. Scrape the fruit and all the delicious juices into the pie dish.

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Carefully place your pie crust over the pie and remove the baking paper. Crimp the bottom and top crusts together to seal in all the goodness, then brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

Whack the whole thing back in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm.

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When ready to bake, place the pie dish on a baking tray (this catches any spills when the pie bubbles up and makes your oven easier to clean – trust me on this), and bake for around 30 minutes, until the crust is golden. Reduce the temperature to 180 degrees C, and bake for another 50-60 minutes to get the juices bubbling.

Leave to cool on a wire rack for a good 4 hours before tucking in, and serve with cream or vanilla ice cream.

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Slow decent into madness| Pollo Con Salsa

And so begins the slow decent into end-of-year madness. There’s people to see, parties to attend, shopping to do, and nowhere near enough time to do it all. Why do we do it to ourselves?!

How do you handle this time of year?
Are you a list person?
Did you start buying Christmas presents in June?
Do you promise yourself every year that this will be the one where you’re organised, only to find yourself 3 days out from the big day having a meltdown in Myer? Yeah, no, me neither.

With all the demands on your time that come with this time of year, you’re going to want some recipes that aren’t too taxing on the effort front, right? Right.

This recipe comes from one of my favourite books this year – The Feast Goes On, from The Monday Morning Cooking Club. If you see it, pick up a copy. It’s so full of really comforting recipes, kind of like a food hug, that it will be a book that you go back to again and again. I’m waiting for an excuse to make the insanely magical but also filthy fried cheese pie.

You heard me.

Fried.

Cheese.

Pie.

But until that day, there’s this. A great, family friendly dinner, that’s ready in an hour. This is the kind of thing you’ll find yourself eating weekly for it’s sheer simplicity and adaptability. Throw in whatever’s in your fridge, you can’t go wrong. You’re welcome.

 

Pollo Con Salsa

From The Monday Morning Cooking Club

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large red capsicum, thinly sliced
8 skinless chicken thighs
500ml chicken stock
400g tin diced tomatoes
1 large handful flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

 

Heat the oil over medium heat. In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, then add the onion and cook until soft, stirring, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and capsicum and continue to stir for a further 5 minutes, until the capsicum softens. Scrape from the pan and set aside. Add the chicken to the pan and brown well on both sides.

Add the onion and capsicum back to the pan, then add the stock. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until the chicken is tender. Stir in the tomatoes and parsley, season, then cook for another 15 minutes until slightly thickened.

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Serve with your favourite carb.

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This would be great with rice or mash, but I couldn’t say no to Israeli couscous.

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Cops & Spiders| Apple Pie Biscuits

If you follow me on any form of social media, you will know The Spider Story.

If you don’t, here’s a quick recap:

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Essentially, I had a great time joking around (mostly… Seriously, I need an on-call spider killer. Please. Apply within.) with the Kensington Police about sending someone to squish a spider for me. Before long, it had taken on a life of its own, and I found myself delivering morning tea to the station to say thanks for them having an excellent sense of humor.

I had a really great morning getting to meet Senior Sargent Goy, Constable Roberts and the rest of the team. But what I enjoyed the most was getting to chat to them about their love for Vic Park, swapping coffee tips and restaurant finds, and generally sharing the love for an up-and-coming hub. It was really lovely to spend time with people who genuinely love the city that they serve and protect, and are working towards making it a better place. Hats off to you, Kenso Cops!

Biscuits are essentially American scones, typically made with buttermilk. If you don’t have buttermilk (it’s in the fridge section of the supermarket with the milk), this is my favourite substitute. Works a treat!

Coming into Spring, these are a great treat to take along on a picnic (that still happens, right?) or barbecue. If your kids are on holidays, this is also a great recipe for them to make themselves.

 

Apple Pie Biscuits

From Joy the Baker

 

For the apples:
1  apple
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

For the biscuits:
2 cups Self-Rising Flour
1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2/3 to 3/4 cup cold buttermilk

For the topping:
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt

 

Preheat the oven to 220 C/425 F. Line a baking tray with baking paper, and set aside.

For the apples, peel and slice thinly with a mandolin. Toss together the apple slices with the melted butter, cinnamon and brown sugar until coated, then place in a baking tray. Place in the oven for 5 minutes, then set aside (you don’t want the apple cooked through).

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To make the dough, place the flour and cold butter in a bowl bug enough to get your hands in to. Work the butter into the flour with your fingers until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the sugar. Add 2/3 cup of buttermilk, then mix together until well combined and the mixture is moist, soft and holds together. Add more buttermilk if needed.

Dust your bench well with flour, then turn out the dough. Shape the dough into a rectangle, the, with a rolling pin, roll out to a large rectangle about ½ inch thick, about 18cm by 25cm.

Spoon the apples in a single layer over half of the dough, leaving a small border. Fold the rest of the dough over the apples, and press the edges together to seal. Cut the dough into 12 then place on to your baking tray.

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Combine together the sugar, cinnamon and salt. Brush the top of the biscuits with the egg wash, then sprinkle over the sugar mixture.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden. Enjoy warm or cold, with custard or cream. Or ice cream. Or on their own. It’s all good.

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I found that they went a little soggy the day after, so they’re best eaten the day you make them (they’re still delicious the next day though, so don’t let a little soggy stop you).
P.S. If you know of a cop in your community who’s doing an amazing job, why not nominate them for a WA Police Excellence Award?

The Sweet Swap | Salted Caramel Swirl Marshmallows

I love mail.

I mean, proper mail. Not bills, or pizza delivery flyers, not junk mail. Ain’t no one got time for that.

So when I heard about The Sweet Swap, you can bet I was signing up for something that results in me getting delicious treats in the post. Why wouldn’t you!?

I had been inspired to give marshmallow-making a go after reading this post by The Sugar Hit – I mean, how hard could it be?

So I made one batch. That went fine.

I started on a second. I dropped and smashed my thermometer. I then burnt the sugar syrup. In a moment of brain snap, I poured the syrup straight into the bin… Where, because sugar syrup is basically lava, it melted through the bin liner (and half of the contents), pooled in the bottom of the bin, and set like toffee. The whole bin went into the garbage (and I still owe Blair a new one).

Oops.

One week and a new thermometer later, and these guys came to fruition. So very, very pretty, and very, very tasty.

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Salted Caramel Swirl Marshmallows

From Bake or Break

For the coating:
3/4 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup cornflour

For the marshmallows:
1/2 cup salted caramel sauce (bought or your own recipe)
4 & 1/2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup, divided
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Sift together the corn flour and icing sugar in a small bowl, set aside.

Lightly coat a square brownie tin with oil, then dust the pan with the icing sugar mixture.

In a microwave safe bowl, combine the gelatin with 1/2 cup cold water and leave to bloom for 5 minutes.

In a medium saucepan, combine 1/4 cup corn syrup, 1/4 cup water and salt and bring to a boil. Stirring occasionally, bring to a temperature of 240*f/115*c.

While the syrup boils, heat the gelatin in the microwave for 30 seconds or until melted. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer with the remaining 1/4 cup corn syrup, then turn the mixer on low.

Once the syrup has reached temperature, remove from heat and veeeery slowly add to the gelatin mixture, while the mixer is still on low. Once combined, increase the speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes. Increase the speed again, beating for a further 5 minutes. Then, increase to high, add the vanilla and beat for 2 minutes. The mixture should have tripled in volume and be white and fluffy.

Add 1/4 of the marshmallow mixture to a bowl, and stir in the caramel until combined. Then scrape the caramel mixture back in to the marshmallow, and gently swirl together.

Pour evenly into the brownie tin, and smooth the top with a spatula. Leave the marshmallow uncovered in a cool dry place for 8 hours or overnight to firm.

Cut the marshmallows into squares, then toss with extra coating (this stops them from sticking) and tap off any excess. Enjoy!

 

Most marshmallows are gluten-free – just make sure the icing sugar and cornflour specifies that they are gluten-free (most do), and you’re on your way to an allergy friendly treat for the masses!

What I Love – Pure Glow Edition

Man has invented many brilliant things in his time upon this earth.

The wheel is a good one. As is the ability to refrigerate food. The telephone. Penicillin. All excellent things for the advancement of humanity. My personal favourite (aside from the internets and elasticated waistbands) is the deep fryer. Is there anything it can’t do? Mac and cheese, chips, a whole turkey. Mars bars, doughnuts, even Coke.

While my diet isn’t entirely deep fried, I’ve been so busy lately that an unforgivable amount of what I’m eating is take-away or quick fixes, and I feel like crap. Surprise! It turns out your mum wasn’t lying – you are what you eat. Damnit mum, I hate it when you’re right.

My system needed a bit of recovery time. Enter: Pure Glow Cleanse.

Annett has long been one of my favourite customers on a Saturday morning when I’m slinging crumpets. When she suggested that the cure to my woes may be some time out from my beloved fries, I looked at her fabulous glowing skin and demanded that she sign me up immediately.

While I don’t believe in ‘detoxing’ in the traditional sense – my liver and kidneys function perfectly well, thus have no need for detoxing – I was keen to kind of hit the reset button for my body, giving it time out from the heavily processed foods I’d been bombarding it with.

And you know what? My skin cleared up, I wasn’t as hungry as I thought I’d be, and I felt better, pure and simple.

So today, I’m talking to the fabulous Annette! Say hi, team!

What I Love – Pure Glow Cleanse Edition

Who are you/what do you do?
My name is Annette & I’m the co-founder of Pure Glow Cleanse and editor of Wellness WA (the latter is currently taking a little nap!). My business partner Jacqueline Forth and I launched Perth’s first juice cleanse delivery business in April 2013 and have been busy getting the people of Perth nourished, detoxed and glowing ever since! I also moonlight at lululemon, selling yoga gear & hitting up yoga classes with my amazing colleagues (best retail job ever!)
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Why Perth?
Perth is such an amazing place to be right now. It’s really undergoing a huge transformation and has been for the last couple of years. It’s such an exciting time to start up a business, as there are so many fantastic ideas that exist in the Eastern states and overseas which haven’t quite made it to us yet – so for entrepreneurs there is no time like the present to take a leap of faith and just go for it.
What inspires you?
Goal setting, farmers markets, yoga, dreams of travelling to Portland.
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How did Pure Glow come about?
Both Jacqueline and I wanted a cold-pressed juice company in Perth, and at the time there was nothing available. I’d been waiting for about 4 years for a juice cleanse delivery business to start up here and when she emailed me out of the blue asking if I thought it would be a good idea to start this business, I said yes instantly! From there it’s been a very crazy journey full of challenges, highs, & lots and lots of green juice!
Your dream food day?
Ha! What a great question. My dream food day would start with our Glowing Greens smoothie, I’d then head to Subiaco Farmers Market and enjoy 3 x organic crumpets with honey from Mr Drummond’s Foods (!!!), after this I’d pat some pups and have a snack of Cheezy Chipotle Kale Chips, which at $9 for a small packet is a very pricy addiction to have unfortunately.
Lunch is a Garden Goodness burger at Grill’d, washed down wish a Little Creatures cider, and I’d then go and lie down for an afternoon food-induced-nap for a few hours.
Post-nap it’s time for some Cadbury Furry Friends & then out to dinner at Meeka in Subiaco. If I could teleport anywhere in the world, dinner would be at Millennium Restaurant in San Francisco, consistenly rated the No. 1 vegetarian dining place in America.
Dessert is either apple crumble, churros, or artisan icecream. Then home to bed to most likely have vivid, food-induced dreams!
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What’s the best thing you ate recently?
Probably some yummy pumpkin soup or banana bread made by a lovely friend of mine.
Where do you love to go to eat?
Meeka, Subi Farmers Markets, Lanna Thai, Aisuru. Anywhere with great vegetarian and vegan options.
Where do you love to hang out?
Can I say at home?! I’m usually working 7 days a week so try and get to farmers markets when I can. I also really like Double Double small bar.
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What’s your favourite thing right now?

Now, and always, hounds. I’m also pretty obsessed with acai smoothies right now!

What are you looking forward to?
Summertime, exciting new business opportunities, turning 30!
If you’re interested in trying a cleanse before summer, you can read about other people’s experiences here, here, here and here.

Mug lovin’

I have many vices.

I’ve come home from dinner with friends on one too many occasions feeling quite ill. Not because there was something wrong with the food, quite the opposite. I come home sick because I ate ALL THE THINGS. That little voice that tells you that you’ve had enough to eat? I don’t have one.

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Of course, this wouldn’t be an issue if I was into salads. I’m not though; my poison is dessert. Panna cotta, mousse, ice cream or gelato, cake or tarts; there’s nothing I don’t love.

So what do you do when you’ve got an insatiable cake craving at 9pm? Sure, you could make a whole cake, but there’s very little chance I wouldn’t eat the whole cake. Plus, there’s no telling my cravings that they have to be patient, because making a whole cake takes an hour.

Enter Mug Cake. Your prayers have been answered; single serve cake in a commercial break!

There are a million recipes for mug cake on the internet, however this one is my favourite. It doesn’t taste eggy, and the consistency is pretty excellent. This recipe serves one, so you can double it where necessary, should you need to share (or just be really hungry. I won’t judge you). Success!

 

2 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake

From I am a food blog

1 egg
3 tbsp milk
3 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
3 tbsp flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
3 tbsp chocolate chips
Small splash of vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce, icing sugar (optional)

Combine the egg, oil and milk together in your mug. Stir in the dry ingredients until well combined. Add the vanilla and chocolate chips, and give a quick stir.

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Place the mug on a plate as it’s likely to rise a lot, and may spill over – easy cleaning! Whack in the microwave for 2 minutes.

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Leave to cool for a couple of minutes, then serve with a dusting of icing sugar, or like me, with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.

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