Saturday, June 27, 2015

weekend reading

School holidays are here! Now, what are we going to do for two weeks?!

I remember Circus Oz from my childhoood and they're still going!

For some fun and FREE things to do, Antipodes bookstore in Sorrento is hosting a pop up event Stories to Tell, and the National Gallery of Victoria has a really fun exhibition for kids


This is pretty much the only post you need to read about the school holidays. Thankyou Maxabella.

Do you read bbb?

I go through phases with blog reading sometimes I become obsessive with one or two blogs checking in everyday, reading old posts when I have time, I'm currently going though this with Veggie Mama , Gourmet Girlfriend and Meet Me at Mikes, I feel a bit stalker-ish!

We're heading off to Alice Springs later this year for Pete's work and I've been thinking about that trip. I haven't been to Alice before have you?

I had another beautiful dinner at Cakes and Ale during the week, if you live near Sorrento you really should book your next date night dinner there, you should also know that I do the marketing for them! But I wouldn't be recommending anything to you unless I really love it and think there's a damn good chance you will too.

Ok, lights out time for me. As much as I'm enjoying the quiet of my sleeping family I better get some sleep before they're awake and all go go go again.

Happy weekend everyone x

Friday, June 26, 2015

friday recipe + a giveaway!: buckwheat pasta with winter veg and walnuts

I remember trying buckwheat noodles for the first time when I was about ten (that was thirty years ago!) my 'hippy' aunty cooked them for me and I thought they were delicious, for 'hippy food'.

Now I'm all grown up I still have a taste for hippy food and when Orgran contacted me to see if I'd like to create a recipe using their buckwheat pasta I said sure! And the good thing is a lucky reader can win some too along with some other Orgran goodies.

Buckwheat is a great alternative for anyone wanting to avoid wheat and gluten because despite its name buckwheat does not contain wheat. Or gluten. I like this pasta because it holds its shape and has a slightly nutty taste to it.

All the other ingredients in this dish I bought at the Wednesday market in Main St Mornington where there is a fantastic range of organic, seasonal fruit and vegetables. Plus I found delicious Victorian walnuts fresh out of their shells.

I'm running a day behind with this post so we have a Friday recipe instead of Thursday recipe and weekend reading will appear, well, on the weekend!

School holidays started today and we are on the road to stay with friends in Bermagui.

I hope you have some fun things planned, like staying in your pyjamas and not having to pack lunchboxes!

Now on with the recipe and the giveaway. The recipe is more for grown ups, if your kids like kale and cabbage and garlic and walnuts with pasta give them a high 5 from me. And for those with kids who don't like all that, pesto is perfect with this pasta too.


For your chance to win some Orgran buckwheat pasta and other Orgran goodies to the value of $25 just leave a comment below telling me your family's favorite pasta topping and the winner will be selected by random number generator and announced here next Friday July 3rd at 8pm. Please make sure that you are contactable by email. **This giveaway is now closed. The winner is Kellie from dear olive.**

*sometimes readers can't work out how to leave a comment, you can click on comment and then select 'Anonymous' and then leave your name and email address in the comment if that makes it easier for those who don't have google accounts. Now I've probably really confused you.

Buckwheat pasta with winter veg and walnuts 
Serves 4


1 red onion thinly sliced
12 walnut halves chopped and toasted in a fry pan
3 cloves chopped garlic
1 packet Orgran buckwheat pasta
6 kale leaves chopped (about 2 cups)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1.5 cups finely shredded cabbage
lemon zest and juice of 1 small lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt + cracked pepper

To make

Cook the whole packet of the buckwheat pasta to directions on packet.
The key to not having mushy gluten free pasta is to set a timer and drain the pasta immediately, don't fall into the trap of thinking oh an extra minute won't hurt while I finish chopping the onion - it will hurt!

Heat a large fry pan over a medium heat and pour in the olive oil.

Cook the red onion until it is soft and transparent.

Add in the garlic, cabbage and kale and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add in the pasta, lemon juice, lemon zest and parsley, stir until combined with the vegetables.

Stir in the walnuts, season with salt and pepper and give another splash of olive oil if it is looking a bit dry.

If you love parmesan you might want a bit of that grated in too. Mushrooms would be nice too! Oh and peas! Pretty well endless ideas...and of course chilli if that's your thing.

Serve + enjoy.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

weekend reading

That delicious breakfast spread was put together by our beautiful friend Ruth when we visited Byron Bay a couple of weeks ago. Always such a treat to spend time with Ruth and her beautiful family.

How One Woman Ate No Processed Food for an Entire Year thanks for sharing this Food Health Wealth

Kids party looming? Mamacino's new ebook has it all covered, a bargain I tell you at $8.95

We're off to the Collingwood Children's Farm this weekend to see a dear old friend and meet her new baby girl, how I love babies! And old friends!

If you need some exercise in all this cold weather, turn this up loud and dance around your lounge room

Chat 10 Looks 3 Leigh Sales and Annabel Crabb's podcast is on my list to listen to

Looking forward to visiting Mister Jones this school holidays

It's taken me a while to embrace the chia pudding but I'm there now! Check out Amy Chaplin's vanilla version

Hmmm if you're looking for a new way to entice your family to eat cauliflower then these cauliflower felafel veggie burgers might be the ticket

I'm going to finish on a heavy note but a really important one. I want to ask you to take a few minutes to click over and sign up to Rosie Batty's Never Alone campaign. I believe in the power of one. I believe Rosie is the woman to lead change in ensuring that women and children in Australia are protected from family violence. Let's use social media for the powerful positive medium it can be and support Rosie to make this change.

See you next week! x

Thursday, June 18, 2015

thursday recipe: apple, pear and banana crumble

We were invited to a friend's place for dinner, I offered to bring dessert. It started out as apple crumble but then I saw pears and thought I'll add those too. My husband Pete who is not a recipe follower (or rule follower fullstop for that matter) asked if I could put banana in it.
Banana?!! Eeew I thought.

I decided to put in one banana just for him and to put it down one end so if like me everyone else eating the crumble wanted to avoid the banana they could. In the spirit of breaking with tradition I threw a handful of chocolate chips on top of the crumble. Like the banana, the choc chips were met with a mixed response.

Is there anything better than eating fruit crumble sitting by the fire?

The options for crumble topping are endless. My favorite includes nuts, this topping however is very basic because I made it when we were staying in a holiday unit with very limited pantry essentials.

We ate this with store bought vanilla ice cream which the kids loved! I don't travel with an ice cream maker :) The crumble is pictured here with natural yoghurt. Vanilla custard would be delicious too.
I'll stop now.

What's your favorite crumble combo? Tell us in the comments and feel free to leave a link to recipes.

Apple, pear and banana crumble


5 apples (Granny Smith are good), peeled, cored and chopped (peeling optional)
3 pears, peeled, cored and chopped (peeling optional)
1/2 cup water
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 banana peeled and chopped into 4 or 5 pieces
1/2 cup oats
1 cup brown rice flour
100 grams butter
10 dried dates
1/2 cup sultanas
a smattering of chocolate chips

To make

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
Place apples, pears, water and cinnamon in a saucepan and cook over a medium heat until fruit is just starting to soften, about 10 minutes.
While the fruit is cooking, rub the butter into the flour and then stir in the oats and chocolate chips.
Grease an oven proof dish with butter.
When the fruit is just cooked pour the fruit and some of the liquid into the oven proof dish, don't flood the dish with liquid but leave some in so it is nice and moist.
Stir the dates and sultanas into the fruit mixture.
Cover the fruit with the crumble topping and place in the oven until golden brown, about 15 - 20 minutes.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

thursday recipe: hot chocolate with coconut milk and cinnamon

Well, its back to reality today with a slight thud.

We were high on excitement yesterday as we finally got to venture into Melbourne to see the spectacular show that is the Lion King. I booked the tickets three months ago and the wait seemed long, but was well worth it.

The day was made doubly special because my aunt came with us, an aunt whom I'm close to and who the boys adore. Either side of the show there were cafe stops, chats and laughs, stopping to watch sidewalk artists, wandering around Federation Square and generally just enjoying hanging out together...on a Wednesday!

Despite myself I have to say I am kind of enjoying winter this year. I enjoyed checking out what everyone was wearing in the city yesterday, how they 'do' winter, there were great coats, beanies, hats, scarves, dressing for winter as opposed to dressing in denial of winter really is the key to being able to enjoy it.

And the other good things about winter come of course out of the kitchen. Today I want to share a chocolatey concoction that is warming, nourishing and immensely satisfying.

If you've never made a drink like this before adding coconut oil will seem a little bit weird at first especially when you see the oily film on top of your drink but don't be put off it really adds a beautiful richness to the drink.


Coconut milk - 1 cup per person
Cocoa - 1 teaspoon per person
Ground cinnamon - 1/4 teaspoon per person (you could use a cinnamon quill if you don't have ground cinnamon just use one in the pot for about 4 people)
Honey - 1/2 to 1 teaspoon per person depending on how sweet you like things
Coconut oil - 1 teaspoon per person
Boiling water

To make

Place coconut milk and cinnamon in a saucepan and warm gently over a low heat.
While the milk is warming add cocoa to cups and with a splash of boiling water dissolve the cocoa powder.
Once the milk is at the temperature you like it pour it into the cups and stir in honey and coconut oil.

Easy and delicious.

Stay warm. I hope you like this as much as I do. Let me know if you and your family like it.

Friday, June 05, 2015

weekend reading

It's Friday! Time for some weekend reading.

We're settled back on the chilly Victorian coast. I'm enjoying the winter light because there's been plenty of sun. I don't mind winter when there's sunshine.

It's a long weekend here, apparently the Queen is having a birthday.

So let's start with cake...

Nicola has created this persimmon and rooibos tea cake, I love rooibos tea but I've never even tried a persimmon. There's something about the look of them that puts me off. Weird huh? How about you?

Brace yourself for the beauty of this gluten free almond cake with chocolate fudge frosting

Enough with cake, here are A Cup of Jo's 12 most popular recipes

With winter upon us here in the southern hemisphere, I found this article about why children should play outside even in winter, via Veggie Mama's newsletter you should sign up for it if you haven't already. It's a mighty good read, a bit of a laugh, a recipe or two.

More thanks to Veggie Mama for sharing Hayley Gemma's blog lots of yummy stuff over there

Sound advice from Mamacino 

And a great read from Reannon on The Teenage Years (save me! give me a baby or toddler any day)

Wow! Maxabella's post on body neutrality really got the ladies talking. Interesting points of view.

Creative Women's Circle are hosting an event in Melbourne that Melbourne folk might like

If you haven't already, come say hi on Facebook and Instagram

Happy weekend everyone x

Saturday, May 23, 2015

weekend reading

The sun is shining here in Brunswick Heads, I'm feeling grateful to have some time out of grey, cold Victoria. We're here for a week. Today I'm sharing some of the things I love about being here...

Our good friend David owns Brunswick Heads Health Food Store where there is a wholefood cafe serving beautiful vegetarian food and raw food cakes, you'll find us here most days!

Crystal Castle is a favorite. Lose yourself in the natural beauty of the gardens.

So many markets to go to

Find accommodation through swicki real estate

Little kids will enjoy the Macadamia Castle

Check out Spaghetti Circus for a show or class

And finally, nothing to do with northern rivers, here's a blog I think you'd like sent to me by my friend Jane is Bonnie Delicious.

Happy weekending everyone! x

Thursday, May 21, 2015

thursday recipe: oat & chia porridge with seeds

Pete and I came up with this porridge when we did our Dr Gruba cleanse recently (thank the cleansing Gods that's over).

The cleanse is over but porridge for breakfast continues on these cool Autumn mornings.

Not that we have to worry about cool Autumn mornings this week. We're in Byron Bay where the weather is humid! Sorry Victorian friends don't mean to rub it in. It is raining if that makes you feel better.

Long time readers know that the Northern Rivers Shire is a home away from home for me and my family. Pete and I have been escaping winter here since before River was born almost nine years ago.

Like so many who come to Byron Bay and surrounds , I fell instantly in love with its natural beauty, the light, and the cosmic souls who bring so much colour to the area. And we have dear friends here so there is always a sense of coming home when arrive here.

For now let's get back to the porridge that's lovable too, spiced with ground cinnamon and vanilla.
Served with coconut milk and if you like yoghurt and stewed fruit, breakfast like this is to me so luxurious I can't imagine that anyone who switched from processed food to wholefood would feel like they were missing out on something. I'm sorry there isn't a photo with this post, I have a beautiful shot of the porridge stuck on my camera, I'm yet to master blogging on the road! I'm working on it. I've just discovered posting on my phone! There's no stopping me now.

Oat & Chia porridge with seeds - serves 2


1/2 cup oats
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon pepitas
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground vanilla
1.5 cups water
Serve with
milk of choice
stewed fruit

(for those not eating grains you could try this combo with buckwheat or quinoa, cooking times and amount of water will vary)

To Make

Put all ingredients (except milk, yoghurt, stewed fruit) into a small pot and place on a low heat.
Stir occasionally until oats are soft about 10 minutes.
You may need to add more water as you go if it is looking too dry.
If you put it on a really low heat you will have time to go and have a quick shower while it's cooking!


Friday, May 15, 2015

weekend reading

It's been a long while since I've put together one of these posts. Somehow I fell out of blogging rhythm but hopefully it's come back starting with this post!

Have you seen Sophie's new look?

Check out Rachel Power's most excellent book The Divided Heart - Motherhood & Creativity, it's recently been re-released, I love it. Wish I'd written it myself! Rachel interviewed 22 artists who are also mothers about their creative process and how it fits (or not) with motherhood. Rachel blogs at The Rachel Papers

Pete and I recently heard Steve Biddulph author of 'Raising Boys' speak at a nearby school, Steve is an engaging speaker and still has some speaking dates left for this year that you can find here . I'll write a blog post soon about what I took away from his presentation.

With the weather cooling down here, if you're feeling crafty you might like to check Pip's latest book 'Craft for the Soul'

And while we're talking all things Pip, I bought a copy of Pip's great ebook about blogging: Shake it Up!  I'm inspired. Now to put all those good ideas into practice.

On the creative note, it's an oldie but a goodie, if you haven't ever picked up Julia Cameron's book The Artist's Way it is a great one, it took me deeper into my writing path.

A Cup of Jo is one of the first blogs I started reading all those years ago when I discovered blogs.

Cakes and Ale in Sorrento who I work with on their marketing have a new website, and coming up on Sunday May 31st a beautiful Southern French dinner as part of Taste of Sorrento. The dinner honours LuLu Peyraud, matriarch of Domain Tempier vineyard in southern France.  LuLu's provencal cuisine was adored by many including Alice Waters who travelled to LuLu's kitchen to learn from her. LuLu was renowned for her sense of hospitality, her culinary skill and passion for selling her family's wine to restaurants all over France. Cakes and Ale chef, Leilani Wolfenden will create a three course dinner of Provencal cuisine to be served along with wine from the region LuLu made so famous. To book phone: 03. 5984 4995

It's cold here. Time to put on your slippers.

Stay cosy and enjoy your weekend x

Thursday, May 14, 2015

thursday recipe: rhubarb and vanilla cakes

We could call these muffins but really what is the difference between muffins and cake anyway? Is it that calling it a muffin tricks us into thinking they are somehow healthier? The ingredients are the same so let's call it as it is, today's recipe is rhubarb and vanilla cakes made with spelt flour. (I'm not using the word cupcake either because I have an aversion to the whole cupcake obsession that hopefully is over, sorry cupcake lovers).

Pete and I have been eating stewed rhubarb most mornings with natural yoghurt as is or with oat and chia porridge. River and Sol can't stand even the thought of eating rhubarb so I made some of these cakes with and some without, either way they are super delicious especially warm with butter.

Rhubarb and Vanilla Cakes - makes 8 in large muffin tray


100 grams butter, melted
2 cups white spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bi carb soda
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 cup milk of choice
2 eggs, whisked
1 tsp ground vanilla
stewed rhubarb

To make

Preheat oven to 180C
In a large mixing bowl put in flour, baking powder, bi carb soda, coconut sugar and stir to combine.
In a small bowl mix eggs and milk.
Pour egg and milk mixture into dry ingredients and add in cooled melted butter and stir to mix ingredients together thoroughly.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin tray.
Make a little well in the top of each muffin and place a tablespoon of rhubarb in the centre, or leave some plain for those who don't like rhubarb.
Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden and cooked through.

My boys enjoyed the plain vanilla ones warm with butter for an after school snack yesterday, and this morning after a bowl of warm stewed apple + pear with cinnamon and yoghurt River had one toasted! What a way to start the day. Winter is in the air here and we're dreaming of heading north. As regular readers know each year we head north for winter, last year we went to Cape York, this year we are heading to the desert spending time in Alice Springs where Pete will work on Culture is Life.

How about you? Any travel plans this year? Do you escape winter or travel and homeschool your children? I'd love to hear your stories and especially love to know of any blogs you follow of families who do this.

Stay warm. Or cool depending on where you are!

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