linzertorte

Did you know that Jack Johnson likes his peanut butter crunchy? Someone’s mum once taught him how to use those peanut butter machines from the health food shop that she worked at and had no idea who he was.

Good story. Needs more dragons.

This happens. Listening to the radio on a Thursday afternoon.

An overcast and chilly Thursday afternoon, with nothing better to do. My favourite kind of day.

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raspberry muffins, a basketful

There’s something about autumn that just makes me happy. In Melbourne, you get all the cold wet miserableness of winter, plus the pretty colours and occasional sunlight of autumn. It’s May, so that means we’re definitely in the swing of cold, blustery autumn. I love it.

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smoothies

It’s been almost a month since I last posted. I won’t make excuses. I will apologise, and promise many good things in the next few weeks. Starting with my new obsession.

Here’s a tip for you: smoothies that have spinach in them don’t have to star spinach. It can be a background ingredient, something that you add for its nutritional value. It makes you feel even more virtuous, not that that’s necessarily necessary when you’re having a smoothie in the first place, but it’s not bad.

Yes, smoothies have become a big part of my life. The blender lives on our kitchen bench. There’s frozen fruit in the freezer, a bowl full of peaches on the table, and yoghurt, milk and juice in the fridge. Myriad possibilities abound.

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green monster smoothie

I know what you’re thinking. Spinach? In a SMOOTHIE?!?! Surely this girl is outside her mind. Surely she doesn’t want us to put SPINACH in a SMOOTHIE. Surely smoothies come from Boost Juice or New Zealand Natural, have frozen yoghurt/sorbet in them, berries and mango and passionfruit. And banana. Surely smoothies have banana in them.

Not this one.

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almond plum tray bake

It’s the start of things! It’s the end of summer and the start of new beginnings. I’m excited. Are you excited?

I’m excited. I have a few tentative New Years resolutions. I don’t usually make them because I don’t like feeling guilty when they don’t work out. But I am putting out into the world some goals. Some things I would like to do this year, what I would like to happen in my life. At the same time, I’m going to be nice to myself if I don’t achieve my goals.

I know it’s almost February but now feels more like the time to be making goals and lists and plans. It’s the start of new things NOW. It’s almost the end of the holidays, the beginning of the academic year, the start of something new.

Here goes.

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chai spiced apple cake

I’ve been in a bit of a funk for the past few days. It started at approximately 1300 hours Perth time, Wednesday the 4th of January, when I boarded the plane bound for Melbourne. I really did not want to go home.

And then it continued, as I lazed around the house and didn’t do my washing and procrastinated my huge list of things to do. I didn’t bake, I read books and trawled the internet and definitively didn’t write any blog posts.

I started quite a few in my mind but every time I went to bake something there was something in the sink, or on the sink, and I was so lazy I couldn’t be bothered with dishes, either mine or anyone else’s.

That’s a lie. I was pretty good with my own dishes. Pretty good. Not perfect. But pretty good. Easy, seeing as I wasn’t eating proper meals anyway. (Mum, pretend you didn’t read that.)

But the funk is debunked. I have gone back to work and I did two loads of washing, I ate cabbage for dinner (no, really. It’s pretty amazing. I’ll tell you about it soon) and I baked a cake.

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apple pie

Writer’s block is not fun.

I have plenty of other ways to procrastinate, I don’t have to blog.

Some options include:

Sow seeds (in life and in the ground).

Organise possibility of being a lead tenant for Youth For Christ next year.

Organise possibly extending my trip to Perth so I can hang out with Peace Tree. (and visit Georgia and Dave?)

Study for my quiz tomorrow.

Make more chocolate muffins for September Camp.

Upload my study questions for Sep Camp.

Go for a walk. Or a run. Or do some yoga. Or some other kind of physical exercise to not. stress. out. Because I have this essay I keep procrastinating from doing.

So yeah, I wrote up a complete running sheet for the last few days before camp. I have an illness. I have lists upon lists and I HAVEN’T STARTED MY ESSAY YET (Mum and Dad, just forget you read that, yeah?)

It’s ok, I planned time to write the essay. It’s gonna happen. I haven’t got a back up plan so it HAS to happen (hopefully with little to no effort on my part.)

Besides, I have apple pie to calm my nerves.

Technically, it’s apple and pear pie. I got fruit from the farmer’s market on the weekend because it’s almost not apple and pear season anymore and I wanted pie. I love pie.

And thanks to Pam’s Pie Tutorial courtesy of The Pioneer Woman (thank you, Ree!) I made a perfect pie. I’m not kidding. It tastes amazing, it was perfectly cooked, it looks incredible and it’s just as good cold as hot.

I know. I’ve already had more than I need.

Apple and Pear Pie (two crust)

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Pam says that pie making is not a recipe, it’s an approach. It’s about the technique. So while this is a recipe, it’s a very loose one. Play around. Enjoy. Make pie.

2 1/2 cups flour (plain or pastry)

1 tsp salt

2 tsp sugar

250g butter, cold, cut into chunks

1/4 cup ice water

about 6 cups (8 pieces of fruit) fruit, peeled and chopped (if needed)

1/2 cup (more if needed) sugar

2 tbsp cornflour or other thickener

juice of one lemon

2 tsp cinnamon

pinch ground cloves

pinch nutmeg (more than cloves)

Pulse 2 cups flour, salt and sugar in a food processor. Add butter and pulse until it looks like breadcrumbs (alternatively, whisk together dry ingredients and use fingertips to rub in butter.) Pulse in 1/2 cup flour (just) and place in a bowl or on your counter. Sprinkle water over, knead in and form into two discs.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees Celsius.

Stir together fruit, lemon juice, thickener and spices. Make sure all the fruit pieces are even and that the mixture coats each piece.

Now, to roll out the dough, take two pieces of parchment paper (or baking paper) and place a dough disk in between them. Roll out to fit your pie pan (this recipe makes enough for one two crust nine inch pie). Place one rolled out disc into the bottom of your pie dish and prick all over with a fork.

Place the fruit in the dish and dot with butter (about four or five tablespoons). Cover with the other half of the dough, rolled out. Crimp the edges however you like and slit the top a few times. (You may choose, as I did, to decorate the top with the scraps of dough left over.) Brush with a beaten egg or some heavy cream.

Bake at 250º for about half an hour, until nicely browned on top. Cover with foil to stop browning and lower heat to 200 degrees for anywhere from 1/2 hour to 40 minutes – apples will need longer, berries will need less.

Let rest for about ten to twenty minutes on the counter before you eat with heavy cream or ice cream.