Shortbread

Shortbread

For me, December isn’t December without some Christmas baking. Growing up in those weeks leading up to December the 25th there was always a supply of rumballs, white Christmas, and shortbread stored in baking paper lined Tupperware containers in the fridge. As a child I had a particular dislike for dried fruit, so the shortbread was the treat I enjoyed the most and the one I have the fondest memories of.

My grandmother’s shortbread recipe has almost legendary status in my family. I can’t even imagine how many batches she would’ve made over the years. I can remember one December, watching her knead the shortbread mixture together, marvelling at how easy she made all the ingredients come together (then realising later in life she had incredible strength in her arms to be able to do that!)

This is the only shortbread recipe I’ve ever made, and to be honest probably the only one I’ll ever use…

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What’s been making me happy: November

What’s been making me happy: November

Eleven months of the year down, summer is nigh, yet this last month has felt more autumnal than anything. It’s been a cool and wet spring, and despite Christmas now being just a few weeks away, because of the weather it still feels like we’ve got months to go. Despite that, I’m pretty organised for the festive season but I just don’t feel all that ‘Christmassy’ yet.

This month we’ve also seen COVID vaccination rates climb higher and higher in New South Wales, but the emergence of this new variant in the last few days brings with it a sense of anxiousness about what might be to come.

So all in all, a slightly strange month, but one that’s also brought with it some very lovely moment. This is what’s been making me smile this month…

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Pastorale

Pastorale

This weekend past Adam and I spent an evening at one of Wagga Wagga’s newer restaurants, Pastorale. Pastorale is run by the owners of local coffee/wine bar Meccanico and there is a similar vibe shared amongst the two sites. Minimal menus with simple ingredients, a strong focus on interior design and an attention to detail that certainly elevates the experience…

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Something to share: the spring edit

Something to share: the spring edit

Despite and wet and frankly quite chilly weekend, we are halfway through spring in the southern hemisphere. The light filled evenings are getting longer, the open toed shoes are back in rotation and I’m generally spending more and more time outside.

Over the last little while a few items have helped ground that sense of a new season, so I thought I’d share with you what’s been helping me get into a spring state of mind…

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Swedish meatballs

Swedish meatballs

I think most people around the world can easily rattle off a couple of meals that are tried and true classics in their family. Dishes that are cooked regularly, consumed by all, and generally well loved and regarded. In our house, that meal is Swedish meatballs. I’ve been making these for many months now and they’ve quickly earned legendary status. We probably eat them every other week, Paul adores them and Adam and I have discovered they go really nicely in a wrap or sandwich the following day too.

If you haven’t got a meatball recipe in your repertoire, I highly recommend giving these ones a whirl…

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Banana and pecan bread

Banana and pecan bread

Bananas are a very divisive subject in our house. Adam hates them with a vengeance, I don’t mind a ‘lady finger’ every now and again and Paul loves identifying them (‘nah-nah’) but will only eat them at daycare, never at home 🙃. So when I found myself with a couple of small, very over-ripe bananas the other day, I decided the only solution was to make banana bread. I’ll confess, part of my desire to whip up a loaf was the fact Adam won’t eat it and Paul isn’t partial to cake – I knew I’d be able to slowly devour my sweet treat over the course of several days…

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What’s making me happy: September

What’s making me happy: September

Well here we are at the three-quarter mark. It’s been a funny old year. At times it’s felt like the ‘before’ with mask-free mingling and interstate holidays, but often, particularly in the last little while, the uncertainty and worry that dominates our COVID era life has been omnipresent.

Still a new season is upon us, and with that brings hope and light. In recent weeks there have been beautiful reunions with friends, great achievements by loved ones and a newfound appreciation of small-talk with strangers.

This is what’s been making me smile this month…

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Chocolate brownies

Chocolate brownies

Sometimes you just have one of those days. Those sorts of days when nothing terrible happens, but little thing after little thing happens and you get to a point where need a bit of a pick-me-up. I recently had one of those days and these chocolate brownies certainly helped. They’re decadent yet easy to make. Chewy, crunchy and goey all at once and can made and baked within a child’s naptime – if that’s when you need them the most ;)…

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What’s making me happy: August

What’s making me happy: August

August has turned into quite a month. It started with catch-ups with friends and exploring local parks. It’s ending with working from home and shopping for essentials only. The one week lockdown that was recently announced for regional New South Wales has turned into two and it’s anyone’s guess as to when restrictions will be lifted.

Despite the recent onslaught of statistics and information relating to this latest COVID outbreak on Australian’s eastern seaboard, I’m still finding little joys in the every day. Now more than ever, it feels like that’s important and should be celebrated.

This is what’s been making me smile this month…

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Berry clafoutis

Berry clafoutis

I love having a few recipes in my repertoire that I know I can always whip up at a moment’s notice. There’s something very satisfying about being able to pull a few key ingredients out of your fridge and pantry and then bringing them together to create something a little special. Enter berry clafoutis. Sounds dead fancy, looks amazing straight out the oven (because let’s be honest, sometimes we do want to impress), but really is quite quick and easy to make.

If you’ve never encountered clafoutis before, it’s essentially a custardy-like flan, studded with fruit, which originated in France. It’s traditionally made with cherries, but virtually any fruit can be used. For this recipe, I had blueberries and raspberries that needed eating up, so in they went! It’s not too sweet, is light and creamy and can easily be dressed up. Really, what’s not to love…

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