Raspberry and chocolate hazelnut swirl muffins

Raspberry and chocolate hazelnut swirl muffins

I woke up the other day and the morning light outside looked different. The harsh, bright light of the summer had gone, and in its place was a slightly mellower, more golden glow. Right on cue, the change of season had arrived. The time of year where there are cool mornings and warm afternoons; bare legs and long sleeves; and golden leaves and green grass. That change of light also changed my mindset about food – suddenly frozen icy treats didn’t seem appealing, but something warm and pudding like – yes please.

So one afternoon I whipped up a batch of muffins. Half trusted recipe, half made up recipe and I’ve discovered they’re just the thing for these early autumn days…

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Pesto pasta with meatballs

Pesto pasta with meatballs

Not long after Paul was born my mum, dad and brother all came to visit. One night my brother whipped up this pasta for dinner. Still recovering from childbirth and breastfeeding around the clock left me very hungry in those early days and this dish just really hit the spot that night. I can remember going back for seconds and then tucking into another bowl again the following day for lunch.

It’s become a regular meal at our house since and when my brother was in town recently he kindly offered to make this pasta again, knowing it’d be a winner. It really is a very simple meal, but it’s quick (can be thrown together in around half an hour), satisfying and toddler friendly…

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What’s been making me happy: December

What’s been making me happy: December

Well, here we are in the last month of a year that I think no one will forget for a very long time. The last 12 months have been incredibly testing for many and while 2020 will be farewelled with much gusto, the challenges that come with dealing with a global pandemic won’t magically disappear when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. I sincerely hope however, that we take away a few lessons from this last year: the importance of family and friends, of of fresh air and being outside, and of good health. Simple pleasures, but ones that fill your heart and head with joy.

Here’s what’s been making me smile this month…

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The Station Collective

The Station Collective

I think it’s fair to say 2020 has been a tumultuous year. Life as we know it has been turned upside down and we’ve had to confront isolation, lockdowns and uncertainty. What I love about my little part of Australia though, is despite it all, new shops, cafés and restaurants have managed to open and thrive.

One such example is The Station Collective, a beautifully appointed coffee shop with a super unique location…

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Sweet potato salad

Sweet potato salad

The festive season is upon us and in Australia that means hot days, cold drinks and lots of alfresco eating. When the weather’s warm, I crave salads – not so much the stock standard lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and carrot variety with a basic supermarket vinaigrette, rather ones with cooked vegetables and pulses, nuts, herbs and creative dressings.

This sweet potato salad was first introduced to me at a family gathering many years ago. The recipe from another family, but so impressive at its first tasting that it’s been written down and recreated by my grandmother, mother and myself ever since.

I’ve taken it to barbecues, picnics and Christmas Day celebrations and it always receives rave reviews, so if you’re after a new salad to try this summer, perhaps this is one to consider…

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French toast with carameralised peaches and thyme

French toast with carameralised peaches and thyme

This recipe came about a couple of years ago, when Adam and I were gifted a huge basket of home grown peaches. The fruit had been picked a little too early and as a result the peaches never ripened properly. It felt wasteful to just toss the peaches into the green waste bin, so I decided to show them a little love.

With a little time, butter and sugar I was able to transform those peaches into something soft, sweet and syrupy. This dish has now become a well-loved favourite in our house, particularly at this time of the year when the days are long and warm and the stone fruit is abundant. The thyme seems like a slightly odd addition, but its subtle, earthy flavour works wonderfully with the sweet peaches.

This is definitely not an ‘everyday’ breakfast, rather best savoured on a slow Saturday morning, in pyjamas with a cup of coffee in hand…

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Strawberry fields forever

Strawberry fields forever

A couple of years ago a hydroponic strawberry farm popped up, right in the middle of Wagga Wagga. For one reason or another I never managed to make it onto the farm during the growing season, so when I saw an advertisement announcing the opening of the farm for the year, I made a note in my diary to schedule a visit.

Strawberries rank fairly high on my favourite fruit list, so the thought of being able to access locally grown, in-season berries was pretty sweet. And this weekend past Paul and I stopped by for a spot of strawberry picking…

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Lemon and blueberry squares

Lemon and blueberry squares

Over the last few days it’s really felt like spring. The air is just that little bit warmer, the afternoons just that little bit brighter and there are blossom covered trees on just about every street in town. After such a quiet autumn and winter, where staying in was pretty much mandatory, spring feels like a season of optimism .

I’m envisaging small, but exceptionally jovial socially distant gatherings, outside in the fresh air – underneath trees with brand new leaves. Those sorts of get-togethers deserve a treat – something colourful, crunchy and creamy. Something like lemon and blueberry squares…

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Parmesan and rosemary biscuits

Parmesan and rosemary biscuits

Now that I’m back working again, I’ll be bringing a packed lunch from home most days I’m in the office. I find (especially since I’m still breastfeeding in the mornings, evenings and sometimes overnight) that I need something substantial to eat in the middle of the day and a few smaller snacks for mid morning and mid afternoon.

Lunch itself is normally pretty easy to get together – leftovers from dinner the night before, a salad using whatever’s in the fridge, or soup and toast on cold days.  However, I always struggle a little bit with finding different types of snacks, especially ones that can be eaten both at my desk or out and about.

Enter Parmesan and rosemary biscuits.  They’re delightfully savoury, have a wonderful cheesy flavour and pair beautifully with fruit…

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