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Faffing about, reading , cooking,'s all in a day's work.

Autumn in the ‘burbs

It’s a beautiful autumn day to be out and about. The sun is illuminating the vibrant red tops of the lilli pilli hedges, the leaves on the trees are changing colors, some a burnt orange, others a terracotta rust, and more often than not a yellow mustard that radiates happiness. It’s hard not to feel optimistic when you reign in nature's beauty, which is why autumn is one of my favorite seasons.

I pondered this earlier today as I took my morning walk around the neighborhood, returned a book to the street library, observed the new park that has finally opened, and chatted to a lady living nearby who was none too happy about it. In her eyes it was ‘just another place for young people to congregate together, take drugs or vape, fornicate on the picnic tables and leave their mess behind.’ Hopefully in between all this some young families in the neighborhood will also be able to enjoy the playground. Anyway, we all see things a little differently.

The book I returned to the street library was an easy read, Sunset in Spain, by Erna Walraven, about a middle aged couple from Sydney who decide to pursue a dream of living in Northern Spain and end up renovating a long forgotten, falling down villa in a tiny Castilian village. A charming story and definitely one for the dreamers who might want to momentarily escape from the mundanities of everyday life.

ANZAC DAY, a day of remembrance for all Australian and New Zealand servicemen and women, both past and present who have served and died in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations, was celebrated during the week on the anniversary of the first landing of the Anzacs at Gallipoli. Whilst some people like to honor the fallen by participating in marches, dawn services or even a game of two up, many people make Anzac bikkies as a small token of appreciation to honor those who served. This begs the question each year as to whether people like their Anzac biscuits chewy or crunchy, traditional or non-traditional, which is why I decided to experiment with a few different recipes.

First up, I made Cook Republic's Rosemary Anzac Biscuits, followed by a superb traditional Anzac Biscuit, a simple and easy to follow recipe from Katy’s Food Finds. Whilst both batches were chewy and had similar ingredients, in particular, good old golden syrup, rolled oats and coconut, the non-traditional recipe included chopped rosemary, less butter and less bicarb soda than the traditional recipe. The verdict amongst my in-house Guinea pigs was that the traditional biscuits were more irresistible, maybe because more butter makes everything taste better. At the end of the day, there really is only one Anzac biscuit and that’s the traditional one that could travel long distances and be enjoyed by the servicemen and women on the battlefields. I also made an Anzac Cake by food writer Helen Goh, and whilst it tasted delicious topped with freshly whipped cream, it was disappointingly crumbly when sliced into portions. At a lunch out with family we enjoyed an Apple Anzac pie, the recipe I learned was from Gourmet Traveller and can be found here.

Anzac Cake, recipe by Helen Goh

I enjoyed reading the May edition of let’s hygge by Kristine Lindbjerg, the theme for the month inspired by honey and bees. I love the way Kristine describes the beautiful honey her son has made, as a delightful way to store a taste of summer after they have watched the active bees collecting pollen from lavender plants. Kristine, being a graphic designer, also contributed to her son’s project by creating homemade labels for the summer in a jar using the AVERY website. To extend the taste of summer further Kristine likes to preserve fruit, especially pears as their flavor is enhanced by the spices creating a sweet brine that is delicious. Her recipe for Pears Preserved with Vanilla Pod, Star Anise, Cloves and Cinnamon Stick can be found here. If you are a bee lover and are interested in learning more about the wonderful work of bees, and the role that bees and honey play in nature, as well as stories and recipes from all over the world, Kristine recommends the beautiful book by Hattie Ellis, Spoonful of HONEY, or suggests watching the award winning documentary Honeyland, a story of North Macedonian beekeeper, Hatidze who provides for herself and her bedridden eighty five year old mother, Nazife by selling her honey a couple of times a year at a market. You can watch the documentary for free here.

You can subscribe to Kristine’s journal here:

Oh gosh, is there anything that Josh Niland can’t do in his quest for sustainability and eliminating waste? In the catch of the day and in collaboration with Hunter Candles, the Fish Fat Candle has been produced utilizing spare fat from the Murray Cod fish. Sans the fishy smell that likely first came to mind, it has been described as a clean and velvety marine blend with a melody of moss, cedar, Elemis and pink peppercorn. If the Fish Fat Candle doesn’t tickle your nostrils Hunter Candles have also collaborated with Sydney’s cultured butter icons, Pepe Saya to bring out a Buttery Popcorn Candle that has been known to make you salivate. Don’t even get me started on the candle that smells like freshly baked bread. If any of my children are reading this and thinking of a gift for Mother’s Day I’m channeling The Deborah / Fig Tree candle, it’s velvety notes of white lily and fig leaf over a sandalwood base, described as evoking an evening spent sipping wine under an expansive fig tree. Hunter Candles can be found in Newtown and the newly opened shop on the ground floor of The Strand Arcade.

Hunter Candles

Recently I’ve enjoyed watching Season 2 of Love Me, on Binge, Shrinking and The Big Door Prize, both on Apple TV, and had an outing to the Orpheum Cremorne to see the movie AIR, directed by Ben Affleck. AIR is about the partnership between then rookie Michael Jordan and Nike’s basketball division to come up with the Air Jordan brand. A must see if you are a sports fan and like documentaries.

On a final note, I’m getting excited about the upcoming Coronation of King Charles III and I’m gathering all the ingredients in anticipation of contributing a Coronation Quiche to a celebratory party. The recipe for this special quiche comprising spinach, broad beans, cheese and tarragon can be found here.

Until next time, may your days be both serendipitous and enjoyable.


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