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Voice Banking, cooking and pre birthday going ons...

So much to do and so little time, it’s been one of those weeks where it feels like the year is slipping away. I’ve kept up my hip maintenance and rehabilitation by going to the pool every other day and monotonously walking up and down in the slow lane. Walking forward, walking backwards, sidestepping and bicycling in the water can be quite meditative when there is no aquarobics class going on in the next lane.

Did you know that one of the first things that you forget about a person that has died is the sound of their voice? As I was driving along I was listening to a conversation on the radio about voice banking, which is a way for a person to record and store their own voice to use at a later date when they may have trouble speaking. The sounds of your voice are broken down to create a synthetic version of your natural voice to be used in speech generating devices that can then be used to support communication. How cool is that? Predominantly used by people with motor neurone disease which may affect muscles of the mouth, throat and tongue and the ability to communicate later on, voice banking is a clinical intervention for future use within high-tech augmentative and alternative communication systems, however it is a preventative option for almost anyone. Can you recall the sound of the voice of a loved one that has died? It may be prudent to hold onto those voice messages from a loved one on your phone as you never know how wonderful it would be to hear their voice again.

One thing you may not know about me is that I love a good cup of chai. Always on a quest to find the best cup of chai and an avid lover of the Chai Walli brand, this week I stumbled upon a herbal tea blend in Harris Farm called Bengal Spice, a caffeine free interpretation of chai brimming with the flavours of cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, vanilla and cloves and I knew I just had to try it. The aroma and taste was deliciously sweet and spicy and I was immediately taken. After consuming several cups over the next few days I thought it would combine perfectly with apples, dates, and crunchy roasted cashews to produce the most delicious bowl of overnight oats. It was so good it has now become a popular and no fuss breakfast option in my household.

Bengal Spice O’Night oats

There is nothing better than the refreshing scent of citrus to make your house smell amazing and this week I’ve had the uplifting aroma of oranges wafting through the house as I set to work dehydrating some thinly cut orange slices in the oven. A perfect addition to a gin and tonic, or crumbled over some yoghurt, these little morsels will surely satisfy your palate. They also make a great snack as is, or if you like you can dip one half in some dark chocolate.

This week we headed out to a restaurant to eat not once, but twice, and on both occasions we ended up dining at Barangaroo not far from the towering Crown Sydney. The first outing was with family to celebrate the upcoming birthday of my significant other. My son-in-law currently has a fascination with smoked meats and it was for this reason that we decided to dine at the New Orleans inspired NOLA Smokehouse. As the Western sun set over the Jones Bay Wharf we were treated to a selection of smoked brisket, lamb, chicken, pork ribs, and seafood.

Smoked meats plate, NOLA Smokehouse

Today we met up with two friends from the past, enjoying a leisurely lunch together at BEA, located on the middle floor of the hanging basket shaped Barangaroo House which also has stunning water views over Jones Bay and a contemporary cuisine created by chef Matt Moran. Similar in style to NOLA Smokehouse, many of the dishes were cooked on a wood fired grill and I can vouch for the deliciousness of the charred Tasmanian octopus with a Calabrian spreadable sausage called nduja and the equally as delicious lamb ribs with puffed rice and a side of crispy chips with smoked salt. Salivating much? Don’t even get me started on the dessert, we couldn’t choose one, so the only option was to order all four desserts to share so that we could sample each one of them. The divine food and warm hospitality kept us lingering until we were asked to leave as the staff set the tables for the dinner service. Once more our bellies and hearts were full.

Two newsletters I am enjoying at the moment are Salt, Sear, Savor, a newsletter written by chef Luciano which helps you to be more thoughtful about how you cook and why you do what you do in the kitchen, and the second, Let’s Hygge, a monthly journal by a freelance Danish graphic designer Kristine Lindbjerg who lives in Sydney and aims to add a little hygge or contentment to our lives by sharing Scandinavian culture and traditions, recipes and ideas. I’ll be saving her recipe for Smoked Trout Pate in the November issue to make blinis at Christmas. You can find the recipe here.

Smoked Trout Pate Blinis 📸Let’s Hygge journal

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


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