Monday, August 31, 2015

A Winter's Girl

I used to be a real Winter’s girl. You know the poem:

When icicles hang by the wall,
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail,
And Tom bears logs into the hall,
And milk comes frozen home in pail;
When blood is nipped, and ways be foul,
Then nightly sings the staring owl.
Tu-whit, wu-who! A merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

When all aloud the wind doth blow,
And coughing drowns the parson’s saw,
And birds sit brooding in the snow,
And Marian’s nose looks red and raw,
When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,
Tu-whit, tu-who! A merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.
~ William Shakespeare

I love that feeling of shivering by a warm fire or else hugging a hot water bottle to my chest in the night. I feel comforted in winter, in a way that summer doesn’t seem to allow (particularly an Australia summer). I love jumpers and knits and blankets and hot chocolate with marshmallows, and reading by a wonderfully scented candle in the dark mornings...

Glasshouse Candle: Bora Bora

And yet, this year, I was so sure that I was pumped for Spring, instead, leaving Winter by the wayside. Beautiful, crisp, stinging Winter. And today marks the unofficial end of Winter, and I feel a little like I betrayed an old friend. Never has the head beaconed me, never have I wanted the Winter months to end. Except this year.

I don’t know why I feel like that. I suppose it’s silly, isn’t it, but then again it’s made me realize how wonderful all the seasons are, and how much I should look forward to them all.

Yes, Winter has the inspiring cold, but Spring has new growth and the energising feeling of warmth flowing through your bones. Summer, too, has it’s ups, with holidays and swimming and time for family and friends. Autumn, though, has to be one of my favourites, with the onset of Winter showing its colours in brilliant yellow and red.

I think I should revise the first sentence of this post: I am a real Winter’s girl. But I’m just as enthusiastic and excited for the rest of the year, too.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

A Day in the Life II

1. Had a lovely girl's night out with my aunty, and went to watch the independent film by the Sydney Theatre Company, Holding the Man, in Randwick. The theatre (The Ritz) was a lovely vision into the past, and the film was shot beautifully. Definitely one to make you think...

2-4: Spent a few days getting together with my family over my birthday weekend! Soooooo much food, so many laughs, and I may have fallen in the mud whilst trying my hardest to play soccer... Also, heads up, the baked ricotta cheesecake from Pasticceria Papa is the absolute best cake in the world!!!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Sgt. Pepper's Cauliflower Pizza

So close to Spring! And so another 'healthy' recipe to add to you repertoire for that super light yet still totally fun feeling.

I've been meaning to make a cauliflower crust for a pizza for quite a while now, and when I found the simple and, in the author's words, 'BEST' recipe around (I've adapted my recipe from I just had to make it for dinner last night!

And it's super simple, though I found it a little time consuming probably because I'd never done anything like it before.

Firstly, cut a cauliflower head into florets and wash thoroughly, then blitz in your food processor (it took mine quite a few go's so don't fret, pet!)

It will look like this, now:

Then just cover with cling film and microwave it for 4 minutes, before dumping it on a tea towel and leaving it for about 5 minutes to cool slightly. Too hot to handle! Once cooled, wring the life out of your cauliflower 'flour'. I was so surprised at the amount of water that comes out of a cauliflower, and to ensure I got a crisp crust that I could pick up and eat like a pizza, I wrung mine twice - first in a thick tea towel, then a much thinner one.

Pour the cauliflower into a bowl, then add 2 eggs, a pinch of salt, 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese + 2/3 cup grated 'pizza'/mozzarella cheese, plus a pink of dried oregano. Mix, mix, mix with your hands to form a sort of dough! The dough is wet, and you won't be able to roll it out like a normal pizza dough, so just halve the recipe and pat the dough down on two separate lined baking trays to form a circular pizza shape (you know what a pizza looks like!) 

While you're doing all this, pre-heat your oven to 250 degrees Celsius. Bake the two pizzas for 15 minutes until nice and crisp - do not rush this baking process because once you put toppings on the pizza the base will not crisp up anymore!

Add your toppings (I used pizza sauce, cheese, peppers, pequillo peppers) and bake once more for 10 minutes or until your cheese has melted. Et voila! A much lighter version of a pizza - in fact, I could probably have eaten the whole thing on my own! xx

Sunday, August 23, 2015

DIY Sushi

As we’ve been having unseasonably warm weather in Sydney (think 25 degrees Celcius yesterday, on a winter’s day!), I’ve been thinking more and more about preparing fresh and healthy foods that don’t feel like the beloved comfort foods of winter.

Kind of like a recipe Spring clean, if you know what I mean. Does anyone else do this?

But, I must admit, I absolutely adore my carbs – rice in particular – and sushi is so dear to me. When working in a shopping centre on my day’s off of uni, I grab a sushi roll. Every time. #noshame

Sushi is so easy to make, it’s a wonder we pay a good $3 for one roll in the shops!

Plus, you can put EXACTLY what you want in the roll – and, you know, pretend you’re a brilliant chef at one of those unbelievably pricey Japanese restaurants hehe.

Grab some nori sheets from your local supermarket, some fresh veggies chopped up thinly (I went plain and simple with carrot and cucumber here), as well as some sushi rice – but any rice will do – and some rice wine vinegar.

Cook the rice as per instructions. Sushi rice tends to be a little stickier than normal rice, hence holds better in the roll. Add some rice wine vinegar to it to add to the stickiness, and give it some authentic flavour.

Next, place a sheet of nori on either a bamboo board as I have, or just a normal workbench, shiny side down. Begin to spread your rice evenly over the nori sheet, making sure to leave a 1cm edge on one side. The rice, as I’ve mentioned, is sticky. You might need a couple of spoons/forks to do this, but practice makes perfect!

Then arrange your vegetables in a thin line, and dab a teeny bit of water along the exposed edge (remember the one you left earlier!) of the seaweed sheet, and begin to carefully roll the sushi up. If you have one of these bamboo boards, it is easier, but either way will transform these ingredients into the sushi rolls we all know and love.

Pop them on a plate with some soy sauce and wasabi, if you’re brave, and enjoy! I make these in bulk and keep some for lunch at uni over the week, they’re so amazing xx

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Turning 20

So today I turn 20. I’ve always had an up-and-down relationship with birthdays, but lately I’ve felt quite at ease with them, not straining to hold onto the year that’s just been, but rather just letting it be and taking life for all its ups and downs, all its tides.

I had a lot of preconceptions about 20-year-olds when I was younger, and so this post is a self-reflection, of 20 thoughts and 20 realities.
  1. I thought I’d feel very grown-up by 20, but in actual fact I feel small and young and free, but also as if I’m on a precipice of something bigger. Maybe adulthood is just around the corner...
  2. I thought I would have a distinct life plan, but I’m still as lost as ever. Speaking to girls older than myself, I’m not sure that lost-puppy feeling is ever going to go away, but then again I certainly have trust in fate, and hey, what’s life without the surprise of opportunities?
  3. I imagined myself to be happily in a relationship with the man I was going to marry, but I’ve realised that this was an immature thought, and that next to none of my friends are in relationships, and we’re all just fine and dandy, and loving life together.
  4. I thought I would lose the childish (or so I thought) need for my parents, their approval, their company, but I’ve found that I need it more than ever. When life gets so much busier at this age, I need my shared hobbies – ballet and reality TV with my mum, and walks and plane-spotting with my dad – in order to ground me and make me realise how precious they really are to me.
  5. I feared that my cousins – who are practically my siblings, we’re so close – wouldn’t be as close and that we wouldn’t see each other as much as we do. But we do, and I thank my lucky stars every day for all of them, because I honestly don’t know how I would get through things without them.
  6. I thought that I would remain friends with the girls I loved during school, and while this is true, I’ve found so many wonderful people at uni and work and through reflecting on others I wasn’t particularly close to during school, and I’m feeling
  7. I imagined all the ‘high-school-drama’ would be gone from my life, and that everyone would be friends with who they wanted, do what they wanted etc. In fact, life is even more complicated, if that’s at all possible! People come and go, and that’s ok.
  8. I thought I would know exactly who I am as a person by 20, but I find myself forever learning things about my capabilities, passions and personality that I never imagined were there.
  9. I never imagined I would wake up past 6:30am, but here I am learning the value of sleeping (at least until 7:30am :P ) after a long, hard day.
  10. I thought I would remain the shy, insecure little person I was, but university has opened my up...a little...
  11. I truly believed that losing people and friendships wouldn’t hurt, because hey, it’s life, right? Wrong. It hurts, and you never grow too old to feel.
  12. I imagined that as I grew older, my imagination, my spark and the little quirky parts about me (like laughing about nothing, making up stories, being creative) would naturally die out, but I find them even more important now than they were when I was little.
  13. I somehow thought that one day, before you turn 20, you have this realisation that ‘wow! I’m an adult, not a teen anymore.’ But you don’t. Life just keeps rolling, and you realise adults aren’t really as ‘grown up’ as they make it seem ;)
  14. I thought I would fall in love before 20. I have, but not in the way I expected. I fall in love everyday with the smallest things, with people, with life, with me, with passions and even with things like television shows and books. It’s cool to love all these things! Love doesn’t just have to mean a feeling towards another person. Love, and the world suddenly feels a lot brighter.
  15. I imagined I would be stressing about my future, my husband, my kids, my job, my life. It’s true – I am!
  16. I thought I’d be the most elegant woman by now, with my hair and make up perfect and natural every day, and with high heels and the perfect LBD on hand at all times. Sometimes I wish that was me, but in reality, I’m just as clumsy as ever, and sometimes I love the messy uni-student look with leggings and unbrushed hair. It’s fun to be young!
  17.  I thought the pressure of growing up and being yourself would be gone by now, but it isn’t. If anything, I feel more pressure and expectations for some reason – I think because everyone is moving in different directions, and everyone has a differing timeline of life events, that it can be easy to get caught up in it all and forget who I am and what I want from life.
  18. I thought my 20s were going to be a time when people just let everyone be, and let everyone be free and do their own thing without questioning. It’s not true – my turning vegetarian in April last year caused uproar in my friendship circle, that still hasn’t died down, unfortunately.
  19. I believed I’d be drinking countless cups of coffee, just like all the adults I knew in my childhood were drinking. I was so wrong – I drink cup upon cup of tea!
  20. I imagined myself to be a stronger and more secure person, and by golly I am. I’ve grown in mind and soul the last few years in particular, and I know that I can get through anything.

This post was a bit of a ramble, but I think it’s so important to take time out and reflect on life and yourself. Here’s to a wonderful new chapter of my life xx