loving…clear thought and raw stories

cityhippyfarmgirl.com

Loving…. reading this book.

I regretted not buying it when I was in Hill End. I say there is no room for regrets. I bought it and it’s delicious. Every single word and picture.

Loving…. listening.

To people’s heartfelt honesty on the radio recently. The topic was how people remembered and stayed connected with loved ones after they had died. A single wooden spoon handed down through generations, wearing a mothers top on the anniversary of her death etc. Sobbing in the kitchen while cooking dinner, wasn’t quite what I expected.

Loving….Rough seas.

With sea spray on my face and hair flying wildly. It looked like a regular weekend visit to the beach. Except for the fact there was a big fat seal sun baking on the rocks.

Loving…. clear thought.

Those teeny tiny moments when your thoughts and ideas are completely clear, nothing else is being squashed in, no lists being checked off and the whole beautiful process is (momentarily) truly allowed to stretch its legs. (To some people this won’t make much sense, but to the handful it does? Yes.)

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The past two weeks have been a little loco, so it’s been good to sit down and do this little post. What’s happening in your world at the moment, what are you loving?

[“Often life’s pleasures pass us by simply because we don’t take a moment to focus on them… Make a point of noticing everyday something that uplifts your spirit or tickles your heart… Stop to breathe in the joy of this moment and then tell someone about it. Share your joy and revel in it. When your joy is savoured, and then shared, it is magnified…” ROBIN GRILLE]

Nordic Carrot Cardamom Cake (and a sunken disaster)

Carrot and Cardamom Cake || cityhippyfarmgirl I had four and a half hours before I had to get the kids to school. Surely plenty of time to get a cake baked and to be sitting cooling on the bench for when I got back, right?

Er, no.

It seems by getting up at 4.30am it gives you an increased sense of time security, that clearly wasn’t there. After jamming 21 ‘to do’ things into those morning hours, I simply ran out of time.

With time tick-tocking, the school bell never late and the cake clearly still not done. I decided I would have to leave it in the oven, turned off, but hoped the stoves residual heat would cook through any last of the gooey crumb. It had been baking for an extra 5-10 minutes already*, so surely that should be enough?

I get home hours later and enthusiastically reach into my oven to retrieve the cake and start icing it.

Not quite what I expected.

Not really what I expected at all. Sunk like I hadn’t sunk a cake since 1994.** Hmmm, what to do? The cake being still far from cooked through on the bottom, I decided to bake it again and see what would happen.

It seems cake miracles do happen, and it did get a little more height (than the mess pictured.) It was still sunken in the middle though, so what to do about that?

I was going to ice that cake, like I’d never iced before, that’s what I was going to do!

Covering the cakey crater with a vanilla mascarpone mixture***, I then carefully smoothed the tiny bit left over to the edges and sprinkled walnuts on for extra hiding of any problems.

Verdict?

Best cake I’d made in ages. Seriously, I wish all mistakes tasted that good.

Carrot and Cardamom Cake recipe can be found here, (coming from the new cook book The New Nordic.) *

The photo actually made it look taller than it was, a total height of 2cms on the sunken gooey bottom. ** I found the 200C too hot for my cake, use your judgement, and remember recipes are a guide, you know your oven best.

It also needed far longer than stated, but…I shouldn’t haven’t been squishing so many things into the morning. ***

The cream cheese and butter icing as stated in the recipe was substituted for a Vanilla Mascarpone number which is more the way our family roll. Carrot and Cardamom Cake || cityhippyfarmgirl

Getting the balance right… in Bellingen

Dorrigo || cityhippyfarmgirl

Time to be creative, in making, in music, in words and in play.

Time to talk, time to think, time to just be.

Tell me, why does it seem so damn tricky to find this beautiful balance on a regular basis?

How do you balance it? The creative time, the music making, the thinking, and the play time? Is it a juggle? Does it only ever happen on holidays? Is it even a priority? I’m curious…

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Some time in the last week was spent in the beautiful township and surrounding area of Bellingen. I don’t do reviews on this blog, but I do, ‘do’ experiences, and for this place? Five, crystal clear illuminating stars. A stunningly beautiful part of the world, that I’m dead keen on getting back to.

The Hyde || cityhippyfarmgirl

Sausage Rolls (hipster certified)

kale sausage rolls || cityhippyfarmgirl

Beards, hats, cold brew coffee, braces, man buns, green smoothies and scarves. If you’ve begun to conjure up images of well-groomed hipster types with intriguing arm tatts, waxed to a curl moustaches and retro print head scarves well I’ve done my job, because I’m talking about hipsters and sausage rolls today.

So would a hipster approve of these particular sausage rolls?

Well they have a secret ingredient within them, and that secret ingredient is hipster certified….it’s kale. And as we all know hipsters eat kale for breakfast, lunch and dinner right? (As luck would have it these sausage rolls can be eaten at any meal time.)

kale sausage rolls || cityhippyfarmgirl

Hipster Certified Sausage Rolls

one bunch of curly kale (stripped from the stalk and roughly chopped)

2 small eggplants, diced

500g of organic beef mince

1 cup of sourdough bread crumbs

1 free range egg

1 knob of butter

a good slurp of olive oil

1 TSP cumin

salt and pepper to taste

puff pastry

In a pot add curly kale and diced eggplant. Add a good slurp of olive oil, cumin and butter, wilting the vegetables down. Once this is done, take them off the heat and with a hand held mixer, blitz them (or blender.) In a bowl add remaining ingredients and add cooled kale and eggplant.

If you are making your own puff pastry, line that goodness down and add your mixture in rows. If you are using the frozen stuff (because life is full and doesn’t involve making puff pastry, then thaw it out and have an extra cup of coffee in the time you’ve just saved -single origin fair trade cold brew coffee of course.

Spoon the mixture on, fold ’em up, cut them and bake on a tray at 200C for approximately 25 minutes. They should look golden, and be tantalising the taste buds.

Eat with enthusiasm, and some delicious farmers market bought chutney.

the lost art of stillness

cityhippyfarmgirl.com

Distractions and screens,

noise on noise…on noise.

The whir,

both from myself and the world around.

The rumble of traffic,

lists within lists.

Stopping.

Stepping off.

Finding the ground again,

a grassy ground.

Remembering to breathe.

Feeling. Seeing. Quiet mind

steady thoughts

the lost art of stillness

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Some quiet time away is planned, with attached sketchy internet, (as much as I love you internet, this may well encourage some added stillness.)

Imagination, Nature and Coffee (don’t forget coffee)

Hornby lighthouse || cityhippyfarmgirl

Can I let you in on a tiny secret? Lately I’ve fallen completely in love again, in love with the city in which I live. I’ve always had a soft spot for it, but lately? Lately it’s been something a little different. Utter city love.

So what do I put this down to? To be honest, I think it’s coming up for some air after years of intense little people parenting. There are countless joyous, beautiful moments that have shaped the person I am today and I’m incredibly grateful for, but there are also moments when it’s a bit of a slog.

While my kids are still pretty young and certainly still need me a lot, things have become a bit more flexible these days. With that flexibility, opens up a more doors in what I can do with my kids, (five hour car trips for weekends away are no longer the prison sentence they once were.)

So what’s this got to do with falling in love with my fair city? Well with the kids, we’ve been playing. Mostly during the weekends but occasionally we also cut loose the military precision of a week day afternoon as well. They are the perfect age for having little adventures fuelled by imagination and nature around them, and living in this stunningly beautiful city by the sea that I’m totally in love with? Well we don’t have far to go.

Here are 3 of some of the best family friendly places to visit in this fair city.

1. Centennial Park

Why you should go? Nature calls

Cost? Nothing

cityhippyfarmgirl

It’s well established by now that kids often don’t get outside enough, Nature Deficit Disorder, it’s most certainly a thing. Antidote? A really simple bike ride or scoot around Centennial Park. Climb a tree, let growing young bodies drape themselves around the top branches of a tree. Go wandering through the swamp, look for possums and marvel at the fruit bats. Run down hills, leap from rocks to rocks, play soccer, fly a kite, collect things, tip toe through the forest- if you are quiet enough you might see a tiny fairy.

Ignore the designated kids playgrounds in Centennial Park, the whole 189 hectares is one beautiful playground just waiting to explored.

2. Kitchen By Mike, Rosebery

Why you should go? Social outing

Cost? Whatever you choose to eat, or just go for a little wander around the medicinal garden that is part of the grounds.

cityhippyfarmgirl

Cafes. We live in a very cafe culture time. Whether you have kids or you don’t have kids, there’s a good chance cafes factor into your life. Coffee obsessed some might say. I’d say well yes, yes I am! Sydney is lucky in that there are countless different types of cafes to choose from. From tiny holes in walls with stools to perch on, to family friendly places with resident animals to entertain the kids. Whatever your coffee cafe wish is, Sydney is bound to grant it.

Cafes also play an important part in being an almost extension of the increasingly decreasing back yard for many families. I could go on and on about the social importance of cafes in big cities, however lets stick to the what’s what, and Kitchen by Mike it is. There’s cake, there’s coffee, and there’s lovely tables overlooking the garden, which is perfect for the kids to explore in.

3. Hornby Lighthouse, Watsons Bay

Why you should go? Imagination kick starter

Cost? nothing

Hornby Lighthouse is located in the Sydney Harbour National Park, this place doesn’t feel like you are in the city of Sydney. I’ve always had a soft spot for light houses (thank you Enid Blyton) and if this place with its old fortress, cannons, red and white light house, and rocks to leap from, doesn’t ignite a multitude of possibilities for the kids imagination, I would say go seek out some Enid Blyton books quick sticks.

Perfect place for family picnic, a swim at one of the nearby beach coves and a cracking spot to watch the sun go down.

Three very different places to hang out with your family in this beautiful city of Sydney. One for the banishing of any Nature Deficit Disorder niggles, one for a social outing (importantly added coffee for the adults) and one to kickstart little imaginations.

Now the question is…what shall we do next weekend?

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This post is part of Voices 2015 and #shareaustralia

taking stock

domestic sunset || cityhippyfarmgirl

Sometimes you just need to pause a little moment, see what’s what and take stock, (thanks Pip.)

Making…. A crocheted black scarf/shawl thing that is possibly the slowest project I’ve done. Just finish it!!
Cooking…. Always.
Drinking…. Herbal teas, chai, kombucha, and spiced coffee
Reading…. The Residue Years… have you read it? Incredible writing.
Wanting…. more time to read
Looking…. at dogs…I want a dog…or a cat…or maybe, both?
Playing…. music, loud
Deciding…. on what to cook for dinner, really does that ever stop?
Wishing…. on stars when they first come out. Hopefully I’ll get to 80 years old and still do this.

quince jelly || cityhippyfarmgirl

Enjoying…. road side bought quince jelly.
Waiting…. for my tiny potted garden to dry out a little before I plant anything again.
Liking…. the fact that it’s now school holidays
Wondering…. Cat or dog, no really? (Trying to ignore all the small people guinea pig pleas)
Loving…. lots of tiny moments
Pondering…. life
Considering…. making lemon curd, (I generally suck at it for some reason- got a favourite recipe for me?)
Buying…. Who Gives A Crap
Watching…. The light bounce around the sky at sunrise and sunset
Hoping…. something will happen and wondering what will instead if it doesn’t
Marvelling…. at strong intelligent women who aren’t afraid to do….just do.
Cringing…. At our Prime Minister. Every bloody word he utters.
Needing…. some think time
Questioning…. myself
Smelling… the inside of a cut into, cooled loaf of sourdough. That’ll never get old.
Wearing…. looped scarves
Following…. nearly 700 people on instagram, love it.
Noticing…. a single nasturtium
Knowing…. never enough, and hungry for more
Thinking…. about far flung places

nasturtium || cityhippyfarmgirl

Admiring…. soft wintry sunsets
Sorting…. clothing, (they grow like weeds they do)
Getting…. a second coffee, hey it’s Sunday why not
Bookmarking…. inspiring permaculture gardens
Coveting: raised vegetable gardens
Disliking…. cold coffee, (was the second cup ambitious?)
Opening…. and closing my book, with not enough reading in between
Giggling…. at the lines a 3 year old can come up with. Hilarious.
Feeling…. lucky
Snacking…. on raw almonds and dates
Helping…. when I think I can
Hearing: black cockatoos flying overhead in the early mornings and evenings. Such a beautiful sound. (Click here to hear it.)

Pumpkin goodness- Know Your Basics

pumpkin: know your basics || cityhippyfarmgirl

Although you can buy pumpkin for a fair chunk of the year here in Australia. Now is when you will be seeing rather a lot of it. Autumn and early winter is a great time for the humble pumpkin. It’s a cheap and easy basic, that really does pay to know a few different ways in which to cook it. Team it up with the forever versatile fetta and you are away. Meal times never looked so simple.

 

Now if you are lucky enough to grow your own pumpkins, they can be stored for several months in a cool dark airy spot, especially so if they have been cured beforehand. This can be done by leaving them out in the sun for a while first, for the skin to harden and the stalk to dry out.

Then there is the eating. I really like using pumpkin as it’s cheap, and can be turned into a whole list of easy dinner time meals… Or snacks… Or desserts. Actually the humble pumpkin is rather impressive with its array of pumpkiny meal options.

KNOW YOUR BASICS: Find a couple of basic ingredients and really get to know them, what they can do, what they taste well with and most importantly, how on earth to cook them.

First up, roasted. This can be done either with skins on or off depending on your time, strength and taste buds. I normally peel them, as they are generally going into a soup, dhal or bread kind of dish.

Now once you’ve peeled, chopped and roasted you are left with the scooped out, fleshy, stringy and seedy bits. Separate all the seeds and leave them in a bowl to soak over night. The next morning dry them off and spread them out in a frying pan gently roast- watch them, they POP!

Pumpkin: know your basics || cityhippyfarmgirlpumpkin: know your basics || cityhippyfarmgirl

Whether you are roasting, steaming, eating cold, eating hot, the pumpkin is a great one to be bought locally, seasonally, frugally, and importantly tastely, (surely that can be a word?)

What’s your favourite way to serve pumpkin?

A few more ideas on what to do with your wonderful pumpkin

Make a Pumpkin and Fetta Tart

Pumpkin and Fetta salad with chickpeas was delicious

Pumpkin and Fetta sausage rolls always a winner

Pumpkin and Fetta foccacia

Pumpkin Spiced Cake– everyone loves cake, especially pudding kinda cake

Pumpkin and Jerusalem Artichoke Soup, cool nights, hot dinners

Roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

Indian Spiced Pumpkin Scones– easy for lunch or afternoon tea

Pumpkin pie

Pumpkin Dhal- frugal and seasonal cooking

and my go to Thai Style Pumpkin Soup

pumpkin: know your basics || cityhippyfarmgirl