P6130022 copyP5290041-2 copyspelt brownie || cityhippyfarmgirl


The long deep cries of black cockatoos flying overhead, they stop me, I look up, I’m paying attention.

Giggles. Ripples of laughter that start at your belly.

Seeing one of my photos hung on a wall in a exhibition. It was there briefly, but it was there, and I saw it.

Coffee. Good hot, take it slow cup of coffee. I am not a coffee gulper. (I’m especially loving coffee with cardamom and ginger in it at the moment, have you tried it?)

Being a part of the Voices of 2015 top 100. That’s a bit special.


Getting to hang with someone that makes me laugh, makes me think and is always happy to go chasing light.


What are you loving at the moment?

[“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]

loving… doors, dinosaurs, biscuits and coffee

secret door ways || cityhippyfarmgirl


secret leafy doorways that lead into secret leafy walled gardens. (If you never read The Secret Garden as a child, you really should get it from local library. The magic of gardens should never be underestimated.)

good coffee || cityhippyfarmgirlLoving…

coffee dates with friends. Just like leafy gardens, the magic of coffee should also never be underestimated. anzac biscuits || cityhippyfarmgirl


a baking rack full of cooling Anzac Biscuits on wintry afternoons.

dinosaurs at dusk || cityhippyfarmgirl Loving…

Playing with dinosaurs at dusk, because really, how could you not love that?


What have you been 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]




Denby, it’s my coffee thing

coffee beans- cityhippyfarmgirl

It started with my nana really. If she hadn’t have given me those two matching brown coffee cups and plates 10 years ago, well, I would never have gone looking.

They were good cups. Solid cups and I liked having my one cup of coffee a day to drink out of it. The amount was perfect, the handle comfortable and the lip was great. Call me Polly Pedantic but I like a good lip on a cup- it makes the drink, I’m sure of it.

So there I was, happy with my two brown cups from Nana. Happy drinking my daily coffee from it, just as my Nana had done before me. When my mum would visit, all she could think of was seeing my Nana drinking her one coffee a day in there, but 50 years beforehand.

Fast forward to the land and time of Instagram, and I had taken a photo of my one cup a day and posted it. Not particularly exciting stuff but there it was non the less.

denby- cityhippyfarmgirl

“Looks like Denby”


“Oooh Denby!”

Say what?? What are you all talking about? My cup has a name? I looked on the bottom *gasp* it does have a name. I confer with my friend google *double gasp,* it is! It was. There stamped before me was Denby, and it seemed it’s rather a collectors thing. Looks like I could find more in the set if I was willing to sell a small child as well.

Two instagramer friends showed me the insides of their own parents Denby-ed kitchen cupboards. My knees felt a little weak…it looked so good. My cupboards too could look just as good, if I had a sack full of money and was ready to scour the earth for single pieces of Denby to create a collection.

Was I willing to do that?

Yes. Yes, it seems I was. Months later I found myself clicking pay now on ebay where I had found three exact matches to go with my other two cups. I quietly justified it by having sold a whole lot of unneeded/unloved items on gumtree the week before. About 20 things of mine had moved out to other peoples households and three sleek brown sixty year old coffee cups moved in to mine.

Decluttering the household AND some lovely bonus kitchen additions. I think my daily cup of coffee tasted particularly good that day.

coffee- cityhippyfarmgirl *************

Tell me… do you use gumtree or ebay to sell things you no longer want or have a need for?

Do you buy second hand where possible, sometimes or never ever ever in all your days?

And lastly, do you all know Denby and I was really, really slow on the uptake with this one?

the breeze

Listen to the breeze

the breeze says out, lets go out

drawing us to

takeaway coffees

the weekend paper

she wants to be close, the closeness draws you in

they want to go fast, scooters can go fast

beauty collected in colours by small hands

snatched conversations

dreams and thoughts

dappled sunlight surrendering to dusk

the breeze says home, lets go home.

“We spend most of our time and energy in a kind of horizontal thinking. We move along the surface of things…but there are times when we stop. We sit still. We lose ourselves in a pile of leaves or its memory. We listen, and breezes from a whole other world begin to whisper.”

James Carroll

Dark Chocolate Espresso Brownie Parfaits

Something odd happened recently. I had read a post from the delightful Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide on brownie parfaits, and how there had been some brownie lurking in their freezer to make these up. They certainly looked delicious, but I have NEVER had brownie in my freezer, and probably wouldn’t be having any in there in the near future. Idea pushed aside….

Several days later and I wanted to bake something to take to an important meeting full of important people, as a little thank you. What to bake?….How about brownie? (See the brownie seed had been planted.)

I wanted to make dark chocolate espresso ones, and started baking the afternoon before…. Oh snap, crackle, pop. No eggs! But it’s too late, I’d already done everything except for add the eggs.


Hmmm, ok, eggless brownie seems to work (after a quick scan of the internet) let’s cross eyes and hope for the best. Baked, cooled, cut….and crumble. Loads of crumbles. I think with the high cocoa content I was using with the chocolate (72%) combined with the no eggs, it just wasn’t going to happen.

But, said crumbly brownies would be perfect for say…parfait? Which is how I came to have brownies in my freezer.

A frantic call out to Mr Chocolate for eggs on the way home from work and I made up the brownies again in the evening. This time lowering the cocoa solids percentage (50%) and adding the eggs….ahhh, much better. No crumbles, and everyone at the meeting the next day happily emptied the brownie container, leaving a smattering of satisfied crumbs.

Dark Chocolate Espresso Brownie Parfaits

Layer your glass with brownie (eggless and 72% chocolate or otherwise)

Add mascarpone layer (250g mascarpone, 2 tsp vanilla, 1/4 cup icing sugar, a splash of milk- whisked together)

Thinly sliced strawberries

Eat with enthusiasm and a small spoon.

* I’m not sure that this actually fits in to the definition of parfait, but the alternative was to name the Dark Chocolate Espresso Brownie, layered Mascarpone and Strawberry Thing….

…parfait it is.

Dark Chocolate Espresso Brownie

250g dark chocolate (50%)

250 butter

60mls espresso coffee

2 tso vanilla

200g brown sugar

150g plain flour

50g s/r flour

4 beaten eggs

In a pot, gently melt the butter and chocolate. Turn off and add the vanilla, coffee and brown sugar. Cool a little, then add beaten eggs and fold through flour. Mixture is runny. Pour into a greased, lined baking tray, (23cm-ish) Bake at 180C for approximately 30 minutes.

green takeaway coffee cups

I like coffee. I really do. I don’t think I have a coffee habit, I just really like the stuff. Good coffee, (I don’t bother wasting my time with bad coffee.)

For our home coffee I can only get from one place in the whole city. Kind of restrictive yes, but that’s what the palate dictates. It’s fairtrade, it’s local-ish, (from East Timor) and tastes just fine.

Mr Chocolate also likes coffee. He didn’t before he met me though. Before me he was a tea drinker. Ha!…not now though. Long work hours, two pint sized Monkeys, and a coffee brewing wife all point towards kissing that tea goodbye a long time ago.

All those long work hours, requires the odd pep up from his favoured local barristas during the working week. Always on the go he needs a coffee to match so it needs to be a takeaway coffee. Last year The Monkeys gave him a reusable coffee cup (KeepCup) for those weekly coffee pickups. Instead of using a disposable cup, sucking back the black liquid, and casting the cup aside. He could now hand the cup over, get it filled, suck back the black liquid and wash it for next time.

There are a few different reusable coffee cups out there on the market these days. As more people spread the word and hand over their cups to their local barristas, I hope this will just become the norm for takeaway coffee drinkers.

One less thing to be dumped into landfill.

The importance of cafes in local community city living.

Walking down to our local cafe the other day, I was a bit shocked when two strangers were standing behind the counter manning the coffee machine and working the grill. So shocked, that I stood there, mouth gaping a little, eyebrows frowning while I contemplated the scene in front of me. Hang on a second, this wasn’t right…who are you? Where’s Anthony? Which is what I blurted out. (Not the who are you, but where’s Anthony?) He sold up and we have taken over…*gasp!*…oh, I meekily said and muttered something about a latte and I would sit in the back. Sitting there mulling over what I had just been told, I phoned Mr Chocolate straight away and told him…*gasp!* He did what?!

Our favourite local cafe owner had sold and up and buggered off. Not a word, not a whisper and as I sat there trying to gather some thoughts, I was gutted. Mr Chocolate was gutted…The Monkeys would be gutted. Why? Not because I was a daily cafe frequenter and should have put up a little plaque in my honour on a chair, but because we genuinely loved the guy. He made the cafe.

Simple, tasty food, small setting. People came back because Anthony made you smile, he remembered your name. He knew what you drank. He was my foodie sounding board. The Monkeys adored him and would always run over and say hello regardless of whether we were buying anything. For 3 years this was our local. This was a place where I could study undisturbed for an hour sitting on one coffee, a place where my grandparents were introduced, Mr Chocolate and I had discussed any home issues at a back table, (when The Monkeys were being entertained elsewhere) milkshakes had been slopped by inexperienced child hands, biscuits handed out generously. It was OUR cafe and Anthony an important part of that sweet blend. THE important part of it.

But not any more. Two strangers stood before me, dishing out coffees and explaining the changes they had made to people coming and asking where Anthony was.

This got me thinking….How important are cafes within our community. For inner city living, the cafe culture is alive and strong. Weekends are full of streetside cafes, takeaway coffees a must and many a meal taken up in cafe. These cafes serve as meeting places, appealing to the family for a special treat out, friends meeting up, and singles seeking some alone time. With the absence of backyards for many inner city living people, this is a way of life. For many, if you are living in a small household like a flat in the city, you can be quite restricted with space. As our urban population increases, so will that high density living and lack of space.

If you want to go some where else, the options aren’t huge. The park, a bar, the beach or a cafe. I do my fair share of parks and beach, bars don’t appeal, so for a little me time now and again that hour in a cafe is gold. Pure gold.

There is something really inviting about going somewhere, where you are greeted warmly by name. Your coffee is being made without having said a word, and the conversation is easy. It’s hard to find that. It’s almost like an extension of your home. For many of my friends who live in the area and all living in 2 bedroom apartments with kids, these cafes are utilised frequently. Whether it be a place to take small children to on a rainy day for a babycino, a meeting spot with friend or a place for some quiet contemplation without kids. Cafes in inner city living are used, utilised and loved. Having a warm friendly face to greet you as you come in makes the experience. That cafe space for me has been on many an occasion, a life saver.

So now as we go past our old cafe I have to deal with from Monkey Boy, Mama it makes me feel so sad that Anthony is gone. I want to talk about him all the time, it makes me feel so sad…

From Little Monkey, ANThatttiii…ANThatttiii!! With small arms outstretched towards his cafe.

I know what you mean boys, I feel the same way.

My hero, my coffee

Sitting in a cafe trying to concentrate on the papers in front of me, my brain was idle. Thoughts were wondering and I couldn’t keep track of what was in front of me.

Damn it. The barrister gave me decaf… It’s not working.

Psychologically my brain started to give up. What was the point in studying if it was going to be half hearted attempt. I needed the vip and vim to keep going. To register what I was reading properly. My shoulders slumping, my eyes half closed, my mind was already on a beach in the Pacific some where. Lazy waves, sliding up to the shore, the warm sun beating down on me, the distant cry of a …

Just then, out of the blue. Like a super hero charging through the crowds, with arms out stretched calling to me. Calling my name.

Ta dahh!!


It hit. With arms outstretched, my head slightly tilted back. I relished its embrace. The world had realigned, my soul uplifted once more. My pen speeds up, my thoughts sharpen, the words on the papers no longer blur. My papers once again my friend rather than foe.

My hero, my coffee.

Peanut butter and marzipan

Musing one day I was thinking of what foods would sum me up in a nutshell… (why can I not write that without thinking of Austin Powers- “help, help I’m in a nutshell!”) I digress…

Five foods that are me. Foods that define who I am, what I am all about, combined together equal one city hippy farm girl. Five foods if given a week and could only eat these five foods, I would be quite happy. Five foods (not dishes) that are truly delicious and are me, me, me.

Peanut butter– crunchy, and slapped on so thick your tongue gets lost in the fog of it all. The natural one is the best, when its just crushed peanuts. Just quietly, I have been known to eat just with a teaspoon.

Coffee– Its the ritual, the aroma, the kick, and those damn cute little cups. I wouldnt waste my time with instant, its just not the same. The stove top precolator is my weapon of choice. Never to be rushed, always to be enjoyed.

Marzipan– the texture is quite unique don’t you think. It’s kind of gritty, it’s sweet, your not quite sure, so you have a little more. So the circle continues.

Granola/Muesli– it keeps me going and is just the kind of breakfast (or late night snack) that works for me. Lots of seeds and nuts added. Either eaten just with milk or with a dollop of yogurt.

Sourdough– the grainier and fruitier the better. I seriously will have to be cremated with a whole stack of sourdough when its my time to leave this earth. Then everyone can smell just how delicious sourdough is, when they are thinking of me. (a little odd, but think about it…its a good idea isn’t it.)

What would your top 5 be?

why cafes and kids simply don’t mix

I live in the city. I live in a flat. I have 2 young energetic kids.

Now back in the day I loved nothing better than to sit back sipping my decaf soy latte. Then I moved on to the little macciato’s, cappuccino’s had a look in for a while and then back to the decaf latte again while pregnant. Add a little biscotti, some people watching, the weekend paper, it doesn’t get much better. So I know my cafe culture. I love my coffee culture. Its one of the best perks of living in a city. The choice of many great coffee haunts.

So what happens when you have a child? You drag them along too of course. You cling on to that cafe culture as long as you can. We don’t have a grassy back yard, where the kids can run around, so parks and playgrounds are utilised nearly daily, or even twice daily. And if it happens to be raining? Why a playdate at the local cafe for a babycino sounds quite lovely.

Now with one child a cafe date is ok. It’s not great, but you can do a little chatting, mop up the spilled milk, back to chatting, help the child back on to the chair after falling off etc etc. You can still cling on to that coffee dream that cafes are still for you, just as a family now.

Then the 2nd one comes along. Lets face it, the dream is shattered. Even with two adults to referee, and a toy box (if the cafe is really kind), it’s just not worth the pain of it all.

The youngest screams for more biscuit, the oldest trickles milkshake down the leg of the table, the youngest snatches the best toy off his big brother, the oldest dongs his brother on the head with said toy and gives him a quick pinch for good measure. The ‘ahhh, this is a lovely coffee ‘ moment is so brief, you vow not come again with the little monkeys.

Then 2  months go by, you forget the pain of it all as the mesmerizing coffee smells tease your nostrils again, wooing you in. So you drag the monkeys in with promises of milkshakes and biscotti again, in order to clutch on to that fleeting memory of old cafe days.

Episode repeats itself, with younger monkey fluttering his eyelids at the waitress as she starts sweeping the metre wide crumbs from under the table and older monkey stepping on outside dogs tail while trying to pat it as we make a hasty retreat once more.