Posts from — November 2012

Marrickville Market 4

November 18, 2012

Right, that’s it. This is getting ridiculous. I’m adding a category – Markets & Food stores. Because Sydney is full to the brim of them! It’s quite astonishing the riches a foodie can find here. I’m running around like a person who’s never eaten before, taking photos like I’m at the Taj Mahal. But you understand, I know you do.

Today I bring you Marrickville Organic Food and Farmer’s Market. Come wander down the leafy lanes with me.

Marrickville Market runs every Sunday from 8am – 3pm at the Addison Road Community Centre, right next to this cool place: Reverse Garbage. I didn’t get a chance to have a look at Reverse Garbage due to young children rubbing their eyes and turning into Tasmanian devils so that gives me an excellent excuse to go back. For this visit I was wholly focussed on The Market. And filling my tum. Of course.

The challenging part was making a choice. Gozlame, hot lamb rolls with gravy, tarts and pies, ice-blocks…

Soda bread, corn fritters, quesadillas, olives, cakes, pasta, cheese….

I settled on a corn fritter, loaded with herbs and yoghurt and relish. I got so excited I forgot to take a photo of it. Bad blogger, tut tut! I was distracted by too many interesting things to look at. Like this little market regular, peeking out at me.

Or the thought of having a haircut. Next to the chai tent. As you do.

B1, clearly possessing her Mama’s DNA, was also transfixed. She ate fresh strawberries and got the juice all down her t-shirt. Then she had a “polar bear lemonade” (hand-made and frozen in a pouch, brilliant invention). She checked out stalls with secondhand books and clothes and helped me pick out a wooden bowl made of  Camphor Laurel, which smells amazing by the way.  She ran down aisles, smelled and touched everything.

Then she spotted Toddler Heaven. Ponies. Lots and lots of Ponies. Matt has always joked about B1 having him wrapped around his little finger and that she could merely smile at him and he would cave : “Okay, I’ll buy you a pony.” But even with B1’s charms there is no way we are adding a pony to our tiny abode. Besides, she doesn’t really know what a pony is yet. Ahem, until now…

So you can see why I am enamoured with Sydney right at this very moment. Where else can you find an food market with piles and piles of organic fruit and vegetables, a plethora of brunch options, a hairdresser and…pony rides??! Is it too corny to write: “there’s something for everyone in the family to enjoy”? Cliche? Tick. The Truth? Tick! I only wish you were here to see it with me. You would have been beside yourself, you really would. I bought chilli linguine to take home and only wished I’d bought chocolate tart and chai tea.

Next time.

HUGS, Hannah x

In: Food, From Hannah, Markets & Food Stores

Sweet Little Something 0

November 16, 2012

An end of week ritual – a wordless post, a personal photograph that captures a moment to be savoured, relished and preserved for looking back on. One photograph from Hannah, in the Southern Hemisphere and one from Ria, in the Northern Hemisphere. Feel free to post your questions, thoughts and comments. Have a great weekend!

From Hannah:

From Ria:

In: Sweet Little Something, Uncategorized

Anatomy of a Birthday Cake 3

November 14, 2012

[Update: Here’s the link to the radio interview I did about my book, Nobody’s Dog, which I promised I’d post when I got it.]

So we had a momentous birthday here the other day. Someone turned One Year Old.

I grew up in a family that cherished–nay, obsessed over–homemade birthday cakes. Every year we got to pore over the Australian Women’s Weekly Kid’s Birthday Cakes book, with all its shiny colour photos and array of choices. Would it be the bear? The Barbie with the fancy dress? The swimming pool? I admit, that one always weirded me out a little. But it was a birthday tradition, and one I want to pass on to little e.

Of course, this year she’s too young to have any say in the cake choice, so I took on the challenge. It was actually harder than I thought. Not because I couldn’t choose between the cakes (I’m a jump-in-ask-questions-later kind of baker), but because I realized the ones I was interested in making had very colourful icing. And that means everyone’s yearly quota of Red No.5 and Yellow FCF, which I try my best to avoid. Not that that stuff doesn’t show up in other food we eat all the time, but the idea of consciously putting it in my child’s cake was…off-putting. Anyway, as you’ll see below, I went with something light blue–the cake in the book was much darker–so it has a kind of Caribbean ocean feel to it.

But that’s not the end of the cake saga. You’re on the edge of your seat, I’m sure.

Let’s just say it had been a crazy week in a string of crazy weeks and late at night on a Friday, I baked the cake for the next day’s party. I doubled the recipe because I was determined not to run out of cake once I started cutting it into shape. I had bought a really big cake pan for it. It came out of the oven looking great. I let it cool for a little while. Then I went to turn it out onto the cooling rack. It was still warm. I should have known better.

I have no photos of the carnage, but basically the edges removed themselves from the pan enthusiastically while the middle did not. So I ended up with three jagged pieces of cake on the cooling rack. I was so amazed at my own idiocy at 10pm the night before the party that I just stood there in the kitchen staring at the broken cake. DH came down the stairs and found me like that. I couldn’t speak. He got out the spatula.

There have been other times when I’ve been grateful to have an artist for a husband. Plenty of them. But I never thought I’d say that my husband’s Arts degree in ceramics and sculpture would save our daughter’s first birthday cake.

The above photo shows no evidence of the spackling and sculpting that took place to make the cake look like one piece instead of three. Testament to DH’s talents. And here it is in all its Caribbean whale glory:

It was delicious. Wish you had been here.

What talents are you especially glad your husband possesses?



In: Food, From Ria, Kids and Parenting, Writing

Where the time goes…ten little fingers and ten little toes 1

November 12, 2012

Well, I know in my last post I was bemoaning all the distractions I am getting from my writing but today there’s one I am going to celebrate. [See, I told you I was going to improve my attitude!] This distraction is the marvellous, magnificent B2. B2 is six and a half months old, likes spoons, yells in foyers to hear the echo of her own voice, giggles at her sister’s funny faces and is currently recovering from croup. I know, Croup. Poor thing. It’s waking her (and us) several times a night / morning. She’s part of the reason my writing is not getting done, my washing machine is always full and my hair looks, well, reaaaaally bad.

Anyone will tell you that parenting is challenging. But they can’t really share exactly how challenging and in which ways will be so shocking for you personally. Post baby hormones, Guilt (that capital is on purpose) and alternating boredom and insane busy-ness have all been big surprises for me. And yet as I write that, I think – aren’t they all such cliches??! Just goes to show how you have to live it to get it. Right?

Then there’s the flip side. Also a laundry list of cliches: The laughter. The smiles. The rolls on the backs of the knees. The eyelashes. The need for Mummy. Only Mummy. The sleepy yawn. The grabbing of hair. The delight in a world that is so brand new. It really does turn me away from my piles of research papers and the dishes in the sink and the mirror and think WOW. Right this very second B2 is singing and rolling around on the floor. A bit like a puppy; only cuter.

I recently read a wonderful, slightly cheesy (aren’t all the good ones?) quote: “The things we cannot change end up changing us”. How very true. From the last few weeks’ trials and tribulations I am learning that life does not always (ever!!) go to plan. I’m learning that you really do have to surrender to that and that when you do, well, magic can happen. Accepting, Surrendering and Allowing…now there’s the rub. That stuff is tough.

I was recently cheered reading a great personal story by Mem Fox, children’s book author extraordinaire, describing how she came to write Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes. Read it here, it’s very buoying. She’d had so much success with her books and then suddenly her talent and passion seemed to just evaporate. She put in her resignations (yes, she really did!), accepted her lot and out of nowhere came not one but TWO manuscripts. Just like that.

It’s hard when our busy, ‘doing’ minds get involved in solving our problems. I’ll put her in a bouncy chair while I write, I’ll shower in the evening..and then...I’m no good anyway, It will never get done… I love that Mem Fox admits her best ideas come from her heart, not her brain. I love that when she allowed the dilemmas and challenges and inner-criticism to just be, accepted it all, she got some of her best work. That’s where I am right now. I’m going to enjoy B2 as her six month self, croup and all, try my hardest not to wish for something different. I’m going to join her on the floor. Spend a moment rolling around on the carpet.

PS. I know my hair doesn’t look too dreadful in this photo. That’s because I spent time straightening it. And putting on make-up. And then took a zillion photos. Because it’s like seeing Haley’s Comet or something.

In: From Hannah, Kids and Parenting, Writing

Sweet Little Something 0

November 9, 2012

An end of week ritual – a wordless post, a personal photograph that captures a moment to be savoured, relished and preserved for looking back on. One photograph from Hannah, in the Southern Hemisphere and one from Ria, in the Northern Hemisphere. Feel free to post your questions, thoughts and comments. Have a great weekend!

From Hannah:

From Ria:

In: From Hannah, From Ria, Sweet Little Something