It’s that hallowed time of the weekend, all is reverently hushed, save for the faint sound of birds chirping outside and the rhythmic click, click, clicking as I type this blog post with one finger.
Sunday morning is here, and I am taking it e-e-e-easy.
Now that I’m in full time work again (forgot to read the small print in my contract) I will become utterly militant about downtime on the weekends. If you want to find me, listen out for the muffled sounds of podcasts and a cup and plate clattering as I eat breakfast in bed. I’ll be looking at this view and smiling contentedly.
Today’s podcast listening will include an episode on poop by the lads from Stuff You Should Know, and the latest episode of awesomeness from The West Wing Weekly. I have yet to pop my Woog & Berry podcast cherry, but I have nine episodes locked and loaded on my beloved bed companion, the iPad.
Yesterday I had an osteo appointment (good ouch) and so had to shower, dress and leave the house, so I threw in some grocery shopping as well. Mmmm that roast chicken for dinner last night was GOOD.
Today I’ll go no further than the couch, kitchen and clothesline, and I will stay in rumpled pjs all day long, and that suits me just fine!
I may bake later a la #sundaybakingsunday if inspiration strikes, I may not. I don’t HAVE to do anything today and that’s my idea of a pretty great Sunday.
My podcasts await, time to re-arrange my pillows and get comfy.
Have a fabulous Sunday wherever you are.
Signing off John & Yoko style, from my bed,
PS I was watching an episode of Oprah’s Masterclass the other weekend and Ellen De Generes spoke about how much we seek after other people’s approval, when we really should be seeking our own. I love that.
Sunday is quite possibly my favourite of all the days, because Sundays are my drawbridge days.
Here are some of the reasons why…
There’s usually baking going on, and I love to see what other people are making and tagging #sundaybakingsunday. Thanks for joining in and sharing your pics with me. Some of you are VERY clever in the kitchen!
The paints come out.
The TV might stay silent for a few hours, or I might dive right in and catch up on shows I’ve missed during the week.
The heater is probably on, I’ll rearrange the blanket I’m snuggled under and read some favourite blogs. This morning I got a chuckle from this post on Baby Mac, and I really enjoyed this post on Bird And Fox. How cute are those earrings?!
Sunday is a great day for blog reading, don’t you think?
Later in the day, I might watch a movie. (I just noticed the double 53s, spooky!)
There’s usually a pile of dishes in the sink, or laundry to fold; a door to throw open for some fresh air, or sheets to change. Even these mundane tasks are enjoyable, because I do them (or not) whenever I please.
Perhaps that’s the key to my love of Sundays – no deadlines, no obligations, it is a day for me, where I can just be.
My introverted soul adores, and craves, this time by myself. Sometimes I’ll venture out, but more often than not, by Saturday afternoon, you can hear the clanking of the chain and cogs as I call ‘drawbridge up’ on the outside world. It’s not that I don’t like the world, it’s just that I want to be in a world of my own for a bit. It’s a cosy, quiet, creative world, and I like it here.
Are your Sundays social days or drawbridge days? Do you read any blogs on Sundays? Do tell, I’d love to know.
My weekends are proper weekends again. Hooray, and phew, only two days not working to do things like switch the sheets, hang out with people, paint, shop, get my recharging time in, blog, sleep late – I’d forgotten. Looking forward to Fridays is back on my radar!
This weekend has been a fantastic combination of the social and the slow. As an introvert, I really enjoy people’s company, and I really enjoy, and need, big chunks of time by myself.
I set my alarm for Saturday morning and headed to Carlton for a #BWPmeetup organised by the lovely Naomi. A group of eight Blog With Pip alums got together at Travelling Samovar, a beautiful tea house, where we sampled a range of iced teas, learned about cold infusions and a little of the history of tea, and we even got to blend our own tea to take home. We all had a wonderful morning in their sun dappled courtyard.
One of my favourite moments was chatting with one of the owners, Pascale, about the BWP community. If you read more than one Pipster’s blog, I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of praise for Pip Lincolne, and hand on my heart, without elevating her to sainthood, I’d say Pip’s greatest achievement as a teacher is fostering a truly supportive, encouraging, online community. This is rare! As we all know, the internet can make people lose their minds (and manners) a little, as anyone who spends time reading comments, message boards, or hanging out on Facebook and Twitter would have seen.
I was so proud to be able to tell Pascale about our community, how those of us who live near each other arrange meetups and how some travelling Pipsters have arranged international meetups, and how I have friends like Rach in Auckland thanks to blogging.
So Saturday started out with a fun and social vibe. A few of us went on to lunch a few doors down and we had a great conversation over pizzas and salads. I enjoyed a cheeky glass of midday wine!
I was so happy that I got to meet a few new people, and enjoy a gorgeous summer morning with such quality ladies.
The rest of the day was solo and quiet, which also suits me just fine!
This morning I baked a KILLER loaf of banana bread using this recipe by BabyMac. I love that #sundaybakingsunday has become part of people’s routine. I love seeing all your delicious pies and cakes and lunch box treats on Instagram.
I’ve done a little painting, hung out online and am showered and wearing fresh pjs! For bonus points, it is Fresh Sheets Day. Ahh, life is good.
Time is precious.
Whether you enjoy it more in the company of others, or spending it alone, or a combo, time is a real privilege.
We have only this moment. Today.
I hope that thought inspires us to treat each other with kindness, to be mindful that everyone we meet has battle scars and victories that have shaped them, that the best thing to do if we feel unsure of someone’s intention is to ask, politely, and as appropriate, to engage more with each other. I wish I could look you in the eye as you read this. I truly feel like I’m entering into conversation with you here. I want it to be a genuinely open dialogue.
So here’s to slow Sundays, social Saturdays and the simple joy of putting my head down on fresh sheets tonight.
How has your weekend been? Got a story to share? I’m listening.
Today’s Sunday Baking Sunday effort has been a resounding success, if I do say so myself. Go me!
Seems a few of you agree, at least from a visual perspective, as I’ve had lovely likes and comments on Instagram and Facebook as I’ve posted as many photos as a proud mother would of their ‘baby’. Granted, I’ve already eaten a good third of my ‘baby’ so perhaps that’s not a great metaphor.
I’ve been on a bit of a citrus kick in the kitchen lately, so this week as I pondered what to bake, I decided I’d like to take a turn into savoury baking again.
Here she is….
I found a damper pull-apart recipe that I planned to follow in the August 2014 issue of Real Living magazine. The food section in Real Living has a really accessible, delicious selection of recipes, so if you’re a regular reader who usually flicks past that section, I’d encourage you to slow down and try something that their food team has put together.
Though I read through the recipe several times before launching into today’s baking, I still managed to miss several ingredients and steps, which leads me to conclude that I’ve really made a variation on the recipe I was allegedly following. It worked out beautifully, proving that though recipes can be super helpful, they don’t have to be slavishly followed to get a good result. The quantities of flour, buttermilk, salt and butter remained the same, which I think gave me a good foundation for wandering off the suggested path.
So, here’s my variation on the Real Living Pine Nut, Parmesan & Thyme Damper Pull-Apart.
We begin with the name and key ingredients – pine nuts, check, thyme leaves – nope, substituted some dried basil & fresh spinach leaves, parmesan – intended to add it, completely forgot to.
Shrugs shoulders, onwards.
Annette’s Pine Nut, Spinach, Garlic, Sea Salt & Basil Damper Pull-Apart.
1/2 cup pine nuts (I just used a whole little packet of pine nuts which you can buy at the supermarket)
3 1/2 cups of self raising flour
Sea salt flakes
1 3/4 cups buttermilk (I made my own by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice per cup of milk, then allowing it to stand for 10 minutes)
100g butter, melted
3 cloves garlic, minced (I used three teaspoons of minced garlic from my trusty jar in the fridge)
A good shake of dried basil (or whatever you like or have on hand)
A handful of fresh spinach leaves, torn.
You’ll also need a baking tray for your pine nuts, and a 20 x 10 cm (ish) loaf tin, also lined with baking paper.
Get your buttermilk organised, if you’re making it with milk and lemon juice/vinegar. Let it stand for 10 minutes.
Pop your oven on to 200 degrees Celsius.
Put your pine nuts on a lined baking tray and pop them in the oven as it is coming up to temperature. Keep an eye on them, you don’t want burnt nuts. Should take about 5 minutes to turn a lovely light golden colour.
Sift the flour into a large bowl, add 3/4 tsp sea salt flakes and mix. Create a well in the centre of the mixture.
Melt the butter (I did mine in the microwave).
Pour the buttermilk and half of the melted butter into the well you’ve created. Stir until it all comes together into a soft dough.
Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface (or try an oiled surface if you’re that way inclined).
Check your nuts again, they should be done by now!
This is the best part – knead that soft dough forjust 1 minute! (Helpful tip – I put a bowl of water in the sink before I start this step, so I can wash my fingers off without getting dough all over my taps. I know, right? Super clever!)
Push and shape the dough into a rough rectangle, about 30 x 40 cms. I didn’t bother measuring, and I’m sure my dough didn’t stretch that far!
Add the garlic to your remaining melted butter, mix around a bit and then pour carefully, and evenly over your dough. Grab those golden nuts, sprinkle them over the dough and butter. Doesn’t that look good?! Mmmm. (This is a major deviation from the original recipe, as they wanted the butter and garlic poured over the loaf once it was in the pan. I think perhaps only really impacted the colour of the loaf, and having the extra butter and garlic through the loaf was super tasty.)
Shake your basil or other herbage over the dough, tear your spinach leaves and dot them around the dough artfully, and begin salivating.
Now, the fun part – cut your dough into even strips (vertically) and then stack those strips on top of each other, toppings and all. It’s a good idea to take into account the measurements of your loaf tin at this point. My dough got cut into four strips, just use your best judgement on this.
The dough needed a little help coming off my not-quite-floured enough surface, so it got an extra twisty element as I gently lowered it into the loaf tin.
Bake (at 200) for 45 minutes, then cover the loaf loosely with foil and bake for a further 25 minutes.
Et voila, delicious damper that’s got a golden crust and pulls apart easily to be shared. So good right! And pretty easy. The prep shouldn’t take more than 15 – 20 minutes.
Serve with a good smear of butter, or you could use smashed avocado or those dips you’ve got hanging about in the fridge. In fact, this pull-apart could be the star of a Sunday platter, with some lovely cheeses, ham and olives. The possibilities are endless.
This loaf is definitely in the spirit of Sunday Baking Sunday – which you’re most welcome to join in with on social media using #sundaybakingsunday – it’s all about easy, delicious recipes that you don’t have to follow slavishly. Use the basic ratios, then go crazy. This way when you just forget stuff, it becomes CULINARY ART darling!
Happy baking, enjoy the rest of this sunny Sunday, and let me know if you’re going to try this pull-apart.
What’s your best variation on a recipe? Chat away in the comments here and on social media, I love it when you do!
This week’s recipe for #sundaybakingsunday comes from Ella, who I ‘know’ via Instagram.
It’s her grandpa Allen’s recipe – isn’t that lovely?!
I saw a photo of this loaf on Instagram a while ago, liked it and really wanted to try making it myself.
Ella was kind enough to email me the recipe, which I found super easy to follow.
ALLEN’S DATE, CARROT & HONEY LOAF
1 1/2 cups chopped dates*
1 cup honey
1 cup water
60g butter, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups self raising flour, sifted
1/2 cup carrot, grated
Grease and line a 10 x 20 cm loaf pan.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Place chopped dates, honey and water in a small saucepan.
Stir over medium heat for 2 – 3 minutes, until dates soften.
Add the chopped butter to the saucepan, then remove from heat, and stir in the vanilla.
Transfer the saucepan contents to a medium sized mixing bowl and fold in the flour and carrot.
Pour the mixture into the lined loaf pan and smooth out the top.
Bake for 35 – 40 minutes – test with skewer (when skewer comes out clean, your loaf is ready).
Cool in pan for 5 minutes then cool on wire rack.
* You could substitute figs or raisins for dates. This loaf can be frozen, if it lasts more than the day. If you’ve ‘quit sugar’ I imagine this recipe could be modified by switching out the honey.
Put the kettle on, cut a few slices and you’ve created a perfect morning or afternoon tea. Thanks for sharing this great recipe Ella, it’s one that the kids could easily help you with and it only takes a few minutes to get in the oven. That’s my kind of baking.
What’s baking in your kitchen this weekend?
I’d love to see your efforts on Instagram – just follow @igiveyoutheverbs and tag your baking photos with #sundaybakingsunday.
There are some great bakers getting on board. Are you one of them?
And if you have a simple recipe you’d like to share, I’d love to try it.
This week I decided to change tack where #sundaybakingsunday was concerned. I’ve gone off sweet, and on to savoury.
I’m still working my way through the delicious brownies I made last weekend, then I baked a loaf of banana bread mid-week, so I really had no need of anything else sweet tempting me.
As some of you may know, I’m currently looking for a job, which means I have to watch my budget carefully. I decided to whip up a vegetarian pasta bake, which will last me three or four meals, and is tasty, healthy and affordable.
The stars of the show are sweet potato, broccoli, and cannellini beans. With the bean police chorus of ‘eat more legumes’ ringing loudly in my ears, I decided to chuck a tin of cannellini beans into my bake and see if I liked it. I really did, and reckon this is a great, simple way to to get more beans in your belly, aside from via ye olde baked beans on toast.
The pasta bake is really easy to put together.
Peel and chop a sweet potato, douse it with garlic olive oil, salt and pepper and bake for about 20 minutes in a moderate oven.
I’m a big fan of frozen broccoli, as it prevents wastage. About 1/3 of a pack of broccoli (just use as much as you like) goes into this dish, and here’s my tip on prepping it – once the pasta water is almost boiling, I grab a trusty sieve (there’s a great word) and throw the broccoli into that and sit in in the water for about 2 minutes. I don’t want to cook it all the way through, just get it to an easily choppable state.
So, once the sweet potato is baked, the broccoli is chopped, and the beans are rinsed, it’s just a matter of cooking up your favourite shape of pasta. I’m loving ‘little ears’ orecchiette at the moment. Once the prep is done, just combine those delicious things in a lasagna or other suitably ovenproof dish, pour over a jar of pasta bake sauce (I rocked Leggo’s creamy tomato and mozzarella), combine it well, season it – I chose chilli flakes, basil, salt and pepper, then sprinkle the dish with some cheese, bung in in a 200 degree oven for 20 minutes and Giuseppe’s your uncle.
1 sweet potato – peeled, diced and baked
1 head broccoli – chopped
1 can cannellini beans – rinsed well
200g dried pasta – cooked to just under al dente
1 jar pasta bake sauce (you could always make your own if you’ve got the time)
seasonings of your choice – chilli flakes, basil etc
a handful of Parmesan cheese or whatever takes your fancy
Following the method outlined above, I reckon it’s no more than 10-15 minutes of prep, plus 20 minutes baking time, to give you get a great, family friendly meal – or half a week’s worth of single lady dinners!
Pour yourself a glass of wine, watch 1/2 an episode of House Of Cards and dinner will be ready.
What’s your go-to baked savoury dish?
I’d love you to share it, post a picture of it and join the #sundaybakingsunday brigade on Instagram or the I Give You The Verbs Facebook page.