Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Life Things

Winter is starting to creep in, and its filling me with so much joy. On my days off my housemate and I are going for bike rides through the cold crisp air to visit local cafes, and at night warming dinners are being cooked to accompany rich red wines. I always think everything feels just a little bit more special in winter. To me winter feels like everyday is sunday, it just has this glorious sleepy feeling to it where you could stay in bed reading all day or potter around the house for hours while drinking tea. 

This week I've decided to embark on a few new projects. Im going to made some ginger beer and apple cider. I'll keep you posted with how they both go. I've also been considering a woodwork project, to make a apple crate for my bike. I've never really done wood work, so I pre-emptively feel a little sorry for whoever serves me at the hardware. I'm really going to bombard them with questions. 

My little vegetable patch is coming along nicely. Im really enjoying learning all about growing food, and watching how the seasons take effect on the different plants. I bought a whole heap of ornamental kales to plant in my front garden from a new nursery that opened up not far from my house. Just as a side note, I would like to add that the nursery was stocked with not only glorious plants but also the pretties lovelies boys to help serve. I felt so very grateful for the wealth of knowledge my father has been pouring out to me about growing plants, so that I could go in and not look silly. 

I best be off, I have all my projects to start on, a pot of tea waiting for me and some very good books to read.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Easter Treats

It is Easter weekend and I've been having such a lovely and interesting time working out what that means to me. My life these days does not include much organised religion (disorganised however sounds so much more lovely, and I envisage it including much more wine and cake?) however I feel its a shame to miss out on all the celebrations. People who know me well will know I have such a fondness for rituals and tradition. Growing up in and around churches meant that lots of different traditions were woven in my day to do life, and as an adult I found I needed to work out how to integrate my own rituals into my life. Some of these traditions are silly, like believing that on sunday you can eat whatever treats you want without any ramifications (a lot of chocolate gets eaten before breakfast, and I have been known to drink a whole bowl of coffee.) While others involve special places I go with my friends once a fortnight for breakfast and a shopping trips. A lot of my traditions revolve around ethical purchasing of food,  such as going specifically to an artisan bakery for bread, supporting local farmers by buying my vegetables at local organic stores, or buying wine from my favourite cellar. These tiny things bring beauty and significance to daily life and I love the routine of visiting all these different places to buy treats. 

This year I wanted to celebrate Easter with the people I care about without having to buy a heap of mass produced chocolate. So this is what I did. Firstly, I made my own hot cross buns, which is something I do every year. I left them in my house for the whole household to eat. Next instead of giving chocolate I made jam and gave it to friends as gifts. It was so nice to have a token of celebration without needing much more than strawberries, sugar, jars and a bit of time. And lastly of course, there were feasts. Over the weekend I got together with different friends at different points and just enjoyed each others company, some good food and a decent amount of good wine. 

After all these celebrations I was left feeling so full and blessed. What are your Easter traditions? Hope they are lovely and filling your heart up to the very top. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Luxury Time

Lets have a little chat about the idea of luxury. This year I've taken a little step away from the conventional burn out pace of chef life to do a little more freelance style work. I work for a few places designing cake flavours or baking new recipes for them to sell. A lot of time is taken up simply riffling through old cook books and magazines and dreaming up the sort of cakes I feel like making that week. Its pretty great, I'm not going to lie. The best thing about this lifestyle though is that I have free time, something that last year I next to never had. "I'm so tired" became my catch phrase last year, and has now been replaced by statements such as "Shall I ride my bike to the shops and buy some wine?", "Do you want to come over for dinner", "I read this amazing book", and "I think I'll take up french lessons." Its glorious to say the least. 

This life at first took a little getting used to after being a wee bit of a workaholic. I really had to sit myself down a few times (with a glass of wine) and sternly tell myself to relax. So thats exactly what Im doing (right now at 8am in the morning drinking coffee and eating the chocolate chip cookies I blogged about in my last post....delicious.) 

Learning how to stop is a big deal. Learning to accept the beautiful different phases of your life is important. Sitting on the other side of a relationship (yeah yeah, again) and simply saying "well at least I have more time now, and I can eat cookies in bed without judgment" is so damn precious. So this is what I plan to do for a while now. Winter is settling in in Melbourne, and I must say, I am one content lady. Im going to spend the next few months doing all the things 'busy me' couldn't do, like growing a garden and reading books on wine making. 

Hope your feeling glorious and luxurious today too. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Chocolate Oat Cookies

There are few things in life that can't be cured by a warm batch of cookies baked at home. In my short twenty four years of life, I have been baking cookies to cure all sorts of sadness. When our family dog died, I baked cookies for my sister and I. We ate them all, drank tea and grieved slowly together. As I have watched relationships flow into my life and once again flow out, I have baked cookies in the middle of the sadness and wiped away a spare tear. One long winter in Melbourne where it felt like the cold had seeped right into my bones, I made cookies twice a week, and would sit at the kitchen bench icing them with intricate patterns until I felt cheered by all the beautiful colours and could get on with my day. 

The problem with cookies however, is that they are not a bullet proof plan. Having the ability bake hundreds of different varieties and flavours doesn't actually protect you from the storms in life. I learnt this over the last six months while I have been absent from the blogging world. Life has just been a little interesting and I (along with my cookie baking skill) just had to take cover for a while. 

Today after work, as I stood in my little kitchen in need of something. I pulled out the flour, I found some oats, dark chocolate and a few other bits and pieces. It was time to make some cookies. After I put them in the oven, ate a decent amount of cookie dough, brewed some tea and procrastinated a lot, I decided it was time to get back to this little blog, and all of you my dear readers and friends. 

So thanks for not minding too much while I went on hiatus, and disappeared on a short journey of the soul. I promise to be about a lot more now, with recipes and stories of good times. 

Much love, Cherry

Chocolate Oat Cookies

150g butter
1/2 cup of sugar
1 egg
1 cup of plain flour
1/2 tsp of baking powder
2 cups of rolled oats
1 cup of dark chocolate chips


1. In an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until pale and light
2. Slowly add the egg, scraping down the sides as you go.
3. Add the flour, baking powder and oats.
4. Stir in the chocolate chips.
5. Roll into balls, and press down slightly on a baking tray lined with grease proof paper. 
6. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 for 11 minutes or until lightly golden.