Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Summer Days

Hello :) Oh hi blog!!! I have been back in Sydney for almost two weeks after my super fun Europe adventures! Adrian & I had an awesome five weeks away - and I'll probably blog about it in the new year. Highlights included seeing snow in Helsinki, all the Christmas markets (especially in Vienna and Prague), hiking around Switzerland (so beautiful!), relaxing in the Budapest baths and the walking tours around Prague and Berlin (I could live in Berlin!) … 

We both missed the Sydney summer sun though so it was nice to come back and I've had plenty of catch ups and good coffee since. Here's what I've been up to since returning ...

I went to brickfields in chippendale for the first time and oh my their almond croissants are amazing … they're big enough to share and are filled with almond goodness. Must go back for more treats.

Rye & caraway from brickfields 

I made the gingerbread cookies from my new roots the day after seeing the recipe on her blog. I have never made gingerbread before and this recipe was really great!! It made a lot of cookies which was perfect for gifting to people and snacking on … 

Went to the awesome pop exhibition at the art gallery - it's certainly good value for money as it takes up so many rooms and even has a cafe within the exhibition (coffee was great!)

I gifted these handmade polish espresso cups to two friends from a Christmas market in Vienna. I thought they were super sweet.

Last Saturday was the last market of the year. Such a nice atmosphere and we managed to sell out well before the end of the day - lots of people will be eating olives on Christmas.

Stocking up on quinoa and kale from alfalfa house 

Sunday strolling around Blues Point.

Loving the early evening light (such a novelty from five weeks of darkness at 4:30pm!!) … enjoying dumbo feather, the winter issue of kinfolk and the remains of the day.

Stocking up on essentials (the benefit of working at a pharmacy) - my friend Tara and I are leaving on Boxing Day to woodford folk festival over the new year … really excited for festival fun times !!!

Well this is my last post for 2014 - have a lovely Christmas and New Years!!! We are spending Christmas day at home and I plan on making peach pancakes for brekky (from the smitten kitchen cookbook) and for lunch I'm slow cooking lamb to have with fresh salads and apple tarte tatin for dessert. Then dinner with extended family.

2015 is going to be a big one … finally finishing my nutrition degree (one subject to go), moving out with Adrian (we luckily passed the holiday test!) and working on some new projects. See you then!!!

Hannah x

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Hello :) Two thursdays ago my friend Renee and I went to the new pop up restaurant from the full circle team called Alfio's in Leichhardt. I went last year to their pop up called The Eat In - in a warehouse in chippendale and was super impressed, so knew I was in for a nice meal. This time they've used a former Italian restaurant that has been vacant for a few years and actually distantly remember going there as a kid. With Alfio's, you pay $50 per person for a set menu of 4-5 courses that changes each night - how fun!

We got there early for a 6pm sitting and there was some lovely light streaming through the window ... 

Olives to start.

Raw mushrooms salad with pecorino.

Sourdough with capsicum and house made ricotta (shared) Oh the ricotta!!

Fish in a bag with zucchini & lemon. So simple but so tasty - must try this!

Roast beetroot with balsamic and broad beans - served with the fish.

Gnocchi with goat ragu. 

Peach tart with mascarpone. 

As you can see all the food was superb. The kinda food that I can imagine someone gathering from a produce market and cooking with friends with plenty of vino. Alfio's is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights for the next few months - so get in quick and reserve a table! 

Also ... 

I think this shall be my last post before I fly to Europe in a week (!!!) I forget if I've shared all the places I'm travelling to but here they are (in order)... Helsinki, Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg, Munich, Zurich, Gunten (near Interlaken), Lake Como, Prague & Berlin. I've written a few notes of things to see, but since we're staying in apartments I think it's more fun to ask the hosts what to do and discover things for ourselves. Too exciting! Also if you have any must see things to do for any of those places I would love to hear from you. 

Some fancy essentials I've bought for the trip ... a few novels for long train rides between most of the countries, geranium body cream (which will double as a hand cream) from aesop, warming cinnamon tea and gumption coffee for the aeropress.

See you all around the middle of december! If you want to see photos of the trip you can follow me on instagram - hfong14.

Hannah x

ps. here are my posts from last year's trip in case you want to read ... Copenhagen, Amsterdam boathouse and city, Brussels, Paris, Lyon, Nice, Remoulins, Avignon ... & I also went to Spain but never did finish blogging about it, oops!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Aeropress Coffee

Hello :) In two weeks from today Adrian and I will be on a plane to Europe, with our first stop being Helsinki! While he is busy finishing his honours thesis due next week, I'm planning all the real important things for our trip, like deciding which dental floss to buy and working out how I'm going to drink nice coffee everyday. I took the plunge (ha ha) and decided to buy an aeropress coffee maker, which is a nifty little device that makes a great cup of black coffee. 

You can read about it (here) if you haven't heard of it before - but basically it's a really quick method of brewing coffee that uses filter paper to remove the coffee solids, air pressure to gently squeeze the grounded coffee for a smooth flavour & only takes about a minute to brew and serve. It comes with two cylinders, plenty of filter paper and a scoop and stirrer (which you don't really need). 

I bought mine from the sensory lab in bondi the other week, and though I was a little sceptical at first -I've been making a cup of coffee with it most mornings! It is great if you love black coffee, though you could of course add milk. I'm also not buying coffee out as much now, as I have an easy way to make nice coffee at home. Will definitely enjoy using it overseas! 

Does anyone else love using an aeropress to make coffee?

Hannah x

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Nice Few Weeks

Hello :) What a nice few weeks it has been ... 

Spent two weekends ago working both days at the first chocolate festival in circular quay at the Mayan Xocolat stall. We were making coffees and hot chocolates spiked with chili, cardamom and cinnamon - such a nice kick of flavour! I didn't make the coffee though,  I was giving out samples, grabbing milk from the fridge, and on Sunday when it was super hot we started selling iced coffees so I spent most of the time filling up cups with ice!

Roberto has a stall regularly at orange grove and french's forest market with plans of opening a cafe next year ... 

The dense chocolate brownies were slightly addictive ... 

My friend introduced me to this divine italian cheese called stracchino ... a creamy and soft fresh curd type cheese. I paired it simply with pasta, fresh tomatoes, parsley and olive oil. Good food doesn't need to be jazzed up all too much.

Dinner outside one evening ... lamb backstrap with buttery parsnip mash (so good! must make it again soon!) and a fresh, crunchy salad.

Porridge made by soaking oats with a tablespoon of chia seeds in coco quench (a coconut and rice milk mix) overnight, and cooked in the morning stirring honey and cultured butter in it. Sometimes I add in sliced pear that I poach in a little water and sugar.

Making the most of my downtime ... I'm actually working seven days a week at the moment! It's a little hectic, but luckily they aren't all full days so I can enjoy a morning or afternoon off a few times a week. 

Slowing easing into the day with a long black and the paper 

I have been loving the early evening light in my room ...

Cabbage, broccoli and baby cauliflowers from wollahra markets

I used an outer cabbage leaf to make a wrap for dinner tonight - raw, crunchy and fresh! Added some barley, trout, labnah, radish and cucumber. 

Afternoon snacking with market produce ... rye spelt toast from sonoma with pepe saya butter, stracchino cheese, radish, cucumber and sugar snaps. 

Hannah x

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Caraway and Lemon Cake

Hello :) I've been having a great week so far! This morning was quite chaotic though, as I was working last minute at a toby's estate coffee stall at a market - just managing the cash register and taking orders, but oh it was hectic. We had a rush for a few hours, with everyone wanting their coffees at once! So when I got home feeling exhausted, some cake and a cuppa was in order.

My nanna made this cake when I visited my grandparents last weekend - a classic from a Women's Weekly cookbook. It's a very simple butter cake with some caraway seeds for an extra punch, and I added some lemon rind to the recipe to give a little zing. Plus, we had a few large lemons from my nanna's tree!

Recipe: Caraway and Lemon Cake (adapted from a Women's Weekly cookbook)
180g butter
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 1/2 cups self raising flour
1/4 cup milk
zest or rind of 1 lemon
Grease a 14cm x 21cm loaf pan. Beat butter and sugar in small bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy; beat in eggs 1 at a time, beat until combined. Transfer mixture to large bowl, stir in seeds, sifted flour, milk and zest. Spread mixture into prepared pan, bake in moderate oven about an hour. (I used a square pan so it only took around 30 minutes)

This is a beautiful classic cake with all the right things! And it's nice every once in a while to make a cake with no alternatives (spelt flour, rice malt syrup, coconut oil etc!) if you know what I mean ...

Have a lovely rest of the week! I'm working at a stall at the chocolate festival in the rocks this weekend - check it out if you want a day out in the sun eating delicious chocolates and pastries!

Hannah x

Friday, September 26, 2014

Meal Inspiration

Hello :) Friday night is when I start thinking about inspiration as to what to buy at the weekend markets, as I buy most of our fresh produce/meat/eggs/bread - & usually struggle carrying it all home! Sometimes I look through cookbooks or read foodie blogs and see if a dish grabs my attention, then stock up on whatever ingredients we need to make it. 

Here I am with a basket full of vegetables from last weekend (clearly pretending I'm in kinfolk magazine)

Well I thought maybe you could also help inspire me - I think I need to start mixing up my repertoire! So I'd love to know what are your go-to dishes? To kick things off, here are some recipes that I've bookmarked to make soon .... 

Hannah x

Monday, September 15, 2014

Two Weekends

Hello :) The past two weekends have been particularly fun so I thought I'd document them here!

Two weekends ago I wasn't working at orange grove markets, so decided to check out pyrmont markets which are on once a month. It was pouring with rain for most of the time (lucky I wore gumboots!) - but was glad I made the effort as it was nice buying everything from producers that I don't usually see. The organic produce from field to feast was amazing and so fresh (they're also at marrickville markets) - I stocked up on new season garlic, fresh camomile and radishes.

The camomile are currently drying (to make into tea) ...

With the produce from pyrmont markets I made a really nice roast pumpkin soup. I chopped up two little butternut pumpkins, roasted them with  whole garlic cloves, then added them to a pot with hot water, some cumin, cooked barley and blended it all ... topping with butter and coriander. So creamy!

Last weekend - on Saturday I was working at orange grove markets & had this divine cinnamon scroll from sonoma. Why have I not tried these before? Despite being topped with sugar and cinnamon they aren't actually overly sweet ... & have a delicious croissant like pastry. Too much.

And yesterday was particularly special as it was my birthday! I turned 22. It started off nicely with flowers from mum, fruit toast from sonoma & a cuppa. 

I spent most of the day outside in the sunshine working at woollahra makets, which I enjoyed - & came home with a few bouKALES (ha ha) 

As we had my birthday dinner the night before it was a pretty low key evening spent reading this novel (so excited to finally have it!) and cooking a nice meal.

And instead of a birthday cake I wanted portugese tarts from the honeymoon bakery in petersham - cause they are the best !!! 

I hope you had a nice weekend! 

I'm still very much doing my mindful monday posts & have lots of ideas - it's just a matter of writing them down (which to be honest, I forget to do!)

Hannah x

Friday, September 5, 2014

Some Things

Hello :) Over the past two weeks, life has settled into a nice rhythm. I'm luckily to have gotten a few new jobs that are one day a week - so I can look forward to something different most days. Here are some things I've been up to over the past few weeks ... 

Enjoying a nice salad in my garden - can't get enough of barley at the moment! 

Discovered a cute little cafe in bondi called lilliputien 

Porridge with cardamom, cultured butter & honey (so yum when they melted together) and toasted sunflower seeds.

Two recent morning teas at black star pastry 

Gorgeous heritage eggs - almost too pretty to crack!

One day a week I help out with food prep for a couple's market stall. I couldn't help but take a photo of this pretty frittata we made the other day (along with 11 others!) - filled with tomatoes, spinach, feta and olives!

Close up of my brekky the other day, which included some yummy buttery thyme mushrooms.

So I found both these books at vinnies for a total of $9 last week - there are some great recipes!! I quit sugar for life only came out a few months ago, so I thought it was quite funny it's already in vinnies. 

Tomorrow I have a rare saturday off work as my boss is away, so I'm waking up early and going to pyrmont growers market for the first time. I might even go to eveleigh too cause I'm a little market obsessed!

Hannah x

Monday, September 1, 2014

Mindful Monday: Transitioning to Spring

Hello :) Today on the first day of spring (!!!) it seemed appropriate to talk a little bit about mindfulness through the transition of seasons. Peter, a friend and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner, describes both autumn and winter as the yin seasons while spring and summer are depicted as yang seasons. While yin seasons are cooling, contracting and passive, the yang seasons which we are transitioning into, are warm, expanding and dynamic. Both yin and yang are constantly ebbing and flowing - and this generally dictates our health, mood and energy.

It's important to become aware of the seasonal changes we should make that accompany the warmer weather. So I thought I'd write a nice list of things to consider as we make this transition to a season full of renewal and rejuvenation.

a gorgeous bunch of ruby chard

according to TCM, it is the liver and gallbladder that are the organs of focus for spring. The liver, amongst other roles is responsible for moving the qi (energy) around the body - so stretching, exercising in the outdoors and eating green vegetables are all excellent ways to improve the liver's qi. I think I'm going to start swimming laps once a week, with the promise of a cold brew coffee afterwards ...

- start to embrace cooling, raw foods. In winter I made a lot of slow cooked stews, added ginger to my dishes and steamed a lot of veggies. That isn't to say we shouldn't have any more of these foods (in fact I'm making osso bucco tonight with homemade beef broth), however as it warms up, it makes sense to eat more raw, enzyme-rich vegetables and enjoy lighter meals. I have been making green smoothies (spinach, kale, frozen banana, green superfood powder, coconut milk, water) which I think is a nice way to transition into eating more raw veggies.

my green smoothie 

- for optimal digestion remember to soak your grains before cooking. Grains are perfect to add into salads and Sally Fallon, author of nourishing traditions writes that the best way to soak your grains is with warm water and salt, which can remove phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors. I usually soak grains like barley and brown rice for a few hours or overnight, and less for smaller grains/seeds like quinoa and millet. 

A salad I made for lunch today - it had barley, lettuce, ruby chard, radish and raw golden beets finely sliced as well as boiled eggs (inspired by heidi) There is also a serving of fermented beetroot, apple and inca berries - from a local company called ferment it. 

I have actually started working with them on Sundays at a new market ... Woollahra Artisan Market. It only started yesterday and is on every Sunday till December, with the hope it'll start again in the new year! There are only 30 stalls, so it's small (just in a carpark on queen st) - but I had fun on the first day learning about fermented vege and then talking to people about all the benefits. It's a pretty amazing product - I'll talk more about it in another post.

How are you making the transition to Spring? What are you excited about eating?

Hannah x