Sunday, 17 February 2019

Weekend Cooking - Ottolenghi

One child has flown the coop (to uni) and the other is planning on moving out in the next few months. Mr Seasons and I will soon be empty nesters. A stage we've been looking forward to for years, but already, we're finding it more of a bittersweet experience. One of the good points though is having some space in our lives (and our home) and not having to cater for the very basic eating habits of the youngest any longer (he took his pizza tray with him to uni, which I suspect he will eat from morning, noon and night!)

Part of my post-children-living-at-home plan is to cook more interesting food. Food with spice and zing and taste!

I have a slew of Ottolenghi cookbooks that I have only ever prepared a few meals from in total. A very sad state of affairs! I'm hoping to change that this year.

My book club's summer picnic night gave me my first opportunity this week. I was working and only had an hour to whip something up that had to be 'shareable' and of the finger food variety.

Simple by Ottolenghi was the obvious choice for this. This cook book categorises each recipe into 6 main areas:

S – short on time: less than 30 minutes
I – 10 ingredients or less
M – make ahead
P – pantry
L – lazy
E – easier than you think


I wanted something light and summery with a little bit of zing!
Beef Carpaccio with Spring Onion & Ginger Salsa (pg 29) was the choice. It was categorised as:
S - short on time
I - 10 ingredients or less
M - make ahead

Because I only decided in the morning over breakfast, which recipe I was going to use, the make ahead part didn't apply this time around, but I now have some leftover spring onion & ginger salsa in the fridge for more zingy tomato snacks this week.


It was super easy to make. The longest part was crushing the ginger into a paste in my mortar and pestle, but I love any excuse to use my mortar and pestle, so it's never a chore.

I also love it when your finished dish looks exactly like the one in the book!


I served it with some Greek cream cheese and ciabatta. It was delicious and a big hit at the picnic.


Beth Fish Reads Weekend Cooking meme is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to link up anytime over the weekend.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Lunar New Year in Sydney

Lunar New Year in Sydney is a lovely time of year.
It's the middle of summer - just perfect for night noodle markets, lanterns and eating out.
The ferry trip into the Quay - you can just spot the new pink pig installation under the sails of the Opera House

Traditionally the city embraces it's Chinese heritage with a Chinese New Year parade in and around Chinatown, dragon boat races on Darling Harbour and other events. However, in recent years, Sydney has looked to be more inclusive of other Asian cultures who also celebrate the Lunar New Year, hence the change of name this year.
This year events were also planned for Cabramatta, Parramatta and all around Sydney Harbour.

The lunar lanterns have become a favourite of mine.
Giant light installations, representing the 12 signs of the zodiac, are placed all around Circular Quay for the 10 days of the Lunar New Year. Red and pink lights also adorned the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

My birthday usually falls in the new year period to give us an extra reason for having a night out in the city. 

Three new lanterns were installed this year. They included a lattice pink pig designed by Chinese sculptor Qian Jian (Justin) Hua and situated on the Sydney Opera House's western boardwalk; a striped ox atop a gongshi (shaped rocks that have long been collected by Chinese scholars) at Cadman's Cottage in the Rocks; and a tower of juggling monkeys at East Circular Quay. 

Last year's flying pigs with their spectacular spiral of 1000 individual pigs returned near the Overseas Passage Terminal in the Rocks.

Dog by Song Ling


Dancing fight roosters by amigo and amigo, co-founded by Simone Chua and Renzo B. Larriviere.


Pig by daylight...


Pig by night.

Tai Chi Rabbit by Claudia Chan Shaw



The Rat lantern is inspired by Guo Jian’s experience of moving to Australia and being embraced and supported by the Sydney LGBTIQ communities. Sadly only half the lights were working by the last night.


The monkey lights did not appear to be on or working the night we visited.

Tiger by Malaysian-born artist Kevin Bathman

Inspired by the famous chariots unearthed alongside the terracotta warriors of Xi’an, artist Qian Jian Hua reimagines the Horse symbol for a modern Sydney audience.


‘Electric Sheep’ is a reference to the Philip K Dick science fiction novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and the design reflects the Australian merino sheep. Pamela See uses a Song Dynasty (960-1279) traditional method of applying papercut designs to lanterns.

Snake by amigo and amigo






As you can see, I loved the flying pigs!
Sadly, our ferry was due to arrive, so we didn't have time to walk around to the dragon...there's always next year!

This post is part of Saturday Snapshot.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Jacaranda Days

It's Jacaranda season again in Sydney.
A carpet of purple blooms lies over the city, brightening our days and lifting our eyes skyward.
And it's turning into a trend.
The local Japanese population have turned jacaranda season into an instagram sensation and certain streets in Sydney have become inundated with tourists trying to get that purple selfie.
Luckily my suburb hasn't been discovered!






This post is part of Saturday Snapshot.

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Super Natural Exhibition

Li Shan's silicon sculptures of human figures merged with the head and wings of dragonflies adorn the main space of the Super Natural exhibition at the White Rabbit Gallery. 
Titled 'Deviation 2017' Li Shan is commenting on the destructive nature of humans and exploring ideas about 'new and better life forms'.







Ocean of Cloth Wheels + Floating Islands, 2013-16 by Yang Wei-Lin are cotton cloth, indigo dye, ramie thread, paperclips and blank optical disks gracefully string around a white room.
It was my favourite installation in the exhibition.
The disks and threads moved gently with the air con creating a wave like motion that was peaceful and calming.










I'm often fascinated by the artistic intent behind seemingly simple, elegant pieces of art.
The bio accompanying He Sen's two oil paintings gave me lots of food for thought.
"He Sen transitioned to a painterly examination of Chinese history and culture. He sourced imagery from Chinese literary and artistic history, appropriating classical paintings by ink masters such as Li Shan, Ma Yuan, and Xu Wei. Reproducing elements of iconic Chinese works in oil paint rather than ink, and embedding western painting conventions into the iconography of ‘gong bi’realism and ink painting, He Sen turned from a focus on the impact of society on the individual to an examination of Chinese culture more broadly."
"He Sen began to question the distinctions between eastern and western aesthetics, and to consider ways to bridge these seemingly opposed visual languages. Aware that these works will be ‘read’ and interpreted differently by Chinese and western audiences, and conscious of the complex history of ‘guohua’ (literally, ‘national painting’ — and generally understood to refer to ink painting), He Sen considers the relationship between painting and cultural identity."
Lotus leaf + Flower 2013 and Lake Rockery 2012 by He Sen


 This post is part of Saturday Snapshot.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Thursday Travels

Thursday Travels @Exploring the World is a new photographic meme that highlights your favourite and best holiday pics.

One at a time.

Some easy to follow rules:

  • Pick just ONE photo that shows something unique, unusual or quintessential about your travels.
  • You can label it, write a story or do a travelogue piece about your photo if you so desire.
  • These photos are about the place, the environment (man-made or natural), panoramas, macros - whatever captures your eye.
  • All photos must be your own.
  • NO selfies or family pics please.
We're all about the scenery at Thursday Travels!


Cherry blossoms in Hirosaki Park, Aomori, Japan

#ThursdayTravels

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Thursday Travels

Thursday Travels @Exploring the World is a new photographic meme that highlights your favourite and best holiday pics.

One at a time.

Some easy to follow rules:

  • Pick just ONE photo that shows something unique, unusual or quintessential about your travels.
  • You can label it, write a story or do a travelogue piece about your photo if you so desire.
  • These photos are about the place, the environment (man-made or natural), panoramas, macros - whatever captures your eye.
  • All photos must be your own.
  • NO selfies or family pics please.
We're all about the scenery at Thursday Travels!


Atomic Dome, Hiroshima, Japan - in the spring time.

#ThursdayTravels

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Modern Art at the AGNSW

Spacemakers and Roomshakers exhibition.

Experience some of the most immersive and expansive artworks in the Gallery’s collection.

Employing light, sound, fabric, air, spices, these artworks also use the space of the gallery as a medium to be filled, tested, stretched, altered and above all energised. In the process, they enlist gallery-goers as collaborators, test subjects and ‘space explorers’ in distinctive sensory worlds.


You smell Ernesto Neto's 'Just like drops in time, nothing', 2002 before you see it.
Various spices (cinnamon, ginger, tumeric, cardamon just to name a few) surround the base of each drop.
I felt the urge to eat an Indian curry by the time I left this exhibition!




'Atomic: full of love, full of wonder' 2005, by Nike Savvas was a colourful, visual delight and great fun to photograph.
Unfortunately I'm unable to add one of the videos I took when fans blew on them every 10 mins or so to make them vibrate.






'Alien toy painting', 2011 by Yinka Shonibare was a fun galaxy of mini figures that lined the entrance to the exhibition.






This post is part of Saturday Snapshot.

A new travel photography meme called Thursday Travels can be found here.