Parenting | Lifestyle | Food | No F--king Idea

Month: December 2018

It’s summer alright

It’s summer alright

So, today I learned another thing about pregnancy: doing the Bay Walk in thirty degree heat will, in fact, lead to pretty severe heat stroke. Let me back up a bit – after swimming at Balmoral Beach the other day, although using those muscles I […]

Maternity Leave

Maternity Leave

Tomorrow is my last day of work before I not only finish up for the year, but also before I head off on maternity leave. It is a weird feeling. I mean, I think that finishing work for the end of the year always feels a bit strange, but add the fact that I am not coming back to my workplace and that in a short seven weeks I will be giving birth to a baby boy – well, I think it is definitely fair enough that I feel a little out of sorts.

People have started to ask me what I plan on doing while on maternity leave and it left me feeling both excited and a little bit wary. My boss says that I will find that I will sleep a lot – especially in the afternoons. Everyone has been telling me that from now on I should sleep whenever I can because soon enough, I will be up with bub. Honestly though, the idea of being up with him and not having consistent hours sleep doesn’t phase me in the slightest. What I am coming to understand though is that I will be sleeping for a lot of my leave. It gets to 2pm and all I want to do is close my eyes for half an hour or so – and I have NEVER been a keen napper. Ever.

I am excited for leave because it means that this next phase has well and truly begun. Pete and I have reached the final stretch of the pregnancy and are all but waiting to meet our little man. All the hormones are also making me want to just nest. Leaving my house of a morning is hard simply because I want to be home, and doing anything outside of work is near impossible for me to get excited about because all I want is to be home. I can’t even explain why or what it is about home but I have been reassured several times that it is completely normal at this stage to rarely leave the house – which totally works for me.

I am also excited for maternity leave for the obvious reasons. It is almost summer and I can spend my days doing the bay walk and going to Drummoyne pool and the beach and eating ice cream at Darling Harbour or Circular Quay. I am actually SO EXCITED for ample cleaning time every day and I realise how lame that sounds but I do love cleaning our house. I am looking forward to learning how to make and use royal icing and extending my cookie making and decorating skills. I plan on experimenting a lot more in the kitchen and making use of the extra meal preparation time I will have. I really want to nail a miso eggplant recipe above all else. So good. I am keen to read a lot of books – including some children’s ones out loud to the little guy because I am starting him young – and also attempting to make my way through the seemingly endless list of television shows and movies people have given me ahead of maternity leave.

The (Oblivious) New Mama is going to be able to be my main focus for the next month and a half and I am finally going to have the time to do and create everything that I have wanted to for this site, but haven’t had the time or the energy to do whilst working. If anything, that is what I am most excited for – really making something of this website, of my words and sharing as much knowledge, baked goods and book reviews with the world. I am absolutely determined to make this a successful and profitable endeavour. I want to live and work through my passion and I am able to run this site from anywhere, and I can do so whilst still being the hands-on, available and attentive mother that I have always wanted to be. 

The only thing that I am a bit anxious about when it comes to maternity leave is the fact that it will be the first time in my life that I am not earning an income. I have some money saved for my own spending and we will be receiving the parental payments from Centrelink as well, and financially, we will be fine, but it feels so weird and foreign. I do feel that I will experience a fair amount of guilt while I am off during the weeks before bub arrives. I think that surely, that’s natural for first time mothers? I know that I will need to find a way to make peace with those feelings and really lean into the comfort and safety of the fact that I am in a committed and loving relationship and that this is all part of it. It is also why I think it is so important that I remain focused on my little side projects (that I believe will eventuate in a full year’s salary eventually) as well as everything that makes up who I am. I don’t want to lose my identity. Instead, I want to use this time to really flesh out my passions, throw myself into them and make them into something really special. I want to do all of this first and foremost for myself, but also for my son and for my family. 

Bring on maternity leave, I say!

Also, it’s really hot at the moment and everything is harder. So yeah, it will be nice to spend some days on the lounge, in front of the fan with a bowl of watermelon and nowhere to be.

And no clothes.

My Thoughts Exactly by Lily Allen

My Thoughts Exactly by Lily Allen

I was insanely excited to read this book; as soon as I learned of its existence, I was intrigued. Non-fiction, autobiographies and memoirs are not something that I read often, nor are they what I enjoy reading (which sometimes I think is a bit strange […]

53 days until due date

53 days until due date

I was doing a little bit of recon work on the back-end of my website – looking at stats, etc. – and it seems as though people connect a lot more with my regular content than with my Christmas content! This is neither here nor […]

Day Thirteen: Christmas Morning Breakfast Menu

Day Thirteen: Christmas Morning Breakfast Menu

When I think of Christmas morning, what tends to come to mind first are the smells that come with it. The smell of the real Christmas tree, the smell of fresh coffee grinds and steamed milk, the smell of bacon and slightly burnt toast and butter in a hot fry pan. Christmas morning is magical in its own right, but it is the elements that are from my own specific experiences that really make my memories as special as they are. Food has always been a way that my family has brought each other together, and really, it is the reason that Mum and I opened the cafe – we wanted and love to bring people together over good, delicious, wholesome food.

I ca’t help but picture future Christmas mornings to come when our little man wakes me up (Pete will definitely stay in bed for as long as humanly possible) and we cook breakfast together. He will have a little step ladder so that he can help me mix things and we can drink hot chocolate or juice or anything. Ugh. Yes. All of my memories are now to serve as future plans for myself and my little family. So, in honour of my love of Christmas mornings and the times that my family have shared passing breakfast to one another, here is my menu for Christmas Day Morning.

 

The Cwikel Pancakes

 

There isn’t a whole lot that gets ‘passed down’ in my family in the traditional sense – our family is far too scattered and all over the place for anything like that. One thing, however, that has made its way down from my grandma, to my mother, to me is pancakes. Light, crepe-style, golden pancakes. We do differ when it comes to the utensils we use and the way we prepare the pancakes; my Nan has used the same long, thin container and stick blender combo to make her pancakes for as long as I can remember while my mum mixes her pancake batter with a hand beater in a bowl and then tips it into a measuring jug to pour into the pan. I also use a hand beater, but I just pour my mix into the pan straight from the bowl.

I used to be a strictly maple-syrup-on-pancake girl until one day my brother, who is a strictly lemon-and-sugar-on-pancake kinda’ guy made me try his combo. And I was sold. Lemon and raw sugar all rolled up in a delicious pancake is freaking delightful. Also blueberries. And stone fruit, all the stone fruit.

Ingredients – 

1 egg

2 cups of milk

2 teaspoons of vanilla essence

2 cups of plain flour

1/2 cup of brown sugar

Method – 

Put all ingredients in a bowl and beat with a hand blender or stick blender

The consistency should be relatively runny, so add milk/flour as needed

Heat a pan on high and spray with olive oil (do this in between every pancake)

Pour enough mixture to cover the bottom of the pan, swirling it in a circle motion as you do

Flip the pancake when the edges start to curl and brown and cook other side

Eat the first pancake – everyone knows that is the unwritten rule of pancake-making

Enjoy!

Toppings – 

Canadian maple syrup

Lemon and raw sugar

For the stone fruit: halve your desired fruit (nectarines, peaches, plums, etc.) and, in a bowl, toss them in some raw sugar and vanilla bean shavings. Place the halves onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake until soft and golden and delicious

Fresh berries

 

Bagels with Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese and Watercress

 

I guess this one isn’t so much a recipe – as it is pretty self explanatory – but more of some inspiration for your Christmas Day Breakfast! Easy, delicious, simple, filling. I do love a bagel.

Ingredients – 

bagels

butter

cream cheese

smoked salmon

watercress

olive oil

salt

pepper

Method – 

Toast your bagels to the desired amount of toastiness

Butter the bagel and then lather on the cream cheese

Top with smoked salmon and a handful of watercress

Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper

 

Poached Eggs with Avocado and Maple Bacon

 

This is actually a breakfast that we came up with for the cafe, but it is also incredibly easy to make at home. The slight twist of having maple bacon really adds something to this dish and, being Christmas after all, why not be a bit decadent?! Also, this goes great with a fresh orange juice.

Ingredients – 

sourdough bread (or whatever bread you fancy)

eggs

bacon

maple syrup

avocado

butter

salt

pepper

white vinegar

Method – 

Bring a pot of water with a dash of white vinegar in it to the boil and then turn it down to a simmer

Put bread in toaster

Once the water is simmering, crack the eggs carefully into the water and let them poach to the desired time

In a separate pan, fry some bacon until the edges are crispy, then add (a lot of) maple syrup and toss bacon in it

Butter your toast and slice your avocado, adding it to the plate

Remove eggs from poaching liquid carefully and set them down on some kitchen towel to remove excess water before placing them on the plate as well

Add bacon to the mix and let the feast begin!

 

French Toast

 

Who doesn’t love French toast, honestly? It is the breakfast of all breakfasts. I am simple when it comes to food and toppings and I am one of those weird people who don’t like ice cream with things. I don’t like ice cream with cake, or french toast, or pancakes, or pie. No. Never. I don’t get why you would ever want something hot with something cold. Yuck. So for me, French toast is at its best when it is partnered with just maple syrup and the occasional blueberry. I do like blueberries as well, so they can stay. French toast is glorious by itself (Pete eats it plain with no topping at all), so why ruin it with too many other flavours?! WHY, I ASK YOU?!

Ingredients – 

sliced brioche (or any other bread)

eggs

cinnamon

vanilla essence

butter

maple syrup

icing sugar

blueberries

Method – 

In a large bowl, whisk two eggs with a generous amount of cinnamon and a generous amount of vanilla essence (a lot of people like using milk as well, but I find that it tastes good and is much lighter without)

Heat a large knob of butter in a pan until it starts to caramelise

Dip each slice of bread into the egg mixture, pressing lightly on each side and fry in the butter

Cook until each side is golden brown but the bread is still spongy in the middle

Add butter to the pan each slice for better caramelisation

Stack on a plate and drown with maple syrup

 

Christmas Muffins

 

Surely I don’t need to write down all the reasons why a Christmas muffin is a must on Christmas morning.. surely..

Ingredients – 

2 cups of self-raising flour

1 cup of milk

150g butter

3/4 cup of raw sugar

2 teaspoons of vanilla essence

1 egg

shelled pistachios

sliced strawberries

white chocolate bits

Method – 

Preheat oven to 180 degrees and grease muffin tray (or use paper muffin cups in tray)

In a bowl, blend butter and sugar with a hand better until combined and smooth

Add egg and beat until combined

Add the flour, milk and vanilla essence and combine by stirring with a wooden spoon

Once just combined, add the pistachios, strawberries and white chocolate bits

Spoon, in even amounts, into each muffin cup, sprinkle some raw sugar on top of each and bake until golden

Gnocchi Arrabiata, baby!

Gnocchi Arrabiata, baby!

Last week on my lunch break I was craving my usual chicken and salad banh mi with extra salad and no onion. This particular craving has lasted about six weeks so far with no end in sight. My friend and colleague Mika, on this particular […]

Day Twelve: Christmas Table Setting Ideas

Day Twelve: Christmas Table Setting Ideas

Do you love entertaining? Yes. Do you love Christmas decorations? Yes. Do you love food? Yes. THEN THIS IS THE POST FOR YOU. Combining all things festive and Christmas and food and hosting and entertaining and eating and being merry, today we will be looking […]

Day Eleven: Homemade Christmas Cards

Day Eleven: Homemade Christmas Cards

Who doesn’t love a decent pun? Or a well-timed pop culture reference? Or the odd insult every now and then (all in good faith, of course)?

Greeting cards, more often than not, are so impersonal, each of them similar to the next feigning well wishes and generic celebratory sentences. It is rare to be given a greeting card that makes me laugh or makes me feel and I think this comes down to, obviously, the fact that they are produced for the masses. Once again, you can’t beat something that is homemade, something that is crafted with someone specific in mind. That’s why, this year I have decided to hand-make a range of Christmas cards for my friends and family, featuring quotes from televisions series and movies that they love and appreciate, simple one-liners and of course, the standard Christmas puns.

I have used references from television shows such as The OfficeSeinfeldFriends and Community. My brother isn’t a fan of Christmas anymore (no idea why), but for him and for whoever is the grump in your family, I made a Grinch card and one for people that are just absolute pricks. I had my Mum in mind when I made the Elf card – the message o the inside says, “Have yours-ELF a Merry Christmas”. It isn’t my best pun work, but she will love it.

Like I said, I get the most joy when I am sitting at my desk thinking about those that are close to me and trying to come up with something for them that will bring them joy and make them laugh. So for me, homemade Christmas cards are a must.

Day Ten: Christmas Cookies

Day Ten: Christmas Cookies

So a few weeks ago, I made these bad boys for Unwritten Cafe: And I am happy to report that they all sold out! Over the weekend, I made a new batch of Christmas cookies that are on sale, in-store at Unwritten now!! They are […]