Happy weekend to you! The leaves are changing colour here and the mornings call for a cardigan. I’m quite fond of this time of year. I’ve already made my first chili of the season (sharing next week). Here are some internet perusings of late. Enjoy!
– “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is” some profound thoughts by Ann-Marie that had me nodding along.
– Frankie shared this great banner DIY on their blog.
– Hannah wrote beautifully about being ‘brave’. Be sure to read this one.
– One of my favourite bloggers, Elise, has started an awesome new venture, Make 29. In short, she will make 12 different project this year, released once a month in batches of 29 or 290. I haven’t bought one yet but can’t wait to see what her April project is. Go Elise!
– Have you heard about the 100 Happy Days Challenge? The challenge asks you to post a photo of something that makes you happy, every day, for 100 days! I’m not sure if I’m up for the task, are you?
– These are on my wishlist right now. Jumbo yellow chevron tea cups!
– I’m obsessed with fabric stamping at the moment (which I’ve never done before!) I get some time off over Easter and playing with stamps is at the top of my list! There are tonnes of great tutes on the internet but this caught my eye! And these veggie stamp prints!
– Are you still with me? I hope so! Here is a nice blog Pip shared, Design is Yay. I don’t need to elaborate do I? You’ve already abandoned me to scope out all of the prettyness.
Thanks for stopping by. I hope I’ve spiced up your weekend a notch. I post Happy Spaces every second Saturday. Have you found any happy spaces lately? Share in the comments!
There’s just something about baking with apples, right? My parents and my in-laws both have apple trees so we have been inundated (in a good way!). I based this cake on some classic flavour combos: apples, walnuts and cardamom. Cardamom is one of those highly nostalgic scents for me. It takes me back to our family trip to Finland when I was 16 and the bulle buns we ate by the truck load. The cardamom in this recipe is subtle and delightful.
Apple, Walnut and Cardamom Cake
- 2 cups of flour
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1 teaspoon of cardamom
- 12 a cup of chopped walnuts
- 34 cup of sugar
- 125 grams of butter
- 1 cup of milk
- 12 a teaspoon of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
- 2 eggs
- 1 apple approx 1 cup of cubed apple
Preheat your oven to 180°C. Grease a bundt or ring tin.
Combine the first five ingredients in a bowl, stir well.
Cube the butter and add to small saucepan, melt over a low heat. (If you want to you can use a microwave, I don’t have one).
While the butter melts, peel and chop your apple into small cubes.
Add the baking soda to the butter and whisk to combine. Then add the milk, eggs and vanilla and whisk until well combined.
Add the butter mixture and the apple to the dry ingredients and fold together gently until all of the flour is incorporated. The mixture shouldn’t be smooth (not over-mixed).
Spoon into the cake tin and bake for 45 minutes. Check that the cake is cooked by inserting a skewer into the centre – if it comes out clean, you’re good!
Leave to cool in the tin for five minutes and then turn onto a wire rack. Its great on its own but serve with yoghurt if you fancy!
P.S more apple ideas this way.
P.P.S do you read Good magazine? The current (March April) issue has an interesting feature on apples!
Its funny, when you get to that time of your life and you realise you’re a ‘grown up’. What happened to the last four years? Where did time go? This year marks my fifth year out of high school. That sounds crazy and untrue. But looking back on all the things that have happened in those four and a bit years almost brings tears to my eyes. I met Row straight after school so all of my time since school has been ‘we’. All the things we have done. We’ve been in it together. I can’t imagine my life without him, my best friend.
Its funny to think that in school you saw your friends every day. You spent a lot of time with them. You talked and talked. And made plans. And conspired. And then suddenly, without even realising it, your group of friends shrinks and spreads. I have developed some amazing relationships since school and ended some friendships too.
I’m so happy to be close to my parents (geographically speaking too) and to have amazing ‘in-laws’ and to work with an insanely cool bunch of people. And to be living life with my best friend and going on this amazing – if not always easy – adventure together. But despite those wonderful connections, the meaning of ‘friends’ has changed dramatically. My friends are spread far and wide. My other best friend lives in Germany. We probably won’t see each other again until I’m getting married. But despite that she is my girlfriend. When we meet up – despite there being years in between – we pick up where we left off. We laugh and tell dumb stories and then we ball our eyes out when we have to say goodbye. And that’s OK. We’ll see each other again. And we’ll pick up where we left off.
My other school friends have drifted in different directions. I believe that’s called life. That’s OK too. But it sure is different. In school you have a lot more connections but perhaps friendships aren’t as profound.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that friends are really important, no matter where they are. Its pretty cool that we have technology now, that enables us to quickly and easily send messages. That’s great. I want to try to stay in touch this year. With all of those faraway friends. Life evolves constantly and the relationships that you have are of utmost importance – don’t forget to make time for people no matter how many miles are separating you. To my friends far and wide, dotted like pins on a map, you guys are my jam. We don’t get to see each other often but that’s not what counts. Missing you all the time and I promise to keep in touch.
One of my favourite meals is a big hearty salad. It sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it? But you can easily make a salad into a satisfying meal but adding a few extra ‘dimensions’. I love to add lentils – such a super food – feta or other cheese and nuts.
Roast Vegetable, Lentil & Feta Salad
- Any veggies you want to roast! I’m talking kumara (sweet potato), pumpkin, parsnip, carrot, cauliflower, celery, beetroot and so on, chopped into similar sized pieces.
- A little oil, salt and ground pepper
- 200 grams of dried puy lentils (or brown lentils)
- 2 cups of vegetable stock
- A few big handfuls of mesclun or other greens
- 100 grams of feta cheese
- 12 a cup of cashew nuts
- 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
Preheat your oven to 220°C.
On a baking tray, combine your prepared vegetables with a drizzle of oil and a few grinds of pepper and a big pinch of salt. Spread out so the vegetables are in a single layer. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until tender. Turn the vegetables after about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare your lentils. Rinse the lentils in a sieve. Add the lentils and stock to a small pot and bring to boil. Simmer for about 20 minutes until the lentils are al dente. Stir often to make sure your lentils don’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
While the lentils are cooking, prepare the feta by cutting into small cubes. Wash and dry the mesclun. Now to the cumin seeds and cashews. You can leave the cashews whole if you like or put into a bag and bash a couple of times with a rolling pin. Add a tablespoon of oil to a frying bring and bring to a medium – high heat. Add the cumin and cashews. Stir regularly until golden and aromatic. Be careful not to burn. When ready, remove from the heat and transfer the mixture to a bowl (ceramic or glass).
Lets assemble! Give the lentils a brief rinse and allow to drain. Let the veggies cool just slightly. Make a bed of meslclun on a big platter or baking dish. Scatter over your veggies and spoon on the lentils. Add the feta and lastly sprinkle over your cashew mixture.
Serve immediately with some crusty bread. This can make enough for four (depending on the amount of vegetables you use) or two with leftovers.
Variations: you can change this up how you like. I added half a capsicum, chopped for some extra flavour. You could use baby spinach instead of mesclun. It doesn’t need a dressing but serve with a little ranch if you fancy it!