Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Talking is chic

Lots of things make me happy.

I like to BE happy.

I like to look around the world and consider things.

I try hard not to let moments be lost in my busyness.

I like to try to live consciously and to hang on to the things that have meaning in my life.

By hang on I mean to keep them in my conscious, think about them, let them float and swirl in my brain and in my heart.

And then often I like to talk about them with people I love.

I like to do that to make sense of what's around me.

Sometimes it is so easy to miss the beauty, the happy, the good.

In our scurrying to 'keep up' we miss little snippets of uplifting stuff.

I am a super busy person. I run a family of seven people.

I was sitting in the aeroplane returning from Sydney last weekend next to a CFO of a publicly listed company.  We chatted about what we 'did'.

I told him I was a mother to 5 young boys.

He told me that was a much harder and busier job than what he did. I'm not sure if he is right but it was nice of him to acknowledge the meaning and importance of what I do.

We chatted about family life.  He was a friendly man.  It was nice to chat to a stranger who really wanted to listen.

It made me happy. Happy to think that there are still people who you may never meet again who will have a meaningful conversation with you- not because of any other reason than because it is nice.

Nice to treat other humans with dignity & respect. We all deserve that. We all have something of value to share.

It is these things that I mean- the little moments that help remind us of the value of life.

I met with my lovely friend last week and we talked a little of these things.  Life things.

It's so good to TALK isn't it?

Someone I follow on Instagram last week posted a pic that said 'Talk is Chic'

I replied to him...'I must be SUPER chic'.

Are you chic?

DO you like to talk?

Last week I was sent some lovely 5 week aged beef cuts by Bunbartha Beef  to try. They are a family owned & operated free range, hormone free cattle farm in Nth East Victoria.
They are one of a growing number of farmers working on the Paddock to Plate concept.  You can order from the website and have their meat delivered to your door.
You guys know how I feel about this already- I am a HUGE supporter of our farmers and love to encourage people to buy direct as much as possible from the producer- either at Farmer's Markets or direct.
You can also find them on Facebook.

The first cut I used was the mince.
We love homemade burgers here-in fact I can't remember the last time I actually bought a burger.
Also...why are they called HAM burgers when they are actually Beef burgers?
Much like my meatballs I like to add lots of the flavour direct into the patty.
As it is winter there was no tomato on our burgers but we had lots of pickles, lettuce & cheese (I melt my cheese on the meat patty as it rests to get super oozy cheese goodness) 
I used a kilo of mince and it made 7 large patties- adjust to suit the size of your family.

  • 1kg  Beef
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 heaped tablespoons seeded Mustard
  • 1 egg
  • generous amount of S & P.
  • a good handful of fresh oregano chopped superfine
Combine all ingredients well .

Shape your patty to desired size.

Set aside.  ( I layer mine in between sheets fo Baking paper).

Rest in the fridge for a half hour.

Fry gently in a non stick pan or on the BBQ till brown on one side 9about 4-5 minutes) then flip and do same.

TOP TIP: I place mine onto an oven dish and keep warm in an oven heated to 100C. This also ensures burgers are cooked all the way through. 

Once all patties are cooked serve at the table with your choice of filling and condiments.

Things you may find at the GG table include:

Various Mustards, our Homemade Tomato sauce, BACON (yes it needs capitals), pickles, fresh tomato (in summer- so there wasn't any last week), lettuce, rocket, cheese (see tip in recipe blurb above), caramelised onions, chipotle, mayonnaise (home made of course!)  , my beetroot marmalade,  and maybe even a side of chips.

Here's some THOM yum ~

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Blogging 101

A couple of months ago I was lucky enough to be told that I had been chosen as a VIP blogger in this years Kidspot Voices of 2013 bloggers.

It was such a surprise! A really lovely one and a HUGE honour.
When I started blogging a few years ago I didn't even know what a blog was and now apparently I am a VIP one!

Last weekend I flew up to Sydney to join in the first Voices of 2013 Masterclass & the launch party.

It was an opportunity for the Finalists, the VIPs and the Hall of Famers to get together & meet up with new & old friends and to remind ourselves of why we blog, to celebrate what we do, to rekindle our fire and find new inspiration and to learn some new tricks.

There are lots of really great Australian blogs out there. The profiling of them like this is a GREAT way to have a look at what is going on in blogging. For a full list of the 100 Finalists go here.

I got to catch up with some of my old mates, Beth & Kim & Pip & Stacey, I missed Michelle who couldn't make it, and loved finally meeting Jodi & Lexi & Sophie & Bron- bloggers who I have had online relationships with for a while but not yet met in real life (IRL). I chatted and met lots of other lovely people too- it was super ace.
Me (L) & Beth from BabyMac (R) - pic taken by Pippy 
 It is great to connect with other people who get a kick out of doing something similar.  And even better when you get to meet people IRL who you have admired or been inspired by online for a while.

For me on this day it was Hailey Bartholomew.

I have been following Hailey's gorgeous creative family ways of awesome on Instagram for some time now & am really fascinated & inspired by her.

She was the Keynote speaker at Saturday's Masterclass and she was EXACTLY what I think is needed in a keynote speaker. She set the tone for the day. It was super real and honest. A real treat.

She spoke from the heart, needing to pause from time to time as her story brought her (and all of us) to tears. It wasn't polished public speaking like you would find at a boring work conference but perfectly spot on real-life speaking of what drives her to do what she does and to live life the way she does. Absolutely appropriate in this context.

It was so powerful because she made herself totally vulnerable to all of us- mostly strangers- in that big room on that day by telling us of what is important to her. Talking of how hard it is sometimes, how there is failure along the way & self doubt but that chasing your goal is totally worth it.

For me watching Hailey speak was a reminder of what I think is the KEY behind a successful blog. It is being AUTHENTIC, being GENUINE, finding YOUR voice, your story, the one that nobody else has and of being consistently YOU.

A bit like real life really.

Hailey spoke a bit about her Finding Love project. I have been watching this project and LOVING it.

Those of you who have been reading here a while know my feelings on LOVE well.
I believe in it deeply.

I believe that LOVE is the single most important thing in life.  That without it all else is meaningless.

I shared her film on my facebook page a couple of weeks ago. I know some of you saw it and shared it.

Here it is again for those of you who haven't seen it:

I totally dig this project.

It is something I wholeheartedly agree with.  The idea of taking control of what you SEE. It's not a visual thing but a heart thing.  But then like magic the heart lets the eyes see it too.

Live with passion. Live with love. Live with consciousness.

Thanks Hailey for affirming my beliefs by sharing yours.

Blogging 101.

It's about sharing YOU.

When I was growing up our family used to go camping a LOT.
Lovely off the beaten track, in the wild type camping.
Away from it all.

My love for it has stayed with me & we now do it with our family- I wish more often.......but when we do it is definitely up there with my VERY favourite things to do.
There was always a campfire.  We used it to cook.
One of the absolute faves of Camp cooking was what our family called "Tasty toasties" made in the circular (this is KEY as it seals the edges so the insides STAY inside) cast iron camping toasties that are really quite hard to find nowadays.

The circular toasty iron means you can put all manner of things inside it. Beans, leftover dinner- my kids fave a bacon and egg toasty- egg & cheese on the inside and the bacon on the outside.
Bacon on the outside I hear you ask?!
It was my mate Kirsty  who on seeing one of my posts on Instagram of my 'Undies on the outside' bacon rasher toasties called it 'The Superhero'. It stuck.
And so became the Gourmet Girlfriend Superhero.
A jaffle with bacon on the outside is a revelation I tell you- it cooks the bacon till it is crispy and DELICIOUS and adds a great extra texture and super flavour to ANY toasty.
And lets face it ANYTHING with bacon is a good thing right?!

This morning I had a delicious jaffle with my friend Pip at the VERY lovely Grub Food Van with Creamed Corn, Gruyere & Eggplant jam. Oh my! I have heard of people talking of corn in a jaffle and I admit I was sceptical but this was super doop!
So the rules of a SUPERHERO are simple- put whatever you like on the inside but the Undies (Bacon)  MUST be on the outside!
The one I made last week that I posted on IG was on my own #ggbreadrevolution no knead loaf = YUM and was made in a regular electric jaffle press. Here is what was in it.

  • 2 slices of good bread ( I used my own home made No Knead bread)
  • leftover roast chicken, sliced
  • ajvar (roasted Capsicum relish, available at good delis)
  • 1 rasher of bacon cut into 2.
  • pickles
  • good cheese
  • good mayo 
  • lettuce
Spread the ajvar on one slice of bread then add the chicken cheese & pickles.

Pop the other slice of bread on top and spread butter on to outside of the jaffle. 

Sit one bacon rasher on top and one underneath and cook as normal.

Once cooked remove & open to add the lettuce and spread a little mayo on too.

we are the love machine...there is no in between.....

Monday, 13 May 2013

Uke can be anything you want to be

Last week we had a VERY special parcel arrive in the mail from one of my readers.

It wasn't for me.

It was for my 12yo.

It is my 12yo's courage to speak out loud and live from the heart that inspires this reader.

A while ago he emailed about wanting to do something for him - a gift.

Sometimes when others speak out, that in itself is a gift to others.

Sometimes it is the reading of words that reminds us of something we feel strongly about.

Someone else's words help put into perspective our own thoughts.

Help clarify things.

They can help us act on something that we have lingered on or not quite had the courage to go forward with.

This parcel and the really heartfelt letter that accompanied it (that we very nearly missed as it was tucked away inside!!) reminded me of how powerful speaking out loud is.

Of how great the community of readers out there is.

This talented reader had designed a tee shirt especially for my 12yo.

My 12yo was thrilled.

He said to me "Wow you never really know how you might affect someone else hey?  Kind of like that Lollipop moments thing...."

I have shared Drew Dudley's 'Everyday Leadership' here before where he talks of the Lollipop moments that my 12yo was referring to in his TED talk - if you haven't seen it, take a look here . It is MAGIC.

Here is the tee shirt. How GREAT is it?!


What a message.

The power of words.

A great reminder to be you. Just you. You are enough.

NB: I have had MANY people ask me if they can buy one since seeing it- he hasn't taken it off!
 The link to purchase your very own is here.

When we moved into our house nearly 6 years ago each of the five boys chose a fruit tree to plant.  My 12yo chose a Pomegranate tree. I was so thrilled.
Last year it fruited for the very first time.

Pomegranates just seem like the most magical and exotic of all fruits to me. I will never forget seing one of them opened for the first time and that delicate floral perfume as the seeds dropped like jewels out of it's tough pink leathery exterior. I was and still am intoxicated by their beauty.

 I used this recipe as a guide but made a few changes.

  • 200g soft butter
  • 200g raw sugar
  • 3 organic eggs
  • seeds of half a vanilla pod
  • 140g SR flour
  • 100g plain flour
  • zest of one lemon 
  • 2 teaspoons Pomegranate Molasses (available at Middle Eastern grocers or good delicatessen)
PREHEAT oven to 145C.

Mix butter & sugar in a mixer till soft and creamy.

Add eggs one at a time.

Now add vanilla seeds and pomegranate Molasses & lemon zest.

Now add the flour and mix well till all combined.

Pour batter into a greased springform tin 20cm. 

Bake for 50 minutes


  • 1 pomegranate (juice and seeds- i find the most effective way to deseed is to cut in half and whack the top with a wooden spoon, the pearlescent beads just fall into the bowl. you may need to pluck the last few carefully out of the skin)
  • 2 tablespoons Pomegranate molasses
  • seeds from the other half of the vanilla pod
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
Put all ingredients (except pomegranate seeds) into a pan and cook over medium heat stirring until sugar dissolves.
Now turn heat to low and cook until the liquid is reduced and syrupy.

Add the pomegranate seeds and take off heat and set aside.

When cake is cooked (test with a skewer), remove from oven and set aside for 5 minutes.

Make holes in cake using skewer.
 Now pour syrup and seeds evenly over the cake.
Serve warm.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Every body counts

My eldest son (14yrs) asked me a couple of weeks ago about 'Why do kids at school say that TAFE is for dummies?'

It was so upsetting to hear that they say this.  But unfortunately not a surprise.  Kids used to say it when I was at school too.  It has always made me wince.

It is such a shame that we haven't progressed in our thinking.

I had to think of a way to explain how I believed it was NOT the case AT ALL without getting really CROSS.

Intellectual snobbery is abhorrent.

Humans should be valued on so much more than what level of educational certificate they hold.

It is one of the reasons I feel so uncomfortable about the question 'What do you think he will be when he grows up?'

I wrote about that here.

This is what I said to my son in answer to his question:

"Imagine how our society would function without garbage collectors, road workers, tram drivers, checkout operators, bakers, farmers, truck drivers, delivery people, artists.......the list goes on.

Sometimes the people who hold the University degrees RELY on the people who studied at TAFE to actually complete their jobs.

Imagine an architect without a builder.  A doctor without a nurse & medical supplies.  A corporation without someone at the front desk.

Does the picture make sense?

The answer is simple.

Our society would NOT function.

Humans are valuable not because of what & where they studied but because of WHO they are.

It's richness comes from it's diversity.

Thank goodness we have people who don't go to university."

As I am at home often I like to make myself really yummy lunches- it makes me feel nice & feeling nice is good! And important too!
This is a fave that I have often.
It takes under 10 minutes and is super nutritious and delicious.
The quantity is for one-as I usually am just making this for me

  • 100g Soba noodles 
  • 4 tablespoons kimchi (or if you are like me and love it, lots more!)
  • a handful of English spinach
  • 100g tofu, sliced finely(i use the Japanese style seasoned firm tofu- you can use whichever is a fave) 
  • a couple of teaspoons sesame oil
  • a dash of light soy
  • fresh coriander, chopped roughly
  • a spring onion sliced finely
  • black sesame seeds
Boil soba noodles (mine only take 4 minutes.)

I prepare everything else while they are  boiling.

Drain noodles and run cold water over them to cool.

Add sesame oil & soy and mix through - I use a chopstick.

Now add all other ingredients and mix well, sprinkle with Black Sesame seeds.

Serve & enjoy!

The same son I talk of above is playing Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah at school today on the mighty Uke.  At the school they attend there is an opportunity every 2nd Wednesday to perform at 'Music on the Green'- live music preformed on a stage in front of the school- anyone can put their hand up. You just choose something to play and do it. Such a great idea. He is playing it as a duet with a friend.
Once upon a time there was musical snobbery in regards to the mighty Uke. I am happy to see that is making a bit of a comeback. It is a wonderful instrument.
Todays clip is of the amazingly talented Jake Shimabukuro playing his version of Hallelujah on the mighty uke.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Busyness and lists

I just read this post by Pip about lists.

To do lists & time management.

I am not really a list person but it is something I am thinking i need to do!
My life is getting busier and busier despite me wanting it not to be that way.

I am not a fan of busy.

I am all about slowing down.

I worry a LOT about our growing admiration for 'busy'.  I don't think it is a good thing.

I guess for me most of my busyness is in relation to my 5 children and keeping up with their appointments & school things.  

Unavoidable really.

The home part of our life is scaled right back. No activities and LOTS of happy homey relaxey ways.

I think my reluctance to write lists is because it is an admittance of HOW busy I am.

I am pretty good at time management despite my no list style but I DO think I am going to give it a try. 

Thanks Pippy for helping me out!

Do you write lists?

Do they help you?

Winter just calls for rich & delicious comfort food doesn’t it!
This recipe ticks both of those boxes but is also SUPER simple and is one that the kids can help with too.
Most kids are big fans of meatballs.
My recipe has a twist- an explosion of melty, gooey delish Mozzarella cheees in the middle.
I think your kids will LOVE it and I suspect you will love it too!
As with all recipes, the quality of your ingredients will affect the quality & taste of your dish.
Buy the best ingredients you can afford.
  •        500g Organic beef mince
  •         500g Organic Pork mince
  •        1 organic egg
  •     4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • ·      4 slices leftover bread~ (a great way to use some of your leftover No knead bread!)
  • ·      a handful of fresh oregano
  • ·      3 stalks of fresh thyme
  • ·      4 cloves of garlic
  • ·      2 cans Cherry tomatoes
  • ·      ¼ glass red wine
  • ·      a little Extra virgin Olive oil
  • ·      100g Mozzarella cheese, cut into 2 cm cubes, or use little bocconci balls &          break them into smaller pieces
  • ·      a little fresh basil

Preheat oven to 150C.

Put the bread, the herbs and 1 clove garlic into a food processor and blitz till you have a lovely fragrant breadcrumb mixture.

In a large bowl place the flavoured breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, the mince and the egg.

Mix really well with your hands- (my kids LOVE doing this, squelching it all through their fingers).

Take a chunk about the size of 2 tablespoons into the palm of your hand and roll into a ball.

Now stick your thumb into the middle and make a large cavity

Place a piece of Mozzarella into this cavity and then work the meat around to cover well.

Roll into a ball.

Do this with all the mixture. It will make about 20 balls.

Heat a non-stick fry pan to medium high heat and add a splosh of Olive oil.

Add about 5 balls at a time & brown the outside well. We are aiming just for colour here- they don’t need to be cooked through.

Place the browned meatballs onto an ovenproof dish.

Chop the remaining garlic and place into the dish with the meatballs.

Cover with the cans of Cherry tomatoes, the basil & a little drizzle of Olive oil and place into the preheated oven for an hour.

Serve on pasta, couscous or mashed potatoes.

Turn it up y'all & po your shimmy shoes on.....