Currently Reading | January

New year, new books! That’s how it goes, right? Either way, I’ve registered for a new Goodreads yearly reading challenge and, with a slew of recommendations under my belt, I’m ready to take on the new year!

Because I’m lazy and again forgot to log a ‘currently reading’ for December this list condenses my January reading and the few spatterings that survived my December laziness.

Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick

Look, maybe I’m just finally emerging from my white-female-celebrity-in-the-comedy-scene-biography fog but Kendrick’s book, unfortunately, didn’t offer me a lot. It was funny and an easy read but I suppose I was hoping for something a little more punchy. Maybe, it’s me, not you.

Fight Like a Girl by Clementine Ford

‘Challenging’ seems to be the word of choice for Ford’s debut work, amongst professional and amateur reviewers alike, and I would be wrong to disagree. While the first half of the book meandered and didn’t quite hit home for me, the second half was a confronting, insightful and powerful look at the female condition, particularly pertinent to Australia. In Fight Like a Girl, Ford is strongest, boldest and clearest when she tackles real-life instances of sexism head-on and without apology. Big or ‘small’ instances of discrimination, harassment or worse, Ford’s unapologetic and confronting style benefits most from her scathing and unflinching unpackings of contemporary womanhood.

All About Love: New Visions by Bell Hooks

I’ll be the first to admit that I may have had the wrong idea heading into Hook’s All About Love. What I expected was something scathing and politically biting; what I got was soft, patient and, at times, a little overindulgent. That’s not to say there’s not a lot of value in Hooks’ views on love. Her chapter on the family unit and parental love was confronting but encouraged me to view parent-child love in a slightly different light, while several other chapters undoubtedly opened my eyes to issues of race and gender that I wish Hooks would have spent more time exploring. Not to mention, as a book published 16 years ago, its message has aged exceptionally well.

The Sellout by Paul Beatty

Wow, I have not read a book as culturally and politically dense as The Sellout since my first year of university. I feel like I would need a lifetime or, at the very least, a second reading to fully unpack everything that is going on in any given sentence in Beatty’s work. Not only is it incredibly intelligent but it’s achingly funny, effortlessly weaving slap-stick humour with scathing satire.

Talking to My Country by Stan Grant

I’ve been meaning to read Stan Grant’s book since its releasing and it was, ultimately, just as confronting as I had expected, however; I also found it disappointingly circular. It’s a difficult subject to tackle and, I imagine, a painful one for Grant but I found myself at times wishing he would expand on certain subjects in place of reiterating. Unfortunately, this circular motion took some power out of what was otherwise an extremely powerful memoir.

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Darling & C0. | Paddington

The main question I took away from my visit to Darling & Co. on Sunday was: how have I never been here before?

Before the coming (and passing) of the New Year, I set my sights on a little something Darling & Co. had cooked up combining a lobster roll and a glass of, you guessed it, frose. What I found was not only unapologetically photogenic but delicious to boot.

These guys blend whole fresh strawberries into their boozy concoctions and you can taste the difference immediately. The result is a sweet, fresh candy-pink concoction that has more in common with a Boost Juice than a glass of wine. And mean that in a good way.

Plus they garnish with edible flowers and serve in a stemless wine glass so the result appeals much too effortlessly to my insatiable desire to Instagram my every waking moment:

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The lobster roll, on the other hand, was a little disappointed. While the roll was delicious the filling was a lot more onion than lobster related.

Notably, I also dropped in in the first my place because of a “summer-long” deal they were advertising on their Facebook that combined the lobster roll and a glass of frose in a slightly cheaper Sunday deal. However, when I arrived I was told that the deal was not so much summer-long as already over and done with.

I was disappointed but, as you can see, I took a build-you-own approach with a side of fries and it all came out the same.

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Not to mention that when you order food from the bar they give you a tiny wooden sign on a garden stake that you stick snuggly into the pot of fresh Basil you’ll find on each and every table.

You’ll find Darling and Co. at 157 Given Terrace in Paddington and they’re serving up the goods from 6:30am every day!  

New Year’s Resolution | Cooking

It’s no secret around my house and throughout my family that, despite my affinity for food, I’m a terrible cook. In 23 years I’ve managed to amass the skills to make myself an omelette in the morning, prep some overnight oats and that’s about it.

So, for my New Years resolution, I’ve decided to develop that practical skill that is sorely lacking in my life. I’m much too dependant on my boyfriend who does all of our home-made cooking but not anymore! I’ve gathered a wish list of cookbooks that I hope will boost be along my journey to culinary independence.

Community: Salad Recipies from Arthur Street Kitchen by Hetty McKinnon

My new repertoire of delicious food will obviously have to include a fair spread of hearty salads. Community collects recipes from McKinnon’s cult  Arthur Street Cafe that, from my quick flick through, from my quick flick through seem relatively simple and do-able. I mean, how hard can a salad be right? This is no 63-degree egg.

The Broadsheet Sydney Cookbook by Broadsheet

I will never be able to make anything from this book. I knew this. You know this. And Broadsheet probably know this. However, as a collection of recipes for some of the best dishes in Sydney’s eclectic and upmarket dining scene it will, at the very least, serve as some intense and aesthetically-pleasing inspiration.

Alimentari by Linda Malcolm

Alimentari compiles “attainable” Italian-Middle Eastern inspired dishes from the menus ofMalcolm’s two Melbourne cafes by the same name. We’re talking salads, soups and sandwiches. Some must-have stuff.

Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi

Vegetarian dishes! What cooking skill set is complete without an offering of vegetarian dishes? For no explicable reason, and without ever being or considering being vegetarian, Plenty More has been on my wishlist for a long time as a must-have introduction to hearty, filling and delicious vegetarian meals.

Nopi: The Cookbook by Ramael Scully and Yotam Ottolenghi

Again, I will never develop the skills to actually produce anything from this book but it’s inspiring and nice to look at. Written in collaboration with Nopi head chef Ramael Scully, this intimidating guide to the recipes of the Soho restaurant, covers everything from starters and sides, fish, meat and vegetable mains, puddings, brunch, condiments and even cocktails.

Secret Recipes by Dominique Ansel

Like vegetarian meals, pastries are a must in covering all of my fictive culinary bases and what better way to learn than from Ansel, the Paris-rained pastry chef credited with the creation of the cult/fad dessert-hybrid, the Cronut. I’m being unrealistically ambitious. I know I’m being unrealistically ambitious.

Tokyo Cult Recipies by Maori Murota

My boyfriend and I are both nuts for Japanese food and this pocket encyclopaedia contains recipes for everything from miso, sushi, soba noodles, bentos, sushi, fried rice, Japanese tapas, desserts, cakes and sweets, plus  the key basic cooking techniques and step-by-step guides for making rice, dashi, miso and sushi.

Image via The Food Dept. 

Currently reading | November

My reading habits in November have been noticeably dismal. Having pushed through the final crush of university exams, I’ve languished a little too much in all the time I have for straight-up laziness now. I’m also fully prepared to blame my laziness on my new found, and fully-fledged, addiction to HBO’s Westworld.

I did manage to push my way through one (and a half) books, which I’ve listed below:

The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

I was disappointed with this The Heart Goes Last but, to be honest, it may be my own fault. Reading Marget Atwood’s latest work directly after her most iconic (The Handmaid’s Tale) was probably not the wisest of ideas but this wasn’t just a case of The Heart Goes Last not living up to Handmaid’s reputation. Regardless of its predecessor, it felt messy: at times funny, often bizarre, but almost always to the detriment of what had the potential to be a scathing and poignant commentary on the cyclical prison system. The Heart Goes Last feels like a book that’s somewhat lost, torn between too many tones and too many objectives almost all of which it loses along the way.

All This Has Nothing to Do with Me by Monica Sabolo

I’m currently halfway through this one, which, as it’s only 100 pages, is pretty indicative of my November reading habits. The book is broken into several parts and follows a sort of case-file structure collecting spatterings of narrative and visual evidence of a relationship as it progresses and falls apart. Part one is made up of short snippets of narrative, intercepted by emails, letters and photographs and this constant intercutting makes it a little difficult to follow how the narrative is actually progressing, if at all, in terms of time and MS and XX’s relationship. I am only half way through the book though so I’m yet to see if this sporadic structure serves a larger purpose or if it’s simply an aesthetic choice that I don’t really gel with. With that said, parts two and four break into a much fuller narrative and this is where Sabolo is strongest, crafting elegant and poetic prose.

I’ve also finally linked my Goodreads account to the sidebar on my blog’s homepage! So, even when my reading habits are horrid it’s easy to keep track of what I’m planning on reading when I do, finally, make it off the couch.

The Windsor Larder | Windsor

I’m a sucker for a cute cafe. Give me a cute cafe and a chic rooftop bar and I will bury a body for you, no questions asked.

But all jokes aside, The Windsor Larder has been on my “Cute cafes to hit up before I die” list since the list itself was written and this weekend I finally got to tick it off.

Tucked before a corner store in the middle-way suburb of Windsor, it’s not exactly easy to find but if you can ignore your GPS find your way in, it’s well worth any struggle.

This super cute space is decked out with mismatched vintage knickknacks, from the furniture to the produce table in the centre of the cafe to the small shelving that serves as a  mini grocer, offering a selection of preserves and other take-home goodies. This place is mismatched chic at its finest.

For my maiden voyage, I chose the Brioche french toast with poached pear, while my mum (the perfect brunch companion) opted for the classic avocado on toast.

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Not only were both delicious but the avocado on toast was super generous for a dish that seems to be shrinking lately.

And there’s plenty I didn’t get to try that I’ll definitely be back for!  There’s the pumpkin and blue cheese arancini that’s the size of my palm, the homemade chicken pate (yum! and it’s only $5!) and those take-home granola jars that I’m hoping are just as delicious are they are ridiculously pretty.

I’ll race you back to The Windsor Larder and we’ll both find it at 3b/229 Lutwyche Rd, Windsor (which is not where your GPS says it is). They’re serving up the good stuff every day from 6:30am.

Facebook: The Windsor Larder
Instagram: The.Windsor.Larder

 

Sixteen Antlers | Brisbane CBD

Several weeks ago, I attended the media launch of Brisbane’s newest rooftop bar gig: Sixteen Antlers.

It’s a terribly-kept secret that I’m a complete sucker for a rooftop bar – where “rooftop bar” could mean anything that finds itself serving alcohol on the top of any building. I will happily call your friend’s rooftop my new favourite rooftop bar if the alcohol is good, the decor is trendy and the views are 10/10.

Perched on the top of the Pullman hotel – the sixteenth floor, to be exact – Sixteen Antlers offers panoramic views in the heart of the CBD, including a unique close-up of City Hall’s clock tower. The bar itself lovingly embraces a whimsical forest theme with a lush feature wall and plenty of greenery hanging over the icy-blue bar. No space is wasted here, silvery supports reach into the roof like metallic trees.

The food, too, follows the whimsy of the space. Simple, but deliciously juicy, soft-shell crab sliders share menu space with tiny Panna Cottas potted in glass jars like miniature edible gardens.

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It’s delicious and decadent and, in my opinion, just what was lacking in the heart of the CBD.

Notably, all the wines of the Sixteen Antlers menu are the same price  – so no more selling yourself short and skimping on flavour in favour of that cheaper glass!

You’ll find Sixteen Antler on the corner of Ann & Roma streetThey’re open Tuesday and Wednesday from 3pm plus Thursday – Saturday from 2pm. 

Facebook: Sixteen Antlers
Instagram:  Sixteen_Antlers

The Sugar Market | Fortitude Valley

Today, Brisbane welcomed its first dedicated dessert festival with open arms, filling a Fortitude Valley laneway with sugary goodness. The Sugar Market was filled to the brim with cupcakes, brownies, doughnuts, cronuts, popsicles and more, and I spent the day there helping out and eating myself silly.

Here’s what I got my hands on:

Sizzling Chocolate and Almond Brownie | Southside Bistro

Southside’s infamous sizzling brownie comes with butterscotch ice cream, macadamia pralines and chocolate fudge sauce.  It’s melt-in-your-mouth good and one of those beautiful things in the world that truly lives out to its hype.

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Caffe Latte popsicle | Queen of Pops

These things are so good I grabbed myself two throughout the day! Delicious real coffee, frozen in creamy popsicle form. It was the perfect kick-off to what turned out to be an enormous – and enormously hot – day.

Frose | The Whickham

You can never go wrong with delicious frozen rose, especially on a day when I’m nursing some chronic sunburn that I’m yet to realise the full, heated, extent of. The Instagram-friendly sprinkle of gorgeous edible flowers is just the icing on the frozen, boozy cake.

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Lamington  | Reid Street Kitchen

These things are huuuuuuuuuge! And I mean huge, huge. Huge, squishy delicious, traditional lamingtons. They also come in passionfruit and salted caramel flavours, all of which are as delicious as they are enormous.

The Sugar Market was just a one-off event for now but fingers crossed it finds its way back to us again.