christmas tree farm.

 

We got our tree! It's has to be one of the most exciting moments of the year I think. This was the first time I've been to a whole farm of Christmas trees and it was the best holiday adventure ever. We've decided that it is now going to be a yearly tradition whether we spend Christmas in Sydney or in England! 

 

We are moving to our new house on Friday so our beautiful tree has been waiting ever so patiently for us to decorate him. He's just chilling outside in a bucket of water, but when we transport him to our new home we will get to decorate like crazy. But that's another post for another day. I could post about Christmas every single day :) I love Christmas! It's the most wonderful time of the year! 

 

P.s as I mentioned on Instagram, I've packed away all my clothes so I'm left to the bare minimum. The bare minimum for me involves all George's chill out t-shirts. This one is particularly comfy and makes me look like I am a crazy marathon runner so I think I'll keep it :)

 

sydney.

 

Woah. What an absolute nightmare! When something awful happens anywhere in the world I'll usually find it extremely difficult to put into words just how saddened I am and just how much I am thinking of and praying for the people, family, friends and communities that are directly involved. It is a thousand times harder to comprehend and put in to words when something this horrendous happens in your own city & home. A city that has always felt so incredibly safe to me. 

However, hat I am feeling is absolutely nothing compared to the unlucky people who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and their families & friends. And even though I feel that whatever I say won't be enough, I felt I had to mention it on here. 

I feel so lucky to be Australian and to live in one of the most stunning cities in the world. Nothing is going to change that. My heart goes out to the 17 hostages and their families....I don't think Sydney will ever stop thinking of you! 

mulled wine + mint chocolate cookies

 

I woke up this morning absolutely craving some Christmas baking/drinking action. I have a mild obsession with mulled wine at the best of times, so when the Christmas season is involved I'm downright addicted. The thing is, Christmas in summer times means I'm often craving a refreshing lemonade or crisp white instead of a comforting warm beverage. So to make it a little more summer-proof, I just let the mulled wine cool down and then might add in couple ice cubes if it's a particularly hot day :) that way you still get the delicious mulled wine smell and flavour which is the best thing.


Now onto the cookies - these are my new absolute favourite cookies of all time and I've been requested to bake them again on Christmas day. They taste like a softer, gooier version of a Mint Slice which just happens to be my favourite store bought cookie...so...perfection!


After making the mulled wine and baking up the cookies, I spent the afternoon flicking between the cricket and About Time (during the rainy weather delays of the cricket) and sipped on the deliciously festive mulled wine while nibbling on the fresh-from-the-oven cookies. It has been absolutely perfect and I fell I need to introduce it as a tradition every year...mulled wine + mint chocolate cookies + first cricket test of the season = best summer Christmas combination if you ask me :)


See below for the recipes.

 

mulled wine

Adapted from Jamie Oliver

Ingredients:

  • Rind of 1 orange, 1 clementine, 1 lemon & 1 lime (or any combination of your favourite citrus fruits)
  • Juice of 1/2 orange
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 6-10 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • 1 whole nutmeg, grated
  • 1 vanilla bean, sliced lengthways
  • 2-3 star anise
  • 2 bottles of Merlot
  • Slices of citrus, to garnish
  • Extra cinnamon sticks, to garnish

Method:

  1. Heat sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the rind of all the citrus and juice of the orange, stir to combine then add the cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves, nutmeg and vanilla. 
  2. Add in just enough red wine to cover the sugar and bring to the boil. Continue boiling for about 3-4 minutes, until you've got a syrup consistency.
  3. Reduce the heat to low, add in the star anise and the rest of the red wine. Keep simmering until the wine has been gently heated through. Serve it up and garnish with slices of citrus and extra cinnamon sticks...enjoy :)

mint chocolate crackle cookies

Adapted from Martha Stewart

Ingredients:

  • 100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 60g unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • smashed candy cane, to garnish

Method:

  1. Start by melting the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and cocoa. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar, eggs and melted butter. Add in the melted chocolate and peppermint extract. Stir in the cocoa mixture and combine until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes (minimum).
  4. Preheat oven to 160c. Roll tablespoons of the cookie dough into balls and coat in icing sugar. Place on a lined baking tray and place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove and scatter smashed candy cane over them. Enjoy fresh out of the oven :)

pacific palms, north coast nsw.

A few weekends ago we road tripped it up to the beautiful north coast of NSW and spent a couple nights chilling out to the max, and a couple days relaxing out to the max! It was absolutely perfect and exactly what everyone felt like they needed. 

We rented a fantastic house (kids rooms included) using Airbnb in Smiths Lake which is only a 5 minute drive from either Blueys or Boomerang beach. The weather was sensational and the beaches were pretty much deserted. Combine that with a collection of some of the worlds finest human beings then you have yourself a fan-bloody-tastic weekend! 

We've all made a pact to make these weekend adventures happen a lot more regularly over the summer! They are so good for the mind, heart, soul, spirit, body & being etc etc etc :)

what to cook beachside picnic sneak peek.

So I have come to realise that redesigning your website is like some kind of torture! Especially since we have had the final review and know exactly how it is going to look (ridiculouslyyyyyy amazing by the way!) but are waiting on it actually being built. It makes me not want to even look at our current site because the new one is so so much better haha. 

We were planning on still posting new recipes every day but realised that it was a waste of time seeing as we would have to input all the same content into the new site. So instead we have been busy little bees getting the whole business admin side in order as well as organising a content calendar of some sort because with the new site there will be a section fully relating to lifestyle features.

On Saturday we shot the first lifestyle story that will appear on our fresh site - a beachside picnic with Lobster rolls on the menu. We were planning to shoot it on Saturday afternoon but with these crazy late afternoon summer storms, we rearranged to shoot the feature bright and early in the morning. So that meant we had lobster rolls and rose for breakfast haha! It was so much fun. We bought Russy & Winston with us to join in on the fun and it was the best way to start the day! 

We cannot wait for What To Cook 2.0 to be up and running, but in the meantime, I'll be sharing bits and pieces on here :)