lately.

these first few weeks of class have been full of good things – catching up with friends, discovering new cafes on campus, great lecturers (and a few of the nutty ones, of course.) in between all that, here’s what I’ve been up to:

  • I splurged on this denim playsuit for summer. i’m so excited at the traces of sunny weather we’re seeing already!
  • going exploring. The cornflowers are at Sydney’s Grounds of Alexandria cafe, which probably has the most beautiful bathroom decor I’ve ever seen.
  • practicing with my camera – close-ups, pinhole, low light.
  • a dangerous new family tradition of putting together a huge, delicious cheeseboard to munch on while we prepare dinner.
  • taking time to notice the details.
  • drinking herbal tea and keeping my Vitamin C up to keep my immune system strong now I have to travel on the train every day again.
  • reading for pleasure in between reading to keep my head above water in class.
  • funny story: when we moved in to this house, the bath had no plug. that wasn’t much of a problem, since I mainly use the shower, but recently I started fancying a warm soak. we’re searching high and low to find a plug the right size – in the meantime, I’m using different heavy objects in my bathroom to weigh down on the sinkhole then seeing how long I can go without kicking them loose.

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warm quinoa salad

I think we all have a meal for one that we turn to when we’re holed up inside working. something healthy to help us when we’re almost in hibernation, but yummy and enjoyable to make. mine is this simple study meal, somewhere between a salad and a stir fry. it only needs one pot, and it takes about half an hour to make, or five minutes if you’ve got your quinoa prepared in advance.

here’s how to make it:

  1. for one serve, wash one-third of a cup of dry quinoa grains in a sieve and boil in a small pot until softened to the texture of pasta.
  2. while the quinoa is cooking, take one carrot and peel it, discarding the peel. then hang on to your carrot peeler and use it to slice the remainder of the carrot into strips.
  3. when the quinoa is fully cooked, strain and wash it again to remove any excess liquid and starch. keep it to the side while you heat some oil in the bottom of the pot at medium heat.
  4. add your strips of carrot and fry gently until soft. return the quinoa to the pot and add half a teaspoon of chilli flakes, if you’d like the salad a little spicy.
  5. wash a handful of baby spinach leaves and add them to your pot. they will fill it to the top at first, but put a lid over the pot for five minutes and it will simmer down.
  6. give the mixture a stir, then serve it into a bowl. you can garnish with some shaved parmesan or coriander.

what are your simple study meals? let me know in the comments!

x

Dora

thinking about…

sleeping on a silk pillowcase like these ones, which apparently stops your hair from waking up frowzy in the morning.

protecting rainforests full of endangered species and environments through the Orangutan Project.

starting better conversations.

enjoying my new taste for unwinding with sweet scented, rainbow coloured (and sometimes sparkling!) bath bombs.

trying these juicy looking burgers.

running more. this week my weights instructor saw me on the treadmills at the gym and came up in her own time to cheer me on. I have some weight I could stand to lose and I’m learning that it’s more fun to overcome my distaste for how uncomfortable it is than steer to clear waters. to celebrate, I started off by doing the colour run today!

working on personal growth in my thoughts on bad moods, negativity and my feelings thanks to my friend Beth.

believing that Sydney bagels could maybe be as good as New York ones.

loving my new skincare, which is finally clearing away my winter congestion and makes me feel like a proper lady.

soaking up the summer sun. Hence my pretty swimming lady!

image from Chase Jarvis

five minutes.

I take so many photos – experimenting with my new camera, documenting with my iPhone. part of what this here blog was made to do is soak up all those extra photos, rather than letting them collect dust on my laptop. so here are five things I’ve been photographing recently, to share with you.

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  1. this windowsill is slowly turning into a candle stand and nature table.
  2. the much-loved cat at uni. he sits in the sun and lights up everyone’s day.
  3. my camera came with a free photography class. I didn’t find it very helpful, but I’d tooled up with my very best notebooks so I took photos of those instead.
  4. pie!
  5. it took a lot of tries to get this one.

xx Dora

weekending

So just before classes started, I got away to the Blue Mountains with my Mum on this tiny girls’ trip. We piled the bare essentials into our bags, took a book for the train and just went. It was sunny, we went shopping, and we went ahead and picked the most delicious-sounding food everywhere we went. It was only a one night trip but well worth our trouble.

First stop was Katoomba. We found this cafe that serves waffles made in the store, and coffee in these amazing art printed cups. I took a million photos (it was my camera’s first outing!). We poked around in some vintage stores then went to investigate our hotel, complete with crappy hotel teaware and bedspreads.

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Next day, we had waffles for breakfast! Heaven. We spent the morning walking to Leura, discovered new shops (I spent more than I should have at iKou) and had THE BEST PIZZA of our lives at Leura Garage.

I worked out the other day that it has been seven months since I got out of Sydney properly. I’m going to fix that once Summer comes.

xx

Dora

thinking about…

choosing just one of Mallory Lucille Rose‘s amazing wallpapers to use on my laptop.

drinking mulled wine, surely the only good thing about being out after dark in winter.

drawing inspiration from this sweet pencil set. I get the feeling I’d buy them, then never bear to use them.

planning my summer. It’s set to be a busy one, but I’m going to make sure there’s time around the edges for beach days, movie nights and long summer adventures.

demolishing these artisan crackers. Sydney peeps, they’re available in Woolies and they are incredible with cheese. {There may be a whole post devoted to cheeseboards around the corner…}

bringing more flowers into my house. They brighten up my desk a charm!

feeling inspired by this quote from the latest Kinfolk magazine.

reading paragraphs and pages and chapters and books! Class is back, with a vengeance.

trying this skincare. I hear great things, and my skin needs some love, so who knows… I might treat myself!

following this fun list. “Eat breakfast for dinner”? Um, always.

exploring my city. It feels crazy that I travel here every day but go straight past so many of Sydney’s best experiences… think Surry Hills brunches before class, and a hunt for our town’s best truffle fries.

xx

Dora

breakfast of champions

I get woozy in the mornings if I don’t have a solid, savoury breakfast. This is a massive bummer when things like maple-drizzled French toast and pancake stacks are on the menu, plus it makes me unable to try most breakfast recipes (double bummer). On the upside, I’ve had years to work up the perfect savoury breakfast: with enough protein to satisfy me the way a nice honey porridge would, and tasty enough that I can stand to face it every morning.

My illustrated version above gives the essentials, but here’s a full recipe:

SPINACH & CHIA MORNING MUFFINS
makes 12-16
preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius / 354 degrees Farenheit / gas mark 4

INGREDIENTS:

The Dry Ingredients
– 1.5 cups self-raising flour (or plain flour plus 1.5t baking powder)
– 1/2 cup polenta meal (cornmeal) plus extra to line patty pans
– 1/2 cup of different kinds of healthy dry seeds or fibres: nut meal, chia seeds (the best!), rolled quinoa or just more polenta.
– 1 teaspoon baking powder
– 1 pinch salt
– 1/4 cup of sugar or a sugar substitute like rapadura or coconut sugar


  
  

The Wet Ingredients:
– 3 eggs, beaten
– 1 cup milk
– 1/2 cup grapeseed oil, coconut oil or melted butter
– 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese. This is the naughty bit; it adds moisture and taste and also improves the texture of your final muffin, cutting down the amount of butter or oil you need to add.
– 3 cups washed baby spinach leaves, torn or chopped (or still whole if you’re lazy).
  

METHOD:

1) mix together your dry ingredients and form a well.

2) set out 12 patty pans. Sprinkle your extra polenta into the base of each paper pan – it will prevent the paper sticking when you go to peel it off your muffin!

3) add the oil , milk and eggs to the well, then stir together loosely. Throw in the spinach and mozzarella and then stir until just combined. The spinach will mean you get a very chunky texture, but don’t worry, it shrivels down to nothing in the oven.

4) spoon your mixture into the patty pans – depending exactly how big your healthy extra dry ingredients were, and how much spinach you’ve added, you may even have some left over for a few extra bonus muffins!

5) bake for 15-25 mins. Again, the exact baking time depends on what goodies you’ve added to your mixture…after 15 minutes I turn my oven down a little and check in at five-minute intervals, until they’re ready.

About three medium-size muffins makes a good breakfast serving. I refrigerate them and then it’s just a matter of microwaving them each morning for about two minutes.

Do you have any good savoury breakfast recipes? I would be stoked to find a few new ones to expand my repertoire.

xx

Dora