National Meat Free Week

We aren’t vegetarian by any means (who can resist pulled pork) but when we heard that Meat Free Week was happening across Australia on March 23rd it got us thinking – Why not try going meat free for 7 days?

Meat Free week is designed to make us think about how the impact that eating meat has on our health, the environment and of course animals. It’s not an attempt to force vegetarian or veganism down your throat- quite literally – rather an exercise in awareness. AND it’s also a great excuse to try out some fresh new recipes and some of Brisbane’s best vegetarian meals!

Eating in

For some veg-spiration why not check out the following blogs and website:

  • Not Quite Nigella is one of our favourite food bloggers and she’s created an entire page of delicious vegetarian recipes for you to explore! Just look ta how amazing her Cauliflower and Spiced Lentil Salad looks!
  • Elsa’s Wholesome Life – this gorgeous blog is focused on creating delicious whole food plant-based recipes. I can personally vouch for Elsa’s raw slice recipes after making my own version a couple of months ago. Oh and her veggie burgers are next on my list to make – they look amazing!!
  • No doubt you’ve heard loads about eating Paleo since Pete Evans returned to our television screens and while the diet advocates eating a fair amount of lean protein, there are loads of great Paleo recipes for vegetarian food. A go to cookbook in our household is Eat Drink Paleo by Irini Macri – it has some great vegetarian recipes and you can find even more on her blog – like the delicious Baked Eggplant stuffed with tomato salsa – filling, hearty and super yum!
  • One of the original and best vegan bloggers is Angela from Oh She Glows. Her recipes are super delicious and there is literally something for every occasion and meal. Green smoothies, cakes, side dishes…look no further, Angela has the answer.
  • The Detoxinista has hands down the best recipe for cauliflower pizza on the web and if you consider peanut butter a food group you will love her many, many recipes including her Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Milkshake (seriously OMG YUM).

Eating Out Continue reading

The Weekly G&T

 

The Weekly G&T

And so Fabulous February has begun and we’re in the mood to celebrate…what better way to do just that than a fun-filled weekend!

Cards made with love

I am in the prime age bracket of weddings and all the accompanying celebrations – engagement parties, hens parties, the weddings and then give it a few years and I’ll be buying even more baby shower cards.

Two of my friends are getting married in March and I wanted to be sure to get them a special card. I don’t like most of the standard congratulation cards on offer. They all look the same with Hallmark sentiment, ivory tones and pearls.

Fortunately for me, the receptionist at my work is a passionate crafter who loves to make cards. She makes really different birthday, baby, thank-you, valentines and any other celebration you can think of cards. They are always beautiful and lovingly made with details in ribbon, watercolours and layers on layers of paper.

I came to her asking her to make me a more modern wedding card. Nothing too sentimental, a little non-traditional. She took my commission and made this for me overnight: Continue reading

Book review: Unnatural Habits, a Phryne Fisher mystery by Kerry Greenwood

The Hon. Miss Phryne Fisher is an utterly delightful fictional character. She is an intoxicating combination of early female empowerment and a fantasy of the women you could be if you had beauty, brains, money and supreme self-confidence. In her pursuit of truth and justice, she is unfailingly gutsy and determined, venturing into dark and violent places and all the while staying collected and in control of the situation.

In Unnatural Habits, Phryne assists Detective Inspector Jack Robinson to investigate the kidnapping of young and foolhardy reporter Polly Kettle, who herself was after a scoop on the disappearance of three heavily pregnant young women from a lying-in house (read: a hostel where you can give birth without anyone knowing you’re there). The search takes Phyrne and her loyal band of helpers through the seedy underbelly of 1920s Melbourne as they investigate all the horrendous possibilities of where the girls might have been taken. Phryne visits brothels, bishops and poverty-stricken Collingwood to slowly uncover who might be interested in these girls when their families have rejected them for their ‘shame’.

Brothels can be dismissed. Even those that cater for ‘special tastes’ don’t have much use for girls in their third trimester. The Magdalen Convent and laundry is a distinct possibility, presided over by a tight-lipped and uncharitable Mother Superior, or perhaps the questionable ‘Jobs for All’ employment agency whose business is less secretarial than highly suspicious. And how does a fruit farm figure in all of this? As their investigations progress, it becomes clear that these are not the first girls to vanish suddenly. In fact young girls, blonde for preference and with no family, have been disappearing without a trace for months with no good or wholesome explanation. 

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Book review: The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

On one perfect summer day in the early 1960s, Laurel Nicolson is hiding in the family tree-house avoiding a birthday picnic. She watches as her mother comes through the woods towards the house to get the family’s special birthday cake knife. Also walking towards the farmhouse is an unknown man. He crosses the fields and approaches her mother, who freezes. He says hello as if he knows her and leans in to whisper something in her ear. In a moment, her mother plunges the birthday cake knife handle-deep in his chest. And so Laurel becomes the keeper of a dark secret, of the man who came one day but didn’t leave.

Now in 2011, Laurel’s mother Dorothy is dying and driven by the dark secret she has kept to herself for decades, Laurel begins to investigate what really happened on that summer day. Who was that man, unknown to everyone except her mother? And what did he say that caused her murder him without thought or question?

Kate Morton’s The Secret Keeper is an intriguing mystery novel about families, World War II and what people do in extreme situations. The novel moves back and forth between Laurel in the present day and Dorothy and her friend Vivien in London during the Blitz. As amateur sleuth Laurel uncovers information about the events of 60 years before, the reader is taken back to be told the truth behind each unfolding mystery.

This is a rich and textured novel from an internationally bets-selling author. The characters are engaging and the human dramas so real that the extremes of the emotions that rage in wartime are believable if not endearing. Morton expertly uncovers layer upon layer of story about each character and the dramas of the war, that ultimately lead to one man being killed in a field.

The Secret Keeper is an engrossing novel that will keep you guessing until the last page.I am every intention of going out and picking her Morton’s other works. Public transport friendly they may not be but they are guaranteed to be a good read.

Kate Morton’s The Secret Keeper supplied for review by the Sassi Sam website.

Book review: The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things by Paula Byrne

The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things is a biography with a difference, in which author Paula Bryne investigates the life and personality of one of the world’s most popular authors through the ‘small things’ that make up every life; letters, portraits, scrawls and childhood notebooks. Starting with an everyday object that may or may not have belonged to the Austen family, Bryne expands on its relevance to Jane and her life, using historical evidence and Austen’s own novels to discuss what we know about Jane Austen and what we think we know. What emerges is a portrait of knowledgeable and free-thinking woman who was determined from a young age to be a published author and worked tirelessly to refine her art.

Bryne suffers as all Austen biographers do from a lack of evidence regarding Austen’s personal life. Of the thousands of letters she must have written in her lifetime, only a couple of hundred survive. We are fortunate that she was a published author in her lifetime otherwise even these and the few letters sent to her by family and friends might well have been consigned to the rubbish or fire.

Nevertheless, on the available evidence Bryne shows that the spinster daughter of a Georgian village clergyman knows more about the human condition than one might at first think. Rather than being sheltered and borderline reclusive as some imagine her, Austen had an extensive web of social contacts throughout the country and was very active socially, travelling around the country to visit family and friends and see the sights of cities such as London and Bath as well as small towns and villages. This network of individuals from country neighbours and landed gentry, was littered with delightful and extravagant personalities, some with life-stories stranger than fiction that must have provided grist for Austen’s literary mill. No one who writes social satire with the cutting wit and comedic flair of Austen could have lived all her life in amongst the same 30 people in quiet Southern England.
 Jane Austen. 

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