Cinnamon Teacake Recipe

A light and fluffy teacake recipe from an old (circa early 1980’s) ‘Best Ever’ Women’s Weekly cookbook. It’s quick and easy to whip up and most people would have these things in their fridge/pantry ready to go. Perfect for morning or afternoon tea and visitors that ‘call in’ which I’m sure happened much more back then than it does now. Shout out to my Mum who often delights us with this when we visit. You will need:

  • 60g butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup castor sugar
  • 1 egg at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 15g butter, extra at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon castor sugar, extra
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

View the full recipe.

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance – A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

Part memoir, part historical and social analysis, Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis – that of white working-class Americans. I’m borrowing words from Amy Chua given she sums this book up perfectly: “A beautifully and powerfully written memoir about the author’s journey from a troubled, addiction-torn Appalachian family to Yale Law School, Hillbilly Elegy is shocking, heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, and hysterically funny. It’s also a profoundly important book, one that opens a window on a part of America usually hidden from view and offers genuine hope in the form of hard-hitting honesty.” Given Vance’s turbulent upbringing, it amazed me that he was able to write in a straight, honest (and at times very loving) way without ever being patronising or attempting to gain sympathy. Compelling reading. Read a reviewBuy the book.

Mornington Peninsula, Victoria – Fine Food, Wine, Beaches and More

An easy one hour drive from Melbourne CBD (15 minutes longer if coming from the airport), Mornington Peninsula is a compact area with a diverse array of activities, ticking lots of boxes for a perfect holiday destination – beautiful beaches, renowned restaurants and vineyards, a thriving art scene, thermal springs, pristine national parks and sporting and adventure activities for those that can muster the energy. My first home swap experience exceeded expectations and landed us in Arthurs Seat, perched on a hilltop with stunning views of Port Phillip Bay. A well-positioned base for exploring the area, we cracked through a lot of the recommendations kindly and expertly put together by our host. View my best food, wine and other picks from the area. Visit Mornington Peninsula.

Lentil and Tomato Bolognese – A Simple and Satisfying Vegetarian Recipe

A variation on the traditional meat-based bolognese, this vegetarian recipe from Feel Good Food uses lentils and it’s delicious. The recipe suggests super healthy pasta but you could use any type of pasta. It’s quick, easy, healthy and filling. Make a big batch – the leftovers are great for freezing, serving over rice or mopping up with crusty bread. Kids love it too. The following serves 4 and you will need:

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 400g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 400g can crushed tomatoes
  • 400g can lentils, rinsed, drained
  • 1/2 cup (130g) sundried tomato pesto
  • 400g wholemeal or spelt long pasta
  • Fresh basil leaves and shaved parmesan to serve

View the full recipe.

Hello, My Name Is Doris – A Sweet and Light-Hearted Comedy

A departure from the intense psychological thriller type shows I’ve been consuming recently, Hello, My Name Is Doris is a sweet and light-hearted comedy about an older woman’s love for a much younger man. I was a little concerned in the beginning that Sally Field‘s character Doris was over the top kooky and that it was heading down the same path as The Intern (terrible ending) but I warmed to Doris and the film. If you’re looking for an easy watch and a warm fuzzy feeling, this could be the movie for you. I also respect it for the fact it was only 90 minutes long and didn’t drag on pretending to be something it isn’t. Watch the trailer. Available on iTunes.


Using Design Thinking to Get Unstuck in Life – A Hidden Brain Podcast Episode

It’s a new year – the time of year when many resolutions are made (and often broken) around how you think you should be living your life, so this episode of the Hidden Brain podcast ‘Getting Unstuck‘(#56) is perfectly timed.

It explores the psychological traps we construct for ourselves that keep us from living our best lives and why the normal questions we ask ourselves like ‘What should I do with my life?’ and ‘What does my ideal life look like?’ are counterproductive to getting us unstuck. Don’t write it off before you listen as waffle from a self-help guru or psychologist.

The approach comes from the technology world concept ‘Design Thinking’ which is about recognising your constraints, realising there isn’t just one answer, trying something, getting information from it, and then trying something else. The episode runs for 28 minutes.

Find out more and listen.

See my previous post on NPR’s Hidden Brain podcast.

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