February 28, 2010

Fierce Femme

Please indulge me a moment & allow for a little reflection, based-on all 28 years of my life...

There was a time when jaggered little pills & beer buzzes & angel's undercover were common phrases. We (of the female variety) sang along with such conviction & enthusiasm, matched only by our drumming on the steering-wheel.

Oh, we were wild...

[Ok, so maybe I was still in school.. And true, the worst boy drama I'd experienced was, well, with a boy. But the songs felt real all the same! And the singers a kind of sisterhood.]

Am I wrong in thinking that it's been a while since female's have expressed themselves in music with some grit mixed-in?? I didn't even know I was missing the guitar thumping, gut-stirring female voice, till last Sunday night when I heard a femme who was more fatale, than fancy.
Serena Ryder - a guitar playing, soul-singing Canadian, who appears to not have received the memo that it's 2010. And I love her for that.

(Not in a bra-burning, throw-out your shavers, join a lobby group kind of way. Just your normal - "you go girl!" - kinda way.)

Sporting bangs from the 70’s that Carly Simon would be proud-of & moves that I'm pretty sure she borrowed from Elvis, Serena is mesmerizing & unexpected & much needed in today' popsicle world.

And her songs... Oh, her songs... They are the kind that only ever seem to flow from the North. A chilly, fog-covered kind of heartache that is warmed by hot coffee & thick sweaters & a dear love.

(hmmm, so the song below is perhaps a liiittle more rollicking than fog & sweaters. But now you'll just have to go & check-out the rest of her music!)

February 26, 2010

Bristol, TN

Wed 24th March:

A good place to live.

Apparently not a great place...

But it gets by. You could do worse.. I mean, it's likely you could do better according to the sign. But that's ok. It's good.

A little of this makes that

At a glance...

1 photo shoot this week with creative darling Allister Ann.

Half a wardrobe:

[This is how I interpret "two outfit changes". Surely there is a therapy group]

Two unassuming locations:

A relaxed artist with a wifey that stays out of the way [aside from some hair fixing... a girl needs to feel needed!]

And an end result: L.O.V.E.


February 22, 2010

Whole Wheat Banana Walnut Pancakes

As warm & comfy & syrupy as Smitten's NYC kitchen is, I thought it was time to spread our wings & see what the world has to offer. This wholesome-sounding recipe is from somewhere new, the opposite coast in fact, with Joy The Baker.

But first, a background story... Come the weekend, one of the favorite's for Aussie's out to breakfast is a slice of Banana bread, toasted & hot-buttered. Cafe's all over Sydney serve this as a staple and we all happily lick our buttery fingers with delight! Nate particularly liked to extend this fare beyond the weekend, to the weekdays. And beyond breakfast, to... well, anytime. Bless his hollow legs.

So imagine our dismay at the lack of such a thing when we arrived Stateside, and our on-going dismay that no one seems to have taken-up the challenge to fill this very niche market. Shocking!

Solution? That right there! My answer to the problem in Pancake form. You can even see the chunks of banana. (Sorry to all those who find the smell, texture & taste of banana abhorrent. I have found it does incite strong reactions).

True, I could simply learn to bake really killer Banana Bread. But where's the American spirit in that? I would be a traitor to the ways of my adopted people.

Instead, this is like a perfect marriage between the two countries. The flavors of banana bread with the shape & texture of a pancake. I believe we have arrived at Nate's all-time, ultimate breakfast combination. I'm surprised his head didn't explode!
I wont lie, this does require a few more ingredients, & multiple bowls, & electric beaters (so perhaps not an early riser kind of pancake). But don't be deterred! It is by no means hard & the result is an airy pancake full of flavor, with a lovely walnut texture.

And I can only assume they are VERY good for you. They are wheat after all.

Aahh, hello sweet Sunday morning joy that taste's like home! And hello "In Defense of Food" in the background waiting to mock & deride my choice of joy.

Fact - I didn't make the accompanying Vanilla Brown-sugar Syrup. Say what?! I know, call me c-razy, but I was all about keeping it "healthy". I couldn't fathom more sugar - as you can tell by the maple syrup tumbling forth in abundance.

(You try & pour & take a picture at the same time - overflow is inevitable. Honest!)

Goodness gracious me.


February 21, 2010

You say Tomay-to, I say Tomar-to

Nashville Farmers Market:
I've had a good chuckle at the Beavan's NYC year of no trash, no electricity, no packaged goods in the No Impact Man documentary.

And "In Defense of Food" is an enthralling, at times shocking read about USA food education & eating habits.

Now, combine the two in a short space of time, & the brain (or more accurately, MY brain) can be overwhelmed with farming / junk food / evil supermarket information.

It's left me not entirely confident of where to start... Do I plant a veggie patch? Ride my bike more places? Make homemade soap? Make homemade everything? Eat only local meat? Eat no meat at all? Buy a cow? Buy some chickens? Crawl under the covers & ignore it all until my super-loaded, super-sized supermaket meal is done radiating in the microwave??

Oooooh dear. Well, I did find a solution in a small way on Saturday morning - to the Farmers Market we went!

Being confident of what is from local farmers & what is just a good non-store deal might take a bit more research, but I figured it's always good to start somewhere.

[Considering I recently "almost" poisoned Nate with fresh artichokes, I'm a little wary of unknown greenery. This one is purely for the visual joy it brings me :) ]

Don't fret - cheese-cloth dresses & worms for compost are still a little way off.


February 20, 2010

Hidden Gem

I was scouting around my iPhoto this evening & stumbled upon a little gem that I had previously overlooked to share.

Profeta, LA.
A gem for several reasons...

1. It was recommended by Sydney friends, Ben & Kate, who made it their local while living in LA last year. It was a bizarre, small-world moment when we learnt that the barrista had babysat their two boys. I sniffed back a few homesick tears & consoled myself with a rather awesome latte. Leading to my 2nd reason...

2. The coffee is perfection. Hands-down lovely. And reminiscent of home. Sniff sniff....

3. Amongst a lot of LA plastic-fantastic's, it's SO darn cute. The exposed brickwall & ity-bity courtyard complete with fountain are a retreat. Plus the single red chair is just darling.

Truly, I wanted to move right-in on the spot... with the homesickness, fabulous coffee & very obliging barrista's, I wanted to lay a little sleeping bag in the corner of this European treat & make it my home for the week.

Should the wind blow you to LA one day, take a book & steal some time on that little red chair for latte-sipping & reading.

Your welcome :)


Guess who's coming to dinner...

One extremely gorgeous little pop-tart. Miss Ila.

She dropped-by for a visit, with her byo bottle of milk & delightful pink hat, to put our tiny-child-minding abilities to the test!

Annnd, pretty much, it was an all-round stella night of milk, poop, some cradling, some sitcom watching & then a snooze.

Oh, and a spot of crying here & there, which for two rookies was extremely unnerving. I took my leave to the kitchen at that pt & cooked us dinner - like the good wifey I am!
I do hope she drops-by again soon - she's a little charmer with a great taste in hats!

And that's it from here for now... The all-up grand total baby time of 2 hrs has me SPENT :)


February 17, 2010

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Sauteed Apples

This week I fell behind! And then I realized it was Shrove Tuesday & I thought I could be all tricky & perfectly timed & have this posted on a day when eating your body-weight in Pancake's is the MO.

Wouldn't that have been a doozy! Spot-on great timing. A delightfully good story. But nope. No ma'am. Not here. Those little elements are just a wee-bit allusive on Porter.

And so it is on this laaate wednesday evening that I am finally getting around to posting about Sunday's pancake success!

I wont lie. These were good. They were very very good... And I can lay no claim to them at all. It's the perfect combination of ingredients that make you want to load up three more plates & extend breakfast into the lunch hour.

You see, there was a nice touch of lemon zest. An ingredient that sounds like it tastes. An all-round pleasing thing, I feel...

Why yes! That is my Martha Stewart zester! Oh, no, no, endorsement deals are really my thing... (Martha? Oh, Maaar-tha?)

And a heaping cup of creamy, fresh Ricotta. The "villan" turned tasty-guy in Nate's book...

A couple of eggs, to mix things up & keep it pretty. Artistically speaking, if I could have framed this happy still-life on the spot I would have.

Plus a cup of flour, a dash of sugar, and there we have it! Mmm-Hmmm..

Top them with cinnamon apples & syrup, & you're set to work a groove in your kitchen chair all morning long.

[Unless you're like us & halve that batter, thinking most American pancake recipes are out-of-control huge, and as a result are left with this...

A plate that is empty about 4 pancakes too soon!!]

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes. They contain both fruit and cheese - all part of a balanced, well-rounded diet.

I urge you - Ricotta, Zest, Now! You wont be sorry.


February 15, 2010


It is true that no home-reno stories have been posted for some time. And in the absence of creativity in my physical realm, I've spewed it over onto my cyber-world. And I can assure you, we're not done yet. Oh no, my friend..

I have a tendency to faff-around endlessly, see how something looks, sit with it for a minute or two & then trott-off to change it again. If you see subtle changes here & there, do as the natives do (ie. Nathan) - a quiet shake of the head, kind pat on the shoulder & an internal note-to-self to just leave her be. Crazy lady.

But back to the physical. I know you're wondering if I've fallen down a colorless abyss & taken my paint brushes with me. Well, fear not! I am hatching a grand plan to conquer a whole new frontier.


That's right, the stuff you spent hours stripping off your walls, I'm planning to glue back onto mine!

Before you think I really am a crazy lady, here's a few very tasty reason's why:

Apartment Therapy: Trove

Apartment Therapy: Echo Design Wallpaper

Apartment Therapy: Christiana Coop & Studio Nommo

I distinctly remember helping my mum strip the wallpaper off our kitchen walls when I was a little girl. The bright, sunny yellow & orange flowers were a thing of the past. Funny how it all comes back around...

Provided I don't paste both my hands to the wall, there will pictures & stories to accompany the trickery.

But 1st - Pancake Challenge #3 is on the way!


February 12, 2010

Valentines Day

Oh, what to do with this ever-so-red day of love bugs & candy boxes!

Our gym had heart-shaped glazed donuts for free this morning. I don't want to kill the mood, but it doooees seem a little counter-productive.

My Valentines gift was seeing this munchkin via VideoChat tonight -
He blew me kisses & let me know he loved me "much".


He also proudly trotted-in with his potty-training seat for display.

So, I think we may have to work on his moves if this is his idea of an ice-breaker?! The girls at creche may not be as easily impressed as his Aunty - they've been there, done that.

Happy February 14th sweet friends.


February 7, 2010

Apple Pancakes

The weekend bought more icey weather & a house guest to warm up Porter Rd, the lovely Ms. Charissa.

Nate had flown West to warmer weather (smart boy), so on Saturday I ventured into more experimental territory without fear of retribution.

Nate is just the tiniest bit thingy about pancakes. They are his dealeo. His area of expertise. He knoooows pancakes*.

(Oooo-kay... Retribution is probably extreme. We all know it's not even in Nate's modus operandi.)

With the moral support of Charissa, it was decided to put my decoratively appealing apple display to practical use & try SK's Apple Pancakes.

The experimental part? SK's recommendation to add whatever we, the cooks, feel is needed to give extra oomph. Plus my choice of hotplate over skillet, and milk over yogurt.

Yes, it's true, these do look more patty, than pancake.

And yes, the slight heaviness you detect visually, is somewhat true tangibly.

But, for all their imperfections & experimental qualities, these little Apple Pancakes aren't too shabby!

A little extra zing was added with lemon zest & some warmth with cinnamon, and upon Charissa's exclamation that they tasted like desert, I was sold!

(I mean, really, who wouldn't want a guest who exclaims with such enthusiasm & kindness. She's a keeper :) )

They are moist & petite & worth a try it you have some apples you long to corrupt.


*KID-YOU-NOT - right as I was typing the blog, Nate tweeted from CA with this pic:

"Trust me, there's a plate underneath my pancake!"

BINGO! Could my point be made any better?? LOVE IT! I laughed-out-loud. Still am. Thanks my pancake king!

February 4, 2010

Friday? Really?

I pretty much have no idea where this week went. Literally cannot account for much of it. It didn't even wave as it wooshed by.

[No, I'm not popping strong pills. And no, I'm not developing a case of young-people's Alzheimer's.]

It's all the fault of SNOW.
That pesky white flaky stuff that seems to turn everyone's brains to mush & convinces even the most hardy of workers that it's time to don the Uggs, light a fire, surf the Lifestyle channel, eat pancakes, surf the E! channel, eat a muffin...

No good can come of this!!

Awww... But it does look pretty...

So... Even though Thursday felt like Friday & Monday felt like Sunday & parents everywhere wanted to stick their heads in the oven by the 4th "snow day", it was a glorious.

And look at this anemic little chap (below. Not Nate, he's very healthy & well). Doesn't that just scream deprived??! Love it..

We'll take what we can get.

(is that a toothpick sticking out of his head?? Gee, Portland Brew, you couldn't have slapped on a beanie??).