A Birthday Post
Last weekend was my birthday. I am now 27 years old, and it feels pretty great.
27, I feel, is an age where pizza should be involved. Proper, grown-up, wood-fired pizza. So that's how we celebrated, down in Red Hill with close friends and family.
This past year has been very good to me. I married my high school sweetheart, we went on a dreamy honeymoon across Europe, work is stimulating, I'm falling more and more in love with cooking and gaining more confidence in the kitchen. Really I'm just loving life, and completely loving being married. Being a wife...it's kind of cool.
To show you where I'm at right now, at 27, I thought I'd share some random tidbits with you. And then I promise to show you lots of pizza pictures and other delights from my birthday last Sunday.
27: where I'm at right now...
- I'm buying buckets of cocoa powder, rolled oats, coconut flour, bananas, pumpkin seeds, almonds, cinnamon, butter beans, spinach leaves, asparagus and yoghurt. And lamb. Oh man, I love lamb. These ingredients are my life at present, in various delicious forms.
- The next travel adventure I'm dreaming of is India. I suspect India would be a location best visited before having children (I implore you to correct me if India is, in fact, an easy place to travel with kids). I'm also very keen to visit the USA again so I can spend time with one of my bffs, and of course we always have Asia on the agenda so we can visit family, friends and Baan Dada. Right now these are distant dreams, but I do love to dream...
- I need to have my eyes tested and get some new glasses. I'm short-sighted, it's annoying. Ben has the same issue and recently snagged some new glasses. They're fly. Sometimes I find myself so jealous I seriously consider switching my glasses (purple frames and all) with his. It might happen.
- I'm currently reading The Headspace Diet - mindfulness is where it's at, people. However would love to move onto some fiction soon. There is nothing like getting lost in a good book, curled up on the couch with a cup of tea or cocoa.
- I recently took home a gigantic bag of meyer lemons from my parent's tree. I then freaked out because I had far too many lemons to know what to do with. Right now I'm dressing my salads in lemon juice like there's no tomorrow, zesting like a mofo and making batches of lemon bars and lemon curd for friends. And I'm still not sick of lemons. It's love.
- Lately I've been loving my morning powerwalks more than ever. They're invigorating and each time I stride outside I fall even more in love with life. I try to walk at least 4 mornings a week. Sometimes I jog. It's all wonderful.
- I sometimes (often) daydream about baby names. I have a good list going. Ben and I agree on most of them, although sometimes (often) he informs me that "we cannot call our future baby that, no matter how cute it seems to us, we just can't". He's right, dammit.
- Most nights Ben stays up working and I go to bed at 8:30 with a hot chocolate and watch Call the Midwife or Country House Rescue on our iPad. British accents make me happy.
- Before the weather gets too hot, I'm super keen to knock out a good fish pie. I have never before made one, so I dearly welcome any suggestions or tips.
So that's where I'm at right now, at 27. This is what's on my mind. Life is pretty good, I'm a lucky lady.
Let's have a look at how I spent my birthday, shall we? I'm keen to show you the yummy eats we had.
Thick Greek yoghurt, berries and coffee. A rather splendid birthday breakfast. Yes, this yoghurtwas totally my birthday breakfast treat - some find this amusing, I find it delicious.
Ben and I drove down to Red Hill Sunday morning after a jog and breakfast. I then got to roasting nuts while Mum and Dad were busy in the kitchen preparing the rest of lunch. Mum and Dad, as well as my darling brother, Jackson, really spoilt me by having my friends over for lunch. They cooked and organised and cleaned with ease and smiles, and hosted a beautiful day for me. I feel very spoilt, it was just lovely. Thank you, gorgeous family xo
Nibbles. Mini gherkins, dukkah with bread and extra virgin olive oil, olives and sugar and spice candied nuts (I love this recipe, although I always cut the white sugar way down and add more smoked paprika).
The sun shone sporadically throughout the day and when it did, it was just lovely.
Although we did have to retreat inside for the main event...
Garden salad and rocket and parmesan salad.
Preserved fig, goats cheese and chicory salad.
Pizza. Margherita, prosciutto and potato, and asparagus with crushed walnuts and egg.
Thanks for sharing your recipe, Dad. This came about after much research and many tasty batches. I'm slightly obsessed with Dad's pizza.
Dad’s Pizza Dough
Makes 6 small or 3 large pizzas.
400g Plain Flour or 00 Flour
8g Dried Yeast
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ teaspoon Salt
250ml Tepid Water
1. Combine the flour, salt, yeast in a bowl.
2. Make a well in the centre and add the water & oil.
3. Mix until it all comes together as a dough – if too wet, add more flour, if too dry, add more water.
4. Knead for ~10 minutes until it becomes elastic & smooth.
5. Cover the mixture in the bowl with a towel or glad wrap & leave for 1hr in a warm place (Dad puts his front of fridge on the floor, where warm air comes out). Refrigerate until needed.
6. When you want to cook your pizza, break off portions of the dough & roll out for use. You can stack up pre-prepared/rolled-out dough with a layer of baking paper in between. Use semonila on your pizza stone to ensure it doesn’t stick. After adding your toppings, your pizzas will take 2-5 minutes to cook depending on the heat in your wood-fired oven (the second batch will take longer). If using a conventional oven, put the heat up to ~220 degrees celsius and cook for a similar length of time.
After lunch, Ben and I snuck away to make a big batch of ricotta doughnuts with cinnamon sugar. We used Nigella Lawson's Baci Di Ricotta recipe and then rolled them in a mix of cinnamon, white sugar and caster sugar.
These bites are pure bliss. Pure bliss, my friends. Delicate, softly spiced, surely sweet, warm, welcoming pillows.
Oh, and then came the second dessert. Because that's what you do on your birthday. Little lemon curd biscuit crumbles.
I made a biscuit base (recipe link - I used only the biscuit recipe and cooked it for longer, covered so as to not over-brown) and lemon curd (recipe link), and then assembled this simple dessert in little jars. I also made a gluten-free biscuit base, as we have a couple of friends with fructose intolerance. I will share that recipe in a coming post.
A few berries...
...and a limoncello shot, to boot. Dad brought out some of his homemade limoncello from the wedding (it was our take-home gift for guests). Cheers.
It was a happy lunch. A happy day.
After all this loveliness, Ben took me out to dinner in the city. We visited Lupino and indulged in some of the best Italian in the city. This restaurant is a firm favourite, and it was a real treat to spend the night with my husband on a birthday date.
And there you have it, a birthday post.
27 feels pretty great.