Oven Baked Tomato Sauce

tomato-2Many many years from now, I’d like to retire and have a small backyard orchard, full of productive fruit and vegetable crops. We would have far too much of everything to know what to do with, and we’d give it all away to family, friends, and neighbours. With all the extra tomatoes we’d grow, we would make litres of tomato sauce and bottle it up, becoming slightly famous as a result (because it tastes so damn good). It would be idyllic.

Well, the other day, I could scarcely believe it when my parents gave me 2kg of tomatoes. Here was my chance to have a head-start on retirement and make some homemade pasta sauce!

– Jinn

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Oven Baked Tomato Sauce

This is a great base sauce that can be enjoyed by itself on pasta, served with fresh basil and parmesan, or in a casserole, stew or with meatballs. It can be left on its own in the oven for hours, allowing you to get on and do other things!

Ingredients:

  • 1kg tomatoes – cored with seeds removed and roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup of olive oil
  • 2/3 cup of red wine or red wine vinegar
  • 15 basil leaves – torn up
  • Salt and pepper to taste at the end
  • Preheat oven to 150C

Method:

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a 2L casserole or dutch oven, even a roasting pan will do. Cover and bake for at least 2 hrs – baking for longer will result in a more concentrated sauce.
  2. Allow to cool.
  3. Blend the sauce until smooth with a food processor.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Bottle it up and give to your family and friends.
  6. Easy as!

Adapted and altered recipe for pasta sauce from Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden Companion.

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Joy

dans-30th-2We recently hosted the surprise birthday party of one of my absolute best of friends. I can barely remember a time that I didn’t know Dan, she always lived just a few streets away from me when we were growing up. We did many a sleepover, were choir nerds together, threw smoke bombs at Chinese school together, survived private girls’ schooling together, and then survived most of med school together. Our lives have essentially been the amalgamation of Glee, Ja’mie: Private School Girl (we weren’t Ja’mie), and Grey’s Anatomy with a splash of Karate Kid. (C’mon, you know you wanna watch that crane kick scene.)

Things have led me of late to pull apart and really evaluate the things I truly value. And it really boils down to one thing. Relationships.

More than ever, I appreciate and treasure these lifelong and genuine friendships. I could shave my head, pick my nose, share the highest of highs and most recently, the lowest of lows, and these girls will never desert me. Some friends come and go, but these ones stay a while. A long, long while. And I love them for it.

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Push th’ little daisies

topshop-daisy-2Wearing – Topshop dress, The Horse shoes, Robert Marc sunglasses (similar), vintage handbag

You guys remember that song, right? Well, okay, if you’re a child of my generation growing up in Australia and you can actually remember what people dressed like in the 90s, you too would have been plagued by the psychedelic, positively deranged chorus of this song. If you need a refresher, are less than 20 years old or would like to do some insane karaoke sing-along, watch the music video here. If you’re too impatient to wait until the song finally reaches its insane-in-the-membrane peak, click along to 1:50 and dance along (read: bizarre hand-flapping movements and willy nilly throwing of one’s self onto the grass).

P.S. Fun fact: This song was voted 40th in Triple J’s Annual Hottest 100 music poll in 1993. Say whaaaat?
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Down South

down-south-1 down-south-2 down-south-3 down-south-4 down-south-5 down-south-6 down-south-7 down-south-8 down-south-9Heading “Down South” is a common turn of phrase in this part of the world. Invariably it means going on a road trip to one of the beautiful towns south of Perth, getting away from city life, relaxing on the beach and taking it easy. Late last year when Steve visited us from Scotland, I took the chance to show him how beautiful this part of the world is. We ate cheese, drank wine, sat on the beach, took photos, mountain biked and spotted some whales, kangaroos and possums. Poor Sarah couldn’t join as due to work commitments but happily we both have some leave and are scheduled to make a return visit very soon!

– Jinn

 

Palma bag by ONA – a review

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The Palma by ONA Bags is one of the sexiest camera bags around. Perfect for serious bloggers, photographers or anyone who wants to look good whilst still being able to carry the goods.

Most camera bags look exactly like that – camera bags. Utilitarian and unstylish. This bag is the complete opposite.

Amazing craftsmanship, gorgeous leather and texture cleverly house a fully-padded interior with room enough for a full-frame DSLR and up to two extra lenses. On top of that, you’ll find space for your handbag essentials, such as your phone, wallet and keys plus a lippie and a hairbrush. Yes, this is actually Mary Poppins’ bag! The design also includes a slim front pocket, which is where I choose to slip my phone, but an iPad mini or notebook could probably fit here. You’ll find if your wallet is large (like me) there will only be room for one extra lens but a more streamline wallet would easily fix that issue.

Agreed, it can get a little heavy if you really pack it full of stuff, but ONA have thought of that too! The shoulder strap has an added piece that is slightly padded and broader than the rest of the strap, preventing that horrible “digging in” phenomenon. Plus, for ease of use and as an alternative if your shoulder gets sore, there’s also a nifty and uber cute handle located on the top of the bag.

At $319, it’s not the cheapest bag on the market, but you certainly get what you pay for. And as an investment item, you can’t go wrong. The quality of the Palma will ensure it will last for years to come and its classy appearance will make it a constantly stylish companion by your side, whatever your look.

Check out the video below to see the Palma in action.

Mixed bag

karen-walker-runawaygirl-4Wearing – Karen Walker top, Gorman jeans, The Horse shoes, Fjallraven Mini Kanken backpack

This was one of those outfits that I “put together” in my head whilst packing my bags for Melbourne. I’m one of those people who just can’t achieve anything unless there’s an element of stress involved. Which means I lie around the bedroom, bemoaning my lack of clothing choices for hours on end, procrastinating by trying on completely bizarre and impractical outfits, only to then madly throw random pieces of clothing at my open suitcase because I’m about to miss the plane.

Let me know what you think, but did I go a bit “cray cray” with this outfit? I was sitting having breakfast in Drugstore Espresso on Toorak Rd when I realised that I looked a tad like a little pink and yellow confection.

Anyhoos, here it is. I am never one to shrink from wearing colour, but was this a bit OTT?
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Melbourne Travel Diary

melbourne-dec-13-1 melbourne-dec-13-2 melbourne-dec-13-3 melbourne-dec-13-4 melbourne-dec-13-5 melbourne-dec-13-6 melbourne-dec-13-7 melbourne-dec-13-8 melbourne-dec-13-9 melbourne-dec-13-10 melbourne-dec-13-11 melbourne-dec-13-12 melbourne-dec-13-13 melbourne-dec-13-14 melbourne-dec-13-15 melbourne-dec-13-16 melbourne-dec-13-17 melbourne-dec-13-18 melbourne-dec-13-19 melbourne-dec-13-20 melbourne-dec-13-21 melbourne-dec-13-22 melbourne-dec-13-23 melbourne-dec-13-24 melbourne-dec-13-25 melbourne-dec-13-26We had less than two tiny days to squeeze in as much Melbourne as possible before my friend’s wedding, and by golly I think we did it! Arriving in the wee hours of Friday, we nabbed some shut eye before heading out into the CBD and chowing down a hearty breakfast at Cumulus Inc, an uber trendy coffee spot which felt very Gordon St Garage-esque. A visit to Melbourne is incomplete without wandering through Hosier Lane to ogle at the psychedelic street art.

A spot of shopping (50% off at Gorman – uh, yeah!?) was followed by a completely unnecessary but completely delicious lunch at noodle and dumpling house, Hutong. This gave us enough energy to power walk into Fitzroy where many unique and carefully curated shops awaited. Highlights were Little Salon and Third Drawer Down. For dinner, we waited in the fortunately very rapidly moving queue at Mamasita, wolfed down some delectable street style corn and pulled pork tostaditas, then tumbled on back to the hotel, falling deep asleep as soon as our heads hit our pillows.

Thanks for the good times, Melbs!

Hosier Lane

melbs-outfit-3Wearing – Madewell shirt, American Apparel skirt, Steve Madden loafers (similar), Fjallraven Mini Kanken backpack, Naomi Murrell resin and rose gold ring, Lazy Oaf cat ring (gold version)

He’s wearing – Mr Simple t-shirt (different colourway), M-ONE-11 chinos (similar), Vans sneakers

One of our first stops during our quick visit to Melbourne was a trip down Hosier Lane. No cars drive down this lane and over time it has become a gallery of some of the greatest street art you’ll ever see! I just love the mish-mash of colours and styles, practically every surface adorned by a garish signature or skilfully created visage. It’s one of our favourite spots we return to regularly as it’s never the same each time and always great fun to explore!

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The best things

teacups-1I instantly fell head over heels in love with these handmade teacups from Mr Sparrow – the feel of the rough clay against the palms of your hands, the cheerful irregularity in size and shape of the cups compared to each other, the cheeky glint of gold on the gorgeously rudimentary handles. Essentially, I was completely enamoured by how individually cast by hand they all were and so clearly made with care and love – you definitely feel it when you handle them.

I couldn’t wait to show them to my Mum, the lover of all homewares (she used to drag me around for hours through rows upon rows of Royal Doulton and Mikasa plates) who promptly laughed and almost scoffed when she saw them! She couldn’t believe I’d paid for something that looked so obviously handmade and rough.

Which brings me to my point.  Nowadays technology and mass production is ubiquitous, and made objects are not. But in the fifties and sixties, machine-made regularity and sleekness that could rapidly produce multiple copies was marvelled at and lauded above old and “archaic” methods. But in today’s society where we are inundated with “perfect” and identical mass-produced objects, where knowledge and skills in old handicrafts are fading and becoming scarce, I find that I deliberately seek out the imperfect and irregular, objects that clearly bear the marks and character of their maker.

Bridget Bodenham ceramic cups available from Mr Sparrow / Shop 3, 223 Bagot Rd Subiaco

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Minty

rachel-gilbert-minty-1Wearing – Rachel Gilbert dress, Kate Spade shoes, J.Crew earrings, Butter London “Muggins” nailpolish

These lovely photos were taken up in the Dandenong Ranges of Victoria, the beautiful setting of a very good friend’s wedding. We snuck out whilst waiting for the bride to arrive to do a little prancing around the gorgeous greenery! The wedding was attended by all my besties from school, and one of them so kindly pointed out that this dress was reminiscent of our old school summer uniform! (See what you think here) I laughed when she said so as I did see the similarities, but I’d like to think my style has evolved a just a little since then! Certainly the untied hair “beyond the collar” and earrings that break the “plain studs” rule are a slight improvement!

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