What I’ve loved about October and November

You guys I’ve had a great couple of months. October was very Octobery and November has been very Novembery.

In the last 8 to 9 weeks, we’ve had 5 different sets of visitors. Five! It sort of feels like I’ve spent most of my time lately preparing for guests, hosting guests, then cleaning up after guests. Then lather, rinse & repeat. But what fun we’ve had with these visitors!

Guests have included:
– Tim, Juanita, Mabel and Milly. They brought us eggplant and tomato plants from their own garden and a pretty camellia.  

– Donna & Ella came for a long weekend and Sheela & Kylie joined in the fun. I was introduced to a gorgeous little German Bakery in Wentworth Falls as well as a beautiful lake nearby. We brunched and shopped in Leura – my favourite place in the Mountains. Plus there was a whole lotta swings and slippery dips for Ella Beans!

We also went to check out a chocolate cafe that Mel had heard about and suggested. (Mel, I finally went!)


– Alissa came to stay and the weekend she was with us, it was freezing! We couldn’t bear to leave the house on Saturday and huddled in front of the fire under snuggly blankets. Then on Sunday came the sun and with it, a trip to the Farmers Markets and a long bush walk. As usual, when I’m with Lis I’m so busy talking that I forget to take photos. Every.Single.Time! Must rectify this!

– Aunty B also came to check out our place and where Aunty Beezwax is, hilarity follows. I think over the course of my two days with her, I laughed at least 117 times. The Sheelster and I took her to see the 3 sisters. She was totally unimpressed. I’m still not sure she believes that that was really the famous site!

– This past weekend, the Jackson clan came to have an early Christmas with us. I got surprisingly festive and crafty, sewing a table runner and stockings in preparation. With a lot of help from people actually skilled in the sewing machine department (that would be my Mum and Sheels!)

– And every couple of weeks now, E and I have a Double Dexter night with Sheels and Kys. Two episodes of serial killings back to back is a night I look forward to!

Other things these last couple of months:

– It was our 6 year wedding anniversary in early October. We went to an epic Sydney Symphony performance, featuring Amy Dickson on the sax playing Ravel’s Bolero. I loved it so much and couldn’t stop telling Ian so. Every five minutes, I was all ‘I LOVE THIS’. To which he would reply ‘I KNOOOOWWWWW’ SHHHHH.’ We also did the best bush walk I’ve ever done. And since the traditional anniversary gift for 6 years is sugar, we went to a cute chocolate cafe in Katoomba for milk shakes and other treats :)

– I also got to spend a day out visiting Sydney cafes for legit work reasons. My favourite place, that I am simply dying to go back to was Bread & Circus Cafe in Alexandria. Check the decor!

– Sheels, Kylie and I had a Diwali celebration. The Sheelster made an Indian feast for us and I slept over. A week day slumber par-tee! Yeah!

– And lastly, as part of the whole Good Food Month thing, Parramatta Council tried to get their Melbourne on. And they did a pretty good job, setting up lane ways of pop up food stalls and bars. We had some work drinks for a colleague’s birthday at Grasshopper Bar. Cocktails in a jar is just what you need on a Friday afternoon. 

 

And that’s me kids. Now we head into the BEST month of the year. Life is good, yes?

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Cakes of cup

I mentioned once before that I used to be a cupcake fan. Then along came macarons and the humble cupcake was forgotten.

But these days, cupcakes are once again my sweet treat of choice. In fact, cupcakes have become somewhat of an international superstar, with bakeries around the world producing book after book of recipes.

Here’s a few of my favourite recipes from the books (and stores!) above.

If you like cake with a clean, simple flavour, then Magnolia Bakery’s Very Vanilla Cupcakes are the way to go. Magnolia in New York was actually the place to start the world wide cupcake trend. These vanilla cupcakes are apparently their most popular cake and I can understand why. They’re a great, light, sweet treat.

You can change the frosting colour to whatever tickles your fancy. I tried topping mine with persian fairy floss but the day I made the ones in the pic above, it was so hot that it kinda turned to dust.

The Hummingbird Bakery in Notting Hill, London has the best hummingbird recipe I’ve ever tried. And trust me, I’m a bit of hummingbird dilettante! These puppies are a triumph of banana and pineapple. A triumph! The recipe calls for decoration with nuts but you can really use whatever you like. I also substituted a few things, using gluten free flour and coconut oil instead of sunflower.

And lastly, chocolate cupcakes from the Crabapple Bakery in Melbourne. Sadly, this place is now only a wholesaler and not open to the public. But you can make your own!   The recipe is here, just scroll down the page to find it. When I made these, I used the frosting from this blog and I tell you, it is simply amazing in texture! The best frosting I’ve ever had.

So tell me, what treats are you loving right now?