Australian Food Festivals

Australian Food Festivals

Love travel and love eating?

Then you are probably keen like me, to visit some of Australia’s best food festivals.Australian food festivals tasting australia

Boy are we spoilt for choice with a great range of Australian Food Festivals.

Victoria.

Portarlington Mussel Festival. January 13th, 2018.

Mornington Peninsula Food and Wine Fest. 24th Feb, 2018.

Eltham Jazz, Food and Wine. Eltham. 24th Feb, 2018.

The Prosecco Festival Melbourne. 25th Feb, 2018.

Apollo Bay Seafood Festival. 20th Feb, 2018.

Thorpdale Potato Festival (TBC).

Taste of Kyneton. Feb 25th, 2018.

Meeniyan Garlic Festival. 17th Feb, 2018.

The Herb and Chilli Festival. 17th – 18th March. 2018.

Melbourne Food and Wine. March 16th to 25th.

Melbourne International Coffee Expo. 22-24th March, 2018.

River Graze Melbourne. 16-25 March. 2018.

Yarra Valley Beer and Cider Festival. 14th April, 2018.

Grampians Grape Escape. May 5-6 2018.

Hepburn Springs Swiss Italian Festival.

Melbourne Good Food and Wine Show. 1-3 June, 2018.

Good Food Month Melbourne. June 1st to 30th 2018.

Taste of Melbourne.

Winery Walkabout. Rutherglen. 9th and 10th of June, 2018.

Melbourne Salami Festa. October 2018.

South Australia

Tasting Australia. Adelaide. 13th to 22nd April, 2018.

Cape Jaffa Seafood and Wine Festival. 13th January. 2018.

Crush Festival. Adelaide Hills. 26th to 28th January. 2018.

Harvest Festival, McLaren Vale. 19th Jan. 2018.

Taste the Limestone Coast Festival. Naracoorte, SA.

Clare Valley Gourmet Weekend. Clare Valley. SA. May 2018.

Barossa Gourmet Weekend. 31st august to 2nd September, 2018.

McLaren Vale Sea and Vine Festival. 10th and 11th June, 2018.

QLD

Gold Coast Food and Wine Festival. 20 – 23rd January. 2018.

Noosa Food and Wine Festival. 17th to 20th May, 2018.

Brisbane Food and Wine Expo. 20th-22nd July, 2018.

Brisbane Good Food and Wine Show. October 26-28.

Tasmania

Huon Valley Mid-winter Festival in Tasmania. 13th to 15th July 2018.

Devonport Food and Wine Festival. TBC (October)

Taste of Tasmania. 28th December to 3rd January, 2018.

ACT

Canberra Food and Wine Expo. 9th to 11th of February. 2018.

Truffle Festival. 1st June to 31st August, 2018.

Canberra District Wine Harvest Festival. 6th to 15th April, 2018.

WA

Fish and Sips Festival, 2018. The West Australian Seafood Festival. 2nd to 4th Feb, 2018.

CrabFest. 17th-18th March. 2018. Mandurah, WA.

Truffle Kerfuffle. Manjimup. WA. 23-25th June 2018.

Perth Good Food and Wine Show. 24th to 26th August, 2018.

Perth Food and Wine Festival. 24th to 26th August, 2018.

Margaret River Gourmet Escape. 15-18 November 2018.

NSW

Taste of Sydney. 8-11th March, 2018.

Orange Food Week. 6th to 15th April. 2018.

Taste Tamworth Festival. 6th to 15th April. 2018.

Hunter Valley Wine and Food Festival. May & June, 2018.

Taste of Manly. May 2018. TBC

Sydney Good Food and Wine Show. 22nd to 24th June, 2018.

Hunter Valley Wine Festival. TBC

Ballina Fine Wine and Food Festival. Sunday 1st July, 2018.

Newcastle Food and Wine Expo. August 2018.

NT

Territory Taste Festival. TBC


Got a favourite Australian Food Festivals that you would like to add? Then let me know.

danib@eatmystreet.net


Dani B is a food, travel and lifestyle writer from Melbourne. You can find out more by going here. 

Or you a can support Eat My Street by shopping with our great affiliates including Hunting for George, Dymocks books, Marley Spoon, Matt Blatt furniture and more.


Looking for more food celebrations?

Traditional Food Celebrations from around the World

National Food Days Calendar

Looking for Dani’s beautiful vintage recipes?

Then try our Grandma Bakes page. 

We also write about parenting,  living mindfully and  gratitude.

 

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Amanda’s Chewy Chocolate-Chip Cookies Recipe

Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

Im going to let you in on a little secret.

These are my all time favourite chocolate chop cookies and my go-to indulgent chocolate snack recipe.

The recipe was given to me by a client many moons ago. She used to make them for all the staff at the clinic occasionally and when she would bring them in, well we would all fall over ourselves in the delight of biting into their still warm, buttery softness.

When I was kindly gifted the recipe and I returned home to make them one rainy Winter’s morning, I discovered that I could not quite replicate the perfection.

So I messed a little with the recipe and found the by excluding 1/2 a cup of the flour success was finally mine.

I have included here for you, the original recipe. If you would like to make the perfect version then I suggest you exclude a 1/4 a cup of the SR flour and 1/4 cup of the plain flour. But if you really want the recipe to stretch, then go ahead and add it in. They are still delicious.

My favourite outcome is achieved when I chop up a block of good quality coverture chocolate into different sized pieces. It is so satisfying to bite into a big melty piece of chocolate nestled amongst the dough.

When I am in a rush though I just throw in those store bough chocolate chips. My most recent record for this recipe was 20 minute from beginning to end and it made for a much friendly afternoon snack than the biscuits my kids beg me to buy from the supermarket.

Annie's Chewy Choc-Chip Cookies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 125 g of butter
  • ½ cup of brown sugar
  • ½ cup of castor sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 1 cup of plain flour
  • 1 cup of SR flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of milk
  • 1 cup of milk chocolate melts
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius and line two baking trays.
  2. Beat the butter, sugars and vanilla essence together until light and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and then add the milk.
  4. Sift the flours together and then mix into the butter mixture with a wooden spoon.
  5. Add the chocolate bits and stir through until just combined.
  6. Roll large teaspoons of mixture into balls and place on the baking tray, 5cm apart.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes or until brown.
  8. Cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy.

Dani xx


I cannot deny it, I like baking with chocolate.

Here are a few of my other favourite chocolate recipes.

Chocolate Mud Cake

White Chocolate Mudcake with coconut

Chocolate nut slice

Enjoy a little nostalgia in your kitchen?

Then why not scroll through my “Grandma bakes” recipe collection.

While you are here, you might like to support Eat My Street, by shopping with our affiliates. 

 

 

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Opa’s Butter Biscuits Recipe

Opa’s butter biscuits recipe

butter biscuits recipe

The life lesson here seems to be, don’t let me near your family cook books unless you like sharing.

I tend to find those old hand written and reliably dog eared pages in a home cooks collection an absolute treasure trove.

So it is with this recipe, lifted from my own Mum’s plastic coated, age old collection of family recipes. This one is titled “Butter Biscuits (Opa’s)” and so I know that at some point it made its way across the seas from the family bakery in the Netherlands many years ago.

It must be good right because why else would a Bakker bother taking it with them and then holding tight to it and passing it down the family?

When I first gave the recipe a try, I immediately remembered…. indeed it is a good recipe.

With the first buttery bite of these sugary biscuit I am transported back to my Oma and Opa’s windmill’d red, green and white house in the Yarra Valley. In tasting these cookies I am remembering my childhood and my grandparents and their ornately decorated lounge room where the adults talked and talked for hours.

These cookies are very sweet and very buttery and as such are a bit of a treat at my house. Worthy of serving at Christmas time I think.

Opa’s Butter Biscuits
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: traditional
Ingredients
  • 8 oz butter
  • 8 oz sugar (less 1 tbsp)
  • 1 egg
  • 8 oz plain flour, sifted
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp S.R. flour
  • 6 drops of lemon essence
Instructions
  1. Cream the butter and sugar until almost white.
  2. Add the egg and lemon essence and mix well.
  3. Add the sifted flour and a pinch of salt. Stir until just mixed together.
  4. Drop teaspoons full of mixture onto a lined baking tray and cook in a moderate oven until golden brown. (12-15 minutes).
Notes
Keep a close eye on the cookies as they bake as you don't want to over cook them.
Space them out nicely on the tray as it is a wet mixture and they will spread.
This recipe is not any good for making into shapes as it is too soft.

Enjoy.

Dani xx


Dani B is a food and lifestyle blogger from Melbourne. She loves experimenting with new recipes and discovering old treasured classics.  You can find some of her favourite recipes here.

She also runs Dani Bee social media management Melbourne.


Looking for something else to cook?

How about this risotto picnic pie?

risotto pie

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Marshmallow Pavlova Recipe

I am infamously quoted among my extended family as having said “I don’t really eat dessert” and then also, not long after , “‘I’ll have a little bit more please” at one of my first Christmas dinners with my new family.

So it goes with this, the  Bruce family Marshmallow Pavlova.

I really am not that much of a dessert eater, unless it involves fruit, cheese or chocolate. But this pavlova is perfect. Marshmallowy, crunchy and sweet all at once.Marshmallow Pavlova Recipe

My absolute favorite (but definitely not traditional) way to decorate it is with too much cream, generous drizzles of melted white chocolate, little chocolate balls and some fresh berries.

I have also experimented with rose water & chocolate in the base as flavorings.

The Bruce family stick to a strict regime of fresh fruit and flake or peppermint crisp as toppings. You can’t really go wrong with these.

This recipe belongs to my late Mother-in law. She taught me a lot about cooking sweet food. She loved cakes and sweets and had a huge repertoire of recipes that were tried and tested. She added her own notations to them year by year, always eager to share the secret tricks to getting these recipes perfected.

I often think back to the advice she gave me when I was home looking after my first baby. Tired, exhausted and completely bamboozled by this new task I had before me to raise a tiny, gorgeous human, she supported me in a vast array of practical tasks without judgement or comment.

Her advice was this

“Always have a packet of biscuits handy for yourself. If you get up in the middle of the night to feed the baby and you are hungry, you will have something to eat.”

In essence what she was saying was “look after yourself” and it was very valuable and precious advice.

She was that kind of person.

I have printed her “notes” here for your enjoyment and to help you make an awesome pavlova.

Her number one rule of pavlova making (and she made many, many pavolvas in her time) was this.

“Just have a bash at it because you can’t get it too wrong and either way it will be delicious.”

Marshmallow Pavlova Recipe

Ingredients

4 egg whites
1 cup of caster sugar
1 dessertspoon of cornflour
1 teaspoon brown sugar

Method

Add egg whites until stiff.
Add 1/2 cup of castor sugar, beat thoroughly until the sugar is dissolved- about 5 minutes.
Add remaining sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition.
Lightly fold in the cornflour then the vinegar.
Scrape the mixture out into a pile onto grease proof paper. Shape it into a circle and keep it fairly high in shape as it spreads a bit as it cooks.
Place on a low shelf in a pre heated oven 200 degrees celsius, then immediately reduce heat to 125 degrees and cook for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Cool in the oven.

Note that the pavlova will shrink and crack on cooling- that is normal- just fill it with whipped cream and toppings.

Extra notes for eggselent pav.

  • Buy medium eggs and make sure they are room temperature before using.
  • Seperate the egg whites from yolks into a cup one at a time before adding them to a  big basin as you must not get any yolk in with the whites as it will prevent fluffiness and a good stiffness of the whites.
  • Put the whites into a dry, clean basin- no greasiness. Warm it a little first if you like, to help the egg whites fluff up more (sometimes I warm the beaters in the oven for a few minutes first so that the egg whites fluff up more.)
  • When you first beat the egg whites don’t over beat them- just beat until soft peaks form and it is reasonably stiff- lift the beater up and see if it holds in a peak with only the top bending over. Once you have added some sugar you can beat them as much as you like. Beat until all the sugar is dissolved.
  • I am usually generous with the vinegar and cornflour. It using an electric mixer just gently beat on low speed- til just mixed in.
  • Putting the pavlova in at high temperature puffs it up well, then lower the temperature for cooking- an extra quarter of an hour never hurts as it makes a bit more of a crisp crust. Sometimes you check it when the time is up and the crust seems quite fragile- just cook it another 15 minutes and be sure to check it.
  • In the cooler weather the pavlova will cool faster and crack a little more but if left in the warmth too long it can sweat.
  • I usually cover with a light food cover until its quite cool- put on a plate and in the fridge until ready to se. It will be Ok in there for a couple of days. If you want to keep it longer pop it in the freezer- it should be Ok for about 4 weeks.
  • For the topping you can beat some cream well and add some icing sugar and vanilla.

Happy Eating.

Dani xx

My chocolate version.

Enjoyed this recipe?

Then you might like to see some of my other traditional recipes.

Opa’s Butter Cookies. 

Traditional Cheese Biscuits recipe. 

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The Old Butcher Shop Cafe Seville

The Old Butcher Shop Cafe Seville

I was kindly invited to visit the Old Butcher Shop Cafe Seville for brunch and to write a review. Seeing as I love this part of Melbourne, and I knew that the awesome Seville Water Play park was just across the road, I decided to head out on a Saturday morning with the kids in tow.The Old Butcher Shop Cafe Seville
Natasha is the owner of the Old Butcher Shop Cafe and she was confidently driving the coffee machine for a busy and enthusiastic crowd of regulars and locals when I arrived.The Old Butcher Shop Cafe Seville
Natasha is having something of a tree change in her life, after leaving her corporate job in the City three years ago to pursue her dream of running a great cafe in her home town. Natasha’s Mum is chief butcher in charge of the old butcher shop from where the cafe takes its name. They have moved down the road now to a larger premises but Natasha just knew that the old building had a lot of promise as a cafe so she set about renovating it into a cafe that she would love to eat at. I think she has done a great job.

Long and narrow with an original exposed brick wall running down one side and windows that look out onto the street at the front, the cafe has a lot of warmth and charm. Add to this the display of art by a local artist and the cosy atmosphere is complete.The Old Butcher Shop Cafe Seville

Natasha is serving Wow blend coffee ($3.50) which is from a small local company run by a husband and wife team from the Yarra Valley. Beans are roasted here locally but are imported originally from their family run company in Indonesia.

They also serve Tea Drop teas.

I was also a little smitten with their very smart takeaway cups by Live & Give, with proceeds from each purchase going to support charity. coffee at the Old Butcher Shop Cafe Seville

To the food. Breakfast is all day (kitchen closes at 3pm) and includes eggs benedict ($17.50), hash stack ($18) or the amazing sounding tasters board ($18) with mini granola and baked rhubarb, smashed avo on toast, poached egg, warm croissant, house made jam & an orange juice.

I was very tempted to order the delicious sounding lamington pancakes (house made pancakes, raspberry compote, milk chocolate ganache and shaved coconut flakes)  but in the end could not resist the look of the butchers breakfast board. Eggs your way, bacon, herb roasted tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach, saganaki, avocado, house made potato hash (very good) relish and organic sourdough toast. brunch at the Old Butcher Shop Cafe Seville

The delicious thick cut bacon was smoky and full or flavour and like the sausages, come straight from the family butcher shop.

There is also a lunch menu and a very decent kids menu to keep the littlies happy.pancakes at the Old Butcher Shop Cafe Sevillemilkshake at the Old Butcher Shop Cafe Seville

Overall I found the Old Butcher Shop Cafe to be a bit of a hidden gem, serving decent honest food with warmth and hospitality and unexpected touches of good.banana bread at the Old Butcher Shop Cafe Seville

Pop in on your way to a winery or have a wander and check out some of the local offerings (wineries and cherry /berry picking are all close by).

Dani


The details

www.theoldbutchershopcafe.com.au

559 Warburton Hwy, Seville. 
Opening hours:
Monday to Friday 6.30am to 4pm.
Saturday 7am to 4pm.
Sunday 8am to 4pm.

Old Butcher Shop Cafe Seville

 

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Cheese Biscuit recipe. Just like Grandma used to make.

Cheese Biscuit recipe with cayenne & poppy seeds.Vintage Cheese Biscuit recipe with cayenne

The recipe for these “Cheese biscuits”come to me via my husbands mother. We were very fortunate to inherit a bag full of old, loose, handwritten recipes as well as a long list of my mother-in-laws own family recipes.

A lot of the recipes have very basic instructions and I assume this is because they were so familiar to the maker that they never really required any complicated notes. For generations recipes were handed down this way, by cooking in the kitchen together and passing on all the secrets and tips through the process of cooking together, rather than through the written word.

I have quite a few recipes that I learned this way and maybe you do too.

But back to the cheese biscuit recipe. They came with a note to mix together, roll flat and bake in the oven. Through trial and error I have elaborated on those instructions and I have also added in my own extra ingredient, poppy seeds.

These biscuits are surprisingly very tasty and with the addition of cayenne pepper are probably more to the preference of adults, although my children did enjoy eating them too.

I have tested this recipe out on some friends with great success.

The mix creates a cheesy, fully flavoured biscuit with a little crunch and more lightness than you would expect. Serve them with a good cheese and a slice of crunchy pear, or cut them into small squares to add to a cheese plate.Cheese Biscuit recipe

Or just eat simply on their own, they are a little addictive.

I hope you will like it too.

Cheese Biscuits
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 12-14
Ingredients
  • 1 cup of S.R. Flour
  • 5 tablespoons of grated cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of butter, melted.
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoons of poppy seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds
  • a large pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 4-6 tablespoons of cold water
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celsius.
  2. Add all the SR flour, cayenne, poppy seeds,salt and cheese to a mixing bowl and stir to mix.
  3. Pour in the melted butter and slowly add in the cold water until the mixture starts to come together. Use a butter knife to pull it together as you slowly add the water.
  4. When the mixture has come together, roll it into little balls.
  5. Get a baking tray and cover it with baking paper.
  6. Add the cheese balls to the tray and squish them flat.
  7. Use a rolling pin to roll them flatter still.
  8. Put them in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes but keep an eye on it as you want them to cook through, but not burn. They should be nicely brown and crisp.
  9. Enjoy on their own or as part of a cheese platter.
Notes
Use as much cayenne pepper as your heart desires, but start out with just a little bit as you do not want the flavour to overwhelm.

I plan to experiment with cutting these biscuits into flat squares too.

Cheese Biscuit recipeI enjoyed using the “cayenne pepper” which is not really an ingredient that I use much in my kitchen. You can add as little or as much as you like. I get more lavish with the cayenne each time I make them but I do keep in mind that my kids will probably complain if there is too much of it.Cheese Biscuit recipe

I really love discovering traditional recipes that have truly withstood the test of time. Do you have a favourite recipe handed down through the generations in your family? I’d love to hear about it.

Happy Cooking.

Dani xx


Have you tried Aussie Farmers Direct?

As an affiliate supported of Eat My Street they are currently offering  $30 off your first meals order of $60 or more. Simply visit here, make your order and   enter promo code 30OFF and you’ll enjoy $30 off your first order of $60 or more! Valid until 19th November.


I think I am finally ready to admit that Christmas is on the way. For me that means I first had to deal three birthday parties for my children, in four weeks. Now that is over, I am finally feeling a little excited about the festive season.

To that end, I just had to share with you the beautiful Christmas range from another affiliate, Williams Sonoma. You can order online and if you spend over $99, shipping is free.

Do you have your Christmas plans sorted yet? I am looking forward to decorating our new house and enjoying our nightly hot chocolate bar tradition.

More on that soon.

Dani

 

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Gardens. Gardening. Thinking of Versailles.

I am back in the kitchen this week cooking one of the never ending variations of one of my favourite recipes.

Shredded beef recipe.

I have a few new ingredients to play with thanks to Melbourne company El Cielo Mexican foods. They sent me a gorgeous packet of dried Ancho Chile and I am loving using the last of it in this dish. It adds a distinctive depth of flavour that I love.

I am also using a collection of fresh herbs from my new garden.

While my kids are besotted with their new Labrador puppy, I feel like a have a kind of pet of my own that is my collection of herbs and flowers in their pots.

I do not have a green thumb at all but I do enjoy gardening.

I watched a snippet of this film “Portrait of a garden” and I found some illuminating advice about being a gardener. Something along the lines of (and I paraphrase here) if you want to be a gardener you have to be able to tolerate uncertainty and be willing to build for the future, with all the patience that requires.

The truly great gardens throughout history have done just that don’t you think?

I wonder what it is that actually constitutes a great garden?

My Dad was a keen gardener and spent hours and hours turning green barren paddocks into beautiful fragrant garden beds that you could wander through or gaze upon.

Just last weekend I also visited my sister’s house in the Country and she has done a wonderful job of turning her own extensive but plain back yard into a vibrant and luscious garden, fit for meandering and drinking tea.

There was a time where my husband and I were thinking of moving to Versailles as there was a job opportunity available there that we liked the sound of. Imagine that, living near the gardens of Versailles. Of course they truly are great gardens of historical significance but I don’t think we need judge other gardens by their magnificence.Versailles

Why do you think? Have you ever fallen in love with a garden or perhaps fallen in love thanks to a garden?

Some of my favourite gardens include the ones my sister and Dad created, as well as the beautiful “Rose Cottage” gardens in the Yarra Valley that were planted and lovingly cared for by my Aunty and Uncle. When I was young this garden was a truly magical place to me and powerful childhood impressions never really fade do they?

Here in Melbourne I also have a soft spot for the Royal Botanic Gardens.royal botanic gardens melbourneAnd the average of edible farm at the “has to be seen to be believed ” produce garden at Cardi Farm from the team at O.My in Beaconsfield.

Cardi Farm with Blayne BertoncelloBlayne Bertoncello in garden O.My RestaurantCardi Farm produce garden O.My restaurant

On my wish list for a visit are the gardens of

  • Broughton Hall
  • Cloudhill Gardens Olinda
  • Cruden Farm by Dame Elisabeth Murdoch
  • Coombe House (Dame Nellie Melba)

As to falling in love in a garden? I cannot lay claim to this one.

At the moment though I am happy with my pots.

Wish me luck in keeping them happy and alive when the hot weather finally arrives.

Dani.


Looking for decor for your own garden?

I was excited to fine be approved for a brand new affiliate program with the beautiful Hunting for George this week.  They have a gorgeous range of homewares including a gorgeous collection to pots, planters and seeds. Check them out and support Eat My Street with your purchase. 

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Pinkster Gin Launch

Pinkster ginI was pleased to be invited along to the launch in Australia of Pinkster Gin.

The launch was held at the iconic Madame Brussels and what a glorious Spring evening it was to take in the gorgeous Melbourne views from the City’s first ever rooftop bar.

I also had the pleasure of being greeted by the legendary Miss Pearls on arrival. She handed me a plate of cucumber sandwiches and I gushed for a little bit about how much I loved hearing her talk at last years Food Symposium.

Pinkster Gin was launched by founder Stephen Marsh  in Cambridge England because he was experiencing dietary issues. I had the pleasure of meeting Stephen on the evening and he told us that he produces his light, raspberry infused product in his own backyard. It is made uniquely, relying on fresh raspberries.

His product uses fresh fruit to flavour the gin rather than dried fruit and  it is a lovely, light way to enjoy a Friday night drink. Pinkster Gin launch at Madame Brussels

It was a lovely way to launch into a weekend in Melbourne after a hectic week at the tiller.

Salute.Pinkster Gin

Dani xx

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Intern Wanted

Intern Wanted.

Must love eating food and meeting new people. Adventurous spirit necessary and a willingness to say “yes” to random opportunities is a must.

Day trip driving is desirable and an ability to see through new fads to the heart of lovingly made food and good hospitably.

Payment is in crackers, bacon and the occasional cook book.

Email danib@eatmystreet.net for more on this golden (latte) opportunity.

———————————————————————————————-My weekend started strongly with my attendance at a rooftop party to launch Pinkster Gin.

I don’t really “do” alcohol on my website but an opportunity to visit Madame Brussels and my love for a moderate tipple of gin drove me to it.

Saturday morning then sees me brunching with my two boys in the Yarra Valley at the awesome Old Butcher Shop Cafe. The lovely proprietor Natasha comments to me “You must be busy running a food blog and having three kids” and I nod sagely and politely stop myself from revealing the hilarious truth.

Which is this, I am too busy to look after three children and run a food blog, run my own small business and hold down a part-time job. Which is why I haven’t been writing much lately.

But boy, how I miss it.

I miss writing every day and I miss cooking creative meals in my kitchen. I also really miss having the energy to head out on new adventures to check out great cafes and restaurants, attend markets and write my own recipes. Because I really, really love all that stuff.

It is my little dream to do it more often.

But for now, life beckons elsewhere, often.

So if you have hung in there for my journey, sporadic posting and all, I say thank you.

And if you are insane enough to want to join in, then send me an email. Because I need someone to who is equally in love with the whole process, who can head out on my behalf.

Until then, sporadically yours, Dani.

xx

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Living little. 6 benefits of a smaller house.

Living little. Would you downsize? 6 benefits of a smaller house.

benefits of a smaller house

At an age where everyone I know is looking to buy their “next house” and make it into their dream home, my husband and I decided to downsize.

Yes, like most people I have dabbled in the fantasy of simple living, slow life and tiny homes but most of my dreams involved a beach or some other idyllic location. Because that would make sense right, to pack up you comfortable home & all your belongings in pursuit of a life lived large in your dream location?

But that’s not what we were doing. Instead of moving somewhere that was our dream location (say the countryside with rolling hills & a creek, or a beach location) we were moving “closer to work” and not even my work now that you mention it.

This isn’t the full story though because there were also a number of other reasons for the move, including a desire to be closer to friends and to be living in a part of Melbourne that we loved.

So we packed up our very spacious house and property on a quiet street, and moved into our mid century designed minimalist home that we accidentally bought at auction.

I was nervous, so nervous.

Our first few weeks were spent negotiating the smaller bedrooms and tiny bathrooms and knocking our elbows on bedroom doors. There was also quite a bit of convincing myself: it’s ok, we will be alright, we did the right thing.

When the children would complain about lack of space or our missing back yard full of grass, I would remain optimistic but deep down my heart would drop. What had we done and how long would we have to put up with it?

But the truth of the matter is this. Yes our house is smaller, but it is not small. Yes our yard is greatly reduced, but we still have a great yard.

Plus there are benefits to living in a smaller house. Benefits that really are rich reward at this stage of my life.

  1. It doesn’t take me very long to clean the house.
  2. I was forced to give away a lot of things that were not really needed.
  3. It does not take long to put something away or find something because everything simply has to have its place.
  4. The house heats up really quickly and beautifully and cools quite well too.
  5. Smaller houses are reportedly great for building relationships and connections within families. Of particular note is the inability of teenagers to kind of just disappear.
  6. A smaller house meant a better location (for us) and a shorter commute and therefore more time spent doing what we love.

There are some downsizes too of course, the most prominent of which is lack of party space. We have always traditionally purchased a house with a great party room in my family. Our current new house has a lot less space for that. So sleepovers, and hangouts and parties and get togethers are all slightly  less comfortable and if I’m honest, less likely to happen.

It is also sometimes quite tiring to be forced to tidy everything away immediately. There was a time where the washing could wait or school bags could be dumped without actually blocking the path of each new person that tried to enter the house. Those days are over because it really does just take up too much space.

So what do you think?

Would you downsize and how small would you go?

A yard and garden of some sort is really important to me so I think that would be one of the things that would always stop me from going much smaller. In fact I do nurse this lovely little fantasy of a one bedroom shack on the edge of a national park somewhere, nearly all “yard” and very little indoor space.

A couch, kettle and a book nook would be just about enough.

Dani

benefits of a smaller house


Further reading

A friend recently lent me this excellent book on minimalism and decluttering.

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo

I am loving it although I kind of wish I had read it before I got rid of a lot of my things. The process is definitely ongoing though and Kondo makes it seem inspirational.

Or you might like a little visual motivation?

Tiny Houses at Dymocks Books. 


Still reading?

You might like to read about gardening, grief or my growing family. 

 

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13 years as a Mum

Being a Mum is a complicated thing. A lot of the experience goes unspoken as there really aren’t the right words to explain and besides, who has the time anyway?

The best thing you can hope for is to have friends alongside you who are experiencing the same thing in some way, some people who just “get it” and some who help you to decode the mystery.

As they rightly say, it takes a village to raise a child.

At this stage in my life, the “parenting experts” give me the shudders. They are everywhere and they are full of advice, a lot of it conflicting, and I never really found them particularly helpful.

How much more helpful is it to have someone just show you the way, rather than wag their finger at you when you veer off course.

I’m talking about those awesome friends who just get all into being a Mum in all its beautiful, disgusting, inspiring, gorgeous, complex,  grotesque, hilarious, exquisite, awe-inspiring mess.

Some of the more memorable mottos that I have seen lived out in my fellow parents lives include

  • You can sleep when you are dead.
  • Up you pop, you’ll be alright.
  • I just love every moment.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff.

I gained most courage and inspiration from those people who found joy in parenting and spoke of the love and happiness that children bring. This kind of approach isn’t really popular because being a Mum is definitely  too hard a lot of the time, but I found it very uplifting anyway.

But the real life savers were the people who got along side me in a practical way. My heart is infinitely grateful for the friends who took my children to help me out or who stepped in to lift the load when I was being buried. Asking never came easy for me so an offer or an easy “sure, I’ll do it” was a sweet little survival miracle.

A lot of these people probably don’t even remember what they did but each one is imprinted fair and square across my heart, my marriage and my family.

I have definitely made too many mistakes to count in my 13 years as a Mum. I’ve often whispered a little apology to my daughter who is in the firing line of a lot of them. Then I whisper a prayer for her too and I feel thankful that it is not all just up to me.

Today marks the day that my daughter becomes a teenager. I feel really emotional and thankful to have gotten her safely this far. I also think she is a super human being and I love watching her live her life.  My mother- story with my first-born was a complex and complicated anecdote that she’ll never really understand, but some of you know and for that I am thankful.

Today’s celebrations should really be shared with Bella’s Grandma & Nanna. Unfortunately Grandma is no longer with us although when I look at my daughter I am strongly reminded of the role her Grandma played in her life. The knitting, the sewing, the cooking and cleaning and all the help with my washing.

“Now I don’t want to intrude but would you mind if I pegged out some of the washing for you?”

Um… I.would.not.mind.

Grandma also used to take me to the supermarket in the early days of sleepless delirium and buy me food and snacks and meals to just get me through and these little lifelines of support made such a wonderful difference to my life as a new Mum.

Her greatest parenting advice revolves around these two mantras

  • Children are made of washable material and
  • I have never broken one yet.

She also gave me the miraculous gift of time out in those early days when it was still becoming evident that my life was no longer my own. I wish she was here to celebrate today and share a little more advice about the intoxicating teenage years to come.

Nanna shared with us the infectious joy of having children. Yes my Mum was one of the madsters who just loved having children and decided that 6 daughters would be a good idea. My own three children often seem like an overwhelming handful so I cannot imagine doubling that number although my own lived experience testifies to the joy and goodness of a large family. Cousins, friendship, noise and endless parties to attend, a large family is rich in blessing in many ways although occasionally poor in more tangible pursuits.

After 6 children my own Mum still maintains that lovely precious, pearl-like belief that children and family are a wonderful, luscious blessing and I am constantly uplifted by her enthusiasm.

The year after my first child was born was the most difficult and most amazing year of my life. My life was changed that day and thirteen years later it is still being changed every day. So thank you to my little (wide-spread, far-flung) village and thank you to my daughter.

Happy Birthday BB.

Dani xx

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