SUNDAY / 19

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Have I got a story for you! Or a recipe, anyway. Well, some vague instructions since I adapted the whole thing from two recipes and the memory of some muffins I made a few years ago. I got the new Nigella book from a friend for my birthday, and was taken by a sweet sounding pumpkin bundt cake - and it's autumn, so you know, the season for that kind of thing. But I don't have a bundt tin, and without the bundt it's just a pretty plain cake. So I adapted it with a streusel recipe I had, so it would be softer, and added a pecan crumble to the top because I just felt like it needed it. That and some extra ginger and nutmeg to give it a kick. And an orange zest / juice syrup at the last minute. It was quite something.  

After a morning of yoga and a late breakfast, I pulled this out of the oven just after 12 and made a pot of Monk Pear and spent the afternoon researching NYC, LA and Mexico for October.

INGREDIENTS

* 300g brown sugar
* 125 ml of vegetable oil
* zest and juice of half an orange
* 3 eggs
* 1.5 cups of pureed pumpkin
* 400g plain flour
* 2 teaspoons of bicarb soda
* 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
* half a teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice
* 40g of butter
* three tablespoons each of flour and brown sugar
* handful of pecans, diced
* juice of half an orange
* half a cup of icing sugar

METHOD

Lightly grease and line a loaf tin with baking paper. Steam and puree the pumpkin and while it's cooling, mix together the brown sugar, the orange zest and juice and the eggs. In a separate bowl mix together the flour, bicarb soda and the spices (instead of sifting, I use a whisk to break up the clods). Once the pumpkin has cooled, add it to the wet ingredients and beat softly until combined, then slowly add the flour until the whole thing is smooth and creamy (don't over mix). It makes a fairly wet batter, and there's quite a bit there so make sure you use a full sized tin.

In a small bowl, mix together the last of the flour and brown sugar and rub the butter in till you get a crumble, then add in the diced pecans. 

Pour the batter into the tin, add the crumble to the top and bake at 180 celsius for about 40 minutes, checking at 20 and 30 to make sure it's browning evenly. Mine rose quite a bit and took an extra ten minutes to firm up all the way through the middle. 

Once it is cooked through, allow it to cool on a wire rack while you mix together the last of the orange juice and some icing sugar - drizzle over the top of the crumble* and serve with tea. Happy Sunday folks!   

* I know what you're saying - drizzle cake or crumble, make up your mind Meg! But dammed if you can ever have too much of a good thing when it comes to cake. 

YEAR THREE.

YEAR TWO.

YEAR ONE. 
 

DRESS UPS / 5

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Today's DRESS UPS post is brought to you by soft fabrics and high-brow comfort. I tell you, I cannot get enough of everything that is tony chestnut - the Canadian clothes of my dreams. Handmade by the lovely Jill, who I can only assume is the babe I have been swooning up and down Instagram over (see above and below). I love when people have a very distinct and put-together style that seems so wholly and beautifully them. Of course in this case, I want it to be me too! I want my life to look like these pictures - calm and interesting and understated and beautiful. I am very taken by the rust linen onesie (bottom right) and have had the tab open for a good few days now, thinking to buy.  

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* All images from tony chestnut

SUNDAY / 18

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An arvo Sunday sesh. Long and lovely day with family saying goodbye to my grandparents, and a quiet beer in the afternoon at my aunt's house in Marrickville. I've taken to the craft beers, since so many others are causing me migraines, and it isn't working out too badly.

YEAR THREE.

YEAR TWO.

YEAR ONE. 

SUNDAY / 17

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This week was a blur, a big amazing and crazy time to Make Nice. Three days and nights and so full of inspiration. It's hard to know where to start. I'll have to think about a debrief here. But with all the rain today, I spent some overdue downtime in bed with about 7 cups of tea.

In the evening we took our keynotes / new best friends to see Spike Jonze speak at Vivid Ideas. It was a pretty sweet way to round out the weekend, not to mention some Mary's burgers and a few beers in Newtown afterwards. Week made. 

YEAR THREE.

YEAR TWO.

YEAR ONE. 

SUNDAY / 16

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A Sunday away. I had a meeting in Brissy on Monday and came up a day early because my sister happened to be in town for a conference and so we stole a day. In the sun, at the gallery, afternoon beers, giggling in poorly lit changerooms, early dinner, hotel room hangs and NYC planning. It was a good day.

* Picture of Mukurtu by Nancy Nyanjilpayi Chapman, May Maywokka Chapman, Mulyatingki Marney, Marjorie Malatu Yates. 

YEAR THREE.

YEAR TWO.

YEAR ONE.

SUNDAY / 15

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A nice little Sunday. Bit of gardening while Liz slept in, then a drive south to Royal National Park. We stopped for coffee at West End Espresso because I'd heard good things, and all the things were right. This is a shining light in deepest suburbia, beautifully fitted-out, from the lighting to the chairs to the perfect low glasses and smooth lattes. We didn't eat, but the food looked GOOD. And the guys running the place were the sweetest ever, couldn't have loved them more - will definitely be swinging by again soon. 

We were headed to Bundeena to a friend's house, and arrived for a late lunch on the deck, Gillian Welch playing on the stereo, walls crammed with beautiful art, a very sweet dog, lots of afternoon sun and yesterday's papers on the table among some nice cheese and the sourdough we brought. Chardonnay and salmon on the BBQ and a lot of intelligent, thoughtful and very funny conversation about the arts. We managed a good walk on the beach with the dog afterwards as the sun was lowering, and took the long drive out of the park just after golden hour - the scrub and bushland catching the last of the day. I love the grey half-light, pink skies and not quite being able to see the detail.

We sang to Joanna Newsom and Bon Iver and stopped for dumplings on the way home.  

YEAR THREE.

YEAR TWO.

YEAR ONE.

SUNDAY / 14

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A fun Sunday, this one. I had my young cuz Joe stay over on Saturday night. Instead of buying he and his sister a birthday present each year, they come for a sleepover and get to choose what we cook for dinner and where we go for brekky. They feel grown-up and I get to spend time with them. Time is always better than presents. Joe wanted to make apple crumble, so we did. And then ate the whole damn lot.

On Sunday we went down to Three Blue Ducks for breakfast, and kicked the soccer ball for an hour in the park at the cliffs, overlooking Bronte and Clovelly. It's autumn but it felt like summer. We stopped at the carwash because it was nearby and I had lots to do, but it turns out using a high pressure hose and a giant foaming mop is the height of fun if you're eight. On the way home we sang along to Jake Bugg with the windows down. He's the sweetest boy, our Joe. 

I managed to read my book for an hour in between a few loads of washing, some editing work, and an evening yoga class. Afternoons on the front step are the best. 

YEAR THREE.

YEAR TWO. 

YEAR ONE.

SUNDAY / 13

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Flowers in a bucket, all class I am. I bought them yesterday, to take to my aunties and grandmother at morning tea today (Mother's Day). They mother me quite a bit, even though I'm 35 and a grown woman. We had a big mess of eggs and toast and corn fritters and pots of tea, then a round of kitchen dancing while we all did the dishes. The usual wonderful. 

This afternoon I found a bit of time to finish my book on the front step, autumn afternoon light and a dark ale. I have quite a bit of work to do this evening, but a pot of soup on and some Sam Cooke vinyl should get me through.

YEAR THREE.

YEAR TWO.

YEAR ONE.