Who Run this Mother

It’s so fitting that today I wish to write about my weekend of women. On International Women’s Day, I am reflecting on the wonderful couple of days I spent with some of my favourite ladies.

Andrew’s family are the most laid-back, inclusive, friendly bunch of people I’ll ever know. His sister has included me in her bridal party, even though we’ve only known each other properly for a couple of years.

Saturday night just gone, we celebrated Simone’s impending nuptials with a Gatsby themed high tea and Hen’s party. Flapper dresses were sourced, feathery headpieces donned and party feet stretched and ready to dance.

IMG_0172Andrew’s Mum and sistersIMG_0165

IMG_0167IMG_0166These women; the sisters, mothers, aunties, cousins, partners and grandmother. My goodness, they are something else. I have never had an awkward moment with them, never felt like I wasn’t good enough for them or Andrew and have never felt more accepted into a family that isn’t my own. They support one another, show up when they need to, but know how to laugh at and with each other more than anything.

To Louise, well done for raising three beautiful kids. Simone is the most selfless woman, with the biggest heart, and watching her dancing the night away with a huge smile on her face gave me all kinds of warm feelings.

As incredible as this family is, I can’t let this day pass without mentioning my own. On Sunday afternoon, I picked up my Mum and my Grandma and we headed out to the river for a special afternoon.

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The Peninsula Tea Gardens, in Maylands, do an exceptional (and reasonably priced) high tea, with a gluten free menu optional. Mum packed a bottle of bubbles, we ordered our tea and let our stomachs get prepared for the feast.

IMG_0877Mum and Grandma’s slice of heaven (I just noticed old mate in the back, ha!)IMG_0878And one just for me!IMG_0879

Though my Grandma is a very quiet, very British and polite kid of gal, it was so nice just sitting back in the beautiful sunshine and enjoying one another’s company. Plus, these were involved:

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Onto more unbelievable women in my life, my second cousin and aunt in England. Knowing that Mum and I won’t have too much time together before I head off, they sent a care package for us. Packets of chips, chocolate, hand cream and two face masks, sent with instructions to enjoy a girl’s night on them. Which is just what we did…

She’s going to kill me for this one… love you Mum!

Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.
-Unknown

To all the women in my life, I’m so grateful to each and every one of you. Boys are great and all, but there is nothing like the support and love you get from your Mum, step-Mum, best friends and family.

Happy International Women’s Day!
Hanbel.
x

Let Them Eat Cake!

So, I’ve been baking again.

And if you like chocolate, coffee, salted caramel, snickers or sugar and butter in general, you will LOVE these cupcakes.

Andrew’s Cousin (also Lucy’s bestie – Perth is too small) is getting married in under a month!!! We celebrated her kitchen tea this past weekend, and the bridesmaids asked if I could contribute my baking skillz.

I’m sure you all know by now that I will take any opportunity to bake, so this was a no brainer. Also, I found this video by Cupcake Jemma and was DYING to try it out. The name itself says it all: Salted Caramel Chocolate Mudslide Cupcakes. C’mon!!

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First up, we’ve gotta make some Salted Caramel, which is so much easier than you think!
Pop one teaspoon of vanilla extract (essence is way better, but this is what I had) into 1 cup of double cream, and put to the side.
Put a tea towel down on your bench, you’ll be needing this very soon!

Then, combine 6 tablespoons of tap water with a cup of caster sugar and bang it on the heat (that was a bit Jamie Oliver wasn’t it?). Now here’s the tricky part: leave it on medium heat for around 8-10 minutes. Do not touch it. No stirring, no whisking, no sloshing around. Let it do it’s thing.

When it looks like this:

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Take it off the heat, and add in your cream. AND NOW YOU GET TO STIR. Please don’t stop stirring while you pour the cream in steadily until it’s all combined. It will then smell unbelievable and look like all your caramel dreams. Which is when you add in a teaspoon of good quality sea salt flakes and set the jar aside for later on.

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Now, the actual cupcake part.
Make a dry ingredient bowl: 350g plain flour, 60g cocoa powder, 370g caster sugar, 1 teaspoon bicarb soda, a pinch of salt and 150g chocolate chips. Mix it up!
Then a wet ingredient bowl: 240ml cooled coffee (I made two cups that morning, one for the cupcakes, one for Hanbel), 240ml buttermilk, 210ml vegetable oil and 3 large eggs.

Add the dry into the wet and combine, simples!

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Pop them into cupcake cases, and then into a 180 degree oven for 22 minutes. While they’re cooking and getting even more delicious, move onto the icing.

Start by beating 300g soft unsalted butter until it’s light and fluffy (I use a hand mixer, but a standing mixer is perfecto). Next up, 540g SIFTED icing sugar is added in two stages. I say SIFTED in CAPITAL LETTERS because I didn’t sift mine, and had piping bag issues later on. It wasn’t the end of the world, but life is easier with sifted icing sugar.
Add in half of the salted caramel we made earlier (around 150ml) and whiz away.

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These bad boys come out of the oven, and it’s time for the sneaky part.

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Using a chopstick, or something similar, poke a decent hole in the top of each cupcake. This is where the rest of that amazing salted caramel goes!

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Frost your cupcakes however you like, piped or spooned on, and you’re almost good to go! I had a little of the salted caramel left over, so I drizzled that over the top. As per Jemma’s suggestion, I had also frozen mini snickers bars ahead of time, to chop up and place on top. Because these cupcakes didn’t have enough chocolate in them already…

There you have it, the final product:

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So dense, soft and delectable (I’m avoiding the M word, but you all know it). I went a little light on the frosting, but as these were very sweet and rich, I think it worked out well.

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Go on, give them a go. You know you want 24 of these puppies to yourself…

Hanbel.
x

 

 

There’ll be Parties for Hosting, Marshmallows for Roasting

19th December, 2015. The 9th annual Girl’s Christmas.
(Although Lucy and I only came along 5 or 6 years ago – and vastly improved the day, I must say).

MY FAVOURITE DAY! Especially this, year because I got to host. It was great fun putting the table together for my special ladies, and luckily we all bring a plate of food every year, so catering was easy peasy!

I absolutely love these gatherings because the food is always delicious, the banter hilarious, the mood super chilled out, the presents well thought out, but most of all; it’s the best company.

I have the best friends. I know everyone thinks they do, but you are wrong. Mine are the very best. Ha! I kid, but they are the best for me. As we are growing up (a little) we are becoming very different people. Somehow it works though, and we mesh into this loud, crazy girl tribe.

They have my back, always, and I have theirs. Which is why it’s so beautiful to come together every year and enjoy each other’s company.

Plus, FOOD.

IMG_0730My little watermelon, mint and feta skewers

IMG_0735IMG_0736IMG_0738My home gurl Anh making us a Pimms bowl, like a rockstar

IMG_0739The essence of Christmas; TurkeyIMG_0733.JPGIMG_0741IMG_0742Yep, I straight up forgot to photograph the rest of the food (too hungry) so here we have it all on one plate. Rachel’s roast pork and crispy crackling was to die for, as always.IMG_0745“Let’s take a group photo”IMG_0748IMG_0751I love you guys, like a ridiculous amount

Lucy, the fricken gem, on top of making a divine berry cheesecake, pulled out a box with homemade gifts for us all. Completely unexpected, but very warmly received. She made us all rocky road, cookie dough truffles and our own personalised mugs!!

Try and pick mine, it may or may not be caffeine related..

12391293_10153379195723613_5279438210008517105_np.s. Thanks Rach for the pic!

I hope you all have memorable Christmas meals, like this one. Full of love, laughter, full bellies and warm hearts (too corny? I’m rolling with it).

Lots and lots and lots and lots of love to my special ladies, you make being friends very easy.

Hanbel.
x

My Brother

Is so much cooler than me. Everyone agrees. My own friends have met him, and prefer to hang out with him rather than me. (Kidding, kinda..)

He is the most chilled out dude I know, always going with the flow and letting things happen naturally. He never wants a huge fuss, he’s happy with a pint in hand at a local pub with a few of his favourites.

With his amazing girlfriend in tow, they drove The Nullarbor earlier this year, and didn’t mind spending 12 hours in car together.

He also has this incredible talent for graphic design, which he has been studying on and off for the last 5 years. Last week, we were lucky enough to witness his graduation night, showcasing all the hard work these crazy talented kids have put in.

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I came home all excited to tell Andrew about the Delorium they had out the front. DELOREAN Hannah, DeLorean. Doh!

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Another talented cookie I went to high school with, and his brand Melting Duck. So, so good!

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He definitely got all of the artist talent in the family.

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Congratulations Ali, on graduating, on receiving the Typography award, for being an awesome human. You’re my little brother, but I look up to you in so many way, this being one of them.

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Hanbel.
x

Eat, Drink and Be Married

I can’t tell you how nice it is to go to a wedding when you’re just so genuinely happy for the couple that the joy you feel makes you want to burst.
The kind of wedding where all of your friends attend, everyone looks perfect, the weather is incredible and you cry so many tears.

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The kind of wedding where the champagne is flowing, your boyfriend thrives in his role of MC, the best man makes everyone cry and the cake is to die for.

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A day where it doesn’t matter who’s ex girlfriend is at the next table, or that your curls have dropped or even that because of a bet made years ago, one of the boys danced the last dance dressed like this:

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You get so swept up in days like these, that you take only one photo of the beautiful bride and groom…

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And forget how to pose for photos yourself…

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So you have to rely on facebook the next day (thanks Soph!)

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Nikki and Albie, what can I say? I love you both so much, even more so after this perfect day. Wishing you all the joy and love and laughter for the rest of your incredible lives.

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Gosh, I’m so lucky.

Hanbel.
x

People Who Love to Eat are Always the Best People

“I’d be so skinny if I didn’t love food so much” Hannah, every day.

But I do, I do love food. So SO much. I have an obsession with needing to try everything, find new combinations, hit that latest breakfast spot, create a new dish at home.
I’m not an overly talented cook, but I am trying and improving! I am, however, an exceptional eater.

Therefore, Mum’s suggestion of hitting up the Good Food and Wine Show this past weekend was a no brainer.

Perth Good Food & Wine Show Tickets

In short, this is a huge event for foodies and vendors alike. With hundreds of exhibitors, master classes, Celebrity presentations and more, the Convention Centre gets packed out quickly. Which is why we decided to get in early (before all the free wine samples settled in).

IMG_5272 The fourth cheese along there (wrapped in a vine leaf), was delicious! It was the Bruny Island “Oen” and it was also ridiculously strong, and we smelt of cheese for the rest of the day; rookies.

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This was the only product all day that tempted me enough to buy it. Good, old fashioned peanut butter to add to my collection.
If you have a nut allergy, don’t come to my house; I’ll come to yours.

IMG_5276We kept the wine sampling to minimum, as it was still morning, but Mum couldn’t go past her favourite – Mr Riggs.
The McLaren Vale Shiraz was heavenly, and concreted my decision to visit that wine region one day.

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Feeling a little more peckish, we visited the Grazing Garden where our old friends Comida Do Sul were serving some new creations.

IMG_5278We snacked on this Banana/Coconut Ceviche while getting our seats for the Theatre. It was zingy, smooth, sweet, savoury and a few more contradictory flavours! The punchy lime dressing and vibrant red onion were mellowed out by the banana, with the coconut and coriander topping it off the create a surprising palate explosion. Was it a dessert? Was it savoury? Who the hell cares, it was delicious!
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The timing worked out well for us to sit down and watch Adam Liaw (former Masterchef winner) cook up a storm. He introduced the session by explaining that he wanted to have a conversation with us, and proved it by answering all questions, walking out into the audience and running way over time because he was trying to explain things so thoroughly.

I learnt so much in his 45 minutes on stage about Asian cooking, and general kitchen tips.

1. When assembling a rice paper roll, don’t let the rice paper soak for too long. It should be the consistency of a child’s raincoat.

2. Put your rice paper rolls filling on one side, and the prawns towards the other. That way when you are finished rolling, the prawns will end up on top, and your rolls will look restaurant standard.

3. When creating a sauce, and trying to find the balance just begin with two ingredients. Mix your sweet and sour together until they tastes pleasant, and then add in savoury. Keep it simple!

4. Don’t forget about the 5th taste – Umami. Google it, trust me.

Thank you Adam, just thank you!
IMG_5282Once Adam had finished up, we decided to grab our last morsels and GTFO because it was getting hectic.
We began a hunt for dumplings, because why not? Mum spotted the Jumplings stall and I did a little internal cheer.
Having eaten these a couple of times already, I remembered exactly how delicious they are!
We grabbed the duck dumplings, because I couldn’t bring myself to pay $24 for lobster with truffle shavings. Although now I’m thinking about them and getting massive regret.

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We finished up with another old favourite, Chicho Gelato, because we couldn’t walk past the new flavours they had on offer. Both of us plumped for the “Roast Fig, Marscapone with Balsamic Caramel”, which didn’t taste of fig or balsamic but was delectable all the same.

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All in all, a great way to spend a frosty morning in Perth. We came, we ate, we conquered.
And I was complimented on my lipstick, so… winning!*

Happy eating all, enjoy your food, enjoy your life!
Hanbel.
x

*It’s Morange AA2 from MAC, if you’re curious.

Rock’n Roll

It’s a glorious winter morning in Perth. I use the term “winter” quite loosely, as it was 18 degrees, sunny and beautiful!
So what else would a young lass such as myself choose to do with her day?
Watch a Mountain Bike Race, of course!

Andrew and his best mate nominated for the WAGE Gravity Enduro which took place at Goat Farm, Greenmount.
His parents were keen for a sticky beak, so together we traipsed the trails sourcing the perfect photo opportunity.

IMG_5147Sadly, stage one was cancelled after only 7 or so riders attacking it. One had attempted to jump a rock, came off his bike and landed horribly – St John medics on site called in an Ambulance and he was taken off with suspected vertebrae damage. Our fingers are crossed that he makes a full recovery.

IMG_5156The mountain biking aside, this view, the incredible weather and being outdoors was the best way to wake up on a Sunday morning.

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Proud Mumma ^

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The boys powered through the remaining 4 stages, through crazy rock gardens and gigantic drops.

IMG_5167 IMG_5168They finished up just shy of the top 20, and it’s safe to say that now I’ve given this kind of riding a go I am in complete awe of their abilities, and lack of fear!

IMG_5148 IMG_5149 IMG_5150 IMG_5151WAGE organized for the amazing Brazilian food truck ‘Comida Do Sul’ to provide food at the event, as well as a licensed bar, which was well received after all the efforts from the competitors.

I feel like I end a lot of my posts with a humble-brag about Perth, sorry – but this one is no exception. I just love that our small city can hold events like these that a lot of people wouldn’t even know about, but that are incredible for those who are passionate for the sport.
WAGE, keep up the good work and I’ll keep coming to watch!

Hanbel.
x