DISNEYLAND!

Day 5

On Tuesday, Luke, Sam, Jess, Sean and I went to DISNEYLAND!

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Look how much fun I’m having!

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We got there nice and early, lined up and got in at opening time … 8am! Samwell took the job of obtaining our fast passes (said best in an American accent), which gave us certain times to go on the rides without lining up. I screamed like a baby throughout all the rides, Space Mountain was my favourite scary ride, with the Mad Tea Party Teacups and Peter Pan a close second. Don’t ask about the Tiki Room though …

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I couldn’t resist some ears. Surprisingly no one else joined me.

Luke ate a gluten-free hotdog, I had a root beer float, we watched a New Orleans jazz band, I saw a guy from Melbourne Uni who I used to work with, we drank many free ice waters, Sean borrowed an ugly hat from lost property … all in all it was a most successful 10 hour day.

the team at disneyland

Until next time happiest place on earth, we will be back!

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Bagels, bikes and bums

I’m a little behind on this travel blog of mine, so here goes …

Day 4

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We started off the day with a breakfast stop in Santa Monica. I had a little bagel and a huge green tea.

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We had another look around Santa Monica, then hired ourselves some beach cruisers and rode to Venice Beach.

holly bike

Venice was its usual unusual self, with homeless people, body builders, wanna be musicians and ‘physicians’ selling medical marijuana. We even saw a man spooning and kissing his dog, and a man being arrested while yelling the lords prayer at the top of his lungs. Classy. We avoided all of the above, and instead wandered along the boardwalk and had Mexican for lunch.

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After returning our bikes in Santa Monica again, we took ourselves off to a small independent cinema for a little well deserved quiet time. After all, tomorrow we have tickets to DISNEYLAND!

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Downtown, tortas and sunsets

Our adventure continues!

Day 3

On Sunday Luke and I buckled up our shoes and headed to Downtown LA. Downtown is certainly an odd place. Lots of beautiful but run down buildings, barbed wine and a so called fashion district.

downtown la

However, this is not what we were here to see.

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We were here to indulge my love of all things Mexican at the Pueblo de Los Angeles. This part of town is where the city of Los Angeles first began in 1781. I found myself some lovely Mexican treasures, and a lovely big torta de carnitas (pulled pork sandwich). My vegetarianism wanes around Mexican food …

torta carnitas

We then took the metro to Hollywood, where Luke was immediately underwhelmed. This is a mandatory reaction I believe. Hollywood is dirty, touristy and generally not very pleasant. So we hustled ourselves down the walk of stars, took some obligatory photos and saw the Hollywood sign.

holly and marilyn

We then treated Luke to a visit to Amoeba Music, where he indulged his love of records. We passed this bar on the way. We didn’t go in.

big wangs

After an iced coffee break, we took the bus for an hour and a half from Hollywood to Santa Monica. The long drive was  fun, we saw the city change from grotty Hollywood to lovely Beverly Hills in a street. The city just changes in a moment.

Once at the beach, we found a food truck and shared a half litre of Mexican Coca-Cola (which has real sugar and is delicious) and some veggie, shrimp and chicken tacos.

food truck tacos

We then took our little bodies down the Santa Monica Pier to watch the sunset. Very pleasant.

santa monica sunset

All in all a very successful day.

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Tacos, art and traffic

Los Angeles has treated us damn well so far. We’ve seen art, eaten tacos, been stuck in traffic, seen the sea and the hills. Sean and Jess are looking after us so well and we’ve been eating like kings.

Day 1

We took ourselves on an adventure to the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art to see an amazing Stanley Kubrick exhibition, and my favourite Latin American Art section.

kubrick

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Diego Rivera, El Dia de las Flores, 1925

We then made our way through the sweaty streets (SoCal is having a heat wave!), to the Farmers Market where we partook in tacos and frozen bananas.

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Tacos with mushies, succotash, pork and mole chicken.

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There is always money in the banana stand.

Day 2

Yesterday we took a jaunt around LA to UCLA, Echo Park Lake, and around Echo Park and Silverlake, then up along Mulholland Drive and back through Malibu and Santa Monica along the Pacific Coast Highway. Lots of traffic and lots of beautiful views.

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Sean and Luke at UCLA, where Sean studies.

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Echo Park Lake. I ate a paleta.

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City of Angels. Not bad.

We rounded off the day with spaghetti and clams from Jess’s work. Tough. Three more days here then we scoot down to the beach …

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Holiday. Celebrate.

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Hurrah! Luke and I have arrived for our three week jaunt stateside. We begin in LA, will be attending the wedding of two gorgeous peeps in SoCal and then move on to a traipse around NYC. Perfect.

First up we are in California, so expect plenty of photos of tacos, Disneyland (squeee!), more tacos and my ugly mug to follow.

Hasta luego!

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Life as I now know it

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Don’t worry, I’m alive!

University has swallowed my life. After four weeks of my new routine, I’m feeling like I can lift my head up again. Thank goodness!

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This is what I’ve been doing. Books, laptop, tea. Repeat.

I’ve been loving the study, but the change of routine shook me around more than I had thought. I’m a creature of habit, I’m at a bit of a loss without routine. But now that I’ve finished my old job, had a month of classes, and started my new casual job, I’m feeling a bit more like myself.

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This is grumpy me, during the first few weeks of having two jobs and starting uni. Grumpy.

So. What’s news? Well, we went to Golden Plains and enjoyed us some Cat Power and George Clinton. It was hot and awesome …

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The view from our tent. Glorious.

I took my Guides camping. It rained but we are toughies …

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Packing up wet tents is a challenge for Guides and Leaders alike.

I haven’t been photographing my outfits much, but this one is a favourite. I feel very 70s in it.

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Luke’s mum sent me this 80s tupperware. Very much in love! But don’t microwave it. Hot tip (ha!) from the experienced …

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Last weekend saw Luke and I spend a day together, the first for three or four weeks! We slept in, went to the gym, out for breakfast at our favourite (have the summer breakfast), did some study, then played board games and drank wine. Glorious. We have made it our mission to spend every Sunday like this.

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Summer breakfast at Small Block – spinach, fetta, beetroot relish, avo, eggs, toast.

So that’s me.

Oh, and just to show off, it is only 87 days until Luke and I go to southern California and New York for a wedding and a hollyday. Happy happy happy dance!

Happy Easter to you if that’s your thing. If not, hope you have enjoyed your long weekend. I have!

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Chocolately, chocolately chocolate cake

Yesterday Luke and I were invited over by our friends Robin and Clarisse to play board games, a perfect Sunday afternoon activity. We played Dixit and Small World (I recommend watching the videos I’ve linked to the games, they explain them perfectly), Luke and I hadn’t played either of these before, they were both really fun. I particularly enjoyed the afternoon, as I won! Both games! Yippee!

Unfortunately this didn’t put me in the good books with our hosts, who are both seasoned board game players, luckily though I bought this cake along to share, and all was forgiven.

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Chocolate Buckwheat Cake
Adapted from David Lebovitz

170 grams 70% dark chocolate
115 grams salted butter (or unsalted butter and 1/2 teaspoon of salt)
4 eggs
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/3 cup plain full fat yogurt
1 teaspoon powdered vanilla
3/4 cup of almond meal
1/4 cup buckwheat flour

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Melt the butter and chocolate together, I did this in the microwave on reduced power. David says to do this in a bowl over simmering water. To each his own. Either way, melt together until smooth.

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Whisk the four egg yolks, 1/4 cup of the sugar, yogurt and vanilla together in a large bowl. Whisk in the melted chocolate and butter, then stir in the almond meal and buckwheat flour.

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Whip the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gradually whip in the other 1/4 cup of sugar until and keep whipping until the whites are in firm peaks. Slowly fold the whipped egg whites into the chocolate mixture until it’s just combined.

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Pop the cake batter into a springform tin, and bake for around 30 minutes, leaving the center still a little soft. Let cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the cake tin.

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This cake was so yummy, very soft and almost puddingy, and very, very chocolatey. David also suggests making it with hazelnut meal, I’m going to try this next time. Yum!

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Great Ocean Road

After our glorious Tasmanian holiday, Luke’s parents popped down from New South Wales for a visit and more adventures. We hit the road to see more of lovely Victoria via the Great Ocean Road.

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Luke at the helm!

It was a stinking hot day, so getting out and looking around wasn’t as appealing as it might have otherwise been. Regardless, we managed to get out of the air-conditioned car to see the sights. And what glorious sights they were!

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The 12 Apostles.

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The Grotto.

We made it to Port Campbell by early evening, and quickly changed into our bathers and sought relief in the bay. The water was freezing even after days of hot weather, it was the most refreshing swim I’ve ever had. Delicious.

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After a seafood dinner we ate ice creams at the beach, and watched the sun go down. The temperature finally dropped to a manageable level, and I wasn’t a sweaty mess any longer.

In the morning we headed a bit further west to see Warrnambool, visiting a maritime museum and … a vintage shop!

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I sure would like to live in a lighthouse …

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There were ducks! Ducks!

The family had to drag me away from the vintage shop in the end, there were so many treasures.

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I have a thing for souvenir tablecloths.

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This lovely white cardigan is vintage Target. Wish they still sold cool stuff …

After my shopping adventure, we made our way home, unfortunately driving back was not nearly as exciting as driving there. Luke drove us again, while we all napped. What a champion.

On Sunday we took ourselves off to Heide for a wander around the gardens, and to have lunch at Cafe Vue. I love it there, the gardens are gorgeous, and the food is always amazing. I had a sandwich on olive bread, a chardonnay, and an apricot tart. Perfect.

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The perfect kitchen garden.

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Luke. With a corrugated iron cow.

And that sums up our lovely long weekend. Thanks Mel and Neal, come again!

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Banana Cake

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I like bananas when they are only just ripe. Too yellow and they taste icky. This means that we always have an abundance of overripe bananas – either in the fruit bowl or in the freezer. Either are great for this cake. I doubled the recipe and made two cakes, because sometimes one just isn’t enough. As usual, this cake would also be delish full of gluten, just swap the flours listed for regular plain flour.

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Gluten-free banana cake
Adapted from CWA Cakes

250 grams of soft butter
1/2 cup of raw sugar
1/2 cup of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of golden syrup
3 eggs
3 overripe bananas
3/4 cup of brown rice flour
1/4 cup of gluten-free plain flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
3 teaspoons of ground ginger

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Fresh on the left, frozen on the right.

Beat the butter and sugars until light and creamy, then beat in the golden syrup and eggs. Mash the ripe bananas and  them stir through. Add the flours, baking powder and ginger and stir to combine. Perfect!

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Pour into a greased and lined tin, and bake at 180 degrees for around an hour. Mine took 65 minutes. Lick the bowl.

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The ginger makes this beautifully bitey, while still being soft, banana-y and moist. Moist! You can top with cream cheese frosting and walnuts if you so please. Or just eat warm from the oven.

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We did both.

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Comida Mexicana

I love Mexican food. Love it. While it can be hard to find authentic Mexican ingredients in Australia, you have more options than an Old El Paso boxed taco kit! Here’s a couple of easy ideas, while they aren’t authentically Mexican, they have delicious Mexican flavour.

Scrambled eggs with beans and corn
Serves two

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4 corn tortillas
4 eggs
knob of butter
a dash of milk
half a tin of corn
half a tin of kidney beans (or black beans would be delish)
a handful of grated cheese
1 spring onion
salsa or hot sauce of your liking
sour cream

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While still in your nighty, pop the kettle on for tea, and warm the corn tortillas. You can do this in the microwave, or on the stove-top in a pan. Don’t crisp the tortillas, just warm them until they are soft and smell nice and corny. Place on plates and sprinkle half the cheese on the warm tortillas to melt a little. Yum.

Pop the eggs, beans, spring onion, corn, milk and the rest of the cheese in a bowl and combine a little. Melt the butter and add the egg mixture. Fold the eggs until cooked, but still soft.

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Place your eggs onto your cheesy tortillas, serve with a touch of sour cream and as much salsa as you please. I buy a lovely salsa verde from Casa Iberica in Fitzroy.

Taco salad
Adapted from Yummy Mummy Kitchen, serves four

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1 tin of corn
1 tin of chickpeas
1 cup of cooked black beans or a tin of kidney beans
1 onion
1 or 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning (make your own!)
1 cos lettuce
2 tomatoes
1 avocado
coriander
grated cheese
salsa or hot sauce of your liking
lime or lemon
sour cream
bag of corn chips

Fry the onion until translucent, add the beans and corn and warm though. Add as much taco seasoning to make it as spicy as you like, and a couple of tablespoons of water to make it a bit saucy.

Shred your  lettuce, top with the warm beans, then cheese, tomatoes, avocados, salsa, coriander, a squeeze of citrus and a dollop of sour cream. Serve with the corn chips, they are perfect for scooping!

Enjoy!

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