Banana pancakes

banana pancakes peaches and honey

I love it when the cupboard and fridge are nearly bare, yet somehow it’s possible to make a great meal by throwing together a few of the last remaining things you have. These banana pancakes absolutely fit that description: take a very ripe banana from your fruit bowl, a couple of eggs from the fridge, then hunt around your pantry for some cinnamon and there you have it –  a beautiful weekend breakfast without leaving the house.

I ate my pancakes with a sliced peach and honey as that’s what I had on hand, but you can serve them with whatever fruit and toppings you like. Another favourite topping of mine is blueberries, maple syrup and natural yoghurt.

With so few ingredients, these pancakes can be a little delicate. So be patient and cook them over a medium-low heat and take care when flipping them over.

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Salad days

saladI’m currently planning a big trip overseas. With less than 2 months before I get on that plane, I’m deep in savings mode. It’s an interesting challenge to see the ways in which I can change my behaviour to save more. Hitting unsubscribe on all the daily emails I get from my favourite stores was a good move – the temptation of a flash sale or a discount code was quickly removed. I’ve scaled right back on going out for dinner and drinks, reminding myself that it will all be worth it when I’m sitting at a bar in New York or eating dinner in Paris. But bringing my lunch from home everyday is one thing I didn’t have to change at all. I’ve been in the habit of bringing a packed lunch to work for years and I really enjoy coming up with different lunchbox ideas for myself – no boring ham sandwiches here!

salad 2

This is pretty typical of the kind of thing I throw together – a combination of whatever veggies I’ve got in the fridge, chopped or grated, some form of protein, fresh herbs if I have any, some seeds or nuts thrown in, and topped off with a squeeze of lemon and some olive oil. Here I’ve simply grated some zucchini and carrot, chopped a little red onion, thrown in some cherry tomatoes, green beans and baby spinach for the veggies. I’ve used a small tin of chickpeas for protein – for other protein ideas why not add a hard boiled egg, or cook some extra meat when you’re making dinner and toss into your awesome salad. I then added fresh mint and pine nuts, with lemon juice and a dollop of natural yoghurt for a dressing. So quick and easy! Here it looks a bit like some kind of healthy pie chart – but this was purely for styling purposes! Toss it all into a container and you’ll have the best lunch in your office and money in your pocket!

Hard work

white shirt 2white shirtWomen’s magazines routinely offer the nifty suggestion of jazzing up business corporate attire with your favourite accessories so as to inject your own personality into your work wear. Whenever I read this I imagine a woman wearing one of those really giant flowers à la Carrie in early seasons of SATC, with a grey skirt suit. Or perhaps with a nice pair of slacks.

I’m not much of an accessories person and I tend to seek out more simple styles for my working wardrobe. But I often find that it’s the most simple of things that are the hardest to find. Add to that the angst caused by vague terms like business casual, smart casual and relaxed business casual and it becomes a lot of hard work! So you can imagine my relief to have found this white silk shirt at Zara. It’s simple and soft, with a relaxed fit. It’s quickly become one of my favourite basics and I can see myself wearing it to death. Now does anyone know where I can get one of those giant flower thingies?

white shirt 3

Green fritters

green frittersIn my 3 week old veggie patch, the zucchini has been the star performer thus far. Whilst the tiny carrot and beetroot sprouts modestly hint at the growing life beneath, the zucchinis stretch up taller each day, looking far more plant-like than my other “crops”. While I’m trying not to play favourites with my veggie-children, as a novice gardener, it’s hard not to be most fond of the zucchinis and their rapid progress.

Despite the estimated 6+ weeks I must wait before I’ll be tasting my own home grown veg, I’ve been having a very zucchini moment in the kitchen too. Stripped down to imitate pasta, grated raw into salads, or baked into all manner of things, zucchinis are versatile, tasty and in season now. These zucchini and asparagus fritters are perfect to make for a weekend breakfast, then refrigerate the leftovers and you’ve got lunches on hand for during the week. I’ve made them gluten free by using coconut flour, however if you want you can substitute for 1/2 cup of plain flour. Coconut flour is a really dense flour so you use less than you would if using plain flour. For breakfast I topped mine with Greek yoghurt and lemon juice, but the possibilities are endless! Maybe try with a poached egg, avocado, bacon, feta, or tomato relish.

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Cheap Thrills: No Lights No Lycra

 

The best things in life are free…Love don’t cost a thing…Mo money, mo problems…Can’t buy me love…I’m sharing my favourite budget-friendly-under-$10 discoveries each week. Cheap thrills.

Lily Aldridge Rag & Bone

No Lights No Lycra. The idea is incredibly simple: the organisers hire a space, turn down the lights and play music; people come, pay $5 and they dance. There’s no instructor, no set moves, and it’s nothing like a nightclub. Talking is discouraged. To use a very hackneyed expression, it’s just dancing like no one’s watching. Established in Melbourne in 2009 by Alice Glenn and Heidi Barrett, the movement now boasts communities around the world.

The first time I heard the concept, I instantly knew I would love it. And this was confirmed after mere minutes of my first No Lights experience in Melbourne mid last year. I found it to be an almost spiritual experience to just lose myself in an activity that was so individual, so energetic and so unbelievably fun. Like a true convert to a new religion, I just can’t stop myself from spreading the word to non-believers.

The timing of my move back to Sydney from Melbourne was perfect, with NLNL Sydney having launched in late January. It’s my first Sydney NLNL tonight at Redfern Town Hall, and it’s clear the Sydney organisers have gone to great lengths to make it a success here too. I love that they have a cloak room and they went to the effort of taping the edges of the blinds to the window frames to ensure maximum darkness. A crowd gathers outside the upstairs room talking excitedly in small groups as they wait for the doors to open at 7.30 on this humid Sydney evening. When they eventually do, everyone rushes to hand over their $5 and get into the very dark room where the music is already playing very loudly. It doesn’t take long for the room to fill up and for the crowd to start moving.

The room is poorly ventilated and I am soon covered in sweat and so is the floor. I don’t think about my discomfort for too long as I’m having such a good time. My fellow dancers must feel the same way, as there’s an excited cheer at the end of every song – or is it for the beginning of the next one? At the end of the hour, we pour out of the hall drenched with sweat and outside into the cool of the evening. As it starts to rain, small groups of friends are excitedly gathering together and talking again, making plans to come again next week. I know I will be too.

Details of all NLNL locations around the globe are available here.

(pic: rag & bone)