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APRICOT & LAVENDER GALETTE

A dessert nomenclature designed to impress the socks off your dinner guests but prepared with devilish ease, a galette is essentially fruit encased in a rustic pastry that any numbnut can compose with their eyes closed. Eat it warm out of the oven with double cream or a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. Prepare it in advance and freeze until ready to bake, if you wish. You're welcome.




FOR THE PASTRY

180g plain flour
30g caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
130g unsalted butter, refrigerator-cold and cubed
80ml iced water

In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour then add the sugar and salt and stir to combine. Add the cubed butter and rub into the flour mixture until it resembles rough breadcrumbs. Add a spoonful of the iced water at a time and combine until the mixture comes together to form a flakey dough. Flatten slightly into a disc shape, cover with plastic and refrigerate whilst you prepare the filling.

FOR THE FILLING

1 x 825g can of halved apricots (ensure Australian origin*. Use fresh ap…

VANILLA CAKE FILLED WITH LEMON CURD & TOPPED WITH THYME BUTTERCREAM

There are a few elements to this cake but it's worth the effort. You can use any leftover lemon curd to fill tart shells or top a pavlova.... or eat it out of the fridge with your finger, like I do. This cake is best eaten on the day or the day after prep.


FOR THE CAKE
335g plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
185g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing cake tin
220g caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs
185ml milk

FOR THE LEMON CURD
110g of sugar
2 large unwaxed lemons, juiced and zest finely grated
3 large free range eggs, lightly beaten
100g unsalted butter, cubed

FOR THE BUTTERCREAM
handful of fresh thyme sprigs
280g icing sugar
80g unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk

METHOD

The Lemon Curd
Place the sugar, lemon zest and juice in a saucepan and stir over a low heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and slowly add the beaten eggs, stirring constantly to combine.

Grab a whisk, return the saucepan to a low heat and …

HAPPINESS IN THE FACE OF WORLD SUFFERING. A CASE FOR GIVING WHAT YOU CAN.

It's a question acrid enough to turn any epicurean dinner party into a contemporary existential crisis... how can we truly be happy (and so blithely dine on fine wine and artisanal cheese) when we are aware of so much suffering in the world?
Can we achieve a state of individual bliss despite the misfortunes of so many fellow humans or is our pursuit of happiness in the face of global disparity a Sisyphean exercise, akin to when the gods made the avaricious Ancient Greek king roll a giant boulder up a mountain as punishment? Sisyphus, of course, discovered that the boulder would always roll down before he could get it to the top, forcing him to begin the pointless exercise anew, for eternity.

Are we repeating his futile pursuit?

One is hard-pressed to dodge bad news in today's hyper plugged-in society. You might switch on your computer with the simple intent of browsing for socks on the internet, only to wind up watching news clips about yet another suicide bombing in Syria. Yo…

WHAT DO YOU DESIRE?

Watch this 3-minute clip and then let's chat:



Watt's speech is achingly true, isn't it? We all know it, it's under our skin. Maybe it resonates a little too much for some. Maybe you think it's too late. Maybe you think you don't know what you desire.

The truth is that it's not too late. And you do know what you desire. It's fear that stops you from defining it and fear that stops you from making it happen.

Fear of failure.
Fear of judgement.
Fear of not keeping up with the Joneses.
Fear of losing what you have.

Perhaps you'll only change when the fear of never living your life the way you truly want to, overpowers the fear of the unknown. Crap, I know it finally has for me. Are you living your life the way you truly want to. Are you? It starts by asking yourself that question. We all need to ask ourselves that question.

EAT MASH WITH INDEX FINGER

When we were children, having fun was our biggest priority. Remember those days? We'd get our fun-fill from riding our bike hands-free, falling off, seeing who could stuff the most number of Twinkies in their gob at once...

Geez you fall over a lot when you're a kid.

Fast forward to present-day adulthood and having fun isn't on our radar. Work commitments, mortgages and other such adult life endeavours squeeze the fun juice out of us until we dismiss it as something only children can indulge in. Which is sad, don't you think?

How about we declare this year the Year of Having Fun. More fun at home, more fun with our style, more FUN every day. Because, well, why not?

Since I'm no longer in to stuffing Twinkies in my gob, I've devised a list of silly nonsense I'm going to get up to in order to increase my daily fun factor:
Eat mash potato with my index finger. Lick each fingerfull slowly, like a softserve.Create alter egos for my cat and dog. British,, cockney to b…

WHY DO WE KEEP WANTING. HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH PART 2

Why do we keep wanting more and more? What’s at the core of our insatiability?

It’s matter of fact that most – not all, but most – of us are locked into a rhythm of living to work, working to earn and earning to consume. Which wouldn’t be so bad if we consumed for the improvement of ourselves, within our economic means and within the limitations of our natural environment. Of course, this is exactly the opposite of what happens, at least in the developed Western world.

We’re never satisfied with what we have, even if what we have - on a practical level - is more than enough to meet our fundamental needs of food, shelter, safety, love, friendship.

What’s the deal with that? Why do we buy a third pair of brightly coloured ballet flats, or upgrade our smart phone even though our current model is suiting us just fine?

There are a plethora of reasons, including scarcity of goods, status spending and so on. Hungarian-born economist Tibor Scitovsky stated that getting everything we needed for …

HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH PART 1

In the 1930s, British economist John Maynard Keynes (those who studied macroeconomics would be friendly with him) predicted that over the next century, wealth would rise to such a level that we would have to work no more than 15 hours a week, allowing us ample time for greater life pursuits - ‘the good life’. Keynes predicted that a utopian state would evolve, where people will have amassed enough monetary wealth to fulfil their material needs, thus allowing more philosophical, meaningful and soul-enriching pursuits to dominate lifestyles.

Ha! HONK if you’re still waiting for that one! In fact what’s happened over the last century is somewhat a trillion times less inspiring. Overall, average leisure time has increased by only four or five hours per week. While, overall, we’re 4 to 5 times richer than we were 100 years ago, we’re working just as hard, just as long.

Consequently, we’re missing out on doing the stuff that makes life richer: honestly and deeply connecting with friends and f…

THE VIOLINIST

The story goes like this:

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that 1,100 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by, and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace, and stopped for a few seconds, and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till without stopping and continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried, but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally, the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turn…