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2014-01-22 12.59.43

Within the ‘Happy New Year’ wishes and endless conversations of resolutions, one that we usually want for a new year is to see more of this grand globe we get to live on. This is of course a difficult task because travel is determined by budget, holiday entitlement with work and any number of personal circumstances that can mean life is getting more in the way of what you actually want to be doing.

January may be the cheapest month of the year to buy flights and trips, but traveling more doesn’t have to necessarily mean every adventure you take is overseas and it also doesn’t have to mean you require a large budget to get out and explore more. Simply put, it’s really about priorities, focus and determination to change a few habits. It doesn’t have to be impossible to get out and explore more in 2015, so here are a few tips to really make the most of this new year.

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Being my father’s daughter means I get rather whiny in winter. It’s the cold you see, I hate it. And the effort involved in all.the.layers (rolling eyes), its not a season I’ve ever felt any appreciation for. From the short days, to the aforementioned layers, to the food that’s in season. Let’s not even get into how whiny either of us get when summer doesn’t come as planned on it’s arrival date! It’s something of a sore subject when either of us are swirled by the cold season.

This year though, I’ve noticed, for the first time, the beautiful light of winter when the sun shines. A frosty morning gets me excited to walk through Hyde Park just to feel like it’s a winter wonderland despite no forecast of snow. Naturally winter citrus and pumpkin has featured in many of recipes this season as always, but an effort to make a seasonal cobbler had me reaching for the persimmons that have been thrown into my breakfast smoothies, were instead set aside for this dish.

Let’s not go crazy that I suddenly love winter, or even am thankful for it’s existence beyond the cold making me appreciate the warmth of summer more, but there is a beauty to each season’s traits and it took me a long time to get on board.

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A long time ago, during high school a random selection of fellow girls in uniform and I would walk into homeroom before the school day started and we would chat about different things before going off to our own age groups and friends for the remainder of the school day.

One of the girls in that class had her first year of school during my last and I don’t think we’ve seen each other again despite being Facebook friends. She moved to Australia a few years ago and obviously we’re thousands of miles apart with our lives being very different.

A couple of months ago when a mutual home roomer made a comment on my Instagram, I followed the path to my classmate who now happens to have a clean, green blog and she is living a pretty inspiring life in Melbourne, the examples of which are plenty on her Insta account. A few of the recipes on there have already been bookmarked, but this dish is now being shared here because of how irresistably delicious it looked.

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It happens to be the third anniversary of this blog and every time it comes along I go back to the first post and am reminded that I never actually stuck to one of my original goals of making a foreign recipe every week. Maybe it’s the absolute passion for food and new recipes that keeps distracting me, but this blog keeps taking me places in my kitchen that I never imagined.

Life is hectic at the moment, so taking a moment to reflect back on the last three years and all the recipes on here seems like plucking a second out of the time continuum when it’s rushing ever faster. This will be the 319th post amongst the Costa Rican Orange Pudding, Tartiflette and Cornbread Stuffing and this is another original recipe that shows how successfully I’ve gotten sidetracked on those original plans.

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Happy new year and welcome to the first recipe of the year, and it is a national treasure, named after a Russian ballet dancer and it has been a much disputed fight between Australia and New Zealand over who created this and it’s heritage has been confirmed as a true kiwi creation.

This dish has a reputation of being a rather difficult to conquer, there are some fears and trepidations involved in giving this a go. This may be a reason why my mother has never made pavlova. Growing up without this in the home it wasn’t something that I had appreciation for until staying with my second family two years ago where I got schooled in the tricks of making New Zealand’s most famous dessert.

With my mother being foreign and not inclined to give this meringue a go, it seems only right that the recipe for pavlova comes from a renowned New Zealand chef’s mother. Thankfully he shared it online and I stumbled upon it with the truest, simplest form a pav should come in and the topping being your own preference.

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Happy new year! Has it begun well for you?

My December was an odd month to end the year as I was brought to my knees with one of the worst colds in recent history spending two solid days in bed sleeping and coughing and my precious great aunty Peggy passed away back in New Zealand.

The most generous, kind woman I’ve ever known, it was heartbreaking to receive the call from my dad. Being so far away means it can be hard to realize that someone’s truly passed, especially when it had been my goal the weekend she passed to call her and catch up, but the sad reality is that all I have left of her now are the precious memories we shared together and the ability to try and be as wonderful a person as she was.

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With the last day of the year being tomorrow, it seems like the perfect time to reflect back on what was my busiest year in the kitchen yet. Somehow with every new year the goal is always to spend less time in the kitchen, with a busy life it can sometimes seem like too much to spend an entire weekend making things for this blog. At the same time, with all the travel I’ve done in Europe there is more inspiration than ever and I just want you to be able to make your own versions of these in your kitchens.

Even if you never make it to the countries where these dishes originate, it’s fulfilling to make a foreign dish and think of the people who made it off on some far away land where the culture may be vastly different than our own.

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The majority of travel this year encompasses my favorite photos and there are memories weighted in each adventure.

When  in the slight overcast January day, I waited on Av Reina Maria Cristina in shadow of the Museu Nacional d’Art of Catalunya waiting for the Drop on Drop Off bus to pick me up for my next sight. I caught sight of two girls waiting at traffic lights dancing along in their car to ‘We can do this all night.’ That song will forever remind me of Barcelona, of that moment in time. Of the grey and the pedestrians passing me by with the Museum looking down on all of us. With that road that leads to a roundabout so large there is a fountain in the center.

Or pulling into Cannon Beach to farewell the Pacific one last time before returning to the city when a woman frantically searching for her son, asked if I’d seen him. I ran off in the opposite direction as her and found him soon after, convincing him to hold my hand as we walked towards his tearful mother. There in the shadow of the lion rock and a woman tending to her garden, life was unfolding.

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22. Beach Pastels, Littlehampton, UK

Barcelona tourists/Reflecting, Littlehampton, UK

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A few weeks before I began this blog three years ago on Christmas day I woke up to try my hand at Eggnog, something that has never traveled as far south as New Zealand’s borders. In the warmth of summer, opening the fridge to this creamy custardy brandy delight made me question why, with all the advances in society, this isn’t available everywhere all year round.

I say this despite having one-and-a-half tumbler glasses of these and soon going to bed made me realize this was too much in the span of five minutes. ten-year-old self reflected in the darkness with thoughts of ‘when will I learn?’ running through my mind. Drinking beverages slowly has never been a forte of mine, and somehow I’ll never learn the lesson despite several head rushes.

Let’s not forget the time I filled myself so efficiently and effectively with limeade that the only way to get over the ill feeling was to lay on the ground groaning. Yes, drinking beverages really slowly is something I have not yet mastered, any tips welcome.

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When I was a little girl, (way back in the 90s) my dad used to make home brew, aka, made his own beer. The most exciting part for lil me was when we first opened a bottle and would pour the top of the beer into a glass as this was the ‘bad’ part and put a slice of cheese in it.

Somehow the cheese was magic or something, but I got to eat the cheese and suddenly his home made beer was always an exciting time to eat more dairy that tasted like beer. I remember running to him with excitement whenever he pulled one of these out of the trays.

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How is your December treating you? Is the winter breeze sweeping you into a shiver? Or is summer really heating up? Obviously, I’m still riding the mulled wine express through the cold December air this is a recipe I knew couldn’t wait for a year to be tried and shared.

It’s a planning time of year and I’m at the helm leading the office towards the end of year function in probably the shortest time ever with someone who hates making phone calls. They picked the wrong captain is all I’m thinking as I googled places that aren’t booked out for this next week.

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The Christmas markets are popping up all over London and in traditional sense they have a German theme, because its well known the world over that the German’s with their gingerbread, pretzels and best of all mulled wine know how to warm up from the cold.

Growing up in a country where the weather is warm and the holiday season is spent on the beach and wading in the waves, I had never enjoyed mulled wine before last winter. Standing in the crowds of Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park on a busy Saturday and the cool air wrapping around us we walked up towards the stand, handed over the money and drank the deliciously warming beverage with smiling faces.

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Most months are spent in a whirl of routine. Getting up, going to work, meeting up with friends, etc etc. When you’re trying to find work routines are a little more loose and my November was a mixed bag of applying for jobs, seeing two of my favorite people on the globe and enjoying the ability to sleep in before it ended apruptly.

Walking alongside the Thames with Sarah and Helena here in London was surreal and getting to show them the most important sights during their whirlwind eighteen hour visit was so worth it on their first adventure outside home shores. Naturally the travel bug has now bitten them and they are planning more adventures in the future.

As for my adventures, there are plans pencilled in for next year and hopefully those will be cemented into concrete so more countries, cultures and cuisines can be experienced. Meanwhile, November has passed by and here it is in photos:

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