Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Food: Vegetable Chilli Pie

Now I can't take credit for this delicious creation we will have to thank Mr Jamie Oliver for that, but let me say that that this is one delectable pie. Over the last few months I have not been eating meat for some unknown reason so whilst my love for the veggie life continues why not take advantage and start making some flavour packed healthy vegetarian meals. This Vegetable Chilli Pie is seriously my go to meal when I am trying to use left over ingredients on a freezing winter night. Trust me when I say you won't be disappointed. 

Oh, and I should apologise for the photography skills. I was simultaneously dancing and babysitting a little munchkin whilst trying to make dinner. Needless to say more of the cottage pie topping ended up in his mouth than on top of the pie. 

3 potatoes
1/2 sweet potato
1 tin of beans - whatever is in the cupboard
2 cloves of garlic
1 stick of celery
1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
1 small bunch of fresh coriander 
1 fresh chilli
1 red onion
100g harred roasted peppers (capsicums)
1 tbsp sour cream
cheddar cheese
Pinch of smoked paprika 

Peel potato and sweet potato and cut into small chunks. Place into a steamer saucepan and steam vegetables until soft.

Now that the potatoes are steamed through and softened. Place in a bowl and add sour cream. Mash the potato and sour cream until smooth. Roughly chop the coriander leaves  (not including the stalks) and fold them through the mash. Set to the side. 

Place a large saucepan on medium heat and add cumin seeds. Toast until fragrant then remove from pan. Place toasted cumin seeds into mortar and pestle. Pound until fine

Pick the coriander leaves and put aside, finely chop the stalks. Peel and finely chop the coriander stalks. Chop the garlic, chilli, onion and celery. 
Place in saucepan with a dash of olive oil and cook. Stir occasionally until softened. 

I did also add some chopped carrots and zucchini just to add some more vegetables so feel free to chuck and leftover veggies you have in the fridge into the mixture.

Add the drained beans and tinned tomatoes to the pan of softened vegetables. Stir occasionally and leave to cook for approximately 20 minutes or until thickened. 

Drain and roughly chop the peppers. Stir them into the vegetable mixture. Now tip the whole vegetable mixture into a large baking dish. 

Top with your mash and spread it out evenly, covering all of the vegetable mixture. Sprinkle a pinch of paprika onto the mash then add grated cheese.

Pop into the oven at 180C and cook pie for 30-40 minutes or until nice and golden onto. 

Soooooo we were so hungry I forgot to take a photo of the cooked pie. So instead here is my favourite little gremlin helping me out in the kitchen 

Monday, 25 May 2015

About a Band: Natalie and the Romance

Sydney based band, Natalie and the Romance, came together in 2013 and have been taking the Sydney soul and jazz scene by storm. The band is made of up lead vocalist Natalie Magee, Kyle Taylor on Double Bass, Oliver Nelson on drums, Callum Gracie on Horns and Felix Lalanne on guitar. 

I was lucky enough to catch up with oh so dazzling and talented Natalie to discuss all things music. Oh and just a quick alert – get excited because Natalie and the Romance have just debuted their new EP so keep your eyes and ears peeled for some amazing new tunes. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am a singer-songwriter originally from Canberra, now living in Sydney. Lover of India, travel, colours, storytelling and yoga. 

How did the band come together to create Natalie and the Romance?
After I moved to Sydney I did a lot of different gigs with different musicians. While singing with a jazz big band I made friends with Kyle who became the bass player and we later met Oli (drums) and Felix (guitar) through a gig called the Motown Monday Jam. 

How do you define success?
Having a sustainable career in which you have freedom and creativity, where the work you put out into the world has a positive benefit for those who it affects and a minimal impact on the environment. 

What is a typical day in the life of..?
In the mornings there is Tea, and housemate banter. Then I either teach music students or write and rehearse my own music and then in the evening I either do a yoga class or I do a gig. Gigs are ideally my original music gigs, but I also do solo piano performances at hotels, feature performances for events, sing at weddings, you name it! 

Are there certain sounds or qualities you’ve always wanted to capture/record but haven’t been able to yet?
I would love to write a segment of music with a really modern, electronic sound. But I am always drawn to storytelling and traditional acoustic instruments. 

What influences your music?
All the people I meet and places I travel. Every song has it's story. 

Sunder Nagar is an amazing track on your new EP. It is a very unique and different sound from you, what influenced this song? 
When I flew to India for the first time I looked out the window of the plane and saw the peaks of a mountain range, with low clouds dancing around them, and the most brilliant sunset. I said out loud, 'it's like dreaming in ten thousand colours!' and the first line of the song was born! It is a love song to India. 

What albums do you wish you had recorded?
The Sound of White by Missy Higgins
Songs in the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder 
Frank by Amy Winehouse 

How did you get started in the music industry?
My Uncle is a pianist and an entertainment booking and events agent in Canberra. When I showed my interest in music he mentored me a great deal and taught me so much. I started doing little gigs here and there in Canberra when I was in the eleventh grade at school. Another singer, Alison Avron, who now runs The Newsagency in Sydney, noticed my efforts and when she moved to Sydney she gave me her regular weekly gig at the Dendy Lounge. I did that gig for five years and a lot of my opportunities stemmed from that.

What would your main piece of advice be for other aspiring bands?
It will be a roller coaster - be prepared for that. Be prepared to work harder than you ever imagined and if you really want it, don't give up.

What can we hope to see from you in 2015?                
I have just released my new EP 'The Sequel' and I will be following this up with lots of gigs, radio promo and releasing new video clips throughout the year.

Last but not least here are some quick fire questions to get to know Natalie a bit more :) 
Favourite food – Fresh paper spring rolls 
Favourite drink – Tea. Or Sailor Jerry's 
Favourite musician/band – ummmmmmmm... let's just go with Jazz haha. 
Coffee or tea – TEA! :) 

I would highly recommend checking this talented band out, to find out a bit more about them click here or go on their bands Facebook and Instagram pages.

* Please note all images are sourced from Natalie and the Romance. 

Friday, 22 May 2015

to the moon and back...

We often get caught up in our own problems; fixated on all the tiny things that are wrong in our lives.  Your relationship has ended, you don’t like the way you look, your job is boring and you have no motivation at the moment to do anything. These are things that we all think and experience but are they really that bad?

A few days ago I was having one of these days. I couldn’t do anything right in my opinion, I was secluding myself from those whom I love and I was putting my health at a lot of risk. I was so fixated on all these little things that I became bogged down in destructive thinking and self hate. I remember feeling a need to escape and get out of the house.

That night I sat on the beach and stared at the moon. I thought about all the minute things that impact my energy and their relevance in my life. Yes, most of the time these things seem like the most important thing in the world to me, but they aren’t really. I am fortunate enough to say that I live in a country where I feel safe, I have a family that loves me and the freedom to live a long happy life. Things I often forget to remind myself of. 

As I stared at the moon I felt so selfish for getting bogged down in vain and materialistic obsessions. I sat there in complete silence until I felt cleansed of all the negativity I myself had created. I think we all need to take the time to reflect on our lives. Reflect on what is really important, so here is to that beautiful moon.


Wednesday, 20 May 2015


I am constantly searching for inspiration and motivation, regularly scrolling through pages of novels and websites for people, places and things that stimulate me. Last week I was doing just that and came across health and wellness blogger, Caroline Groth. I get so excited when I come across someone with a love of life, a deep honesty for hardships but an overall positive energy; Caroline is all of those things and more. Oh and did I mention her love for my favourite meal of the day, breakfast?!

I spent the day scrolling through each post, ‘stalking’ her Instagram, envying her amazing outlook on life, epic food posts and loving all the thoughts she cared to share with her followers. There was one Instagram photo (I can’t remember what it looked like probably some amazing photo of her in a tricky Yoga pose or of her delicious breakfast), anyway, the photo was followed by the following caption:

'I used to dislike being sensitive. I thought it made me weak. But take away that single trait, and you take away the very essence of who I am. You take away my conscience, my ability to empathize, my intuition, my creativity, my deep appreciation of the little things, my vivid inner life, my keen awareness to others pain and my passion for it all. Love who you are and every little bits that come with it'

This one post connected with me immediately as I am one sensitive soul. Like Caroline, I hated being sensitive and often viewed it as an extremely negative attribute to have, that was until I read this! I can say with complete honesty that yes sometimes I am WAY to sensitive, but her words made me take on a different approach towards my sensitive nature. Instead of viewing it negatively I could now see that this one trait did provide me with so many other things that I overlook. My empathy for others, my intuition into how people are feeling, my love for all things, my ability to understand and my passion for love and life.

I was dumbfounded that a single paragraph could change my whole outlook on the person I am. This has taught me to always keep my mind open to knew interpretations and everything can be made into a positive, we just have to see it that way.   

Check out Caroline's blog Greener Resolutions, and please note all images were taken from her personal Instagram which can be found here.

Monday, 18 May 2015


When you were a child you did the things you loved, not the things that would progress you. If you enjoyed playing in the sand pit or making play dough well then that’s what you were going to do.

Fast forward through primary school, high school and college and all your motivation behind the things you do are based on things that are going to progress your life. In most cases this does not correlate with the simple things you love.

I love to cook, I love to write, I love to be outside and being active yet I do none of these things for a living. I was brought up to believe that I had to go to university, receive that oh so important piece of paper and then head off into the workforce. I wasn’t even aware or thinking along the lines of creating my own job; turning a love or passion into a career.

Now I am at a crossroads in my life. I just finished my contract with my current employment and I need to start looking for a new job but I don’t want to. Yes I need an income and I need to support myself (trust me I am all about independence) but I don’t want to go another year sitting behind a desk, putting effort into something I am not passionately in love with.

I realize that by making a love a career I could be sacrificing money and convenience but is that what I want my life to be about? Working in a job I dislike so that I can be rich or working somewhere purely for convenience purposes or because its ‘easy’?

Am I ready to say yes and turn my passion into a career? Do I even know what my passion is or do I just know what it isn’t?

You must be prepared to work hard every day and doing it for the love of it. Know that this is what you have CHOSEN to do. Every day is a better day because you aren’t working you are experiencing and living your passion.

Who knows, I may not be able to make the step right now but I am definitely considering it and that is really all I need to start moving in the right direction. Fingers crossed for all of us out there who are at a crossroads.