*Seen at the Manly Wharf, Manly, New South Wales, Australia*
Ever since Trollope wrote his indictment of late-Victorian England, the phrase “the way we live now” has been used to label any panoramic novel which captures a moment in time and becomes required reading for literate people of the day – even if the work itself is pretty crap. Think Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections (entertaining in parts with the best set pieces all but stolen from David Foster Wallace).
They call themselves the pimps and pushers of gelato. And I am a lover. Every time I have a crazy flavor concoction from Gelato Messina, I can imagine the latenight, possibly drunken, definitely influenced, meeting of flavor creatives at Messina. ‘Mate, let’s fire up the smoker and infuse this Jack Daniels. Got any chocolate?’ Whatever the method, whatever the madness, never check into rehab. I need you to keep the blackboard full of amazing flavor combinations.
*Disclaimer: Local Sprouts has zero idea of what influences the creativity at Gelato Messina. Maybe they just are that brilliant. Maybe it’s Jesus. No judgement on the source of inspirtation, just keep it coming.
I love going out to dinner with food bloggers. Not only are the ones I know friendly and fun, they also have no fear in getting down to business and ordering the menu. Or at least most of it. I met up with a 4 fabulous friends, who happen to be food bloggers, at Pizza Mario in Surry Hills. Gorgeous handmade pizza cooked in wood fired ovens with simple, yet perfect topping combinations at sensible prices ($11-26). Love it! The setting was modern with a little rustic charm and the service was great. Here’s a feast for your eyes! My favorite pizza was the calabrese (mozzarella, nduja and gaeta olives $22.50) and the gorgonzola radicchio ($21.50) was tops at the table.
Each country has their favorite pastime. In the US, we love baseball. In England, they fancy a little cricket. In Australia, they get their mates down to the bowling green for some lawn bowls. Even saying it sounds strange to my American ears. Lawn Bowls.
I came. I played. I am hooked! What is not to love? Get your friends together for an afternoon or evening drinking session and call it sport. Bowl a few balls down the grassy green and let the competition begin! It’s a bit like bocce, which I grew up playing at the beach, so I had the basics down. The big difference is that the balls are weighted, so there is a little skill involved. Or luck, in my case. In the past week I have been twice. Can we say addict?
First time up was at Paddo Bowls for a civilized Sunday afternoon gathering. The second time was at Waverley Bowling Club for an evening fancy dress party, with some looking like they’d just walked off the set of The Royal Tennenbaums. Here’s a photo recap and hopefully a little inspiration to get a group together & get down to the green for some fun!
Give yoga and the gift of relaxation, self discovery, time, personal challenges, breath, community…the list goes on and on of what yoga means to people. To me, yoga is restorative, rejuvenating and an opportunity to connect with myself and my community.
New to yoga? Give it a try & create some time for yourself this holiday season? Love yoga? Share your love with a friend or family member. What are some of your favorite yoga studios? Here are a few of mine!
Lila East End Yoga in Portland, Maine
Yoga Vermont in Burlington, Vermont
Yoga con Gracia in Barcelona, Spain
Looking for a really special gift to share this holiday season? Why not check out a locally owned business in your community and spread the love and holiday cheer right in your own back yard? Living in a small business wasteland full of big box stores and need a few ideas? Here are a few favorite locally owned businesses who ship incredible gifts to all those on your christmas list!
Bas and Lokes: Looking for something special for the special guys on your list? Looking for something special for anyone with style on your list? This American-Aussie duo design and maker really well crafted, and gorgeous, handmade leather goods.
Dobra Tea: Perhaps tea is more your cuppa. Dobra is serious about tea so you can sit back, relax and enjoy. Share the gift of relaxation and time with something special from Dobra. Better yet, visit one of their 5 teahouses and share some tea and time with someone special on your holiday list.
Creativity Explored: Creativity Explored advances the value and diversity of artistic expression. They provide artists with developmental disabilities the means to create, exhibit, and sell their art in our studios and gallery, and around the world, and have an AWESOME online gift shop!
Ferdinand: Owned by my friend Diane, Ferdinand is home to the drumming squirrel t-shirt (a staple in my closet) and all things letterpress, googley-eyed and crafty or vintage.
2 Note Perfumery: Carolyn and Darcy are creators at heart, and are both musicians with a long-standing love affair with the art of bottling nature. I love all of their perfumes, bath and body care products, especially the Clementine range only available in the holidays!
Planet Botanicals: A unique collection of natural and luxurious skincare products that are made with rare and indigenous plant oils and aromatic flower extracts from the far corners of the world.
GreenLifeStyle: With a mix of European designers, GLS represents ethical fashion and sustainable organic living. No hippie business here, all style, on trend clothing and accessories.
Ifil: Knit one, purl one. Cast on some beautiful yarns for the knitter on your list!
Susie Sweet Dress: Treat your sweetie to an original design with vintage flare. Fab dresses which will make the season bright!
Two Thirds: Two thirds of our planet is covered by water. Share something special with the little fish or surfer on your holiday list. Rockin’ tees, bags, jackets and gear.
Who doesn’t love a little sweet treat? I know I do, and Mad Hatter Cupcakery is serving up the sweetest treats for sweet tooths of all kinds! Vegans take note! Jess and her team are whipping up some amazing cupcakes and other desserts fit for vegan kings and queens. I have She recently shared a bit about her take on local with us, check it out below.
I’m Jess, aka ‘cupcake girl’ or ‘the tall chick from the show, two broke girls’. I’m a self-taught baker who got a little bored with their corporate job and decided to bake cupcakes for weekend markets. I didn’t foresee that the markets would turn into a business that would lead to a shopping centre kiosk and local patisserie but it did! It’s been a crazy, uphill journey and I have learnt so many valuable business lessons along the way, most from mistakes but never the less I am stronger for it now. It’s during these hard or stressful times that your motivations fall under the microscope and you see what really makes you ‘tick’. For me, it’s the satisfaction of creating something that will bring joy to others. This pushes my creativity to look for ways to reinvent treats and challenge conventional baking to create exceptional vegan desserts.
LS: Where is your local neighbourhood and what do you love about it?
Jess: Our local is Glebe. My husband and I moved from Brisbane a few years back and stayed at the local backpackers the first week to find a place to rent. We loved the suburb so much we didn’t leave! It’s such a quaint but interesting suburb, I love the fact that it is so close to the city yet there is enough room and trees to make it feel like you’re out of the hustle and bustle.
LS: If you were showing someone from out of town around your local area, where would you take them?
Jess: When we have visitors we take them down to Jubilee Park, walk through the back streets. Stop for a coffee or meal on Glebe Point Road, walk through the University of Sydney grounds and take them to Glebe Markets on the weekend.
LS: What does ‘local’ mean to you?
Jess: Our first market stall was at Glebe Markets and our kiosk is at Broadway Shopping Centre so we have managed to keep the core of our business local. Running a small business makes you appreciate the effort and passion required to operate any small business. So if I ever need anything, whether it be food, clothes or services and I know there is a local business who offers what I’m after then I’ll opt for them.
LS: Hidden local gem?
Jess: The Annex on Ross St, they recently opened and have an awesome fit-out. Enjoying a coffee and read there is always a treat.
LS: Local person, cultural or food experience Local Sprouts should seek out?
Jess: There is a man every Saturday/ Sunday morning who walks through the streets of Glebe with newspapers for sales and blows his whistle to signal that he is out front. I have never met him but have heard his whistle and seen him from afar, if you ever cross his path please say hello to him from the cupcake lady!
Get yourself over to Glebe for a little exploration and definitely get yourself over to Mad Hatter Cupcakery for some sweet treats! Here’s a glimpse at the new shop opening December 2013 in Darlinghurst!
We all want to cook delicious meals for our families, but sometimes the day seems long and the dinner bell rings soon after we get home. This was jus the case for me the other day. Luckily, I had a stocked pantry, lots of fresh herbs and spinach & beef mince in the fridge. Voila! Herbed meatballs with yogurt sauce, sautéed garlic spinach and flavourful Israeli couscous was on the table in no time!
500 grams beef mince
3 tbsp mint, minced
3 tbsp cilantro, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees.
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl with your hands. Get in there! Mix it up!
Roll into 8-10 food sized meatballs.
Place on a baking tray and bake in the oven for roughly 20-25 minutes, for medium rare meatballs.
1/3 C Greek-style Yogurt
1 tbsp mint, minced
1/2 tsp sumac
In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together.
Set aside for the flavours to meld.
1 C Israeli couscous
1 1/4 boiling water
1 tsp olive oil
1 small white onion, chopped
1 tbsp cilantro, minched
In a pot, sautée the chopped onion over medium heat until it is soft.
Add the couscous and boiling water, cover, and reduce heat to low.
Simmer for 8 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro.
Sautéed Garlic Spinach
1 large bunch spinach, washed thoroughly and roughly chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp olive oil
1/3 C water
Over medium heat, add oil to a large pan.
Add garlic and sautée for a couple of minutes.
Add spinach and water and cover with lid.
Cook for 3-5 minutes until spinach is wilted and still vibrant.
Serve meatballs with a dollop of yogurt sauce, a healthy portion of spinach and a spoonful of couscous.
December 1 each year is World AIDS Day and is a chance for people to come together in the fight against HIV and AIDS, to show their support for people living with HIV and to remember the lives lost. How did your community mark the day? In Sydney, the day was marked with a very hip pop-up rapid testing site. Be a part of an AIDS-free generation. Know your status.