Tag Archives: Sydney

ya don’t win friends with salad

So christmas is around the corner! It’s three weeks? Less? I don’t know.

My mom texted me to tell me that I’m bringing salad to Christmas day dinner. Salad.

SALAD.

Thanks Ma. Way to give me the most boring of all the Christmas foods. She claims it’s because I’m the best at making salads and they are my life blood. Therefore easy.

I see you mama hicks. I know what you’re up to.

Just kidding. She’s the bomb. And I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but – Dayummm Gina, I do know how to make a good salad.

You know how they say ‘ya don’t win friends with salad’

Yeah well, challenge accepted.

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Let’s combine the traditional brussel sprout with the festive pomegranate. And let’s lure our family into trying it by adding something that kind of maybe tastes reminiscent of bacon. DONE.

I have a million friends now.

Oh. nope. wait. I just have one.

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HERE WE GO!

Quinoa & Brussel Sprout Salad feat. coconut bacon and pomegranate
(cause why not just put all the ingredients in the title.)
Serves 4.

2 c. brussel spouts (shredded using a mandolin)

1/2 c. uncooked quinoa

1 c. vegetable broth

3 stalks of spring onions, chopped

1 pomegranate

1 c. coconut bacon

Dressing:

1/4 c. Olive Oil

2 – 3 tbsp. White Balsamic vinegar

1 small clove of garlic, minced

1 tbsp maple syrup

salt and pepper to taste

First, you need to make your coconut bacon. I’m just going to link a recipe here. You only need a cup or so. Pro tip – sprinkle some spoked paprika on there before you bake. This stuff is AMAZING. I won’t lie to you and tell you it tastes like bacon, because it does not. But I will tell you that it’s smokey and delicious and you should make it immediately and put it on everything. Thanks bye.

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Next, you need to make your quinoa by combining the vegetable broth and dry quinoa in a small saucepan. Bring it to a boil and then let it simmer until all the liquid is absorbed. Sometimes I have to add a bit more water or broth for all the quinoa to cook through. Once cooked, remove from heat and allow it to cool

Shred your brussle sprouts on a mandolin and for the love of god be careful. Please don’t cut off your fingers. This tool frightens me to my very core. Seriously, hold off on the holiday wine and mulled cider until after this step.

Combine your chopped onion with the sprouts and quinoa. Add in your pomegranate seeds.

Make your dressing by combining your oil, vinegar, garlic, maple syrup and salt and pepper. Whisk it up, then pour over the salad and combine!

I usually add the coconut bacon on top at the end so it stays crispy. Another recommended topping is cashew parmesan cheese. Maybe I should cover condiments and toppings in another post. Noted.

Christmas Dinner – I’m coming for ya.

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xxx

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winter

Let’s keep the words to a minimum and just focus on some beach-side pictures. This is Australia. In the winter.
Eww. Just… Ewwwww. Amiright?

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These tiny little holes in the rocks FASCINATE me. It’s like who-ville in there. A whole nother world.

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Also: Highlight of the weekend: I went to look for whales… and i saw DOLPHINS!!! (Whales woulda been cool… since I can speak whale and all… but I will see them next week… when I go WHALLLLE WATCHINNNNNNGGGG) (said in an Oprah voice)

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eeeeeeeeeeee!

xxx

 

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quarter century camp-out!

My Oh My. It has been a while, hasn’t it? So many things have happened! And all while I was disconnected from reality. aka: the internet.

It’s been a rough couple of weeks, that much I can say for sure. And though I find it slightly embarrassing, my life is fully and most definitely reliant on the internet. I live on the OTHER SIDE of this huge world of ours and my family and I can only really communicate via skype and emails. On a side note: why are phone calls still SO expensive? I mean really… when we have unlimited internet for 50 bucks a month… who is the idiot who says that 1 minute of a phonec all costs 4 dollars. Someone should kick that guy.

Anyway, I have been trying my hardest to keep up with the Jones’ from free library internet while struggling with an ever increasing phone bill… which incidentally is actually from internet use (damn you ever-available internet). I have missed TV shows, I have missed skype dates, I have been tardy with my emails and I have been generally out of the loop. All this sucks, and yet I have re-introduced myself to books, cooking and using a computer that doesn’t have a wifi connection. It’s weird. What did I used to do on a internet-less computer? Play Minesweeper? Yep.

So I have yet to share my pictures from the coast, my birthday fun (I’m 25. uh… what?) and some other delicious activities such as PIE making.

Let’s go back. To coastal walks and an angry ocean.

For the celebration of my quarter century birthday, I decided I wanted to get back to nature. Get in touch with the great mother herself and spend some time with a couple of my closest friends.

We planned our meals, we packed our bags, we got on the train and we hiked to the coast, and then some.

Some favourite shots…

burning palms…

A very angry ocean. An ocean that ripped off my bathing suit with one swift and knee buckling wave. I guess she wanted me in my birthday suit. well-played ocean. well-played.

Our sweet and secluded camp-site.

An awesome tree in the middle of a field of shrubs.

My very own Bear Grylls.

Our gluten-free dinner. (the meat was omitted from mine)

My very canadian friend in her very australian hat.

Various levels of excitement for the hike back to civilization.

My birthday was a couple days later… Too many pictures to post right now, but it was a good one. This weekend in nature was exactly what we needed to get away from Sydney, work and the general business of life.

’twas grand.

You may have noticed in these images that I am experimenting with some new post-processing effects and a water-mark that I have yet to perfect. 🙂 New software = lots of new possibilities. Time to get amoungst it!

xxx

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on the outs…

Sydney and I had a falling out.

To say that the relationship was strained would be an understatement. It began a couple months ago. I started to resent Sydney. I couldn’t understand it, why one city had to be so far away from my family. Toronto is my home and it always will be. I was angry at Sydney. I had a couple of tantrums during which I stamped my feet and I proclaimed that I wasn’t in love anymore. Sometimes you just fall out of love. It happens. My reasons were weak, but they were adding up; the cockroaches, the cold apartments, the untimely buses. It was all too much.

Sydney and I were on the outs.

And then as fate would have it, I had the opportunity to go home for a week. Just one week. It was not specifically to escape Sydney, I had family matters to attend to; but I think it was good to have some separation. It’s what every relationship needs once and a while.

So Sydney and I took some time apart.

But then I returned… And Sydney hadn’t let up. It was still a million miles* away from home which had become blatantly obvious from my 30 hour trek. True, I saw less cockroaches and yes, the apartment was warming up, but I still wasn’t convinced.

I still had feelings for Sydney, but they were confused.

And then one day I was on the ferry. I took a look around and I breathed in the salty ocean air. I looked across the harbour to see the bridge against a sunset sky and I thought “Hey Sydney, you’re not so bad.”

I had an overwhelming feeling of love. And I suppose sometimes that is all it takes. A little sea breeze and some perspective. From a ferry in the Sydney harbour. Because how many people get to take that perspective?

I live in Sydney. It’s a fact. It probably won’t always be that way though. And when it all changes, I will miss the ferries, I will miss the bridge, I will miss the salty air.

Sure, cockroaches run a muck in this city, but I’ll tell ya one thing; I haven’t seen one centipede scurry across my floor. And my nazi-like cleaning habits have been amped up in an effort to keep the cockroaches at bay.

And true enough, there is no central heating anywhere apart from the yoga room. So yes, my apartment is cold. But I brought extra sweaters back from Canada and for Christ sake… I AM Canadian. Come on Hicks, suck it up.

And… well the buses will never change. So I’ll start riding my bike.

And yes. OK. It’s a million miles away from Toronto, but a trip is a trip. No matter how long. If family comes first, which it most certainly does, then no amount of plane trips or dollars spent on flights will keep me away. In the grand scheme of things 30 hours is not the end of the world.

So Sydney, I propose a truce. I will stop resenting you if you promise work on that continental drift thing.

Ok, sweet.

xxx

*Sydney is actually 15, 562 miles from Toronto. Fact.

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it’s all downhill from here…

If you look at a globe and you find Toronto, Canada, it is pretty much on the top side of the sphere. If you then spin that bad boy around 180 degrees, and look on the bottom end of the sphere, you’ll find Sydney, Australia. It’s totally on the upside down part of the earth. That’s a scientific fact.

And it doesn’t stop there. Everything here is backwards. I swear. Yeah, in fact over here they wear hats on their feet and hamburgers eat people.

Mmmm not really. But the water does spin in the opposite direction, everyone drives on the wrong sided of the road and winter is in June and July. What. the. WHAT!?

Yes. And if you drive a mere 5 hours south of Sydney to a place they call Thredbo, you will find snow. That’s another fact right there.

This past weekend, that is exactly what we did.

I have to say, I was thoroughly impressed. I know it can be very hit and miss with Australian snow, but we had favourable conditions. We hopped on a bus and got whisked away to Perisher Mountain for a weekend of skiing! I’m going to be honest here, I didn’t know that snow was a thing that existed in Australia until Sean told me shortly after we met. It just doesn’t make ANY sense to me. But there it was. Actually snow. And a fair bit of it… in June.

Weird.

I won’t dwell on this any longer, but I will show you pictures! It was such a lovely weekend. We had perfect conditions. 25cm of fresh powder on Saturday morning and blue skies (at the bottom of the mountain anyway.)

And I tell ya, there is nothing more weird than seeing a eculyptus tree covered in snow. Where are all the evergreens?

Sean tore up the hill on a snowboard and I got back to my roots with some good old skiing. Something I haven’t done in probably 12 or 13 years! It’s almost like riding a bike… except I didn’t have the same desire to conquer the black diamonds hills that my ten year old self did. Man, I used to be such a rock star. haha.

xxx

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Canberra, Thredbo and some unfortunate incidents…

ohhhhhhhhhhkaaaaay.
Here we go. Where to begin? At the beginning I guess… but this might get a bit rambley.

It was a Saturday like any other. But not at all really. Cause we woke up at the bumcrack of dawn and piled the car about ten stories high with camping gear and backpacks in our attempts to ‘pack light.’ We slowly drove the car over to my parents where we stopped momentarily to pile more luggage in, then gawk, get really nervous, gawk some more… and then order coffee.

After all the gawking and coffee drinking, we began to come to terms with the fact that the next two and a half weeks would, for the most part, be spent in this very car. Anyway, that is neither here nor there. In the grand scheme of things the car was fine. A mere 3000 km later and we are back in Sydney, safe and sound.

goulburn

So we started to drive. We drove for a while and then I sneezed. We drove some more. We stopped briefly in Goulburn for some site seeing. The Big Ram. Yeah for real… and also a light breakfast.

the ram! (he was anatomically correct as well...)

We started driving again. I sneezed again. and then again. And then my nose made noises that I’ve never heard. Then we stopped in Canberra. It was hot and Canberra is… um… a city of roundabouts. And a pinch of history. We visited the Parliament house. But first, I stuck some eucalyptus up my nose for some temporary relief.

ahhh sweet relief.

I’ve never been one for seasonal allergies, but I suppose that is what was going on. Eucalyptus is like a miracle plant or something, no? I dunno. But you can leave your judgements at the door, cause I could definitely breath 90% better after this little incident.

So we looked around, bought a spoon, and piled back in the car. Thredbo— camping on night one!

We just jumped in. Right on in. Both feet. In the water. CAMPING! Probably the first time my parents have camped since I was what… 10? So, we settled into a nice little campsite equipped with a fire pit and pet ducks!

duckie

Then the sneezing continued. Full on, rib cracking sneezes. I got up to nine in a row. I’m sorry to dwell on this, but it was a big part of my first day on holidays. Sneezes. One after another and then I stopped counting. My nose was running like a faucet. I had bought four packs of travel kleenex and I was already through TWO of them. Things were out of control. After another 6 sneezes in a row I felt my ribs poking my organs, I felt my lungs coming up my throat. I had just about enough of this nonsense.

So I did what any other normal person would do. I stuck a kleenex up each nostril. Well low and behold, the sneezing stopped.

By this time I was in a foul-ish mood, so I decided that I should go for a wee nature walk and see what the creek had to offer. I had been warned of uneven terrain, so I stepped carefully. I was taking pictures of the creek and what I thought was a platypus when it began to rain… sprinkling at first, so I took little notice, but then a couple of big drops fell and I decided that it was time to head back. I didn’t want my camera to get waterlogged on the first day.

the creek

However, I decided to take the long way round. The path that I hadn’t come down. It was a bold move, I KNOW. I’m a dare devil, what can I say…

Well, wouldn’t you know it, just as I was replacing the saturated kleenex in my nose I failed to look where I was placing my feet and I fell right into a Wombat hole. At this point I had yet to see a wombat, but I had heard that they can get pissed off quite easily. I immediately pictured a cylindrical creature waddling after me at an alarming rate with a distinct rage in it’s eyes. So I did what you do; 1. I checked to make sure no one saw me fall, and  2. I ran. I rannnnnnn fast. Away from the non-existent wombat that I was SURE was chasing me. I had real fear.

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And then, just for kicks, I lost my footing again and rolled my right ankle. Falling over briefly, I looked around once more, made sure no one saw (always so vain, I am…) And then attempted to keep running. Which at this point, lets be honest, was not really my best bet. I finally slowed. Realizing there was no angry wombat, no crazed animals chasing me. No. I was the only crazy one on that creek. But I don’t think that’s news to anyone.

I stopped for a second and took in all my bad fortune, then hobbled back to the campsite for some good eating and really really horrible pictures.

Really.

oh jeeez.

But here is a cute one of my parents:

mom and dad

I swear this trip has more to it then sneezing and imaginary wombats. Really. There might even be some REAL wombats in the next post.

just two of my favourite animals eva...

xxx

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hellllllllllllllllllllllllllooo two-thousand twelve

Hi.

I’m Caitlin Hicks. You may remember me from such blog posts as “Christmas Eve in North Sydney” and “GAZPACHO!” Those posts were sooo 2011… and I’ve got news for you. It’s 2012.

Happy NEW YEAR!

Sydney harbour Bridge 2012

What? When? WHO?! oh my god. This just got real.

I’ve got a lot to cover, as I’ve been somewhat MIA as of late. Let’s start with the basics…

Christmas ’twas lovely. A leisurely morning of coffee and presents with my boyfriend,

coffee and ukuleles.

followed by the most cocktail filled, antipasto-delicious, summery Christmas brunch I have ever experienced.

anti-pasto lunch

Crazy Straws and White Sangria? Yes. Yes I think so.

ha-mazing

This crazy straw makes an appearance later on… cause let’s be serious. Is there a better way to sip fancy alcoholic drinks than through a twisty twirly straw? Don’t answer that… cause there is NO better way. Fact.

Christmas was followed by boxing day, more food, more lovely people… more lovely weather.

Boxing Day was followed by ‘My parents arrive in SYDNEY day’ Also known as December 27th, 2011. Even more lovely people, mediocre weather…

My parents arrived in SYDNEY day was followed by ‘Breakfast and impromptu pub crawl day.’

tourists!

There was coffee, there was toast, there was one pub, and then there were three more. I had one cider. A schooner. I wassssssss drunk. Not a joke. Still not sure what happened.

black and white images make us classier, no?

That day was then followed by a slew of days that ended a wonderful year. 2011… where did you go?

pimms

I rang in the new year with… MORE Antipasto, more cocktails and an enormous amount of fireworks. Hallllelujah.

delicious

There were rice paper rolls, there were dips, there were vegan cheeses (recipe to follow) and there was a punch bowl of PIMMS. Pretty much the best drink you’ll ever have. I do declare.

vegan cheese! (ish)

Happy New Year everyone. Two-thousand and Twelve greets me with no job, but some wonderful company and exciting prospects.

rooftop fireworks

Things are just getting interesting.

I’m declaring it the best year ever. Deal with it.

x

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