Tag: apartments

Spring time and new beginnings.

It is funny how quickly your expectations can change. Living in a one bedroom apartment with a baby is completely normal in this crazy expensive city. I was talking to a mother just yesterday who lives in a two bedroom with three children. All of a sudden, having a child in its own room seems like an unnecessary luxury. Having a spare room for friends to come and stay? Madness.

Currently we live in a one bedroom apartment. Looking south through the big windows, you get beautiful views over the hills of San Francisco and the Sutro tower comes and goes as the infamous mist rolls in and out. We moved to this apartment as a couple coming to work in this city and soon became a family of three with a baby who sleeps in a converted cupboard where the vacuum cleaner and suitcases used to live.

Nearly a year old, Lilias is well and truly on the move. She crawls at a scarily fast pace and climbs anything she can find. All of a sudden, a cupboard doesn’t seem quite big enough for her bedroom. The fact that it is off the living room is not great for having people over in the evenings. The nine flights of stairs are starting to feel steeper and steeper as she gets heavier, and I won’t get started on not having a laundry.

So we are on the move! We love the neighborhood so much we are just hopping over the other side of the park, a huge move of four blocks, but it is big! It has TWO bedrooms. And a kitchen with room for a table to eat at. And it is only up one flight of stairs. And I am beyond excited. We move next Sunday, so who knows? Maybe my next blog post will be from my brand new kitchen, sitting at my table looking out towards the park.

It feels like just the right time for a move and a new adventure. Springtime in the San Francisco.

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April and a sunny spring.

We have been welcoming April and spring time with lots of green meals. I have been coming home with bags of asparagus, peas, zucchini, spring onion, basil, fennel, broad beans and baby spinach. These have then found their way into, and been the stars of, pasta, risotto, frittatas, soups and tarts.

Spring has also meant fresh flowers all around our apartment- on tables, bookshelves and benches. Our $4 flower guy at the market brightens up any Sunday.

Now we are ready to welcome a new member to our family as well. Come on out little baby, we are all ready to meet you!

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Waiting with Banana Bread

I have officially finished work and have two and a half week left until my due date. After hearing that more babies are born on the full moon, I am hoping for an early Easter arrival as I am getting impatient playing the waiting game. I want to meet the wee bub! The baby room/actually a cupboard is almost ready, I have washed all the tiny little clothes, and I am about to start cooking things to go in the freezer to pull out when I am also pulling out my hair over a crying new born.

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Today dawned so beautiful, I couldn’t bring myself to make a soup or a pasta sauce to freeze. I wanted to bake something fresh and tasty to enjoy at our sunny window with a good book. I came across Ottolenghi’s banana bread in his new book Plenty More and decided that it would be perfect, even though I had to modify it a bit due to lack of ingredients in the pantry. He says to grill it after cooking with fresh sliced banana, tahini and honeycomb which sounds absolutely glorious. Instead I just had it warm from the oven with coffee. Bliss.

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Banana and Pecan Bread

1 cup of pecans
3 large ripe bananas
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups of brown sugar
1/2 cup of full fat milk
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt of salt

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Preheat the oven to 175°C  and line a loaf pan with waxed paper. Toast the pecans in this for about ten minutes, take them out and roughly chop them. In a bowl, beat the bananas, sugar and eggs until combined. Next add the salt, milk and oil. Sift the dry ingredients in and continue to mix for a few more minutes. Finally add the pecans and pour into the loaf pan. Pop in the oven for about an hour ten and then put on a baking tray to cool (if you have one).

The result is a deliciously moist and tasty banana bread. I would definitely track down the full and proper recipe in Plenty More and try that, but for today, this one made me particularly happy.

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Apartment Living

I have never lived in an apartment building before. Ours is certainly not a fancy one. It has carpet reminiscent of an English pub complete with the smell of old cigarettes lingering, there is no lift, and rubbish bins are lined up in the centre courtyard rather than a manicured garden. But I love buzzing in the front door and seeing the packages that have been delivered, checking to see if there is one for us, or post in the number 12 slot. I love walking up the four levels to our door, passing the smells and noises of other people’s life. Fried onions and garlic at number four, curry at number seven. Sometimes a door is left ajar and I can peak into a crowded hallway, strange to live so close to someone and yet know nothing about them. I look out our kitchen window, across the courtyard to two abnormally large cats who sleep in the sun on the outside stairs, other people’s windows, other people’s choices of lined up bottles and plants.

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We have been in this building for five months now. We know our neighbours on our floor. We have all our things from New Zealand and it feels a lot more like home. Books threaten to topple, art is on the walls, clutter is accumulating, and as of Saturday, we have plants growing on the fire escape.

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Five months on and Autumn has arrived. The lower sun means we have bright light streaming into the living and bedroom for most of the day making perfect spots for curling up with a book or a bowl of pasta. It also means finally bidding farewell to stone fruit and berries and welcoming more wintery apples and pears, as well as piles of pumpkins. I am loving the comforting, hearty food- lentils with pasta, chicken pie, soups and pumpkin ravioli which I will blog very soon.

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Celebrating with Italian Food

Today we signed our lease! We have a home! After getting a bit stressed about how competitive it is and how we don’t have social security numbers OR credit history in the US (apparently very important), I was starting to doubt our ability to be accepted anywhere. And when you have to pay $50 every time you apply for a place, things were getting expensive. But we succeeded. We are now proud renters of a one bedroom apartment and we move in on Saturday. It’s on the fourth floor, it’s near parks, cafes and restaurants, and it has a beautiful view out over the city. (Plus it is just near the Full House houses!)

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We went out to Ragazza for dinner and ate amazing salads and pizza, drank some yummy red wine and talked about what we needed to get for the place. And then the next night we stayed on the Italian buzz and ate this:

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MY KIND OF CARBONARA

2 zucchini
1 leek
1 onion
Fresh thyme
Fresh parsley
2 eggs
Long splash of cream
Salt and Pepper
Fettucine
Parmesan

Slowly and softly fry the finely chopped leek and onion in olive oil and the thyme. Add the zucchini halved and then cut into long slithers once they are lovely and soft. This will mean you will have some different textures going on. In a bowl mix together the cream and eggs with some salt, pepper and chopped parsley. When your pasta has finished cooking, drain it and then return it to the pot. Quickly add the cream mixture, stirring it through so it coats all the pasta equally. You want the pasta to be silky and shiny, not scrambled eggs, so make sure the pot is no longer on the heat. Then mix in the vegetables and serve with some shaved parmesan.

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Now I know this isn’t a REAL carbonara, but it  is rich and delicious. So Italians, you will have to excuse me.

You can add pancetta, prosciutto or bacon if you wish, it can add a nice bit of crunch. Or you can spend that money on a bottle of white wine to drink while you eat, as we did.