Tuesday, 24 March 2015


I'm Australian.  We don't do brunch.  We do breakfast.  We get up at the crack of dawn on a Sunday morning, get to the beach before all available parking spots disappear, and then rush to the nearest cafe for breakfast before the line to be seated is so long you expire in the sun long before you get a coffee.  In Los Angeles, a lot of restaurants and cafes don't even open for weekend brunch before 11 am; the menu consists of a combination of breakfast and lunch options, and you're as likely to indulge in a mimosa as a coffee.  So, lining up for brunch at midday is not unusual in any way, but when a girlfriend and wandered down to Courtyard Kitchen after morning yoga, we were famished and spent 40 minutes longing for our brunch.



I've been to the Courtyard before and it's a sweet little place with a good menu which is a little cheaper than other options near by.  We had the Ratatouille Eggs and Tale of Two Green Eggs (my girlfriend didn't even look at the menu, she's obsessed with this one dish) and they couldn't come fast enough.



I've been having this savory vs. sweet conundrum for a few weeks now when I go to brunch. I spend forever trying to decide which I want and then ultimately always want the option I didn't choose.  I'm definitely having pancakes next time.



The Courtyard Kitchen on Urbanspoon


I'm Australian.  We don't do brunch.  We do breakfast.  We get up at the crack of dawn on a Sunday morning, get to the beach before all available parking spots disappear, and then rush to the nearest cafe for breakfast before the line to be seated is so long you expire in the sun long before you get a coffee.  In Los Angeles, a lot of restaurants and cafes don't even open for weekend brunch before 11 am; the menu consists of a combination of breakfast and lunch options, and you're as likely to indulge in a mimosa as a coffee.  So, lining up for brunch at midday is not unusual in any way, but when a girlfriend and wandered down to Courtyard Kitchen after morning yoga, we were famished and spent 40 minutes longing for our brunch.



I've been to the Courtyard before and it's a sweet little place with a good menu which is a little cheaper than other options near by.  We had the Ratatouille Eggs and Tale of Two Green Eggs (my girlfriend didn't even look at the menu, she's obsessed with this one dish) and they couldn't come fast enough.



I've been having this savory vs. sweet conundrum for a few weeks now when I go to brunch. I spend forever trying to decide which I want and then ultimately always want the option I didn't choose.  I'm definitely having pancakes next time.



The Courtyard Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Whilst taking a class this morning, I considered the possibility that I need more chill-out music playlists.  This is not a chill-out music playlist.  It’s a hot power yoga playlist.  It’s also a collection of music from some boys I love – or music which reminds me of boys I love.  Totally all over Caught a Ghost right now thanks to Bosch.  And….. did I mention I love Chet Faker?  No?  See below.

Nevermind Sleep – Chet Faker
Cigarettes and Chocolate – Chet Faker
Sober – Childish Gambino
Rev – Chet Faker
Gabriel – Joe Goddard
A Beautiful Mine – RJD2
Can’t Let Go – Caught a Ghost
La Ritournelle – Sebastien Teller
No Sugar in My Coffee – Caught a Ghost
House Atriedes – Chet Faker
How to Disappear Completely – Radiohead
Roslyn – Bon Iver & St Vincent
Treefingers - Radiohead

Whilst taking a class this morning, I considered the possibility that I need more chill-out music playlists.  This is not a chill-out music playlist.  It’s a hot power yoga playlist.  It’s also a collection of music from some boys I love – or music which reminds me of boys I love.  Totally all over Caught a Ghost right now thanks to Bosch.  And….. did I mention I love Chet Faker?  No?  See below.

Nevermind Sleep – Chet Faker
Cigarettes and Chocolate – Chet Faker
Sober – Childish Gambino
Rev – Chet Faker
Gabriel – Joe Goddard
A Beautiful Mine – RJD2
Can’t Let Go – Caught a Ghost
La Ritournelle – Sebastien Teller
No Sugar in My Coffee – Caught a Ghost
House Atriedes – Chet Faker
How to Disappear Completely – Radiohead
Roslyn – Bon Iver & St Vincent
Treefingers - Radiohead

Monday, 9 March 2015

I have a girlfriend who looks very poorly upon my tendency to go hiking alone in the wilds surrounding Los Angeles.  I don’t know what she thinks is going to happen to me.  I suppose she imagines me falling down a ravine and breaking my neck or being kidnapped by lunatic failed actors hiding in the bushes.  Last week I desperately needed to get out and be one with nature and all that jazz and so I decided to try a new hike.  Yes, all by myself.  I drove up to Pacific Palisades in order to attempt the Santa Ynez Falls trail.  Short, sweet, apparently not very hard but very pretty. 





I traipsed off down said pretty track full of enthusiasm.  As I passed into the section of the trail that is ‘unmaintained’, I was overwhelmed by a great sense of adventure.  I was leaping across sections of creek, jumping between rocks, clambering up steep little hills little with thick and winding tree roots.  I was Gertrude Bell!  I was Isabella Bird! I was Jeanne Bare (without the boat)!




About twenty minutes later, the sense of adventure started to withdraw towards a sense of mild unease.  I was bound to slip and break an ankle on anyone one of the little rocks falls, or fall face down into the creek and drown.  How the heck was I was going to get back?  Who would come to look for me?  I began to imagine a 127 Hours scenario, dragging myself along the creek bed, a bloody and mutilated foot leaving a trail of my impending death along the ground, a helicopter airlifting me out of the plush surrounds of the Pacific Palisades mansions.  Then I just started to get really annoyed.  Where was this bloody waterfall?!  I had been hiking for half an hour, surely?!  The path just kept getting more and more ‘unmaintained’ and treacherous.  I even abandoned my water bottle so I could use both hands to clamber over roots and rocks.  Eventually, I gave up and headed back the way I came, getting slightly lost once or twice before finding my way back to the main, ‘maintained’ trail. 



By the way, no martinis are allowed on the trail.  This is possibly the way alcohol is represented on park signs in this part of California.  I like to think it’s more likely than one too many residents of the surrounding gated community mansions stumbled into the park late at night with a martini glass in hand and got into serious trouble on the ‘unmaintained’ paths… 

I have a girlfriend who looks very poorly upon my tendency to go hiking alone in the wilds surrounding Los Angeles.  I don’t know what she thinks is going to happen to me.  I suppose she imagines me falling down a ravine and breaking my neck or being kidnapped by lunatic failed actors hiding in the bushes.  Last week I desperately needed to get out and be one with nature and all that jazz and so I decided to try a new hike.  Yes, all by myself.  I drove up to Pacific Palisades in order to attempt the Santa Ynez Falls trail.  Short, sweet, apparently not very hard but very pretty. 





I traipsed off down said pretty track full of enthusiasm.  As I passed into the section of the trail that is ‘unmaintained’, I was overwhelmed by a great sense of adventure.  I was leaping across sections of creek, jumping between rocks, clambering up steep little hills little with thick and winding tree roots.  I was Gertrude Bell!  I was Isabella Bird! I was Jeanne Bare (without the boat)!




About twenty minutes later, the sense of adventure started to withdraw towards a sense of mild unease.  I was bound to slip and break an ankle on anyone one of the little rocks falls, or fall face down into the creek and drown.  How the heck was I was going to get back?  Who would come to look for me?  I began to imagine a 127 Hours scenario, dragging myself along the creek bed, a bloody and mutilated foot leaving a trail of my impending death along the ground, a helicopter airlifting me out of the plush surrounds of the Pacific Palisades mansions.  Then I just started to get really annoyed.  Where was this bloody waterfall?!  I had been hiking for half an hour, surely?!  The path just kept getting more and more ‘unmaintained’ and treacherous.  I even abandoned my water bottle so I could use both hands to clamber over roots and rocks.  Eventually, I gave up and headed back the way I came, getting slightly lost once or twice before finding my way back to the main, ‘maintained’ trail. 



By the way, no martinis are allowed on the trail.  This is possibly the way alcohol is represented on park signs in this part of California.  I like to think it’s more likely than one too many residents of the surrounding gated community mansions stumbled into the park late at night with a martini glass in hand and got into serious trouble on the ‘unmaintained’ paths… 

Monday, 23 February 2015

via My New Roots

It’s been a while since I wrote a gushing blog crush so I wanted to take a moment to send out some love to Sarah Britton of My New Roots.  Sarah is a holistic nutritional practitioner and she’s been slogging away at her awesome blog since 2007.  I started reading food blogs around this time so I think I’ve been keeping one eye on MNR almost since the beginning.  Unlike a lot of vegan and vegetarian food blogs that claim to be all about improving your overall nutritional intake, Sarah actually knows the science behind the jargon and shares a whole lot of recipes that not only look very pretty and taste good, but they make sense because she can tell you exactly why turmeric is good for you, not just that it gives that soup you’re making a great colour. 

via My New Roots
Like a lot of vegan/vegetarian/whole food bloggers, her recipes often require some patience and a good food processor, which is often a turn-off to some cooks pressed for time or cash, but there are plenty of recipes on her site which are simple and take no time/expensive gadgets at all (ie I’m crushing so hard on her Chocolate Chunk Nut Butter Blondies right now).  


via My New Roots

Her first cook book is being released next month.  I’m a teensy-weensy bit excited.  

via My New Roots

It’s been a while since I wrote a gushing blog crush so I wanted to take a moment to send out some love to Sarah Britton of My New Roots.  Sarah is a holistic nutritional practitioner and she’s been slogging away at her awesome blog since 2007.  I started reading food blogs around this time so I think I’ve been keeping one eye on MNR almost since the beginning.  Unlike a lot of vegan and vegetarian food blogs that claim to be all about improving your overall nutritional intake, Sarah actually knows the science behind the jargon and shares a whole lot of recipes that not only look very pretty and taste good, but they make sense because she can tell you exactly why turmeric is good for you, not just that it gives that soup you’re making a great colour. 

via My New Roots
Like a lot of vegan/vegetarian/whole food bloggers, her recipes often require some patience and a good food processor, which is often a turn-off to some cooks pressed for time or cash, but there are plenty of recipes on her site which are simple and take no time/expensive gadgets at all (ie I’m crushing so hard on her Chocolate Chunk Nut Butter Blondies right now).  


via My New Roots

Her first cook book is being released next month.  I’m a teensy-weensy bit excited.  

Tuesday, 27 January 2015


Two things I’m bad at –
1)  Eating potatoes.  Many years ago I read that potatoes have absolutely no nutritional value when cooked so I abandoned them. 
2)  Following recipes.  I’ll have half the ingredients… I won’t read the instructions all the way through before starting to cook… I finish cooking and realise that I’ve left out one of the ingredients… etc, etc, etc. 

I was attempting to follow a Gourmet Traveller recipe… but it just got away from me.  It’s actually nothing like the original in the end.  It was the shallow frying – the recipe called for shallow frying and I tried to bypass it and then I just ended up making something else together.  But it worked. 

As I say, potatoes are normally something I buy or even eat in general, but I was at the Mar Vista farmers’ market on Sunday and there were these bags of skinny fingerlings and little red potatoes and I just thought they were so pretty I had to buy them. 

Obviously, if you want to make this dish vegan, leave out the Chevre and substitute the butter for more olive oil. I slapped a big spoonful of Babaganoush on the side too, just for fun.


Lemon Potatoes and Brussel Sprouts
Serves 2 as a light meal or 4 as a side dish

500 g small potatoes, such as fingerlings, halved
250 g Brussel sprouts, halved
50 g butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 tsp hot smoked paprika
50 g Chevre (optional)
A few sprigs of fresh mint, leaves stripped and roughly chopped

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and parboil the potatoes for 4-5 minutes.  Add the Brussel sprouts to the pot and boil for a further 2-3 minutes.  The potatoes should be easily pierced with a knife and the sprouts should still be bright green.  Drain and set aside. 
Place a large saucepan over medium heat and add the butter, olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice and smoked paprika, stirring gently until the butter melts.  Season to taste. 
Add the potatoes and Brussel sprouts to the pan and sauté until golden and tender, about 5 minutes. 
Remove to two plates and scatter with mint and Chevre if using. 



Two things I’m bad at –
1)  Eating potatoes.  Many years ago I read that potatoes have absolutely no nutritional value when cooked so I abandoned them. 
2)  Following recipes.  I’ll have half the ingredients… I won’t read the instructions all the way through before starting to cook… I finish cooking and realise that I’ve left out one of the ingredients… etc, etc, etc. 

I was attempting to follow a Gourmet Traveller recipe… but it just got away from me.  It’s actually nothing like the original in the end.  It was the shallow frying – the recipe called for shallow frying and I tried to bypass it and then I just ended up making something else together.  But it worked. 

As I say, potatoes are normally something I buy or even eat in general, but I was at the Mar Vista farmers’ market on Sunday and there were these bags of skinny fingerlings and little red potatoes and I just thought they were so pretty I had to buy them. 

Obviously, if you want to make this dish vegan, leave out the Chevre and substitute the butter for more olive oil. I slapped a big spoonful of Babaganoush on the side too, just for fun.


Lemon Potatoes and Brussel Sprouts
Serves 2 as a light meal or 4 as a side dish

500 g small potatoes, such as fingerlings, halved
250 g Brussel sprouts, halved
50 g butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 tsp hot smoked paprika
50 g Chevre (optional)
A few sprigs of fresh mint, leaves stripped and roughly chopped

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and parboil the potatoes for 4-5 minutes.  Add the Brussel sprouts to the pot and boil for a further 2-3 minutes.  The potatoes should be easily pierced with a knife and the sprouts should still be bright green.  Drain and set aside. 
Place a large saucepan over medium heat and add the butter, olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice and smoked paprika, stirring gently until the butter melts.  Season to taste. 
Add the potatoes and Brussel sprouts to the pan and sauté until golden and tender, about 5 minutes. 
Remove to two plates and scatter with mint and Chevre if using. 


Friday, 23 January 2015

Joanna Newsom via 

I once read ‘teaching instructions’ by a yogi who suggested that you shouldn’t play music with lyrics during a yoga class because the words, and the students’ associations with those words, would distract them from the class.  Obviously, I ignored this suggestion, but it’s true that a lot of songs on this playlist take me way, way back to certain places when I hear them.  Not when I’m teaching, thank goodness, but when I’m putting a list together for sure.  Joanna Newsom reminds me of the year or so that British telco Orange used This Side of the Blue for their New York blackout commercial before every single film playing in cinemas, every single time you went to see a movie in London. It became a little tiring.  Starsailor always reminds me of my first year in UK, when Four to the Floor was a massive hit and I played it on an endless loop, original and remixed.  Whenever I hear Idioteque, I remember the exultation I, and every other Radiohead fan felt, when they finally released a new album after almost five years.  But I called this playlist Mash-up because obviously there’s a few popular DJ mashes in there. Good mashes are hard to find.  I tested this list this morning and a few of my younger students loved it. 

I couldn’t find Lux’s Northern Lights anywhere on Soundcloud – it’s a beautiful track and you can listen to it here.




In traditional Ali vs Soundcloud fashion, not all of the tracks allow widgets (apparently) so you'll need to go HERE to listen to the rest of the playlist. 

Northern Lights – Lux
Reach a Bit Further – Wild Beasts
Sleepykids – Passion Pit vs. MGMT
Viva la Pompeii – Bastille vs. Coldplay
A Punk Paper Plans – Vampire Weekend vs. M.I.A.
Four to the Floor (Thin White Duke Mix) – Starsailor
Idioteque – Radiohead
Sleepless – Flume ft. Jezzabell Doran
Everything is Everything – Lauryn Hill
Lion’s Share – Wild Beasts
Lesson in Patience – Chet Faker
Gabriel – Lamb
This Side of the Blue – Joanna Newsom
Say Hello – Nitin Sawhney




Joanna Newsom via 

I once read ‘teaching instructions’ by a yogi who suggested that you shouldn’t play music with lyrics during a yoga class because the words, and the students’ associations with those words, would distract them from the class.  Obviously, I ignored this suggestion, but it’s true that a lot of songs on this playlist take me way, way back to certain places when I hear them.  Not when I’m teaching, thank goodness, but when I’m putting a list together for sure.  Joanna Newsom reminds me of the year or so that British telco Orange used This Side of the Blue for their New York blackout commercial before every single film playing in cinemas, every single time you went to see a movie in London. It became a little tiring.  Starsailor always reminds me of my first year in UK, when Four to the Floor was a massive hit and I played it on an endless loop, original and remixed.  Whenever I hear Idioteque, I remember the exultation I, and every other Radiohead fan felt, when they finally released a new album after almost five years.  But I called this playlist Mash-up because obviously there’s a few popular DJ mashes in there. Good mashes are hard to find.  I tested this list this morning and a few of my younger students loved it. 

I couldn’t find Lux’s Northern Lights anywhere on Soundcloud – it’s a beautiful track and you can listen to it here.




In traditional Ali vs Soundcloud fashion, not all of the tracks allow widgets (apparently) so you'll need to go HERE to listen to the rest of the playlist. 

Northern Lights – Lux
Reach a Bit Further – Wild Beasts
Sleepykids – Passion Pit vs. MGMT
Viva la Pompeii – Bastille vs. Coldplay
A Punk Paper Plans – Vampire Weekend vs. M.I.A.
Four to the Floor (Thin White Duke Mix) – Starsailor
Idioteque – Radiohead
Sleepless – Flume ft. Jezzabell Doran
Everything is Everything – Lauryn Hill
Lion’s Share – Wild Beasts
Lesson in Patience – Chet Faker
Gabriel – Lamb
This Side of the Blue – Joanna Newsom
Say Hello – Nitin Sawhney




Sunday, 30 November 2014

Sol Seppy
When I go to another yoga teacher’s class for the first time, and really, really don’t enjoy that class, I still try to find something positive to take away from it.  Sometimes, this is very, very hard.  Take last week, for example – I went to a class in Santa Monica and for the majority of that class, wished that I had not bothered.  Battling through the whole painful, hideous hour, I focused on stealing the teacher’s playlist, ferreting away a few tracks at the back of my brain to play once I was free and home again.  The class was truly, truly awful but I came away having at least discovered Sol Seppy and The National. 

The origins of this playlist have been tumbling around for over a year now.  I’ve butchered and stripped it repeatedly, and now there’s really only three songs remaining from the original list of songs.  So, I guess maybe it’s really a new playlist?


Any Other Name – Michael Newman
Pretty Lights – Finally Moving
Gobbledigook – Sigur Ros
Honey – Moby
All in Forms – Bonobo
Cheetan Jeevan – Nitin Sawhney
Sorrow – The National
Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth… - Primitive Radio Gods
Blood – The Middle East
In the Waiting Line – Zero 7
Just Breathe – Pearl Jam
Fool of Me – Say Lou Lou Feat. Chet Faker
Pyro (Gan Juan Remix) – Kings of Leon
Us Against the World – Coldplay
Enter One – Sol Seppy


Sol Seppy
When I go to another yoga teacher’s class for the first time, and really, really don’t enjoy that class, I still try to find something positive to take away from it.  Sometimes, this is very, very hard.  Take last week, for example – I went to a class in Santa Monica and for the majority of that class, wished that I had not bothered.  Battling through the whole painful, hideous hour, I focused on stealing the teacher’s playlist, ferreting away a few tracks at the back of my brain to play once I was free and home again.  The class was truly, truly awful but I came away having at least discovered Sol Seppy and The National. 

The origins of this playlist have been tumbling around for over a year now.  I’ve butchered and stripped it repeatedly, and now there’s really only three songs remaining from the original list of songs.  So, I guess maybe it’s really a new playlist?


Any Other Name – Michael Newman
Pretty Lights – Finally Moving
Gobbledigook – Sigur Ros
Honey – Moby
All in Forms – Bonobo
Cheetan Jeevan – Nitin Sawhney
Sorrow – The National
Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth… - Primitive Radio Gods
Blood – The Middle East
In the Waiting Line – Zero 7
Just Breathe – Pearl Jam
Fool of Me – Say Lou Lou Feat. Chet Faker
Pyro (Gan Juan Remix) – Kings of Leon
Us Against the World – Coldplay
Enter One – Sol Seppy


Blog Archive