Its almost half past ten on Saturday morning. I’m sitting, bleary eyed, in a pool of white light flooding through our kitchen window. The warmth feels good against my tired eyelids; a nourishing, incandescent balm. I can smell the earthy fragrance of my herb seedlings toasting in the morning sun. Not ideal, but comfortingly ambrosial.

We went to the most beautiful of Christmas gatherings last night. It was hosted by my friend Alex, with a Spanish Feliz Navidad theme. We sat under a canopy of weathered tree branches and fairy lights, drinking sangria and spicy Tempranillo from patterned glasses. I neglected to bring a camera, so I’ll attempt to build a picture with words: imagine a balmy night, soft air drifting through tree branches as fairy lights gently dot the sky. Flamenco plays in the background as candles flicker against metal and glass.

We sit at a long timber table, plates generously heaving with orange scented chicken, spicy chorizo, beef meatballs and patatas bravas. Blistered broad beans rub shoulders with lemon zest, chilli and fried jamon as fragrant orange segments marry with blackened olives and red onion. Sweet juices are eagerly mopped up with woodfired bread. It’s a merry dance of food, music and conversation.

Towards the end of the evening, as the candles burned down to their wicks, we sat quietly drinking strong tea and the last remnants of sangria. Spoons scraped against earthenware bowls in a gentle rhythm, retrieving cold bites of vanilla bean ice cream, Pedro Ximenez soaked raisins and Alfajores Payes: chocolate dipped Spanish cinnamon cookies sandwiched with homemade salted caramel.

It was my plan to give you the recipe for Alfajores Payes today as part of the pre-Christmas weekend celebration; however, as I failed to bring a camera to last night’s event I have no photographs of the finished product. Here’s a mid-stage image of the cookie sandwiches to whet your appetite (post is now up via this link):


For the rest of this post, I’m going to share an eclectic range of images from the past few weeks as we’ve bid farewell to sweet springtime. Mornings now breathe a rhythm of heat and humidity, dappled sun and steaming bitumen. Dry grass crackles underfoot.

Summer has begun.


Towards the end of November, we attended the Beaufort Street Festival in Mount Lawley. Public art, live music, scorching heat, dog shows, food vendors and sweating Australians in wife beaters and thongs.

Highlights for the foodie in me were spiced, Mexican cream slathered elotes and ice-cold Espolon Tequila slushies from El Publico. Incredible salted caramel ice cream sandwiches from Cantina 663 sold like hot (cold) cakes. frozenmargarita dinos biketable

We also played beer stack’ems at The Flying Scotsman beer garden. Plastic cups, many hands, torn coasters and a camera. We’re creative like that.


For some reason there were stormtroopers, who must have been baking in their costumes. Seeking shade was a wise choice.

troopers2 kidsdrawings

Last weekend, we attended the very similar Leederville Carnival on Oxford Street, Leederville. The day was slightly cooler, softened by a cool breeze.

We drank strawberry lemonade at Duende whilst feasting on mushrooms and haloumi. We hunted for four-legged friends amongst chutney vendors, buskers and crowds of hipsters. I played I-Spy through pieces of fresh ciabatta.

leedystreet mushys breadglasses dogbin2Aaron and I also travelled to Fremantle for a day trip, in celebration of our second anniversary. We spied lovers on railway boomgates whilst feasting on ice pops from La Paleta at the Urban Locavore market, MYRE Perth. I chose cucumber and chilli, Aaron chose the rich, creamy coconut. So delicious.

photopole cucumberpop coconutpop

fence1We drank coffee at Ootong and Lincoln, home of the famous lentil burger that I mentioned in this post. You can spy the menu on the right hand side of the second picture.

ootongwall ootongcounterThe season of pavlova with thick Greek yoghurt (this one was made by my friend Erin), fresh-picked mint, plump berries and cider has begun…

HAPPY SUMMER to my Southern Hemisphere friends. Until next time (there shall be a recipe, I promise).

berries erinspav

59 responses

    • Thanks Jen. Haha, yep… the stormtroopers were out in force! I also spotted ‘Wally’ but didn’t managed to get a good enough photo to add in here. Illusive fellow he is! x

  1. Oh, Laura! I’m reading this late at night while buried under blankets. It’s supposed to get down to 4 degrees Fahrenheit tonight,which is like -15 degrees Celsius. I’m so jealous! Enjoy your Saturday and rest of the weekend and all of that good food. And enjoy your summer. Xx

    • Naw, it’s so strange being on opposite ends of the globe… I ‘ve been sleeping with just a bedsheet for the past few nights, occasionally with a fan on as well! Hope that you’re managing to stay warm and that you had a beautiful weekend. It’s almost Christmas! xx

  2. ’tis the season for street festivals, markets and carnivals isn’t it! Absolutely love alfajores payes – I could drink dulche de leche by the jugful! We enjoyed them at a Spanish Festival here a couple of weeks ago. Looking forward to your recipe! Enjoy the rest of your weekend Laura.

    • Agreed Saskia dear, let the Summer festivities begin! I’m also obsessed with dulce de leche, I could just eat it out of the jar (also love the cajeta Mexican version made with goatsmilk, so good!). Hope that you had a lovely weekend too xx

  3. The food at your Christmas gathering sounded wonderful…so different to the flavors we have during Christmas…as is the weather. The pavlova looks delightful! I was thinking of making mini pavlovas for dessert at Christmas.

    • Mini pavlovas sound wonderful. I love eating pavlova at Christmas, predominantly as its so warm over here. We do eat some traditional Christmas foods occasionally at this time of year but the warm weather can be quite off-putting when thinking of roasting a turkey! x

    • Thanks Suzanne, it was such a lovely event. Alex did a fabulous job with the setting itself and everyone’s food contributions were divine! The pav was made by another foodie friend, Erin, who arguably makes the best cheesecake in the entire world. She topped it with rhubarb and strawberries, Greek yoghurt and icing sugar. So good! x

  4. Great read on a Sunday morning! We haven’t had many days of properly hot summer weather on the east coast, but it’s starting to feel more summery in other ways. And alfajores! I became obsessed by them in Argentina, and want to make dulce de leche properly from scratch. Another of those projects on my long and growing list!!

    • Summer arrived with a vengeance here in WA. It’s been ridiculously warm and humid, not good for sleeping but great for just relaxing in the evenings with a beer. Hope that you get some proper summery weather soon! As for the dulce de leche, I don’t actually know if I made it properly! I did the can of condensed milk in boiling water thing… it seems to be a popular method in the blogosphere. Not sure how true Argentineans would make it at home but it sure tasted good! Thanks for the lovely comment x

      • It seems Mr Weatherman reads your blog! The moment I said we needed proper summer weather, we were in the middle of our hottest week this summer!

        I’ve also seen the boiling can of condensed milk method. A Russian woman I used to work with said that’s she got through exam cramming in Moscow, by making and eating caramel made from boiling cans of condensed milk. So it’s authentic somewhere in the world!

        I think a Mexican method involves boiling goats milk for ages, sounds like the end product would have a real goat tang though..?

      • I’ve tried the Mexican cajeta (I think that’s what they call the goats milk version of dulce de leche!). It’s really delicious, I think the slight tang goes beautifully with the thick caramel sweetness. Haha, love the story about the Russian colleague! Let’s just say it’s authentically… uh, European? Glad to hear you’re getting a bit of heat. It’s forecast for 38 degrees C for tomorrow over here, same for Saturday. I think I might just stay in the air con… :)

  5. We went out with friends last night for tapas to (belatedly) celebrate my birthday. Since studying abroad in Spain, Spanish food is my favorite thing in the world. The patatas bravas at the restaurant we went to our one of our favorite dishes. I just ordered a variety of Spanish smoked paprika so Alex and I can try to recreate them. Ill alert the media as soon as I do. ;-)

    You take the most beautiful photographs, darling. Wish I could pay you a visit and have you give me a crash course! Enjoy your summer, and I’ll take refuge from the cold weather in my also-cold apartment and pretend I’m warm when looking at your photos. Xoxo

    • Aw, I wish you could come and visit too Stephie! We’d have a grand time together, particularly at this time of year. It’s so beautifully warm, with longer nights and balmy evenings. Hope that you enjoy your winter though. It’ll be a good thing come Christmas day, just think about us sweating away eating turkey whilst you enjoy yours by the fire! As for the tapas… happy belated birthday, glad that you had a beautiful night out. I am obsessed with patatas bravas too, I can make a pretty good version at home now with the smoked paprika (I bought a good stock as we eat them so often!). So, so delicious!! Sending you a hug lovely. take care and stay warm!! xox

  6. These are the kinds of days that stay with us forever… how beautiful to gather with friends and share food, laughter, and summer evenings… Thanks you so much for sharing this day with us!

    • I definitely agree with that David. Time spent with friends and family is the most precious of all, regardless of what we’re doing! Thanks for the lovely words. Hope that you and Mark are enjoying a beautiful festive season so far x

  7. Its so nice to see the gorgeous colours of the Australian summer. Seems like a great Spanish party! :) My parents live in Andalucia, in the south of Spain (where all the flamenco artistry is from) and they have a different alfajor there, its a long one made with almonds and honey, I love them. I’ll try and make some shots when I go there in Christmas. xx

    • I remember reading a book about Andalucia a very long time ago, it sounds so beautiful. The biscuits sound delicious!! Definitely grab the recipe if you can, I’d love to know how to make them. I do love Australia but Spain is one of the most culturally vibrant, beautiful places I’ve ever been. Hope your festive season has been beautiful so far Sofia! xx

  8. Laura, what a great post … summer – we had our first snow yesterday morning *smile – and it has been storming for 2,5 days, Today it has been so dark so I had to have all lamps on in the flat. And so wet outside, so the snow is now gone ????
    Thanks for bring joy, color and …. spices into my even darker evening.

      • Laura, snow for only 24 hours and .. after that just grey, wet and dull … so sick of it. Can’t remember when I had a Christmas without any snow at all.
        I wish you a fantastic end with a gentle start … of the new year.

    • Thanks lovely, haha… summer is lovely but I’d much prefer winter at this time of year. There’s nothing like warm puddings and hot drinks next to the fire at Christmas! Have a merry festive season lovely xx

    • Haha, I think we all want what we can’t have. I’d love to be in the cold right now, drinking hot chocolate by the fireplace! I made another batch of alfajores at the end of last week and we’ll be eating the end of them tonight. Yum. Merry Christmas lovely! xx

  9. Good times with fine food and drink shared among family and friends. That’s what the holidays are all about, whether its beach weather or time to break out the snow blower. Enjoy, Laura!

    • Definitely agree John, family is the most important thing at this time of year. I am looking forward to a day of hanging out with my favourite people tomorrow! Hope that you and the Bartolini’s have a wonderful day together. Thanks for your words as always!

  10. Though your photos are lovely, you never need a camera, Laura. Your words transport me.

    I am most intrigued by the refreshing flavors in your paleta. I think I would have chosen the same!

    • That is a huge compliment Stacy. Sorry for taking so long to reply to this, my month is running away from me! The paleta was gorgeous, I had no idea that icy-cold cucumber with chilli would work! Wishing you and the family a gorgeous Christmas Stace xxx

  11. Summer is coming to Perth! So much many awesome events and festivals coming up! I love that you can get artisan pop treats. My fave is still Delish Ice and they have just opened a physical shop on William Street. I can’t wait to visit, it looks so cool.

    Love the look of the meringue!

    • I love Delish also, but (being a graphic design kinda girl) I adore the badging on the La paleta treats. Flavours like this cucumber pop also just call my name every time! Loving Perth summer. Hoping that you and the family will have a gorgeous Christmas tomorrow Ai-ling! Hope to catch up soon xxx

  12. this summer post is making me wish i could jaunt over for a short trip, escape the snow and learn how to play the beer stack’em game — maybe while riding around on that food trolley? if this short introduction is indicative of your summer to come, i’d say you’re going to be a very lucky lady this year :)

    • Haha, definitely come visit me Jen! There’s plenty of amazing summer weather to share over here (though, admittedly I’d rather be chilly in your part of the world at Christmas. I struggle with the hot Christmases despite being here most of my life). Wishing you, your hubby and the family a beautiful Christmas filled with good things! xx

    • Haha, post is up now!! I know what you mean about the cold weather, it definitely goes through you at times. It’s stinking hot over here so I wouldn’t mind a bit of cold weather (particularly on Christmas day, there’s nothing like eating hot pudding next to the fire) but I guess we always want what we can’t have. Sending you a hug, merry Christmas! xx

  13. It is so nice to see the colors and the fun events of summer Down Under through your eyes, Laura – particularly since it is freezing over here! :-)
    Cool festivals you went to – and I got a kick out of seeing those stormtrooper costumes! :-)
    Thanks for the nice coverage and photo story! Enjoy the summer, my friend! :-)

    • Thank you for the lovely words Stefano, it’s been a fun summer so far! Hope that you and Francesca are staying warm and that you both will have a beautiful Christmas tomorrow. Hugs to you both!

    • Thank you lovely Maria, I appreciate it! Yes, the sun is alive and well over here. It’s been near 40 degrees C for a week now! Stay warm, hope that you have a beautiful Christmas! xx

    • Naw, thank you lovely. I enjoy writing the posts as much as I love eating the food on most occasions! Yep, love Aussie summers.. pretty much everything about it except the flies :) x

  14. Pingback: Alfajores Payes – TSP Christmas Cookie Week « Laura's Mess

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