With 7.1 million Instagram followers (including a slew of celebrities such as Tom Ford, Cindy Crawford, Robbie Williams and Reese Witherspoon), Celeste Barber is a big deal online. Celeste wears many hats: she is an Australian national treasure, comedian, actor, queen of Insta satire, writer and during our February bushfire crisis – the powerhouse behind the raising of more than $51 million in donations for the Rural Fire Service. Celeste’s hilarious #celestechallengeaccepted posts, where she calls out our obsession with celebrity Instagram culture by recreating their (ridiculous) social media posts, are nothing short of comedic gold. This bestselling book is part memoir, part comedy routine and part advice manual. It’s a raucous, hilarious and outspoken guide to life and keeping it real.
HarperCollins RRP $19.99
Connecting those who have with those who need
Juliette Wright had a brilliant idea after questioning if there was a better way. The Brisbane mum started her innovative not-for-profit GIVIT in 2009 when she wanted to give away her young son’s baby clothes. Unable to find an alternative to dropping the unworn clothes into a whiffy charity bin, GIVIT was born. Juliette set about creating an automated website that matches generosity with genuine need. The site connects a network of givers so every charity in Australia can obtain exactly what they require. GIVIT’s free service is now used by more than 3,000 registered Australian charities and agencies to list the specific needs of their disadvantaged or crisis-impacted clients. The real-time listing allows everyday Australians to see what items are required. The process preserves the dignity and privacy of those accessing support because the charity or agency takes care of the exchange. The platform is like a virtual warehouse connecting those who have with those who need. Charities and agencies no longer have to store, sort and dispose of unwanted items, saving their valuable time and resources.
In the decade since GIVIT’s inception, more than 640,000 quality, essential items have been donated to assist impoverished, vulnerable and marginalised Australians. GIVIT has also been engaged by both State and Federal Governments to manage the offers of goods and services during emergencies such as cyclones, floods, bushfires and the current COVID-19 crisis.
GIVIT offers three ways to donate. You can give in response to a specific item listed on the website, you can give an item for donation or you can pledge a cash donation. To see what items are needed in your community, visit www.givit.org.au – something sitting unused in your garage could be waiting for a match on GIVIT today.
Plum chocolate cake
As we’re coming towards the end of plum season, if you can’t find plums you could replace them with pears – which also match beautifully with chocolate. If using pears instead, you will only need two. And slice them rather than halving, since their flesh is firmer than plums they will need to be thinner to cook through.
4 ripe plums
1⅓ cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup caster sugar
¼ cup cocoa powder
½ cup butter at room temperature
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup milk
1 tablespoon sugar, to sprinkle on top
Preheat oven to 175C. Line a 22cm round cake tin with aluminum foil (overhanging the foil over the sides of the tin) and lightly grease.
Cut the plums in half and remove the stones.
In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt.
In a bowl cream together the two sugars and butter until pale and fluffy. Beat in cocoa powder, followed by egg and vanilla and mix until smooth. Blend in one-third of the flour mixture, followed by half the milk. Add in half of the remaining flour mixture, followed by the remaining milk, then add the last of the flour mixture. Stir only until everything just comes together (with no streaks of the flour mix remaining) – don’t over mix. The consistency will be like a fairly stiff batter.
Spread batter into the cake tin. Arrange the plum halves (cut side up) around the outside of the tin, placing one or two in the center. Gently press the plums into the batter. Sprinkle the top with the extra sugar.
Bake for 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached.
Cool completely in the tin, then lift the cake out using the aluminum foil overhang.
This is delicious served with thick cream.