Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Lucky by name . . .

Had a fabulous weekend over at Lucky Bay with Shel, Pete, Bernie and Kel Bel. Great weather, spot of fishing and amazing feasts. We really went over top with our food prep, and loved every minute of it!

Have some good recipes to post soon, so stay tuned. Think, lazy long weekends, comfort food and all day grazing. Yes, I know you're hearing me!

Pic by we heart it

Friday, January 15, 2010

Tickled pink

One of my fave pics from my brother's wedding. Thank you Carla!

Great work Pete Thornton on the photography

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Missed Connections

I love the whole concept of fate . . . and the idea that there is one very special soulmate out there in the world for each and every one of us. I'm not sure if I believe you'll always get to meet your soulmate and share a life with them, but I do believe in happily ever afters and like the idea of finding someone who makes you happy and brings joy and laughter to your life.

So often I'll come in to work and tell the girls 'Oh, I just made eye contact with the most amazing guy at the traffic lights today', or 'You should've seen this guy who held the door open for me in the car park today, chemistry, for sure'.

I laugh it off every time and never actually have the guts to, on a whim, go with my gut feeling and introduce myself. But just, what if, that person was your soulmate and you let the opportunity go flying?! A bit like that Sliding Doors moment where in one alternate world, Gwynnie decides to actually talk to that random guy on the tube.

So, you can imagine my delight when I stumbled across the Missed Connections website thanks to A Cup of Jo. The whole idea that people are grabbing their destiny with both hands and making every effort to find that special someone just brightens my day - how refreshing!
The best bit about these little messages of hope, is the beautiful artwork created by Sophie Blackall. So so so sweet.

I think my favourite one is the last pic above (because I live in hope - I've been known to read at the bus stop in my time - not ON the bus though, oh no, motion sickness gets the better of me!).
Tuesday, October 6, 2009-m4w (L train to Manhattan)
You were reading Catch-22 on the subway this morning. I have never seen such a beautiful profile. I wanted to say hi, but then you’d turn towards me and I wouldn’t be able to look at your profile anymore. You were so into your book, I don’t think you noticed me falling in love with you. But I thought I’d ask, just in case.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Hot weather, the cricket and big bowls of salads

Snaps for me - I'm more than a week in to my new year's resolution of 'better living' (I don't want to label it with a diet, or put pressure on the whole exercise regime!) and I'm still going strong!
I was, however, tested last week when JC, Spinks and I headed to the Twenty20 Big Bash at Adelaide Oval to see the Redbacks take on the Bushrangers. Love my cricket. Stifling weather conditions made it tough going at the Oval and the awkward timing of 6.30pm - 9.30pm meant we'd get home too late for dinner. All this on top of the need to eat 'better'!
JC is as big a foodie as me and I knew that nothing we could buy at the ground would compare to what she could knock up herself. A chiko roll or bag of hot chips? I don't think so!
So taking all of this into consideration, I offered to prepare dinner boxes for the three of us. So much fun! Wednesday night was spent in the kitchen, mixing up all sorts of goodies to knock their socks off. Think sexy salads - minus the Barbie.
I settled on Vietnamese noodle salad (thank you late night Nigella foxtel marathon!) with spinach, avocado, macadamia and lime salad with smoked salmon. Yum! So light and so good! I packed them up in big plastic containers, then served them at the cricket in noodle boxes with funky wooden disposable cutlery and cute Ikea napkins.
Suffice to say, I think they were impressed!
Vietnamese noodle salad (all measurements are guestimates - it's all about taste!)
1 tspn grated ginger
1 clove garlic crushed
juice of half to a full lime
1 red chilli finely chopped, seeds removed
2Tbspns water
splash sesame oil
1tspn olive oil
1Tbspn fish sauce
shake of sugar
cellophane or vermicelli noodles, cooked
two spring onions, chopped
big handful of sugar snap peas or snow peas, blanched
big handful of bean sprouts, blanched
half red capsicum, thinly sliced
meat (optional - stifried or poached thinly sliced chicken is good, or shrimp)
  1. Combine all dressing ingredients. This can store in the fridge for ages, so great idea to perhaps double it and keep in a jar.
  2. Cook your noodles as per the packet instructions - usually just means soaking in boiling water.
  3. Toss your noodles with all the vegetables.
  4. Drizzle over the dressing and combine well.
  5. Serve with extra coriander on top.
Spinach, avocado, lime and macadamia salad
rind of half to one lime
juice of one lime
2Tbspn macadamia oil
salt and pepper to taste
4 big handfuls of spinach leaves
1 small bag of dry roasted macadmia nuts
half to full avocado, spooned out
any extra greens if you want (like cucumber, spring onions etc but I like it simple)
  1. Toss all ingredients together. Great served with smoked salmon.

    Pics from weheartit

Sunday, January 10, 2010

So long pretty!

Perfect peonies. So sad that the season's over.

This one's for Bree xo
Pic from the ever impressive Sunday Suppers

Friday, January 8, 2010

Yummingbird Bakery . . . oops, I mean Hummingbird Bakery!

My biggest achievement over the Christmas break would have to be mastering the art of the perfect cupcake. They've always escaped me, they've been as solid as bricks, heavy as lard or kind of wet to touch and attach to the roof of your mouth - not in a good fairy floss kind of way.
Emma at work is the Cupcake Queen and has always impressed with her perfect batches. Me? I prefer to head over to BTS to buy a dozen that I know will knock everyone's socks off.
So, when Mum presented me with the cookbook of my FAVOURITE bakery in London, I was hesitant to try any recipes for fear of ruining the dream. That final red velvet cupcake on Portabello Road will live with me forever - bliss!
A friend of mine took the plunge and brought a batch to our Ladies Grand Final Lunch at Michelle's place last year, so with time up my sleeve and looking for that killer 'x' factor dish for my BBT party, I decided to give it a whirl.
And alas, they were perfect! The texture, the colour, the taste - even the icing (thanks to my Mum's tupperware piper thing). I made my smaller than what is recommended, but everyone agreed they were the perfect bit - and meant you didn't feel guilty going back for a second!
Hummingbird Bakery Red Velvet Cupcakes
Mix all the ingredients well so that the sponge has an even colour and texture. To make a red velvet cake instead, double to quantities below, divide between three 20-cm cake tins and bake for 25 minutes at the same oven temperature. Frost with two quantities of Cream Cheese Frosting.
60g unsalted butter at room temperature
150g castor sugar
1 egg
10g cocoa powder
20mL red food colouring
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
120mL buttermilk
150g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
1 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
300g icing sugar, sifted
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g cream cheese, cold
  1. Preheat the oven to 170C.
  2. Put the butter and the sugar in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy and well mixed.
  3. Turn the mixer up to high speed, slowly add the egg and beat until everything is well incorporated.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, red rood colouring and vanilla extract to make a thick, dark paste.
  5. Add to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly until evenly combined and coloured (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula).
  6. Turn the mixer down to slow speed and slowly pour in half the buttermilk.
  7. Beat until well mixed, then add half the flour, and beat until everything is well incorporated.
  8. Repeat this process until all the buttermilk and flour have been added.
  9. Scrape down the side of the bowl again.
  10. Turn the mixer up to high speed and beat until you have a smooth, even mixture.
  11. Turn the mixer down to low speed and add the salt, bicarb soda and vinegar.
  12. Beat until well mixed, then turn speed up again and beat for a couple more minutes.
  13. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean.
  14. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  15. When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the cream cheese frosting on top.
  1. Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed.
  2. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated.
  3. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed.
  4. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least five minutes.
  5. Do not overbeat as it can quickly become runny.
Makes 12 cupcakes
*Recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook by Tarek Malouf. Check out other delights and treats here.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Brown Button Trading does Christmas with Kate!

Susie Q's truffle tree. Ah-mazing!

Hummingbird Bakery Red Velvet Cupcakes that I made myself. Simply divine - recipe will follow soon!

Nice work Alice with the close up photography!

Guilty - I forgot to take pics at the start of the part, so please excuse the scraps halfway through!

Gorgeous Brown Button Trading treats

The goodies table

Where have the weeks gone? It feels like I was only just gearing up for a hectic festive season and now it's all over! I just love Christmas and desperately need to find a new focus to get me through this holiday hangover! I'm back at work, feeling seven years older (and looking it too!).
Time to renew my passion for Polkadot Pantry!
Now, you may remember my excitement at the prospect of hosting Miss Kimberlee and her treats at a BBT Christmas drinks party. Well, it seems like weeks ago now, but I finally have some pics to show you of the lovely afternoon. Kimbo was fabulous - complete with gorgeous Arabian nights face paint for her work Christmas party!
I was so disorganised (and enjoying the Bird in Hand a tad too much) that I forgot to take pics of the girls and the special guest herself, but dear Alice salvaged some photos and took charge where I failed.
So much fun and thanks a bazillion to Kim for her enthusiasm and patience!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Say cheese!

Yes, she's back! I have found my long lost camera cord and can now re-enter the world of photo uploading! Oh, the joy! Above is a pic of the gorgeous Nic at our Christmas party - the perfect expression of Pimms-induced joy! Similar to be reaction to finding my cord (which arrived today in a padded envelope from my housemate's friend in Queensland - random!), albeit sober!

More pics to come from the silly season soon xo