Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Gunshop Cafe

Oh I love Brisbane!

Heading here for breakfast tomorrow.

Any recommendations? The vanilla and vodka cured ocean trout has caught my eye . . .

Friday, July 29, 2011

Have you met these lovelies?

Meet Lisa and Emma.

They are the masterminds behind White & Wander, the most fabulous, unique, eclectic approach to design I've seen in a long time.

There's something special about a mother and daughter team - and these ladies are no exception.

In their own words . . .

Introducing White & Wander's creators, mother & daughter, Lisa & Emma.

Emma, Creative Director, chief stylist and harbinger of the White & Wander signature style is author of the White & Wander blog which for four years has proven a tantalising ‘go to’ guide for friends seeking design inspiration.

Lisa, Managing Director, experienced business woman and master of the helm of the White & Wander mother ship has earnt her stripes creating beautiful interiors from the most unlikely of sources.

Emma & Lisa share a love of many things – fallow antlers, navy and white ticking, nautical themes, aged wicker, flags and their most favourite, heraldry – shown to advantage in the White & Wander logo.

Their love of and passion for design and style is contagious - it's so easy to get caught up in their enthusiasm.

And the best bit? They're from Adelaide!
Dive into their wonderland here.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Leaving on a jet plane . . .

. . . dont' know when I'll be back again.

Kidding. I do know when I'll be back. Sunday. And it's all too soon for my liking.

Jetting off with Emma tonight for a fabulously indulgent girls' weekend away in Brisbane. We have no plans really, just a few catch ups with a few old friends and of course a sticky beak at the gorgeous Black & Spiro studio in New Farm.

There'll be lots of laughs and lots of bubbles no doubt - watch out Brisbane, here come all the single ladies!

Cue Beyonce . . .

Oh oh ohhhhh, oh oh ohhhh, oh oh oh oh!

PS. And the relevance of the pic? I found it aaaaages on ago on Emma's twin sister's blog and it perfectly encapsulates the look I'd love to recreate for my arrival in Brisvegas. Yep, um, nope. It's not going to happen.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Happy Launch Eve!

The buzz around blog world this week has been centred around the very exciting launch of Anna Spiro's absolutely beautiful things tomorrow.

Emma and I are headed to Brisbane tomorrow and look forward to coming up with the lady herself in the wake of the big launch.

Do you think she'll be tired, much!?

What an exciting concept . . .

I want to be the 20th person to place an order!

Read more about it here

PS. Thanks to everyone for their Brisbane "must dos". We have a very busy few days planned and I'll be sure to report back on our adventures next week x

Secret squirrels . . .

Okay, so not today but LAST FRIDAY!

(Hmm, yes, hello Sandra Sully with the late news, but I've been sans internet for the past week so please excuse me!)

The fabulous Emma has revealed the long awaited and highly anticipated masterpiece that is White & Wander.

Think old professor's study x art gallery x museum x boat shed x much loved barn.

It's an eclectic mix of whimsical treats.

In their words, "A discovery of time worn treasures and imperfect luxuries... "

Anna Spiro has posted a beautiful intro to the store here.

But get in quick - orders are flying in thick and fast and with so many unique finds, you've got to grab them while you can.

It's not every day you find a goat's head called 'Gruff' for sale online!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Soup for the soul

There's nothing like a big bowl of soup to warm you up - both inside and out.

This recipe is a fabulous take on the traditional chicken soup . . . and it's a Weight Watchers recipe. Bonus!

Chicken, sweet corn, spinach and risoni soup

ProPoints value: 9
Servings: 4
Preparation Time: 15 min
Cooking Time: 30 min
Level of Difficulty: Moderate

We've given a classic Chinese soup an Italian twist by using risoni pasta instead of traditional noodles.

2 tsp olive oil
1 small brown onion, finely chopped
2 clove(s) fresh garlic, crushed
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
5 cup(s) chicken stock, (1.25L)
400 g lean chicken breast, (2 x 200g fillets)
500 g fresh corn, (2 cobs, husks removed)
70 g pasta, (risoni)
1 medium zucchini, trimmed, diced
2 1/2 cup(s) baby spinach
40 ml rice wine (Sake)

  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, for 3–5 minutes or until softened. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  • Add stock and bring to the boil. Add chicken and corn and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken and corn. Cool slightly.
  • Add risoni to stock mixture and simmer for 10 minutes or until just tender. Meanwhile, shred chicken breast and cut kernels from corn cobs. Return chicken and corn to soup with zucchini and simmer for 3–4 minutes or until zucchini is tender.
  • Add spinach and stir until just wilted. Stir in wine and remove from heat. Ladle soup into bowls and serve.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Have a break . . .

. . . have a kit kat!

Isn't this the best birthday cake for the guest of honour who doesn't like cake?!

A wall of Kit Kats filled in with M&Ms.

A chocoholics dream!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Couch time

I love a spot of couch time. Love it.

Especially love it when you're at someone else's place, in your tracky dacks and they're cooking you dinner and there's great telly on!

Popped round to the loft last week to catch the first episode of Top Design with Emma.

Hmm, not sure I'm taken with it. Like the concept, don't like the execution. The judges are too high and mighty for my liking. The contestants have some great budgets to work with and I am looking forward to the challenges ahead, but I do hope the judges get off their high horse.

And a bugger it clashes with Offspring!

Still loving The Block though. I'm on Team Amie and Katrina - they're hilarious!

Back to couch time . . . Emma whipped up a Raymondo. Yes, it sounds like some dodgy pool cleaner man, but it was actually a delicious pasta dish!

Bacon, onion, mushrooms, garlic, tin of tomatoes, evaporated milk, chicken, spinach . . . anything else, Em?

She also found some majorly fun pasta - looooooong spirals. They unravelled into cute curls that went on and on and on - kind of curly spaghetti!

Couch time. It's the best!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

One Pot Wonderful!

I love a one pot wonder!
Hardly any dishes, a few key steps and minimal ingredients.
This Donna Hay special has been a regular on my menu the last few weeks - trust me, it's GOOD!

One pot Chinese Chicken
Serves 2

3 cups (750ml) chicken stock
6 slices ginger (I use one big heaped teaspoon of jar stuff)
4 cloves garlic halved (yep, I cheat again with the jar stuff!)
1 long green chilli, sliced
1½ cups (300g) jasmine rice
4 x 125g chicken thigh fillets, halved
4 spring onions, sliced
1 cup coriander leaves
soy sauce, to serve

  1. Place the stock, ginger, garlic and chilli in a deep frying pan over high heat and bring to the boil.
  2. Add the rice and stir once to distribute evenly over the bottom of the pan. When the stock comes back to the boil, add the chicken.
  3. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes or until the rice has absorbed the stock and the chicken is tender.
  4. Top the chicken and rice with the onion and coriander and serve with soy sauce.

 Recipe from Fast Fresh Simple

Monday, July 18, 2011

Food for thought

Congrats to Katie Quinn Davies who has had her fabulous foodie blog 'What Katie Ate' listed in the The Independent's 50 Best Food Websites (if only we lived in the UK!).

It's def one of my favourite reads - the most drool worthy food pics ever.

Check out the entire list for yourself here.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Party of five

New friends are a wonderful find. I've recently sparked up a friendship with a couple who are new to the Rad and although the link might be distant, we get on like a house on fire.

Kristie and Andy are from Sydney and I've made it my mission to prove to them what a great place Adelaide is.

I had them over for dinner last week with another couple and cooked up a comforting winter treat for the five of us.

Baked camembert | Osso bucco | Maple pears

The baked camembert was a hit - kind of a posh fondue! I took the skin off the top of the cheese, left it in its wooden box and stuck some slivers of garlic and a few rosemary pieces into the top. Then, with the leftover rosemary stems, I whittled away the greenery except for a few sprigs at the end and threaded on some chunks of bread before splashing it with olive oil and sea salt and baking with the cheese - about 20 mins.

Shame it was so good - I didn't even get a chance to take a photo!

The maple pears were also a lovely treat - thin slices of pear brushed with butter and covered in demerara sugar, then fried until caremalised, stacked on the plate and drizzled with maple syrup and a dollop of King Island honey and cinnamon yoghurt (so so good!)

Such a lovely evening. And don't you love my strip of imperial trellis fabric? $2 a metre from Spotlight!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

One Day

Is anyone as excited as me about this movie? Read the book, and LOVED it!

I do have to put it out there though - I'm completely devastated about the choice of Anne Hathaway as Emma. It needed to have been a British actress. Her accent is shocking. Perhaps a Kate Winslet?

And Dex looks okay, but how fabulous would Jude Law have been in the role?

Yes, I'm excited xo

Friday, July 8, 2011

Together Brisbane

Fellow bloggers, I need your help!

Emma and I are heading to Brisbane for a couple of days at the end of July and we know NOTHING about the place!

We'd love your suggestions for places to eat and drink, fabulous shopping destinations, markets, exhibitions . . . anything!

We're staying in Fortitude Valley which I've heard is close to Chinatown - something we are very happy about!

I'd especially love a breakfast hang out suggestion or a place to enjoy a glass of vino (or cider for Emma!)

So Brisbanians, come forth! Share your secrets and let me know why you love to call Brisbane home.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Quack if you're hungry

I'm a bit of a wuss when it comes to cooking - I don't really like to try anything with more than eight or so ingredients, and definitely freak out at the prospect of 'preparing a day ahead'. I'm more a Donna Hay girl than a Julia Child devotee.

My darling friend Gemma though, gosh, she amazes me. She is always whipping up ah-mazing meals that I would skip straight over in a recipe book. She's not afraid to try something new and challenging and I take my hat off to her.

She impressed me with a lip smackingly good tagine last year and most recently, a rich and decadent duck ragout for our school girls get together (10 years on and still going strong!). As for dessert, she knocked our socks off with a fabulous twist on baklava a la George Calombaris.

Breaking it down, it doesn't look all that scary, so I might bite the bullet and try them both myself - the end result is definitely worth it!

Braised duck, Valpolicella, tomato and rosemary with polenta

Serves 6 | Cooking Time Prep time 35 mins, cook 3 hrs (plus brining, resting)
1 free-range duck (about 2kg)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 rosemary sprig
375 ml Valpolicella (see note)
800 gm canned diced Italian tomatoes
2 fresh bay leaves
Pinch of finely grated nutmeg
½ cup (loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
To serve: soft polenta

300 gm fine sea salt
275 gm (1¼ cups) white sugar
5 juniper berries, coarsely crushed
2 fresh bay leaves
1 tsp black peppercorns, coarsely crushed

  1. For brine, bring ingredients and 1.5 litres water to the boil in a large saucepan over high heat, stirring to dissolve, then set aside to cool completely.
  2. Place duck snugly in a non-reactive container, pour over brine to completely cover. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Remove duck from brine (discard brine) and pat dry with absorbent paper. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat, cook duck, breast-side down first, then turning until fat renders and duck is golden (3-5 minutes each side). Remove duck (reserve fat) and set aside.
  4. Heat 30ml duck fat in a large casserole over medium-high heat, add vegetables, garlic and rosemary, stir occasionally until tender (5-7 minutes). Add wine and simmer until reduced slightly (2-3 minutes), then add tomato, bay leaves and nutmeg and season to taste. Add duck (duck should be submerged), cover with baking paper, then with a lid, and cook over low heat, turning duck and skimming fat occasionally until duck is tender and almost falling from the bone (2-2½ hours). Cover and set aside to rest (30 minutes).
  5. Remove duck from braising liquid, then, when cool enough to handle, coarsely shred meat (discard bones, skin and sinew) and return meat to sauce. Season to taste, stir through parsley and serve hot with soft polenta.

Note Valpolicella is a light red wine from the region of the same name, typically made from corvina Veronese, rondinella and molinara grapes.

This recipe is from the May 2011 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.


Hot chocolate baklava with vanilla cream
100 g walnuts, chopped
100 g slivered almonds, chopped
100 g pistachios, chopped
generous pinch cinnamon
1 tbs fine semolina
pinch of salt
400 ml Bulla Thickened Cream
200 g dark chocolate buttons (55% cocoa)
1 x 375g packet filo pastry (approximately 18 sheets)
extra virgin olive oil, for brushing
melted butter, for brushing
1/3 cup honey
finely grated zest of 1 orange
¼ cup caster sugar
¼ cup water
1 vanilla bean

  1. Place walnuts, slivered almond, pistachios, cinnamon, semolina and salt into bowl. Bring 100mL of the cream just to the boil, remove from the heat, add the dark chocolate and stir until melted. Add chocolate to nuts and mix until combined.
  2. Lay one sheet of filo pastry horizontally on a chopping board, brush lightly with olive oil, place another sheet directly on top, followed by a third sheet. Cut in half from top to bottom to form 2 sheets.
  3. Place two heaped tablespoons of the baklava mix in a line towards the bottom edge of the sheets. Fold over bottom edge, followed by the two sides and roll into cigar shape.
  4. Brush lightly with butter and place onto baking tray, repeat until all mix used, chill before baking.
  5. Pre-heat oven to 190°C (fan forced).
  6. Bake baklava ladyfingers until golden brown, approximately 10 minutes, then remove and place into a wire rack to cool.
  7. Bring honey, orange zest, sugar and water to the boil, simmer for 3 minutes. Generously spoon the syrup over the baklava fingers until all syrup used up.
  8. Split vanilla bean lengthways, remove seeds and place into a medium sized bowl. Add the remaining 300mL of the cream and whip till soft peaks form.
  9. Place baklava back into oven for 3 minutes to warm through, serve hot with vanilla cream.
 Recipe from here 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dip in

I tend to only try recipes that have been recommended to me by friends or family, or that I've seen demonstrated on telly. Sure, I could be accused of lacking adventure and playing safe in the kitchen, but I like it when I can be assured of a win!
Lindsey of All Things Bright and Beautiful recently posted about her favourite 'dip' and I was completely confused and intrigued by her mix of ingredients. Such a random combination, but I was willing to take the punt on her recommendation.

Black beans must be common in the US, but they're hard to find locally. Luckily I came across some at Lucia's, my local gourmet food deli

Well, the hunt was worth it as the dip was a winner sure enough! So quick and easy to put together and completely "moreish". I wanted to eat it by the spoonful! I served it with chilli and lime tortilla chips which were a great match.

Black bean, feta and coriander salsa/dip/thing
This makes enough for about 3-4 people for nibbles, but the measurements can be varied according to your tastes and how much you need
1 can of drained black beans
2 sticks chopped spring onion
chopped coriander (about half a bunch)
about half a block of crumbled feta cheese
red wine vinaigrette (use enough to have a shallow layer on the bottom)
  1. Put ingredients in dish in the order above
  2. Toss lightly before serving
  3. Serve with tortilla chips

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Stop teasing!

Is anyone else as nervous as me about the next episode of Offspring?

We've been through the drama with Nina that was Dr Chris, and now that she's found the most ah-mazing guy in Dr Patrick, I just know she's going to stuff it up. AGAIN!

I realise most of the appeal of Offspring is its unpredictability but please, can we just have a happy ending!?

No, no, no! Just saw the preview for next week's episode and nearly threw something at the TV screen. I'm on Team Patrick! Team Chris threw in the towel a long time ago, time to move on! I don't know how I'm going to wait a whole week to see how she stuffs up AGAIN. Which team are you all on? xo

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Let them eat cake

I had the gorgeous Joanne over for morning tea last weekend and promised I'd bake her something fresh.

At 9am Saturday morning (with Jo arriving at 10am), I wasn't even home yet, let alone with a recipe in mind!

Enter the world's easiest and most delicious cake recipe.

Lemon Drizzle Cake.

Made in the food processor - so easy . . . even when you don't have scales (I'm no baker, remember!)

So I totally fluked it. It was fluffy and full of lemon tang, with a crisp crust. 

Perfect with a cuppa and a good couple of hours of girly goss with a gorgeous friend.

2 large eggs
175g sugar
150g soft butter or margarine
grated zest of 1 lemon
175g super sifted self-raising flour
125mL milk
pinch sea salt

Lemon syrup
150g icing sugar
50mL fresh lemon juice (about 1 1/2 lemons juiced)

  1. Preheat oven to 180C
  2. Line the bottom of a greased 23 x 13 x 7.5cm loaf tin with baking paper
  3. Place eggs and sugar in food processort bowl and process for 2 minutes, scarping the sides down with a rubber spatula
  4. Remove the lid and drop spoonfuls of butter or margarine on top of the mixture, together with the lemon zest, then pulse until it just disappears (mixture should resemble mayonnaise)
  5. Add the flour, milk and salt, cover and pulse until the mixture is smooth in texture and even in colour, scraping the sides down with a rubber spatula if necessary (do no overbeat)
  6. Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown on top and firm to the touch
  7. Remove from the oven and stand the tin on a cooling rack
  8. To make the syrup, gently heat the sugar and lemon juice in a small sauceapn, stirring until a clear syrup is formed (approx 3 mins). Do not boil
  9. Prick the warm cake all over with a fork, then gently pour the syrup over it, until it has been completely absorbed
  10. Leave until cold, then carefully ease the cake from the baking tin and remove the baking paper
  11. Dust with icing sugar before serving
Thank you Sally for this winner of a recipe

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Crumble with love

There's nothing like being treated to a dinner where you don't have to lift a finger. Such an indulgence!

Sally and Tim have just moved into their new pad and we christened the place with a yummy dinner of pasta and apple crumble.

I was in a food coma afterwards.

This is her Grandpa's special apple crumble. It's a secret recipe and quote "You're never getting your hands on it, not even for the blog!"

So take a good, hard look - and try and guess the ingredients and method for yourself!
All I know is that there's a tonne of butter in there . . . and gosh, it was good!

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Block

I am just LOVING The Block.

I think it's the frustrated decorator in me. Frustrated yes, because I'm hopeless and wish I had that sort of creativity and vision!

Katrina and Amie are my #1 team - I just love them . . .

Quote: "We're country chicks, not country hicks"


Did you know Katrina is a fellow blogger? A-M introduced me to her blog and I love it - it's awesome seeing a behind the scenes take on what life was really like on the 'set'. It was filmed months ago though, so I'd be interested to know whether she scheduled her posts way back when, or is typing them now in hindsight.

Regardless, she's a cack and lots of fun to follow.