Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tourist in your own backyard

My friend Sally and I are on a mission. We're out to make Adelaide our London.

We both lived in London in 2004/2005 and lapped up all the city had to offer - the theatre, nights at the pub, shopping, you name it - we did it.

So now that Sally and her hubby have moved back to the Rad, she's given me all the motivation I've needed to play tourist in my own backyard.

Last weekend we hit up the Art Gallery of South Australia.

Large sections of the gallery are under renovation at the moment, so we didn't see much at all . . . but we did enjoy a glass of bubbles at the gorgeous Art Gallery Restaurant afterwards!

Continuing our day out, we headed up to Norwood for a spot of shopping and a cheeky drink and little snack at Grace The Establishment.

The $20 meal deal won us over so we indulged in their signature burgers - tiny little buns with all the trimmings.

I had the lamb while Sally had the wagyu beef. Nothing more than two or three bites, but they tied us over until dinner. The aerated ketchup and french fries also hit the spot (not to mention the bubbles!)

A perfect day in our home town!

Any other suggestions for our sightseeing adventures?!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Haloumi, I love you

Looking for one of the world's easiest yet most IMPRESSIVE dishes?

Well, look no further.

Who else but Donna Hay to the rescue?

I don't know you about you, but I've been LOVING her fast, fresh, simple show on Foxtel. It made me go out and buy the cookbook of the same name and instead of just flicking through the pages marvelling at the pretty pictures and beautiful ingredients, the Hay-meister made it look so easy on the silver screen that I could even do it myself.

The latest of my little ventures was her baked chicken with haloumi, honey and lemon. OMG. It was OUT OF THIS WORLD.

SO easy yet SO impressive.

Chicken with haloumi and honey
Serves 2
2 x 200g chicken breast fillets, trimmed
150g haloumi, cut into 4 slices
1 tablespoon shredded lemon zest
6 sprigs lemon thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
  1. Place the chicken, haloumi, zest and lemon thyme in a ceramic baking dish.
  2. Combine the oil and honey and pour over.
  3. Bake for 18–20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
  4. Serve with a fig and rocket salad. 
Recipe from here

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Strawberries and cream

While most people think of legends like Roger Federer and Pete Sampras and home grown heroes like John Newcombe when they think of Wimbledon, I think of strawberries and cream.

Oh, and totally cute preppy boys!

Pic from here and here

Friday, June 24, 2011

Play Melbourne

Reason #271 why I should move to Melbourne . . .

How much fun is this ad!? The city is just full of so much joy and creativity and everyone's happy to PLAY!

Don't worry Mum, I am staying put!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Souper easy

It's the end of pay week so in an effort to save my last cherished pennies, I turned to the pantry for a cheap dinner solution!

Lentils are great - I'm no vego but I do appreciate them as a great addition to soups and a wonderful base for salad.

This soup is super (or is that souper!) dooper easy, filling and yes . . . cheap as chips!

Spiced lentil soup
splash olive oil
1 medium brown onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 Tbspn curry powder (yes, I'm throwing it in everything lately!)
1 cup dried red lentils (french are also good, but you'll need to cook them longer)
400g diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 or so sprigs finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

  1. Heat oil and add garlic and onion and cook, stirring until softened
  2. Add curry powder and stir until ftragrant (only about 30 seconds or so)
  3. Add lentils (uncooked), tomato, stock and two cups of water and bring to the boil
  4. Reduce the heat and leave to simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes or until soup has thickened and lentils are tender
  5. Serve with a sprinkling of fresh parsley on top

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Meet Meggie

This is Meggie.

She's about a million years old and is keeping me company during this horrible weather we're having in the Rad.

I'm housesitting at Mum and Dad's friends' place and while it poured outside last night, Meggie and I cuddled up on the couch with a glass of red, watching Monday night's Offspring (thank goodness for Foxtel IQ!)

Gosh - I'm sounding very spinstery, spare me! At least it wasn't a cat!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My new friend

Okay okay, if the truth be known . . . I like a beer or two. Especially at the pub with the boys from work on a Friday - they don't really understand the concept of 'Jansz' in the sports bar while laying bets on the dish lickers (that's the greyhounds for the unitiated).

Tragic, I know.

But last week, while making eyes with the cute barman, I was introduced to a new 'white beer' by Hahn. It was served in a tall glass . . . complete with slice of orange! I almost felt like a lady!

From the Lion Nathan website . . .

"Subtly spiced with essences of orange and coriander it’s excellent with food and makes a great alternative to wine."

I concur!

Footnote: I don't voluntarily spend my Friday nights in the Sports Bar with my workmates but my team lost the footy and I had a bet to settle!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Winter warmers

Yep, soup season is definitely here. It's supposed to be a good time to stick to a liquid diet and shed some winter kgs.

But I tend to indulge in some hearty soups that perhaps aren't the most wasitline friendly!

One of my faves at the moment is a sweet potato and chorizo soup but I often substitute the sweet potato for pumpkin.

Beautiful and thick - great topped with coriander and chilli. A definite winter warmer!

Sweet potato and chorizo soup
Serves 6-8
2 carrots chopped (I keep the skins on, why not?!)
2 sticks celery, chopped
2 brown onions, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped (or half to one whole butternut pumpkin)
2 chorizo sausage, chopped
bunch fresh flat leaf parsley
1 heaped tspn curry powder
1 litre chicken stock (or more, just enough to cover ingredients)
  1. Fry the onion and garlic in a big saucepan until softened and glossy (I sometimes add some ginger here).
  2. Add all other chopped ingredients including parsley and cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes (make sure it doesn't catch on the bottom of the pan).
  3. Add chicken stock and bring to the boil.
  4. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes until the veggies are soft and easy to break with spoon.
  5. Use a hand blender to puree the soup.
  6. Serve with fresh coriander and chopped chilli.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Loving pink

Jourdanne gave me the most fabulous sidetable for my birthday - she found it at an op shop and through blood sweat and tears, dolled it up Kate style.

Stupid iPhone pics are not saving the rotation - I'm at my wit's end trying to format them so gave up!

PINK! You can't go wrong. I LURVE it, so totally me.

Finally dragged it into the family room on the weekend and got to filling it with my favourite things. Isn't it the most fabulous shade of pink? Dulux Flamingo, for those of you interested.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Have a seat

Jourdanne had me over for a delicious dinner last week. For a slap dash meal that she pulled together at the last minute, it was DELISH! The photos don't do it justice.

Pork and fennel patties with a beautiful salad of craisins, rocket, feta, walnuts and roast pumpkin. With a Lucia's sticky balsamic glaze dressing.

It was a belated birthday catch up for the old girl who was long overdue a birthday present from me.

I turned to trusty etsy for the most fabulous gift - an annechovie print that I framed in a bargain black frame.

Also scored the Anna Spiro chair for myself.

It's almost free thanks to the strong Aussie dollar (well, that's how I can justify all these purchases! Let's just go with it!)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dog smugglers

I don't want to play favourites, but you have to admit that my little Dougall is the cutest thing going around.

That was until I met this little fella . . .

We don't know his real name but called him Paxton after the winery he calls home in McLaren Vale. He stole our hearts during our visit when we stopped by on Sunday for the Sea & Vines Festival.

Totally cute and with the most placid temperament, 'Paxton' was just adorable and completely huggable. Sally was worried her cavoodle Wally had some stiff competition in the cute stakes!

Such a shame he didn't fit into our handbag . . .

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pumpkin soup with a twist

Had the perfect night in with a bowl of soup tonight. Love the spicy twist on a classic recipe. Went a bit OTT with the chilli and ginger but luckily had some light coconut milk in the pantry which worked a treat.

Spicy pumpkin soup
Serves 4-6
1 butternut pumpkin, peeled and cubed
2 onions, peeled and chopped
2 tspns grated ginger
1 tspn chopped chilli (I use the stuff out of the jar)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4L chicken stock
270mL light cocount milk
  1. Fry up your onion, garlic, ginger and chilli with some olive oil in a deep saucepan
  2. Add the pumpkin cubes and stir to coat in the onion mixture. Cook for 2-3 minutes
  3. Add chicken stock to saucepan - enough to just cover the pumpkin
  4. Bring to boil and then simmer until pumpkin is very soft and easy to break apart with wooden spoon
  5. Turn off heat and add tin of coconut milk
  6. Blend and serve with a sprig of coriander on top
This is such an easy recipe and is lovely and velvety. I prefer my soup very smooth and runny, but adjust the amount of chicken stock accordingly - you might want your soup thicker so don't add so much stock. It's also lovely with natural yoghurt rather than coconut milk if you've got some handy in the fridge - nice to add it in a big blob on top just before serving.

Wedding dress wonderful

Did you see the gorgeous SHORT wedding dress that Sarah wore in the Brothers & Sisters finale?


Strapless? Tick!
Short? Tick!
Ivory? Tick!

It was a cut off version of the Amsale dress 'dahlia'

Exquisite - I just know Miss Kimberlee will share my passion for a fabulous short dress!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Alice's Bucket List

Have you heard about Alice Pyne?

She's a 15 year old from Ulverston, Cumbria, UK and she's fighting for her life.

Dear Alice has just found out her Hodgkin's lymphoma has worsened so she's set up a bucket list to share with her friends. Little did she know she'd become an overnight sensation thanks to ye olde social networking!

Her first post generated 1805 comments - I'm lucky to get one per week!

The one from her Mum got me all teary . . .

Alice, I couldn't have wished for a more amazing daughter. I admire your strong morals and your ability to rise above those less worthy. You're a truly wonderful person, inside and out and you make me smile every day. I love you sweetheart x

What a very special girl she must be.

Some of the inclusions on her bucket list are so cute and things we'd take for granted (staying in a caravan, having our hair done etc) but it's refreshing to look through the eyes of a 15 year old and see what makes them happy.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Bow much fun

This dress and I are a match made in heaven. Like a good brie and quince paste. Or pimms with cucumber.

We are meant to be.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Roll up, roll up!

Just finished 'Water for Elephants'.

Am thinking of running off to join the circus - minus the scary equestrian director, thanks.

Pic from weheartit

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

She's done it again

Could she get any more gorgeous?!

Pic from here

Monday, June 6, 2011

St Ali yum

During my recent visit to Melbourne, we caught up with Bree's sister Kelly, brother-in-law Mark and the divine Miss Zara (her niece) for breakfast at the much talked about St Ali in South Melbourne.

(You'll remember these groovers from the fabulous Little Birdie and Humpty Dumpty parties I've featured)

Lill's friend Tom said it was a must on this side of town (even though he's a loyal North Melbourne resident) and gosh, if the line up of people on the street was anything to go by, he was right!

Table water came out of long neck beer bottles, diners sat on bench seats at communal tables (which I love) and the vibe was brilliant - LOVED the styling of the warehouse feel.

My juice was 'the winter 3' - pear, strawberry and mint - and it was delish.

Kelly ordered the 'childhood memory' - plum and coconut bread with poached plums, coffee mascarpone and cinnamon dukkah.

Mark and Bree had the age old favourite of eggs and bacon (I'd hate to call them boring!)

I tried something different and opted for the 'corny baby' - creamed corn with poached eggs, green chilli relish, pinenuts and witlof salad on sourdough toast. It was so different and unusual and delicious, hit the spot.

Not a good pic, but we also ordered the corn fritters which were not what we expected - deep fried rather than pikelet style. Sounded ah-mazing in 'my mexian cousin'


Zara LOVED her babycino

And we had fun with her Qantas colouring in set and toys (PS. Loving my Liza Emanuele scarf on a cold Winter's day! I feel like someone in the circus!)

And how cool were these tulips? So clever and striking. These Melbournians never cease to ah-maze me.

Check out the menu here.

And if you're down that way, make sure you stop by - they don't take bookings, but the wait isn't normally longer than 10 minutes or so.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Inside out

Do you remember my excitement at scoring a fabulous Ikea Klippan from the equally as fabulous Amy a  little while back? I'd toyed with dyeing the cover but settled on a new 'Liberace' pink instead.

Well, the dyeing option might be something I have to revisit later - just ask Jimmie Martin whose uber cool London flat is featured in the current issue of Adore Home Online Magazine.

It was during my Saturday morning 'blogging in bed' (noone was going to bring me breakfast, so I needed another excuse to stay under the covers!) that I noticed his fab couch with colourful cushions. When I read it was an Ikea couch, I was overjoyed! How clever to turn the cover inside out to expose the seams.

This, people, is why I'm no decorator - I would never have thought of that!

Pics from Adore

Friday, June 3, 2011

Not long now!

Another good reason why I should move to Melbourne.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Something borrowed, and I'm feeling a bit blue

I just got home from the movies and feel kind of blugh.

Loved catching up with Gem (wish the previews had gone on longer so we had more time to chat!) but can't put my finger on whether I liked the movie or not.

Has anyone else seen Something Borrowed?

PS. Great eye candy. Hello Dex! Where have you been my whole life?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A saintly experience

I am a food groupie - I love celebrity chefs, I'm a sucker for cooking gadgets (the Tupperware piping bag thing changed my life!) and watch all things cuisine on telly (hello Nigella, Jamie et al).

So naturally all my holidays revolve around food. My dear friend Bel and I joked that our three month European holiday a few years back was our 'Food Tour of Europe' - cheese in France, chocolate in Belgium, tapas in Spain . . . the list goes on. No need to worry about those churches and art galleries (kidding - of course we did them . . . with baguette in hand of course).

It was a given then, that when I flew over to visit the darling Bree in Melbourne last week, we would indulge in all things delicious and decadent - especially because it's probably the last time we'd catch up in Melbs before she has her bubba in November (and after that, it'll be all play cafes and babycinos!).

I left her to surprise me with a booking somewhere and she done good!

St Katherine's is a new venture between George Colombaris and Shane Delia.

And it is ah-MAZING!

Clocking in for a long and lazy ladies' lunch, we did the safe and boring thing but I'm so glad we did - we chose the $58 tasting menu which took the hard work out of deciding what to order.

But goodness me, it was A LOT of food!

Here's Bree with the first course . . .


Oysters . . Turkish lamb dumplings . . Olives . . Taramasalata with prawn crackers . . House made bread . . Fig, haloumi and ricotta pide with sticky balsamic . . Some other pide (can't put my finger on the flavour - roast cap I think) . . Pickled vegetables with dukkah . . Bean dip (Shane's Dad's recipe!) . . Wild seed, caper and pomegranate salad

Then there was a beautiful piece of swordfish each, plus a king prawn with a lovely little salad of cos lettuce, dukkah, pomegranate and viniagrette dressing.

Next a waiter came up with another plate of food that we assumed he'd directed to the wrong table - surely we couldn't have anything else before dessert? But oh yes, the heaped platter of rotisserie lamb and chicken was definitely for us - complete with side dish of rice.


Finally, after hardly even touching the sides of the meat, we were treated to dessert . . .

Yes, we played the birthday card and I got a candle! It was the first time I'd seen Bree since my birthday, so it only seemed fair!

We indulged in a Mr Whippy soft serve (coconut icecream for the mum-to-be) with chocolate ganache, turkish delight and crispy cocoa pops. Lots of fun.

 We also made room for the divine watermelon salad which helped cleanse the palette and get rid of the 'blugh' feeling of having eaten too much. Beautiful chunks of watermelon with mint jelly and cinnamon labne. Delish.

To top it off, I celebrated with a Jansz and Apple Tea (separately - not in one glass of course!) while Bree treated herself to a refreshing mocktail of raspberry, lime and mint.
It was goooood.
We walked out of there like zombies. I was seriously in a food coma for a good 12 hours afterwards.
Now, I'm no food writer or critic, but I know what I like and I LURVED this place - reasonably priced, a great vibe to it, beautifully light filled and spacious and delicious food. I reallly liked the special touches like the cutlery in the tomato paste cans and the bread delivered to your table in a brown paper bag. Very cool.
This is one happy food groupie.