Saturday, June 30, 2012

Couch time


Had one final outing under the influence last night. And paying for it today.

If you haven't yet, there's still time to register for Dry July. Or at least donate to my fundraising efforts!

Spending the night on the couch with laksa and Hairspray on the telly. 

And James Marsden is totally doing it for me tonight . . . Hello Corny Collins!

Also love him sick in 27 Dresses (the story of my life)

And of course there's Enchanted - he's just the best Prince Charming (yes, even tops the dude from Once Upon A Time)

Have also watched five episodes of Girls today - have you seen it? Strangely compelling. Then I caught up on the 4 Corners Gina Rinehart story and the Australian Story feature on Black Caviar

Emma's trying to get me into Smash (Glee for grown ups apparently). Any other suggestions for addictive series? Please let me know!

PS. Who saw Offspring this week? "Do you want to have one more lemonade?" Oh Patrick, you had me at hello. When will you get it together, spunky boy?!


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dry July


I've taken the plunge.

I'm doing Dry July. And I'm scared!

No, I shouldn't be so dramatic. I've taken on this challenge for a number of reasons . . .
  • to see if I can actually do it! A month seems like such a long time . . .
  • for health reasons - time to get this engine house in tip top shape, my body is a temple blah blah blah
  • to raise money for a fabulous cause
My friends and family don't think I can do it. To quote one shocked friend "Have you gone mad?!" but then his lovely wife donated $1 a day to my efforts.

Miss Kimberlee has accepted the challenge too so we'll have to get creative with all sorts of yummy mocktails over the next month.

In all seriousness though, we are of a generation that over-indulges in fine food and wine (and on non-pay week, sometimes not-so-fine wine!) and I need to learn to enjoy things in moderation. Gosh, next I'll be filling my house with crystals and eating tofu! I think not.

But the big 'C' word - cancer - is a scary thought and becoming far too common in our day to day lives. If my fundraising can help make even the smallest difference in helping to tackle this problem, then I'm happy.

Anyway, I challenge you all to jump on the bandwagon and see if you can do it. It's a win/win - help yourself and help raise money for your local hospital's cancer research foundation.

And if you'd like to help me 'dry harder', feel free to donate to my efforts!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Booked


I'm booked!

And I couldn't be happier. After so much deliberating over flights and dates and prices and locations and travel plans, I took the plunge and booked my trip to New Zealand in December.

The whole purpose of my trip is to celebrate the wedding of one of my favouritest people in the whole wide world.

Louise . . . oh and Cam (her fabulous fiance that I'm yet to meet!)
Lou was my bestie in London seven years ago. We lived together in a house of 10 randoms and then moved into the same room when we realised everyone else was weird. I even dated her brother for a wee while (gosh, I'm starting to talk like her already - which self-respecting Aussie says 'wee'?)!

We travelled together during our time abroad and ticked off many bucket list items that still make me smile - running of the bulls in Pamplona, Royal Ascot, Cartier International Polo, Sail Croatia . . . and far too many snakebites for anyone's good!

Lou is besties with Fern (whose wedding I helped celebrate in NZ two years ago) and they paid me a visit to the Rads in 2008, so we all share a very close bond.

I'm flying into Auckland where Fern will pick me up and we'll drive down the guts of the North Island to Manawatu where the wedding will be held.

I've got ten days of Summer holiday fun to look forward to and can't wait to catch up with the old London crew again - how times  have changed. I mean, Fern now has a baby! Can't wait to meet little Soph xx

Any tips for NZ would be appreciated . . . although I know I'm in good hands with Fern behind the wheel!

Here's to happy wedding planning Lou Lou x

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Snowy reception


I have a cold.

And I wish I could say it was from recklessly kissing cute boys in the snow.

But alas it's not.

I'm such a wuss when it comes to being sick. Everyone has to know about it. I'm the worst patient ever. I've headed over to Mum and Dad's with my box of tissues, tail between my legs, hoping to be spoilt with cups of tea and fruit cake . . . oh and Foxtel (if I can peel Dad away from the remote - oh the joys of your Dad taking early retirement!)

On a brighter note, I'm researching flights to New Zealand for a dear friend's wedding in December. To say I'm excited is an understatement. Hello hot weather! Hello long lost friends. Hello holiday!

Here's to big dreams (and fresh breath - the garlic I'm downing to rid this cold is a real mood killer . . . hence the lack of kissing cute boys in the snow perhaps?!)


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Two ingredients

First there were those gorgeous Mumsy types who revolutionised a four ingredient recipe concept.

Now a two ingredient (well, food item) craze is taking over the world - and London is leading the cause.

At an event at the Art Gallery last week, Emma's sister was telling me about Burger and Lobster, a London restaurant that only serves, you guessed it, burgers and lobster. Sounds fabulous! 


It's in Mayfair in London which is very hoi hoi but I love that everyone's on the same level in the restaurant (if they can bear to wait for up to three hours for a table!) because everything on the menu is 20 pounds.

Another new one that is popping up is called bubbledogs - again, in London, posh Fitzrovia at that - set to open in late July this year. Suddenly it's become cool to blend daggy with high society. Imagine sipping on a decadent glass of champagne (real champagne, that is) and then wolfing down a hot dog! I love the idea!

And then there's Tramshed in East London


Tramshed, like the other two - focuses on two core menu options. As the picture suggests, chicken or beef.

Ahhh, a meat wholesaler's daughter's dream!

So it got me thinking, what two menu items would I offer in my own restaurant? Maybe beer and mussels? Or ribs and cider? Cheese and wine would always prove popular - especially in South Australia. 

Eggs would be versatile, but I'm not sure they're sexy enough. And what could go with them? Maybe pizza and pies as a fun combination. That would be a boy's dream!

No, I still haven't landed on that quirky success story that teeters on the edge of 'common' whilst somehow embracing an exclusivity like no other.

Any other suggestions?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

In my little corner



Adelaide has joined the revolution.

The revolution, that is, that's seen tree-lined suburban streets become home to gourmet providores and hot dining spots.

My little neck of the woods, in particular, is suddenly the "cool" place to be seen with Mums and bubs enjoying babycinos; yuppies sipping on lattes; artists feasting on grilled haloumi; and girls catching up over french toast and bubbles.

Anyone would think I was in Melbourne!!!

These little cafes offer so much more than your standard egg and bacon breakfast. Quite often they're corner stores disguised as art galleries disguised as gourmet grocers disguised as coffee shops disguised as sandwich bars disguised as lounge rooms.

Such establishments include The Pantry on Egmont, a mother's milk and The Stranded Store.

The furniture is comfy, the wait staff friendly and the food fresh and edgy. They do the classics, but they have  their own little twist on them.

Case and point.

French toast.

I rarely ever order sweet for breakfast but on a recent visit to The Stranded Store in Colonel Light Gardens, I was tempted by the daily special.

French toast with orange scented ricotta, smashed raspberries and basil.

It was just so different. And I caved. I chose sweet.

Ah-mazing doesn't even start to describe it. Can't wait to tackle my own version of this combination - I've never made French toast before . . . time to indulge.

Or just head back to Stranded!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Glory, glory to the Boarders


Time to raise the mood of this blog . . . and what better to do that with than a bunch a oh-so-cute bubs?

Had a lovely lunch catching up with old school friends yesterday. How times have changed since we chased boys at socials and swapped my daybug lunchboxes for the boarders' 'specials'. Thanks Shaz!

We're scattered all over the country now - from Hobart to the Barossa, and the Mid-North to Melbourne, we cherish the times we're all in the one place at the one time. I'm the only one holding up the fort in little old Rads!

Good times, ladies x

Mixing it up


A lady at work told me last week that pearls mean tears.

After the week I've had, I'm thinking she's right.

Might have to mix up my jewellery choices a bit.

Here's to a happier week!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Stuck in the middle

It all started on The Block.


My love affair with 'floating' beds, that is.

And then it got more intense when I visited my friend Bree in Hobart.

I stayed in their spare room which was a HUGE front formal lounge with a gorgeous fireplace and my bed 'floating' in the middle.

It felt so luxurious!

And then Vogue Living featured a floating bed in its 'L'Escalier' story. Oh la la!

So the love affair continues. But I'll never be able to make it work in my little shoebox of a house.

Instead, I shall indulge in my secret love online . . . 

GORGEOUS in front of a doorway . . .


Like an island floating in the sea!


I particularly love this one on the angle, so quirky!


Whimsical is the only word for this.


Great use of space behind the bed. And check out the fireplace. FABULOUS!


This one seems most realistic . . . maybe one day . . .


And hands down, my absolute favey.

Bookshelves, ladder, big windows, flowers, organised chaos.

Love love love!


Pics from here and here


Monday, June 11, 2012

Colour it up

Photo courtesy Mink Studio

How I love a wedding! Especially when it's a celebration of a very special union between the best of friends. We had a gorgeous weekend at the beach a few months back - affectionately known as the "Festivus" - in honour of S&B, but I'm not going to go into details of the wedding - I just couldn't do it justice.

I do, however, want to talk about the bold use of pattern in the groomsmen's shirts. I LOVE colour and pattern and things slightly left of centre and applaud the boys' use of checked shirts with their suits.

Gorgeous navy and white check. It was stunning. Beats a boring old white shirt any day of the week.

Why don't boys experiment with colour more?

Love the pink and white bowties in the bridal party below. 


Show me some colour!

Oh hello, Kayce Hughes. You heard my cries!

Look at this gorgeous collection of ties and bowties she's just released. They are droolworthy. I LOVE them! If only I had a boy to dress up - the pink and geometric one matches the shirt dress I bought from Kayce Hughes last year. How sweet! Maybe a bit OTT . . . but cute all the same. ADORE the florals!



Not many Australian boys could pull off this look, but how I wish they'd experiment with colour a bit more and take a leaf out of the American book of Prep!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Classically cool






The Fifth Annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic.

I think I've died and gone to heaven.

How amazing is the Statue Liberty in the background. And the Manhattan skyline. And the "urban garden" event styling. And the fashionable guests. And Olivia Palermo. And yellow parasols. And picnic hampers. And divet stomping.

And Nacho. Yes, Nacho.


Friday, June 8, 2012

All senses alert





My holidays are always centred around iconic food experiences.

I live by the mantra "when in Rome . . ." so am guilty of eating nutella crepes in Paris, gelati in Italy, onion dip in New Zealand (don't ask!) and chorizo in San Sebastian.

I dined at Jamie Oliver's fifteen in London, ate roasted chestnuts from the Tuileries Gardens outside the Louvre and went ga ga for the best breakfast in Melbourne at St Ali (someone told me "you HAVE to go", so I did!)

My appreciation of a memorable - sometimes life changing - food experience goes beyond that of the menu though. It's about the shared tables, the drinking vessels, the views, the music, the type of chair, the waiters' uniforms, the wow factors.

The above restaurants have all been applauded for their innovation. And I like that word. Thinking outside the square you live in. Pushing the boundaries. Creating memorable experiences.

What are some of your most memorable food experiences?


Thursday, June 7, 2012

They call me caramello . . .

HOBART.

I just can't even start to explain how much I loved the place, it is a foodie's haven!

And what perfect timing my holiday to the Apple Isle was! Who watches MasterChef? I was thrilled to see the teams cooking up a storm at the Salamanca Markets the other night. What a shame I missed them in real life!



Bree and I had a fabulous morning at the markets - I bought lots of little local goodies - dessert dukkah and lime and coconut marmalade were two of my fave finds.

In amongst all the little alley ways and arcades, we found a gorgeous little providore that specialised in local produce. 


Cheeses, olives, pickles, jams . . . it went on and on.


I just loved their merchandising and the friendly staff who were hosting tastings. The smells coming out of that tiny shop were so inviting, how I'd love to run a similar shop in the Rads, celebrating the fabulous foods we have down here.


I picked up a jar of Bruny Island Cheese Company dulce de leche from a common ground, as a sneaky little indulgence.

And boy, it is GOOD (but oh so BAD!)


I felt like a sweet fix after dinner the other night (yes, I admit - it was while I was watching MasterChef on telly and was feeling nostalgic about Hobart!) so decided to crack open the little jar of naughtiness.

I had some leftover dried figs from my apple and pear pies the other night and thought they would go so wickedly well with the Tassie caramel and ice cream.

A kind of ice cream sundae for grown ups!

 

Um, the ice-cream was low-fat . . . does that make it okay!?



Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Pie in the sky



I'm not a fan of Winter weather, but I do LOVE Winter food!

I had some gorgeous friends over for dinner the other night and after a woolly and wild day of weather, I felt like something comforting and warm.

This normally means something stodgy and terribly bad for the waistline, but I found a super dooper easy apple and pear pie recipe that I will be repeating over and over again this season.

Apple and pear pies
Serves 2
  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Peel, core and thinly slice 1 medium apple and 1 small pear.
  3. Combine fruit with 1 Tbspn lemon juice, 2 Tbspns finely chopped dried figs, 1 Tbspn caster sugar and 1/2 tspn ground cinnamon in a medium bowl.
  4. Divide fruit mixture between two shallow 1 cup (250mL) ovenproof dishes (ramekins work well), cover with foil.
  5. Bake about 10 mins or until fruit starts to soften.
  6. Remove foil; top each dish with a scrunched sheet of filo pastry. Spray pastry with cooking oil; bake about 30 mins or until browned lightly.
  7. Dust each with 1 tspn sifted icing sugar; serve each pie with 1 heaped Tbspn low-fat ice cream

Recipe from The Australian Women's Weekly 'the 21-day diet planner'

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Once Upon A Lovely House

Is anyone else wrapped up in Once Upon A Time?

I feel like a little girl, reliving all my favourite fairy tales again. It's such a lovely escape . . . all of a sudden true love and happy endings seem entirely possible!

It's a very clever series - not at all the dark, scary story that the Channel 7 previews made it out to be. Hats off to the writers - they're the same team from Lost (which we all agree was fabulous until it got, well weird). I love seeing it all unravel . . . there have been so many penny-dropping moments!

The actors are all so sweet. I am giddy with how much I adore Prince Charming (David) and Snow White (Mary Margaret). Isn't Ginnfer Goodwin just divine?!

On that note, have you fallen head over heels in love with Ms Blanchard's apartment? It's sublime. Not normally my style - I think it passes as shabby chic? - but it suits her perfectly. I just adore it!

So much natural light . . .


And that brick wall is spectacular.


Fabulous ladder and furnishings.


Open plan loveliness.


And just as pretty by night! Love the mis-matched dining chairs and table. And that big beam on the left.


That wall again. And all that light!


Gorgeous little kitchen and quirky tree-like beam.


Rustic and romantic. I love it!


Who else is enchanted by this real-life fairy tale?

Pics from here and here

Maid to perfection


Love love love!

This hits all the right notes for me (five times a bridesmaid . . . and never one day a bride!)

And have you seen the his & her collection.

So sweet!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Australia for me

So, Phase Two of the "There's nothing like Australia" campaign has been launched today.

What do you think?

I got goosebumps watching it the second time, but do have to admit the song is a bit boring. Beautiful vision, but surely it could've been a bit more uplifting in the music department?


The 90 second version is definitely more inspiring than the full four minute version I first saw.

Regardless, I am ridiculously proud to be able to call this wonderful land home.

I'd be interested to know, does the USA have a tourism push? I can't recall seeing any advertising over here . . . are you guys perhaps targeting different markets?

What do you think of our efforts? Would you come visit us!?

Diamonds are a girl's best friend


Chin chin!
To say I'm excited about the Diamond Jubilee is the understatement of the year.

How I wish I was over there to be celebrating with the best of them!

I shall indulge in some Pimms in Her Majesty's honour. And maybe some cucumber sandwiches.

Tally ho!


Sunday, June 3, 2012

The best things in life are {dairy} free?




After a beautiful couple of days in Hobart (I promise to post pics soon!) I was looking forward to some downtime at home. That normally involves lots of time in my kitchen.

I couldn't wait to head over to my godson's place for morning tea with his fam on Saturday morning and promised to take some treats. 

I've admitted to the fact that I'm not much of a baker before. It's no secret, I love to eat sweets but I'm more partial to cooking savoury goodies. So I wanted to keep it simple . . . I was thinking scones with jam and cream or a tea cake or something . . . until his Mum said she's trying dairy free for a couple of weeks.

Eeeeeekkk!

Dietary requirements, I do not do!

I turned to trusty google to find something suitable and was freaked out by some weird ingredients and complex techniques many dairy free recipes called for. 

Then I found an oh-so-simple dairy free chocolate cake that seemed too good to be true.

They were deliciously moist (the sort that stick to the roof of your mouth and get stuck in your gums between your teeth) and really really easy to make. I went for the cupcake option, but I'm sure the full sized cake would be yum, especially if served for dessert with cream. Oh whoops, what was that I said about dairy free!?

Dairy free chocolate cake
Serves 12

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups plain flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
1 tspn salt
1 tspn vanilla essence
1 Tbspn white vinegar
1 tspn bicarb soda
1/3 cup olive or canola oil
1 cup water

Method
  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease a 12 hole muffin tray or round cake tin
  2. In a mixing bowl, place the sugar, then sift in the flour and cocoa. Place the bicarb on top and add the vinegar, essence, salt, oil and water
  3. Use a balloon whisk, stir all ingredients until well combined. Do not overmix
  4. Pour mixture into cake tin or muffin tray. Bake the cake for 35-40 mins or the muffins for 20 mins

NB. It's quite a runny batter, so I recommend mixing in a jug or bowl with a lip so that you can pour it straight into the tray. I made up a simple icing of icing sugar, cocoa and water and then topped with store-bought flower decorations.

Recipe from here