Wednesday, February 28, 2007

When Only Dumplings Will Do

Traffic, rain, parking, are simply hurdles to cross. A sane person would say it's too far to go for a mid-week craving; an afficionado can only think: dumplings. Dumplings at the end of the tunnel.

Ashfield is not too far when the craving for Shanghai-style pork dumplings hits. And so to Shanghai Night for a greedy order of xiao long bao, and maybe something else, to prove to the man who couldn't care less that I haven't just driven halfway across Sydney in peak-hour traffic for dumplings alone, five spice beef with dry noodles.

Are these are the king of dumplings? Steamed, fluffy dough, slightly sticky, slightly chewy, with a golden crisp and crunchy bottom. And oh, that first bite! The hot, fragrant broth scalds the inside of your mouth but it's impossible to wait. The broth and pork are delicate, heady with fresh ginger and sesame.

The question is: on their own, or with Chinese vinegar, or maybe a touch of chili? They are so good on their own, but equally addictive with a dab of extras.

The craving hits so bad I justify missing ballet, but it's also thanks to a cloudy, rainy, homey last day of summer that makes me want to tuck myself on the couch and indulge a little.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

This Week

A First: Will had the better of me last night when I looked after the kids, going in to watch a movie (not allowed during the week), so nonchallantly as to make me think it was ok. Not ok when mum and dad got home! So cute!
Loving: The lines, "don't you want to feel my bones, on your bones, it's only natural", Bones, The Killers.
Received: My shiny new Canon SD700IS camera, yay! And double yay!
Enrolled In: Spanish beginner's classes with D, starting in a month. Si!
Changed Ringtone Again To: "Given Brendan's Italian heritage, it's called Fellini's". One of the stupidest lines I've heard, it needed it's own guest appearance as my ringtone. This from ACA's Lara Bingle/Brendan Fivola story last night.
No More: Kitchenware. I bought up at The Essential Ingredient and elsewhere over the weekend and there is simply. no. more. room. Can I Net Nanny Peter's of Kensington?
One Word For The Oscars: Lame.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Passionfruit Cupcakes With White Chocolate And Passionfruit Ganache

I wanted to make passionfruit cupcakes to celebrate an almost-over summer, a summer that has brought much joy, of beach, of ocean, of sun, of glowing blue skies. I was deliberating over a simple icing or I thought a white chocolate ganache would be more interesting. Leisurely browsing March Gourmet Traveller in bed on Saturday morning (is there anything better?), there was a feature on passionfruit, with white chocolate passionfruit ganache, so there was my sign.

Buying the passionfruit was almost a mission impossible, but when I fix my mind on something...I finally found them at $1 each and they were lovely heavy, juicy numbers. Use fresh passionfruit; I was wary of the tinned stuff for it's syrupy sweetness and adjusting the other ingredients accordingly. For the ganache, I used Lindt couverture (available at The Essential Ingredient, where I went a bit overboard, ssh).

Note: This is a Women's Weekly recipe I found on the divine Cupcaketastic blog. However my batter only yielded 9 cupcakes, with a slight amendment.

Passionfruit Cakes (mine yielded 9, not 12 as stated)
30g butter, softened (I added another 30g)
1/2 cup castor sugar
2 eggs
1 cup self-raising flour
1/4 cup passionfruit pulp, strained

Preheat oven to 180C. Beat butter until soft and fluffy, add eggs and beat until pale. Stir in sugar and flour and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Stir in passionfruit pulp. Spoon mixture into cupcake liners resting in muffin moulds until 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool, then top with ganache or other frosting.

White Chocolate And Passionfruit Ganache (adapted from March Gourmet Traveller)
90mL cream
180g white chocolate, cooking or couverture, broken into small pieces
1 Ts passionfruit pulp, strained

Warm cream and pulp in a saucepan until almost boiling, then stir in chocolate pieces until melted. Leave to cool, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours. The ganache will thicken and then be ready to pipe or spread over cupcakes.

Friday, February 23, 2007

This Weekend

A little work, a little cooking, and a lot of beach.

Simple. And I can't wait.

Added post-weekend:

Dumb and Dumber

This will be my one and only state election post. Will keep adding to it if there's anything else that tickles my fancy.

Every morning I am drawn to Mirrors' ad that appears during the Today breaks. I am like a deer in the headlight to it - I can't look away. Someone is definitely taking the piss, to spend so much money on advertising that is just so amateur hour. The shadowed photographs moving away and apart from each other - it's so "my 30-year-old nephew who still hasn't done anything with his life this week wants to become a graphic designer - give him the gig!" The jingle that is so "Woolworths, the fresh food people". But my favourite part is how creepy Mirrors looks - the false smile, the false casualness, fraud fraud fraud.

"I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti. Fffffff"

Today he has the balls to have a go at the Libs because some nitwit MP was fired for sending a dirty text "about a goat". Oi buddy did you forget your own Minister you had to fire who's facing more than 30 child sex charges you cunt?

Meanwhile Debnam is just an idiot who actually thinks it makes a difference restoring the name of the police from Police Service back to Police Force. Fuck off. And instead of defending his job as MP for Vaucluse he prattles on about growing up in Cowra or somewhere. "Oh look at me I'm so working class man" - as if the people of Vaucluse don't just as equally deserve an MP as the battlers.

I will not vote for either. They are both as ridiculous and immature as each other, and while it's been entertaining as hell, they haven't said or done a sensible, pro-active thing in memory. The sad thing is either of them will keep giving it to us from behind and we'll just have to take it.

I really want to run as an Independant. My signature will be 'Julia Loves Sydney' because a pamphlet I received from a wannabe politician in Surry Hills, with pixelated photos, has the slogan 'Linda Loves Sydney' and well I bet that I love Sydney more, and hers sounds porno. My main/only issue will be parking meters and restrictions. A complete overhall. No parking meters/restrictions anywhere near restaurants, shops, services, beaches. Just off the top of my head, I'll make up the money lost from parking fines and meters by increasing speeding/red light fines. Easy. Encourages using local services, discourages crap driving. Alternatively I'll cut rubbish election advertising by hiring people who know what they're doing for a lot less money.

Slightly Obsessed

My new ringtone, which I DIYd (allegedely, in case):

"Are you havin' a laff?"

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Cafe Vue Lunchbox

A brought me back a Cafe Vue lunchbox from Melbourne this morning. These are a cute new item offered by Shannon Bennett's nextdoor cafe and I have been squeeling for one everytime he goes down for work. The lunchbox is a great idea and I'm surprised there aren't more of them. I have always loved a lunchbox - from Noumea when R would drop of his three-tiered tiffin in town before work and pick it up on his way home for lunch and he shared his three courses with me, it was unfussy but very delicious - salads, a simple carottes rapees, a curry or stew, maybe a tarte Tatin for dessert; to being gaga in La Grande Epicerie over their pique-nique boxes of bread and cheeses.

They are $15 and billed as "perfect for a unique board room lunch or a first class airline meal to go" - or for an epicurean ex-girlfriend who keeps 'suggesting' you bring one back for her. It came in a cute red box with simple packaging and delightful wooden cutlery. Inside was a smooth babaganush with grisini, a simple tomato and Spanish onion salad, with a test tube of balsamic vinegarette, a delicious mini lamb roll, with mint and rocket and a smidgen of herb mayonnaise, and half an espresso cup of the most wonderful dark chocolate and Grand Marnier mousse. I was surprised how fresh it looked and tasted after 24 hours since purchase and interstate travelling. Yum! I hope my enthusiasm means he will keep bringing them back, as the menu changes regularly...

Just a hint...



This Week

Reading: La Vie Devant Soi, Emile Ajar
Decided: Had second laser treatment yesterday and decided to laser off everything but the landing strip. It has gone so well so far *touch wood* so why not go most of the way?
Quote: "Take your hand, put it down there and spread your legs. Pretend I was a hot guy asking you to do this". Um. See above.
Bought: A Canon SD700IS - so excited!
Swimming: Bronte pool, one of the most beautiful places on earth

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Gerard Depardieu's Quiche Lorraine

Quiches were always my thing, and I used to happily make the pastry from scratch. Then laziness takes over and you just buy the frozen stuff. But I've always hated it; even with the most patient blind baking, the pastry always tastes stale or soggy.

Fresh pastry is just so good. Crumbly, buttery, warm. Irreplaceable. And so quick and easy to make. It feels like too-hard-basket but try it once, and you'll see that such little effort is so worth it.

With my excitement over my new Gerard Depardieu cookbook still kicking, and some smokey bacon in the fridge, I couldn't wait to make his Quiche Lorraine.

"I like my Quiche Lorraine with onions but the
authentic recipe does not contain them.
I wonder what you think..." page 58
Dear Gerard,
I like Quiche Lorraine with onions too.
Quiche Lorraine (adapted from Gerard Depardieu, My Cookbook), serves 4
2-3 small-medium onions, sliced into medium strips
250g smokey bacon, sliced into lardons
100g Comte or Emmental, grated
5 eggs
100g creme fraiche
500mL milk
Pinch of nutmeg, salt and pepper
Shortcrust Pastry
250g plain flour, sifted with a pinch of salt, plus extra flour to dust
1 egg
140g softened butter, cut into cubes
200mL water (I think Gerry may have been on the gear as 60mL was plenty and consulting my French by Damien Pignolet cookbook he also uses 60mL of iced water)
For the pastry
Place the flour/salt in a mixing bowl, make a well in the centre and break the egg into it. Add the butter and mix with your fingertips. Add the water a little at a time until the mixture forms a slightly elastic dough. Roll into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 12 hours (this seems long, Damien Pignolet says 20 minutes).
Preheat the oven to 180C. Butter a deep quiche dish. Unwrap the dough and roll it out onto a lightly-floured work surface. Roll out the pastry and place onto the quiche dish. (Gordon Ramsay says to roll out pastry so it hangs over the edge and you can trim it after it's baked - this is a great tip as the pastry will shrink while blind baking). Line with baking paper and weights/beans and blind bake for 10 minutes.
Sweat the onions in a little butter. Gerard says to blanch the bacon for 5 minutes but I didn't. When the onions become translucent, add the bacon and cook for 5 minutes. In a bowl, mix the eggs, creme fraiche, milk, half the grated cheese, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add the onions and bacon.
Take out the pastry from the oven and remove the paper and weights. Pour in the filling, top with the rest of the grated cheese. Bake from about 20 minutes, until the cheese is golden but the filling should remain soft.
My new quiche pan with loose base is very good and makes serving so much easier, but it is not deep enough. Make sure you use a deep pan so you get plenty of soft, luscious filling.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Cook A Little, Eat A Lot

The weekend has been all about picture-perfect weather. Sitting at Bondi OpenAir on Friday night watching Casino Royale for the second time, the only shivers I got were from Daniel Craig striding out of the water, twice, and those eyes matching the blue of the sea...oh man gimme some of that.

The rest of the weekend I didn't have too much on, and that's just the way I like it sometimes. Especially after sleeping in and having perfect beach weather, so I bought a snorkel set and headed down to Gordon's Bay. I didn't expect to see jellyfish so I threw off the mask and just swam around, ignoring those beasts underneath me. S joined me and we had a wonderful swim and relax on the rocks. I will always be loyal to Bronte but Clovelly is very pretty!

Happy days

Spot the crab

Dinner was at Waqu (found them after googling chawan-mushi which I want to eat everyday I love it so much). Their $45 tasting menu seemed interesting so off to Crows Nest we went. Chilled brocolli soup was a little watery, but the assorted entrees that followed were a delight, especially the softshell crab taco, different and crunchy and divine. The sashimi was wonderful, with the inclusion of sweet and melting jewfish. The hit was the salt pepper Angus beef fillet, again melting and why I could never be a vegetarian. An unpretentious sake cocktail and some tea and what a lovely dinner that was. Service was genuinely lovely and definitely worth crossing the Bridge for.

Miso cod, almost as good as Nobu's

Kung Hei Fat Choy! Very sweet to be invited to S' for Chinese New Year, and it was the perfect day to be sitting out in the backyard, under a clear blue sky, with the kids playing cricket and eating too much food, all vegan, all delicious. I love wog cooking!

Lanterns bopping in the breeze


Right back atcha!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Zidane, A 21st Century Portrait

Insanely beautiful. An absolutely one-of-a-kind experience. I had been anticipating this moment since mid last year and I could barely breathe waiting for it to start. It's most definitely art, hypnotic, clever, hard work at times. There's a clip of chaos in Iraq, and a man wearing a Zidane shirt and it just knocks you for six. I kept thinking chess, Tiberius. Yes, I'm overly romantic and awash in a warm wave of love for a man and a monumental time, and it all makes my heart beat faster. But that face, and in that focus...
To see: only at the cinema; only if you're a diehard fan, of football or art.
To get to the screening, I took the bus. Public transport sucks dicks in this city. Labor are a bunch of cunts for having public transport in such a shithole in 2007. How can they tell people to leave their cars at home and take public transport with a straight face? My local bus is supposed to come every 15 minutes. While I wait for more than half an hour, seven go by on the other side of the road. And public transport takers are a nasty lot; hardly anyone is on, but they sit on the aisle seat glaring at you as you get on, and god forbid they should budge over to the window when you want to sit down. And it's absolutely embarassing that the paying system hasn't changed since I was a teen - Travel Tens and their stupid machines that clog up people getting on; the stupid zoning system - who knows how much a ride costs, bad enough for locals but the poor tourists; why isn't there just one ticket that you can use for all public transport? Done, easy. No, let's just blame the opposition and continue give it to the public from behind. The Paris Metro is a joy, the Tube is always whinged about but it's a godsend compared to what we have. You can keep your buses and trains, I couldn't live without my car.

Ballet Week 3/4*

A very good class, the first one I've actually enjoyed. Because there were actual beginners there, not just understudies for Swan Lake, and I didn't feel like the class dunce. Amazing, this competitiveness thing. I could feel the sweat rolling down my body under my leotard, and for someone who doesn't sweat much, it's a good feeling.

And then I came home and ate a huge bowl of edamame to the first of Extras II. I can't say it enough, I want to cry from Ricky Gervais'/Stephen Merchant's brilliance. Everything is perfection, the acting, the writing, the body language.

"Is he having a laugh?!"

* Because I missed one week due to sore hamstring/not having my elastic sewn into my shoes and not wanting to incur the wrath of the teacher - yes I am mildly afraid of her

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine's Day

Fucking hell, I just realised single is the only way to go on Valentine's Day!
No bollocks about roses and restaurants or moral dilemmaing over "well I know it's all just commercial and I don't buy into it but I'll kill him if he doesn't buy me something and take me somewhere fabulous tonight". It's so easy I can't believe it!

I love that Extras II starts tonight (!!!)
I love big bowls of pasta for lunch
I love browsing flickr
I love making sarcastic comments during
plays and movies
I love "I love you"s from mum and friends this morning
I love pitying 'singles guides to surviving Valentine's Day'
I love guaranteed orgasms thanks to BOB
I love the idea of Chinese New Year banquets
I love the prospect of beach weather this weekend (please!)
I love myself, and that's the best love you can have

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

First Catch Your 'are

Dad just bought me the Gerard Depardieu cookbook, reduced from $50 to $16.95. I posted about this cookbook when I first started blogging! Lots of luscious recipes and comments like "4 lobsters, preferably from Brittany" and photos of Gerry pulling cork from a bottle between his legs. I haven't been this excited since five minutes ago when I read about Deux jours a Paris, Julie Delpy's new movie...

Monday, February 12, 2007

Fashion Photography

I'm thinking of entering the Harper's Bazaar/Canon fashion photography competition. I'm thinking of going completely still life with exagerated contrast and colours; or doing a fashion-meets-high art shot. Inspired and want to send me an idea? Please do.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Carrie, Cupcakes and Chinese New Year

The weekend revolved around the long-awaited Sex and the City party, a little get-together I organised to thank Jo and co. for the wonderful birthday present of the deluxe SATC overnight set. Starting with proper themed evites, I wondered what else could Sex up the evening. Cosmos of course, and Magnolia Bakery cupcakes, so Dani came over early to help me bake away. Decorating wasn't the success I hoped it would be, but the recipe was divine and we went for the rustic frosting look, pink topped with sprinkles and white topped with a glace cherry. And oh! the deliciousness. The cupcake themselves not too light, not too dense, just sweet and moist and delightful. The frosting was thick and sweet but not instant-headache-inducing (recipe below). Wally/Stanford catered with a nod to New York's Italian and Asian flavours - gorgeous canapes of BBQ pork, bruschetta, marinated mushrooms, mini quiches - and the colourful cocktails flowed. We adorned ourselves in cheap sparkly necklaces and Dani won the quiz I'd prepared during the week: the prize being as SATC as I could think - hot pink OPI, necklace, YSL mirror, novelty tissues, and a lottery ticket to hopefully go and live the SATC lifestyle. We watched the entire Season 1 and it's funny how everyone views it differently - IMO Big is still an arrogant prick but Carrie is the arsehole. Then we all go to bed and it's like primary school, giggling for hours. Girly fun par excellence.

And the rest of the weekend? Friday night babysitted the gorgeous children/caught up on episodes of The F Word. And on Sunday Kath and I had a get-rid-of-everything-and-put-it-on-eBay session, taking a break to walk into town with a bubble tea and bumping into a Chinese New Year procession, noisy and colourful and vibrant.

Magnolia Bakery Cupcakes, makes 24
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
250g unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 175C/350F.
Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers. Go and find some cute ones!
In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about three-quarters full. Bake for 20–25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
Cool the cupcakes in the tins then on a rack.

Vanilla Buttercream Icing
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3-4 cups icing/confectioners’ sugar [NB: we used 2.5 cups and it was plenty sweet]
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 2 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


Eat more



Kung Hei Fat Choy!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

A Beautiful Day

Luna Park with Will

A Bit Cute


If it's not Conran, it must be Dedece Plus...

Bank in the form of a pig, $350

Hanging rail with clips, $35 (I may have to get this one)

Knife magnet, $40 (I have wanted one for ages after being quite anti knife-magnet)

Melamine trays, $39.50

Curtain, $175, which I think would be lovely cut into a large square and framed

I, Julia

1 x ticket to Zidane, A 21st Century Portrait
1 x very big Peter's of Kensington order. I can't help it. I know I rarely cook, but I really do need three loose base quiche pans and two mini casserole dishes (think of winter soups and individual pies!). I'm like the inner city Martha Stewart.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

For The First Time

In conversation and in text: "Let me know if you want to get a drink sometime soon".

For the first time, I said "no". I said, "as much as I would like to, I can't. I need to put myself first and I'm doing that for the first time".

And he agreed, and said it was the right thing, and he feels the same about it all, and that he admired me for saying it. And we said how we enjoyed being friendly, and that it wasn't the same as being friends, and that was a shame, but that's how it is with us. And I hung up after 43 minutes with a huge smile. My heart is pounding with happiness.

He is a great man. He's not for me. And I did it. For the first time, I did the right thing for me.

Obsessed With...


I always hop on the bandwagon better late than never. There is so much goodness I don't know where to start. Send me your favourite groups!

And also playing around with Picasa, since they say it's like iPhoto for Windows? I want a new camera and I want to photograph again, and edit, and share, and smile at beautiful things.

The F Word

I was super excited at the idea of the evening: one of my favourite shows, The F Word, adapted for the local market with Matt Moran as Gordon Ramsay. $40 for 3 courses too. All good.

Set in a built-for-the-show restaurant in East Sydney, the fitout was as good looking as the staff. It was all a bit of fun, applauding like performing monkeys when Matt walks in (chef worship really is an insane concept, one which I am unashamedly engaged in). It seemed to follow the UK version quite closely, except sadly there was no Giles (I think there was an equivalent, but I had no idea who he was, and I know these things) and our celebrities are the usual flunkies; last night were Anthony Callea and Bella and Evan from Pink Salt (this must be the My Restaurant Rules replacement for 2007). The crew swarmed around the tables all night, boom mikes and cameras zooming in non-stop - at first we wondered if we really should be discussing our number of sexual partners but by the end of the long night we really didn't care what was being picked up. Girls went around interviewing tables over what they thought of the dishes: here we are, foodies, and all we could say was, "it was nice" - "the squid was nice"..."the pork was nice". I challenged Kath to say the sauce was "piquant" (you try and say it) but she chickened out! This is what the presence of cameras does! You just go all jelly! You try and be relaxed and natural and you sound like a twat!

The premise of the show is that three amateur cooks of a different profession each week (doctors, flight attendants...) cook for the 50 diners and supervised by Moran. Us diners judge whether the meal was good enough to pay for. Last night the cooks were butchers, and we both thought they did a good job. Overall we enjoyed our meal and the $40 was good value (even though they didn't bring back our change, but we were just too tired to care). The entree of salt and pepper squid with bok choy was nice (oh god, there it is again). OK, it was cooked well, and the bok choy was a good choice for base. The sauce was a little sweet but had good flavours. Not bad for the ubiquitous Sydney dish. The main of roast pork, with kipfler potatoes, brocolini, roast pears and caper butter caused quite the controversy. I enjoyed it. The pork was cooked to perfection, juicy and clean flavoured (as I'm not a huge fan of pork). Sure, the crackling wasn't very crispy, but I'm in the school of thought that any crackling is good crackling, and I have pork so rarely that I'll enjoy what I get. The brocolini was cold so the resting butter sat there not melting, but it was cooked al dente. Let's not forget, three people cooking for 50 is one hell of a challenge, and one that would leave me rocking in the faetal position. The butter was chunky and salty; a little less salt and it would have made a nice accompaniment for steaks and vegies. The problem was the mini roasted pears on the side were a bit superfluous and would have benefited from a drop of glaze on the plate; but the butter negated that option, so they sat there not adding much to the dish. The potatoes were the hotly-contested part of the night - on the menu they were simply noted as 'kipfler potatoes' and they came out crushed, with a little garlic and olive oil. I loved it, the texture, the flavour of the kipflers, the rustic look and taste. Many of the diners, Kath included, were outraged (yes, outraged - there was shouting from around the room) that it wasn't mash. It didn't say it would be mash, so why expect it? I'm kind of sick of mash when eating out anyway, it's on every dish and most restaurants are doing it very smooth and creamy these days. This rustic, chunky approach was lovely, and I plan to do it myself more often. At this point Matt came out from the kitchen as apparently only 20 of the 50 diners said they would pay for their meals and pleaded for people to rethink, considering the hard work the butchers were putting away in front of the hot stoves. Since when did everyone expect haute cuisine? It screamed of inner-city snobbery and it royaly gave me the irrates. Dessert was white chocolate pannacota with citrus salad. I was worried when I read of the pannacotta, there was a point years ago when every restaurant was serving it up and doing them badly (most still are). There's nothing worse than that gelatinous taste, however ours were surprisingly well done. The white chocolate was slightly gritty but didn't detract from the smooth and white chocolatey mouth feel. It was served with orange, blood orange and strawberries marinated in zingy citrus, and sprinkled with crunchy pistachios - and it worked. Unfortunately tea or coffee weren't offered and it should have been, it's a proper full stop to a meal.

I think production-wise it could have been a bit sharper: it wouldn't have hurt to give us a rundown of the evening, or for Moran (or anybody in charge) to thank us for coming at the end of the night. Moran should have saved his appeal for higher scores till the end of the meal - I wouldn't have blamed the butchers for spitting in our pannacottas after such a hostile response. Moran threw around a few 'bollocks' and I think he's trying to be a hard man, but he's not a hard man. Let's not pretend to be Gordo. But it definitely was a fun night and fab to do something so unique. Looking forward to seeing the final result when the show hits Channel 7 sometime this year.

A big thank you to Anna for the heads up for the evening, and it was funny seeing another food blogger Emily at the next table. Kath is a great dining companion as always. Go read all their reviews. PS what was with the insane amount of water being served? It could have cured our drought!

Cameras and mike booms and faux celebs - oh my!

Salt and pepper squid with bok choy

The controversial roast pork, kipflers, brocolini, pears and caper butter

White chocolate pannacotta with citrus salad and pistachios

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Le Weekend

I took a gamble with the overcast weather and went down to the beach anyway, and what a treat. The sky was as clear as the carpark and I didn't budge for two hours of bliss. The water was clear aqua, 20 degrees, and the high tide was fun swimming through the waves.
Then D and I wasted time at the Seafolly outlet, having more success with a cold beer at the pub. Speaking of beer, the new Stella ad of the son coming back from war is the best yet - "Il a sauve ma vie" - hilarious!
Then we spent a couple of hours at the internet cafe travel planning. I love internet cafes, they're like the United Nations, most of the people are travelling, and that's romantic. Like airports? Dinner of our favourite Turkish pizza, yum.
I cooked mum brunch of Moroccan scrambled eggs, with roasted tomatoes and wholemeal batard, then went in to work to finish my taxes (almost there! I can see the light at the end of this hellhole) with a little agonising over the Canon SD630 or 700 to boot (do I need IS even with a short zoom? I think I do). Went over to Newtown after hearing of a great sale (pff); peckish, I popped into Guzman Y Gomez which I had been dying to try and had some tacos. Disappointing. It was so hot all I could think of was a cool cinema, and luckily The Last King of Scotland was next cab off the rank. It was really good, and all this talk of Forest Whitaker deserving an Oscar is justified but as should James McEvoy, he slides into the role seamlessly.
And the cherry (!) on the cake is snapping up the fun strapless cherry dress I have been daydreaming over for weeks, online for an almost song. Cherry on top, indeed.

The moon, driving from the airport


Cute packaging, but that's about it

Thursday, February 01, 2007

This Week

Reading: Down and Out in Paris and London.
Enjoying: A mug of tea with milk. Sometimes, just sometimes, milk in tea is the most delicious thing in the world.
Bought: Tickets to my favourite time of year (excl. summer), the French Film Festival. I Do; Inside Paris; Private Fears In Public Places; Twice Upon A Time; The Singer; All The Beauty In The World; A Comedy Of Power.
Chuffed: Jamie Oliver's new series, Jamie At Home.
Lusting After: More Conran perfection: Cornish blue dreadnaught jug, $US39.

Ballet Week 2

Unbelievably hard. At one point I thought "hell in pink satin". There is no way this is beginners, and I'm annoyed because everyone is continuing from previous classes and so a higher level has been established, whereas I wanted to focus on the basics, and well, not feel stupid. And I do. The discipline and aura of getting it right every time, being perfect, impressing the teacher, all those feelings die hard, and everyone else is so serious that I want to shout out "let's not pretend anyone's going to be performing Giselle for the Queen anytime soon, let's have some fun!". But before I can enjoy those thoughts it's time to pirouette and chasse across the room. I enjoy the barre work, and it is a great workout, eh bien, continuouns...