Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Favourite Local

The Robin Hood gets reviewed in the SMH. True, I haven't been there for a year, and it hasn't been my local for two years (a step-local?) but it does have the best $6 meals, good affordable wine and an easy atmosphere. No wankers, rare. Plus it has a killer jukebox (incl. Radiohead).

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"He could hardly bear to watch his own movies, apparently they made him so miserable"


Ingmar Bergman wrote the screenplay of my favourite movie, The Best Intentions. I couldn't talk when it finished. Later I just cried. Up till that point I had never seen acting like that, cinematography, heard dialogue like that, music. Subtle. Real. I've only seen it three times and just can't bear to watch it, the beauty is too much.

It was 1992 and I became obsessed with Bergman. I fell in love with the Swedish language and still dream of walking the streets of Uppsala.

I remember starting to learn about him, about his fear of death, and as a naive teen prayed the ageing Bergman would never die. So I'm saddened today to read he has, but so grateful that he opened my eyes to the beauty and power of cinema.


Monday, July 30, 2007


I start Spanish Intensive classes tonight, twice weekly for eight weeks. Let's just hope it's more successful than last time's yo soy cocinera result. D and I decided to do it seperately as we are too giggly together (although the last class where we came stoned was my most coherent). Vamos!


Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes - The Best Yet?

Back into the kitchen for the domestic goddess pleasures of Sunday afternoon baking.

I've never made a Nigella Lawson recipe before but if the ease and success of this recipe is anything to go by, I may have to go and buy all her cookbooks - like every other woman out there.
Seriously, these were the simplest and most delicious cupcakes I've made yet. A one pot (ie saucepan) wonder. The cupcake is how I've always wanted a cupcake to turn out, moist but not dense with a good crumb and not-too-heavy-not-too-light flavour. And they came out beautifully flat and even which made icing the best.

Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes, makes 12
125g unsalted butter
100g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
300g morello cherry jam
100g caster sugar (Nigella calls for 150g but I cut back 1/3 and it was plenty sweet)
pinch of salt
2 large eggs, beaten
150g self-raising flour
100g dark chocolate
100ml double cream
12 natural-coloured glace cherries (I used red glace cherries as I've no idea where to get natural-coloured ones from in Sydney, if you know please let me know, or any cherries with the stem attached).

Preheat the oven to 180C. Put the butter in a heavy-bottomed pan on the heat to melt. When nearly completely melted, stir in the chocolate. Leave for a moment to begin softening, then take the pan off the heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the butter and chocolate are smooth and melted. Now add the cherry jam, sugar, salt and eggs. Stir with a wooden spoon and when all is pretty well amalgamated stir in the flour. Scrape and pour into the muffin papers in their tin and bake for 25 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes before turning out.
When the cupcakes are cool, break the chocolate for the icing into little pieces and add them to the cream in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, remove from the heat and then whisk – by hand or electrically – till thick and smooth. Ice the cupcakes, smoothing the tops with the back of a spoon, and stand a cherry in the centre of each.
Note: I added a mint leaf to my cherries.

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Best Dance Track EVA

Olivier Giacomotto's Volta. And anything by him.

Beatport or DJ Downloand has it all.

(Olivier, if you read this and want me to sound out new tracks, while dancing in a bikini, I'm definitely your girl).

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Les Vies Des Autres

Two movies this week, two amazing women, two lives.

Vie Privee
There are two Brigitte Bardot movies I have always wanted to see. La Verite, and Vie Privee. I stumbled upon seeing La Verite at the National Film Institute in London four years ago, a magical experience, and to this day still try and track it down to own. Alas, not availale. In my monthly eBay/Amazon searches however I did find Vie Privee, newly released on DVD, and couldn't click Proceed To Checkout fast enough. Knowing that it was quasi-autobiographical, starring Marcello Mastroianni and directed by Louis Malle had me hanker for this movie like no other.
Autobiographical, that it is. It records a happy Jill/Brigitte start out in dance, moving to modelling and acting, before the frenzied crescendo of public and paparrazi attention knocks her into a nervous breakdown. She seeks solace in Marcello's arms, and they retreat to a small town outside of Rome where he is conducting an arts festival and she can rediscover an unhounded life. But it's not long until she's found out and la foule smother her, and their, world.
It's a lovely little film, where Brigitte doesn't need to act, and Marcello, for so long, and always l'homme de ma vie, is beautiful, handsome, incredible. It's 1962 and the wardrobes are divine - slim capris with contrasting cotton tees; a spot of Chanel tweed; lounging so effortlessly in men's shirts. And lots of smoking. I miss smoking.

La Vie En Rose
An excellent biopic, and between the songs and her tragic life didn't - couldn't - leave a dry eye in the house. While there was nothing about Montand it was consistent on her little life and there was no shmaltz, the highs and lows played against the backdrop of her incredible music. My favourite Piaf song, one of my favourite songs of all time, Mon Legionnaire, tugged at my heartstrings as Raymond Asso used it to transform her from street performer to superstar. I thought Marion Cotillard was very good, her eyes as expressive as Piaf's.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

New York, USA

Mum is in New York at the moment and texting her some restaurants recs had me tripping through memories from four years ago...the Brazilian restaurants on our street...Katz's Deli...arguing before Cafe Boulud...that cool tapas bar...breaking my heel before Nobu...tequila and delicious Mexican...Papaya King hotdogs...what a fun, fun place.

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Bacon, Leek And Barley Soup

Dad pointed me to David Herbert's recipes in The Weekend Australian and we both tried two simple, no-fuss recipes, both of which were a great success. I definitely recommend this soup for a hearty, winter meal.

Bacon, Leek And Barley Soup, serves 4
Adapted from David Herbert's Food section in The Weekend Australian

5 rashers of good bacon, diced into 1cm pieces
2 cloves of garlic
1-2 leeks, sliced in 1cm rings then cut in half
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
(You could also add 1-2 carrots, sliced, but I hate cooked carrots)
1/2 cup barley
1.25 litres chicken stock
Couple of bay leaves and sprigs of thyme

In a large pot fry the bacon in a little olive oil for 5-7 minutes; it should cook but not crisp. Add the whole cloves of garlic, leek and celery and cook for another 5 minutes until the vegetables soften. Add the barley, chicken stock and herbs and stir through, then pop the lid on and simmer on a low-ish temperature for one hour.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Office

Watched the entire series of The Office over the weekend, having not seen it in a while. God that was one of the most brilliant, genius shows. I don't understand anyone that doesn't love it. Not like it, think it ok, but love it.

The layers of Brent (including the final softening by the love of a good woman), the nuances between Tim and Dawn, the confetti of characters hovering in the office. The repellant Lee. Sheila stealing glances at an annoyed Oliver. I used to have debates with people about why Dawn said no; I completely get it, the show tapping in so finely to the human condition, but fuck it rounds out perfectly.

So anyway, The Office is the best.


On Saturday I took Nut for a walk in the park across the road from me. It wasn't as cold as it has been, the sky blue. Two muscly gay guys were throwing practise punches, a Japanese guy was playing the didgeridoo on his own, very serene, a small group of urbanites were standing in a circle taking part in a dog obediance class. I looked around and felt happy. This small funky park with the silly Ikea furniture is still new and is a good idea. I only just noticed that I can see Centrepoint Tower gleaming between old and new buildings. I read the plaque describing the history of this little spot and I like that it used to home brothels, factories, film studio offices, Chinese, Italians, Greeks, and now inner city trendies.

I have lived here for two years now and it just dawned on me why I love it so much. Surry Hills, like me, is completely bobo - boheme bourgeois. It is wanky and yuppy with cafes packed to the brim with brunch heads, reading the paper over poached eggs and then complaining that people just don't talk anymore; it has laundromats that serve espresso and butchers that look like swanky boutiques. It can also be seedy and in parts rundown and I love leaning out my balcony to have a smoke and seeing the terraces across the road, all colours, new, old.

So I am home and always aware how lucky I am to live here. A place that is just me.

Friday, July 20, 2007

You Know

...when sometimes a flashback hits you so strong you have to run out of the room and cry a little.

We are driving to Las Salinas and the four of us are sucking on strawberry (!) Calypsos like it's the most x-rated porno you've ever seen, each outdoing the other. The DJ is completely oblivious and it is the funniest funniest thing.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


So I have been back a week, slack with returning emails and still falling asleep at 9pm (only to dream of a new kid's game where you prepare Ferran Adrian's molecular 'olives'). So I thought I'd do an FAQ except that sounds really pompous but who cares.

+ What was your favourite place?
Ibiza. We cried leaving (and there is a video to prove it). It is the most beautiful island and we had the most incredible experiences. One week wasn't enough. I honestly can't find the right words so if you'd like to know anything more specific please ask!

+ Did you and D fight at all?
Nope, we got along every minute of the trip. Unbelievable but true. We are very similar so that helps -we like all the same things - food (and don't mind spending a bit of money on eating out), going out, a bit of shopping, and kissing boys. We had a brilliant time together.

+ Madrid or Barcelona?
We have to say...Madrid! We loved both but really loved Madrid.

+ How was your French/Italian/Spanish?
French was surprisingly good, a real pleasure to speak it again and have conversations with randoms. Got by in Italian. The extent of my Spanish remains "dos cervezas/(later) dos canas por favor" and "muy fucking bien". Hence have enrolled in an intensive Spanish class.

+ From Did you meet anyone? to So how many guys did you fuck?
This is usually people's first question, just depends how they phrase it. Forget asking about the beautiful sights, the magical memories - people just want to know how much action you got.
It was all good my friends.

+ What did you buy in the sales?
My top buy was the most perfect trenchcoat from Gap, which I never go to, glad I did! I nabbed a few other bargains but most of the purchases were pre-sales, and mostly at Zara which is just the best.

+ Show me the shoes!
Here's one pair, because I wore them yesterday. YSL pale apple green with a 3-inch wooden heel and a gold belt loop on the toe. Beautiful and I love them dearly. Will snap the others soon enough.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

One of my favourite photos. Taken by dear R at Las Salinas.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Holiday Blues

I was a Pollyanna for weeks but now it has hit me hard.

I go to the bathroom at yum cha and have a flashback to the bathrooms at El Ayoun.
I wake up in the middle of the night and don't know where I am, what time it is, how it is.
I am 8 hours ahead of another world and this distance makes my heart ache. This always happens - I am accutely aware of their time and am split in two.

I am in love with dance music again and listen to the DJ's music which is so perfect I can't really believe it. But my smile says it's so.

So there are definitely smiles, and thoughts of what is coming next. The wheels are in motion for a move overseas, which I will start to chronicle. I just hope it works out - it's now or never.