Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Definition Of Food Porn

My ultimate dish, Fergus Henderson's roast marrowbone with parsley salad, prepared and enjoyed with Mark Bittman. It just doesn't get any better than this.

Watch immediately if not sooner here.

Easy Like Tuesday Evenings

Scoot it to the beach after work, and the tide is low so it's off to the pool for a few laps, stopping to watch the surfers and the crabs scrambling back into the water. The waves turn to creamy white froth at the rocks; beyond, in the golden light, are the pastel apartments on the cliffs of Bondi. I have to hurry back but stop and sit for a while and sponge it all in. It's so beautiful.

Driving home, licking my salty lips, bopping to the DJ's music. Happiness.

Meet I for a yummy dinner and hours of great conversation. A school friend, and we're all evolving. Nights that end on hugs and smiles and content bellies are the best.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Watermelon Vodka Granita

...Or what to do with a massive watermelon in the fridge when you're sick of eating watermelon.

It's yummy and light and the prettiest pink. First, make the sugar syrup, which only takes a couple of minutes. For half a watermelon, I used half a cup of sugar and half a cup of water. Melt the sugar in a saucepan with the water then let the sugar syrup cool. Cut the flesh of half a watermelon into big cubes. Puree with a stick blender and stir through the cooled sugar syrup and as much vodka as you like (half a cup for a mellow hit). Freeze for two hours then buzz it with the stick blender to break up the ice crystals. Do this once every hour until you have a smooth sorbet, or leave it to freeze completely and breark it up with a fork for a snowy granita.

Monday, October 29, 2007


5.5 Weeks

I thought yesterday how in 5.5 weeks the little everyday things will be put on hold, like chatting to Kath about nothing, popping over to mum's for a bagel and giving Nut a scratch, funny day-long emails with friends, driving around with Tiesto blaring.

Friday evening I was in one of those non-moods, so had a walk around Chinatown, I always love it down there. Grabbed some noodles from Xic Lo, watched some tele and went to bed and slept for 12 hours. Saturday up and at it, cleaned the place, then popped over to Bondi for some supplies. There's a little strip of Bondi Road I love: from Ruskis Deli to Wellington Cakes. I don't think I've ever been to Ruskis Deli but I popped in for some cheese and ogled the smoked sausages, the dips, the piroshki. Past the pretty flower shop, Kemeny's always doing a roaring trade, the chicken shop, the greengrocers, and buying the last bagels and plum pockets from Wellington Cakes. Lunch with mum, then came home and sorted. through. the. entire. wardrobe. Went through the lot, clothes, shoes, photographed what I want to sell, collected for the charity bins, even found a gorgeous cherry red coat to take with me. All lovely and organised, such a good feeling. Now to pack it all up.
In the evening D and I had a laugh scouting for a farewell party location. We'll see what comes of it.
Over to Kath's on Sunday morning and we all walked over to the Boulevard Markets. The markets themselves are nothing but the cooking demonstrations, hosted by Joanna Saville, are fantastic. Yesterday was the gorgeous Adrian from El Bulli (not THE El Bulli, the Surry Hills El Bulli) who made delicious tapas. A pleasant way to spend a couple of hours. Then over to Manly for a fantastic jump in the waves, walk around and dinner on the beach.
Now, I've mapped out the 5.5 weeks till we leave, it's time to go gangbusters and finish the tax, pack up and ship out a whole apartment and get it rented out, and enjoy some time in Sydney, in the summer, with some fantastic people.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken

Rasa Malaysia had me craving her recipe for Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken and even though mine didn't turn out a gorgeous caramel colour like hers, it became an instant fave. I have found a couple of butchers doing hormone-free chicken so that makes me happy.

It's easy to make (especially while cutting up the chicken during my favourite show, A Place In Slovakia) and very flavoursome.

Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken, adapted from Rasa Malaysia, servces 4.
1 kilo chicken thigh fillets cut into inch cubes
3 good tablespoons fish sauce
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar
4 tablespoons water
2-3 tablespoons peanut oil
2 lemongrass stalks, white parts either finely sliced or shreded with a grater/Microplane
1-2 chilies, long or small, seeded and finely sliced
1 inch of ginger, grated or finely sliced

Combine the chicken, fish sauce, garlic, sprinkling of salt and 2 teaspoons of the sugar. In a small saucepan, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar with 2 tablespoons of the water and cook over high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, then leave until a deep caramel colour. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining water, then pour into a bowl. In a frypan or wok, heat the oil and add the lemongrass, chilies and ginger and cook until fragrant. Add the chicken and caramel and cook until the chicken is browned, then pop a lid on and cook for around 7 minutes, then remove the lid and cook for another 10-15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened. Serve with rice and sliced spring onions on top.


A Great Week, And Then

Had my first car accident yesterday driving out from the office. Thankfully everyone is ok and that's what insurance is for, but urgh, what a horrible feeling.

Last night saw A Mighty Heart. An amazing movie that is hard to move on from. It's so well-done, Angelina is brilliant, I've always thought she is.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Must Eats

Foodie things to (hopefully) fit in before leaving...

+ A banquet at Ying's.
+ Late night congee at Super Bowl.
+ Dinner at the revamped Rockpool.
+ Oysters, and more oysters - Kath, on your deck?
+ $6 meal at the Robin Hood.
+ A cooking session with mum teaching me how to cook my favourite Russian food (I think I'll choose cucletki).

None Of This Is RIght

Last night I had the biggest fight I've had with mum in recent times, over nothing of course, then we went out and got drunk and even smoked Marlboro Reds.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Super Weekend, Even As A Hobbling Harriet

So I couldn't go out because of the back but A came over and we got Thai and hung out. And did shots. Why go out when you can have a party for two chez Julia?
Saturday I could barely move, but did some back stretches and hobbled down to yum cha with Jules and Kat. Great catching up with the girls, and then speaking of great catching up, what a fun fun fun afternoon/evening/next morning at Jo and Wal's - it's almost their one year anniversary. We watched Mind Storm, one of the best worst movies any of us had ever seen. Ian Ziering groping Brooke from The Bold and The Beautiful. Delicious food, gossip, cigarettes, and Blades Of Glory, with good friends, what more could you want.
Straight to the beach on Sunday morning for a few hours of bliss. Came home and made stuffed zucchini flowers based on Jules' amazing recipe, and mum came over for dinner before we went to the David Broza concert at the Opera House. We'd seen him a few years ago and he's just incredible. His way with Spanish and flamenco guitar makes the world stop. Unfortunately, we had four of the rudest people I've ever encountered sitting - talking at normal pitch - behind us, throughout the whole concert. A cloud in an otherwise blue sky weekend.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Bronte Beach

The beach I love.
Sunday was hot, the water numbingly cold, but impossible to get out of.
Is there anything more beautiful than Bronte Pool and it's edgeless jade surface...
The hot smell of fish and chips, on it's own, would be disgusting - oil, grease - but at the beach, on this busy Sunday, it mingles with the salty air and the happy shrieks of kids and shifts your mind off peaceful nothingness to insatiable craving.
But you must be strong, so you take another swim, and it's happy days.

Friday, October 19, 2007

So Bad It's So So Good

The Good, The Bad

The good...hearing Kath's happy voice greet me with sawatdee kaa from what sounds like a wonderful holiday in Phuket.
The bad...doing my back in again, I can't remember it ever hurting this bad.
The good...having a really hard Chinese massage and kneading out the pain.
The bad...that only lasting a few hours.
The good...hearing from the DJ.
The bad...I wanted to try Emmilou tonight, but thanks to the back it's a case of a fridge full of food, nothing to eat.
The good...rewatching Seinfeld - so, so funny.
The bad...moths, seriously, fuck off. And don't hide in my towel so when I get out of the shower you start fluttering all around me.
The good...a fun weekend forecast with good friends, 80s movies and hopefully the beach.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Moving Update

I forgot to update that we have nabbed a gorgeous apartment for our first two months. Since officially we cannot rent a place without a job, we scoured craigslist et al and were bombarded with scammers, who we had a lot of fun with. We decided we'd need to crash in a hostel/hotel or a short-term apartment and we resigned ourselves to the expense of it all. At the same time we'd been reading about Haarlem, not far from Amsterdam and it seemed a little cheaper and just as pretty. Then we found a lovely-sounding girl who was renting out her apartment in Haarlem for two months and it all just clicked.

The price is more than we'd like to pay for rent but much less than what we'd have to pay for short-term accommodation. It's in the most central location of Haarlem and will give us an idea if we want to live there later on. We're thrilled to have a place for when we arrive and can focus on settling in, work, Febo, having fun.

On top of that, it's gorgeous. The girl has great style, whites and chocolate browns, with a big kitchen (me happy) and a little patio (perfect for enjoying the freezing cold).

7 weeks and so much to do it's not funny counting!

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No Muy Bien

Had my second class of espanol at UNSW last night. After my good run with the last class, I've landed in a room full of duds. No social skills, weird-looking and literally sitting around like lumps of mash potato. On top of that this level deals with everything I've already covered although the online outline said it was right for me, so I'm hoping to move up to the next level next week (since they wouldn't give me a refund to go elsewhere).

One thing is clear, good language teachers are worth their weight in gold. As are fellow students.

Update: Moved to the next level and it's great. The teacher is adorable and moves at a fast pace and the other students are enthusiastic and speak very well.


Monday, October 15, 2007

Single Girl Haiku

Do what I want, when I want
Then I realised
Both vibrators are broken


More Moss

I'm in love. Latest photoshoot for TopShop.

Martha Moss

Gorgeous E called me Martha Moss when we had dinner a few weeks ago and I love it, it's me to a T.

I was just going to have a quiet one on Friday night when A emailed me in the afternoon to see if I wanted to join his flatmate and neighbours for a pizza. OK, so first we tried a new place called The Lager Bar which is just an example of what not to do when you've opened a new place. However, Cooper's Lager is delicious. I mention this because I'm turning into quite the lager ladette. Most of last week I've been coming home and taking the edge off with a beer, and spending the night on the couch. Little could have made me happier. Mind you there is no edge to take off. But anyway. Instead of pizza we ended up at Indian having a banquet. It was all good fun. D's girlfriend was very keen to go dancing, so we headed to The Boatshed. I came to the conclusion that any place with a $5 cover charge is creep central. This had the right number of creeps, which all seemed to perk up even more when the girlfriend started rubbing herself up against me. When I accompanied her to the bathroom, as females are prone to do, she made it quite obvious she was very into JB so the rest of the night, in between tequila shots, was making out with my ex-boyfriend's neighbour's girlfriend. Funny, funny night.

Saturday I was feeling quite seedy and was planning on lying on the couch all day, but had a great lunch at a cafe and fell ga-ga for the waiter. Gorgeous, heard his whole life story. Meanwhile I'm sitting there washed out and in my hangover sunnies. PS when has it become acceptable for casual Sydney cafes to charge $28 for lunch (omelettes; mushrooms with cheese)? It was jam-packed so I guess anything goes in this fair town.

D came over later on bringing nana treats from a fete and we watched My Father The Hero. God I love Gerry Depardieu. Then off to our favourite Turkish restaurant in Enmore for more stuffing before sliding over to a party down the road at feral Newtown.

Went to pilates in the morning, made the most delicious mushroom pasta for lunch, then joined mum and her friends at Forbidden Fruit, an insane Chinese show at the casino. Acrobatics, a plot nicked off Shakespeare, and not one, but two retards in the storyline. All I could think of while watching this colourful spectacle was food, I need Chinese food. Noodles, dumplings, saucy meat. Three of us went down to Chinatown and found a new Uigher restaurant, it being the food of Central Asia, Uzbek, Mongols. Delicious! Handmade noodles, dumplings, lamb kebabs, tea. Massive amount of food for $30. And it was packed. And there is another Uigher restaurant next door. I love Sydney!

Turkish meat and oily grilled bread

Amazing gourmet mushroom pasta (hint: add a little lemon zest and juice to the cream)

Uigher lamb kebabs and cucumber salad

Uigher handmade square noodles with lamb

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Crazy Yet Plain Vanilla

I watch Fresh every lunchtime and it's exactly like porn: you've seen it all before but you keep watching. But the other week an Italian recipe jumped out at me: fish in crazy water. How could you not be intriguied by a name like that? The 'aqua pazza' comes from using sparkling mineral water, and with the southern flavours, I couldn't wait to see what it tasted like.

But forget the taste, the aroma is amazing. While the fish was cooking I went to check my mail, and when I opened the door the most amazing scent of all the ingredients had me swooning. It's glorious stuff.

This is such an easy dish to make, something like 10-15 minutes and no work. Pour yourself a glass of shiraz and it's too easy. The original recipe uses a whole snapper, but I used a salmon fillet cut in half. So it would go well with red or white fish, whole or fillets.

My modified version of the recipe is as simple as this: wrap a few garlic cloves (skin on) in foil and bung in a hot oven for 15 minutes. Halve and slice a red onion, halve a handful of cherry tomatoes and finely slice a red chili if you'd like the heat (I left it out). Heat a little oil in a frypan and when very hot add the fish, skin side down. Take the garlic out of the oven and squeeze out the softened flesh. After a few minutes, flip the fish over, and add the garlic, vegetables and a handful of Liguarian olives. Season. Pour enough sparkling mineral water to almost cover the fish, put a lid on and turn the heat down. Simmer for a few minutes, then add some shredded basil and a nob of butter. Cook for another minute then serve with extra basil on top.

The sauce needs to be mopped up with crusty bread, or you can realise you don't have any bread and instead serve them with store-bought salty chips. Honestly, they were so good together.

I also made my own ice cream for the first time. I have been craving ice cream lately and almost bought an ice cream maker. Because I'm sure I'll have plenty of room in my luggage along with coats and boots and more coats and boots for an ice cream maker. But I stopped and thought, people have been making ice cream for longer than there have been ice cream makers, and there's something romantic about making ice cream by hand.

And it wasn't a problem at all. Of course I had to start with vanilla. I made the creme anglaise - a combination of Michel Roux and David Lebovitz's recipes - and bunged it in the freezer. I stirred or stick blended it every hour, and in the evening, after crazy water fish, we oohed and aahed over the creamy vanillaness of it all. Before dinner I thinly sliced some adorable baby pears and dried them in the oven - pear and vanilla is one of my favourite combinations. They're like pear jerky, chewy and caramely and one time I'll chop them and add them to the ice cream.

Because there will be many next times for homemade ice cream.

(The heat in my kitchen started melting the ice cream before I quickly snapped it with my camera phone)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Why

Mum and I have had some great chats this week. Including asking me why I'm going.

Primarily, to get out of my comfort zone.
To experience the new in everything: environment, people, friends, work, customs, culture, climate.
To challenge myself.
To have fun.
To be close to old and new places.
To continue learning more about myself.
To be creative.


Sometimes, I Surprise Myself

At The Bentley on Saturday night one of the dishes for the degustation, which wasn't anywhere to be found on the menu, was a square of steamed white fish dressed in an avocado and jamon sauce. It was just so good that it was pretty much all I could think about this week. The delicate, clean-flavoured fish balancing with this interesting sauce, slightly tacky on the palate. I had to have it again. So last night I went about recreating it, amidst clicking for Spice Girls tickets, curing another salmon and making my own icecream (more on that later).

And, it was 9 out of 10 close to the original version. I was mighty impressed.

Quality Spanish jamon is fairly new to our shores and while iberico is the Chanel of Spanish hams, serrano is perfect for this sauce. At $99 a kilo (as opposed to $360 for iberico), $10 worth will give you a few very happy moments, including this sauce. I think Spanish ham is better in this dish than Italian, it needs that meaty oomph, that macho-ness, as opposed to the delicate sweetness of prosciutto.

It was as simple as pureeing an avocado and thinning it with a little cream, although light stock would be just as good. Finely, finely dice a thick slice of jamon serrano, and warm it in a frypan. Don't add oil as it will start to release it's own oil which will flavour the sauce. Add the avocado and warm through, season, then set aside.

Cut a fillet of bream or white fish in half, and steam for 4-5 minutes till cooked. Remove, and serve with the sauce. On the side I sliced a King Brown mushroom and sauteed it seperately until just coloured. It's such a meaty mushroom that was the perfect, minimal accompaniment.

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Listen Up Mofos

We got tickets to The Spice Girls in Madrid! I was up for 4.5 hours last night trying to get pre-sale tickets to no avail, then got in this morning to find a new link which got us tickets in a flash.

Posh and Geri want us there! I never really liked them originally, except for having a huge crush on Geri (bought Playboy just for her). But now I just love them and the concert will be so much fun, especialmente en Madrid. Maybe Becks will be moving, grooving next to us on the dancefloor.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Just To Prove I'm Not All Martha

Here's a photo of Pammy. I love Pammy.

Regina Reagan


Monday, October 08, 2007

I Don't Know

...but sometimes, all you want is a BLT and a beer.

Sure, there's a fridge full of delights such as gourmet mushrooms and gorgonzola dolce, but nothing tonight could tempt me more than a plain old BLT: lashings of crispy free range bacon from the markets, love bite tomatoes and butter lettuce on a grilled bagel, finished with the world's best mayonnaise and pepper. Heineken and a night on the couch. Marty Sheargold and I are meant to be.

I had the agents round for an appraisal of the apartment and was happily surprised by their estimate of $30-50 a week more than what I was hoping for, so even if they were talking it up I should get an amount that I'll be satisfied with. It'll cover the mortgage and a bit of the strata. The unfun bit is now having to decide if I should rent it out furnished or what to do with my beloved furniture...

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No More Eating

Happy Birthday mum! Sunday was her birthday with a picnic in the park, naturally too much food, all delicious of course, the crazy Russian friends and relos, her ex showing up, dogs running around, vodka. She had a good time so I'm happy, although I'm not so happy at the amount of food I ate. Have a wonderful year to come my beautiful girl!

Saturday was up early for the Growers' Markets and I knew it was going to be manic in junction with Good Food Month and the gorgeous weather, but I never imagined it would be insufferable. Why Sydneysiders queue up 50-deep for a coffee is beyond me. The crowds were beyond me and A who joined me was more than happy to leave. We went to Fratelli Fresh and had a delicious brunch upstairs, of goat's cheese frittata and my beloved five cheese zucchini flowers. Stocked up downstairs then headed home to make some goodies for the picnic. I made mini peach cupcakes with the first peaches of the season and panzanella. But first I started with the pistachio macarons (it took an hour to grind and sift the pistachios and almonds and still they weren't that fine) and they just didn't work. The tops cracked all over, drying them out, and hardly any frilly feet. They worked beautifully for the trial and failed for the real deal - very upsetting. I think because it was so hot and humid and I used a different recipe which had a lot of icing sugar in it that made them very, very sweet. I'll go back to the original recipe and try to alter it for different flavours.

In the evening A and I went to The Bentley for the degustation - he buys dinner, I buy drinks, as that's all I can afford at the moment. Having tapas there last year blew me away so I couldn't wait to see what the rest of the menu was like a year on. It was really good, though the service was endearingly kooky (forgot our cheese course; forgot to charge us for the dessert wine; poured my beer with too much head; called the squid ink "black stuff"). Two dishes in particular wowed me: a pocket of steamed white fish with an avocado and jamon serrano sauce. I need to replicate this immediately. The other was the dessert, which A didn't really like but I thought was so interesting and fun. A tube of white chocolate encasing a fizzy sherbet sorbet, with a quenelle of mandarin icecream on the side and the plate sprinkled with dark chocolate cake crumbs. It looked so pretty - dark brown, white and pale pinks - such a great colour combination - and a spectrum of textures.

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Corn Salad (With Perfectly Crispy Skin Salmon)

I have a reputation. Completely unfounded. When I was living with A I bought a cheap eggplant and didn't cook it. It was left soft and mushy at the bottom of the fridge. The same thing may have happened with a cauliflower. "But it was cheap!" I protested as he shook his head. "It's not so cheap when you have to throw it away!" I always end up with these kinds of fellas. The ones that just don't understand.

But I can't help it sometimes. Like on the weekend when I saw two perfectly symetical pears, and they were too pretty to leave behind, or four corns in their silky husks for $2. I'd never cooked fresh corn before, but to me, their crunchy taste and chartreuse coats are the epitome of spring. With inspiration from MattBites, I made this delicious salad, which ended up being one of the most delicious salads ever. Oh yea, ever.

For four serves, take two fresh corns and peel away the husks and silk. Slice the corn off - it slices off easily - and what's nice is you have clunks of kernels which look pretty. In a little butter saute the corn in a frypan over low-medium heat for about five minutes. Taste so that it's cooked but has lots o' crunch. Transfer to a salad bowl. Dice half a red capsicum and add to the corn, along with a good handful of coriander leaves and a crumbling of feta. Season and chill before eating. It would also be great with steak, grilled chicken or prawns.

I had a nice fillet of salmon which I was going to slow-roast but my oven was occupied, so I heated a little olive oil in a frypan until very hot, and added the fillet (after it had been washed and dried and well-seasoned) skin-side down. Don't touch until you can see the fish cooked about a quarter way up from the bottom, then flip over, and cook for another few minutes. As you can see, I like my salmon rare. The skin is so good, crispy and salty like chips.


How To Make A Grown Woman Squeal

Apart from the obvious?

Last night I made macarons. Proper, French macarons. After weeks of consternating, after reading every known recipe and technique, after convincing myself I would fail abysmally...

They turned out just about perfect.

I cannot tell you how excited I was. I squealed when I saw the frilly 'feet' through the oven door. Yes, I squealed. Anyone with a half-interest in cooking and/or food blogs will know how delicate the issue of macarons are. They are the 'it' indulgence around the world. Laduree, Pierre Herme et al are on par with the Eiffel Tour as essential pit stops for visitors to Paris; at least, the queues waiting to go in are as lengthy. D and I ourselves this trip stopped at Laduree, La Maison du Chocolat and a random bistro in the 6eme for a macaron hit (as for Pierre Herme, well, we walked in only to find we had no money between us, oh, the horror!).

They are the loveliest, daintiest of sweet, made only more precious by the kaleidoscope of colours and exciting flavours and combinations available. In the queue at Laduree I had to just go with my instinct of caramel a la fleur de sel, and then a last-minute quip for coconut. I'd planned on taking photos of them, of us munching on them - that never happened. We gobbled them up before we even crossed the street. Such is the macaron.

So, to making them. As David Lebovitz, who's recipe I used, says, it's about the technique, and the precision of, which seems quite intimidating and I think this is what puts so many off, myself included. But it's mum's birthday on Sunday and to me she is a little macaron, cute and delicate, and I thought how nice it would be to bring some to her picnic. So a trial had to be done, and a basic chocolate recipe chosen.

I'm an impatient person, and a person of extremes. I knew that if my first effort didn't turn out I would get very stroppy and never attempt to make macarons again. Luckily D was over with wine. I made the ganache and started on the meringue batter. To be honest, as fixed as I was beforehand on following the recipe to the letter, I didn't. I didn't measure the ingredients all that precisely but I looked out for the technique. I sifted my almond meal (essential, as store-bought almond meal is too coarse) and got the mixture to fairly resemble motlen lava. I couldn't find my plain icing tip so had to use my star one, so some had a little wave on the top. I tapped the tray a few times on my table to get rid of bubbles and flatten them slightly. I didn't fuss with doubling up of baking trays, just piped them onto baking paper and onto the middle shelf. I lowered the temp to about 170C fanforced and after five minutes stuck a wooden spoon in the oven door to keep it ajar. I took them out at 14 minutes, and they came off the paper easily. I spread the ganache with a knife, and voila, chocolate macarons, which were scoffed down easily. The trademark crisp shell and chewy texture. Frilly 'feet'. That's all I could want for a first attempt. And the few leftovers this morning have the same crisp/chewy consistency.

I think making macarons is hit or miss for the amateur cook, dependant on so many factors, but even the miss are delicious. You could break them up and stir through icecream or marscapone cream. Maybe my next time will be a miss, but I'll keep trying.

Ooh la la.

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Here We Come, Dutchland!

We got our visas!

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

This Is What It's All About

A swim at Bronte Beach after work.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Maybe This Is Me

At 28 and 10 months.


Meet The Dutchies: Part Two

We came back today for our appointment to lodge our visas, which was a flawless process of signing off our documents. We'll hear back within two weeks. Touch wood it goes through.

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Three Warm Days

I love that Sydney has three Colombian restaurants, and Friday night I joined Kath's friends to try the newest - any excuse to eat more empanadas. Which we did, along with lots of meat. God bless Central/South America.

Pilates the next morning is not to counteract but because I enjoy it again, and later D came over. It's spring and spring food is beautiful: green of peas and beans and sunlight of squeezes of lemon and pecorino and olive oil. So dinner is a real Liguarian pesto spaghetti, with steamed discs of kipflers but with spinach instead of basil for a softer finish, and tarts with frangipane and sauteed rhubarb, that prettiest of pink anything.

For the tarts, I was excited to try Careme pastry, a company making real pastry, unlike that stale, frozen-tasting stuff you get at the supermarket, which is so bad I refuse to buy it. Although I'm starting to make my own I wanted to support this local business and am so glad I did - the pastry was incredible. I chose the vanilla bean shortcrust which is perfect for individual dessert tarts, and tastes just like fine patisserie pastry. They include helpful hints on using the pastry which is a really nice touch. What I love even more about Careme is the adorable packaging, something out of Laduree, with pastel coloured boxes and elegant font. Bravo!

Sunday afternoon was dolling up for mum's pre-birthday high tea at The Victoria Room. A lovely couple of hours sipping cocktails and scoffing finger sandwiches and little sweet bites and the best scones (with lashings of berry jam and fresh cream) I've had. Although Kath and I learnt another Russian superstition - don't give mum her present one week early, she didn't want to know about it.

And to round off the long weekend the first swim of the season. I expected the water to be icey but it was the perfect temperature, and to dry off in the warm sun - just bliss. Will be spending as much time as I can at the beach until we go.

In the evening mum and I went to see I Have Never Forgotten You, the documentary on the amazing Simon Wiesenthal. I love how it starts, with a montage of journalists asking why he still pursues the war criminals, why not just let it go and let them grow old in peace. He describes trying to find his mother on the cattle car and tells the interviewer, "I can only hope she died on the train and not in the gas chamber", before pausing to say, "do you know what that means to say 'I hope my mother died on the train?'". His passion for justice and love for humanity, his humour...a truly rare individual and I hope everyone sees this documentary.

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