Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Jet setting

Dear CCM readers

I'm sorry that I didn't get the chance to update the blog - TLG has taken to waking up in the middle of the night again and I was unwell in the last few days.

We're off to HK today - flight is in 3 hours' time.  I hope TL copes OK on the flight.

I probably won't have the chance to write again until we return late next week, don't miss me too much OK?

xoxoxo

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tonight's cooking - chicken cacciatore

I wanted to use up the rosemary I bought in the weekend so I searched taste.com.au for recipes.

Tonight's recipe is chicken cacciatore (courtesy of taste.com.au).

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It was super yum, if I may say so myself.  I brought some good quality stock from the butcher instead of Campbells' which made a difference in my opinion.  Also, we ran out of normal balsamic vinegar so I used some Pukara blackcurrant balsamic vinegar and I think it was a nice addition.

I will play around with the ingredients next time around, maybe using different herbs?  In any case it is this is going into my recipe book!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Short Break: Real Peanuts Threadless t-shirt

Too cute for words.



Close up.


Get it here.

Foodie Saturday - part 1

We went to the Northside Produce Market for the first time today. 

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We were on a mission - our Pukara wasabi olive oil ran out and must be replaced!  The brand is available at quite a few places but none of them stock the wasabi variety.  Mr Curious checked their website and found out that they are going to be at the markets so off we go.

Besides the wasabi olive oil (fantastic with roasted potatoes) we bought the truffle olive oil, maybe Mr Curious can make mash potatoes that rivals the ones at Tabou!

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With our mission accompanished, we wandered around a bit.  Mr Curious was attracted to the potatoes store.  There were many varieties of potatoes that I didn't know about.  We ended up buying some King Edward that are meant to be great for mashing and baking.

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And I bought some fresh rosemary and oregano.  They smelled so fresh!  We used some of the rosemary on Sunday night.  I need to find a way to use the oregano as well.

We didn't have a lot of time to look around (because of part 2 of our foodie Saturday - will be posted soon I promise), but we will be going again.  If you're going, look out for a little boy running around saying "car car car"!

Northside Produce Market
Third Saturday of the month from 8am to 12 noon.
Civic Park - between Council and Stanton Library on Miller St
North Sydney

Monday, March 22, 2010

Short break: Alice's adventures in wonderland

The weekend was way too short.  I have so much to blog about but no time - Mr Curious is sick and The Little Guy was acting up last night.

So instead of a proper post (which will come soon), there's something delightful for a Monday morning.

I haven't seen the latest Alice in Wonderland movie yet but I loved the story as a kid.  Apparently the original story was called Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and was written by Lewis Carroll after a summer of storytelling to his friends' three daughters.  Carroll wrote the book after one of the girls (named Alice of course) begged him to write the story down for her.

The book is handwritten and filled with Carroll's own illustrations.


The book is now in possession of the British Library.  You can see scans of the entire book here.

I hope things are less hectic tonight so I can write about my own adventures :-D

P.S. The Sigma brushes have arrived!  Will test them out today after gym.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Brithday presents

This year I am very "inspired" so I told everyone what I wanted for my birthday.  Yes, it is not spontaneous but I wanted every one of those things so satisfaction is guaranteed ;-)

From my brother in law I received a Belkin laptop cooling pad.


I use the laptop a lot at home. I used to put the laptop on top of a cushion and the laptop became really hot, so I wanted a pad with a fan to keep the laptop cool. I'm using it right now and it's doing a great job.

When I read about Keepcup thanks to missea's blog I wanted one for myself.  I asked Mr Curious to choose the colour combination and this is what he picked.



I usually have 2 cups of coffee at work so by using this I'm saving 6 cups and plastic lids a week.  And It's cute too.  I'm looking forward to using it tomorrow.

From my MIL I received Burn Notice DVD season 1.


I only started watching Burn Notice last year, part way through season 2.  It is such a great show it's a shame that it's not well known here.  It has everything you can ask for from a TV show - drama, action, humour, and sexy stars.  You can't go wrong!

Channel 10 is currently showing season 3 after SYTYCD on Wednesday nights.

From my brother I will be receiving a travel brush set from Sigma Makeup.


I only have one set of brushes at the moment and I wanted some for my gym bag and these look very promising.  I'm waiting for the package now.

The last gift was a surprise, it is from The Little Guy via Mr Curious.


It is a journal for to me to write about my life and my thoughts, and one day I will pass it to TLG.  Each page has a topic as a starting point, such as:
  • Tell me about your mum and dad
  • What were your favourite hobbies when you were young
  • If you were an animal ... what type of animal would you be, and why?
It is such a wonderful idea.  I don't know much about my parents' youth and I hope TLG will enjoy reading about my (often crazy) thinking when he grows up.  Technically this is not a gift for me, it's one for him!  But I'll have a great time writing it.

Well, there is one more present pending but we will get it later when we're in Hong Kong so watch this space!
 
P.S. Oh yes, we will be heading to HK over Easter to visit my sister who lives over there, and to shop!  Looking forward to it.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Lemming: Lilac Burberry trench

I know this has been out for a while.


I love this Burberry trench, the shoulders, the colour, the fabric - it is just beautiful.  Unfortunately at £1695 this will remain on my lemming list ...

By the way, how great is Emma Watson for the campaign?  Who would have thought that this little girl will become a style icon?



Monday, March 15, 2010

Sydney's best kept secret

Mr Curious and I had a great night out on my birthday.

Our destination is a little-known establishment called "Mihana". It is billed as a "Dining and Sake Bar", which is right up my alley because sake is my favourite alcoholic drink. Yes, it even beats champagne!

The decor is slick but laid back, with jazz music in the background.  I feel like I was in Tokyo.

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Mihana offers a series of "Today's home style dishes", which are on display at the counter. I was too shy to take a photo of the display, I can guarantee you that they look good.

We ordered two dishes from the display. I would have ordered more but Mr Curious is not a fan of cooked fish nor internal organs.

This is the simmered rice cake with fried bean curd and fish cake.

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The rice cake is the puff at the top left. It has the most interesting texture - slightly gooey like porridge; Mr Curious describes it as glutinous. I can't really describe its taste, it is ... brothy? The fishball is very fishy (in a good way - full of flavours) and I love radishes. Superior comfort food.

We also ordered deep fried chicken wings in teriyaki sauce. The sauce is light and mixed with honey. Tasty.

They also have daily specials. This is the highlight of the night.

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Sliced rare wagyu beef with citrus soy sauce.  The dish came with green onions, carrot  and radish puree, and fried cameralised onion at the bottom.  The beef melts in the mouth and the sauce is so refreshing.  Can you believe this is only $7?

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The eel sushi is beautiful. The eel is not drowned in sweet soy sauce so the natural flavours of the eel really comes out.

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The yakitori is yum, the grilled pork with mayo is nice but not as good.

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This is a highlight for Mr Curious. Spring rolls with whole prawns. The waitress explained that the rolls are meant to resemble witch's fingers. The prawn is very fresh and the pastry is fried perfectly.

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I love the soft-shelled crab salad. I was dying for some greens so the salad was very welcomed, and the soft-shelled crab is crispy and meaty.

I just realised that I haven't shown you the sake yet. We ordered a tasting plate each, with 3x60ml glasses of sake.

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The piece of paper is a taste note for each sake. They were all delicious but very different in character. And the taste of the sake changes completely when we have it with food. It is quite magical. Sorry I am no good at describing sake, you just have to try it for yourself! They have 4 pages of sake to choose from.

Now back to food.  After a brief break we ordered two more dishes.

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Crispy salmon tuna roll with super fresh tuna.  Their ginger pickles are awesome.

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Cold soba with dipping sauce.  The little dish has spring onions, sesame, pureed radish and wasabi.  I really like the kick from the wasabi.  In fact I took some of the leftover wasabi from the sushi and added a small dollop with each mouthful.  The soba has great texture and it was a nice end to the savoury dishes.

We were pretty full by then but I really wanted some dessert.  I asked Mr Curious to share one with me but he wanted one for himself!

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I had a traditional Japanese sponge cake with vanilla ice cream and red beans.  The sponge cake is honey flavoured and very light, which is how I like my (non-chocolate) cakes.

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Mr Curious had vanilla ice cream wrapped in soft pastry, with green tea ice cream and red beans.  I tried both the pastry and the green tea ice cream and I approve.

With two very full and fulfilled stomaches, Mr Curious and I asked for the bill and it was under $150!  Bargain.

It is such a great find (Mr Curious and I came across it when we were walking around Crows Nest after dinner one night).  I have never seen it mentioned anywhere so I'm going to do my part to promote it.

So if you are looking for a fun evening with great food and drinks, give Mihana a try.  I promise you won't regret it.

Mihana Dining and Sake Bar
32 Falcon Street
Crows Nest
(02) 9901 3895

P.S. The first time we came here we ordered a dish described as "marinaded octopus".  We were expecting BBQ octopus but they were raw!  So double check with the waitresses if you are are not sure how a dish is prepared.  For the record it was delicious :-D


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Short Break: I'm going to be ...

I was hoping to blog about my birthday dinner last night (it was fab) but Sunday went by way too quickly.  In its place here's something cute to finish off the week.


Mr Curious said I'm already gorgeous (^_^) so I don't need that ... maybe I should get this instead.


These notebooks (and lots more lovely stuff) are available at Lark.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Happy birthday to me!

I received these beautiful flowers from Mr Curious yesterday, an early gift for my birthday.

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My years of training (read nagging) finally paid off!

Yes, today is my birthday.  I'm going to have a picnic lunch with Mr Curious and The Little Guy, followed by a night out with Mr Curious at one of Sydney's hidden gems ...

Here's a photo I took yesterday.  It must be an art installation - there were speakers streaming sounds of birds chirping.  I think it's pretty neat.

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Lunch date at Mad Cow

Now that Mr Curious is working in the city again, we have decided to have lunch together once a week for some "us" time.

I am out of loop with what's happening in town - thankfully there are fellow bloggers to the rescue!  I read about the $33 March into Merivale deal on Tasted by Two and asked Mr Curious to pick a restaurant from the list.  Unsurprisingly the carnivore in him went for Mad Cow.

We arrived at 12pm and were promptly sitted.  However, although there were only one other table with guest, we had to wait for over 5 minutes for our menus.

Mad Cow Sydney


I liked the quirky decor but Mr Curious wasn't a fan.

On a side note, I couldn't take my eyes off the impressive moustache from the staff in the photo!

Sadly the wagyu flank steak is no longer on the menu so Mr Curious opted for its replacement - Rangers Valley hanger steak with chimichurri sauce.  I went for the grain fed scotch fillet steak with onion marmalade.  We also ordered the signature beef tartare with shoestring fries to share for entree.

Mad Cow Sydney

The presentation of the beef tartare was very appealing, it was a bit sad to break the egg yolk to mix in with the beef.  The beef had a lovely texture and I liked the hint of spice in the dressing.  I am usually not a fan of capers but the saltiness worked well in this dish.  The shoestring fries were perfect, with a slight crunch on the outside and soggy inside.

Mad Cow Sydney

The scotch fillet steak wasn't much to look at, and it was a thinner cut then I expected, but it was cooked perfectly (I ordered medium rare).  The steak was juicy, but since I have been spoiled by my butcher it didn't wow me.  The onion marmalade was nice but a little bit too sweet for my liking.

Here's an "in progress" shot.  What a lovely pink!

Mad Cow Sydney

Mr Curious and I swapped dishes half way through.

Mad Cow Sydney

I asked Mr Curious which combination of steak and condiments was the best, and he asked me to try them in turn - steak only, with lemon juice, with sauce, then with both juice and sauce.  It was interesting to taste the change in flavours in each combination, and the "with the lot" combo was the best in my opinion.

Another "in progress" shot:


Mr Curious ordered a medium steak and this was certainly not cooked medium.  I was secretly happy because I'm a medium-rare girl, but it was a bit disappointing that a steak house couldn't cook to order.

I was not familiar with chimichurri sauce and I was trying to work out its ingredient by sight, smell and taste but stumbled after the obvious (oil, garlic, chilli, herbs).  I thought I could taste some vinegar but I wasn't sure, turned out I was right.  It had a robust flavour but it didn't overpower the meat, and the lemon juice gave it some zest.  On a whole I enjoyed this dish better.

Turned out that Mr Curious liked the scotch fillet better (I think partially because the hanger steak was undercooked for him).  Good thing that we swapped half way rather than just sampled each other's dishes.

My stomach still had some room so we shared a dessert.  I am a chocoholic so it was an easy choice - hot valhrona chocolate fondant with roast peanut ice cream and honeycomb soil.

Mad Cow Sydney

Look at the chocolate sauce oozing out of the fondant!  It was delicious, although I liked the peanut ice cream even more.  I loved the chewiness of the peanut bits contrasting with the smooth ice cream texture.  I am not big on honeycomb but the small piece I had was nice.

The bill came to $103 which is fairly extravagant for a lunch on a workday but great value for the food we had (the deal came with a glass of wine or a beer).  The service was efficient during the meal but there was a fair wait for the bill (Mr Curious said he would deduct $1 from the tip for every waitstaff who walked passed without picking up the bill folder, I didn't keep count).

We enjoyed our lunch date thoroughly, but to be honest, the meal was just the sideshow.  The company was the best part :-)

Mad Cow @ The Ivy
320 George Street
Sydney
(02) 9240 3000
http://www.marchintomerivale.com/


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Short Break: Mr Shuffles the baby elephant

After our visit to the zoo yesterday, I want to keep in touch with how the baby elephant is doing.  Taronga Zoo is posting news about him on their website regularly.  They have given him a nickname - "Mr Shuffles" - very cute!

Here's a photo of Mr Shuffles having a feed from mum Porntip.


How adorable is that!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A fun day at the zoo

Mr Curious had finished his client project last week.  I asked him to take today off work so we can go to Taronga Zoo with The Little Guy.  It is my birthday on Saturday so it's part of my birthday week celebrations :-)

The weather was not the best.  It was drizzing on our way to the zoo, but we took a chance and went for it anyway.

We haven't been to the zoo for over 3 years, so I didn't know of the new constuctions.  The new carpark looked great (although we managed to find free street parking, thank goodness it's a weekday), but I missed entering the zoo through the main entrance.  The new development looks promising though.

We went to the seal show which was fun, although The Little Guy was a bit scared when the seals made a splash.

Besides the seal show, the first hour or two was a bit flat as most of the animals were hiding indoors. Things picked up when the elephants appeared, they were very cute!  Mr Curious told me in the morning about the death of a newborn elephant which was very sad.  I was so happy to find out afterwards that the baby elephant survived.  What a great story!  And now I know why there was a Channel Ten news van coming towards the zoo when we left.

One tip to anyone planning to visit the zoo - PLEASE bring your own food!  We had lunch at the food court and I had one of the most disgusting dishes ever.  Yuk!

Well that's enough of my blabbing - here are some photos.

Taronga Zoo

I love giraffes - they are so elegant.

Taronga Zoo

Luk Chai is no longer the baby of the group!

Taronga Zoo

TLG playing with the display about the Wallace line.

Taronga Zoo

The lioness in front was less than 1 meter behind the glass panels!  We had a great view, and they are beautiful!  The lazy lions hung back undercover.

Taronga Zoo

The baby mountain goat just leaped off the cliff, it was amazing.

Taronga Zoo

I really like this photo of a penguin swimming across the pool.

Taronga Zoo

TLG taking over the world, one step at a time.

Taronga Zoo

We finished our visit with koala feeding time.

For me, the highlight of today was two otters hanging onto each other (I don't know how - with their teeth maybe?) and spinning in the water.  It was so magical, I was too absorbed in the moment and didn't pick up the camera.  In any case, I don't think a photo will do it justice.  If you asked me at the beginnin of the day what I would enjoy the most from the zoo, I would never have guessed this!

We had a fantastic time today, and we will always remember the birth of the miracle elephant!

Monday, March 8, 2010

My Oscars fashion picks (and other thoughts)

Inspired by Miss Kitty's post, I've decided to do an Oscars fashion post.

First, I'd like to present the How Old Are You Again? award - jointly won by Demi Moore and Sigourney Weaver.



Can you believe that Demi is 47 and Sigourney is 60???

And these ladies are in the It's nice but not quite 100% category:


I love the print on Rachel McAdams' dress, but I really prefer her as a brunette.  I know she's a natural blonde but ...

 

My first impression when I saw Amanda Seyfried's photo was that the dress is wearing her.  I find that my opinion on her look varies depending on the angle of the shot and whether she is smiling.  In the picture above I think she's very pretty.  I like the texture of the dress also.


I'm going to disagree with Kitty here because I think Diane Kruger is cute.  She is someone that takes risks in her choices, in this case I think the dress works for her.  And her makeup is just fab.  I'm wondering where Pacey is though.

I do agree with Kitty that SJP is a hot mess.

So, you may ask, what are my picks?


Queen Latifah looks regal in this lilac dress, with perfect makeup and jewellery.


I am not into Twilight at all, and Kirstin Stewart is usually not the best dresser, but I think this gown is lovely on her and it's great to see her smile!  Here's another pic.


And my favourite look of the night is:


Elizabeth Banks.

Just love the dress on her, gorgeous colour.  The headband, earrings and makeup work together perfectly.


In the interest of gender balance, I'll finish the post with a male.


Yes we can drool together ;-)

Photos: news.com.au and zimbio.com

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