Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Not your typical sweet and sour pork

Haven't written a cooking post for a while - that's because I haven't put too much effort in it. I finally tried a new recipe today.

I find the recipe in Bill Granger's cookbook Bill's Basic. I was trying to find a recipe at a book store, saw one that I liked and used my phone to take photos of the recipe, which is a naughty thing to do, but I was kind of desperate.  Hopefully my mentioning of his book in this post is some kind of atonement.

Anyway, the recipe was named "Sweet and Sour Pork", but the photo accompanying the recipe didn't look anything like the usual one.

The recipe requires yellow curry paste. The shops that I went to have didn't have any (and to be honest I didn't know what yellow curry was) so I bought some massaman curry instead. After googling, I now know that yellow curry is called gaeng kari in Thai and its main ingredients are cumin, coriander, turmeric, fenugreek, garlic, salt, bay leaf, lemongrass, cayenne pepper, ginger, mace and cinnamon. I will seek that out before I make this dish next time.

This is the pork (thinly sliced) coated in the curry paste.


After stir frying the pork in batches, then some pineapple briefly, in the wok went thinly sliced Spanish onion, green beans and cherry tomatoes.


By the way, you can see the little black flakes on the food, which I believe are blackened oil and spices from cooking the pork.  They didn't affect the taste of the dish but I don't like the look.  Does anyone know how I can avoid them in the future?

The pork and pineapple pieces went back into the wok.  I added lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar and some basil, cooked it a bit more and the dish was ready!


It was yummo!  The curry wasn't too hot (TLG ate some as well), the sweetness of the fresh pineapple pieces (get that if you can, so much better than the canned variety) contrasted well with the spices, the green beans were crisp, and the dish was so refreshing.

Does it taste like the sweet and sour pork that we know? No, but it captured the zing of the original, which is the important part IMO.

P.S. I went to Victoria's Basement and bought the Cole and Mason Duo salt/pepper grinder today.  I bought the red one which is a fair bit cheaper ($23.95) than the silver one I blogged about the other day.  I think it looks pretty sharp.


Pepper comes out when you grind clockwise and salt comes out when you grind anticlockwise.  It's clearly labelled at the top so there's little chance for error.


I also bought this octopus tape dispenser from the little homeware shop across the road from Victoria's Basement.  Isn't it cute?


My camera is really on its last legs *sigh*, so there's a new item on my replacement shopping list...


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Close but no cigar

The strong Aussie dollar persuaded me to order the Marc by Marc Jacobs sunnies.  Again shopbop.com was great with delivery - I ordered on Friday and received the parcel yesterday.

The sunnies look good.



The pink arms match the bag too!


However there is a problem.

They don't fit my face.


I don't know if you can tell, but the nose pads are not resting on my nose at all - the sunnies are held up by my cheeks! The frame is too curved for my high cheekbones.

This is a photo of me wearing my last pair of sunnies as comparison.  A much better fit.


It is such a shame, because I do like them!  Well, it is always risky ordering something without trying.  Regretfully I'll have to return them.

At least I get to try out a pair of Spanx stockings, which I ordered to push the total purchase over US$100 for free delivery.  May try them out on Friday.

Update: The sunnies have found a new home! My MIL came over today and I asked her to try them on. As you can see she looks great in them :-D



Monday, September 27, 2010

Short Break: Fun etsy cushions

Good morning everyone!  I hope you enjoyed the weekend.   We took it easy - took TLG for a swim at the local pool on Saturday, the whole family got haircuts yesterday, TLG was (mostly) charming, and we lapped up the great weather.

I have been going through the archives of Regretsy in the last few days.  There are some crazy stuff in there!  But amongst all the madness there is this gem.


A set of cushions with the bun, tomatoes, cheese, beef pattie and lettuce!  I'm sure TLG would have a ball if he sees it in person.

And someone posted a link to this in the comments.


A sunny side up egg cushion! How cute is that!

And here are some of the seller's other cushion designs.

Peanut butter and jam toast:


Mix tape:


Paper plane:


Check out the seller's site here.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mihana all you can eat and drink 1 October

I received an email from Mihana, the sake bar that I went to on my birthday. Here's the message.


MIHANA is turning two years old, to celebrate our festive occasion, we are having a 3 hours all you can drink and eat marathon, Sushi, Yakitori etc …

Drinks included a vast variety of sake, Japanese vodka.

1st seating 5:45pm to 8:45. 2nd seating 9pm to 12am.

$68 per person

Booking essential, limited seating condition applies.

*Credit card number for reservation essential, 50% cancellation fees applies.

No cancellation refund on 1st October.

32 Falcon St. Crows Nest 2065 Tel: 02 9901 3895

All you can drink sake and Japanese food - it's impossible to say no! Mr Curious and I have already reserved a table. Are you going to join us?


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mother daughter bonding

My mum is flying overseas next week to stay with my sister's family. She won't be coming back to Australia until mid next year, so TLG and I caught up with her today to say farewell.

After lunch we pushed TLG around in the stroller until he fell asleep, then headed down to Chatswood Chase. What better way to bond with my mum than to shop together?

First we popped into Witchery as I wanted to use up my "ticket". I looked for a top for work, and mum tried on a few things as well. I bought this top (on sale for $39.95).


This is the pattern up close.


Meanwhile my mum bought this top (on sale for $19.95).


With the ticket (the usual $20) and a further 5% member discount, the total was $36.90.  Bargain.

Then we went up to Leona Edmiston.  My mum likes dresses but with a fuller figure she hasn't had much success in finding one.  This is the first dress she tried on (Kitty, $475).  Not my cup of tea, and whilst she liked it, the dress was a bit too low cut for her.


I asked her to try on the Nicola because I liked mine. And so did she! So my mum and I now own the same dress! A bit weird to be honest.

And I picked up something for myself (Waneta Wrap, $159). Work clothes sorted for tomorrow!


Finally, I bought this gorgeous dress for my 7 year old niece (Paris Party, $54.95).


LE has a 25% off all stock sale at the moment - it's worth checking out.

After my mum left, I took TLG to grocery shopping and bought these beautiful flowers.


Ummm, I feel like I've done my share to support the Australian economy.  How are you going with your summer shopping?


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Twist and shake

There are so many things to buy at the moment.  And that's just the replacement list.

Our handheld blender died when I was trying to make a milkshake for Mr Curious.  I'm thinking about this Kenwood model (HB724, RRP $139) which is on sale at DJs at the moment..


A few people recommended Braun - I will check it out as well (below is the Multiquick professional, RRP $139).


I have to get it soon because TLG has been asking for his smoothies - so cute when he says it too.

The next item on my list is a set of salt and pepper mill.


I love my Chefn "bunny" mini magnetic set but one of the "ears" snapped the other day.  They were my second set already, so I will get another model this time around.

Here are some possible replacements:

Cole and Mason Duo 2 in 1 ($35 at Victoria's Basement)


I read somewhere that salt comes out if you twist it in one direction and pepper comes out if you twist it the other way.  Sounds pretty cool if that's the case.  Having one instead of two mills is also handy.  A lifetime guarantee on the mechanics is a bonus.

Avanti Stockholm Diablo salt and pepper mill set 17.5cm ($34.95 at Kitchenware Direct)


Because they look good.

Or I can go for this one ($25 at dstore) - pretty fun, don't you think?


I may head off to Victoria's Basement at Artarmon to have a look.  There is a little store across the road from it which sells some cool European homeware, I'll see if they have any interesting ones.

And I'd love recommendations from my lovely readers :-)


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bubbly love


For the last 4 Monday nights, Mr Curious and I have been spending some quality time together - we attended a wine appreciation course. It was something that we wanted to do for a long time, and with my BIL playing babysitter, we were good to go.

Last night was the final class, and in my opinion they saved the best till last. It was time for Champagne and sparkling wines!  [Note: I will use the term "Champagne" for the rest of this post to cover all sparkling wines.  Only sparkling wines made in the Champagne region in France, following a prescribed method, can be labelled "Champagne").

Our instructor talked through Champagne making method, the types of grapes used in making Champagne (only 3 types can be used - Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier).  The rules for making Champagne is so strict it is enshrined in law!

Champagne is very delicate so all the grapes are hand-picked, and usually only the first press of the grape juice is used.

The process that gives Champagne its bubbles is a secondary fermentation, where the winemaker adds yeast (each brand has its secret recipe) and sugar to the base still wine (cuvée), pours the mixture (tirage) into a bottle and seals it with a bottle cap.  The reaction between the sugar and the yeast creates the bubbles (CO2). The pressure of the gas is so strong that all Champagne bottles are made with reinforced glass and wiring is used to hold the cork in place.  The tirage is left in the bottle for at least 18 months for the flavours to develop, before they extract the dead yeast.

One interesting step during the secondary fermentation is call "ridding" (le Remuage). It involves a person (called the riddler) turning the Champagne bottles slightly every day to move the yeast gently towards the bottleneck.  Apparently they can turn up to 30,000 bottles a day!


Well that's enough of the theory. We tasted 7 sparkling wines (including 2 rosé and a red! I prefer the classic stuff ), and a Champagne - Delamotte Brut. Do yourself a favour and check it out.  C'est magnifique!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Music On My Mind - Mara Carlyle - Pianni

What a beautiful song. It is used in an Ikea ad in the UK (also worth checking out, thanks CL).


There must be so many artists with great music that are waiting to be discovered. I wish there is a better way to tap into that than a TV ad ...

Have a great weekend everyone!


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cheer up shopping

TLG was a handful today, clingy, teary, and tired me out big time.

To cheer myself up, I picked up the Toffee Apple Hell cardi from Alannah Hill today (RRP $189). It's perfect for work tomorrow!



It's not until I got home that I realised it would match perfectly with the MBMJ sunnies that I blogged about yesterday ... is it a sign that I should buy them as well?


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Next on the shopping list

I manage to lose my sunglasses again, I only bought my last pair this time last year. It's so annoying, the silver lining is that I get to shop again ;-)

I have my eyes on this pair from Marc by Marc Jacobs.  May go well with my new bag!  What do you think?





Monday, September 13, 2010

Feeling hot hot hot (pink)

I received my Marc by Marc Jacobs Classic Q Little Ukita Satchel today.

I misplaced our camera so these shots are from the iphone, they don't do the bag justice.

My first impression of the bag was the intense leather smell - it packed a punch!

The bag is actually a little bit smaller than I expected which is great, I think it is the perfect size for me. The leather is slightly textured and very soft, and the bag is very light which is another plus in my books.


Here's a look inside.


The opening is a little bit narrower than the body of bag; it may take me a little while to get use to. Some people don't like the white font on black print on the lining but I think it's fun. There are two patch pockets and a zip pocket for storage.

One reason I chose this bag is the adjustable strap. Unfortunately the strap is too short for me to use the bag as a cross body bag (I'm 170cm tall).


I suspect the strap will live in the dust bag and I will hold the bag by the handle like this.


Overall, I'm very happy with the purchase.  And I want to give shopbop.com a big thumbs-up for their impressive delivery service. Delivery is 3 days or less worldwide, the parcel is trackable through UPS once it leaves shopbop, and it's FREE.  This is the benchmark which other online retailers should aspire to.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sunday Lemmings

Casual e-shop browsing has become a dangerous habits. There are so many lemmings out there.

Like this Celine snakeskin bag (via Bagcraze).


These earrings from Pret-a-Beaute, so exquisite! Shame they are sold out.


These By Malene Birger pumps are on sale for only £100! I can't carry it off (will need support to walk!) but I love the heels and the angle cuffs.



What are your latest lemmings?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Short Break: Choose happiness

Choose Happiness

I came across a thought-provoking article today (via Crikey, check it out if you want to be an informed citizen). The author worked in pallative care and asked her patients if they have any regrets on their last days.  These are the most common five:

1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I didn't work so hard.

3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

The explanation for point 5 really spoke to me.

This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to themselves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.

When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.

Read the full article here.

Often we are so tied up in our day-to-day lives we forget to think about the important things.  I'm going to bookmark this article and read it from time to time, and remind myself to live life to the fullest.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Question Time: Why is Don Draper hotter than Jon Hamm?

I know this question doesn't make sense at face value because Don Draper is played by Jon Hamm, but that's the way I feel.

Don Draper is hot.


But I never feel the same way when I see Jon Hamm in real life, even when he's all dressed up.


 I thought it was the smile, but a smiling Don Draper is still hot.


Why?  Help me out here.

As an aside, if you want your very own Don Draper you can now get Mad Men Barbie Dolls. Joan looks the best IMO, but they didn't get her *ahem* proportions right LOL.



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