31 October 2012

Must Have. Jennifer Meyer Wishbone Necklace

One of my original 'Must Have’s' was another Meyer piece, you may remember this elephant necklace. Here is yet another talisman – the lucky wishbone. Crafted from 18-carat rose gold, this is a beautifully delicate piece that I would feel honoured to have hanging around my neck, plus if I’m lucky it could bring me some good fortune. At $3,000 I would hope that it improves my lottery chances so I could cover the debt.

Photo by Jennifer Meyer.

29 October 2012

Plate Up. Massaman Curry

I’m a lover of thai food but I’ve always found cooking it myself a little daunting – numerous ingredients (some of which I’ve never even heard of) and lengthy cooking times… But I’m proud to say I think I have mastered this one, the massaman curry, my personal favourite. This dish is delightfully fragrant, not too spicy and so delicious. It is a little complex and requires several pots but it is definitely worth it. Follow my lead… (Serves 4.)

What you’ll need
For Curry Paste
2 dried long red chillies
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoonds ground cumin
2 teaspoonds ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground clove
3 cloves garlic
1 large brown onion, chopped coarsely
2 x 10cm sticks of fresh lemon grass, sliced thinly
3 fresh kaffir lime leaves, sliced thinly
4cm piece of ginger, chopped coarsely
1 tablespoon peanut oil (you can also use sesame depending on your flavour preference)

For Massaman Curry
800g of your preferred meat (I like to use chicken, but you can use steak or pork as well)
1½ cups chicken stock
¼ teaspoon ground clove
1 tablespoon grated palm sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 x 400ml cans of coconut cream
1 brown onion, chopped finely
4 potatoes, quartered
450g tin sliced pineapple
¼ cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1 green onion, sliced thinly

What to do
First you need to make your curry paste. You can buy the bottled stuff from the Asian aisle in the supermarket if you are a little short on time, but I love to make it myself. Fry off the coriander, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom and clove in a small fry pan, stirring until fragrant. Place these spices and remaining ingredients into a blender and process until smooth. Easy! (This paste will keep for 2 weeks in a sealed container in the fridge.)

Now for the curry. Place stock, clove, sugar, sauce and half of the coconut cream into a large saucepan. Simmer uncovered until fragrant (usually about an hour, but if you are short on time 30mins will do). Remove from heat and reserve this fragrant liquid in a container.

Meanwhile, cook rice in another saucepan, and cook potatoes in a third saucepan. (Don’t worry this is the most pots you will have going at once!)

Using the empty saucepan that had the fragrant liquid in it, cook onion, chicken and 3 tablespoons of your curry paste, stirring until fragrant. Add remaining coconut milk and bring to the boil. Add 1 cup of the fragrant liquid back to the pot. Stir. When chicken is cooked, add cooked potatoes, pineapple and peanuts. Stir and remove from heat. Serve with rice and garnish with green onion.

I promise it’s worth the effort! Delicious.

Photos by Krissie.

26 October 2012

One Day. A bird in the bush or something new?

As a typical Gemini, I really don’t like change. I thrive off the familiar, the regular and the expected. Anything else and I feel as though I’m thrown off the deep end. Which got me to thinking, should we keep visiting the same place and doing the same things in life or should we invest in a new adventure?

I’ve always thought that if there’s something you really enjoy or a place you really love then why not keep doing it, keep going back? It’s like the saying, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. For instance, you’re going to dinner; do you choose your favourite regular restaurant where you don’t even need to look at the menu before you order, or do you lash out and go somewhere completely new, risking that it could be completely awful? I do think that there is something comforting in the familiar; you know how it works and what to expect and therefore maybe you enjoy it more.

Up until now I’ve been a firm believer in the power of the familiar, or perhaps that is just the complacent side of me… But lately I’ve been thinking maybe I need to kick start my adventurous DNA. I know it’s in there somewhere. So, I’ve made a conscious effort to try some new things, visit some new places and throw myself off that deep end. After all, what’s the worst that could happen? I hit my head on the figurative ‘bottom’? If that’s the case then I’ll bounce back and return to my norm. Here goes…

24 October 2012

Must Have. Marc Jacobs Katie Bunny USB

Save your files in style with Marc’s gorgeous 2gb USB. Doubling as a key fob, this neon pink tech-sessory is a stylish way to remain organised, and nod to Marc’s playful aesthetic. $49.

Photo by Marc Jacobs

Skimlinks Test

22 October 2012

Plate Up. Curried Chicken Pie

I’m not a huge fan of red meat, so when it comes to a ‘meat pie,’ ironically my favourite kind is chicken! This one is a much-loved dish in my kitchen, it’s a cheat’s pie (just pastry on top) making it easy and scrumptious! Follow my lead…

What you’ll need:
350g chicken
2 tablespoons butter
1 leek
1 white onion
2 celery stalks
1 carrot
3 teaspoons curry powder
½ teaspoon chilli powder
1 tablespoon plain flour
1/3 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup sour cream
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
2 sheets puff pastry
1 egg

What to do:
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Chop vegetables finely. Heat butter in a large frying pan, add leek, onion, carrot and celery. Cook stirring until vegetables are soft. Add curry powder, chilli powder, cook, stirring until fragrant. Stir in flour. Add stock. Stir until mixture boils and thickens. Add sour cream, chicken and parsley. Simmer for 2 minutes.

Spoon mixture into a large ovenproof dish. Place pastry on top, tucking in the sides. Pierce the pastry in a several places and brush with beaten egg. Bake pie for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Photos by Krissie.

20 October 2012

Suitcase. Travel [in] style

I guess you could say I’m a bit of discerning traveller – carry-on luggage = impossible, coach is so crowded and anything less than 4-star and I’ll probably unwittingly wrinkle my nose.

I’ve never been camping; the idea of going without a bathroom for several days in the wilderness, with all kinds of bug-friends sharing my sleeping bag gives me the creeps. I’ve not stayed in a hostel, to my way of thinking, spending some extra $$’s for a bit of decadence is a far-more worthy investment. The concept of backpacking makes me weary just thinking about it; the idea of carrying all your possessions around on your back sounds not only exhausting, but impossible. How could I possibly fit everything into a backpack? I have enough trouble getting my luggage under 20kgs for a week in Melbourne, not to mention the excess shopping I have when I return. So as much as I would be open to giving it a go, I honestly don’t think I could possibly do it!

The world of comfortable travel is much more my niche. There’s something so nice about a lovely hotel room; a wardrobe to hang your clothes, soaps and bathroom products (which I often pinch, I’ll admit), the option of buffet breakfast, cocktails by the pool, smiling concierges there to help you make plans, 1000-thread-count sheets to soothe your sun-drenched skin and multiple pillow sizes (if you’re like Goldilocks and I, and need to find one that’s justttt right!).

I understand that there are those of you who would say that camping and staying in a hostel is so much fun with your group of best friends, but wouldn’t it be just as good, if not fun-er in a hotel with some luxuries to play with? But if there’s someone who wishes to take me on an amazing weekend (not of the luxury kind) and change my mind I’m more than willing. Step right up!

17 October 2012

Must Have. ASOS Ox Blood Embellished Dress

I’ve got a bit of a colour crush on this Ox Blood trend that is on the runways for the upcoming season. It’s a red with a bit of ‘oomph’ or put more simply I suppose you could say wine. Plus, it looks great on blondes and brunettes. I think this dress is the perfect way to wear the season’s favourite colour. This little number has enough detail to stand out yet maintains classic and flattering lines. An ASOS bargain $130.

Photo by ASOS.

16 October 2012

Eat Me. Hanaichi Broadbeach

Wandering around Pacific Fair last week I stumbled across my lunch – Hanaichi; a Japanese restaurant that, in a bid to stand apart from all the rest, doesn’t serve sushi! Now being the naive Australian that I am, I was a little unsure as to what else constituted Japanese food that didn’t involve seaweed-wrapped rice. But, I was delighted to find a range of quality, healthy food. Dishes included teriyaki chicken, Japanese curry, udon noodles and tempura. Full menu found here.

Hanaichi is a bit like Japanese fast-food, whilst there are no burgers or fries involved, there is a basic menu, the food is super-speedily made and is served in paper bowls… Ok I guess the similarities end there, but if you dine at Hanaichi you will see what I mean; it’s casually delicious food, and a total bargain.

I ordered a small chicken teriyaki with rice, and trust me it is more than enough unless you are used to eating a small child at meals. A word to the wise, unless you are a serious fan of pickled-anythings, I would steer clear of the yellow thingy on the left; no idea what it is but it tastes a little strange. Chopsticks abound for the co-ordinated few, otherwise there are forks-a-plenty for us westerners. Hanaichi's are in Brisbane, Gold Coast and Melbourne. 3/5.

Where: Shop 46 Pcaific Fair, Hooker Boulevard Broadbeach QLD 4218
Bookings: not necessary
Phone: (07) 5526 9522

Photo by Krissie.

11 October 2012

Plate Up. Potato and Leek Soup

I absolutely love food and pride myself on that fact that I have tried so many things, which is why it’s so strange that I had never had potato and leek soup. I thought it was about time I tried it, and how better to do it than make it myself! I’m pleased to tell you it was so delicious! I would actually go so far as to say it was the nicest soup I’ve ever had! This is the perfect recipe to make up a big batch and freeze it in portions for later, it’s tastes just as good reheated as it does freshly made. Enjoy!

What you’ll need:
1½ cups chicken stock
1 cup vegetable stock
1 tablespoon olive oil
50g butter
4 medium potatoes, chopped coarsely
1 large leek, sliced
100ml cream
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
1 tablespoon finely chopped dill

What to do:
Heat oil and butter in a large saucepan, cook potato and leek, covered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add stock and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, simmer, covered for another 15 minutes. Cool.

Blend or process soup in batches until smooth. Return soup to pan and add cream, stir over medium heat until hot. Serve bowls of soup sprinkled with herbs. Serves 5.

Photo by Krissie.

8 October 2012

Must Have. Chloé Holly Enameled Ring

I absolutely love enamel jewellery. I’m not sure if it’s the colours they offer or the contrasting finishes, but the style has stolen my heart. The trend was, of course, made famous by Hermès with their enamel bangles but now it's Chloé's turn. Fitting perfectly with the traditional Chloé understated, ever-chic aesthetic this pretty peach hue will be an everyday-wear classic. $130

Photo by Chloé.

6 October 2012

Eat Me. Café Andiamo Melbourne

This Melbourne trip I finally got around to eating in the iconic Degreaves Street. Degreaves is an eponymous Melbourne laneway opposite Flinders Street Station known for its café culture and shopping. The backstreet has been used in many an Australian film and television show. There are lots of cafés and restaurants to choose from. This time I found myself sitting at Café Andiamo after their menu caught my eye. All the cafés front onto a central seating strip down the alleyway. As I settled in for my coffee I felt like a true Melbournian. The place had such a great feel.

I ordered Strawberry Crepes for breakfast. I’m not normally a sweets-for-breakfast kind of gal, but I absolutely love crepes (although can’t stand pancakes). These ones were pretty darn perfect, perfectly thin and airy. They were served simply, with strawberries and vanilla ice cream, and not drowning in any syrup thank goodness. I thoroughly enjoyed my breakfast and the people watching that Degreaves offered. This is now on my favourites list, I’m looking forward to going back to try lunch and dinner. 5/5

Where: 26-28 Degraves Street, Melbourne 3000
Bookings: not necessary
Phone: (03) 9650 8060

Photo by Krissie.

Café Andiamo on Urbanspoon

3 October 2012

Plate Up. Pear & Almond Tarts

I must say, I didn’t think something so simple could taste so good, but this really does! I served it up for the family and was met with a collective “mmm”. I won’t waste time talking about, just go away and cook it! You’ll be impressed. Serves 4.

What you’ll need:
1 sheet puff pastry
1 large pear (nearly ripe)
30g butter
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup crushed almonds (you can use ground ones, but I smashed whole almonds with a rolling pin and the chunks were delicious)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
10g butter, extra
2 teaspoons caster sugar extra
1 tablespoon apricot jam
2 teaspoons icing sugar

What to do:
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Have butter at room temperature to soften. Line an oven tray with baking paper. Cut pastry sheet into quarters and place on the oven tray, about 2cm apart.

Put butter, caster sugar and egg yolk into a bowl. Mix together with a spoon. Stir in almonds and extract. Spread this mixture onto each pastry square, leaving a 1cm boarder. Wash and dry pear. Slice all four slides thinly until you reach the core. Overlap slices on top of almond mixture. Melt the extra butter and brush over the pears. Sprinkle with the extra sugar.

Bake for 12minutes or until pastry is puffed and golden. Microwave jam until warm and brush over the tarts. Dust with icing sugar and serve with cream or ice-cream if desired.

Photos by Krissie.

1 October 2012

Must Have. Emilio Pucci Feather-Embellished Jacket

This jacket is a classic beauty, plus if you are anti-fur it’s a great alternative. Part of the Fall/Winter 12’ collection this luxurious textured cover-up exudes sophistication. $2800, it’s currently number one on my most wanted list.

Photo by Emilio Pucci.