28 September 2012

Eat Me. Hanoi Hannah Prahran, Melbourne

I’m back in Melbourne again, and thank goodness because I was running low on restaurant reviews – after all, the Gold Coast is a little lacking in the dining scene. This trip I visited Hanoi Hannah, a Vietnamese style cafĂ© in Prahran. This quaint little spot is tucked into a non-descript lot on High Street but once inside it feels as though you are transported to a warehouse scene in downtown Ho Chi Minh.

You can’t make a booking at Hanoi Hannah so you’ve got to just try your luck when you arrive. Despite the restaurant only holding around a dozen tables, we weren’t waiting too long even though it was a Saturday night. Luckily the tables turn-around fairly quickly.

The menu consists of Vietnamese street food with an English twist. My girlfriend and I ordered the Peking duck rice paper rolls (Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of these, they were so delicious we devoured them before I remembered to take a photo!), pork belly sliders and Hanoi style spring rolls. Everything was lip-smackingly good! The duck rolls were so delicious and the accompanying satay sauce was even better, I’d love the recipe for that one! The pork belly sliders were scrumptious miniature burgers with crispy pork and tangy aioli. I was a little wary about ordering the Hanoi spring rolls as I don’t really enjoy deep-fried food, however I needn’t have worried – they were so great. Served with lettuce cups, you wrap the rolls in the cups and dip them in a tangy, fresh lime sauce – flavour sensation!

Don’t go here expecting a fancy dinner but for an easy, yummy, cheap and casual night you can’t beat it. 3.5/5, I’m sure more points will be awarded when I next return, I’m dying to try more items on the menu.

Where: 180 High Street Prahran VIC 3181
Bookings: not accepted
Phone: (03) 9939 5181

Photos by Krissie.

Hanoi Hannah on Urbanspoon

26 September 2012

Plate Up. Scones

I’m rather old fashioned at heart, I love tradition, classic novels and high tea, so I thought it was about time I attempted making scones myself. I have always been deterred from giving them a go after hearing how “tricky and temperamental” they are. But I’m here to tell you, whoever says that is a liar. They are as simple as this…

What you’ll need:
4 cups self-raising flour
2 tablespoons icing sugar
60g butter
1½ cups milk
¾ cup water, approx

What to do:
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Grease a baking tray. Sift flour and sugar into a large bowl, rub in butter with fingertips. Make a well in the centre and add milk and almost all of the water. Use a knife to “cut” the milk and water through the flour mixture until it comes together in a soft, sticky dough.

Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 30secs. (You don’t want to overwork it otherwise the dough will turn glutinous.) Press the dough out to a 2cm thickness and dip a round cutter (approx 5cm) into flour and cut as many rounds as you can from the dough. Place scones side by side, so they are just touching, in the pan. Gently knead the scraps of dough together and repeat cutting.

Brush tops with a little milk and bake scones for about 15minutes or until just browned and sound hollow when tapped on top. Serve with cream, jam and your favourite cup of tea. (Makes 20)

Photos by Krissie

24 September 2012

Suitcase. Australia

Whilst I haven’t had the pleasure of travelling to too many overseas destinations, I can say I’m fairly well travelled here in Australia. Aside from our currently high Aussie dollar I can see why international tourists like it here. It really is a pretty amazing country with some beautiful scenery and some genuinely nice ‘blokes’ and ‘sheilas’. Here are a few of the places I’ve been…

Bendigo – nice little town, sort of how I imagine a mini Adelaide might be; historic architecture and tree lined streets, the nightlife can get a little crazy so I’d save your clubbing for Melbourne and stick to dinner and a drink

Canberra – wasn’t totally fussed on Australia’s capital, bit dull and rigid, no doubt thanks to the political influence

Great Keppel Island – gorgeous place on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef, plenty of white sandy beaches and aquamarine waters, but a little lacking in the coral department

Hobart – again not too fussed here, very cold and more of a ‘retired’ town, save this trip for later in life

Melbourne – LOVE, this is my favourite Australian place, the city has such culture, there is always something going on and plenty on offer, make this your number one destination

Noosa – probably my favourite Australian holiday destination, I had many wonderful holidays here with my mum when I was young, Noosa makes me think of salty beaches, sun drenched skin and Hasting St ice-creams, another imperative place to visit

Warrnambool – this little town sits on the Victorian coast about 8hours drive west of Melbourne, it’s a picturesque place complete with sea shanty bed and breakfasts and coloured beach huts

Here’s hoping I can be this well travelled in international destinations very soon. 

14 September 2012

Must Have. Alexander McQueen Unicorn Skull Clutch

Alexander is never afraid to make a statement and this little beauty is no exception. It features an intricately crafted skull and unicorn knuckle duster, and an embroidered satin box. With this on your hand you’ll surely be the most stylish guest at the ball, as well as having the niftiest self-defence tool. $2150

Photo by Alexander McQueen.

12 September 2012

One Day. The devil’s assistant wears Prada?

I was watching The Devil Wears Prada last week, for what felt like the hundredth time, but boy do I love that movie. I think it’s one of the few produced these days that may stand the test of time. Who wouldn’t love the snarky Meryl Streep, endearing Stanley Tucci and of course the amazing fashion!? Which got me to thinking, it’s all very well for the editor of a fashion magazine to have an amazing designer wardrobe, but how do the others afford it? The assistants, writers, graphic designers and receptionists? How can they possibly tote a $3000 Balenciaga bag on a lowly fashion wage? And believe me, it is lowly. I interned a few of Australia’s major magazines this year and it seems it’s certainly not a career you turn to for the cash, unless of course you’re Anna Wintour.

I spent three weeks at Australia’s top magazine publishing house and in that time I doubt I saw a single item of clothing or accessory that would have been under triple digits (and plenty were in the quadruples!). By the end of the third week I was more interested in learning how they managed to have these amazing wardrobes than I was to observe the magazine office in general.

Earlier this year Harpers Bazaar staff revealed what was in their bag for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. Their fashion assistant divulged that inside her Alexander Wang clutch (approx $600) was a Tiffany & Co. diary ($230) and a miu miu card holder ($180) amongst other delightful designer items. How do they do it? What do they give up in order to afford these things?

Food? I was beginning to think so since they all look like stick insects, but no it seems that whilst they may not eat an awful lot they do spend the $$’s on food. Each day the workers would return from expensive salad bars or sandwich cafes with gourmet delights. So no cash saved there.

Social outings? I doubt this one as well. I overheard several stories of nights at exclusive clubs, copious cocktails and extravagant parties. We all know these kinds of weekends don’t come cheap.

Rent? The jury is out on this one as obviously I couldn’t follow them home… But with the rental prices in Sydney I highly doubt they could be saving money in this area.

Donations from the mags? Whilst it seems there are some definite perks to working in a fashion office like beauty products, exclusive event invites and perhaps the occasional fashion item, I cannot see how their entire wardrobes could be provided by hand-outs.

So, the jury is out. Everyone at the mags looked immaculately luxurious each day, yet I have no idea how they do it. If you think you’ve figured it out please let me know, as you can see from my Must Haves I’ve got my eye on a few designer items myself. I just wish I had the budget.

Photo by Christian Louboutin.

10 September 2012

Plate Up. ANZAC Biscuits

I’m proud to be Australian, we’ve got it pretty good – sunshine, beaches, picturesque scenery, BBQ’s and, a personal favourite of mine, the humble ANZAC biscuit. It took me a while to find the perfect recipe for my perfect ANZAC, but here it is. I hope you feel honoured that I’m sharing it with you.

What you’ll need:
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup plain flour
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup shredded coconut
125g butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1 tablespoon water
½ teaspoon bicarb soda

What to do:
Preheat your oven to 170degrees Celsius. In a bowl, combine oats, sifted flour, sugar and coconut. In a saucepan, combine butter, water and golden syrup. Stir over medium heat until melted. Whisk in bicarb soda (the mixture will foam so act quickly!) and stir wet mixture into dry ingredients.

Place rounded dessert spoons of mixture onto a lined baking tray. Bake in the oven for 15mins for the perfect gooey centred biscuit (if you prefer your ANZACs crunchy, bake for 20mins). Be sure to let them sit on the tray for 5-10mins before you devour them because they will be very soft when fresh out of the oven. Enjoy with a cuppa! Makes 24.

Photos by Krissie.

7 September 2012

Must Have. Jimmy Choo Candy Union Jack Clutch

I would just about turn British if it meant I could tote this gorgeous little clutch with me everywhere I went! The enameled box structure is an update on Choo’s ‘candy’ range that salutes punk chic. At $660 it’s on my wish list!

Photo by Jimmy Choo.

5 September 2012

One Day. Forget me [not]

I was on my way to work last week when I was struck by brilliant inspiration. A really, really fantastic idea for my next blog story popped into my head. It truly was great! I would be writing it for you right now, only trouble is…. I forgot what it was!

This happens to me a lot, despite the fact that I pride myself on having a really great memory! It seems I have trouble remembering things that count at the time, like exam study, appointments or the aforementioned blog post, yet can always remember the things that AREN’T imperative. For example,

  • Movies! To this day I can still recite my favourite childhood movie, The Parent Trap – all two and a half hours of it! Want to see… “[American accent] Ok, found my duffle, now the question is, how do I get it out? I can do it, no I can’t… You must be new. How can you tell? Cause you didn’t know how to grab your duffel before the…” I’m sure you get the point. Other movies in my memory bank include; Finding Nemo, Madagascar, Sex and the City, Baby’s Day Out and Night at the Museum … So if you’re ever stuck without a TV I’d be happy to oblige, provided you like my collection.
  • Languages. I’m not sure if I have a total grasp of all the languages I ‘know’, or whether I’m just a great mimic, but either way I can remember an awful lot of them: French (I can actually speak this one nearly fluently), Japanese, German, Italian… For example, about fifteen years ago Leggo’s pasta sauce had an ad spoken completely in Italian… I know that ad! I have no idea what I’m saying, but I can tell you the whole 30second commercial.
  • Long and involved conversations. Not in a creepy, eavesdropping kind of way, but in a useful way [I think]. Want to know what was discussed at lunch/dinner/work meeting/gossip sesh? I can tell you the conversation verbatim.
 Ironic isn’t it, that I can store all these things in my head yet forget exam notes that I’ve drilled into my brain, people’s names (I’m a shocker) and my brilliant blog idea.

I’ll be sure to let you know if I remember what it was. I know it’s in there somewhere, I just have to find it!

3 September 2012

Plate Up. Honeycomb

The more I eat out, the more I’m coming to realise how complex food is becoming. These days reading a menu is like reading another language to the average person. It’s all very well if you understand foodie language like semifreddo, congee, foie gras, and roulade, but if not it can be rather worrisome when you may, for all you know, be ordering lambs intestines served with smoked brains.

So, I dedicate this post to simple food. Who said fancy names made anything taste more delicious? I’ve loved honeycomb forever and I will continue to do so, despite its simple nature. I hope you enjoy too!

What you’ll need:
1 dessert spoon butter
¼ cup honey
½ cup caster sugar
1½ teaspoons bicarb soda

What to do:
First, get everything prepped. You have to work quickly with this recipe so you don’t want to be racing round the kitchen looking for bicarb whilst your honey caramel is burning! Also set aside a lined baking tray, a large bowl of chilled water and a whisk.

Place butter, honey and caster sugar in a large saucepan on high heat, stirring. Bring the mixture to the boil and watch carefully, you are looking for a golden brown colour (think dodgy fake tan). As soon as it reaches this point remove the saucepan from the heat and sit in the chilled water. Quickly add bicard, whisk through (it should foam) and immediately pour onto a lined baking tray.

Set aside until set. Serve as desired. I have crumbled it to have with icecream (the best way, in my opinion!) and served with strawberries. Taste is 5 star without the fancy name.

Photos by Krissie

1 September 2012

Must Have. Jimmy Choo Regan Luggage

You’ll be travelling in style with this little baby trailing behind you. Big enough to fit allllll your necessary outfits without looking trunky and troublesome. At $3500 I’d better start saving now... for the luggage, not the holiday!

Photo by Jimmy Choo.