31 December 2012

One Day. 2012 in review

Well what a year it’s been…

The Costa Concordia capsized in Greece in January, the tragic loss of superstar Whitney Houston in February, Kony 2012 went viral in March, Matthew Newton’s rampage in Miami in April, BeeGees’ Robin Gibb’s death in May, Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee in June, the horrific Batman shooting in July, Prince Harry’s nude photos that surfaced in August (poor fella was just having a good time like a regular person), Apple unveiled its iPhone 5 in September, Felix Baumgartner made history when he jumped from the edge of space in October, Barack Obama was re-elected in November and in December we all survived the end of the world according to the Mayans (personally I just think they ran out of stones to carve dates into).

It’s been a big year for me too with my final year of uni, the birth of pearls of style, graduation and a trip to the USofA. Along the way there have been quite a few ups and downs, but I’m happy to say I believe I’m coming out the other end stronger, wiser and determined to achieve a fabulously successful 2013.

Here are my top picks from pearls for 2012. Click on the links below.

Plate Up. (It’s a tie, one savoury and one sweet!) Potato and Leek Soup and Pear & Almond Tarts

Wishing you all a very happy new year and I can't wait to bring you more pearls of style in 2013.

Photo by Krissie.

29 December 2012

Must Have. Zac Posen Silk Taffeta Gown

I love Posen’s structured styling, I think it is a breath of fresh air amongst, what is currently, a rather bland fashion market. The red is worthy of any screen siren and the bombshell silhouette transports you back to old Hollywood glamour. Incredible! $6700

Photo by Zac Posen.

27 December 2012

Eat Me. Omeros Bros, Main Beach

To celebrate my graduation the other week I went to Omeros Bros in Main Beach with the family. I’ve been meaning to dine at Omeros for many years but always felt it was a bit of a ‘special occasion location’ and hadn’t gotten around to it. I have since been again and both experiences were great. Here’s an insider tip: the restaurant has four seating sections I would opt for inside or outside on the lower levels, see below:

-          Inside on the top level: not ideal as you are not by the window and hence don’t have a view.
-          Inside on the lower level: great spot, perfect view by the window and protected from inclement weather.
-          Outside on the top level: bit of a strange spot to sit, being outside you expect the view but the awning here sort of blocks it so you cannot see the boats, must suffer through any less-than delightful weather conditions plus beware of any creepy crawlies that are stalking around your feet for food – hello cockroaches.
-          Outside on the lower level: this is great spot if you don’t mind the aforementioned creepy crawlies, you are right on the water with a great view of the boats and can feed the fish below.

But back to the food… Omeros Bros as their ‘fishy’ logo may suggest is a specialty seafood restaurant but there are also other options such as soups and steaks. I ordered two entrees, wanting to make the most of the delicious dishes that were peering up at me from the menu. I had the avocado seafood which was a delightful tasting plate of smoked salmon, an oyster, prawns and, of course, avocado. I also had the barbequed prawns with worcestershire and lemon butter sauce which was delicious. As much as I wanted dessert I was rather stuffed so had to pass, but there is a crepe suzette on the menu for two that I’ve definitely got my eye on for next time! The price points are quite high but pretty standard for Marina Mirage restaurants, plus the quality of the food is well worth the expense for a special occasion.

The service was quite good although our waiter changed half way through and sometimes it was difficult to catch someone’s attention. However aside from that Omeros is a welcoming restaurant that provides wonderful broadwater views and delicious food. 4/5

Where: Shop 55 Marina Mirage, 74 Seaworld Drive, Main Beach QLD 4217
Bookings: recommended on weekends
Phone: (07) 5591 7222

Photos by Krissie.

Omeros Brothers Seafood on Urbanspoon

26 December 2012

Plate Up. Pavlova

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful day yesterday shared with those nearest and dearest. I indulged in a seafood lunch with oysters, prawns and crab (my absolute favourite) before a more traditional dinner of turkey and ham. Needless to say, last night I was suffering from quite a food coma! Here's a little something to add to your overload, just in case you're looking for a snack today (unlikely!).

I don’t know about you, but I think it doesn’t get much better than summertime and the delicious desserts that come along with it, not to mention the divine fruit selection – mangoes, stone fruits, cherries…

The thing about being a food blogger, is that everyone turns to you for the best recipes and expects delightful dishes whenever they come around! Another thing is that I’ll be merrily cooking something up for a party and in my passion and tasting delight, I often forget to take pictures along the way. Oops. Please forgive my missing picture of the mini pav’s out of the oven, I promise they look delish.

As you can see, I love to serve mine crushed in a dessert glass with some seasonal fruits and cream. Some of my favourite Christmases and summer parties have ended with pavlova and now yours can too with this simple recipe!

What you’ll need
4 eggs whites
1 cup of sugar
½ teaspoon vinegar
Pinch of salt

What to do
Preheat oven to 120 degrees Celsius and line 2 baking trays with paper. Now I usually say fresh is best, but not when it comes to pavlova. Make sure your eggs are older, it will really make a big difference to you dessert. Place egg whites, vinegar and salt in a bowl and, using a hand beater, beat on high until soft peaks form. Gradually add in a tablespoon of sugar at a time, beating continuously, until all the sugar as been incorporated and the mixture is stiff, white and glossy. (Note: if your arm is aching by this point you'll know you've done it properly!) Gently dollop your meringue onto your lined baking trays – you should make 4 fist-sized rounds on each tray for a total of 8 mini pav’s.

Bake in the oven for around 40 minutes or until your meringues feel firm on the outside but if you press they crumble to reveal a soft centre, this should be just before they start to brown, they should still be perfectly white. Switch the power off and leave to cool in the oven for 10 minutes. Serve whole or crushed with your choice of fruit and cream. I love mine with fresh raspberries, whipped cream and a drizzle of passionfruit pulp. The perfect summer dessert!

Photos by Krissie.

24 December 2012

Must Have. Assouline Chanel Bookset

This divine trio of books written by François Baudot and François Aveline would look beautiful on my bookshelf, and I have just the space for it! The collection, presented in Chanel’s signature quilted leather and adorned with the ‘double C’, is a rare collector’s item exploring the inner workings of the French fashion house. J’adore.

This is a last minute addition to my christmas wish list, at $750 I don't like my chances.

Photos by Assouline.

21 December 2012

Eat Me. Nizza Hells Kitchen, NYC

Nizza, like Pizza but with an N, is a delightful Italian restaurant I stumbled across in Hells Kitchen during my stay in New York. After wandering the sub-zero streets for some time I was ready to feed my stomach and thaw my fingers at the next place I found, and it so happens this was it!

The restaurant takes it cues from the French/Italian Riviera with wooden accents, warm tones and European murals. A quaint little bistro, Nizza features an extensive menu and also provides an entire gluten-free menu which I’m told features dishes that are better than their gluten-packed counterparts. You can see their full menu here.

I ordered the farfalle with linguini (from the regular menu), featuring prosciutto, cherry tomatoes, peas, onion and garlic. It was packed full of flavour and a very decent sized portion (and at $16 an absolutely bargain by Australian standards). My only disappointment was that the prosciutto was little diced pieces rather than the lovely long, thin strips I’m used to in Oz.

Service was great, we had a cheery American waiter who was most fascinated by the fact that we were “from down-under”. Try to nab a booth if you can, they’re very cosy and provide the perfect vantage point for people-watching.

Overall the food at this little bistro was yummy and I’d love to return. 3.5/5

Where: 630 9th Avenue, Hells Kitchen, NYC
Bookings: not necessary
Phone: (212) 956-1800

Photos by Krissie.

Nizza on Urbanspoon

19 December 2012

Plate Up. Banana & Oat Muffins

Whilst I was in America recently I stumbled across the idea of a ‘breakfast muffin’ – a muffin that whilst sweet in nature, has some health benefits allowing it to pass as a suitable source of sustenance to break-the-evening’s-fast.

When I came to making my own I was a little unsure of what main ingredients to include. After much deliberation I decided on bananas (because they were overripe in my fruit bowl) and oats (because who doesn’t love porridge for breakfast?). Now bananas and I have always had a bit of strained relationship [although I do like ladyfingers!]; there are rare moments when I absolutely must have one, and I do like banana bread, but most of the time I’m really not into them by themselves. But, problem solved, because in these muffins, bananas (no matter how ripe), are delish! The recipe makes 12, enjoy!

What you’ll need
1 cups plain flour
½ cup wholemeal flour
½ cup caster sugar
½ cup rolled oats
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup butter milk (if you don’t have butter milk use regular milk and add ½ teaspoon vinegar)
1 egg
1 dessert spoon honey
½ teaspoon vanilla essence
¼ cup melted butter
2 mashed bananas

What to do
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius and line your muffin tin.

In a small bowl, mix dry ingredients together. In a large bowl, whisk wet ingredients together. Gently fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients and stop as you see the last bit of flour disappear. Don’t over mix. Pour batter into muffin tin and bake for 18 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Cool in tin for 5 minutes and enjoy warm or cool for later. Muffins keep well frozen for a month.

Photos by Krissie.

17 December 2012

One Day. The Graduate

Well, I did it – I graduated from my degree! I’m so happy that after 3 years of juggling lectures, tutes, horrendously early mornings (5am wake-ups anyone?), train rides, car-park hunting, essays and exams I have finished!

Despite the long, boring speeches, my ceremony was really exciting. I was so proud to be sitting on that stage and when it was my turn in the spotlight I tried my best to picture all of my time, effort, assessment and $20,000 going into that doth of my mortarboard, shake of the Dean’s hand and piece of paper I now held in my hot-little-hands. I guess this right-of-passage actually represents a lot more than appearances give away.

So hooray for me! The next chapter begins…

13 December 2012

Must Have. Gucci 18-karat gold bamboo ring

I love jewellery with a bit of personality, without being OTT and think this is exactly what Gucci has achieved here. Usually I'm much more of a silver [white gold & platinum!] lover but for this little piece I think it could be persuaded to wear gold. Think of it as an exotic accent to compliment the tribal trend. $2250 it’s on my Christmas wish list.

Photo by Gucci.

11 December 2012

[Don't] Eat Me. Bazaar QT Gold Coast

I was so excited to eat at Bazaar after hearing so many wonderful things from people, but, unfortunately, I have no wonderful things to say. I dined at Bazaar on a Saturday night, we were greeted by a friendly waiter who walked us through the buffet before seating us. First impressions were good. The restaurant had a good vibe, the buffet looked diverse and the restaurant had some funky décor. Unfortunately it all goes downhill from there.

We ordered two glasses of wine which took over 20 minutes to arrive and Bazaar’s signature tasting plate, which you are encouraged to order, turned up after another 20 minutes even though they assured me it would instantaneous. The creations on the tasting plate were clever, there was a tuna tartare, soft-shell crab, croquetas and something unidentifiable, but whilst the crab was quite tasty, the other nibbles very heavy and left me feeling a bit sick.

As the lover of seafood I am, following the tasting plate I went straight for some oysters. When I sat down to eat them they smelt very off. When I told the waiter he smelt them, agreed and said he would tell the chef and come back.
Never saw him again.

After that I was a little off trying the seafood [my usual buffet favourite] so was already disappointed. I moved to the hot section where the food is displayed in nifty crock pots, only trouble is there are no signs so you have to catch the chef’s attention to ask what every dish is. They seemed rather annoyed at being disturbed by patrons so perhaps some signs would help us both! In the end I gave up and didn’t try anything from that section.

Next was wood-fired pizza and I will say that this was very yummy. Along side the pizza, the salad bar offers multiple choices from pear, rocket and pecorino to spiced dahl. From what I tried the salads were pretty tasty too. Finally I ordered a couple of dumplings from the Asian section but as far as dumplings go they were pretty awful; no flavour and soggy.

After being told by previous diners of the third course delights, I had left plenty of room for dessert. I tried some macaroons, tiramisu and other bits and pieces but nothing was worth writing home about. Finally I went over to Bazaar’s version of ‘cold-rock ice-cream’ were I was told they would smash my chosen flavourings into my ice-cream – not so. My scoop was merely sprinkled with my selection.

Overall I was very very disappointed with Bazaar: bad seafood, poor service and bland food, barely redeemed by a stylish design and some good pizza. I won’t be returning. 1.5/5

Where: 7 Staghorn Avenue, Surfers Paradise QLD 4217
Bookings: recommended
Phone: (07) 5584 1200

Bazaar on Urbanspoon

8 December 2012

One Day. Photobombs.

It seems ‘photobombs’ are the new ‘planking’ – the latest pointless fad to sweep the internet-world, giving bored office-workers a giggle. For those of you who may not know what a ‘photobomb’ is (hi Mum!), it’s when a perfectly good picture is spoilt by someone else sticking their head in. Whilst I don’t find them particularly funny [so you struck a funny face and ruined someone’s picture], when an animal does it, it suddenly becomes hilarious. (Seems this is the case with a lot of things, human sleeping = boring, dog sleeping = totally cute; human sneezing = icky and germanous, baby panda sneezing = hysterical.)

I mean look at these guys. The penguins are obviously loving having their picture taken; the guy on the right is a total poser whilst the others clearly like to display the flexibility of their necks. Then here’s this little guy in the corner. He’s even got the ‘awkward head-tilt’ downpat and how about that smile!? Cutie.

Photo by Buzzfeed.

6 December 2012

Plate Up. Sesame Tuiles

Tuiles are delicate, light biscuits used to garnish desserts and sometimes savoury dishes. They are known for their delightful ‘snap’. I’m not going to lie, these little guys were a bit tricky. But after a couple of failed attempts I had success! I’m sure that with my new knowledge you’ll get them first go!

What you’ll need
45g unsalted butter
1 tablespoon sesame oil
45ml freshly squeezed orange juice
Grated zest of one lemon
135g golden caster sugar
35g plain white flour, sifted
50g sesame seeds

What to do
Warm the butter, sesame oil, orange juice, lemon zest and sugar over a low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the flour and sesame and seeds. Set aside to rest at room temperature for one hour.

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Line two baking trays with baking paper. Place a rolling pin on a folded dish cloth to steady it and set out a wire cooling rack.

Drop level teaspoons of the batter onto your prepared baking trays, placing just four on each sheet and spacing well apart. Slightly flatten the batter with dampened fingers.

Bake one sheet at a time until the tuiles are golden brown, about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool and firm up briefly, about 1 minute. Using a spatula, gently lift each tuile off the baking tray and drape it over your prepared rolling pin. If the other tuiles cool and harden while you’re doing this, simply pop them back in the oven for a few seconds to soften up again.

Leave each tuile to set on the rolling pin then transfer to your wire rack to cool. Tuiles are best eaten within a few hours of baking so that they retain their delicious, delicate snap. (Makes approx. 20)

Photos by Krissie.

4 December 2012

Must Have. Sunday Riley Juno Body Oil

I’m home from my trip to the USA and the first thing that hits me is the heat! I’ve just spent 2 weeks in 0 degrees so to come back to over 30 is a bit of a shock for my system, not to mention my skin. The cold weather has made me feel like a bit of dried prune so I’m definitely in need of some intensive moisture – in comes body oil to save the day!

I often flip through magazines jealously eyeing the ‘glowing’ look celebs maintain and this product might just be their secret! Used by Claire Danes and Amy Adams, to name a few, this body oil provides intensive moisture and is said to give that much-desired ‘glow’ rather than a sticky ‘glisten’. A little indulgence for $95.

Photo by Sunday Riley.