29 April 2013

Plate Up. Chicken Laksa

I’ve always enjoyed the fragrance of Asian food, particularly laksas which are a popular spicy noodle soup from Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. Here is a quick and easy alternative to the traditional Asian soup.

What you’ll need
4 chicken thighs
1 dessert spoon Chinese five-spice
1 tablespoon runny honey
1 tablespoon seasame seeds
1 chicken stock cube
1 squash, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely chopped
2 red chillies
1 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
½ bunch spring onions, sliced
1 heaped teaspoon peanut butter
1 tablespoon soy sauce
250g rice noodles
1 bunch asparagus, halved
1 tin light coconut milk
1 lime

What to do
On a sheet of greaseproof paper, toss the chicken with salt, pepper and the five-spice. Cook in a frying pan with olive oil, turning after 4minutes when nicely charred.

In a large saucepan fry off the onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric and coriander seeds in olive oil until fragrant. Add 800ml boiling water and your crumbled stock cube. Add the squash and chilli. Next add the peanut butter and soy sauce. Stir well. Add in the asparagus and coconut milk and bring to the boil. Once boiling at noodles and juice of lime. Stir well and simmer for 3 minutes or until the noodles are cooked.

Drizzle chicken with honey and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Slice and serve with laksa. Serves 4.

Photos by Krissie.

26 April 2013

Must Have. Eberjay Miss Liberty Jersey Pyjama Set

I love these PJs they look so comfy yet stylish at the same time. Dove grey with a floral trim, these Eberjay pyjamas are sure to give you sweet dreams $175 for the set.

Photo by Eberjay.

24 April 2013

Suitcase. Sydney top 5 things to see and do

Now this may sound a little cliché, but I truly think that the best Sydney attractions are the ones you read about in tourist brochures. Corny I know, but it seems the NSW capital is just one of those places where ‘what you see is what you get’. Having said that I’m not a local, so this is just my tourist point of view; I’m sure there are plenty of Sydney-siders rolling their eyes at me right now for not mentioning their favourite hotspots.

Here are my top 5 for your next trip to Sydney:

  1. Visit the world famous beach – Bondi. Coming from the Gold Coast, Australian beaches have some pretty tough competition if they want to impress me, but I have to say, I love Bondi. It’s got a great vibe and is just as crazy-busy as it looks on TV but it’s definitely well worth the visit. The buzz is infectious and on the right day the water is beautiful. Just make sure you remember where you put your towel when you look back into the sea of people from the water!

  1. Take a walk around Circular Quay and see the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge (if you’re game enough you can actually climb it). They really are spectacular sights in person. Be sure to stroll through the Royal Botanic Gardens while you’re around the area too.

  1. Visit Taronga Zoo, it really is the best one in Australia and the animals can certainly boast they have some of the best views in Sydney. The ferry ride over is great too, giving you a chance to be out on the harbour and viewing some spectacular water-front real estate.

  1. Explore Darling Harbour. This docking area just west of the city is a treasure trove of restaurants, cafés, bars and nightclubs. It’s also a beautiful part of the city. Around this area there is also the Sydney Aquarium, an IMAX theatre, Star Casino and Chinatown (be sure to check out Paddy’s Markets).

  1. Spend some time shopping. Whilst Sydney’s shopping scene certainly doesn’t live up to Melbourne’s, it’s still worth checking out the malls around the city. There is Pitt Street Mall and The Strand for general city shopping, and The Queen Victoria Building for your international designer brands.

Photo by Jingwei.

If you liked this, you can also check out my top tips for Melbourne and Noosa.

22 April 2013

One Day. Sneak Peek at QT Fashion Week

I was very excited to attend the launch night for QT Fashion Week on Thursday. It’s so great to see the burgeoning Gold Coast fashion industry is beginning to take hold with more local fashion and couture events. QT’s event is now in addition to Gold Coast Fashion Week which will be held in September this year.

 The night was held at QT’s Stringray bar and event organiser Michaela Fitzgerald spoke of the exciting shows to come this week, including Marlies Dekkers, Tahlulah, White Sands, Lisa Brown and an exclusive first look at Nicola Finetti’s 2014 range.

The evening was peppered with hors d’oueurves, speeches, a Napolean makeup station and even a fire-twirler. Another focus of the night was an incredible dress created from fresh flowers by Julia Rose.

The week is sure to be an exciting one for fashion lovers and designers alike. If you’re interested in purchasing a ticket for one of the week’s shows you can buy them online here.

Photos by Krissie.

19 April 2013

Plate Up. Spinach & Ricotta Ravioli

As you may have noticed by now, I’m a carb fiend and absolutely love pasta, especially making my own. I like to think that this recipe would be something my Italian grandpa used to cook. I never got to meet him but I know he was a whiz in the kitchen.

What you’ll need
200g plain flour
2 eggs
1 egg yolk, beaten (extra)

200g ricotta cheese
½ bunch silver beet, blanched and chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons cream
Salt and pepper

Tomato Sauce
2 dessert spoons tomato paste
¾ cup water
2 teaspoons caster sugar

What to do
First, make your pasta. Place flour on a bench-top with a well in the middle and crack the two eggs in reserving the extra yolk. With a fork in one hand and the other supporting the edges, slowing whisk the eggs whilst gently bringing the flour in together. Once combined, gently knead the pasta dough for about 5 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when you push it with one finger and it springs back. Wrap in cling-wrap and set aside for 30 minutes to rest.

Once your pasta is rested, split the dough into 2 sections and punch down until it’s thin enough to fit through the widest setting of your pasta maker. Dust the machine with flour and roll the pasta through. Fold it into 3, rotate 90 degrees and roll through the pasta maker again. Continue this process until the dough is the width of the machine. Now begin to roll your dough thinner, going through each setting until you reach the second last. Line the back of a chair with a tea towel and hang your pasta to dry for 5 minutes. Repeat with the other ball of dough.

Whilst the pasta is drying, make your ravioli filling by combining the six ingredients and seasoning well. Stir until ingredients are well combined.

Once dried, lie your two pasta sheets on the bench next to each other. Place dessert spoon dollops of the mixture along one sheet of pasta, approximately 3-4cm apart. Using your extra egg yolk, brush around the sides of each dollop of filling and seal by lying the other pasta sheet on top and gently pressing down around each filling. Using a sharp knife, trim the pasta between each ravioli and any uneven sides.

Using a large saucepan, bring salted water to the boil and cook 4-5 ravioli at a time for about 3mins or until al denté. Repeat with remaining pasta.

Meanwhile make your tomato sauce; in a small saucepan, place the tomato paste, water and sugar and cook over medium heat until it boils. Season well and simmer for 2 minutes until the sauce thickens, then turn off and leave to cool.

Serve ravioli with a generous pour of the tomato sauce. Simplistic, homemade Italian at its best. Bellisimo!

Serves 4.

Photos by Krissie.

17 April 2013

Must Have. Reed Krakoff Mini textured-leather shoulder bag

A compact, leather shoulder-bag is a necessity this season, petite and slim-lined, yet large enough to fit the essentials. Following the fluro trend, this satchel provides a pop of colour for any look. Featuring a statement clasp, Krakoff’s bag is fully lined, has an adjustable strap and multiple interior pockets. $639

Photo by Reed Krakoff

If you haven't already, don't forget to vote for Pearls of Style in the Sydney Writers' Centre Blog competition. The link is on the right sidebar or click here. Thank you for your support.

15 April 2013

Suitcase. Noosa top 3 things to see and do

If you read about my Australian travel experiences then you’ll know that Noosa is one of my all-time favourite holiday destinations. It takes me back to my childhood holidays with mum when we would head to Noosa once a year for a few days of sunshine, swimming and Sheraton buffet breakfasts.

It is still one of my top destinations for a weekend away; the beaches are some of the most beautiful I’ve seen (the water is always so calm because the beach actually points north rather than east), and Hastings St has a great relaxed feel without being too touristy.

Here are my top 3 picks for a weekend in this Sunshine Coast haven:

  1. If you can, you can’t go past staying at the Sheraton. To me, Noosa is the Sheraton and the Sheraton is Noosa, I can’t have one without the other. The Sheraton Noosa is smack-bang in the middle of Hastings St (Noosa’s holiday hub) and has views of both the ocean and the river. The beach is literally a stone’s throw away, the hotel pool has a swim-up bar and you can’t go past the buffet breakfast. Of course the rooms are pretty nice too. You can usually pick up a pretty good deal that even includes breakfast if you book ahead.

  1. Explore the area. Take a stroll along Hastings Street for some window shopping (my favourite store is a little beach homewares shop, I always bring something home with me from there) and, whilst your at it, grab a gelato, then head to the beach for a wander on the sand (and a swim of course!). Then if you’ve still got the energy, check-out Noosa National Park. The park spans over 4,000 hectares and has some spectacular views.

  1. Treat yourself to a special dinner. Hastings St has some beautiful restaurants, particularly those that face the beach. Try Bistro C. for some modern Australian food with an elegant twist.

This truly is a beautiful part of the world. You can’t go past a Noosa holiday when you want some time to relax, enjoy the beach and simply zone out with a good book.

Photo by Noosa Tourism.

If you liked this, here are my top 5 picks for the incredible city of Melbourne.

12 April 2013

Must Have. Jimmy Choo Rika Metallic Leather Coffee Cup Sleeve

Wow, what next… Jimmy Choo has brought out a designer coffee cup sleeve... you know, just in the case the cardboard Starbucks ones weren’t good enough. At $150 it’s definitely a splurge, but I guess it would make your morning brew that much more enjoyable!

Photo by Jimmy Choo.

10 April 2013

Eat Me. Cardamon Pod, Broadbeach

Whilst I don’t love all meat I certainly enjoy chicken, fish and pork and thus I’m certainly not a vego and would never pretend to be. But I had the chance to eat at the Gold Coast’s top vegetarian restaurant (or so the whispers say) last week and was pleasantly surprised. I often find that if I eat a meal without meat, 10 minutes later I’m hungry again. But it’s clear that the fellows over at Cardamon Pod know their vego food because I was truly satisfied.

Tucked into the corner of Broady’s busiest strip, Cardamon Pod has an unassuming façade and simple, rustic interior décor; with a splash of colour. The food is served buffet style; you go up to the counter, order your dish and they will serve it for you out of the bain maries and you’re ready to go. Perfect when you arrive already starving!

There’s a variety of choices on the menu, the first step is deciding how hungry you are, from there you can choose from several selections like Pod Perfection (2 curries, 2 salads and rice), Not Too Hungry (2 dishes with rice), Salad Feast (3 salads), Vegan Platter (2 hot dishes, rice, 2 salads, 2 vegetable samosas, 2 chutneys) or a combination. The dishes are bigger than you would expect. I had the Not Too Hungry and got plenty of food so unless you’re beyond starving I probably wouldn’t go past it. Price points are great too; my meal was $15 which was the cheapest dinner I’ve had in a long while considering its size.

In my Not Too Hungry (yes, I just love saying it) I had a dhal with rice and a pumpkin, quinoa and fetta salad. Full marks for the dhal but the salad left a little to be desired as it was full of that taste-less fetta. Nevertheless, I’ll definitely be heading back next time I want a quick, easy and cheap meal. 3/5

Where: 10-11/110 Surf Parade, Broadbeach QLD 4218
Bookings: not neccessary
Phone: 0452 218 108

Photo by Krissie.

The Cardamom Pod on Urbanspoon

8 April 2013

Plate Up. Blueberry Muffins with greek yoghurt

If you haven’t already noticed I’m a real chocolate fiend, to me, if a dessert isn’t chocolate then it’s not dessert. But one area where I will say chocolate can be beaten is muffins. I love blueberry muffins and with these beauties I think I’ve found my perfect recipe. They are deliciously light and airy inside, juicy and berrysome and have a crunchy, tacky top.

What you’ll need
2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder (if you don’t have this use 1 teaspoon cream tarter and ½ teaspoon bi-carb soda)
¾ cup caster sugar
1 cup plain greek yoghurt
2 eggs
1 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
1 teaspoons vanilla etract
50g butter, melted
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup fresh blueberries
Milk, extra

What to do
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. In a large bowl, sift together flour and baking powder, then stir in sugar.

In a medium bowl, whisk together yoghurt, eggs, lemon rind, vanilla, butter (making sure it’s cooled) and oil. Add this to the flour mixture until just combined. If the batter is looking a little dry add a few splashes of milk until all the flour is easily combined. Stir in the blueberries, being careful not to break them up.

Spoon mixture into a lined muffin tin and bake for 25-30minutes or until skewer comes out clean.

Makes 12.

Photos by Krissie.

If you liked this you might also enjoy my Summer Smoothie and my Raspberry Semifreddo.

5 April 2013

Must Have. Marc by Marc Jacobs Cricket Shoulder Bag

These box-y shoulder bags seem to be the must-have of this season. I particularly love this one for its striking cream and black palette. It features a long shoulder strap or you can hold it by the handle. A stylish addition to your weekend outfit. Happy Friday! $325

Photo by Marc Jacobs.

3 April 2013

Suitcase. Holiday Envy – brought to you by Facebook

I love to travel as much as the next person, in fact probably a lot more, but I certainly don’t get around to doing it more than once a year. Like any normal person I have a budget and time off study/work to contend with. But Facebook really isn’t helping my cause because lately, every time I log on and scroll through my news feed I’m faced with innumerable holidays being taken by friends, family and acquaintances alike. And they all seem to be in places evoking green-eye stares from me, like resort escapes in the Bahamas and Cabo, ski trips to Whistler and sightseeing ventures through Europe. Oh how I wish I could join in on all of them.

Sadly, it’s just not that simple… although it seems it is for some. It has been brought to my jealous attention, largely through Facebook, that it seems not everyone shares my holidaying constraints. There is a particular group of people I know who surely take more holidays than they do work. They are off travelling to exotic islands, bright-light cities and historic towns for literally months at a time before coming back to ‘work’ and then 2 weeks later they are off again. I just don’t get it.
How. Do. They. Do. It?

It has gotten to the point where logging onto Facebook is actually making me depressed rather than making my day go faster by passing spare time (not that I have an awful lot, read here). Not to mention, every time I see a new holiday post I end up spending hours looking through pictures, researching the place and daydreaming about planning my own holiday there.

I would love a job with the title “traveller”, that’s it, just me getting to explore the world as full-time employment. Of course I would write about it too so I don’t feel lazy. Imagine all the stories I’d have to tell! In the meantime I guess I’ll just have to ‘keep on workin’ and snatch some travel time where I can.  

Photo by Sarah Hughes.

P.S. Don't forget to vote for Pearls in the Sydney Writers' Centre Blogging Competition. You can find the link on the right sidebar, or vote here. Thank you to all those who've voted.

1 April 2013

One Day. Can you make a mistake and miss your fate?

Fate. The development of events outside of a person’s control, regarded as determined by a supernatural power. Something that’s destined to happen in a particular way.

I’ve always thought of myself as a believer in fate.

“Everything happens for a reason.”
“If it’s meant to be it’ll be.”
“Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant filled with odd little waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don't always like.”

I particularly like that last one from Lemony Snicket.

But in saying I believe in fate isn’t that just like saying that we’re not really responsible for the path our lives take? That everything is predestined? That’s why when I start pondering this subjective topic for too long, I start to pick holes in the theory.

Surely my life would turn out differently depending on every little decision I make every day. Or is every decision I’ll make already written in the stars? As a SATC fan I’d like mention something the wise Carrie Bradshaw said; “People say ‘everything happens for a reason’, these people are normally women who are sorting through a break-up.” In this case, is fate just a cop-out, a way of relinquishing control so we don’t have to feel guilty about whether the choices we make are right or wrong? I’m really not sure…

As much as I think about it, I can’t wrap my head around whether decisions choose us or we choose the decisions. I guess I could test the theory by doing something totally brash tomorrow like shaving my head, getting a tattoo and moving to the Bronx to see if my life path would change... But it seems that cheeky fate knows me too well, because there’s not a chance I would do that.

Fate 1, Krissie 0.

Photo by Anon.