Monday, 30 June 2014

Last Friday Night

Last Friday night I heard about an EOFY drinks night at Barista Haus in Rockdale. Usually they are just a 9-5 coffee-and-sandwiches place so this was a bit out of the ordinary, but it was FREE so naturally I rounded up the rest of the Rockdale crew (i.e. James and our friend Ben - hello if you're reading!) and headed out.

The lady hosting was really lovely and the drinks were really free (and as you can see, not el cheapo ones either). We also grabbed this delicious cheese plate for $20. They had a smaller one for ten bucks, but I was pretty starving and it was well worth it.

The ambience was a little lacking and it wasn't as busy as I had expected, perhaps because there was no sign outside so passers-by probably thought it was a private function. But it was still a pretty fun place to hang out and I think with dimmer lighting and louder music it would be a super fun little bar, I hope they'll keep doing things like this!

On Saturday morning James and I went to the Ramsgate Organic Foodies Market, which is always a treat.

At night I met Meg (hi Meg!) to eat way too many dumplings at Taste of Shanghai (thanks Brendan for the recommendation!) and watch The Fault In Our Stars.

I haven't decided how good it was yet - it was slightly unrealistic, but in the way that I imagined the world really was when I was a teenager, so given that it's for and about teenagers that could be a strength. What I can say for sure is that it is SUPER SAD. Everyone cried.

James and I met a couple of the boys at a serious board games shop called Good Game in Hurstville because they were having a big sale.

It's not my favourite place, but we availed ourselves of their free games library and gaming tables for a bit of Cards Against Humanity.

Afterwards we decided to grab a late lunch. The boys from Peacock Trattoria have opened up a new restaurant in Gymea, the Italian Stallion, so we were really keen to give it a try.

It's not exactly the same as Peacock's but I think if you liked one you'd like the other.

Especially if you're a cocktails enthusiast - these were great!

We started with a ham, mascarpone and mushroom pizza to share. 

Peacock's have the same thing without mushrooms and I love it, but this was even better. I think it had truffle oil too so definitely one for the mushroom lovers.

For our actual lunch we had these burgers:

I loved the pickles, and I liked how they served them and the onions on the side so I could add them to taste. I liked the orange cheese, and I liked the tomato relish for my fries. But overall, I wasn't wild about the burger. I consider myself a bit of a connoisseur of burgers these days, and this one just didn't quite do it for me.

The pizza and cocktails more than made up for it though, and the desserts (the one area where I think Peacock's struggles) sounded amazing, so I'm already looking forward to going back and trying one of the many other tempting menu options. 

How was everyone else's weekend?

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Things I Hate Thursday: People Who Don't Know What Meat Loaf Won't Do For Love

Not a joke, this irritates me like almost nothing else.

One of my favourite musicians of all time is Meat Loaf (also not a joke). He has stacks of excellent songs, including "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)", about a dude who is in love and claims he would do anything for love, but in the chorus he admits that actually, he wouldn't do "that". It's pretty well known and often referenced in popular culture, e.g. in Spice World The Movie where he plays the tour bus driver who, when asked to fix a clogged toilet on the bus, answers "I'd do anything for those girls, but I won't do that".

Anyway, the one thing about this song that I don't love is the fact that for some reason, 90% of people think that the thing Meat Loaf won't do is a big mysterious secret, and the remaining 10% think they have it figured out but actually don't.

I am here to let you in on the secret: the thing Meat Loaf won't do is EXACTLY WHAT HE SAYS IN THE SONG. Throughout the song, he lists a bunch of things he would do for love, juxtaposed against things that he definitely wouldn't do. In English, the word "that" is used to indicate a person, thing, idea etc as physically pointed out or, in Meat Loaf's case, verbally mentioned. So when he says he won't do "that", he means he won't do "the thing we were just talking about, like literally two seconds ago, honestly what is your problem".

For example:

And I would do anything for love, and I'll be there 'til the final act
And I would do anything for love, and I'll take a vow and seal a pact
But I'll never forgive myself if we don't go all the way tonight
And I would do anything for love, oh I would do anything for love
I would do anything for love, but I won't do that* 

(*I won't forgive myself if we don’t go all the way tonight)

Got it?

Toward the end a lady joins Meat Loaf and asks whether he'd do a few things, e.g.:

Will you raise me up? Will you help me down?
Will you get me right out of this godforsaken town?
Will you make it all a little less cold?

To which Meat Loaf replies:

I can do that.

Then she gets cynical and suggests that things will change one day:

I know the territory, I've been around
It'll all turn to dust and we'll all fall down
Sooner or later you'll be screwing around

And he protests:

I won't do that.

This is the one part of the song that some people are able to comprehend, so the few who don't think "that" is a big secret think that the thing he won't do is cheat on her. Which it is, in this particular verse. Just not for the entire song.

I really don't see why this is so hard to understand in the first place but if you're a person who just doesn't get demonstrative pronouns, here's a handy list that you can print out and keep in your wallet to avoid getting on my last nerve in the future:

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Peacock Trattoria

Every Christmas my family goes on holidays to Nowra to camp on a site attached to the Shoalhaven Zoo. I promise it isn't as weird as it sounds.

They have heaps of Australia wildlife there and also zillions of peacocks, which roam all over the zoo and campsite showing off their beautiful feathers and making their mating call. The first time James heard it he asked "what's that?" and I said "it's the peacocks" and he said "no seriously, what is it?" - it is really unlike any other bird noise I've ever heard. (Disclaimer: I haven't really heard that many bird noises, I'm not a massive aviculturalist.)

If you haven't heard it before here is a video (Mum don't watch this!):

Anyway, my point is that James's and my favourite restaurant at the moment is Peacock Trattoria in Kyle Bay. We were meaning to go for ages - all our friends who live nearby rave about it - and we finally got around to it in about February.  

We loved it!  The food's sensational, the value is outstanding and the restaurant itself is pretty cool, with a massive peacock mural on one wall and an open kitchen if you want to have a little sticky beak.

We've been a few times now, the most recent being last week. There are heaps of nice things on the menu but as always we chose their Trust The Chef surprise menu. It's $60 pp and you get about six different courses, each more insanely delicious than the last.

First up was this ducktastic crunchy salad. We've had it every time and I still love it.

Next we got this mini pizza with white anchovy and potato. I love potato on pizza! Their dough is just perfect.

I spied this adorable doggy bag sitting in the kitchen:

Say what you will about them, they know how to commit to a theme.

Courses three and four were two shared entrees. The first was some beautiful salmon. I forget what it was served with but I remember that we both loved it. 

The second entrée was these lovely little slider-type buns with slow cooked meat and a super tasty sauce. This description doesn't do them justice but nor would any, such is their indescribable deliciousness. This is another dish we've had every time, and they day they don't bring it out I will probably cry.

The main was meat - looks like beef or lamb, I don't remember which. It was beautifully cooked though and served with really yummy potato and roasted garlic.

Last and probably least, dessert. It was some sort of parfait with fruit and stuff. It was nice, but the savoury courses are all so wonderful that dessert usually falls a little short, especially considering how full we always are by this point.

It's a shame to end on a bit of a low point - perhaps they should serve dessert somewhere in the middle and put the sliders at the end? - but I'd still give this dining experience at least a nine peacocks out of ten.

Thursday, 17 April 2014


On Tuesday night I made two of my favourite things to cook:

Prawn pasta (recipe here)

And shortbread (recipe here)

I went out to our tiny local supermarket to get some ingredients but I had to buy some Thai rice flour instead of the one I normally buy. I was excited by the price ($1.50, bargain!) but I'm not convinced that the final product tastes quite as good. Though it still tasted good enough for me to eat 5 pieces before lunch the next day.

Yesterday I made another favourite of mine: Something Experimental. When I was in high school my friend Julia (hello if you're reading!) used to bring in these lovely pizza scroll thingies on special occasions, and last night I was thinking about them so I decided to have a go at recreating them. I don't know Julia's recipe so I just made it up but they turned out really well! 

I used:
Pampas puff pastry
Tomato paste
Grated mozarella
Black olives from a jar
Diced ham

I just put everything onto the pastry, then rolled it up and sliced it as you would pinwheel sandwiches or a swiss roll cake. This part was extremely messy and difficult! I almost gave up, but instead I put the slices on a tray and baked them at 180 until they looked crispy and delicious.

These would be a great make-ahead snack if anyone is planning to entertain over Easter.

And in other news this is my 200th post! Perhaps tonight I will eat 200 Easter eggs to celebrate this exciting milestone.  

Happy long weekend!

Monday, 14 April 2014

Weekend Activities

Last weekend I went out with the girls (hello girls if you are reading!) on Friday night to Lobo Plantation. The drinks were great but it was really packed - luckily we had the sense to invite ourselves to join someone else's table. 

This beverage was called a Communist Sour and it was very nice indeed.

Afterwards we went to Barbershop. I had never been before and I can't say I feel like I've been missing out on much. It was a fun night though!

The next day James and I went to Xtract in Rockers for lunch. I had a smoked salmon omelette which was pretty nice but James won with this excellent "Lebanese Tapas".

I felt pretty sick so I spent the rest of the afternoon in bed but I dragged myself out for a birthday party. There was a giant outdoor movie screen and the backyard was full of blankets and chairs and decorated with lanterns and fairy lights. It was fantastic!

Happy birthday Steph! Thanks for having us and well done Ben and Momz on building the screen!

On Sunday James and I went to Foodies for this amazing Nutella shake.

This weekend we went to the Organic Foodies Market at Ramsgate Public School. Highly recommended.  Just look at this beautiful fresh produce:

We bought some! And some breakfast from the Fritter House.

The bacon was way overcooked and the tomato relish tasted like Maccas Secret Sauce but the fritters themselves were top notch and pretty reasonably priced.

But I think the highlight of the event was this stall:

It's just a shop of leopard print things! That's all they sold! Apart from (weirdly) ONE orange top.

I admired a clutch but it was eighty five dollars which is insane. Instead I bought myself a beautiful gingerbread biscuit from some nice girls running a Pretty Easter Things stall. 

It was $2.50.  That's more like it.

James went out at night so I had a hot date with Charcoal Kingdom. It was really tasty, especially that garlic sauce, but I'm not sure they gave me enough chips.

I guess you can't have everything.

Yesterday I went to Hurstville and got my hurr did. My hairdresser is called Michael and he is just about my favourite person in the world.  He's really fun and helpful and I never ever want to cry after I get home. AND he only charges twenty five bucks! He's at Eddie's Salon in Hurstville Westfield, just past the entrance with the Bubble Tea shop. (I know, but seriously trust me, you won't be sorry.)

Afterwards I did a little bit of shopping and tried on these sensational leopard print jeans. I didn't buy them, but I think I'll have to go back. I hope they don't sell out.

And if you're looking for some adequate groceries, look no further than this shop on Forest Rd:

As is our tradition, James and I had a date at night. We went to Sunny's - the seafood restaurant not the BBQ one - and had this big chilli mud crab. It was challenging but delicious.

I love weekends. Only three days until the next one!

Friday, 4 April 2014

Buzz Buzz

A little while ago a reader asked where I got my bee ring from. Good question!

I bought it from a stall on Market Day at uni (every second Wednesday, FYI) circa 2011. It cost $5 but in terms of cost per wear it was pretty much free.

It has a couple of buddies, including this awesome bee brooch I bought from a massive sale at Accessorize in Singapore airport.

And this necklace from Colette Accessories which I bought a few months ago.

James isn't a particular fan of the bee ring; he thinks it is "a bit gaudy". You can guess how he feels about its cousin the insect ring.

This is one of my favourite pieces of jewellery ever. I always have so much fun when I wear it and it will come in handy if I ever get in a fight/am a victim of an oppressive patriarchal society and need to give someone a good wallop.

In other news it was World Autism Day this week, and while you're being aware of autism you should read this New York Times article Reaching My Autistic Son Through Disney. Warning: you might get something in your eye while you're reading this.

And what's this about Lindt chocolate supporting some dodgy autism charity that nobody likes? Cara are you reading this?

Have a super weekend.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Made Any Good Small Talk Lately?

I had lunch at Ham in Cronulla the other day. It was so good!

They had lactose free milk so I got to enjoy my first hot chocolate in a few months, thanks Harry and Mario!

This cupcake had the best icing I've ever tasted. I also tried one of those little flat-topped cakes with pastel icing that are in all the cafes these days, turns out they are super delicious coconut thingies! I was reminded of the macaroons (NOT macarons) I used to get at Miss Maud's circa 1996. 

James and I are developing a habit of going on dates every Sunday. Can't say I mind. 

We checked out Seven Lanterns at Sylvania recently, then changed our minds and went to an old school Chinese restaurant instead. Best decision.

The following week we went to Newtown for a cocktail at Corridor and a movie at the Dendy. 

The cocktails were superb.

The movie was not. It was Le Week-end - great performances, especially from Jeff Goldblum (hello if you're reading Jeff!), but we found it slow and miserable. 

This Glasshouse Hong Kong candle is the opposite of miserable. Emily gave it to me as a housewarming present and I was absolutely delighted to receive it. 

I had Mum, Betty and Nana over for afternoon tea the other day. 

As you can see I like them enough to drag out a tablecloth but not enough to iron it. 

My baby pretend-nephew O turned one last month! He had a Pirates and Princesses themed birthday featuring eight thousand children and this spectacular cake:

I think his grandma made this fruit salad pirate ship.

Speaking of fruit I am off to have a nice orange for a snack.

Serving suggestion: serve thinly sliced in a glass with Campari, vodka, ruby red grapefruit juice and tonic water. I made this up myself and it is delicious.