October 29, 2014

Aria, Circular Quay

On Saturday night to continue the birthday celebrations I surprised my husband with dinner at Matt Moran's restaurant Aria.

Me excited to be at Aria
Located in Circular Quay a stones throw away from the Opera House the restaurant offers views of the harbor bridge. We were seated along the window and had a glimpse of the bridge from where we sat.


After observing the menu and the extensive wine list we settled on four courses and two half bottles of wine.

Here is a peek at what we ordered.

First course:
Southern calamari with Iberico Jamon, garlic custard and shiitake mushroom tea

Warm marron tail with bello rosso tomatoes and lemon verbena
Second course:
Murray cod with sour blueberries, guanciale and rosemary

Kurabuta pork belly with apple, swede and hazelnuts

Third course:

Angus rump, mash potato, salad,
Cervena venison fillet and crepinette with Japanese pumpkin, red witlof, black pepper and riberry sauce

Fourth course:

Australian and international cheeses

Pineapple with Jerusalem artichoke, buttermilk sorbet mint and lime
Petite fours to end our meal

Overall I was very impressed, the food was fantastic! I was slightly jealous of the foodgasmic calamari my husband ordered, was impressed by the venison I ordered and surprised myself by ordering the pineapple for dessert.

October 25, 2014

Celebrity chef blokey menu


Guy Fieri Crispy fried pickles with buttermilk dipping sauce
To kick off a weekend of eating and celebrate my husbands birthday, yesterday I cooked up a storm. In between looking after Gabby, fitting in a workout, having a coffee, grocery shopping, buying a birthday present, stopping at Glenhaven for Brewnuts (cronuts) and a quick clean of the house I managed to prepare and cook the below menu which incorporates blokey food from celebrity chefs my husband likes.


Huey's Italian stuffed mushrooms
Starters:
Guy Fieri Crispy fried pickles with buttermilk dipping sauce.
Huey's Italian stuffed mushrooms.

Mains:
Gordon Ramsey's Buttermilk fried chicken.
Ben's menu fancy meat pies.
Heston's crispy potato's.
Jamie's mushy peas.

Dessert:
Brewnuts (cronuts) from The Tuckshop, Glenhaven.
Vanilla ice cream and Lindt chocolate.

Gordon Ramsey's buttermilk fried chicken

Ben's menu fancy meat pies
Preparing, cooking and washing up the hundred and one utensils and appliances I used took a little longer than expected but in the end the labor was worth it!

Jamie's mushy peas

Heston's crispy potato's

Brewnuts (cronuts), The Tuckshop

October 22, 2014

Jamie's Kitchen, Canberra

Selection of Italian bread
Being a past Canberrian I have a soft spot for Canberra and will come to its defence whenever it's mocked for being boring.

Besides being a clean, safe city, which has a beautiful lake, lots of mountains, roundabouts and additional public holidays that we don't get in New South Wales it also has plenty of restaurants.

After a brief visit on Friday night I was glad to see my last point still remains true. It had been some time since my last visit and I must say I was slightly envious of the increased choice of trendy looking restaurants and bars that weren't around when I lived there.

To top the restaurants and bars is Jamie's Kitchen just outside Canberra Centre. Unlike Jamie's Kitchen in Sydney where I always have to wait for a table we got a table for two plus a bulky pram immediately, even better the table was inside as our jackets warm enough for a spring evening in Sydney weren't warm enough for a spring Canberrian night.

The staff were extremely friendly and helpful but not over the top. To start we ordered the Italian bread selection, crispy squid, baked mushrooms and a bottle of Jamie's Vino Frizzante. The squid was perfect. The baked mushrooms covered in cheese which sat on top of a crispy shell was tasty and reminded me of a homemade pizza.

Crispy squid and baked mushrooms
For our mains surprise surprise I ordered a pasta dish. My husband being a big fan of meat ordered the Osco buco. The Osco buco was tender. My lamb and ricotta tortellini was nice. At first sight I thought they mixed up my order of a large pasta with a small one as there didn't seem to be much tortellini on my plate however as I struggled to finish it I knew the problem was my eyes being bigger than my stomach.

Osco Buco
Lamb tortellini with ricotta
For desert we ordered a Pavolva with berries and dark chocolate, it was delicious, the elements worked well together.

Pavlova with berries and dark chocolate
Like usual Jamie's Kitchen didn't disappoint and undoubtedly we will be back.

October 18, 2014

My generous letter box

This week my letterbox was feeling generous, instead of the bills and junk mail it usually contains I received the below items.


1. A pair of shoes I ordered from a shoe party (previously mentioned in my Malteser slice post)



2. Glittery stickers ordered from AtomicArt (Etsy).


3. A restaurant voucher for my husbands birthday dinner, he has no idea where we are going!


4. A movie ticket and thank you letter for posting a review of some recent plumbing work on a review site.


5. A packet of Yates seeds as part of the Abbott's Village Bakery seed promotion.

October 16, 2014

DIY pink love heart chocolate favor bars



I'm going to apologise now if you have seen this post before. Earlier this year I posted these chocolate favors which I made for my daughter's christening on another blog that I had set up when silly me thought I would have the time to run two blogs.

Using pink shimmery paper I bought from a stall at Parklea markets, double sided tape and love heart stickers from the Etsy store Kasoobi I managed to wrap about seventy Moser Roth chocolate bars (Aldi) during one episode of Revenge and half an episode of The Real Housewives of Melbourne.



To cover the Moser Roth print but still allow part of the gold foil to show I cut the paper 10.5 x 8.5cm to make six rectangles per sheet.


I used double sided tape to stick the paper onto the front of the chocolate bar and to seal the back.

 
To finish the chocolate bar I placed the sticker on the front of the chocolate bar.


Quite easy huh and perfect if you don't have the skills or time to design a label.

October 14, 2014

Mid week meal planning


Kikki K monthly planner
Two to three months ago meal planning entered my life and I must admit I like it!
 
Being a novice I haven't yet advanced to the super organised meal planning mum who plans, cooks and freezes a month of meals. Instead I am the mum that concentrates on four to five midweek meals with the hope that I will eat out over the weekend.

To date the positives of meal planning have been a cheaper grocery bill, less trips to the supermarket, minimal food wastage because trust me there isn't much left in the fridge by day four or five, healthier meals that incorporate a good balance of veg, protein and carbs and the occasional gourmet meal followed straight from a recipe.

If you have been thinking of meal planning I suggest you give it a go. To begin it will take some time as you plan what to cook and how much or how little to buy, but once you have got the hang of it you won't regret it.

Using a monthly planner that I bought from Kikki K, I plan meals before I do my weekly grocery shop. For inspiration I often go through my cook books, watch foodie tv shows and yes this is cringe worthy but just like the mum from the movie The Castle I cut recipes out of magazines and paste them into a scrap book!

Here are some meals which often make an appearance on the dinner table:

  •  Steak, sweet potato mash and steamed greens (beans, broccolini)
  •  Vegetarian lasagna
  •  Chicken korma with broccoli, carrot and pumpkin
  •  Chorizo, pumpkin, pea and spinach risotto
  •  Spaghetti with beef mince and finely diced carrot and zuchinni
  •  Grilled salmon, potato chips and mushy peas
  •  Sweet and sour pork belly with capsicium, carrot, onion and rice
  •  Chicken breast, cauliflower mash and grilled asparagus
  •  Honey mustard pork fillets, baked baby potato halves and rocket, cherry tomato, pear salad.
  •  Calamari, rocket, feta and lemon risotto
  •  Creamy spaghetti with zucchini and peas
  •  Mediterranean fish stew with crusty bread
  •  Chicken, avocado, haloumi, cherry tomato and crusty bread salad
  •  Tuna steaks, sliced potatos, onion, tomato and capers, mushy avocado and peas, salsa verde
  •  Thai chicken balls with salad
  •  Beef burgers with the works and potato chips
  •  Calamari with cous cous, lemon, feta, capsicum and greek yoghurt


Tuna steak topped with salsa verde, mushy avocado and peas, grilled potato slices with onion, tomato and capers

Vegetarian lasagna
Beef burger with the works, potato chips with ketchup and mayo

Calamari with cous cous, lemon, feta, capsicum and greek yoghurt

Chicken salad

Mushroom, kale and parmesan risotto

Beef fajitas
T-bone, green salad, potato's and salsa

October 9, 2014

Twenty one pairs of heels!


Style over comfort, a pair of Leona Edmiston that I love!
According to a recent survey conducted by DUO boots the average women owns twenty one pairs of shoes including nine that they don't wear.

This statement doesn't shock me. Twenty one sound like a lot of shoes but if you are like me and can't throw out your dingiest pair of heels or have spent more money on a pair of shoes worth by replacing its soles and heels more than once twenty one pairs can quickly double or triple.


To prove my point after a quick raid of my wardrobe and the linen cupboard, yes that's where I keep most of my shoes, I found over twenty one pairs of heels.

Twenty one pairs of heels
As you can tell by the photo there are a few pairs that probably need to find a new home, being the bin, but with all the memories attached to those shoes how could I! As for the pairs that have only seen light once or twice, they are being saved for the magical day that they will be worn. I wonder how my other heels including my bridal heels which I haven't bothered picking up from my parents place since I moved out of home are going...

The heels I wore whilst I was pregnant - wedges and chunky heels
A pair that are waiting for the magical day that they will be worn
My luxury heels - Jimmy Choo and LV
My bridal heels
If you have a shoe hoarding story that you would like to share please do.

October 7, 2014

Museli, nut and cranberry balls


 

I must admit my snacking habits have gone downhill. Gone are the pre baby days of almonds, carrot sticks and fruit, hello are the days of biscuits, chocolate and coffee.

So last week wanting to satisfy my sweet tooth with something a little healthier I made a batch of protein balls with what I could find in the pantry.

The balls were quick and easy to make. With the below quantities I rolled eighteen balls that went so quickly days later I had to make another batch.


Ingredients:

1 cup museli (I used Carmen's fruit and nut museli)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried mix of fruit, seeds and nuts
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp nutella
3 tbsp sweet honey nut spread (you can use peanut butter and honey)
1 scoop (30g) chocolate protein powder
1/2 cup desiccated coconut

Steps:

1. Add all ingredients except for the desiccated coconut to a food processor and mix till all combined (mixture should be moist).
2. Using a tablespoon of mixture shape into a ball.
3. Roll ball over a flat surface covered with the desiccated coconut.
4. Place balls onto a tray lined with baking paper and pop into fridge.
5. Once set transfer balls into a container and store in fridge.