Ode to Kate

On the eve before a certain Kate marries her prince, it was in fact another Kate that was spoken about in excited tones between friends over last weekend’s Easter lunch. In between caramelised poached apples and cheese souffle; conversation had digressed to the treasure trove of online shopping and all of its rewards and bargains to be had. Different websites were tossed about as we spoke about the availability of international brands and shipping costs to us down under and I informed the others about my weekly activities of hopping onto the likes of shopbop, asos or net-a-porter for a fashionista fix that is unlike anything I can tap into locally. Never one for falling in line with high street fashion, I love trawling through these websites to view the alternative.


Recently for a close girlfriend’s birthday; I volunteered to source the perfect present. After much trawling; both online and in-store, I came back to the Kate which was discussed at Easter. This Kate is fashion-forward without being too on-trend. She can be described in many ways but to me; she is bold and colourful, yet always remains classic and elegant and consistently sits on top of my wishlist as an ongoing love. This Kate is Kate Spade. Still not readily available in Australia and with only a small selection popping up in Pink Zebra, David Jones and Papier D’Amour; Kate Spade is quintessentially New York.

The present I eventually found on Nordstrom’s website suited my girlfriend’s tastes down to a tee. It is a clutch that has a “Read all about it” feel to it as it largely resembles Saturday’s rolled up newspaper; yet has full functionality to store all of one’s needs for a night out painting the town red. I fell in love with it the moment I came across it and almost didn’t wrap it up and hand it over! So as one Kate will soon have all eyes on her as she says “I do”, I dedicate this post to the other Kate; Kate Spade ~ who just happens to be yet another love of mine that I simply wanted to share with you.

Published in: on April 28, 2011 at 4:02 am  Leave a Comment  
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Page turners

LOL; no, not laugh out loud but Lady of Leisure. That is my serene title at the moment as I wait patiently for the impending arrival of the birth of my baby. I am at that “anytime now” stage so trying to make the most out of my LOL status; whilst doing an array of activities to keep my mind supple and in a non-vegetable state as I wind down from work and try and sit still for longer than 5 minutes. Mr ELG has this strength; I apparently do not.

Since mum taught me to read at the ripe old age of 2, I have always been one to have many books on the go. Never a one-book-woman, I find that books of many genres have always been able to whisk me away from the mundane. I love the imaginary landscapes, the truth of numerous voices, the colours and themes and the many characters that you discover are your best friends, worst enemies or just passer-bys. And if I were ever to be stuck on a desert island and it was a pre-meditated journey so I could take a bag of books with me; this is the list in no particular order (which is also ever-changing):

  1. The Solitaire Mystery, by Jostein Gaarder
  2. Perfume, by Patrick Suskind
  3. The Millennium trilogy, by Stieg Laarson
  4. One Day, by David Nicholls
  5. Child 44, by Tom Rob Smith
  6. The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho
  7. Prospect Park West, by Amy Sohn

Right now, however in my LOL phase, I am re-reading the finer points of Active Birth Skills, by Juju Sundin and Sarah Murdoch to prepare myself for that L word that I am about to face and embrace. In addition, I have Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, by Amy Chua on the go. Through her honest style of writing, I am literally laughing out loud as she writes about the distinctive style of Chinese parenting. This is bringing up memories of my own upbringing and how I am running in the other direction! I discovered my local library last week and have a spy novel on the go too (the secret lives of spies is ever intriguing) and let’s not forget the book club book I was supposed to have finished last month; How it Feels, by Brendan Cowell. Loved him in the TV series “Love My Way” but am finding his style of writing extremely confronting.


However it is the magazine MINDFOOD which takes the cake for the Page Turner award of the moment. Yes, I think I am one of ‘those people’ keeping the print industry alive! The current issue has Rebecca Gibney on the cover and despite my many books that I have yet to finish, I have not been able to put this magazine down since its weekend purchase. I usually flick through a magazine cover to cover and then go back to the articles of interest and feel time slip away. MINDFOOD has found the right balance of food and fashion, editorial and advertising, travel and puzzles, gossip and reality. No longer thinking should I purchase that stripy dress…now thinking about how and where do I subscribe?!!

Addiction to stripes

I was shopping with my sister the other day and she said that everytime she sees something stripy, she thinks of me. We were in Trenery and I had picked up a black and white striped tote bag to look at. I laughed at her but then realised she was pretty spot on.

It’s a fact that most days I am wearing something with stripes. Whether they’re blue and white, black and white, red and white, rainbow striped or multi-coloured; I love the look! Not only do I adore wearing stripes but everything around me also falls in line. My quilt cover is a black and white ticking stripe, my coffee cups are red and white striped, I eat off blue and white T.G. Green Cornishware plates and bowls and whilst in Noosa recently, I bought a collection of shirts for Mr ELG; all stripes of course! Sharing this addiction with Mr ELG, we even had nautical chic as our wedding dress code. Knowing what we’re like, many of our guests interpreted this well, paid homage to our addiction in various ways and subsequently a lot of our photos and memories are filled with all things striped.

So why write about stripes now? Well I have recently come across this divine Karina Grimaldi dress on shopbop and felt the need to share and share alike. I have a similar one only it is 3/4 sleeved and not a maxi and I love the flexibility of jersey, its comfort and feel on the skin and ability to dress it up or down. Still pondering whether I should press purchase and go to checkout…?

 

Published in: on April 12, 2011 at 8:13 am  Leave a Comment  
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BEST bircher muesli ever!!

After ordering a great bircher muesli a couple of weekends ago from Clipper Cafe in Glebe; I came home and googled “best bircher muesli recipe”. This returned quite a few responses from different recipe sites such as Taste, Allrecipes.com and bestrecipes.com. Jamie Oliver had a pukka one come up as did Gordon Ramsay. I took a look at most of the pages and started thinking what do I love about bircher? Well, I love its sogginess, non-dry texture and will tend to ask and add milk to get the consistency right. I love grated apple mixed through it although a rhubarb/strawberry compote has worked well too in the past. I love the crunch of nuts also mixed through bircher whether they’re roasted hazelnuts, almonds or pistachios. I love a drizzle of honey for natural sweetness. I don’t mind if there is a scattering of sunflower seeds or LSA stirred through either and I prefer the taste of thick greek yogurt as an added dollop to finish it off.

So with Saturday breakfast not too far off I thought I would enlighten you with what I think is the BEST bircher muesli ever and I have a confession to make; I have made and eaten this three times this week already. Mr ELG also scored it a perfect 10. It incorporates most of my loves noted above with some added extras and is super easy to make the night before and whip together within minutes the moment you wake up. The result is a deliciously scrumptious, textured, slightly tart and yet ever so sweet wholesome breakfast to eat that makes you crave for more as soon as you have eaten the last spoonful and feel good about yourself at the same time!

Ingredients:

2 cups of rolled oats

Juice from 2 lemons

1 cup of water

2 handfuls of almonds – lightly roasted and chopped

1/2 granny smith apple – grated

6 dried apricots – diced

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon per person

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg per person

2-3 Tablespoons thick greek/natural yoghurt per person

Start this recipe the night before. Mix together oats, lemon juice and water. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Per person, spoon 2-3 large tablespoons of the soaked oats into separate bowls. Divide all ingredients equally and place on top of the oats (reserving some of the grated apple) and mix ingredients together so they’re just combined. Garnish with remaining apple, eat, hopefully love and enjoy!

 

Published in: on April 8, 2011 at 6:43 am  Comments (5)  
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burnt orange

orange ~ Fanta, Valencia, Hermes, tandoori chicken, Autumn, Julia Gillard’s hair, butternut pumpkin.

burnt orange ~ Uluru.

In a past life, I used to be a tour guide and lead groups of up to 50 American students around the Central parts and the East Coast of Australia. I will never forget my first sunset at “the rock”. A local was passionately telling me that the naked eye alone would not be able to recognise and see all of the many shades of colour change and that I would have to have my finger ready to tap away at my camera and take at least 10 shots per minute to see one of the most beautiful sights. Lo and behold, when I returned home and developed my photos (it was not quite the digital age yet), my 30 or so photos of this impeccable sunset showed a myriad of shades of red, pink, purple and finally, a glowing burnt orange as the dust settled and Mr Moon came out from his hiding place.

As I was driving down Middle Head Road, Mosman yesterday morning on my way to the aptly named Burnt Orange; this vivid memory was a beam in my thoughts. I have heard many things about this cafe/shop but given its location is somewhat off the beaten track, I hadn’t been there until yesterday when the showers had set into Sydney and Balmoral beach was not shaping up to be the best wet-weather destination. Located in an old golf house, with a sweeping verandah wrapping its way around the homestead; I walked through the store to make my way out the back. Within moments, I saw beyond the headlands, a magical view over Sydney Harbour despite the steady drizzle of rain. A couple of tables were already filled with “ladies of leisure” and parents and new babies in tow. One of my companions for the Burnt Orange visit was a soon-to-be-three-year-old-going-on-thirty-year-old who immediately focused on a pink chair and that just had to be “our table”. Mixing kitsch with laid-back, I could only envisage this place on a weekend packed to the rafters with locals and visitors craning for a table and latte. But on a somewhat wet Tuesday morning, Burnt Orange had a relaxed, c’mon-in feel to it and a couple of hours passed by as my girlfriend and I made our way through an assortment of eggs, toast, scones and brownies with no feeling of being rushed to go and free up our table.

Also attracting the eye as I sipped on my delectable chai latte was an array of locally sourced gourmet foods in bottles and bags. Easter eggs and rabbits were on display and I could feel my senses being enveloped with every breath.

Finishing up, we headed downstairs to the homewares part of the store and I have to admit I was in a state of bliss. It was lovely to see the stock was not stock-standard yet unusual and different and I could imagine any piece having a place in my home. Upstairs housed more goodies to entice your wallet opening; cute kids clothes, lazy girly pyjamas, cozy embroidered blankets, colourful and witty cards, coffee table books on everything from French bistro fare to Givenchy shoes and my girlfriend and I did not succeed in leaving the place empty-handed.

For a destination off the beaten track; I will definitely go back soon if not for more perusing through the beautiful store for a “just because” gift or to sip another seriously-good chai latte. Burnt Orange; no longer associated with just a big bloody rock.

Burnt Orange @ 1109 Middle Head Road, Mosman NSW 2088

Published in: on April 6, 2011 at 12:03 am  Comments (1)  
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Autumn’s arrival calls for Caramelised Onion and Potato bread puddings

Autumn; leaves turning orange, yellow and red. Clocks turning time backward and air becoming crisper and cooler. Nights are already dark at 6pm and no more long summer nights. Boots, scarves and pea coats are in store and my new Donna Hay magazine makes a timely arrival into my mailbox. However it’s not the donuts that entice me into the kitchen (cover photo) but a recipe that encompasses the heavenly words of caramelisation and puddings together. To me, autumn and winter signal the heartier and heavier meal; bakes, casseroles, slow-cooked stews…food to eat and devour that keeps the heart beating and soul ever so warm while the air chills down outside.

Making a couple of changes to the DH recipe; I used a 6-hole muffin pan and Pecorino over Parmesan. I also made my own caramelised onion from two small brown onions sauteed in olive oil with a bit of brown sugar and a dash of water added at the end of 20 or so minutes to complete this jammy goodness. I also had some leftover kipfler potatoes and used these instead of the prescribed chats. But sticking true to most of the recipe (see below) resulted in the most divine savoury bread puddings that partnered perfectly with a slightly thick roast pumpkin soup for a Sunday night session that also calls for an early night to bed to get the most out of that extra hour!

Caramelised onion and potato bread puddings

300g chat potatoes, thinly sliced

10 sprigs of thyme

Olive Oil for drizzling and brushing

4 large slices of thickly cut sourdough bread

20g butter, softened

quarter cup of caramelised onion (store bought/fresh)

4 eggs

125ml milk

25g finely grated Parmesan

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Place potatoes and thyme on baking tray. Drizzle with oil and roast for 20 minutes or until potatoes are crisp and golden. Spread the bread with butter and caramelised onion and tear into rough pieces. Reduce oven temperature to 160 degrees Celsius. Whisk eggs, milk, Parmesan, salt and pepper together. Cut 20cm squares of non-stick baking paper, brush each square with olive oil and press each square into lightly greased muffin tin. Arrange potato and bread mixture in the paper cases and pour over equal amounts of egg mixture. Top with thyme sprigs and bake for 40 minutes or until golden. Serve warm or cold.

See Donna Hay Issue 56 ~ Autumn; page 98

Enjoy because Mr ELG and I most certainly did!

Published in: on April 3, 2011 at 11:47 am  Leave a Comment  
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