Love a whole lot of ME time

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Two hours ago I had a layer of clay lathered all over my skin as one part of the Rapt treatment at Endota Day Spa in the Hunter Valley. Jaime, my therapist, was halfway through telling me that clay draws the toxins to the skin when I think I switched off and realised I was smack bang in the midst of ME time and had another 24 hours to go.
Mr ELG and I have escaped the Sydney madhouse for a night away from MM. Our first full night away and while it’s only taken a couple of hours to realise I no longer need to tend to the every whim and need of a 13 month old child, I admit why didn’t I do this sooner!!
Driving down the F3 I just loved being able to have a full adult conversation, listen to music in peace, eat a bowl of soup while it’s still hot and most of all succumb to a 2 hour body treatment where the focus is solely ME!
So now I sit here in front of a smoldering fire with two warm scones to nibble on complete with a peppermint tea, mulberry jam and vanilla bean cream. I have the latest issues of Luxury Travel and Masterchef magazine to flick through and another two hours of blissful ME time whilst Mr ELG undergoes the same relaxing 2 hour body treatment at the hands of Jaime.
I now look forward to a yummy dinner where I don’t have to ask if there’s a high chair available and sleep which ends with a sleep in past 7am.
And finally I love having a sister who MM can stay with and become one of the gang with her other kids whilst mum and dad can spend time just being us.

Published in: on June 10, 2012 at 7:16 am  Leave a Comment  
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A giant’s hot cross bun

Oh and forgot to tell you about breakfast as here at ELG central, Easter is one of our most loved holidays and the three of us decided to get a head start on the hot cross bun intake. I bought this yesterday at another love; Bourke Street Bakery. Their bakers have obviously had a bit of fun in the kitchen and may have taken some inspiration from James and the Giant peach as this hot cross bun is certainly not small. It was the size of a standard dinner plate and after warming it in the oven, the waft of cinnamon and nutmeg filled my home and with some butter; breakfast was a big slice of heaven. If you’re in Sydney and love a good hot cross bun, this one doesn’t disappoint so go and grab one today!

Bourke Street Bakery @ 633 Bourke Street Surry Hills, NSW 2010

 

Published in: on April 5, 2012 at 12:16 am  Leave a Comment  
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Eat Love Go dream…no pizza involved!

Saw this on Saturday and thought Huh??? Thought I might have to go and have a chat to the owner about some copyright issues… 🙂

But as I walked away; my mind began to wander and maybe this whole blog thing could one day lead to a little shop that I would love to own and run. Called Eat Love Go. A little cafe with vases of fresh flowers everywhere…where I could make my favourite ricotta hotcakes with chocolate honeycomb butter or on every second day I could alternate and make my apple pancakes with cinnamon yogurt and golden syrup….whatever I love to eat! There will be the Barossa Breakfast blend by Scullery Made Tea of course, as that’s another love. And if pancakes are not taking my fancy then I will always whip up some of my Chocolate and Apricot gourmet muesli inspired by another loveFarmer Jo.

And don’t worry I do see there to be more than just breakfast on the menu but I need to do some more thinking and dreaming…

And what about the GO? Well, I’ve recently taken up some freelance writing in Travel (have a look at Travel Hunch if you’re curious) and if you have read some of my previous posts, you will know that on my travels here and there, I do like to pick up things which remind me of where I have been. So it might be some Carthusia perfume from Capri on the shelves next to some hot pink Pretty Ballerina ballet flats from Cannes, placed next to a shantung silk scarf from Launceston….a small selection of loves evolving over time!

Well…just a thought of mine and thanks for reading!

 

Published in: on April 1, 2012 at 11:05 pm  Comments (1)  
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Friday night cooking

There is something about Friday night cooking that I’m not a fan of. I just opened the fridge, then the freezer trying to rumble up some inspiration to get the juices flowing for what to cook tonight but as always there was zilch, nudder, nothing.

Someone also made a comment to me during the week that there hasn’t been a lot of go and eat posts of new places on ELG for a while and with no excuses to offer you or reports that I have been in a cave due to hibernation (wrong season!), I honestly put it down to being a mum and having a small fry on the go. After too many stares from people when MM made a small shout during entree or having a fair few people trip over the wheels of the pram even though I have tried to shove it in the corner – I admit I have become one of those mums who just prefers to be at home for meal times, where MM can scream as much as he likes and leave the staring to Mr ELG and I .

But last Friday night, I put that all to one side and braved the outside once again to try my luck at Pizza Moncur…dinner for the ELGs in the heart of Woollahra. Diagonally opposite the Woollahra hotel and next door to the well loved Big Mamas, Pizza Moncur has suburb sophistication written all over it with its black and wooden design. A lovely French waiter pointed us to a table kerbside with plenty of room for MM and his stroller to sit on the pavement. The menu had both the usuals (four cheeses) and the unusuals and between the two of us, we had one of each. Mr ELG can not go past a Quattro Formaggi although I note this one had haloumi which is on the rare side and I chose a Mediterranean style consisting of red peppers, scallops, chorizo and chili jam.

Pizzas were served on a square black slate and the base is thin with texture with extravagant amounts of topping. Both pizzas were in one word; divine. Clear tastes, hot and crisp just out of the woodfired oven and the accompanying friendly service finished off the night. There were no stares from other patrons as MM was on his best behavior and as we ate piece by piece, we noticed that the restaurant also does a roaring trade of takeaway on foot and scooters delivering boxes to the door.

Hmmm and as the clock approaches 3pm, I am still wondering what’s for dinner tonight?

Happy Friday!

Pizza Moncur @ 101 Queen Street, Woollahra NSW 2025

Published in: on March 23, 2012 at 3:37 am  Leave a Comment  
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salt and caramel

Salt and caramel. It’s up there with the best of food marriages….lamb and rosemary, chocolate and raspberry, egg and bacon. And truth be told, it’s all I can think about it this morning and when it’s not even midday on this glorious sunny Friday and I have read the phrase “salted caramel” twice already, well I think the food gods are trying to tell me something! Correct me if I’m wrong…. 🙂

First sighting: clicking into my Flipboard app this morning on my iPad and reading the latest Polka Dot Bride blog post. Miss Polka Dot has willingly shared Baroque Bistro’s recipe of their beautiful salted caramel macarons. I stare at the recipe and the photo takes me back to October 31, 2009 to be precise. The date of our Engagement party. Mr ELG and I had a “Party in the Park” at the Column gardens in Centennial Park in Sydney, Australia. The roses were in full bloom, the hedges freshly cut and the grass was soft and green. Mr ELG and I had just come back from a Paris trip where Laduree macarons were on our agenda each day. As Laduree has no Southern Hemisphere store, Baroque Bistro had the next best macarons (I prefer the delectable taste from the Rock’s Baroque kitchens over Zumbo any day but that’s my personal preference!) and if I recall correctly, I think I picked up 250 macarons that morning struggling to hold back from nibbling on a few. Salted Caramel was one of the flavours and take my word for it or get yourself down to Baroque Bistro today; the flavour combination is exquisite and as I write this post, know I am salivating!

Second sighting: while MM is snoozing and I have a spare ten minutes between chores, I grab the latest edition of Delicious magazine; Issue 113 – March 2012. In their latest foodiefile. there’s a write up on the latest cafe on the Surry Hills scene; The Hills. As I scan the short paragraph, my eyes find their way to “salted caramel shake”. Ooooohh I think; can I get there today with MM in tow? A shake with THE marriage of flavours today of all days would go down so well, so smooth, so satisfying on this summer’s day. OH I MUST GO!

If you need me, you know where I will be….happy Friday!

Baroque Bistro @ 88 George Street (corner of Hickson Road) The Rocks, Sydney Australia 2000

The Hills @ 61 Albion Street, Surry Hills NSW Australia 2010

Published in: on February 17, 2012 at 12:18 am  Comments (2)  
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the poets, a yellow teapot and dumplings

Long title but quick post….

I’ve found another great dumpling place to go to and it’s tucked away in Top Ryde of all places! The restaurant is called The Poets and gives nothing away in its name but is situated in the alfresco area of the shopping centre is a restaurant with excellent quality Northern Chinese food at reasonable prices too. Unlike other dumpling haunts, The Poets is nicely decorated with comfortable custom made chairs, blue and white oriental cushions and has a wall entirely made out of chopsticks.

Tea was served in a stunning yellow teapot with matching tea cups which reminded me of a teapot that my mum has stashed somewhere. Note to self; must look for that and ask if I can borrow…?

And well the dumplings themselves were steaming hot, fresh and it was a lovely generous serving. MM also thought highly of them as an alternative baby food for lunch!

I told you – short and sweet.

The Poets @ Top Ryde Shopping Centre; corner Devlin and Blaxland Road Ryde 2112

Published in: on February 16, 2012 at 4:03 am  Comments (1)  
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The Post with the most!

It’s rare for me to write a post that ticks all 3 boxes but here’s a wrap up of yesterday…

EAT – to start with…oven baked sourdough and prosecco, moving onto fresh, clean tastes in salads such as  yummy Insalata Caprese with ripe red thickly cut tomatoes and creamy mozzarella slices, tuna nicoise salad with poached eggs, bresaola with rocket and shaved pecorino, cucumber ribbon, pine nuts and ricotta and warm stuffed eggplant. Pasta was next with a bolognese penne and a seared tuna and parsley orecchiette before mains arrived of seared swordfish with tomatoes, capers and extra virgin olive oil and crispy pork belly accompanied by lemon wedges and rocket. Dessert could not be forgotten and for Mr ELG and I, this was arguably our highlight….Eton mess with dollops of cream, fresh vanilla bean and plump sweet strawberries followed by a selection of cheese; both creamy and hard with pear and crackers. A cappuccino finished me off!

LOVE – family on hand to look after MM (BIT’s new codename aka Mini Mister), sharing a table with 14 closest and dearest pals over a long Sunday summer lunch where conversation flowed, laughter was bursting at the seams, yummy food was there to be divulged and life couldn’t be sweeter.

GO – Cafe Sopra above Fratelli Fresh on Danks Street, Waterloo Sydney. The private room where the Italian feast never stops.

Published in: on January 30, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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The triple cooked TURKISH TORTE

Everyone has their favourite things to cook. The recipes that just work and you can do with your eyes shut. The no-fails you can rely on at the last minute.  So when I was reading this month’s Delicious magazine and came across a photo of a beautifully decorated chocolate cake, I would never have thought that this recipe would become one of those on repeat. Primarily due to the ingredient list which are not your stock standard pantry staples with chocolate halva and pomegranate seeds on the list. But when the reaction after the first go and serving it up was silence, then seconds and even some people requesting thirds and no leftovers; all I could do was smile.

It was the beautiful photo that sealed the deal although it also initially met my other criteria in needing to be gluten-free. Sourcing the ingredients list sent me on a goose chase around Sydney finding chocolate halva at Russkis deli in Bondi and edible rose petals at Herbies in Rozelle and with Mr ELG and BIT sent out for a morning walk, the oven preheated to 170 degrees, the mix was surprisingly easy to whip up and bang together. With a Kitchenaid this recipe is a one-bowl wonder – love that!

As it baked in the oven I admit that I wasn’t too sure how it would turn out….too dry, too sweet, not sweet enough?! And after it emerged out of the oven, it definitely did not look like its photo just yet. More like a Cinderella waiting for the fairy godmother to swing on by to wave some magic. But with the magic of chocolate sauce, freshly torn mint leaves, scattered edible rose petals and pomegranate seeds; this TURKISH TORTE was the belle of the ball.

I cooked the Turkish Torte for Christmas and dressed it with cherries and Pariya Pashmak green pistachio fairy floss as well to give it an extra festive kick. And as I go to cook this recipe the third time this month (this time it’s a birthday cake), I am smiling again as I remember driving home with Mr ELG after eating the cake for the first time. We were chatting as you do, breaking down the night with our in-the-car analysis and when I asked what he thought of dessert, one word came out of his mouth. Humdinger! ” Humdinger!” I cried?!! “Yes, humdinger” he repeated, “the best ever chocolate cake”. It was my turn to smile and think I love you Mr ELG!

Published in: on December 30, 2011 at 9:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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the kindle, the key and Paris in a different light

I recently completed The Travel List Challenge and out of the 100 places to go before you die, I discovered I’ve already been to 27 of them. Ok, I thought – over a quarter of the way there in my 31 years of life.

A while ago now, Mr ELG and I did the Great Ocean Road in Victoria and after the memorable turns and twists of the road, we ended up at Port Fairy for the night in this gorgeous stay called Oscar’s. Bushes of lavender greeted us along the path to reception and I vividly remember the dark paneled flooring leading out to the verandah where we took breakfast the next morning which overlooked the inlet with all of its boats bobbing up and down. Over eggs and OJ, I recall having a conversation with a fellow traveler about how I could definitely come back here again to which he replied “Oh no, there are too many places to see in the world to visit them twice.”

Years later and with my new gadget in hand ~ the kindle; I am completely immersed in the book Sarah’s Key. Set mainly in Paris covering two time periods, I read about the streets of the Marais and the secrets of all the buildings. I read about Sarah and her horrific struggles during 1942 and grow fond of the character, Julia who is living a completely different life in 2004. Reading about Paris, I think of the many times I have been to the city and will continue to go back. Not using the traveler’s ethos, I have been to Paris 4 or 5 times and it was only last month that we were back there again taking BIT there for the first time. We rented out an apartment in the heart of the Marais on Rue Rambuteau giving the stroller a good run for its money as its wheels ran over and over the uneven cobblestone ground on a daily basis. Mr ELG and I love to explore the city’s arrondissements and get lost and found again and again.
Yet it was reading my new book, back home in Sydney that from afar I was seeing the city of lights in a completely different shade. Gone was the excitement and fondness I feel when I think of Paris and instead I felt sick to my stomach whilst reading a fiction piece that referenced a real-life event that took place in Paris in July, 1942. In all of my education, I had never heard or learnt of the events known as the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup and when I asked Mr ELG if he knew about it, he said it rang a bell but he could offer no further detail. Admittedly, I have never been a WWII history buff but in the way this book was describing the numbers of people taken by the French on both 16 and 17 of July, 1942 I was in disbelief and felt ashamed of my ignorance that I had no knowledge of this topic and had to learn about it from Wikipedia instead. I finished the book in a weekend and now 10 days later, it is still on my mind. And I know that when I next go to Paris and walk through the streets of the Marais, I will stop to think about the 13, 152 people taken those mornings and feel grateful to have no such worries in life as those people did during those crazy years in our history.

 

 

Published in: on December 19, 2011 at 2:49 am  Leave a Comment  
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A Rosemary bush and maple roasted carrots

Saignon; a picturesque medieval village perched high on top of a hill in the South of France; my home for three weeks from October through to November of this year. Picture a house in Provence and this one will be the mirror image with its light blue shutters adorning all windows, rows of lavender as you navigate up the driveway, rustic wrought iron furniture where I took a glass of wine to read a book and sweeping views over an autumnal landscape fit for a painting. Framing the house there was a collection of rosemary bushes. And as I came and went from the house each day; the wind was always filled with a strong tinge of rosemary.

Every day there was a market on in some quaint village around the local area. Needing no excuse to go and explore, each one had a different feel to it and its wares were always slightly different. Yes, there were the endless tablecloths, ruffled scarves, bouquets of dried lavender but unlike back home where it’s same old same old, I had this constant buzz and desire to be in the thick of it. The wow factor however lay in their displays of fresh produce. Never before had I seen mushrooms so yellow or artichokes so green. Strawberries were plump red bursting with sweetness and if that didn’t take your fancy there were also gooseberries, currants and loganberries to be savoured. The fresh food before me  had me in a trance and I craved to cook up a storm.

Dinner on the first night was mine to cook. Armed with some bunches of baby orange carrots and some just cut rosemary, I cooked a roast beef that didn’t last too long once out of the oven. The baby carrots were roasted with maple syrup to enhance their sweet flavour and the baby potatoes were crunchy with the right amount of fluff inside. Just how I love them.

I think back now to those three weeks and it all seems like a beautiful dream but if there was one thing that I came home with was the re-ignited passion to cook. To cook seasonally, to eat fresh and to do it all from the heart.

 

Published in: on November 24, 2011 at 2:26 am  Leave a Comment  
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