Tuesday, November 10, 2009


What happens when your mother goes into hospital, your husband starts mega-marking-marathon 2009, you are restarting your PhD in two weeks and gearing up accordingly and your baby starts to teethe again?

Yup, life interferes with blogging.

Thankfully, all of the life stuff is either positive or manageable (and the Mum in hospital is nothing serious), and I do have a magazine selected, bought and ready to go.

Perhaps tomorrow.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Smashin' Fashion

There's a general idea that when women dress up, particularly in something very fashionable (read: stupid), they're dressing for other women who get that ultra high waisted jeans are so on point and cool, not for the men who think that Jessica Simpson is wearing unflattering Mom jeans.

In the same vein are dress/business shorts, fascinators and basically anything that Sarah Jessica Parker wore on Sex and the City.

Now added to that is this little gem from Who - in the who got it right section:

The dress is Louis Vuitton, and Who concludes that Kerry Washington (on the left) beat out Rhiannon.   Now I concede that the sleeveless version is slightly less ugly, but I really do think the answer to who wore it right is no-one!  Let's see - a skirt that would make even the skinniest heroin chic model look hippy, a shiny silver want to be Jetsons top that doesn't fit these girls with their - ahem, less bountiful chests, and I cannot imagine how it would hold up to breasts of any substance, and the odd stomach ruching that just makes it look like a seam has bunched wrong.  

Who says Rhiannon's biggest blunder was her boots:  "the length of her boots cuts off her legs and makes them look smaller."  I don't love the boots, but they're not my most hated thing about this outfit.  Big, shiny, silver sleeves aside, there's also the matter of the knuckleduster - I mean ring:

I'd make a you don't want to get into a fight with Rhiannon joke here, but I fear it would be in just a bit too bad taste.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Life! Death! Prizes!

Now this blog does mean I buy a magazine a week.  Some, like Gourmet, I get anyway.  Some, like Who, I'll read anyway.  Some, like Classic Tractor, I would have never bought but am so, so glad I did.

But I stumbled across a magazine in the newsagency that is remarkable for two things.  Firstly, it makes Who look like Pulitzer prize winning material.  Secondly, I've found the limit for what I just cannot spend my money on - blog or no blog.

The magazine is an UK publication (that's the first warning) and is called Chat!.  The subtitle is 'Life!  Death!  Prizes!'.  No, I'm not making this up.  It contains gruesome "real life" stories - featuring sex, babies, sex, death, sex, murder, sex, drugs and so on.  The weirder the better it appears.  The publisher describes it as "cheeky, irreverent and fun", but I prefer this article's take on it.

The issue I leafed through at the newsagency had a horrific variety of stories.  I'm not surprised there's been complaints in the past about the content.  For the sake of your stomachs, I'm not going to go into detail about the stories I read.  Suffice to say that the words "superglue" "sex change" "DIY" and "dribbling hole" should never, ever be linked in the same article.  Sadly, they were.

Mixed messages, much?

As you may have gathered from the cover shot on Monday, this week's Who has a weight loss focus.

Kelly Osborne has lost 20 kg.

Alanis Morisette has lost 10 kg.

Sophie Monk has apparently lost an undisclosed amount of weight, but I can't tell the difference between the before and after photos except that she is wearing a bikini in one:

Trista Ryan (she of the only one to actually find love on The Bachelorette fame) and Melissa Joan Hart have both lost baby weight.  Coincidentally, both (according to Who, at least) are the same height (1.57m) and both were about the same weight after pregnancy - 69kg for Trista and 70kg for Melissa.  Trista says "I saw that number and I was like "Oh, God - how am I going to lose it?".  Given that she gained just a smidge over the recommended pregnancy weight gain, and given she was (according to Who) 50 kg before birth, it seems sad that a skinny woman gaining a normal amount of weight to, you know, sustain a baby, is seen as extreme.  But hey, she lost the weight, so Who celebrates.

And in the midst of all this weight loss, we have the recipe for the week.


That's right, filo pastry, butter laden, honey dripping, nut filled delicious and calorific baklava.  To up the weight loss sabotage, Who has an add for coffee flavoured Baileys (mm, cream and alcohol!) in the corner which it suggests serving over vanilla icecream. 

I just hope Kelly, Alana, Trista and Melissa don't see it.

Monday, November 2, 2009

From Gourmand to Gossip Girls

1.  Things I learnt from Gourmet Traveller
  • Some things (I'm looking at you, parmesan marshmallows) are better off left at restaurants.
  • I may be able to cook the food, but I'm still too bogan for the accompanying lifestyle.
  • A well flavoured, simple pea soup takes a lot of work.  Deceptively simple, as it happens.
  • A week of eating Gourmet Traveller food is surprisingly light on the wallet - at least, the recipes I chose were.
  • And not too unhealthy.  Mind you, I never did get around to the chocolate peanut butter fondants with salted caramel icecream.  I do have all the necessary ingredients, so that may be just a matter of time.
2.  A new Magazine!  (Well, it is Monday after all).

We're going more mainstream this week.  A big warm welcome to... Who!  (Who?  No, Who!  What?  No, Who!  I asked *you* who?  I told you, Who!  Who's on first?)  

Our first piece of news reporting from Who is the coverage of the premiere of Michael Jackson's estate's last cash-in - uh, I mean film, This Is It.

Who reports that 'many guests... wore a sombre look and black to honour the memory of the pop legend'.

Oh yes.  Because nothing says sombre, respect and honour like Paris Hilton in gold safety pins.

It's going to be a classy week.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Things are getting fishy.

A recipe for a perfect Saturday night.


Some slippery little sardines

An overactive parsley bush

A spot of outside cooking

And make grilled sardine chimichurri.

Keep the barbecue fired up, chargrill some red onion then add

Fresh roasted crushed hazlenuts


Some more of that herby goodness

For a grilled red onion salad with hazlenut aillade.

Finally, some plump pretty Queensland scallops on the half shell

And a butter garlic dressing

A few minutes on the barbecue hotplate, assemble all and there is a spread to enjoy

A jealous dog

And two very contented foodies.

All recipes are from the "Smokin" section of the November 2009 Gourmet Traveller.

A fitting end to a week of fancy cooking.   It's a good thing we did this now, because in a few weeks Tony will end up savouring his sardines for a while longer - he's doing Movember and will, if his blog is any indication, soon have a very silly moustache.  If you'd like to support him, and the cause of men's health and dealing with prostate cancer specifically,  you can donate here.

Friday, October 30, 2009

It's a love/hate relationship.

Although my collection would suggest otherwise, there are some things about Gourmet Traveller that I dislike.

Number one on that list is the branding of it as a "luxury" magazine.  I know the food is luxurious (although often not that expensive - the agar agar for the parmesan marshmallows was 80c.  An affordable experiment) but it irritates me that this translates to an expectation the rest of your life will be equally luxurious (and these extras do have the pricetag to accompany them).

Exhibit A:  This month's Gourmet has a section on champagne.  Oh Good, thinks I, who have been known to enjoy a glass (or two) of bubbles on the odd occasion (or even occasion for that matter).  So I turn to the section and find it really is a section on Champagne with a big C - the proper stuff.  The cheapest bottle featured is a steal at $85.  Most hover around the $100-$150 mark, but if you're feeling like splashing out, there is a $220 bottle (the 1999 Charles Heidsieck Rose Reserve, if you're interested).   

But ok, fancy pants wine can perhaps be expected - it is Gourmet Traveller after all.   And good wine and serious food are often a pretty good match.  (A bottle of $10 lambrusco and serious food can also be a pretty good match in my experience, but I suspect I am a wine philistine.)

So onto Exhibit B:  A piece on party invites for adults.  Instead of emailing or ringing your friends to invite them over to your house, why not drop them a note?  So much nicer in the age of instant communication.  And if it takes a $31 set of invitations, each enclosed in its $7.50 envelope (yes, that's per envelope) - well, so much nicer.

I don't have the money to spend on stationary like that - I'm too busy buying agar agar!  And king prawns, which did put a little more dent in the wallet than the agar agar.  A worthwhile dent though, because this brings us to the love part of love/hate.

The food.  When it all goes right, it is so wonderfully right.

Last night's dinner was this chicken, prawn and caramel coconut salad from a recipe from Longrain.  It was a perfect Thai recipe, a wonderful balance of salty, sweet, pungent, sour and hot.  

It wasn't the quickest recipe - the chicken had to be poached in a heady mix of coconut milk, stock (I used duck stock Tony had made a few weeks ago - very nice indeed), fish sauce, ginger, garlic, lemongrass and oyster sauce, cooled and then shredded.  The coconut caramel sauce was made with palm sugar, coconut (well, dur), shrimp floss, shrimp paste (lot of shrimp featuring here), fish sauce and lime juice.  Then the shredded king prawns, chicken and dressing was tossed with mint, coriander, julienned ginger and chillies.

It was AMAZING.  Cooking, I was a little worried - the dressing was very pungent, and I was afraid it would overwhelm the delicate prawns.  I shouldn't have been.  It all combined perfectly, and we polished off the whole thing.  Definitely a keeper.  And for the money I saved by not sending Tony an invitation in the mail on luxury paper, we can probably even make it again.