Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Can anyone recommend a caterer who works in Briz-vegas and does a good cocktail style event? I have been investigating them, and there's so many, and such a contrast in price that it's making me nervous. I think some referrals are the way to go here.
Thank god for Frugal February because it's going to be a Merry March! I'm going to need to hoard some cash.
Recommendations anyone?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The butcher's block

My husband doesn't very often see something that he 'has to have', but yesterday he found this old butcher's block pushed to the back of a second hand furniture shop.
It's huge and heavy and old. It must weigh about 300kg. We recruited a few friendly neighbours to help us move it up two lots of stairs into the house. I'm not so sure how friendly they'll be next time we see them, and indeed if they'll ever walk up right again.
It may not be to everyone's aesthetic cup of tea but we love it. My photos are in reverse, going from its jazzed up state to its raw beauty. It's very Shaker-ish in its simplicity. The top is not hollow, as with many butcher's blocks but solid timber.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Joan Collins and Tim Minchin

I picked up this little gem at a thrifty today for 50c, or maybe it was 20c? I know Joan Collins from the mid 80s when I'd watch Dynasty with Mum, and we'd be horrified at how terrible Alexis was, and how saintly Krystle was. Bad Alexis. Good Krystle. Ying/Yang.
I would never have paid this book much attention had it not been for a) Faux Fuchsia showing me Joan in a new light, and b) it reminds me of a similar book I have which should have gone to the op shop years ago, it's in a similar vein, by Britt Eckland.
I've only had a quick flick, but I can tell already it's gold. The book was released in 1994, but she's very forward thinking with regards to her health practices; fatty fish, olive oil, nuts, red wine, juice and raw food. On the other hand she's comfortingly old school and loves to sunbathe and smoke a few cigarettes each day, quaint.
Reading through the pages she actually comes across as very likeable. She's a very pretty lady. Not many people can pull of a gold lame string bikini.

This above, is the more classic Joan.

Speaking of classic, with all this rain we have a solid dose of cabin fever here, and I have busily been whizzing up one classic retro-licious meal after another.
We've done shepherd's pie, with lamb thank you very much and a sweet potato mash...and mushy peas.
Crepes, which were presented a la savoury with bacon and corn suspended in a white cheese sauce inside. I even taught myself to flip them without using an egg flip, that is tossing them in the air. Quite spectacular.
If this rain doesn't let up soon who knows what I'll do next to keep occupied; cross-stitching, scrap booking, bonsai-ing.
Tomorrow night we are going to see Tim Minchin, in a show called Tim Minchin vs the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. I'm tres excited. He's a comedian/poet/singer/composer/pianist/social commentator/genius.  In this house we love the ginger god.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The year begins

Please learn from my mistake. Ever since the house over the road burnt down on Christmas Eve, folks around these parts have been rather uptight about their electrical goods. This new found neuroticism led me to, one day last week, switch off my computer at the wall before it had properly shut down.
The poor dear never got off the ground again, and I had to do the recovery thingy which restores it back to its factory settings, thus losing everything on my hard drive; photos of the children, the renovation befores and afters, work, everything.  Of course, nothing was downloaded onto disks. If you're not a backer-upperer, then start being one today because this could happen to you. Be warned!
On a more pleasant note, we have pretty 'local' views and often see some beautiful things looking out over the hood. A few days ago, prior to the wet weather setting in, I snapped these sunsets. I know how twee sunset photos are, I always imagine them painted onto the side of a panel van, but these were spectacular.

We also spotted this balloon on Saturday morning. The fact that it wasn't plastered with advertising made it particularly romantic.

I think the balloon may have taken off from Davies Park at West End? We were over there on Saturday morning at the Green Flea Markets. I got this posie of roses for $5. You can have a lot of fun for five bucks I find. The roses opened up, and they're fragrant, just like grandma used to make.

This is my friend's Christmas puppy. Her name is Evie. She's a black cocker spaniel. It was almost impossible to photograph her on our black floors, but you should get the idea.
 It's obviously exhausting being this cute.
Let's talk dirtballs. For many years now, about 25 in fact, I have been flicking through and occasionally reading, the book by Leslie Kenton called Raw Energy. I think it was her first book about living on raw food. It's quite hard core, and her consecutive books have been less and less radical. The premise of her thinking, and something that has been proven again and again, is that a high raw diet is good for you.
Occasionally, I make something from the book. These little things are fudgey sort of balls. They look like rumballs and it's quite fun to watch people's faces when they bite into them, only to discover they're not what they thought. They're good for, and they taste like it, but we love them. The first time my husband had one he said they tasted like dirt, but in a good way.
My dirtballs are based very loosely on a recipe in Raw Energy. They change each time depending on what's in the cupboard, but generally I include about 2 cups of dried mixed fruit, a couple of tablespoons of tahini, a couple of tablespoons of honey, a tablespoon of cocoa and maybe 3/4 cup of coconut. Wizz it all up in the food processor, roll into balls and then into more coconut. If the consistency is not good for rolling into balls, add more dried fruit or coconut. Other great things to include are fresh grated apply, glace cherries, dates, figs, prunes, nuts and seeds and dried papaya and pineapple.  My girls love them.
I am practically an empty nester. Peaches started school yesterday. We were all very brave and not a tear was shed.
I'm sorry but cyber safety prevents me from showing you their angelic faces. I can only show you them in disguise. They're a couple of cool cats. Mims can even pull off a toothless smile with style. 
Meanwhile, over at Cattle, Kids, Chaos, my cousin's eldest child has just left for boarding school. They seem to be coping ok, although I'm sure there's been many a teary moment of late. You can read about it here.
I have been getting organised for the year with list upon list of course. Nothing says 'everything's under control' more to me than lots of loo paper. I find it very reassuring, as though we'll be ok no matter what....because we've got lots of toilet paper.
May I remind you that we are almost due for another birthday here, so it is time for me to get back on the horse and whip up another birthday cake. Remember last year's fiasco? You can recap here.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Yayoi Kusama

We went to the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) this morning. They had drawings of Matisse as their main exhibition, which we didn't both with, sorry Henri.
Instead we went to see Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama, who I have never heard of in my life. The lady loves colour, so I loved her.
It's a beautiful exhibition, especially if you're taking children. The highlight was the spotty room, which was originally completely white, but every child who enters gets a sheet of coloured dots to put where ever they choose, so the result looks like this.
There's giant flowers....
...and stunning canvases...and more, but blogger is driving me mad so I can't upload them. Safe to say, if you're a fan of colour, see it if you can
I thought the State Library is looking great, as is our fair city.
Thought I'd drop this in as an aside. This is a healthy snack that my girls love, and your children may too if you're runing out of ideas. It's natural yogurt with raspberries and honey drizzled over the top.

Eyebrows, salmon and butterflies

Like 99% of the population right now, my husband and I are what is best described as 'detoxing'. It's actually a welcome relief after Christmas. Too many nights of going to bed feeling as stuffed as the Christmas turkey can take its toll.
I've been in the kitchen whipping up spa-style food, low in everything. Because old habits die hard, and because I am (only technically speaking) a Catholic, we had fish for dinner last night, being Friday and all.
I created this salmon and soba noodle salad. Light, fragrant, delish! I'm sure some food has medicinal qualities, which work instantly.

I started with two big slabs of fresh pink salmon.
To make the noodle salad, first of all use a vegetable peeler to slice thin pieces of carrot, cucumber and thinly sliced red onion. Put them in a bowl and mix through a teaspoon of salt. Set aside to pickle for at least half an hour, an hour ideally.
Cook your soba noodles and run through cold water to cool them. Add the drained pickled carrot, cucumber and red onion. Throw in some mint leaves (or coriander, or both) and some sliced mango.
To make the dresser mix a tablespoon of honey, 1/4 cup tamari (gluten free soy sauce), 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar and three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Toss through the noodles.
Cook your salmon in some hot olive oil, adding in some crushed peanuts at the end.
Then you've just got to assemble it on the plate.

My husband has added the eyebrows to the front of the house. Previously, it looked like this.
Now it looks like this. Whether they're on your house or your face, eyebrows are important.

Finally, I got this little gem at Target for $12. Despite my current decluttering projects in various rooms, I just
couldn't leave this behind.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Shop Talk

When I was on a domestic flight in the US, I found this in the pocket of my seat. Sky Mall is a catalogue of the most lame-brained, numb-skulled, idiotic consumer goods you've ever clapped your eyes on.
Example one, the camouflage snuggy. The perfect gift for the man who always intended on joining the army, but was too lazy to do so.

Perhaps you'd like to order a Winter onesie, complete with feet.......for yourself!!
At only $59, it's quite tempting.

Many Sky Mall products seem to be focussed on pets, and the doing away with their business. This 'kit' contained amongst other things an instructional dvd to teach your cat how to use the toilet.
No one would ever suspect this pot plant is anything but beautiful.

And I've got one of these on order for Ted. He'll looooove it! Apparently, 'the self-cleaning litter box features a patented sifting process that automatically activates 7 minutes after the cat leaves the box, transferring waste into a hidden drawer, leaving the globe with fresh clean litter for the next use.

Consumers are fickle. I cannot believe the things that people will buy. Who would ever have expected the world to go mad for rubber thongs again. Imagine relaunching something that's already been around forever, but now costs $30 instead of $2 from the servo?
Yet, I present to you the phenomenon that is the Havaiana thong.
In the same vein, what is it with Crocs? Who would have ever thought that would catch on, yet I have seen whole families of supposedly well educated people wearing them - whole families.....all at once!

I'll never make millions from an invention because I just don't understand what people want, although that doesn't stop me from trying.
A couple of years ago I was on the beach in Noosa chatting with a friend when I looked around me at all the bikini wearers, and came up with a new invention. It stems from the Brazilian wax craze. I called my invention the 'Camel No'.
Of course I was just kidding, but when I was googling a picture to demonstrate a classic camel toe, I came upon this.
Ladies, I present to you 

You can actually buy one here. The website is hysterical, worth a look.
Pens down, you can now stop all that doodling, as the Cuchini marks a momentous occasion in consumer history.
It's official.....everything has now been invented.....there will be no new inventions beyond this point.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Good enough to spread on a cracker

Greetings to 2012 - I've been looking forward to you. I feel much more comfortable with even numbers.
I began the year, as no doubt Iggy Pop, Keith Richards and Lady Gaga did, by making cheese from yogurt, which I've been meaning to try for a long time.
It's called labna, and it's a soft, white cheese with a sharp taste, excellent for spreading on a cracker, or in this case, a piece of home made Melba toast.
Ít's so easy to make, a monkey could do it. You just take 600ml of plain natural yogurt, like so.
Mix two teaspoons of salt into it and put it into a sieve, which has been lined with muslin, or in this case, a new dishcloth. Place the sieve over a bowl and cover the yogurt with plastic wrap, so the whole set up looks like this.
So it's one less thing for me to remember, I write on top when it will be ready which is 48 hours from when you first start draining the yogurt.

Once the yogurt has drained for 48 hours roll it into small balls, it's easy and less messy if you use two spoons to do this.
Carefully roll each ball in finely chopped fresh herbs, like basil, mint, dill or parsley. You could also use ground spices, and add a sprig of rosemary, garlic or chilli to the bottle.
Place each ball into a wide mouthed glass jar and cover the balls with olive oil.
They'll keep for at least two weeks. Put the balls in salads, spread on crackers or toast. It's really worth trying.
Hoping everyone had a great Christmas and New Year. We arrived home from doing some errands on Christmas eve to find our street engulfed in smoke and all the neighbours standing in our yard looking terrified.
I swear my husband and I were out of the car before it even stopped, however, it wasn't our house on fire, but the one across the road.
With the delay in the fire brigade being able to locate the house, despite having the address, and further delays in locating water, the house is just a burnt out shell. On the upside, no one was hurt, not even the 14 year old blue cattle dog who lived there. The cause is believed to be Christmas lights.

Happy new year to you! It's going to be a good one, I can just tell!