Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Farewell to my Birthday Month

Seeing as today is the last day of my birthday month it seems appropriate to send it off with a look at the treats my wonderful Auntie made for me.

My Auntie grew up in country Victoria on a cattle farm and knows a thing or two about good baking. In my little world my mother is the best baker but my Aunty is an extremely close second.

These are the delightful madeleines that my Auntie baked for me the morning of my birthday. They had a slight hint of alcohol and were sprinkled with the sweetest icing sugar. Perfect with a cup of birthday tea.

It wouldn’t be my birthday without a plate of my Auntie’s hedgehog. I've never been able to make a batch that tastes as good as hers, not even by copying her recipe. Nor have I purchased a piece of hedgehog that even begins to taste as yummy as hers.

11 months til I get to do it all again!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Scones for the Sick

Last Monday I came home from work early with what turned out to be a nasty gastro virus. So nasty was this virus that I ended up in hospital. I've felt so ill that I haven't even been able to drool over food porn, watch my much-loved cooking shows or eat anything other than jelly, boiled rice and potatoes.

Almost a week later I am just starting to get my apetite back. My mother decided to celebrate this achievement by making me some scones. It's her good friend's recipe using cream and lemonade. These scones are easy to make and even easier to eat.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Great new TV

My faith in innovative television has been restored. So too has my love for the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

I owe this renewal of faith and love to this tv show that aired for the first time last night. Lawrence Leung is my new favourite comedian

Wedding Food

My sister was in her good friend's wedding last week.
It was a big, crazy Italian do.
Lots of people, tons of sparkle and families crying over 'losing' their adult children.
The bridesmaids wore fabulous pink, satin bowed shoes.
And of course there was food.
Oh, was there food!

Of course antipasto started the meal off. The meats and cheeses were fresh, tasty and all too easy to devour. The salami was just salty enough, the provolone cheese perfectly mild and the bocconcini cheese just the right shade of milky. Both the ham and proscuito were so fresh that I'm sured they'd been cured that day. The olives were fleshy and the tomatoes juicy. My only gripe was 'where was my slice of rockmelon wrapped in proscuito?' These second gen Italians are obviously too cool for school.

The bride's family are from a coastal region of Italy who literally eat, sleep and breathe seafood. So there was lots of seafood at the wedding. Prawns, calamari and oysters kilpatrick. I cast my seafood phobia aside and sambled each dish. Absolutely delicious! I can sense the beginning of a new food obsession.

The next course was pasta, a home made fussili accompanied with a mouth watering cooked tomato sauce. I'm such a pasta whore that I ate the entire bowl before I realised that I'd forgotten to take a photo of it. Such a shame.

The main was a choice between chicken which sounded bland (creamy sauce, vegetables etc) and the stock standard Italian wedding meal of scotch fillet wrapped bacon. I like that the Italian wedding factory is trying to appear contemporary by offering meal choices but when in Rome do as the Romans. So I opted for the scotch fillet. It was blissful! Soft, juicy and cooked to just the right point. The scotch fillet eclipsed the bacon so much that I can't even recall injesting the bacon. The mash was fine and tastey while the jus was watery enough without being too runny.

For me the highlight of attendng a wedding is the cake. Seriously, why else do people get married? This is the once in a lifetime occasion. To spend hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars on a massive, extravagant, fancy, sugar and cream filled cake. The cake looked....like a wedding cake. No complaints there.

The cake slice was presented in the usual manner of a swirl of raspberry coulis. This wedding cake went cutting edge and added a scope of vanilla bean ice-cream. They shouldn't have bothered as there was nothing that was going to help this slice of cake out of the bottom of the barrel. To say I was disappointed was an understandment. I'm still struggling to come to terms with how tasteless, dry and boring this cake was. Don't even get me started on the coulis or ice-cream.

My dearly loved cousin is getting married in a few months. The cake is expected to be a work of art and an event in it's own right. Here's hoping that my faith in the wedding cake will be restored.

Lights off....

...this Saturday as it is Earth Hour. No matter where you are around the world, at 8.30pm local time on Saturday 28th March turn out your lights for 60 minutes. The earth will thank you!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesdays - Why I don't like the Clipsal V8 Race

The traffic in the city is just shocking this week!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Clare Valley Trip by Food

That Southern Boy's family organised a family trip to see Jimmy Barnes at A Day on the Green in the Clare Valley a month ago. The photos below are the food version of the little getaway...always the most important part of any holiday!

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Saving Game Continues - Coffee

I love coffee. I could drink it with breakfast and still crave a cup as I wonder from my bus top to my office. I love the taste of a sweet cup of coffee and I love the smell of freshly grounds beans. Pre-ground coffee is convenient but you'll never experience coffee in it's true form without ever grinding your own beans.

In in effort to be money-wise for the last few months I've only allowed myself to purchase a coffee once a week, generally on a Friday morning. Rather than stick to my much-loved coffee bars I'm going to devote 2009 to the year of sampling as many of Adelaide's coffee bars.

For control purposes I will only be purchasing a small, skim latte. It's the appropriate coffee for a morning and it just seems fairer to each establishment that way.

Last Friday I kicked off with a coffee from the Museum coffee shop. My colleague had assured me that any coffee purchased from this shop would be of a very high quality and very pricey. Well it was neither. My latte came to $3 and was bitterly disappointint. Literally. I had to put two extra sugars on top of the two that the would-be barrista placed in my cup. In terms of the service the staff were lovely and couldn't be faulted. Needless to say I won't be going back there. And a word of warning to any current and future colleagues of mine, don't ever give a half-Italian who has been raised on coffee, false hope in terms of coffee brilliance. She'll never trust you again.

Today, I'm happy to report that I've struck gold. Or is it beige? I purchased my Friday Morning $3 coffee from here Crate and Barrel's cafe. Talk about heaven in a cup. My skim latte was just the way I like it. Milky but still with enough of a coffee kick to keep me happy. There was no bitterness whatsoever to the blend and it only needed one sugar. I rarely ever have only one sugar in my lattes. The staff were relaxed and smiley. It's going to be so hard not to go back there next Friday.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What makes a person old?

Back in class last night and my lecturer was asking how many of us had experienced eating dinner with our families at least 6 out of 7 nights a week. The majority of the class put their hands up (ages range from 24 to late 30's) and the lecturer was shocked that so many of us had grown up eating one meal a day with our families sans the television. He really couldn't disguise his surprise as his comment to our raised hands was:

"That many of you? Really? Well I guess you're older."
Older than what?! I sat there thinking, "but I'm only in my late twenty's!". I'm a spring chicken. I still believe that I'm only aged 19. I guess I've started to slide into the 'older person' category.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Bridesmaid dresses don't have to be bad....

...so long as you let your bridesmaids wear these bridesmaid dresses which were profiled on the inspiring Wedding Style Guide blog last week. They look very stylish with a cut that seems as though it would flatter a multitude of body types. The material isn't nasty looking either. The solid colours are classic but with a modern twist. C, if you're reading this go look at the website!

Under the High Chair: Ten Things I've Learned About Food Bloggers

The food blog below is one of my favourites. Gorgeous photos, lovely food and witty writing:
Under the High Chair: Ten Things I've Learned About Food Bloggers
Finally, someone who speaks my language! I feel normal after reading those posts....especially as That Southern Boy nearly walked out of the restaurant on Friday night as I was snapping away at my delicious dinner. Wait til I make him read this post.

Will you be my friend?

Week 1 of Semester 1 of the 2009 academic year has begun. And don’t I have a pile of reading to prove it? I spent the better part of Sunday afternoon wading through my organisational communication texts (yes, I have three of them!) attempting to start the semester on a good note. Surprisingly the chapters were pretty interesting.

There were a few interesting pages on interpersonal workplace communication, highlighting the progression of relationships from those of mere co-workers to best friends forever and beyond. It was fascinating reading the ‘technical’ side of something we’ve all experienced and will continue to experience.

Reading those chapters gave the allusion that forming genuine workplace friendships is easy or even guaranteed. From my experience over the last ten years.

From my experience I think the development of work place friendships is quite dependent on the circumstances of your employment. Aspects such as your profession, workplace environment and your co-worker age groups can either foster or hinder workplace friendships.

My first foray into the working world was as a retail assistant where I spent four happy years standing on my feet all day, operating a till, answering the phone and assisting customers. During those four years I worked hard but it never felt taxing. Why? Because I was blessed with lovely co-workers who I could chat with, build up a rapport with, share in-jokes and socialise outside of work with. In simple terms I was able to become friends with these people.

Teaching, with it's isolating classrooms, lunch-time duties and inability to pop out with your colleague for a bit of lunch-time retail therapy, is not a profession that I found friends in easily. The suburban settings of the majority of schools doesn't lend itself easily to after work drinks at the local pub.

When I was teaching, both as a relief teacher and then as a contract teacher, I found it extremely hard to make friends at work. In fact, I have no lasting friendships from my time teaching here. Through the Blair government's push for teaching assistants, I have several dearly loved friends from my happy time teaching at my school in London. But I have no teacher friends from that time. I've always felt that when I taught I never really had a chance to work side by side with my fellow teachers, due to the nature of the way schools are organised and run.

When it comes to co-worker friendships, office based work is entirely different to teaching. The current trend for open plan offices and shared workspaces lends itself beautifully to fostering strong workplace friendships. The formation of work groups or 'teams' also encourages workplace friendships.

Today, some of the people I consider close friends, are people I have met through my time working in an office. These friendships that I value greatly were formed through the sharing of whispered office gossip, by admiring the attractive mailman, by cramming a days worth of retail therapy into a frenzied lunchtime shopping expedition and over endless coffee runs.

As much as I sometimes miss relief teaching, the lure of working in an office, surrounded by co-worker friends is just too great to walk away from at this point in time. Call me selfish, call me fickle but I love getting to go to work with my friends everyday.

Who would have thought that my boring readings would inspire such thoughts.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Cup of Tea and a Biscuit

My love of hot drinks, be it a tea, coffee or hot chocolate almost always includes a nice biscuit to keep the steaming mug company. In late 2007 I found this website. It seemed to have been created entirely for me and my love of hot drinks and delicious biscuits.

As I've given up chocolate for lent biscuits have also been eliminated from my daily diet. To help me cope with this sudden loss I've been drooling over some photos of biscuits I've previously made (and eaten).

Chocolate Melting Moments with Passionfruit Centres

Easter Sugar Biscuits

Peanut Butter Biscuits with Chocolate Filling