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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Since today will be one of my last posts for this year, I thought I’d leave you with some travel-lust-worthy quotes that will hopefully inspire you to travel more in the coming year.  I probably won’t get much internet in Japan, but where I do, I’ll try to post updates and pictures of our adventures!  I’m not looking forward to the cold, which apparently will be highs of 3-5 degrees and lows of negative temperatures, but what I AM looking forward to is shopping (especially at Zara) and eating!

Thank you all for following my blog, and I hope you have wonderful Christmases, happy New Years and a great holiday season!  Peace out!

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Still counting down the eggs, but unfortunately since time is running out, I didn’t have as many recipes to make as I should have – so I cheated and used the 5:10 cooking method for eggs to cook the rest of them.  I now have eggs everyday for lunch but the good news is that the method made eggs exactly as I like them – soft boiled with tender yolks.  I am still keen to try the 60/60 method, but that will just have to wait for next year.

Last night I made my all time favourite pasta dishes – carbonara, which luckily involves eggs.  You’ll see by the photo below that I like this in heart-stopping, obscenely large amounts, to be heaped in a bowl and eaten snuggled up on the couch.  Unlike a lot of Australian restaurants, the version I make relies heavily on eggs and parmesan, not cream – I cheat though, as I do add a teensy amount of cream while my pancetta is frying so that I get “pancetta cream” to mix with my eggs and cheese. Travelling through Italy and ordering as much pasta as possible, I noticed the Italians didn’t gloop sauce all over their pastas – they prefer enough sauce to coat and enhance, rather than drown the dish, which inspired the “pancetta cream” version that I remade in my kitchen.

You can see my 5:10 egg as well – I couldn’t wait til today’s lunch to try it, so you can imagine last night after dinner I was full to burst with eggs.

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Pasta Carbonara

You’ll need for two people:

  • 100g pancetta bought in a block, sliced to lardons (though bacon would be just fine)
  • Pasta of your choice- work on about 100g per adult head, though our serve yesterday had about double *cough*
  • 3 tablespoons of cream (or more if you like it creamy)
  • 2 large eggs or 3 small eggs
  • A large handful of parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Get your pot of water for your pasta boiling and the pancetta frying until it’s nice and golden brown and all the fat’s rendered down (I don’t bother to add oil to the pan as good pancetta should render enough fat).  I add my cream, turning it down to a slow simmer so that the pancetta and its oils infuse with the cream.  While this is happening, I whip my eggs and cheese together in a separate bowl, adding a pinch of salt and a lot of pepper (sometimes at this stage if I’m feeling extravagant, I’ll add a drop of truffle oil).  By this stage, the pancetta cream should look a caramelly brown and your pasta should be ready.  Drain your pasta and pop it back into the pot.  Add your pancetta cream and eggy cheesy mixture and toss like crazy.  Serve with black pepper and truffle oil, if you’re feeling inclined, and retire to your couch.

We’re getting so excited – we have 5 days left until we leave for Japan!  Even though I blogged about my misconceptions here, it hasn’t stopped me from being wildly optimistic – I’ve typed up a scarily detailed bucket list (mainly with restaurants) in a Word document organised by cuisine, city and, where ramen is involved, noodle type.  Yes, I’m that type of traveller – I can’t bear to let things happen as they come, I need a plan, a map and a watch.  Sometimes if we’re really short on time, we highlight routes on maps to maximise efficiency.  I doubt that will happen on this trip, and I’ll have to work on being more flexible, but I don’t care – Japan is beckoning!

I’m also keen to check out all the Harajuku/Shibuya street fashion in Tokyo – I always find cos-play fascinating, and I also love the way that Japanese women manage to look so sweetly feminine and chic in freezing cold temperatures.  Here are some awesome cos-play pics to brighten up your Wednesday!

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In my late teens/early 20’s, I was a definite shopaholic.  Even though I was a struggling student, I still managed to find ways to spend my meagre income on stupid things (read:  clothes) since my university was smack bang in the middle of the city and walking through the mall was mandatory to get to my bus stop.

Now I’m in my late twenties, I work in the suburbs and I no longer commute to the city which is a relief, but unlike my earlier shopaholic years where I had to physically get off my butt to shop, it is now 100x easier to spend money – by shopping online!  I love how I barely have to lift a finger – I go click! click! click! and within a short time, my purchases arrive at my desk and I’m satiated and satisfied.  Until I see another pair of shoes/dress/bag that I have to have.

Since this whole engagement/wedding stuff has come into my life and the prospect of going to Japan looming, I’ve been pretty good, I’ve been saving-saving-saving and pretty much not spending an unnecessary cent, but now everything’s going on sale, and the new resort collections are coming out, and there are about three pairs of shoes right now beckoning me (literally, I swear, they have puppy dog eyes that say “I’m coming home with you”).

So how do you resist the urge?  Do you do that crazy trick where you freeze your credit card in a glass of water, so by the time it thaws, the urge has hopefully dissipated?  Do you even have a credit card?  Do you just not go online, ever?  I would love to hear your thoughts and stories!

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TURN OFF THE NEWS…….

Morgan Freeman’s brilliant take on what happened yesterday :

“You want to know why. This may sound cynical, but here’s why.

It’s because of the way the media reports it. Flip on the news and watch how we treat the Batman theater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter like celebrities. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are household names, but do you know the name of a single *victim* of Columbine? Disturbed
people who would otherwise just off themselves in their basements see the news and want to top it by doing something worse, and going out in a memorable way. Why a grade school? Why children? Because he’ll be remembered as a horrible monster, instead of a sad nobody.

CNN’s article says that if the body count “holds up”, this will rank as the second deadliest shooting behind Virginia Tech, as if statistics somehow make one shooting worse than another. Then they post a video interview of third-graders for all the details of what they saw and heard while the shootings were happening. Fox News has plastered the killer’s face on all their reports for hours. Any articles or news stories yet that focus on the victims and ignore the killer’s identity? None that I’ve seen yet. Because they don’t sell. So congratulations, sensationalist media, you’ve just lit the fire for someone to top this and knock off a day care center or a maternity ward next.

You can help by forgetting you ever read this man’s name, and remembering the name of at least one victim. You can help by donating to mental health research instead of pointing to gun control as the problem. You can help by turning off the news.”

A horrible, senseless tragedy.  My heart goes out to all those affected.

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Hope you all have wonderful weekend!

I’m hoping to finish off those cookies featured in the previous post…I really hope I don’t eat all the cookie dough before I actually get to baking them!  I’ve also got a couple of pesky presents that I haven’t managed to buy just yet so I will definitely be up and out of bed early tomorrow to snag choice carparks.

It’s so close to Christmas, I can’t believe how quickly this year’s gone! I hope you all have lovely weekends – stay safe!  Here’s a few cool posts from around the web.

Want legs like Gwyneth Paltrow’s?  See Tracy Anderson’s tips from Vogue.

From elephant trainer to truffle hunter – a great article about a fascinating man.

For cat lovers – cat alphabet print.

The best chocolate chip cookies recipe – you have to let it rest for 36 hours!!  I’ll be making these for work colleagues, as I have two dozen eggs I need to get rid of before our overseas trip.

Holy sweet Jeebus these shoes are amazing.  Have I found my wedding shoes?

Also, these Jimmy Choo’s in this amazing elopement.

And don’t forget the Pinterest Gift Guide.

Sangria popsicles.

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If you follow my Twitter account, you’ll know that I’m trying to think up ways to use 24 eggs before our trip overseas.  Last night was my first attempt at taking my 24 eggs on.  You’ll see my rather not attractive (though extremely tasty) results below:

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Above is Attempt #1 – truffled tortilla with caramelised onions.  It doesn’t look as impressive as it should but it had P swooning. I got the recipe from The New Spanish Table by Anya Von Bremzen, an amazing Spanish cookbook that I bought after backpacking around Europe – there are so many stunning and creative recipes that bring back memories like sitting in a Granada plaça overlooking the Alhambra, eating fried eggplant drizzled with honey and goats cheese (also in the cookbook).  This is the recipe online, but you can buy a copy of the book here.  This recipe used 5 eggs, so I’ve got 19 to go!

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Attempt #2 is a work in progress sitting in my fridge – brown butter sea salt choc chip cookies with nutella stuffing (recipe here).  I had grand ambitions to pull off making both in one night but I didn’t read the crucial step that I had to let it “rest” in the refrigerator for 2 hours.  It is now chilling out in my fridge side by side to the Nutella, destined to be stuffed into the cookies.  As you can see, the batter didn’t escape the wrath of my itchy fingers, so I attacked the cookie dough, guiltily texting one of my besties as I did so.  This recipe only used 1 egg, but come on!  Did you see the recipe title?!?!?!

I originally intended my next egg adventure to try the 60 degree egg to get eggs that look like this:

TMX 60min egg

The basic premise is to simmer the egg at 60 degrees (well, 62.7 degrees to be exact) for 60 minutes to yield lusciously viscous yolks.  However, this means I need a thermometer and I’ll be damned if I’m to battle the psychotic shopping centre pre-Christmas madness unless it’s a life/death situation.

So I may be reduced to settling for the Momofuku recipe of 5:10 eggs, which is boiling eggs for exactly 5 minutes and 10 seconds before plunging the little babies into an ice bath and carefully peeling them underwater.

So 6 down and 18 to go!  I probably have better things to be doing with my time, but…this is fun!  BRING ON THE EGG BATTLE.

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We’re going on our first family holiday with P’s folks this Christmas to Japan, one of my favourite countries in the world.  This is actually P’s first family holiday EVER – almost 30 years and never a family holiday!  My belief that this is due to, in part, his family’s indecision.  I’m extremely lucky that P is generally a pretty decisive person so I don’t have to deal with this in my day to day life, but his family?

It took us months and months to decide to go to Japan – first it was Taiwan, but it’s apparently too boring (not so!!), then it was Thailand, but it’s too hot, then it was Malaysia, but it’s too dirty, and then it was Hawaii, until I realised it would cost us over $10,000.00 for 10 days.  The decision was finally made a little while ago – P’s dad suggested Japan and got us all excited, so P and I put an end to the madness by booking our tickets before everyone else, so they all had to book to come with us.  But everyone was really happy, so I thought that was that.

Then came the questions – “It’s really cold in Japan at Christmas time, why are we going to Japan?  Doesn’t Japan close down over the New Year period – what are we going to do?  What about radiation?  Why do we have to fly out from Osaka? ” I’m really worried about what’s going to happen when we’re there – “should we day trip to Hiroshima?  Nara?  Kobe?” – and spend the best part of the day trying to decide, and by the time we decide the day’s gone.

Being a really decisive person, I’d be inclined to take charge, make an itinerary and say “let’s go here, here and here”, but this seems too (for want of a better word) anal for a family holiday.

We’re not in Japan for long and I don’t want to spend most of my time sitting in a hotel room trying to make decisions, so my question is – how do you deal with indecision?  Particularly when tiptoeing around family and in-laws, who are like to get grouchy when something doesn’t go their way?  Is it better to have a take-charge approach, or just let everything happen as it comes?

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I totally love Garance Dore (I mean, who freakin’ doesn’t), so I was seriously stoked to discover that she’s selling her illustrations online!  Posters start from $40.00, and art prints, which are limited edition, numbered and signed, are $400.00 so there’s something for every budget.  Garance’s illustrations have that French chic aura down pat –  I would love to put some of these up in our study or living room for some parisienne flair.

Check out the shop here.

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