Monday, 28 April 2014

These are a few of my fa-vour-ite things {Autumn 2014}

Autumn is my favourite season so isolating just a few favourite things has been a bit tricksy but here are the winners.

Haighs chocolate fish 
Regular readers will know how I feel about Haighs. It has become a bit of a tradition for The Bookworm to give me a Haighs chocolate fish for easter. There is a bit of history to this choice- I love chocolate bunnies, but the ears are by far the best bit- easter chocolate does taste better than other chocolate and the ears are absolutely the best bit of the rabbit. Well, the fish is essentially 300g of rabbit ear chocolate.

Here are some make-up free selfies on easter morning in my super fashionable dressing gown. I also just got the PS Express app on my phone so had a bit of a play with it as well.
haighs chocolate fish

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Union Food & Wine {Review}

I have never understood those people who can nonchalantly say "Oh, I always forget to eat lunch". How can one forget to eat? My life revolves around food, quite frequently the Bookworm scolds me for planning my next meal or even a meal in the distant future whilst I'm eating the one in front of me. So I surprised myself when at 3:30pm today I realised I had forgotten to eat lunch. I blame Wordpress for being overtly complicated. I was trying to help out a bud update his website but Wordpress is a time-sucking devil. Too harsh? I am a happy little Google Blogger, much like a happy little Vegemite but less salty. Anyhow my busyness and lack of lunch was a blessing in disguise because I had more room for my delicious dinner.

My bro and sister-in-law (SIL) are in Melbourne this week and wanted to take me for a belated birthday dinner. I immediately booked a tablet at Union Food & Wine- I had read a foodie column about it a few months ago and have been dying to try it out ever since.

I little red-riding-hooded it up and headed out into the (suddenly) wintery night. More on this cute hood to come in a later post.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Grape Porn

I am usually a preparer. If I am going to do something, whether it be travel, bake or just go out to dinner; I study my project first, make a plan, decide what I am going to order (trust me, it is much better than have me sit in a restaurant overwhelmed by the choice of a whole menu!). My journey into the wine world has not been like that though. From snippets of knowledge gained at many a cellar-door I have trip-stumbled my way into jobs in wine retail, wine bars and now a winery. I have learned an enormous amount along the way and there is something delightfully innocent about the constant search for knowledge and the feeling that there is still this enormous cloud of possibility to be explored.

Until now I have never really worked this way. I have studied and learned all the information first and then started doing. I was always scared of blagging my way through, being discovered for a fraud. My life is about learning so this was a very narrow-minded way of approaching it, life. So bring on the trip-stumbling.

Such was (and still is) the case with wine-making. I have buckets of textbook knowledge since doing my WSET Level 3 exam and important sounding words about wine-making techniques trip off my tongue with surprising ease but it was a bit like reading some J. R Tolkien and considering yourself an expert on Hobbit physiology. To put it simply, I had not seen grapes, except in the supermarket, and they do not count. Most of my visits to wineries have always been in winter when the vines are dormant. A couple of times I have been close to vines that had leaves on them which generated much excitement but rarely have I see actual wine grapes and been allowed to go close enough to touch them.

Until now.

I assume not everybody is as excited about wine grapes as I am but some of you may be interested in seeing what they look like before they become the elegant complex nectar in your wine glass.
Just after starting my new job I took myself on a little excursion around the winery to photograph the vines and taste the grapes and this is what I came up with:

Sauvignon Blanc

Monday, 21 April 2014


You will have to forgive me if this post is overly sentimental and has far too many pictures. You see today is Ted-day- it has been exactly 1 year since Tedicus J. Magic Paws came to live with us.

    Psyching himself up for Ted-day

We don't celebrate his birthday because we don't know when it is. His original paperwork estimates the 8th of January 2013 but when he was assessed by a vet a few months after we got him, instead of the 6 1/2 months we thought he was, she placed his age as being much closer to 9 or 10 months. Hardly surprising that his age was misjudged because at about 6 months (corrected age) he was dumped at a rural NSW pound significantly malnourished and weighing about 7kg.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Public Service Announcement {Salted Caramel Bread Pudding recipe}

This is a public service announcement. A necessary spreading of news if you will.

Salted Caramel Bread Pudding is a thing and your life may never be the same.

    Exhibit A

Now, as I say, I am merely spreading the word. This is my little modification of a recipe Smitten Kitchen (a very seriously good food/recipe blogger with a cookbook- check her out) posted a month or so ago. My version has a bigger toffee to bread pudding ratio (because toffee is important), is slightly less eggy and most importantly includes hot cross buns.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

A little slice of Fitzroy in Ascot Vale {Public Life review}

Just after moving to the inner North/West of Melbourne (from the hipster capital of Fitzroy no less), I came upon this sign
 That bit scratched out at the top (no doubt by a kindred spirit) says "Temperence Town".

Here's a close up of the worst part
The covenant was only lifted in 2002- getting a brand new liquor licence is not an easy thing and ten years is not a long time to overcome such a restriction.

Pretty concerning huh?

At the time (2012) there were great breakfast/brunch cafes (and some pretty super bakeries), but for drinking I ventured further afield.

However, things are looking up. Union Food and Wine has sorted some fine dining in Ascot Vale and late last year Public Life opened to look after the fine drinking needs of the locals.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Four Autumns

I didn't have much of a concept of Autumn before I moved to Melbourne. In Brisbane, autumn just means you don't need a fan on anymore and you don't need a jumper yet. Deciduous trees are negligible. I'm sure they exist but I think they are terribly confused and probably just have their leaves blown off in August, ready or not, when the westerlies terrorise the Ekka-goers (Brissy slang for the exhibition/ Royal Brisbane Show).

There is a special feeling in the air in early March, but whether that is Autumn making his presence known or just the anticipation of my birthday, I'll never know.

What I do know is that Brisbane certainly doesn't have a 'fall'.

Melbourne has got autumn DOWN. Everywhere you look the foliage is changing colour, the ground is gradually becoming blanketed by leaves; and it rains (and rains, and rains), refreshing the toasted grass back to greenness.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Wine Club

Every couple of months (not often enough if you ask me) I get together with some wine-y friends for a wine club. It is a great way to try lots of different things and learn about wine (and eat a lot and drink in moderation of course:)
This is The Wine Captain (she actually has a wine education business called this) organising the troups.