Wednesday, May 31, 2006

A Cooking Post Doesn't Count

Rib eye rump steak la Plancha style

Bill Granger's recipe in Good Living coincided with a trip to a fabulous butcher at Mascot, A&S Select Meats. While Kath put in a big order, I put aside a few rump steaks and spicy chorizo. Then saw this recipe and while I am (irrationally?) annoyed by BG - that smile! those white pants! - it's a simple recipe perfect for after work. I also love this method of cooking steak simply on a hot seasoned pan, perfect results.

2 tsp sea salt
400g rib eye steak (I used two rump steaks)
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
150g mixed mushrooms (swiss brown, oyster, button, etc), sliced
60ml (1/4 cup) red wine
150ml beef stock
1/2 tsp cornflour (mixed with 1 tbsp cold water)
2 tbsp creme fraiche
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat a large frypan over a high heat, sprinkle pan with sea salt. When pan is very hot, add steak and cook for 4 minutes, turn steak over and cook for a further 3 minutes. Set aside in pan to rest for 10 minutes while you make the sauce. For the sauce, add butter and oil to a large frypan over a medium-high heat. Add garlic and mushrooms, stir occasionally for 5 minutes or until mushrooms are golden. Add wine and allow to bubble until reduced by half. Add stock, simmer for a further 2-3 minutes, add cornflour mixture and simmer for a further 1-2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Whisk in creme fraiche. Season with pepper. Serves 2.
Recipe here, from SMH Good Living

With a good red wine, bliss

Last night I also made cauliflower, chorizo and walnut soup. Yum.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

When I Was A Little Girl

I used to listen to my dad tell me about his adventures travelling around the USSR, the cold, the rusty old planes, the hours of travel, then life in Rome, the little Fiat, the few words of a new language. We used to say one day we'd travel together, and those moments inspired my love of the world, of geography, of language.

Now dad just wants to know when I'll be back. Doesn't ask where I'm going, why I'm going there, who, how. Just when will I be back, nodding with a sullen face.

Taking a little break from blogging until I go: I need to clear my mind and think straight, in non-blogging snippets.

Monday, May 29, 2006

The Weekend

Before Edmund White on Friday night (see overview of the SWF below), Kath and I had a quick dinner at the Hickson Road Bistro, which is a really nice spot. After the talk I stayed the night at Kath's and we watched In Her Shoes. Saturday was Marianna's birthday and naming day party, and I was very honoured to be asked to read a poem during the lovely ceremony. It was a great day, full of yummy finger food and the specialness of Marianna's first birthday. Sunday was quiet, breakfast at Bondi, then after the football replay making a delicious pasta from the nothing that is my fridge and pantry: a box of Barilla and a can of Italian cherry tomatoes yielded a beautiful tomato sauce for spaghetti, so simple, so good. I and C popped over in the evening and we went to a wonderful sushi train 5 minutes from me, I had no idea it existed and now I'll be there every other day.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Sunday Afternoon

I'm sitting here, having bowed out of any plans, watching the highlights of the 98 World Cup final, between France and Brazil. I have more than a pang of wishing I was there, who doesn't really. My crush Djorkaeff...Barthez...Aimee Jacquet (why did you leave...)...the balding Zizou...Karembeu, the link to my second home at the time...Roberto Carlos...the dramas with Ronaldo leading up to it...oh, what a time, what a tournament. What a final.

In New Caledonia that summer the streets with 30km speed limits had a dash added between the 3 and 0, France over the 3, Brazil over the 0, and it was gold.

I cried every night for three nights after it ended, withdrawl symptoms of a month of very early rises, sitting in the cold gym watching as many games as we could, falling deeper in love with a game I instinctively loved, and for a tournament that I vowed one day I would attend.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

More Shower Thinking

I can't wait to go away, just to be alone and out of my box. I now don't think of where I'm going, just two images interchanging through my head: looking straight ahead as the plane starts rolling down the runway, and walking down a random street by myself. It couldn't be a better time for going away (although I'd be happy with a few extra weeks in between to get everything sorted with the business, but c'est la have your own business vie). I need it.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Happy Birthday Pudding!

You are an absolute angel, your smile makes everything better. You are hilarious and ridiculously beautiful. You are stubborn and know exactly what you want. You are so clever and perceptive and the way you dance is the funniest thing ever.
You are Pudding and Ponchic and Chestnut and Bubs and you inspire names of lovely things, because you are so lovely.
Today you are one, and that's just the bestest.
Happy Birthday Pudding.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Sydney Writer's Festival

I'm having a horseshoe up my arse moment - tomorrow evening I get to see Edmund White as part of the Sydney Writer's Festival. Le Flaneur is one of my favourite little books, and he's a fascinating person with a fascinating life story. I really have to read more of his books.

He is a master of letters and eloquence and one of the most important literary figures of America. He’s also lived an extraordinary life. He’ll talk about what it was like to grow up homosexual in Middle America in the 50s, his love of Paris, being a flaneur and his outstanding body of work with ABC Radio National’s Ramona Koval.

Before that, I'll be seeing Andrea Stretton interview Elaine Lewis, who I hadn't heard about until pouring over the festival program, but she sounds great.

At a time when her friends were retiring and spending time with their grandchildren, Elaine Lewis packed her bags and decamped to Paris to open the first Australian bookshop on the Left Bank. Her bookshop became a home away from home for Australian writers and artists in Paris and she played host to events, readings, and midnight swims in the Seine. She talks to Andrea Stretton about living your dream.

Update: Both talks were very good. Elaine Lewis was very inspiring, as is Andrea Stretton and the way she interviews. Edmund White was fantastic, although the interview was quite poor, David Marr bypassing any conversation on Paris or flanerie. I can't wait to read his autobiography, and the book he mentionned he was writing, on the art of conversation.

The Local

Last night at the local was just pure Aussie fun. State Of Origin and the patrons were on fire. A bottle of red and $6 dinner (schnitzel for me, steak for N), it just doesn't get better. A fantastic game, even a pub sweep, everyone in good spirits. Love it.

My heart-shaped schnitzel

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Explanation As To How I Haven't Saved A Dollar For My Trip

Under the guise of not having anything to wear on my trip I have burnt a hole in my wallet lately:

American Apparel (it's Sharp Lily's fault):
2 tshirt dresses
2 tanks
1 high-waisted skirt
1 v-neck tee
1 boat neck 3/4 sleeve top
1 tote

Tory Burch cream jacket with 3/4 sleeves
Strenesse blue wool skirt
Simple Benetton dress
2 vintage dresses

Leon Deluxe Edition DVD
An Omelette and a Glass of Wine, Elizabeth David

The Winter Is My Discontent

I hate winter. As in, detest, despise. Without a doubt the first thing I'll do when I win Lotto (ok, the second thing, after treating my family and myself to ridiculous amounts of lobster sashimi) is lock in four months of each year to spend somewhere warm. I hate the feeling of thick clothes and layers on my skin, it's almost like claustrophobia. As much as winter clothes can be lovely (coats, of whichI want more, in ever colour; boots) it takes me ten times longer to get dressed in winter. I hate the cold nights, shivering and running to your destination like a waterlogged rat. Pale skin and red noses. Cold ears (the worst). Sure, Sydney winters can hardly be described as cold, but it's cold enough for me. So, for optimism's sake, here is a list of good things about winter (it's so much shorter than summer's):

+ Dior Poison Hypnotic, my winter perfume
+ Hot chocolate
+ Red wine
+ Fishnets
+ Osso buco, lamb shanks, cooked for hours
+ Puddings
+ Travelling to Europe or Asia

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Weekend Included:

+ A couple of Call Girls; the first tabouli I've ever liked and a cross off one of the restaurants on my To-Do list
+ S' party; the idea to run a cooking class chez moi for male friends who have no idea how to cook; dissed a drug-fueled club night to stay home and watch Before Sunset, which I haven't watched in months - I've had enough drug-fueled club nights in recent months and I really missed Celine and Jesse
+ M's 21st birthday - with vol au vents!; pub footy, then Eurovision.

Marry Me, Terry

Another amazing Eurovision.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

My Trip

A few have asked, so why not make this my weekend post. No, my itinerary is not rigid, I don't travel like that, this is just the plan to daydream over.

June 11: Leave Sydney
June 12: Stop in London for a few hours; have lunch with gorgeous R; stock up at Boots; fly on to Stuttgart
June 13: France v Switzerland (!!!)
June 14: Fly to Sicily. Spend a week in Siracua, Taormina, Palermo
June 21: Milan, Lake Como - spend a few days with dear friend R who I met in Florence last time
June 24: Eat myself silly in Bologna
June 26: The Mall, nuff said; overnight train to Paris
June 27: Straight to north Brittany; oysters in Cancale
June 30-July 5: Paris
July 6: 13 daylight hours in Tokyo; arrive in Sydney July 7

I would love to meet anyone that's in my ports of call - Nicole, Lauren, Eric...? And I always love hearing recs from people I'm half interested in, so if there's a shop, restaurant, passageway, exhibition you think I need to see, drop me a line.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Calling All Shoppingistas

I'm really after some tunic-style dresses, a la the A.P.C. one I've been hankering for:

...and I posted about earlier. In-store, online, eBay, I don't mind - I'm just desperate for a couple for my trip. Time is of the essence. There's an Aussie Vogue plus some extra treats in it if for you if you find one I have to have.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Excited Personified

I'm getting super excited about my trip. It's like the last month of waiting has come around and the buzz has kicked in. I spend hours pouring over review sites and blogs and menus dreaming about where I'll be going in 3.5 weeks. I'm tingling with excitement that I'll be seeing the World Cup live, wearing my French tshirt and scarf and cheering Henry and Zidane in the land of sausages and saukraut and the town of spetzl and Porsche. I daydream of the tastes of Sicilian street food and again, Parisian kirs. I think about the intense lonliness and pure joy and my favourite ever feeling of the rush as the plane leaves the runway.

I just can't wait.

Anacapri, 2003

Siena, 2003

Verona, 2003

Levanto, 2003

Somewhere in southwest France, 2003

Monday, May 15, 2006

Love At First Read

When I read Anthony Bourdain's passionate chapter on English cooks and cooking, it just affirmed how much this is a man I would run away and live happily ever after with after my own heart. His enthusiasm for people like Fergus Henderson and Gordon Ramsey makes my heart beat a little faster. They are food heroes, and I don't need to taste their food to believe this. I'll be honest though, if I had both Anthony and Gordon in the same room I wouldn't be talking about tete de veau...

He mentionned a dish at St John's Restaurant that almost made him weep with joy, a meal he'd chose as his last, and I know exactly how he feels, because just reading it I was whimpering for it and can only imagine the ethereal experience it would be tasting it. Roast Marrow Bone with Parsley Salad.

A stunning photo of a stunning dish
from the St John's Restaurant website.

So as any 21st-century Google-addicted person would do, the next day I searched for the recipe thinking it might be elusive and looked forward to the challenge of making it up, but there it is, from Fergus himself. I never liked marrow bone as a little girl - it was in the same category as buckwheat and ox tongue and all those grey foods I was forced to eat. But as an adult winter presents all those rich comforting dishes like lamb shanks and stews and yes, osso bucco. So I tried the marrow bone and my first thought was, oh, how many years have I missed out on this treat! And when no one was watching I would dish out the last bone and sideline the meat, just to suck on this creamy pocket of unctuous goodness. Here is a dish where nothing gets in the way of it - smeared on toast and seasoned with grey sea salt, the smell of the roasted bones, the crisp herbiness of the parsley, you couldn't ask for anything more. So when I come back from Europe, this is what I'll look forward to cooking.

Roast Marrow Bone and Parsley Salad, serves 4
12 x 7-8cm pieces of middle veal marrowbone
1 bunch of flat-leafed parsley, picked from the stems and chopped
2 Shallots, very thinly sliced
1 modest handful of capers (extra-fine if possible)
Juice of 1 lemon
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground salt and black pepper
Toast, to serve
Coarse sea salt (Anthony mentions sel gris and I think it would be highly preferable to any sea salt).
1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC/Gas 5. Place the bone marrow in an oven-proof frying pan. Roast the marrow for 20 minutes until the marrow is loose and giving, but not melting away.and place in a hot oven for about 20 minutes, until the marrow is loose and giving, without melting away.
2. Mix together the parsley, shallots and capers. Make the dressing by mixing together the lemon juice and olive oil.
3. Just before serving toss the parsley mixture with the dressing and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
4. Scrape the marrow from the bone onto the toast and season with coarse sea salt. Serve with a pinch of parsley salad on top.

Well Then

My eyesight is getting worse.
My eyes are critically low of oxygen. I need to get better contact lenses and wear glasses more often, as in, more often than not. I've ordered these from Pro Design Denmark:

Please make me look sexy, not geeky

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Dinner Challenge

Saturday night three friends are coming over for dinner and DVDs (read: an effort to drink less and save money).

One is: vegetarian
One is: no pork or shellfish
One is: no tomatoes or pork but wouldn't mind risotto
I am: eat everything apart from cooked carrots

Any ideas (just two courses)? I'm thinking a vegetable risotto with mini garlic bread loaves and maybe poached pears served with brie.

Love you Kath

Thursday, May 11, 2006

This Week

Downloaded And Listening To: Songbird, Bernard Fanning ("I wish I knew which button to push, then I'd know how to please you, it's sad but true" - love it).
Still Reading: A Cook's Tour, Anthony Bourdain - I love this book a bit too much.
Had A Drink With: An old mutual crush. He told me I was a femme fatale, what with my attitude, dark hair and desire to again buy leather pants this winter (sidenote: it's fum fatale, not fem fatale. Just like eight is not ai-g-h-t or police is not po-lice). I used to think of myself as a femme fatale, in that I got a kick out of making men obsessed with me and then losing interest . After being with a man who was the opposite, treat 'em mean keep 'em keen, I think I (mostly) lost this sixth sense. So it was nice to be reminded of it, nice to think there was still some of that old-school Julia still in me.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Hiya to all popping over from girl-crush-material Much Ado About Sumthin!

Like the rest of you, I daily check Sitemeter's referral page, and there are two main search terms that get the punters here:

Carine/Corine Roitfeld: You're as obsessed as me, but aren't sure if it's Carine or Corine. Let me clarify, it's: Carine. And she rocks.

I loved you first, Carine.

Perfect Fried Egg: A more recent but very popular addition to the referrals thanks to this post. Simply break an egg onto a clean plate and slide it into a pan (make sure the butter is bubbling slightly). I still can't really define why but I've only ever used this method since and the eggs are always superb, and I'll only ever fry eggs this way. PS Michel Roux's Eggs is one of the best cookbooks I've bought in years.


Other popular search terms include: Aujourd'hui, maman est morte, the opening lines to my favourite book; Anthony Bourdain's girlfriend and Anthony Bourdain's sunglasses - back off he's mine; all the new Surry Hills restaurants, like Lo Studio and La Sala - both are fantastic for a drink but I haven't yet dined at either; and to all you sick bastards out there - get your hand off it.

Saffron Linguine With Mushrooms

Nothing inspires my inner cook more than a stroll around Fratelli Fresh. It is my favourite foodie place in Sydney, and I was overjoyed to find they were still open this afternoon, after spending a few exhausting hours lugging and photographing kilos of heavy bags. I love lingering up and down their little aisles, always amazed at their fresh and interesting produce.

Anyone that knows me knows I obsessively love pasta, and mushrooms, and the combination is what I was craving after seeing another beautiful selection of mushrooms at Fratelli, including portobellos which I've never seen here. I picked up a bunch of baby leeks that looked so cute, and some chives instead of parsley. I also treated myself to some saffron linguine from Armando Percuoco's range.

Saute the leeks with some flattened cloves of garlic (the only way to cook with garlic). Add a couple of handfuls of sliced mushrooms, season with a generous amount of salt and pepper and saute for 10 minutes. Add cream, bring to the boil and saute for another 5 minutes. Mix through hot pasta and add chopped herbs. If you're like me, eat two portions - it's so good.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Oh Paris Oh

+ Jane Birkin's Paris

+ Vincent Cassel's Paris

+ Paris Au Cinema, ends 30 June - the day I arrive! Quelle chance!

- Unfortunately the Balenciaga retrospective starts 6 July, the day after I leave. But I can live with that.


This is very very unique. And it's a good movie, a good thriller. It's stunning. The interaction between each character is so well executed, especially the scenes between Georges and Anne. It's such a real relationship. The movie is creepy and leaves you speechless and with so many hypotheses. Impossible to recommend, it's a film you have to see of your own volition.

Plus, it's Daniel Auteuil. I'd watch him boiling an egg. One of my happiest moments ever was arriving in Paris and the first night seeing him walk into a cafe, shaking hands with a handsome man at the entrance. I pinched myself.

March Of The Penguins

Must-see. Superb. Beautiful.

I lay in bed the night after watching it thinking, thousands of miles south, these penguins are doing exactly what I just saw, on their march. In that cold. That cold...

World Cup Fever

I have the scarf, I have the t-shirt, I have the tickets, and now I'm even more chuffed to hear H&M is doing a World Cup collection. God I love the World Cup, it's a month away, and I'm going to be there. I am just so damn excited.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Paul & Joe

Thanks to Style Bubble for the heads up: Paul & Joe are next to do a line for Target, so clear your diaries August 1. Coincidentally I spent some time yesterday on their website gaga-ing their last collection, which was perfect for my preppy mood (unfortunately the model is so young-looking it detracts slightly from the clothes).

White shoes? Never. Red would be much better here, or blue.

This Week's Joys

Flicking Through: Lucky Mag
Buying On Sale And Wearing: Lurex singlets from Country Road
Listening To: Radiohead's OK Computer and singing at the top of my voice

Straight Up

"The whole thing about dressing to be comfortable makes me uncomfortable, he said. "...You're inflicting yourself upon the world when you walk out the door. You're becoming part of an environment, you should take pride in that." Tom Ford, here.

And André’s (Leon Talley) always ready to pine for more formal and fabulous times. "Lee Radziwill told me that she and her sister (Jackie O) used to get their hair done...before a plane ride,” he said. “They'd bring their best handbags and wear gloves. Do you like the way people look at airports today?”
"No, of course not!" Tom replied.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


Things are going really well for me at the moment. The business is on cloud nine and I'm loving it to bits. Everything is just working and it's the most fantastic feeling. I can't sleep because I'm buzzing with accomplishments and new ideas.

I just know things will fall apart at any minute though - this is how my life works. Many people say they experience the same thing, but with me it's locked in - it always goes like this. Whenever I'm happy and something really good happens, suddenly - and it's whiplash suddenly - life does a 180 and life is at it's worst.

So here I am, enjoying this wave of wonderfulness, and waiting for the hour where I'll have it kicked out of me.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


"If you give good blow jobs they won't shoot you" - S, speaking of the enemy in a war situation.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Rest Of The Weekend

Dylan Moran on Friday night was fucking funny. I loved this guy before, wanted to marry him five minutes into the gig. Chain smoking and drinking red wine, he really is Bernard, with the same beautiful warped sense of humour that I can't get enough of. Alas he only had one show otherwise I would have seen all the others. His lines about Germans, the French, Fatboy Slim, cooking shows, rappers, children, the rest of it was just brilliant. I had to go home and watch Black Books all weekend just to relive the joy that is Dylan Moran.

Marry me

Apart from fashion shows, it was a very grandmother-y weekend, seeing Sara in hospital (she's ok, thanks for the good wishes everyone) and Ada's birthday lunch at mum's. There was also a fundraising dinner at La Cumbia Colombian restaurant with the most divine empanadas. Seriously I could live off them. And there was also a certain coffee date which was pleasant enough but with zero chemistry, not even enough to put into the friend category. I just can't do the whole being set up caper, it makes me sick in the stomach and I have to say that's it for me.

MAFW The Weekend

Sorry, this week is going to be mad with Fashion Week wrap-ups, talking with agents etc etc. I also have been caught up with the creativity of the past few days and have a completely new vision of what I want the site to look like, so I need to put those ideas into something tangible and cross my fingers my new web studio will go for it (after finalising what I thought was going to be the new look).

Here are some pics from the last four shows I attended: RTW 4, Joveeba, RTW 5, New Generation 2. Favourites were Sretsis (alas, not Australian), Preacher, Pani, Joveeba and Sewn.