Monday, September 24, 2012

monday, but no meal planning

We're flying to Melbourne today for a whole blissful week, so no meal planning from me. I'll be feasting in gorgeous Melbourne places catching up with family and friends. Can. Not. Wait. I'm keen to check out the Melbourne food scene - and do a wee bit of shopping.

Oh, and that meal above? Last night's dinner of duck confit, potatoes roasted in duck fat and salad. Sublime. Washed down with {too much} champagne. I know, I have a hard life...

Enjoy your week. I'll try to blog a bit from my phone where possible. Or check me out on Instagram - there will be plenty of shots this week.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A hidden gem

I'm a fan of fine food done well. As you may have noticed. So I've always had a soft spot for Quint Cafe in Newcastle's Essential Ingredient. But now I think it's a secret worth sharing. It's recently undergone a make-over and is looking v stylish and inviting.

And the menu? Sublime.

See that prettiness above? It's turkish eggs. Oh my. Eggs baked to perfection - whites perfectly set, yolks perfectly runny. Topped with just enough crispy green shallots, red chilli and toasted dukkah. And the Binnorie marinated feta? Oh my; so salty, creamy and delicious. Served with a side of delicious olive oil drizzled bread it's quite possibly the perfect breakfast.

But something made it more sublime. This. Deliciously crisp pieces of speck. Bacon turned up to 11 in the perfection stakes. Oh. My.

Here's the menu, well a sneaky peek at it. The perfect combination of lovingly sourced foods. The eggs are from Ox Hill Farm. You should see their YouTube video - cuteness incorporated. Free Range Eggs done the way they should be with moveable vans for the chickens and the most gorgeous green pastures to roam in: protected by alpacas and these gorgeous mountain dogs. You can taste the freedom and the sunshine in these eggs.

There are perfect little vignettes like this featuring in the cafe - making shining stars of the ingredients chosen with such care by the enthusiastic staff. It's very Instagrammable.

Quint: I like your style. And your service, seriously, hold onto those staff. They make a great coffee and are the ideal combination of friendly and unobtrusive.

Oh, and ps: the lunch menu also looks D.I.V.I.N.E. and if you're after morning or afternoon tea, they make a damned fine cup of coffee and have what I do believe is one of the best collections of fabulous sweet things in Newy.

Quick, get thee to Darby Street and check it out. It's down the back of the amazing store - leave some time to browse, you won't be leaving empty-handed.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

silence is golden

Have you seen Hugo? Do you remember this Georges Melies' film? Well, then I'm sure you will share my excitement. I was on Twitter today when I saw a tweet from Newcastle Museum revealing that they'll be screening this restored classic this Sunday.

Hand-coloured fabulousness. Bring it.

Here are all the details of the Silent Film Festival. How much fabulousness is there in this world?

Monday, September 17, 2012

oui, oui, OUI

So, on Sunday we're wandering around Morpeth and spot THIS! Yes, a new French restaurant with a French chef and staff is opening. Sadly it is in the old Restaurant Deux building, but apparently Le Petit Deux will be opening for dinners in the new, smaller venue.

An abundance of Frenchness in Newy.


meal planning monday

Hey, how you doin'? I'm tired, but soooooooo relaxed after the weekend. It was hectic, but with a lot of fabulous - and ended with a lovely long bikeride and then a quick dip in the pool! Here's what we're eating this week:

Monday: wee little chicken pot pies like the one in the pic. Love these. Served with mash and lots of steamed broccoli and carrots.

Tuesday: it's my burlesque class tonight, so we'll have spaghetti bolognaise for when I get home, and for when my gal gets home from ballet.

Wednesday: nothing much on tonight. I think we might have lamb steaks with roasted vegies and wilted baby spinach.

Thursday: I think I'm going to go to burlesque classes twice this week. So I'll have chicken kebabs and salad for dinner tonight. That's easy to whip up.

Friday: salmon on the bbq and salad. Also a lemon risoni salad.

Saturday: we'll be getting a lot done in the garden this weekend, so a simple bbq will be great. It'll be nice to have a butterflied chicken on the bbq. Yum.

Sunday: roast beef, roasted veg salad and something green.

That's it. You?

Friday, September 14, 2012

flowers for friday

Wow, Friday hey? How's your week been? Mine's been rather lovely actually. And tonight's going to be even better. We're off to a ball with friends, that's got to be fun. And - guess what? For the first time ever I'm going to a hairdresser to get a do! True! My frock's rather 50s style so I've asked for a messy, beehive-ish style. A little Amy Winehouse - but curly... Let's see shall we. I'll try to Instagram it - but I'm crap with selfies - I'll see if hubby can shoot me. We're sure to dance and laugh the night away. Can't wait. Then, on Saturday, we're off to a friends house with a few other groups of friends for a bbq. We're checking out their new home which will be fun. I think they're a bit in love with it - love sticky-beaking in new home!

But to get you through today I'll leave you with this fabulous image found on Pinterest. Isn't it divine? I want an effect like this outside our loungeroom window looking onto the side yard. It's the last place left to do {aside from replacing our front fence which is on the verge of falling apart}. Bliss. Utter bliss.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

burlesque baby

Just over a month ago a friend of mine on Facebook updated her status, mentioning she'd just been to a burlesque fitness class. I, of course, squealed, then responded "Where? I wanna go!" So I went along and swiftly fell in love. What a fabulously fun workout. For a start, the music's awesome, and the hour just flies by. I've moved parts of my body that haven't moved in yonks - and I feel so much better already. My back doesn't feel stiff, I'm moving more smoothly and I am having FUN.

Pretty sure I'll start looking like Dita soon...

Monday, September 10, 2012

meal planning monday

Hmmm, I have a feeling I may have used this image before, but it's so pretty we can live with it again can't we? It's from - site of many of my home-drooling missions. I had a fabulously busy weekend. Mother's night out on Friday night where I met the gorgeous Lou who reads my blog. She's set to travel and shall be blogging all about it - I'll let you know the address so we can all dream of our next trip OS. Saturday was a baby-welcoming party for two of my dearest friends who now have the most beautiful baby in their family after a long 10-year-wait. He's divine, they're besotted and it was lovely to share the day with family and friends who were ever-so-thrilled for them. Then, yesterday, it was two netball presentations in a row. I'm on the committee so helped with the setting up and hung around while everything ran beautifully. Tired now... But here's what we're eating:

Monday: Steak and salad tonight. Looks like it's going to be a warm day, so that'll be nice.

Tuesday: I'm making my husband and daughter's fave mince and macaroni dish. I made it last week, but I swear my husband would eat it every day. It's an easy re-heater too - so perfect for me with my burlesque fitness class. I'll serve it with a side salad.

Wednesday: Tonight we'll have home-made pizzas. I tend to flop in the middle of the week and can't be bothered cooking and we'll order takeaway thai. Instead, I'm trying to plan and have the ingredients for an easy meal on hand. Like this!

Thursday: I have some saltbush lamb tenderloins I need to cook up. I'll crust them in a fresh herb (flat leaf parsley and mint) and macadamia crust and then slice them and serve them with a salad with persian feta, ruby grapefuit and lots of bitter leaves.

Friday: We're off to a ball. I know, fancy. We've been going ever since kinder with the same core group of friends. Dancing will be involved. And hysterical laughter.

Saturday: I'll do some garlic and lemongrass prawns on the bbq tonight. With a salad.

Sunday: Roast chicken with a simple stuffing - and a warm roast veg and lentil salad.

And that's it. Let me know what you're cooking. I need more ideas...

Friday, September 07, 2012

flowers for friday

Happy friday everyone! I have just had the most inspiring morning. I went to the first of the Renew Newcastle Creative Talks when the incredibly charismatic artist Lucas Grogan spoke. Wow. He was an inspiration. The passion that drives him was evident and it's no wonder that he's charmed his way to success. His unique art speaks for itself, but you'd have to be a hard case not to be won over when he speaks. He spoke of how he just creates and creates, and has a huge box of discarded art. He says that creativity is like a muscle that needs to be worked - you don't wait for inspiration to strike - you work until something magical happens.

Loved it.

Loved him.

Then I went and voted in my local election. It was a tough one. I've been doing a lot of research, not just into the candidates for Lord Mayor, but for council too. There are currently a few sitting on council that I would really like to see the back of - so I was thrilled to mark them as last in the preferences. The first choice was the toughest. I want to see someone who has the passion and experience to do something with this town. Luckily The Newcastle Herald has videos of all the candidates speaking - which helped seal my one, two and three votes.  Go here to see it if you're a local.

I also collected ALL the how-to-vote cards as I like to see where everyone directs their preference - if I'm unsure, then I check this out.

It'll be interesting to see how this pans out. I think the Mayoral vote will be close. I just hope that the make-up of the council can work together for the community so we can continue to be as awesome a town as we have the potential to be.

I'm off to a school mum's dinner tonight where I'll get to meet a reader of this blog (Hey Lou, I'll wear a red rose over my ear and cover three quarters of my face so you recognise me...) Should be fun. Then, tomorrow I'm down to Sydney for a friends party for a much-loved and much-longed-for baby. Can't wait. Sunday it's back home and then off to the netball presentations. Phew. I'll need another weekend to recover I think...

Have a fabulous weekend.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

yes please

Every now and again you just need some words to lift you up and let you soar. There's no point in just existing is there? It's all about living. Sure, it might be exhausting, and expensive, and busy - but hey, it's worth it.

Why not? You only live one - live it well.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

hats off to newy

I was following the Good Food Guide awards on Twitter the other night and was thrilled to see that Newcastle now has FOUR restaurants with a well-deserved one Hat. The beautiful Bacchus has retained its hat, as has the sublime Restaurant Deux. Newbies coming into the fold are Restaurant Mason (next on my list to try) and the ever-so-awesome Subo.

Yay us.

I'm thrilled at these results, but not surprised. What Newcastle has in its food scene is passion. See that ridiculously pretty pic up there? That's from a Newcastle café. Yes, I'll let that sink in. Café. Not a hatted restaurant, but just a little something on the lunchtime menu. Ridiculously, crazy beautiful. It's an orange and berry verrine, with meringue, and a hazelnut praline. The orange came in the form of light mouthfuls of pannacotta, the berries in the perfect coulis. The toffee surrounding the nuts was deliciously thick, crispy and the perfect shade of caramel. It was so perfectly composed and utterly delicious. I think it's my new favourite dessert.

Unsurprisingly it came from the kitchen of Le Petit Deux, the french breakfast and lunch café set up by Lesley Taylor of Restaurant Deux. I love how she's translated fine dining aspects into the perfect french café menu. Merci Lesley.

I am just so proud of how this town's developing. Of the new cultures that are rising and embracing this town and what it has to offer. I see a promising future - and it's pretty darned sweet.

Monday, September 03, 2012

meal planning monday

image from

Hey, Spring! Yay - thank goodness you're here! While I do love Winter, I am somewhat over it now and looking forward to longer days, warmer weather and a change of menu. We're busy this week, (I know - surprise!) here's what we're eating this week.

Monday: I wanted to do crispy-skinned salmon on the BBQ as my daughter loves salmon and I am guilty of never cooking it often enough. But the salmon yesterday at the store looked a bit pale. So, instead, I'll make salmon patties. I’ll serve it with a lemony potato salad and a baby spinach and blood orange salad.

Tuesday: I’ve switched the day of my burlesque fitness class so a friend can come with me. So whatever meal is planned for tonight has to be served up by hubby and daughter. Tonight my daughter has a school dance, and a friend over to get ready together. I'm going to whip up this delish mince and macaroni casserole from my Leggo's cookbook. It's so simple, and terribly tasty.

Wednesday: My daughter’s ballet has switched from Thursday to Wednesday so I now need a speedy Wednesday meal. I think we’ll have caramelised pork tonight. I'm also off to catch up with friends to check out some new offerings at the always-fab Greg & Audrey's Garage. I'm sure it'll inspire me for summer.

Thursday: I was chatting with a friend the other day about retro-meals and she mentioned curried sausages. Boy, did that get me hankering. She said she fried off the sausages first so the skin was nice and brown. I might just have to cook this up.

Friday: I’m going out to a school mum’s night tonight – no cooking for me, just sitting at a table being served two courses with friends. Yes please. Hubby and daughter can make homemade burgers.

Saturday: I'm down in Sydney tonight for a friend's baby party - yayness! All three of us gals from uni days are catching up, so I'm guessing that after the party we'll head out somewhere for some food. Don't worry, I'm not leaving hubby and child purely to fend for themselves - they're off to my in-laws for the night so my hubby can ride from Maitland to Dungog and back on Sunday morning. I know - craziness.

Sunday: I need to start a spring tradition to take over from roast. But I still want to roast… guess I can do lamb shoulder on the bbq and serve it warm with a salad. Can’t I? Yep, that sounds perfect, particularly as we have the netball presentation in the afternoon. I'll leave the bbq roasting slowly while we're out and we'll come home to cooked-to-perfection meat and a pre-prepared salad (I'm thinking a lentil salad and a baby spinach, feta and pinenut salad will work well). Don't worry, I won't leave the bbq unnattended, hubby'll be here working on the garden while we're at netball presso.

And that'll do us. Tell me what you're having.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

sweet sunday

It's an utterly glorious day out there today - not that we've seen it yet, been too busy cooking up crispy bacon, yummy eggs and making bowls of coffee. Yep, it's been a relaxing father's day in this neck of the woods. I'll meander off to the Farmer's Market soon. Husband's requested tart tartin for father's day dinner tonight.. Best buy some yummy apples! And some meat for the main too!

Hope you have a lovely sunday x