Monday, November 26, 2012

meal planning monday

image from

Gah, it's the pointy end till Christmas now isn't it? Eep! It's all-stations-go this week, so here's what we're eating.

Monday: my gal has her ballet concert theatre rehearsal tonight and won't get home till late. So I'll whip up a stir-fry with chicken, cashews, brocollini and udon noodles.

Tuesday: late ballet. I'll just make steak and salad.

Wednesday: touch footy for my gal (I know - hectic!) I might make chicken sliders - teeny chicken rissoles on teeny little buns. With baby cos lettuce and a shredded veg salad on the side.

Thursday: we're off with friends to a wine dinner and degustation at Bacchus. Mmmmm. Many courses accompanied by lovely wines. I know, it's a tough life.

Friday: totally forgot about this: I'm going out with my team from work barefoot bowling for a christmas do. FUN!

Saturday: Prawn linguine tonight. With lots of lemon zest and parsley.

Sunday: we'll be up in Maitland most of the day. So a simple meal of a bbq is in order. Perhaps a butterflied leg of lamb, with a chick pea and roasted capsicum salad and lots of greens.

And that's it. How about you?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

newcastle renewed

When it comes to awesome in Newcastle nobody does it better than Renew Newcastle. This was a stroke of genius, followed up by a lot of hard work - and it's now a dazzling reality. It's hard to explain the sheer breadth of benefits of Renew Newcastle. Basically it takes otherwise empty buildings and finds people to move in, start a business and restore the shop-front - until a commercial tenant wishes to move in. To find out more, visit their website here.

Renew Newcastle is single-handedly responsible for the revitalisation of inner-city Newcastle. That's a broad statement, but it's true. With Renew they've brought life, optimism and people back to the city and away from the soulless malls. They've also brought people back to Newcastle from Sydney, Melbourne and other far-flung locales as a new culture of optimism has exploded. So many new businesses have opened around Renew Newcastle projects - there's barely an empty shopfront in the mall and surrounding areas.

They do awesome things.

Two years ago I was devastated at the news that David Jones city store was closing. I loved that place. It was a gorgeous building and everything was all in the one place. I did nearly all my shopping there, and so I actually cried when it closed. I cried different tears when I found out that Renew Newcastle were moving in over Christmas. I had a sneak peek last Thursday night - and it's just filled with typical Renew Newcastle fabulousness.

How cool is this? A blackboard wall asks "What superhero power would you most like to have?" and people have answered with the little box of chalk that's available. Love it.

I have two options: shrink my daughter so she can fit into these - or encourage a friend to have a baby girl so I can dress her up. How divine!

So much awesome on display. I had a smile on my face the whole time I walked though The Emporium. I'll be going back with a wallet full of cash soon.

I love this wall. Particularly the instruction "Don't give up". We need that now after yesterday's announcement that the NSW Government weren't giving Renew Newcastle the slight funding increase they'd asked for - but instead, were slashing funds. Sigh. Renew Newcastle does more than just fill empty shopfronts - it's rejuvenated this city - you can't put a price on that.

Luckily Marcus Westbury is behind this. Whereas many people would throw their hands in the air and say "Oh, I've had enough" Marcus will fight. I have no doubt that not only will he get the funds reinstated - he'll get more.*

Cripes - he set up Renew Newcastle using nothing but sheer determination and his own credit card and now it's a world-wide model being taken on across the world.

But, if you've got a minute - please go vote at the Newcastle Herald poll here. Initiatives like this deserve to be lauded for the world-class act they are.

Thanks Renew Newcastle for doing my city proud.

*And, as predicted, at lunchtime today it was announced that the decision was reviewed and Renew Newcastle's funding was reinstated at $50 000 pa. YAY! Congrats to everyone who got behind this on Twitter, Facebook and via their emails. I think it's also awesome the way that local media also championed the story. The Newcastle Herald, NBN television and ABC radio were fully behind the story which is just ace. Bravo everyone.

Friday, November 23, 2012

flowers for friday

Happy friday everyone! I thought I'd celebrate by posting a snap of a flower stall in St Remy de Provence. Look at all that lavendar!

We have a busy weekend planned. I'm starting today with lunch with a friend. We're off to try Sinofood in Hamilton - the Chinese place that all the chefs rave about. Fingers crossed for something fab. My gal has a school dance tonight, so two of her friends are coming over to get ready. Bless. Then, tomorrow night it's my work Christmas party and I have some of the gals from my team coming over for drinks and nibbles pre-party. Let's hope the weather's good so we can enjoy sitting by the pool.

Have a fabulous friday - and a lovely weekend.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

i'm in love

I can't get this pretty frock out of my mind. I saw it the other night as I left The Terrace Bar and it made me gasp.

Isn't it just fabulous?

It's in Emma Soup. On Hunter Street (523 in fact). Filled with prettiness that place is.

Monday, November 19, 2012

meal planning monday

Sorry for the tardiness - so disorganised - busiest week EVER. My gal has her final year 7 exams this week, so we're in full-on study mode. Plus, tomorrow night she has ballet dress rehearsal and photos. Eek! Here's what we're eating.

Monday: I cheated and bought butter chicken and garlic naan all ready made. My gal loves it - gotta give her brain food that makes her tummy happy.

Tuesday: I'm making bolognaise for dinner - we'll have to wolf it down before leaving for dance class at 6pm. We'll be there till after 8pm.

Wednesday: Steak and Salad tonight.

Thursday: burlesque tonight. Early class. So we'll have chicken, cashew and brocollini stir fry.

Friday: some sort of fish on the bbq I think.

Saturday: hey, guess what? I have a new job! I know! And, I have a Christmas Party! It's tonight, and I've invited some of the gals I work with over here for drinkies and nibblies before the party - I hate chasing canapes around a room!

Sunday: we're off to our friend's for duck and champagne. Cos, you know, you can never have too much of the stuff.

Oh, and see that pic above? I made that for last night's dinner. Recipe on my other blog. Seriously, roasting chicken on a bed of puy lentils RULES!

Have a great week x

Friday, November 16, 2012

flowers for friday

Here are my peonies! Yep, get used to it peeps, there will be regular peony pics from me during their ever-so-brief season. Aren't they just glorious? I normally buy pink, but couldn't resist the white when I saw them last sunday.

Now, yay, it's Friday! I love Fridays. And this Friday in particular as I'm off with a bunch of friends to the opening of the Italian Film Festival at the Tower Cinemas tonight. Then we're off for a drink afterwards. Not sure where yet, Bar Petite will be chockers... perhaps The Terrace Bar? We'll see.

Oh, and for your amusement, spot Victoria Beckham in the shot below. She's photoshopped herself into a series of old Dallas shots and has totally tickled my funny bone in the process. Love her.

Have a fabulous Friday - and a gorgeous weekend my lovelies x

Monday, November 12, 2012

meal planning monday

Wow, how quickly is Christmas sneaking up? Eek! We're into the busy season with ballet rehearsals and birthday party planning too. I'm trying to be as organised as possible to make things run smoothly. Finger's crossed. Here's what's on our plates this week:

monday: pork cutlets, apple slaw (red cabbage, shredded carrot, apple slices, almonds and a little mint) and lemon-roasted potatoes.

tuesday: steak sandwiches - with caramelised onion and beetroot relish and a side of greens.

wednesday: saltbush lamb rissoles (from the Farmer's Market) with mash, gravy and broccoli. Oh, and roasted carrots with mint.

thursday: chicken and thai basil stirfry.

friday: fish tacos made with snapper. Recipe via Twitter! Shall report back after making.

saturday: bbq - whatever meat tickles my fancy.

sunday: roast chicken, lentil salad and a green salad.

Yep, that'll do. I'm also hoping to squish in two burlesque classes (tuesday and thursday) and a bike ride or two. Wish me luck. And please, tell me what you're eating.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

sweet saturday

It's an indoor kinda day today - it's grey, cold and rainy. Hardly conducive to the 8 loads of washing I need to do this weekend (eeeeek!) Luckily this afternoon I'm off to the Silent Film Festival to check out Hitcock's The Lodger - complete with a real-live musician's accompaniment. I'm meeting a friend there and then we're off to debrief and catch up on her recent OS trip over drinks at Bar Petite. Nice huh?

In the meantime I guess I should work on cleaning the house. Le sigh.

How about you - anything fun planned for this weekend?

Friday, November 09, 2012

flowers for friday

Look - my faves! Peonies! I spied these at III Bean the other day and madly photographed them before being told that they were scented {!} and then madly flinging my nose at them. Divine.

Must buy myself a bunch today. To celebrate it being friday and all.

Happy friday everyone - have a fabulous one x

Thursday, November 08, 2012

simply wonderful

Lately I've been treating myself to sole lunches at one of my all-time-favourite Newy cafés. It's III Bean at Hamilton and every time I go there I'm wowed by the elegant simplicity of the place. There's so much care taken. It starts with the fresh flowers on each table.  Normally just a stem, sometimes two. Each week they offer up something different. I loved these pale lemon carnations - stunning with the gorgeous black and white photographs in the background.

And then there's the menu. Oh my. It changes, according to what's in its absolute peak at the time. If an item's on the III Bean menu, you know it's at its ultimate moment of seasonality. I went to another café recently where I had a very meh wagyu beef burger. It was very bland, tasted of nothing (not even the wagyu) and was 'topped off' by horrid, watery, pale orangey-red tomatoes. This tomato not only did nothing to enhance the dish - it detracted. That's the sign of a lack of love and care - something you'll never see at III Bean.

I can guarantee you that every single item on a plate at III Bean is there because it enhances the dish in some way. Those teeny flowers from micro-herbs? Make the dish pop. Guaranteed. There is nothing better than dishes prepared that just bring out the best in every single ingredient. Which is why I love III Bean - their Croque Monsieur? The best.

Hey, you know how we went to the Underground Epicureans last month and I raved about the blue swimmer crab sandwich served up? Guess what was on the menu last week? Yep. Magnificently accessorised with a deliciously simple iceberg salad that was so beautifully dressed it sang. Divine.

PS: In case you're wondering what the world's most awesome Eggs Benedict look like - they look like this. And they taste even better. Seriously.

Finally, here's what I love about III Bean. The love. Every staff member looks like they want to be working there. They're friendly, attentive and just get things right. When I go out to eat I want two things: to eat something I can't or won't prepare myself and to be treated well by the staff.

Mission accomplished.

Every time.

Monday, November 05, 2012

meal planning monday

Another week is zooming by all Speedy Gonzales-like. Here's what we're eating:

Monday: I'm making chicken and chorizo bake. So simple. Toss some chicken pieces in olive oil, salt, pepper and smoked paprika and place in an oven tray. Slice up chunks of chorizo, quarter a lemon and cut red onion into eighths. Cut red skinned potatoes into quarters. Now, place all these throughout the tray. Pour over a little more olive oil and sprinkle with smoked paprika. 

Bake in a 180 degree oven for thirty minutes, or until chicken's cooked through. If your oven is crazy hot like mine you might want to cover it with foil for 20 mins.

Serve with crusty bread and a simply dressed green salad.

Tuesday: Lamb burgers. I'll serve this on sourdough bread rolls with cucumber, yoghurt dressing and slices of red, red tomatoes and watercress.

Wednesday: Homemade pizza. I have a netball committee meeting tonight, so between touch footy and that I'll make a few pizzas.

Thursday: Steak and salad tonight when I get home from Burlesque class.

Friday: Salmon on the bbq. With a lemon cannelini bean salad. And a green salad - it's spring afterall.

Saturday: Prawns and chorizo on the bbq. With a watercress salad {have you noticed I'm in love with watercress at the moment? So delish.}

Sunday: We're planning on getting a lot done this weekend. I think sausage sandwiches will be the perfect dinner recovery plan.

And that's it. How about you?

Sunday, November 04, 2012

sweet sunday

Morning! How's the weather around your place today? We seem to have a rather delightfully sunny day happening here - which makes me very happy indeed. I'm intending on pottering around, continuing my onslaught on Mt Washmore and washing down the front and back verandas on our house {because we're up high we get a lot of road dust on the pale grey weatherboards - I've tried sweeping it off, but only hosing works...}

I'm also planning a trip to the Farmers Market to buy as many items for this week's meals as humanly possible. I saw red last night when I went to Coles to buy a few essentials and looked at "vine ripened cherry tomatoes" - that were a pale orangey-green. So, you know, not actually ripened at all. I'm leaving supermarkets now for the things I can't buy at the markets, local fruit and veg stores and butcher, or Aussie Farmers. Food's too important to be sub-standard. If you're going to eat something - you want it to taste delicious and provide the maximum nutrients. An orangey-green tomato won't have anywhere near the vitamin and anti-oxidant value of a deep red beauty. Which reminds me, I need some vegie seedlings too. Best buy those from the markets too!

Enjoy your Sunday lovely ones x

Friday, November 02, 2012

flowers for friday

Obviously I had to go with a shot of some of last week's wedding photos for today. I'm besotted with the shades of white and green that featured. In fact, the posies I brought home, filled with green carnations, white fuschia and green bells of Ireland are still going strong.

We have a very lazy weekend planned. With nothing planned! I'm hoping for a sunny day or two to ride my bike, and go for a swim, but that's about it.

How about you?