Showing posts with label #52newthings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #52newthings. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

let's cook!

So, for Mother's Day one of my favourite gifts was a Passion for Pastry Cooking Class at The Essential Ingredient. As you might remember, a cooking class with a friend was one of my #52NewThings I wanted to do this year. So, luckily, my friend A also received the same gift {great minds whisper in their husband's ears alike}. We rocked up on a Sunday morning to this gleaming kitchen.


We made our way to our individual stations, all set up perfectly for us. {First important step of cooking: mise en place - making sure everything is ready and to-hand}. We would be making choux pastry for profiteroles and then a savoury pastry for a quiche.

Bring it on.

This is how chefs work. Everything prepared, measured and ready to go so you can just concentrate on cooking. Genius.

I've long been fascinated by the process of choux pastry, and watching a chef make it was rather fabulous. Check out that wrist action! Pastry's all about precision and patience. Precisely measuring your ingredients, and patiently waiting for the right moment to add your ingredients.

Here's the master chef at work. Note Jace's perfectly symmetrical and evenly-sized choux buns. Mine looked like little snowmen {because I made them too small first time around and had to add more}. There is a skill to wielding a piping bag. I've yet to master it, but I'm sure that practice will help me perfect.

And ta da! Filled with deliciously-vanillary creme anglaise and topped with a glossy chocolate ganache here are my profiteroles. Sure, they don't look *absolutely* perfect, but damn, they tasted like something straight out of a French patisserie. I am still chuffed to bits that I made something so deliciously fabulous.

I also made this little beauty - look at that thin, tasty crust! In this class I basically unlearned everything I'd learned about pastry in Home Economics at school and learned to make a pastry so light, so short, so damned delicious that every mouthful caused my tastebuds to sing and dance.

I loved the cooking class. It was a couple of hours of pure entertainment, I learned bucketloads AND I got to take home lunch and afternoon tea! So much win.

I'll be going again. Perhaps to the croquembouche class if I'm brave... Or I'll just choose something at random. The chance to learn from someone who's a master at cooking should never be sniffed at.

Find out more about cooking classes at The Essential Ingredient Newcastle here. Or do a google search to find one near you. Go on, you won't regret it.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

so, you want to join a bookclub

As you probably know, one of my 52 New Things that I wanted to do this year was to join a book club - and I did. Hurrah! With the help of Twitter there's a bunch of us who get together each month to chat about books. The first book, Little Bee, went down a treat. It was short, sharp and interesting. The second book, Anna Karenina pointed out to us the modern-day dilemma - no matter how beautifully a book is written, if it's over 900 pages and written in teeny, tiny font you are going to end up watching the movie version before book club.

And that's fine.

We managed to watch different versions - from the latest with Keira Knightley in the lead (weird casting. I can kind of get it considering how expressive Anna's eyes are meant to be, but she doesn't carry what she needs to for such a role) to my version with Sophie Marceau (beautiful) to the original with Vivien Leigh!

What I love about bookclub is that I need to make the time to read a book. Which I'll totally do with the next one: David Sedaris Let's Explore Diabetes in Owls (he's probably my fave male author). And I need to think about it. With Anna Karenina I didn't have time to think - I was too busy trying to speed read, or feel guilty that I wasn't reading!

I love how my friend C has set up the club. She emailed out a list of books: classics, modern classics and new releases and asked us what we really wanted to read. Then she set up a schedule (allowing extra time for Anna Karenina, ha!) and we organise to meet at a local wine-serving cafe on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

Are you in a book club? What's your fave book? Have you finished Anna Karenina? (I haven't, I got 1/3 of the way through and I've naughtily moved on to Caitlin Moran's Moranthology...LOVING!)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

and we have a bookclub

Woo hoo, ticking off so many things from my #52NewThings list this year - including the latest: start a book club. Last night, on Twitter, conversation turned to books, and then bookclubs and bam, before you know it a bunch of us are putting our hands up for a book club.


French word of the day: biblioteque: library. Let's hope I get to read a few of the books in my library above...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

new habits

So, apparently it takes three weeks to make a new habit. In which case - woo, hoo, HOO I am now a bed maker. Yep, three weeks into #52NewThings and my bed has been made EVERY SINGLE DAY! That's an achievement worth shouting about.

I've done a few more things too:

13: catch up with friends in real life - hey, you've seen my meal-planning posts, I'm catching up with friends A LOT. And it's awesome. I have fabulous friends.

27: weed out my magazine collection. Yep, the mags in the living room have been thinned by about 1/4. That's impressive (shhh, don't tell anyone that there'd be way over 100 there - home decorating mags mostly...)

42: flirt more with my husband. This is simple - he's a spunk.

And the other things from the past weeks too. Washing? Still being put away. New recipes? Attempted. This is the best thing I've done.

And there's more to come.

French word of the day: peut etre - perhaps, maybe

I love that word - I love the promise. It seems mischievous, flirtatious. Don't you think?

image from

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

why didn't you tell me...

Hey, how come nobody has ever told me that making your bed every day means it's *almost* like clean sheet day EVERY DAY? How on earth did I seriously get to this age without knowing this? I am loving this making the bed thing sick. It's just such a fabulous way to start the day. I get up, pull all the sheets back to air it, shower and then when I come back into the room, I just straighten the bottom sheet, pull up the top one, fluff the pillows and pull up the doona. Voila. My red rose pillow goes on as a punctuation mark and we are set.

French word of the day: chambre - bedroom. (pronounced: chom - bra - with a rolling r of course).

Honestly, this whole #52 new things is changing my life. I went to Burlesque tonight and threw myself into it. It was fabulous. I have never laughed so much, or enjoyed myself more. Sure, there are quite a few moves I can't do because of my dodgy knee, but the ones I can I totally immersed myself in.

It really is the little things that make a big difference isn't it?

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

how's it going?

So, I've been into my #52NewThings for over a week now. I've set myself a goal of doing 52 new things in 2013 and I think I'm off to a rather lovely start. Here's the week's round-up of things I've achieved so far:

1. Try a new recipe a week. Well, I haven't cooked it yet, but there's a new recipe on the meal plan for tomorrow night!

2. Learn a new French word every day. Well, this is going swimmingly. I've been sharing them here (and will run through them below).

7. Drink my morning coffee outdoors. Check! I sat on the front veranda the other morning with a bowl of coffee and a magazine. T'was divine.

11. Actually call my friends and family. Called my mum in Melbourne tonight.

13. Catch up with friends in real life. Yep, Saturday lunch with my Twitter friends (old and new). And I'm catching up with old school friends on Saturday afternoon/evening.

18. Take a cooking class with a friend. Yep, a friend and I are planning on terrifying poor Jace at Essential Ingredient by taking one of his classes next month when it's cool enough for pastry.

28. Start saving for our next overseas holiday. Yep, money transferred after last pay day. Woo hoo.

30. Go on more dates with my husband. I've booked tickets for hubby and I to see Baby et Lulu at Lizottes on Valentines Day (awwwww).

31. See more live music. See above.

32. Make the bed every day. YES! I HAVE BEEN DOING THIS. IT IS AWESOME and makes the house look so much tidier.

41. Fold and put away fresh washing. Oh. Yes. I have. I know, can't believe it myself.

48. Well, tonight I made an excuse to miss Burlesque class, but it's over 40 degrees. I'd die. You'd miss me and that would just make everyone sad.

51. I have made a deal with the husband so he is forced to sell the car. It's on by the weekend or it's going to the wreckers.*

How's that? 13 things already - OH MY GOD 13 things in the first week of 2013 - that was so not intentional, but so awesome.

Now, this week's French words:
Le boulot
Coucher du soleil

PS: realised that I totally missed a word on Monday. RUDE! So here's two for today:

Grossier - rude, obscene
Remuer - to move

So, how are you doing with new things? Anything? Something?

*PS: I know that technically I haven't sold the old car - but we now have a one-month-plan. It'll be GONE by next month.

Friday, January 04, 2013

fabulous friday

image from

Well hello! You may have noticed that I've change the title and theme of Friday's post. You see, I was getting lazy and in a rut with Flowers For Friday, so, I thought if I mixed it up I'd make it fresher. And, don't worry, it'll still be as pretty. Which, naturally, leads to my French word for the day.


Fabuleux (fa-bju-low) - fabulous! This is one of my fave English words - so it might as well be one of my new fave french ones. So yes, this friday shall be FABULEUX! Non?

This weekend's busy (quelle surprise). On Saturday I'm off to a fabuleux harbourside lunch with some twitter friends - old and new! Yay! Then, that night, I'm off to my sister-in-law's birthday party. It's a big one, so it's a masquerade party - hurrah for dress ups! I'll also get to wear my fabuleux new black, lace, stretchy dress. Love a chance to frock up!

Sunday night/afternoon we're having friends around for duck and champagne. My friend's sister is coming along, she's over from Germany, and she's vegetarian so I'll prepare some kind of tartlet for her main (oooh, new recipe for my #52newthings). And lots of delish salads to accompany the duck I think - perhaps one with nectarines? Summery weekends with friends and family. Who could ask for anything more?

Thursday, January 03, 2013

that magical moment

On Tuesday it was my last day of holidays. I really wanted to make the most of it - and squished in heaps. So much that I wasn't sure if I'd be able to fit in a bike ride before sunset. But I tempted fate and set out for a ride at 6.30pm.

Oh, I am glad I did. Have a look at that view. Riding out to the end of the Nobby's breakwall is quite possibly one of the most spectacular rides for a pootler like myself (pootler = a bike rider who just pootles along - the opposite of my husband's style of riding!)

Naturally, I have only one choice for my French word of the day:
Coucher du soleil (coo - che d so - ley) sunset

I snapped this shot while I was out there. Sure, it's an iPhone instagram shot, not the real camera photos I'm aiming for this year - but I'm rather proud of the composition and colours. And, seriously, don't you have to admit - what a beautiful town this is.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

and... we're back to normal

Well, back to work today. I've had a blissful few weeks off over Christmas, and, thankfully, there was enough fabulous weather to enjoy the pool with my family. Bliss. So, now for today's French Word for the Day:

le boulot (boo - lo) work, the daily grind.

Now, while I'm headed back to work I'm doing so with a new spring in my step. I've started doing some of my #52newthings and feel so much lighter and better organised. Simply starting the day with making the bed just makes me feel more organised and makes the house look tidier in an instant. I've also been forcing myself to put away the washing as soon as I bring it in (it's nearly KILLED me, but it's already starting to feel like a habit).

I've also gone through a few cookbooks to find some new recipes to try - so when I get back to meal planning next week expect to see something new. I also whipped up a couple of new salads last night, well, they're more salsas, but I served them as a salad. I made a fresh corn, red onion, avocado, capsicum and coriander salad - and a mango, coriander, red onion and lime salad. DIVINE! So light, fresh and delicious served alongside a grilled steak.

Enjoy your day! What new thing are you trying today?

ps: that pic's from Au Nom De La Rose in The Marais in Paris. I've written about it before, it's a story wholly devoted to roses. Going to work there wouldn't be a daily grind would it?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

new year, new things

Hello! How was your Christmas? And are you enjoying a little break {I am - far too much!}. Can you believe that we're winding down and getting ready for another year? Eek! I can't believe that today's my last day with a 12-year-old. Yep, my gal turns 13 tomorrow. Wow. I can still clearly remember being pregnant. How quickly does time fly?

So, with that in mind, it's time to move forward with a sense of purpose.

Last night on Twitter, someone I follow shared his list of 52 new things he's tried this year. And they were ace. So, inspired by this, I thought I'd come up with 52 things I'd like to try. Ready?
1. Try a new recipe a week.
2. Learn a new French word each day. {Hey, shall I share it here? That'll help me non?}
3. Learn something new as a family: surfing, stand up paddle boarding - hmmm, let me think...
4. Read a biography a month.
5. Take up yoga.
6. Have a family picnic dinner at the beach.
7. Drink my morning coffee outdoors - on the front veranda, or out the back by the pool.
8. Go for a swim before breakfast.
9. Eat raw food for a weekend.
10. Discover a new band/new music each month.
11. Actually call my friends and family.
12. Take more photos - real ones, not just Instagram shots.
13. Catch up with friends IRL, not just on Twitter.
14. Be a tourist in my own town and uncover some surprises.
15. Sew something!
16. Learn to crochet.
17. Spend one night a week digital-free {no TV, no internet!}
18. Take a cooking class with a friend.
19. Say no.
20. Organise a pot-luck supper with friends.
21. Organise regular girl-time with my gal.
22. Ride my bike on the Fernleigh Track.
23. Have a family bikeride.
24. Ride to the Farmer's Market.
25. Ride to work.
26. Print out my holiday pics, frame them, and hang them.
27. Weed out my magazine collection.
28. Start saving for our next OS holiday.
29. Take my gal fishing.
30. Go on more dates with my husband.
31. See more live music {this was a highlight of 2012!}
32. Make the bed every day.
33. Start shopping locally again - the fruit shop, the butcher, the markets.
34. Take my lunch to work.
35. Find a virtual book club to join - or make one up!
36. Go body surfing with the body surfing kit I found in the linen closet {seriously, that place is a tardis, the things I find}.
37. Organise another Newy Tweet up {the last one was awesome, this one will be better}.
38. Spontaneously invite someone to dinner.
39. Give blood more regularly.
40. Get a mammogram.
41. Become one of those people who actually puts away washing when they bring it in from the line. Seriously, how hard can it be?
42. Flirt more with my husband.
43. Watch more comedies.
44. Read with my daughter.
45. Learn to cook dumplings and pork buns.
46. Up the vege ante in my husband and daughter's diets.
47. Go to the park at dusk and swing on the swings.
48. Never make an excuse to miss burlesque class. It's my favourite thing - WHY would I miss a class?
49. Lie on the grass gazing at the clouds.
50. Swim in the ocean baths.
51. Sell the old car.
52. Laugh daily.

Whew, well there you have it. Some mundane, some easy, all do-able. Let's see how I go shall we?