Saturday, April 21, 2012

Things I must eat on long service leave

From the sea:
Razor clams
Oysters from the Atlanic

From the beast:
Black pudding
Pig's ears

From the trees:
Cox's orange pippins
Chestnuts (but I think it'll be the wrong season)

From the oven:
Soda bread
Eccles cakes
Cornish Pasties (my auntie makes a mean one, and she lives in Cornwall!)

From an udder:
Stinking Bishop
Cashel Blue
A nice bit of Wensleydale

From a vendor:
A deep fried Mars bar

I'm going to flick through my battered ~ well used, not deep fried ~ copy of Jane this arvo, just in case I'm missing anything. 

Monday, April 02, 2012

Long service leave

We are about to go on an extended break. A month. Where? Japan and good old Blighty, and Ireland... and maybe Scotland and Wales.  Having only been to the UK in the depths of winter, and then not for ahem... 25 years, what luxury to be going in the spring.  Which led me to thinking about travel arrangements and where a travel agent fits in these days.  Seems like the agent is good to book tickets, but in terms of accommodation, it's all right there in front of you on the internet thingie. And if you like research, as I do, it's positively pleasurable to undertake. Not only can you check out interiors and exteriors (google maps street view), but then you can plot how far away your pied a terre will be from where you want to visit, and more importantly, eat.  And with a the burgeoning blogosphere, your info will be up to date.  I spend Saturday arvo interrogating a great blog called LondonTastin, which alerted me to a restaurant which sounded like a must try. Fay Maschler has very recently given it a 5/5 and the consensus is 'Get there before the Michelin men.' It's called Dabbous, and a few click later, there I was looking at its menu. And yes, indeedy it looked great. A few more clicks , and a delightful response from Charlie at reservations; I believe we have secured a table for lunch.

And as for dinner, top of the list is St. John, Fergus Henderson's Nose to Tail establishment in Clerkenwell. It's a matter of yards from where we are staying, so off went the email. Another delightful response from the reservation team. Oh no, it's Lizzie's Diamond Jubilee and everywhere worth eating at will be closed.  A quick email to Nic at Flight Centre, and it's fixed. Flights two days earlier. (Couldn't have done that if we'd purchased tix on the internet.) Another email to onefinestay, and our apartment stay can be extended to accommodate our new arrival  time.

And a hotel in Japan? Easy. I have a friend who is a Qantas stewardess, and know where they stay on their layovers. 3 nights booked easy as pie at the Hotel Mercure Narita.

And Peter at Souvlaki for the Soul has a hot tip for dinner in Japan.

Don't you love it when a plan comes together?

Now, to interrogate other venues and beds.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The new retail

I have an interest in paper cutting as an art form. It's one of the many things I'm interested in.
Yesterday, a friend of mine shared the work of a paper cutter, whose work I knew, on FB.
I told her about another paper cutter. From a link on the second paper cutter's blog, I found an extremely beautiful blog by a Cuban-American artist. The Cuban artist, Elsa Mora, has the best About  I've ever seen on a blog. Her work is sensational.
I became a friend of the Elsa's on FB. You can too.
Today, Elsa posted pictures of new necklaces she was making with an opportunity to reserve one.
I did.
It became a reserved item on Etsy.
I paid for it via Paypal.
It'll be here soon.

This is my new necklace

Conventional retailers wonder why they are in trouble.

This retailing experience was: easy, interesting, engaging, , personal, exciting, educational, cultural
The product is: beautiful, skillful, original.
The vendor is: talented, witty, gracious and efficient.

When was the last time you had a shopping experience this good in a bricks and mortar store?

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Like water for chocolate

I now know what magical realism tastes like, thanks to spice genius Ian Hemphill of Herbie's, a spice merchant we are lucky to have in our midst.  While putting together a kit to start my Mexican cooking journey, I came across Herbie's Spice Dust, which is included in his Mexican Spice Kit.  I didn't order the whole kit, but I did order the Spice Dust. Dust is indeed a perfect name for it, because it's magic, like Ooffle Dust of fairytales and South American epic tales. It sat on the counter like it contained gold, almost too fearful to do anything with it. But Herbie had the perfect solution, a melting moment recipe to which I added two teaspoons of the magic. It's the sultry, sexy, voluptous taste I've been looking for all my life.  Generally I'd take a piece of cheese over something sweet, but this is heady stuff, like when a perfume that you adore hits you right in the kisser, and you're just bowled over.
It's a wild combo that somehow works,  Old World, New World, undertone, robust and fragile. A taste to make you tear up in a confusing visceral way. It's so absolutely not modern. Does that make it post-modern, or a window to an earlier time? And I'm not suggesting it's musty. But speaking of musty, the only things missing are musk and saffron.

It's like:
a piece of hand woven silk
1930s velvet
amber beads
a Moroccan laneway
Frida Kahlo
a Sufi poem
Aladdin's mother's kitchen

 If it were any more sensous or thought provoking it would be illegal. It's so incredibly cross-cultural, because it's only existed in our dream before.

Ian, I salute you.

This photo is the closest I can get to the way it makes me feel.

And I absolutely have to go on Herbie's next spice foray to India. In the meantime, I am  going to attempt to make a solid beeswax perfume with it. We'll see how it goes with ground spices, but I may need to do it with essential oils. Ian, you may have to help, if you wouldn't mind.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Yes, but why?

Especially at €290 per kilo. Sausage casings filled with acrylic paint.

Touching myself

So, I finally throw it in with the big city, pack up the last of it and head back home to the coast, where the corn is as high as an elephant's eye.  Therein lies the problem. The corn, in our absence, has developed mildew. So what do you do? You start pulling it out. And the next morning you wake up looking like Elephant Man's next of kin.

Retrace steps ~ pulling out corn, fondling marigolds, packing lots of cardboard boxes, hives, pollen. WTF is going on?

After three days of the Itchy & Scratchy Show, I finally succumb to the doctor's surgery. (Or else I would have torn my face off).

And given it's localised to where I have put my hands on my face, the verdict is pollen allergy. Dammit. This happened once before with the old Robyn Gordon Grevillea, a lovely plant that a lot of people have a problem with (Please excuse dangling participle).

So, a bucket of cream, some anti-histamines later, and I can continue to unpack boxes whilst slurping on a shiraz. Because I have to tell you, the idea of becoming allergic to red wine was almost too much to contemplate.

I've used this photo of Chrissy Amphlett, because when the doctor (who I might say, was a cross between Senator Penny Wong and Lee Lin Chin, two women worth being crossed with) announced it was only where I'd touched myself, I nearly wet myself.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

What's it got to do with food, Part 3

Having treated myself to a house cooling present or two, I'm now moving on to the new house. A fifties fibro down the coast. We have a yellow lacquered front door, and these two treasures from StuffAndJunque will fit right in.

What have they got to do with food? Dunno. Someone come up with an answer for me.

What's it got to do with food, Part 2

While up in the big smoke, I spied these at Bev's Remnant House. I love going in there. Bev MacInnes is warm and friendly and interesting and interested. With a lifetime of design and theatre experience I always find I spend at least an hour yakking with her.

These are pretty damn stunning. Strong cotton quilted bags with leather handles. Stunning fabrics, and the handles are exactly the right length to be able to carry the bag on your shoulder. You won't find them anywhere else. And I believe there's only 9 of them available.  I think one of them has my name on it, so there might only be 8 by the time you get there, so spit spot, get a move on.

A fantastic overnight hold all, and what's it got to do with food?... It's a marvellously stylish shopping bag, great for the market. Do yourself a favour and pop into 722 Bourke Street, East Redfern now.

The perfect His/Hers Valentine's Day gift

Over at instructables there's a DIY tutorial for this perfect Valentine's Day gift, including a downloadable pdf to take into the kitchen with you. Brought to you by instructables member kaptaink_cg and worth sharing. Kaptaink also has a fab DIY for anti-3D glasses, for those members of the cinema going public who don't want to share in the 3-D experience. Excellent! That said, I'd love  to see a photo of the bacon roses in 3D.

Monday, January 30, 2012

House Cooling Mermaid

Today I received a beautiful gift from my friend and neighbour Marg. We have been neighbours and pals for about 5 years now, and often share an even beverage in our respective pocket handkerchief sized yards in the inner city.

My partner and I  decided to throw in inner city life, for one on the coast where we can grow our fruit and veg and generally chill out a bit more. It's got its advantages, it's got its disadvantages, but on balance we love it. So we have finally severed our residential ties with the city and sold our house. Up in the big smoke to pack up our goods and chattels, Marg and I were having one of our said evening beverages when she gave me this:

Isn't she absolutely gorgeous? Marg said she needed a home closer to the sea.  Thanks hon, she will be much loved, and used often. Here she is in the big smoke waiting to go south and wiggle her tail in the ocean.

Happy House Cooling to Me or But what's it got to do with food, Part 1)

What can I say? I'm moving away from my beloved house of 12 years. While packing up, and  trawling around my fave blogs, I found this at A Beautiful Mess, who found it at Anthropologie. It's from print artist Sarah Ball from Natchez, Mississippi. I had to have it as a memory. (Good justification, huh)

What's it got to do with food? Well, I'll eat while wearing it, and probably drop my dinner down its front. That's what.