Friday, June 29, 2012

Granted!


Looky here!! Finally after 7 VERY long and protracted negotiations with the Brisbane City, they've finally granted the subdivision. This means we can get on with building the new house and get on with our lives.

It's been a very long journey, but one which I've learnt a lot. And not just about the crazy Council process, but patience, negotiation and problem solving.

I'm having a celebratory drink with my town planner next after we sign off on the approval. He totally deserves it.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

You're Beautiful!


Awwww thanks 
(But I'm still going to eat you)

Baby it's cold outside!


The temperature has plummeted outside. That can only mean one thing. Soup weather!!! We had chicken and corn soup tonight, with crusty toast fingers. I'm jumping into my flannelette jim jams later and going to hang out on the sofa with a cup of tea. *Ahhh*

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Iconic


Oh dear, I've discovered The Iconic. They've been bombarding the airwaves with advertising, I could hardly resist. I got this for $18 including shipping, they may rival ASOS yet and I'll have a whole new addiction to deal with.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Nothing tastes as good as skinny?


Haha! I need to get this framed!

Food *Fail*

Just a week after my Greedy Guts posting and vow to eat out less, I'm declaring this week a massive fail. So here's the evidence, Your Honour.


If the boss says working lunch, who am I to say no? Let's start with the Trio of Dips with THE most delicious turkish fingers ever. Soft and doughy and divine!! There weren't enough for all the scrumptious pumpkin, beetroot and hummus dips.


Then, haloumi on a MASSIVE bed of rocket, sun dried tomato and beetroot salad. I couldn't finish either because they were HUGE! But delicious...


The boss had the Atlantic Salmon. It was pretty big, but not Flintstones big - the angle of this photo makes it look HUGE! We were at Oxford 152, in case you were wondering.

And then, later in the week...


Those delightful lovelies at Happy Little Dumplings are making Tofu Rice Paper Rolls!!  Ohhhhhh how did they know I LOVE these and how do they make them so delicious! Tasty morsels with just the right combination of fried tofu, carrot, coriander and vermicelli with a divine dipping sauce. Loving this Tonic pomegranate grape seed and white tea drink too.

And then for breakfast...


Avocado on sourdough rye with lemon pepper for breakfast at Planet Matterz. Healthy, but still costly.

Sigh, then at work...

Brownies from Flour & Chocolate

Cinnamon Sugar Pastry Thingy
My foodie work colleagues brought a divine morning tea with these delicious pastries and brownies and other delectable yumminess. From Flour & Chocolate Patisserie at Morningside. Ohhh what a find!

And then finally...


Doh! Who left these out? What a week. I'll be good next week...promise!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ramen Craving



Sigh, the problem with deciding to go to a great restaurant and then not getting around it to it for ages, is that it grows in your mind into the culinary holy grail that you'll push your mother out of the way for.

So, I'd got to talking about ramen with my friend Chris and I can't remember who suggested it, but we decided that we must have ramen at Taro's Ramen & Cafe in Adelaide Street.

We had the conversation AGES ago, like at least a season ago, and while I've been thinking about it a lot, since the temperature has dropped, I've been seriously craving it.

So set a date we did and off to Ramen we went. Mmmmm....steaming hot ramen with its hearty broth, handmade noodles and topped with veggies and a steamed egg. Couldn't wait! Thought about it ALL day.

I usually always check a restaurant's website for their menu before I go, generally to check their vegetarian options but also their prices and opening hours. I did check Taro's website, and they did have photos, but no clearly marked vegetarian options and I didn't really click through properly. Some ramen is made from soy broth, so I just assumed there would be at least one.

Well, you know what they say about  assuming. Turns out that broth is seafood, chicken or pork. *Super sad face*.


The only hot vegetarian options was the "Dry Noodle with Stamina Vegetables". I'm glad it looked and tasted like this and not what "Dry Noodles with Stamina Vegetables" sounds like. I was half expecting something that looked like shredded cardboard topped with those those dehydrated veggies you take on camping trips. It was really yummy, but I really wanted ramen. Chris' looked good.


We also had this "Spicy Cold Tofu" (deeeelicious!) and edamame washed down with some lychee tea.  I was full as by the end.

But I still wanted ramen!

♫ That's what makes you beautiful ♫


Ha - this is why you should never share your iTunes library at work!! You leave yourself wide open for comments such as this!

BTW, I happen to like One Direction - their tunes are catchy and you can sing to them in the shower or in the car on the way to work :-)

I'm not embarrassed by that!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Taco Tuesday!


It kinda looks like mush but it was actually pretty yummy! I've decided, in addition to "Burger Night", we're going to do "Taco Tuesday" at the Burrito Bar around the corner. You can get 2 tacos for $6.00. Whooo-hoo! This was a vegetarian soft taco.

So I  roped in my Bestie Bernice and her brood for Taco Tuesday for an el-cheapo catch up. I so love my besties, they never, ever question my craziness, they just come along for the ride!

It's a pretty cold Brissie night tonight and we walked there because it's only about 10 minutes from where we live. I love the feeling of being all rugged up on a Wintery night, with the crisp, cold air on your face, then going in for dinner in a warm and cosy restaurant. It's my favourite thing to do.


Looks like the kids loved it. We had churros too. Churro happiness...it's real. 

Yep, Taco Tuesday. It's going to be regular.

Monday, June 18, 2012

ASOS Addiction


Oh dear, it's been dormant for months now, my ASOS addiction, but it's reared it ugly (or beautiful) head in the shape of this divine Wal-G dress. I'm thinking with my stretch belt and winter boots. Thoughts?

Pretty, Shiny Things


I'm not really in jewellery but I saw this necklace in Thousand Island Dressing in Bulimba and I couldn't resist it. Sooo, so pretty isn't it? And...guess how much it was?!

$26!!!

Seriously! So cheap! It's only rhodium, but it's so shiny and pretty, I love it! I wore it with my blue Jackie O dress today and felt very Mad Men.. but I also wore it with my Sex and the City Dress last week and felt very Carrie indeed.

It's totally my new favourite accessory!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Greedy Guts


You might have noticed...I like my food. I'm not a foodie, I just eat a lot. I started a Pinterest Board called "Karina's Gastronomic Journey" and after just a couple of months I realised something.

I'm just a greedy guts.

I eat out waaay too much. (Mostly this is with friends though...so I think that's OK). But overall, I just eat way too much. At one stage, we were going out for lunch every day at work, eating out for dinner at least twice a week. My only saving grace is that I quite like cooking and so most dinners are cooked from fresh ingredients, generally with a lot of chilli!

Regardless, I did decide to make a few changes lately. I take lunch to work Monday through to Thursday - we go out to lunch on Fridays though. I've tried to cut out as much wheat and dairy (ugh...chocolate), and I'm going to start going to the markets again for fruit and veg again. I used to go to the Rocklea markets religiously for about 4 years when I lived around the corner from them, but it's a little harder these days.

So far, so good. I've had a few little setbacks, but I've lost 3 kilograms (not much generally, but a significant portion of my weight when you consider my height) and I'm spending way less each week.

And I feel better.

Yay me!


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Housey Shopping with the Bestie


Met Cheree at Ikea for a bit of bestie time and to buy the very first item for the new house! I've had my eye on this pendant lamp for ages and I plan to put it in the stairwell.
It's pretty hey? I love it! And I love that I can actually start buying stuff for the new house. It's been such a long process.


I also picked up a set of these 3 prints. I kind of thought they were cute. They were $14 down to $4 so I can't really lose even if I decide I don't like them.

Spent 4.5 hours there, which is nothing really when I hang out with Cheree, but I hadn't seen her since I got back from the UK, so it was faaaaabulous to catch up. We had breakfast there - 2 hot breakfasts, coffee and juice for $5.95.

Man...I LOVE Ikea!! Oh, and my bestie.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

My Grandmother's Won Ton Soup


My dear Grandmother was an AMAZING cook. She lived across the road from our high school and after school we could go over and she always had delicious, authentic Chinese dishes that we'd wolf down. (No sweet and sour pork in sight!).

I totally didn't appreciate it at the time, and now she's very elderly and hasn't cooked for many years, those authentic dishes have gone with her.  Very sad.

It's been soooo cold in Brisbane lately and I had a craving for her won ton soup. That salty, steaming broth, floating with vegetables and and soft pillow dumplings with their little tails that flicked soup all over your chin when you slurped them up. How I miss them! I really should learn to make them, though hers were pork and prawn and these days I would prefer a vegetarian version.

We had this at Kuan Yin in the valley - a vegetarian version. It was nice, but not my Grandmother's.  Still awesome on a Winter's night.

Boys and girls, a word from your wise Aunty Karina...savour and appreciate that delicious food from your grandparents. It's probably good, old fashioned, authentic fare and most importantly made for you with love.

Bee Cake!!!



Seriously, this is the cutest cake I've ever seen! And it was soooo delicious!! A chocolate mud cake with marzipan icing. Just divine. But the loveliest, lovliest thing ever, was that it was made for one of our interior designers at work, by a girl who used to work there (but hasn't for a few months now). She sent it in with her fiancee who still works there.

It just goes to show the calibre of the people at work, and I really just took a moment to appreciate that. I've been there for about 2.5 years, which is a REALLY long time for me, and while I like the work, I really love the people. They're a great bunch.

Work is a little crazy at the moment. And by crazy I mean I've just been handed a 3 week production schedule to put an entire magazine together. But no one complains, it's just head down, bum up and let's get on with the job.

It certainly makes life easier.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Farewell to the UK


My lightning UK tour has come to an end and so I bid farewell to my friends and boarded the plane for the 29 hour flight back to Australia. It's been an awesome, awesome trip!


This is how I looked on the way TO Dublin. Such a long haul virgin. Someone (and I will kill him later) told me that if you dress up a bit you have a better chance of getting an upgrade. It SO didn't work - the flight was not only full, it was oversold. I don't know how you can oversell a flight, but apparently they can and they do. So I spent 30 hours in a very small chair, in a very small dress, only being able to doze off for a short time.

On the way back I wore tracksuit pants and trainers and the flight was divine. I flew Dublin to Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi to Melbourne, Melbourne to Brisbane, but of course no overseas trip is complete without a hitch. The flight out of Abu Dhabi was 1.5 hours late due to backed up traffic and there was only a 2 hour stopover in Melbourne. I thought I did well to exit the plane, collect my baggage, clear customs and get to the domestic terminal in 25 minutes, but I missed my connection by 5 minutes. 5 minutes!!!


So I spent the night at the Holiday Inn courtesy of Etihad Airways. It says 4.5 star, but I'm not so sure. Anything with maroon carpet should lose at least 1 star rating for that alone. It was fine though, I had room service, went to sleep and took the first flight back to Brisbane the next morning. I went straight from the airport to work and luckily, no jet lag. There or back!

Loved being overseas...but love coming home.

A Gastronomic Journey Through London

So London's not just about fish and chips and pork pies! We weren't there for long, but we sure ate as much as we could!

Sushi at the Sushi Bar at Harrods

Oh the Food Hall at Harrods is like heaven on earth! Gorgeous fresh food, chocolates, cafes, restaurants, seafood, delicatessen, everything food related. Amazing! We had lunch at the sushi bar there, actually, it was more like a snack. These two sushi rolls and two cups of green tea was £38 or....$57AUD...Oh. My. God! It was delicious...ridiculously delicious, but wowsers! You have to eat at least once at Harrods though, right?

Strawberry Tart from Paul
Paul is Amelia's favourite patisserie and luckily for us there is one just across the road from where we were staying in South Kensington. So no yucky instant coffee for us each morning, it was faster to walk across the road in our PJs and get a proper flat white to perk us up. She loooves these strawberry tarts too and tried to convert me. Mission accomplished. It was delicious!

Wholefoods and the largest meringues ever!

Salad Bar
Wowsers, Wholefoods is amazing! I don't know how many levels there was, at least three, with fresh food, packaged foods, cafes, salad bars, just everything!! I think this is the place that Gwenyth Paltrow always raves about.

Tofu Pad Thai in South Kensington
This was a deliciously simple tofu pad thai from a little Thai restaurant in South Kensington, Khob Khun. It was yummy, and the restaurant was teeny, with just a few tables, so the atmosphere was really intimate.

Enjoying a cupcake outside the Borough Markets
If you're a foodie, get thee down to the Borough Markets. Fabulous fresh food, delicatessen, seafood, cheeses and CUPCAKES!!!  This is like the Eagle Farm Markets on speed. We spent hours there and I could have stayed longer if we didn't have to meet Cara in town for dinner. I had my first cider (weird, but I liked it) and we ate cupcakes out on the street with a million other Londoners.

Quite the gastronomic journey indeed!

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Touristy Photo Album

Kensington Palace
C'mon, it's REALLY hard travelling overseas and not taking photos of yourself in front of touristy icons. I don't care, I'm never going to see these people again, so I shamelessly had photos of myself taken for my own record of knowing I'd been there.

So...cue the slideshow music...

Buckingham Palace

Harrods

Big Ben and a Red Telephone Box

The Tube

Piccadilly Circus (yes, Cara IS a giant!)

Houses of Parliament

Westminster Abbey 
Tower of London
Eros



A night in Soho with the girls


Bless my darling besties for finding a vegetarian restaurant in trendy Soho. Australians will find this hard to believe, but this pic of Cara and Mil was taken at about 9.30pm. The sun stays up sooo late and it feels weird to be eating dinner at almost 10pm, while the sun is still up!


So this is where we had dinner, Mildreds. Funky, fun, laid back and absolutely packed! They don't take bookings and there was an hour wait, which was fine, we sipped cocktails out the front while we waited.


You might have heard, I can't handle my alcohol, but of late, I seem to be able to knock back vodka with the constitution of a Russian with little side effects. So while my companions shared a bottle of Chardy, I threw down a Cosmopolitan without falling over, though it was enough to put me in a very, very pleasant mood.

I love these girls, really I do. They were my uni friends and it was pretty cool to be catching up, so many years later on the other side of the world. It wasn't a "trip down memory lane" though, just the normal banter like when we were students, over a faaaabulous feast!!!



Baby aubergine, chickpea and olive tagine served with pomegranate yoghurt, apricot and pistachio cous cous and flat bread.

Gyoza dumplings with mirin and soy dipping sauce.


Also -

  • Sri lankan sweet potato and cashew nut curry served with yellow basmati rice with peas and tomato sambal
  • Hummous and babaganoush with chilli oil and chargrilled flat bread
  • Tostada with grilled courgette and aubergine, lettuce, pico de gallo and guacamole

And yes...it WAS as good as it sounds!!!

Hmm...maybe that bicardi DID affect me...