Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A sweet bouquet

I was given this gorgeous bouquet of flowers today. They were absolutely divine and are currently brightening up my living room.

It's been a long time since I've been given flowers. It was very sweet. And very much appreciated.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A very big night out!

I don't have big nights out very much...almost never, but this was a HUGE night to top all nights.  It started off with a Black Keys concert out at the Entertainment Centre. I didn't think these guys were that popular, but the venue was PACKED. And these guys seriously rocked! Awesome atmosphere and just a fantastic performance. How awesome is this photo? The timing was juuuuust perfect!

After the performance we headed back into the Valley (because Valley Fiesta was on) and ended up at Kerbside. I've been wanting to go to this place for ages. It's a bar that's basically been kitted out with furniture and decor that's been found at a kerbside pick up. It's eclectic, and vintage and rustic but it just works.

There's also NO cocktail menu. No sir-ree. They personalise each cocktail for you based on the type of drink you like. I'd never come across this before. So I told her I like fruity passionfruit type cocktails and she made one with (a lot) of gin and (a lot) of vodka and it was the most amazing cocktail I'd ever had!  Not only that, it was made with such amazing flair, I would have been happy to just sit and watch her all night.

The second one was this coffee cocktail. I can't remember what spirits were in it, but it was amazing!!

Afterwards, we headed to The Beat and danced the night away until 5am...when we finally got kicked out.  Outside, it was dawn. As in the sun was up. That is a very big night indeed!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Hues of purple

The jacarandas are out.
It must be exam time.
Good luck to all the uni students.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


22 September 2012

I'm not sure what breaks my heart more. Taking a photo and thinking it might be the last...or looking back at a photo and realising it was the last.


Sunday, October 14, 2012


You know what rocks about Brisbane? You can float 40,000 rubber ducks led by one giant duck down the river and  no one bats an eyelid. In fact, everyone comes out to celebrate.

Love the Great Brisbane Duck Race!

Can't Sleep, Must Bake!

I've had terrible problems sleeping the last few days. I have no idea why. I'm not even tired until 2am and then I toss and turn and have a terrible night's sleep. I've never really had this before. I can get by on very little sleep, 4 hours or less, but the sleep I get is usually good quality sleep because as soon as I'm in bed I'm out to it until I wake.

Anyway, when I can't sleep I find it helps to bake and lately, this is making me fat. Anyway, this was last night's effort. Apple and rhubarb tartlets with brown sugar crumble. Made from scratch, even the shortcrust pastry.

Bedtime - 2.30am.

But it was delicious!

Friday, October 12, 2012

House Rebuilding Progress - Day 25

We are on Day 25 of the rebuild after the flood and the house is progressing well. The steel posts at the back are in and look very, very, very high. Ridiculously high in fact. I'm not sure whether these go to the top of the second floor or just the floor of the second floor, but either way the house is going to be very high and very flood proof.

The formwork for the garage slab also looks ready and I'm expecting they will pour the concrete this week. Very exciting! After almost 2 years we're on our way back to a normal life!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

MYO Rice Paper Rolls

These tofu rice paper rolls from Happy Little Dumplings in Bulimba are my favourite food ever! They have the perfect combination of tofu, pickled cucumber, carrot, vermicelli, mint and coriander with an AMAZING secret dipping sauce. Sooooo delicious. Just writing this is making my mouth water.

The only downfall is....they only come in after 12pm during the week and if you don't get in early they sell out. Or...they come in late and you're sitting there waiting and your lunch hour runs out and you leave empty handed.

You see my dilemma.

Anyway I have a strategy that I've got down to a fine art. If I leave the at exactly 12pm and park in the local Woolworth (shhhhh) for dine in or send in a runner while I circle if we're doing take-away, there's a better than 80% chance I'll get them. My little work group are familiar with this routine and I don't want to mess with it.

So my manager hasn't come on this rice paper roll run before and KEPT ME WAITING past 12pm while he was on the phone. I stood in at his doorway waving my arms around madly, pointing at my watch and making grumpy faces. Of course we got there and they were SOLD OUT! Grrrrr!!! *Pouty Face*. I was so annoyed I punched him in the arm. I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to do that to your boss.

We ended up having sushi. It was good, but I couldn't get the unfinished business of the non-rice paper roll lunch out of my mind. So I thought I would give it a go and try and make them at home. 

I've made rice paper rolls at home loads of times, but I really wanted to try and recreate the ones they had. Really I think the only difference was the pickled cucumber and the deep fried tofu. I usually just use normal, boiled tofu. So I just soaked the cucumber (and carrot, at Mum's suggestion) and fried the tofu.

They turned out pretty good! And..the Happy Little Dumplings ones are $8 for 2...kinda pricey. I made a batch of 24 for about  $10, enough for dinner and lunch the next day.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

August Moon Festival in Townsville

For the second time this month we went to a Chinese Full Moon Festival. This time it was while we were back in my hometown of Townsville. I haven't been to an Moon Festival at home in years so it was great!

I got all dolled up in traditional Chinese garb in a full length royal blue "cheong sam" that I bought from the Valley Markets. I was trying to look "authentic Chinese" but when I got there I got bit worried I just looked authentically like a waitress in a Chinese restaurant and I was worried people would start ordering drinks from me.

They didn't. Thank God. Cause that would be embarrassing.

In my last post about the Moon Festival I talked about how we always called it the August Moon Festival when we were kids, even though it's not in August. Weirdly I never questioned this. But my fabulous friend Sunny in Canada sent me this:

I would like to share with you something that I know about the Moon Festival.  The Chinese Moon Festival is on the August 15th of the lunar Calendar, not the Gregorian calendar.  That is why it does not always fall in August based on the Gregorian calendar.  

Do you know the full moon also symbolises family reunions?  With the full moon, the legend of Chang Er flying to the moon and the poems, I personally think the Moon Festival is one of the most sentimental festivals to the Chinese.  I will start telling (my son) Hubert the traditions when we are far from China.  

I am hoping you will have a wonderful moon festival.  Here is a well-known poem for this occasion:

Thoughts in the Silent Night 
by Li Bai

The Moonlight is shinning through the window

And it makes me wonder if it is the frost on the ground

Looking up to see the moon

Looking down I miss so much about my hometown

**Thanks Sunny!!**

Oh we ate moon cake too. I loooove these! I think I had about 4 on my own over the course of my trip. Very bad. They're super high in calories.

The traditional moon cake made from lotus seed paste or red bean and has salted egg yolks inside. The imprint on the outside usually has symbols of long life or harmony. History (or folklore) says they were used during the Ming Dynasty to overthrow the Mongol rule by hiding secret messages inside about the revolution. Meh...all I know is they're super tasty!!

Happy August Moon all!!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Cat Poo Coffee!

Yep. Cat poo coffee. Did that get your attention? This is the place to get it - Herveys Range Heritage Tea Rooms about 40 minutes outside of Townsville.

So the cat poo coffee beans are coffee beans that have been eaten by the Asian Palm Civet, a cat looking animal in Indonesia. Their digestive juices apparently leech out all the bitterness from the coffee beans producing.

And then humans drink it.

For $50 a cup.


The Tea Rooms were once a Cobb & Co stop and pretty much looks, I think, as it would have back then in the 1800s. The iron roof, enclosed verandah and hardwood timber flooring. It's very original with character.

It's a quaint little spot and literally in the middle of no-where, yet early on a Sunday morning the place was packed and we had to book.

The food was simple, country style fare, served up with country hospitality and you could read stories on the walls about the famous $50 cup of coffee and the resident ghost.

I didn't have the cat poo coffee. Because, well $50 a cup and cat poo ewwwwness!! I had their award winning scones instead. And they were D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S!

Friday, October 5, 2012

My Grandfather's Grave

I visited my Grandfather's grave while I was home, like I always do. He died in 1949. My grandmother passed away in 2005 and she is now buried next to him. She was without him for 56 years and sent flowers from her garden to his grave every week until she was too elderly and then my father and aunty would do it for her.

These glass domed flowers have been here for as long as I remember. I guess they were originally coloured but have faded over the years. They're not bolted down or anything and I asked Dad when they were put there. He said they had been there since the funeral in 1949. I don't know why I'm so surprised by that, I just am.

Maggie Island

Took my Dad and Josh to Magnetic Island while we were on holidays in Townsville. Or, if you're a local...

"Took the old man and tacker over to Maggie Island while we were on hols in the 'ville."

When we were kids, Maggie Island was a bit of a hippy, slightly daggy island. We used to go there for school camps where the food was terrible and the communal showers even more terrible. I remember throwing up overboard on the way back from a Grade 6 camp because the ferry was so old and rickety.

But times have changed. We took a fancy schmancy boat from the new terminal and surrounding the Nelly Bay jetty was a stack brand new apartments and a Peppers hotel. Fancy!

Despite the fancy changes, the beaches are still beautiful and the pace is relaxing and chilled. You really feel like you're on holidays.

The Marlin Bar Of course there's a giant marlin on the wall,
otherwise how would you know where you were?

We had lunch at the Marlin Bar. It was Grand Final Day just before kick off so the place was pumping. Poor Dad didn't know what was going on.