Saturday, 30 May 2009

Weekend of Debauchery

My darling friend Laura had a massive weekend of celebrations as she "welcomed herself into the dirty thirties!" We dined in style at Hellenic Republic on Lygon Street, Brunswick East on Thursday, followed by drinks at the Canary Club on Friday.

Hellenic Republic is one of George Calombaris's three restaurants in Melbourne. I have always been a huge fan of Calombaris, from his now and again presence on Ready, Steady, Cook and now a judge on MasterChef! So I was really looking forward to eating at one of his restaurants. The Press Club and Maha had been a phenomenal success, so I was excited.

Hellenic Republic is like a modern day Greek Taverna. Food was delicious, an array of Greek starters. Olives, Dolmathakia, Dips and Bread, Saganaki, Beetroot, Pickled Vegetables, Oysters and much more. Then there were swordfish off the grill, cubed morsels of fish that just melts in your mouth, definitely the highlight of the night on the table. And the compulsory lamb off the spit.

Laura and us go way back. She played matchmaker and obviously succeeded, and now a Godmother to my child. She's a delightful person, and a wonderful friend. It was hilarious how we met 11 years ago, but that's another story all together.

On the way down town, on our second night of debauchery, I was nodding off in the car. I said to Gary we're definitely getting too old for this! Two nights in a row! It's a record for us in the last few years. I wore a sexy top with a plunging neckline, showing off just a tad too much. I was too cowardly on that night to take my jacket off! I had one drink, and that was enough to make my world spin. Age is creeping up... eeps!

We had a lovely night nevertheless. Nothing like kicking back, no worries, no kids, good friends, good company, great food, and for some alcohol on tab! Ahhhh....

Two nights in a row... just a bit much.

Was meant to attend another party on Saturday, a WILD 80's themed party. Another big 3-oh. My old bones creaked. I never made it out the door.

Happy Birthday dear Laura! Happy Birthday Becky! XOXOXO
Cupcake by Lil' Cupcakes Diary
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Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Lucas @ 1 year

He weighs 9.915kg (25th - 50th centile).

He is 74cm tall (25th - 50th centile).

And his head circumference measures 49cm (Off chart!).
No wonder his clothes doesn't seem to fit through his head. Brains. This one definitely came from mommy's side! Hee Hee!

He looks up in the night sky and says "staaaahh", opens and shuts his little fists. Then he looks at you for signs of approval and furiously claps his hands and waits for you to sing praises.

He is full of cheek, often flashing his toothy grin and it can seriously seriously do wonderful things to your heart!
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Monday, 25 May 2009

Sushi Bento

My brother Mark, and sister-in-law May are away on a working holiday. My parents are here to look after their school age kids. The past 2 weeks, I have been helping Mom make their school lunch boxes, and my Dad would deliver these freshly prepared lunches to school at noon.

Some days it would be steaming hot food, other days cool sandwiches. They even got takeaway KFC Twister and Pop Corn Chicken one day that made every other kid green with envy. My dad is well known for his lunch time appearances now! Each time he brings in their bento boxes, he hears whisperings "What's in the box today?" or "Oh, it's not fair, why don't I get these lunches?"

Anyways, last Monday I made them teriyaki chicken futo-maki-zushi. Natalie came home and told me her teacher asked for the recipe!

So today, I packed them sushi again. I made ura-maki-zushi or inside out tuna roll, and thick omelette futomaki. And I made an extra plate for Natalie's teacher.

So here's the recipe for Natalie's teacher:

Sushi Rice

3 cups calrose rice
3 cups water

Sushi Vinegar

1/2 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Cook rice in the rice cooker or in a medium saucepan on low heat. Allow rice to stand, covered for 10 minutes. Gently fold in the sushi vinegar. Cool until room temperature. You should get a glossy, slightly sticky but still separate sushi rice. Keep rice covered with a damp cloth while making the sushi to prevent drying out.

Suggestions for fillings:
  • Cucumber strips
  • Sliced avocado
  • Grilled chicken/beef strips marinated in teriyaki sauce
  • Sashimi tuna/salmon
  • Mashed canned tuna
  • Thick omelette sliced into 1cm strips
  • Pickled daikon
  • Cooked crab meat
  • Shredded carrots, lettuce, snow pea sprouts, capsicum
  • Mayonaise
Anything that tickles your fancy really.

To roll sushi, you will need sheets of toasted seaweed or yaki-nori, and a bamboo mat. These can be purchased from an Asian grocer or even at any supermarket nowadays, in the Asian food section.

Lay a sheet of seaweed shiny side down on the mat. Spread the sushi rice evenly across the seaweed sheet, covering most of the sheet leaving behind only a 2cm margin. Place fillings in the centre of the rice length ways. Roll mat forward away from you, pressing gently but tightly, wrapping seaweed around rice and fillings.

Unroll mat. Place sushi roll down with join at the bottom. Slice into bite size pieces with a sharp knife.

The inside-out rolls are relatively easy to make too. But we'll save that for another post, another day!

I love making sushi. It is healthy, it is pretty and it is so lovely to eat. It's great for little lunch boxes too.

And oh yes, those cute little cupcakes are from a birthday party we attended over the weekend. What a treat for them! I can definitely see faces greener that the cupcake's icing! Best Blogger Tips

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Wicked & Pub Food

For my birthday this year, I was given 2 tickets to Wicked, the Broadway Musical. I have to say, it was a very thoughtful gift and I loved it to bits! One that I did not expect and one of the best birthday present I've had. So thank you, Guaran and Chai!

From their website:

WICKED is the untold story of the Witches of Oz. Long before Dorothy drops in, two other girls meet in the land of Oz. WICKED tells the story of their remarkable odyssey, how these two unlikely friends grow to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch.

Lucy Durack played Glinda. Elphaba was Jemma Rix, probably because Amanda Harrison is performing somewhere else, taking the world by storm.

Bert Newton was the Wizard of Oz. Stuart Fisher replaced Australian Idol Anthony Callea in the role of Bog.

Spellbinding. Spectacular. And wonderfully wicked.

Loved. It.


We were a little disorganised going out to the city tonight. Part of the day was spent at the Dandenong Ranges with my parents and the kids, just kicking about the footy and eating. Then there was the house that looked like it's been hit by a cyclone, been lifted up and twirled about into the Land of Oz! I spent a good part just picking up toys and putting away things. Before I even know it, it was time to go!

I quickly threw dinner together for the boys, and got ready all in less than 20 minutes! On the way out, we realised we haven't made any reservations for a restaurant. The first one we called from the car was booked out. Uh-oh!

I flipped through the Entertainment Book and found European Bier, located conveniently at the Paris end of Colins Street and corner of Exhibition Street, just a stone's throw from the Regent Theatre. The moment I walked in I thought, oh dear! There's absolutely NO ONE having dinner at this place. Everyone's at the bar, drinking. The tables were empty. It was dark and dingy. The bartender told us to go find ourselves a table upstairs! Right-o!

Anyways. We were wickedly surprised. We ordered our food. Entre of salt and pepper squid with garden salad, char grilled scotch fillet and chicken parmigiana for mains and dessert was a sticky date and walnut cake with butterscotch sauce and a berry compote. Boy! We agreed our pub food was so darn good! The squid was tender, the meats were succulent and perfectly cooked and the flavours were excellent! Would never have thought this Ozzie pub has this much to deliver. If you don't mind the ambience, or lack of. In the end, we thought the service was OK. The bartender came over to talk to us. We didn't wait too long (possibly because we were the only ones eating) and the food came piping hot.

And their selection of beers, a little overwhelming. Somewhere like 50 different types of beer. All of which I could not pronounce.

Another great night out.

120 Exhibition Street,
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Friday, 22 May 2009

Mami and Papa

We have been spoilt. It has been close to 2 weeks since my mum and dad got off the plane. They're here from Malaysia, to be with their grandchildren, and to be with us.

We are so fortunate. I am so lucky! I have not cooked dinner for 3 nights in a row now. I have wonderful home cooked food, almost every night. The boys are bathed, scrubbed clean. They smell lovely, and it's not even 4pm.

The other day I went out to the shops BY MYSELF. I wanted to get the boys pyjamas that I saw in a catalogue. It was strange, I could take my time looking through the items on the shelf. Slowly and carefully deciding which size, which colour. I walked through the store 3 times. I went to the supermarket, walking down each aisle, perusing the shelves. Didn't find much to buy though except milk and bread!

And we have been out, Gary and I! Oh yes we have! We went to the movies, we watched Angels and Demons. We had dinner at Aux Batifolles. And we have so much planned for the next two weekends. Aahhhhh.... I could get used to this.

Someone asked me not so long ago. So, what do we do in our spare time? SPARE time? My answer in a quick haste would be... In my spare time, I would go to the toilet! Hah! Today, in my spare time, I lounged around with Lachy on the couch watching Stuart Little. I sprawled on the floor, rolling about with Lucas. I went out with Gary after dinner WITHOUT THE KIDS for some late night shopping and bought some ice-cream.

Just wonderful. Best Blogger Tips

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Up on the Roof

Grandpa lets him do whatever he wants. Even if he wanted to climb up the ladder to see what's on the roof. Even if he wanted to thud loudly with his feet on the zinc sheets, or run from one end to the other, or jump up to reach for the sky.

Oh lord, I'd rather not see this.

*Cringe* Best Blogger Tips

Monday, 18 May 2009

Aux Batifolles

On the weekend, we celebrated a dear friend's 30th at a quaint little French Restaurant in Fitzroy North. Aux Batifolles, which loosely translates to a place where people frolic and flirt around, is pleasant and welcoming. French waiters bus tables with the most delicious accent.

The walls were raw brick, and deco's minimal and simplistic.

For entres, Gary and I shared a French antipasto plate: an array of cold meat, pates, grilled vegetable stack, goat's cheese mousse, escargot grilled with garlic, parsley and lemon butter and a stuffed quail's leg. It's a nice little tasting plate of pretty much their entire menu for starters. Great value for $20.

For mains, Gary ordered a Porterhouse with blue cheese dressing. Although cooked to medium, I found that the meat was a bit tough and chewy. This was served on a bed of shoestring fries which tasted delicious with the blue cheese sauce. At $22, it's a bargain for French and mind you, there's nothing French about the portion.
I had the French Chicken and Lobster Pie, served with seafood bisque and a side of salad. The pastry was a little thick at some parts, and there wasn't much seafood taste to the bisque. Salad was acceptable with walnuts and a reduced balsamic dressing. It was so-so, $28.
All these came with a basket of baguette and (according to Laura) Lurpak butter, the best butter in the world. Allez!

We peruse the dessert carte, and had a ogle at the next table's creme brule. But we were good and left a little room for dessert at home, a birthday cake (Pear Delight? Symphony) from French Lettuce. Slices of pear atop a nice spongy cake with vanilla and chocolate cream. Perfect ending!

Aux Batifolle did leave a nice taste in our palate, a genuine bargain.
Happy Birthday Lins!
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Friday, 15 May 2009

The Launching of Spring Kids

There is a seriously talented lady whom I admire so muchly. Her name is Leonny Atmadja.

She is Indonesian-born living in Singapore with her husband Wilson, and two most gorgeous and photogenic kids, Anya and Vai. Today, I'd like to point you over to her site.

Not only does she share through her blog Our Everyday Things, the joys, the ups and downs of being a parent (most often you'll find the most practical parenting tips in her blog that I love reading, it's like a ritual everyday!), recently she has opened a new online store! It's called Spring Kids. Here, you'll find a great range of kid's clothing and accessories. I like how Leonny sourced for some of the cutest and unusually gorgeous items like these Polliwalks.

One of the brands of clothing I quite like is Chibiko Corner. Made in Japan, very very Kawaii.

Shown here: Pumpkin Patch Board Shorts, Chibiko Corner Zip Up Hoodie.

As part of its new launch, Leonny is doing a giveaway. 8 lovely Spring Kids items to giveaway to 8 lucky readers, just for spreading the word. So pop over to her site will ya? This contest is open to those who live in the Asia Pacific (Australia included!).

And oh, did I mention she owns the most gorgeous and talented little models for her clothing store. Hmmm... I wonder if they get paid for their work. I'm sure they do, with love.

Two thumbs up for Leonny! Best Blogger Tips

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Birthday Books

Now that the birthdays are over, my next task is to create photobooks for each of them.

In the age of digital photography, it is easy to store away your photos and forget about them. I prefer to show them off. Make a photobook. It could be a coffee table book, or one for the collection on the shelf. There are just so many possibilities. At Photobook Australia, they make no compromise when it comes to engineering a photobook. Their quality is the highest in today's marketplace. Try it once and you will see what I mean!

Making a photobook is just so easy.

1. First of all, you will need to download MyPhotobooks Editor. This software is available for download at their website free of charge. It enables you create your own personalised photobook at the comfort of your own home.

2. Designing your book is as easy. Choose a book size from their selection of 14 hardcover and softcover books, load your pictures and simply drag and drop pictures into the pages. You can choose to spread your photo across the page, or fill them into frames and lay them out as you wish. You can edit your pictures by adding Black & White or Sepia filter, or apply image enhancements such as Contrast, Sharpen, Skin Tone, Noise Reduction, and more to bring out the details of your images. Check out these 9 simple steps at their website to help you create your book.

3. Then simply upload your book either by sending the file via internet or by mail or hand at their office. The checkout process requires an account with the 'Photobook store'. Sign-in with your email address and password or register for a new account.

Your photobook will be ready and sent out to you within 5-7 working days!

I can't wait to see my books! Best Blogger Tips

My Year Without Sex

No dahlings, we're not about to openly discuss my sex life here although there're much similarities to what's about to come.

Thanks to the lovely people at Nuffnang Australia, we have some FREE movie tickets to giveaway!

MY YEAR WITHOUT SEX is a kind of love story about all the big questions, and even more of the small ones. Over one messy year, Ross and Natalie navigate their children, nits, housework, birthdays, Christmas, faith, football, job insecurity, more nits, and whether they will ever have sex again.

Brilliant! There's just so much in life to look forward to, huh?

If you're like Ross and Natalie, Gary and me, please email me at I have 2 free tickets to giveaway. It doesn't replace sex but hey, 2 hours away from your kids, who knows what it will lead to? Winners will be randomly drawn from...a hat. Babysitters not included.

Or. If you don't have kids and want to watch the movie anyways, email me and you will also be in the draw.

Entries close Monday 25th of May 2009.

In the movies Thursday May 28th, 2009 until the end of the film's theatrical session. (Exclude public holidays and discount days).

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Monday, 11 May 2009

Moonstruck by Mousse!

Do you watch MasterChef?

Gary and I are addicted to it. Glued to the TV at 7pm. Every day.

Sometimes, we don't get to watch and have it recorded. Last night, I watched Friday night's episode and they were making a french chocolate mousse. YES, read: CHOCOLATE MOUSSE!

Mmmmmm.... I had to make Gary pause that episode. I ran into my kitchen and whipped up a batch of FRENCH CHOCOLATE MOUSSE and it was bloody fantastic. Pardon my French!

3 ingredients:

300g Good quality Dark Chocolate
500ml Cream
200ml Olive Oil

Melt chocolate in a bain-marie, careful not to overheat. Whip up the cream until soft peaks are just formed, careful not to overwhip. Emulsify olive oil into melted chocolate. Then with a steady stream, pour chocolate and olive oil mixture into whipped cream, lightly whipping it all together. Lick spoon and bowl clean.

Sorry, there's no time for a photo. I was too busy licking. Best Blogger Tips

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Lucas' 1st Birthday

Yesterday, we celebrated Lucas' 1st Birthday with family and a few close friends. We had a barbie in our backyard. It was laid back and lovely. There were sausages sizzling, steaks on the hotplate, lamb chops, chicken wings, corn and lots of salads. There were lots of eating, lots of merry making and lots of laughing.

I made cupcakes!

As promised, we invited only a couple of Lucas' friends. They crawled, cruised and rolled around freely. It was so much fun!

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Happy Mother's Day

For the very first time in 4 years, I celebrated Mother's Day in true fashion.

I received my first hand-made gift. A heart-shaped card, fluttery and beautiful, a colourful bead bracelet and a bookmark. When I first saw the bookmark, it says "Happy Mother's Day 2009, Love Lachlan" on one side, clearly written by Lachlan's teacher. Turn it over, there were scribbles, long scribbly blue and green. Lines of love. My heart melted, and I had tears in my eyes.

Oh, the teachers at kindy. They are wonderful, thoughtful creatures. Thank you!

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Friday, 8 May 2009

Lucas, you had me at Hello!

Oh what an easygoing child you have been, right from the start!

You were born via a planned Caesarean Section, and everything went really smoothly. Mummy went into the operating theatre as calm as a Hindu cow, and out you came in no time. It was peaceful. It was quiet. For the next few hours, you were clinging on to my chest, skin on skin. And baby, it felt so darn good! Your little warm body nuzzled against mine, your skin so soft. It was nothing I can describe. I was completely in love.

And you just knew how to look for food. You turn your head towards my breast and started suckling, like you have done that many times before in your life. You were there for hours, so happy and so contented. Even up till today, it is so easy to keep you happy... FOOD!

Our love for you has never been divided. You are your own pot of gold. It's true being a second child, you get a little less of time, and of physical attention. You did not have swimming lessons at 6 months of age, you've never been to Gymbaroo and you did not have a talent agency scouting for advertising opportunities for you. You wear your brother's clothes, you played with your brother's toys. But our love for you, it is not hand-me-down. Our love for you is strong. It is a different kind of love. A complete, perfect love. More mature. Much wiser.

Having you and your big brother keeping me on my toes, this past one year has actually been very satisfying, it has been a whirlwind. It was exhilarating. It was exciting. I can't believe it has been one year. ONE whole year! Today is your first birthday, and we would like to wish you a very Happy Birthday.

To my darling boy Lucas with big brown eyes, and with those long, thick, black lashes! You have me squirming with jealousy. You don't know how many times we were stopped in supermarkets, and people would comment on those eyes. To my darling boy Lucas with a cherubic face and tousled hair, your smile melts hearts and captures life so carefree and happy.

Happy 1st Birthday Lucas!
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Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Of All the Cakes I've Baked Before

*5th of July 2010

*8th of May 2010

*13th of November 2009

Fairy Toadstool II

Added 14th of October 2009

Little-e's Castle Cake.

Added 17th of August 2009

Fairy Toadstool Birthday Cake I

Added 7th of July 2009.

Krispy Kreme Donuts and Thomas The Tank Engine Birthday Cake.

Edited 10th of May 2009.

Cupcakes for Lucas' 1st Birthday!

Lachie's 1st Birthday.

Lachie's 2nd Birthday.

Lachie's 3rd Birthday.

Christopher's 3rd Birthday.

Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry!

A Party Princess Birthday Cake.

Dorothy the Dinosaur

One of my first creations. Best Blogger Tips