Sydney eating

I’ve just come back from 5 days in Sydney at a conference.  I’d love to share some of my dining/food experiences with you so here is my first attempt at a restaurant review style post.  Before I start – where do you go to get a decent cup of coffee in Sydney?  We were staying at Darling harbour and I had 3 terrible coffees (couldn’t drink 2 of these), one nice but a bit lacking in the balls department (sorry – thats official coffee speak) and one good brew.  I guess I should have asked this question before I left. So onto the dining.

The day before I left I was chatting with my neighbours (who are from Sydney) about wanting a great bowl of pho.  Where I live there are no Vietnamese restaurants full stop.  Their son lives in Sydney and swears to know the best pho joint in town. So off to Pho Pasteur we go (it sounds good if you say fur pasteur)(it almost rhymes but why) at 709 George st. Its daggy, brightly lit, old laminated menus plus menus on the walls, spelling mistakes a plenty amd full of happy asian diners. Yippee, happy days, here we go.

They have various types of pho on the menu $10 -$12, noodle salads and rice noodles.  I was after beef pho, but curious about the special beef pho.  The waiter told us that in addition to the raw thin slices of beef fillet, there are 4 types of beef cooked in the pho.  I wasn’t in my most adventurous mood and was a bit scared of getting some stomach lining or other such delicacy in my soup and opted for the standard.  Good choice gf, I saw a couple at the next table exchanging all manner of innards over their pho.  I love food, I’m pretty willing to try different things but just can’t seem to go for offal.  So here it is, it was delicious, served with wedges of lemon, bean shoots and vietnamese mint.  A mazing!!

Now to Breakfast!

I forgot to write down the address but we wandered down to a lovely little french cafe called Le Depot.  Its on the same road as Thorpies aquatic centre and the powerhouse museum and the provider of my best coffee in sydney.

I couldn’t face a carb heavy breakfast (I’m a bit irritable in the bowel department if you know what I mean) so ordered the salmon, potato and leek tart.  It was devine and oh yeah, it cost $6.  Coffee and tart cost $9 unreal.  My friends/work colleagues had – toasted cereal with rhubarb compote and yoghurt, a strawberry tart and a toasted croissant.

They also had the most wonderful looking cakes, fruit flans, baguettes etc. and all for a really good price.  So Le Depot – I’m a fan.  Thats 2 great dining experiences and you won’t be hearing about the not so great ones.  My next post will be about the wonderful night we had at Red Lantern on Riley and, Luke was in the house woo hoo

By the way, I was at the International Congress of Dietetics, check out some of the trade exhibitors


Mary, Mary quite contrary

The thing I like about getting older is the way in which you understand yourself better.  I’ve recently realised that I’m quite the contrary gal.  When I’m being contrary, I would deny it 100%.  But when I think back about it, I realise how obnoxious I can be.

And I think that being contrary does make me obnoxious, but it can also make me a bit different, a bit unusual (please say that in a Kath and Kym voice) and a bit quirky.

Early last year I was lunching with some lovely, well to do ladies and they were all gushing about their love of their iphones.  I don’t know why but my mental reaction was swift and determined – I would never own an iphone.  See what I mean about obnoxious.  I truly don’t know why I react this way but I do, and the thinking stays with me, I tend not to sway.  So of course I got what I call my iphoney, actually a samsung galaxy II, and I love it.  And I obnoxiously find myself telling people how great it is.
Then there’s my house renovation.  In early 2009 I had to pack the house up and move out so that the builders could come in and do my much desired major renovation.  Around this time my then husband who was working away told me that he never wanted to come back.  Like a few weeks before the reno was starting.  So I had to pack up and move out (including packing all his stuff), work out how to be ‘seperated’, manage the build on my own, oh and I slipped and broke my wrist. Yep, that a post of its own, lets call it the shittiest year of my life post.  Post script – I moved back into my perfect renovated house in November that year, met the gorgeous M that same month and 2010 was probably the awesomest year of my life.

So back to renovating.  When people would ask about what type of kitchen I would put in, they’d often add ‘so you’ll be getting a stone bench top won’t you’.  Obviously, up would pop Contrary Mary’s ugly head!  When chatting to my architect, I found myself telling him that I wanted my kitchen to be orange and under no circumstance was I getting a stone bench top.  He’d reply ‘great’, bless his soul.  And I don’t think he was being ironic.  And so it continued through to the bathrooms, the taps (I don’t want mixers – the builders thought I was nuts) and my choice of external colours.  But, it works for me and I love my house.  Heres a snap of my kitchen – you’re allowed to hate it!

Shabby chic or retro cool

My neighbourhood is more than just a place to live, its a community.  And by some random chance, I’m surrounded by vintage style inspired folk.  Now these aren’t your 20 something hipsters working hard to be cool, these are normal families who appreciate beautiful old pieces, and have done for a long time.

So theres the hippy mummy J who amongst her treasures had an amazing perfect formica table. Next door is Giovanna who once owned a vintage shop and now sews gorgeous 50’s style dresses.  Over the street Mr and Mrs T covet the old classics – Moran chairs, parker dining settings, old side boards.  Next door to them, L&L have long collected all manner of stylish treasures.  L is very generous and often picks up bargains which he distributes around the street.  Today he gave me the cutest set of espresso cups which fit in perfectly with my own collection of euro retro (russians love gold and I have inherited some classics).

So the rest of this post are photos – starting with L&L dining table and lounge, finishing with my new espresso cups.




Do you collect any special treasures?

so, do you think these pants are too tight?

So, I was reading the fashion section of an online newspaper this morning and there was a story about princess Kate.  The story was in a new section called ‘sporting fashion’ (thank you Olympics for creating new fashion sections for all the fashionistas out there) and they were putting the boot into lovely Kate for the ‘greyness’ (fifty shades perhaps) of her recent outfits.

As they were on a roll and having a go, they also wrote that her pants were too tight and her top too small.  I think she was at an equestrian event.  So, what do you think?  By the look of it, Harry don’t mind.  Is the problem that she is a future queen?

rocket pesto

My little winter garden is overflowing with rocket and green leaves but I’m not really loving my salads at the mo. Its never cold for long in Queensland so I’m enjoying some slow cooked meals, roasts and winter foods whilst I can. Oh but what to do with all those greens!

So I decided to make a rocket pesto with toasted macadamia nuts and green chilli.  The nuts come from a local grower who sells at a sunday market, the chillies came from my garden.  I won’t bore you with the detail but I added extra virgin olive oil, salt and finished with some parmesan.

Its a gorgeous colour and full of flavour but a tad on the bitter side. I’m not too sure as yet what I’ll do with it.  Any suggestions out there?

a word about quantity

You may have noticed in my bio that I’m a dietitian. Its a job that I love and have done for many years, but I’m always a bit reticent mentioning my career when I meet someone new. Its a great fit for me – I love food, cooking, growing my own and I value health but I guess that I don’t want to be identified by what I do 9 to 5.

So I tend not to do a lot of posts purely about nutrition. But, today I’m in the mood and I hope you are too 😉

Weight control is a massive money spinner, think about the books and magazines you may have bought, the shakes, the ab machines, the list goes on. But the reality of weight control is not sexy nor easy, so the most sound and sensible advice is often overlooked by the lure of the latest and greatest diet!

So today I want to talk about quantity ie. how much we eat.

From infancy, we are taught to over-ride our natural instinct about how much we should eat. A small child might stop eating, but mum and dad in their eagerness to feed their children well will use tricks and games to try and get more food in.  When the children are older, they may say ‘finish you meal and you can have a treat’.  I’m not judging,  I do it myself – don’t know why this need to feed is so deeply ingrained in our psyche.  So ultimately, as adults we don’t seem to have a good internal mechanism around when to stop eating.

So I want to share with you a few words of wisdom

The Japanese say ‘hara hachi bu’ OR stop eating when you are 80% full

The prophet Muhammed described a full belly as 1/3rd full of food, 1/3rd full of fluid and 1/3rd full of air

So alot of people struggle with their weight, not because they eat the wrong foods, but because they simply eat too much.  See the photos below, the plain white plate is inexpensive and from large department store, the other plate is old (similar plates can be found at markets and op shops).  Notice once I put the old plate on the new one – check out the size difference – oh my – how easy is it to eat more.

So my message for the day is to try and be more mindful about how much you eat and perhaps make a conscientious decision to reduce the size of your main meal.  Let me know how you go!  Also, they say that the pleasure is in the first 3mouthfuls!

Sad news

I wrote some time ago about my beautiful old kelpie cross collie called Nancy. I’ve wanted to share the news but struggled to write about it. Nancy passed away on monday 26th March. Aaahhh, there, its out.  If you want to read the first post, check out August 2011.

A few weeks earlier, I was aware that the nights were a getting tougher on Nancy, she would wake often and struggle to get comfortable.  I had one monday where I went to work, crying all the way.  She had had a really rough night and I thought her time was up.  I rang the vet, bawling on the phone and they made time for me to bring her down that afternoon.  I knew that she wasn’t going to die in a vets surgery so I wasn’t panicked that she was not coming home with me.  She vet wanted to do tests, I said no and after much discussion we agreed to give her an injection (I can’t remember now if it was a pain killer or anti-inflammatory) and see how she got through the night.  She was better so we started her on a once fortnightly tablet for chronic joint pain.  Although she was better, I was acutely aware that we were just buying some time and that she wasn’t going to be with me for a long time.

On sunday 25th March my beautiful dog tripped down some stairs and, I’ve never seen her in so much pain.  I couldn’t get a good look at her foot but I knew she must have broken a bone or done a bad injury.  That night I went to bed but couldn’t sleep knowing about the day to come.  I went downstairs, picked her up and carried her to the spare bedroom.  I put her on the bed and lay down with her, knowing that this would be our last night together.  Neither one of us slept much, she got lots of light pats and kisses on her nose.  In the morning I rang the vet and she agreed to come to the house at lunch time.  I went to the surgery and picked up a sedative for her, went to the shops and bought a box of mixed Lindt balls.  I went home and spent the morning with her.  I fed her gouda (she loved a nice piece of cheese) and smoked salmon for breakfast, gave her the sedatives and then treated her to a few lindt balls.  I lay with her in the morning sunshine, I washed her face and cleaned her ears, brushed her beautiful thick coat and basically breathed her in.  She got more and more drousy and relaxed but watched my every step.  Just before lunch I carried her again to the spare bed and left her to rest.

The gorgeous M arrived home and helped me pick a lovely shady spot in the back yard.  He started to dig her grave and the lovely Linda (my local vet) arrived.  M came in, I lay down with her and gave her my thanks and a few last words and Linda gave her the injection.  She died very quickly with my arms around her and her beautiful face in my hands.  Ultimately, she died peacefully, quickly, in her home and enveloped in love.  I miss her so much, I’d love to touch her one more time but I was lucky to have her in my life for so long.  Pirate struggled the first few weeks, it was heart breaking to see him suffer.  He’s getting his mojo back and its lovely to see.

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