Sunday, July 15, 2012

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Bondi Beautiful

Sydney literally sings in summer, violet coloured jacarandas were in bloom, dotted across suburban streets like an ‘all Australian’ impressionist painting. Balmy evenings coax people outdoors and into restaurants and bars, which are bulging at the seams and spewing out onto the streets. Beaches are filled with holiday makers and locals tanning their Bondi perfect bodies. Summer in Sydney is a definite i to dot on ones bucket list, yet one that eluded us this season!
A favourite Beach, Bondi Beach in summer is always abuzz with tourists swarming to this beach side suburb like bees to honey.
The cliché’s are everywhere, sun kissed blonde grommies patrol the beaches searching for the ultimate wave, skate boarders and hipster dressed kids cruise on fixed gear bicycles. Bondi is a melting pot of cultures, where life bubbles 24/7. For the locals this time of year is heralded as one that is either loved or despised, Bondi is a party town in summer and if you choose not to embrace this culture, then it’s a fight for survival.
A food spot that will leave you busting out of your super skinny jeans, is Bondi Beach Burrito Company,252 Campbell Parade, sits opposite the North Bondi Life Saving Club. This eclectic restaurant is a mix of colour and kitschy décor and a popular Mexican eating spot for local’s if you’re aching for a super sized and tasty burrito and jug of sangria. If Mexican ain't your thing then cruise down to the seven ways (roundabout), where the famous, Murray will make your day at Organic Republic, Shop 98 , 100 Glenayr Av. Serving freshly baked sourdough bread's, fruit spelt scones and deliciously buttery pastries. Just a short stroll and two doors up sits a cosy BYO Italian eatery, called La Piadina and serves only that ‘La Piadina’, 106 Glenayr Avenue. With everything from the pizza or ‘la Piadina’ dough to the toppings, freshly made or sliced right in front of your eyes, this place literally sings Italy! Owned and operated by brother’s, fresh out of Milan.
Moving onwards and around the corner is the sweet Brown Sugar Restaurant, 106 Curlewis St, offers a tasty selection of pastas, mains and the famous fish pie is one not to miss.
If your eager for an after dinner aperitif, then head up to the Shop wine bar, 78 Curlewis St. A rare ‘hole in the wall’ cocktail/wine bar. Serving delicious sandwiches, cheese plates and salads, and the mirrored wine menu on the wall never fails to satisfy. The owner has since opened The Corner House, 28 Bondi Rd. A ‘quintessential’ Bondi dining experience and famed for its Melbourne style convivial vibe, ironic that it was once a stop for the Bondi Tram!
If your style is to go a little more glam then head down Bondi rd towards the beach and stop off at the famous Bondi Icebergs, an iconic Bondi restaurant. Relax with a cocktail and a bowl of polenta chips in the cocktail/ wine bar. Indulgent? Yes, but without hurting the hip pocket.
Head north for dinner, to North Bondi Italian, which is Icebergs sister restaurant and the home to some of Bondi’s uber cool and glamorous locals. The food is Italian, of course and the inability to book means it is best to turn up early for a drink and put your name on the waiting list. If either of these dining spots fails to satisfy then jump across the road to Sean’s Panorama, 270 Campbell Parade, a beautiful menu filled with fresh and seasonal ingredients hand picked from Sean’s country farm. The home made nougat is an Achilles heal of mine and Sean's Panorama restaurant is a spot not to miss if you have the time.
If you’re feeling weary from all the eating and drinking then pop into the Swiss Grand, Campbell parade or Ravesis, Campbell Parade for luxury beach side accommodation that encapsulates Bondi.
Whether you love it or hate it Bondi is a true diamond in the rough and one Sydney spot not to miss.

loved summer x

ps hello autumn

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

happy 'V' day

love amie xox

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

summer stew

When mother nature has other ideas for summer, don't be afraid. Embrace the chillier days and let the stew pot come out!

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Monday, December 5, 2011

summer soiree

With the great Santa visit looming scarily closer and the anxiety of present shopping gnawing annoyingly on my conscience. It's time to kick up your heels and celebrate over the year that was! Whether it be with friends or colleagues. This time of year seems to mark an auspicious and grand celebration for all. So why not!

For something low key yet beautiful gather up a bunch of your closest friends and family for a pre-summer fizz at a faved location. The location of choice for this summer soiree was on top of a hidden rooftop terrace, overlooking North Narrabeen's infamous surf break, where 'locals only' and 'no long boards allowed' signs litter this destination spot, all weathered and rusted from mother nature's force. Perhaps a sign she doesn't agree! Beneath it's shear chest puffing ego driven localism Narrabeen has a quieter and softer side, it's a feeling of complete seclusion and relaxation as soon as you enter this Northern Sydney oasis. A constant holiday vibe rattles these shorelines and a tiny food scene has started to grow. Requiring constast watering and attention like a new vege patch. The newest kid on the block in restaurants - Mexicano sits humbly across the road from the Nth. Narrabeen car park. A delicious summer spot to visit and eat your way through pulled pork quesadillas, prawn tacos, beef chimmichungas and the sweetest corn ever to touch your lips. Book early for a chance to try this fresh northern beaches restaurant establishment.

A perfect spot that deserves even more perfect weather is this quaint rooftop oasis shining bright with a conservative white pop up marquee, festoon lighting for fun and warmth and fresh brightly coloured field flowers dotted neither here nor there to finish off this outdoorsy summer inspired 30th birthday celebration.

A celebration such as this could not be complete without buckets filled with ice chilled white wine and beer. A stunning crystal etched punch bowl filled with every girls favourite florals and berries is a star attraction. Quite a punch that would give even a fashionista foodie such as Fleur Wood a run for her money on the style stakes ;-)

Whilst languishing luxuriously on over sized cane wicker seating guests munch sporadically on - gourmet BLTs, red lentil, yogurt & coriander dahl wraps, and poached chicken & celery rolls as they chat happily, already drunk from the afternoon sun and perhaps a tipple of booze. For the sweet tooth the tantalising brownie and luscious lemon tarts served with double cream and raspberries, hit more than the sweet spot. When its noted that greedy guests leave cheekily laden with more than just a tipsy buzz, but with the oh so popular brownie a secret recipe one can never 'kiss and tell'.

For the in-between times when guests are arriving and still partying, a favourite for all are the cheese family - meet; soft, gooey and hard or smelly, which come and go so quickly to any party you hardly notice their moorish existance. Beautifully baked sourdough breads are served for constant grazing with those hard to tie down cheese's.

Hip Hip Hooray!

love amie x

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Monday, October 31, 2011

country cool

'You can't cash cool'...
On a trip back to my parents country residence last long weekend. A quaint little town that sits cosily amongst rolling green hills and the Glenelg River, casually swirls gently and almost unnoticed through the main street - Casterton is it's name. A destination spot that is easily missed but once visited never forgotten. Casterton is approximately 4 hours south west of Melbourne and 5 hours south east of Adelaide. A long and arduous drive that can be broken up if you know where to go.

First stop from Adelaide, moving south east, is an old town with lots of character called Naracoorte. Population approximately 5K, which in this district is called a small city. But what this little South Australian town lacks in size makes up for in style and sophistication. The recent addition of Mr. Jason Van Leuven l'Artisan Bakery Patisserie has got the towns tongues wagging about chocolates and all things 'ohh la la' - French! Mr. Van Leuven is a pastry chef and along with his Parisian wife are educating this sleepy little town all about decadent French pastries, tarts and home made breads. I was lucky enough to sample some of his home made treats, whilst staying at my sisters farm in Naracoorte. Flakey & buttery pastries filled with chocolate are nestled amongst fine French tarts, and for something savoury, a baguette on the go was a fine order. The staff were friendly and eager for us to taste the freshly imported French chevre and the remainder of the cheese selection. yummmm. A definite i to dot is this remote location.

The delicious home made food mixed gently with the country air made me feel in a state of melancholy. Longing more and more for time home with family and to a slower paced lifestyle that my Sydney home did not satisfy.

Driving south east from Naracoorte to Casterton through the lush Coonawarra region past Rymill's, Wynns, Hollicks and the many more stylish new Boutique vineyards that have sprung up like Spring. We arrive into the town I once loved for its relaxed and 'oh so free' upbringing and disliked because as a 16 year old adolescent, wanted nothing more than to be 'anywhere but here'! The city lights soon beckoned and coaxed me out of my safe cocoon to venture off into study and a new life.

Casterton is most notable for being the Birthplace of the Kelpie dog, a title the local folk are extremely proud and honoured to bear. The long weekend in June, marks this towns biggest celebration and joined by local schools, communities and businesses all working together to create the biggest Kelpie weekend in Australia! The festivities include Kelpie high jump, a hill climb and of course the highly anticipated Kelpie auction. With the most expensive pure bred and fully trained Kelpie sold for a whopping 9K to one lucky farmer.

If glamour is your thing, then don't despair the town also puts on an annual Kelpie ball in the local Town Hall, with the who's who of local and far far far away land coming to dance the night away.

The town has recently welcomed the opening of a new country living style cafe. Penny is a local chef and wife to a local farmer, and 'Say Grace Cafe & Larder' is her new and exciting venture. In a small town (population 1,800) that has seen the opening and closing of many cafes, Say Grace is definitely here to stay. Local produce adorns the glass cabinet from Meredith dairy cheese to local western district produce. The counter top is alive with eye popping sweet meringues dipped in chocolate, freshly baked fruit scrolls are my Achilles heal and sit teasingly still steaming hot from the oven. The slices and tarts are always a favourite afternoon treat and would give any Nana a run for her money in the 'best baked treat' at the local show.

Say Grace is open for breakfast, lunch and on special occasions dinner. This is a true 'cafe' diamond in the rough and the warmth and simplicity to Penny's cafe food is one to write home about. Quality coffee and deliciously simple good fare have my old country town singing its praise. These little regional pop up cafes have proven that you can indeed teach an old country dog new tricks!

love amie x

Saturday, September 10, 2011

cookie cut chicken & leek pies?

A simple and forgiving recipe is this classic humble Chicken Pie!
A fool proof pie filling made into mini pies and enjoyed in a different light. A one handed cutesy eat, the next picnic hit.

1 x chicken & leek pie mixture (filling recipe link)
1 pkt frozen puff pastry, defrosted (remove from freezer approx 30 minutes before using and cover with a clean damp cloth)
plain flour for dusting
& a cookie cutter
to do
Pre-make chicken and leek pie filling a day ahead if you have time, refrigerate until ready to use.
Pre-heat an oven to 200C.
Sprinkle plain flour onto a clean and dry bench top, and place a sheet of pastry on top of flour, dusting with a little extra flour. Place the cookie cutter on the pastry sheet, turning once or twice until it cuts through the pastry, remove the circles and set aside. Repeat until all pastry sheet's have been used and discard excess pastry.
Place tablespoonfuls of pie filling in the centre of each pastry circle, rub some water around the edge of the pastry and top with a second pastry circle. Pinch in the sides to seal completely and place on a baking paper lined tray.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Remove immediately from oven tray (reduces soggy pastry) and place on a cake cooling rack to cool or eat!

love and kisses, amie.

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