Wednesday, 31 January 2007


Dear Evolution (or Intelligent Designer) I will trade you 10% HIV resistance and a justifiable dislike for bitter greens for some friggin' melanin.

Un. Be. Lievable. I got sunburned yesterday. That in itself is not totally surprising given my lily white European skin. But yesterday I applied 30+ sunscreen not once, not twice, but THREE times (once for each time I went outside), and on my walk home carried a parasol the whole way. Admittedly I am not very burnt. Just enough for marked tan lines suggesting that I won't be wearing a strapless top again until mid-winter. But this is just not cricket.

In other news: I came across this interesting article which suggests that when you 'sleep on it' you make better choices than when you conciously deliberate something. I knew there was a good reason for all that procrastination!

Also, I had lunch with Drift yesterday at Thea. God how I love that place. One day I will write a post all about it, but at this point I suspect that it's not news for 90% of my readership. Anyway, Drift is back from Norway, and she bought me some goodies! She brought some Ivar Andresen salt licorice (much nicer than the salt-sild - almost smoky in flavour) and some O.P. Anderson 'Aquavit' 40% liquor. I'll let you know how that one goes. We do like presents! =)

Tuesday, 30 January 2007

being Strayan.

In honour of the Australia Day weekend just past, I'm making a list of all the things I like about Adelaide. I've been feeling kind of negative about the place lately, a little cooped up perhaps, and I hope that thinking about the good stuff for a while might help my mindframe. I appreciate that some of these would be applicable to other places in Australia, and others are the obvious ones that everyone knows about, but I think I'll include them nevertheless, and just see how many things I can come up with. I might keep adding to this list as I come up with things so it might grow a bit from this point over the next few days/weeks. It will be interesting to see whether these are the things I actually miss when I move away... It would also be interesting to hear what other people value most about Adelaide - particularly those friends who are away from home!

  1. The Central Markets. I love the place, I love the food, I love the people, I love the noise, I love the culture.
  2. The multiculturalism. Particularly in relation to the food. I love that nearly every culture and every cuisine in the world is represented by at least one restaurant. I take this for granted, but I suspect it's rarer than you'd think.
  3. The proximity of everything. I love that I can walk to work in 45 minutes and the furthest I ever need to go is about a 20 minute drive.
  4. That it's a small enough place that almost everywhere you go, you'll bump into someone you know. This would also feature on my list of 'bad things about Adelaide', but mostly it's a good thing.
  5. My family and lots of my close friends are here.
  6. I love that I've lived in the same house for my entire life, and because of this, I have a place that feels more strongly of home than most people.
  7. That on my way home from work, I pass Rainbow Lorikeets, Roseallas, Galahs and the occasional Sulphur Crested Cockatoo. How many other cities still have such colourful fauna?
  8. The old fashioned tram to Glenelg. I love being able to travel exactly the same way that people did 100 years ago.
  9. That it's a 20 minute drive to the beach from the city, and the beaches have beautiful golden sand, not nasty pebbles.
  10. The fact that we have our own accent. You can pick a South Aussie anywhere in the world as soon as they say 'no' (noy) or 'well' (wew) or a number of other words.
  11. That we're one of the few places in the world (with Peru, Scotland and Sweden) where another beverage (Farmers Union Iced Coffee in this case) outsells Coke.
  12. The pie floater and the AB.
  13. The restaurants: I love Thea, Mandarin House, Ying Chow, Organic Life, Genki, the Russian Piroshki, Vego and Loven It, Beyond India, the Babanussa and all the other great places where you can get an excellent quality cheap meal, fast.
  14. The fact that (anecdotally at least) we have the largest Sudanese population outside of Sudan. That is k.e.w.l.
  15. My view from my office window, over St Peter's Cathedral and Adelaide Oval, and the fact the dominating colour is green.
  16. The Beehive Corner and the Mall's Balls.
  17. The Barossa Valley and the Hills.

Monday, 29 January 2007


Well, I only made it to about 150-200 cranes (I didn't count) but the party was good, and my cousin got engaged that night too. The cranes must've been lucky after all!

On my visit to Ikea on the weekend I found the Daim chocolate bar I mentioned in my post about Norwegian sweets! On this basis, I think perhaps that Daim is actually Swedish, but either way, now that it's available here I feel obliged to say that it was actually my favourite of the goodies that Al sent me. My sweet tooth (I call her Felicity) is super excited. I will have to go to Ikea again and stock up soon. Nhan says that it comes in some kind of cake form as well. I can't wait!

And, in other news, The Trixie Update's back! Woohoo! It's a good day!

Sunday, 28 January 2007

in da ghetto.

Yesterday my friend Nhan took me for an exploration of Adelaide's Vietnamese 'ghetto'. Her phrase, not mine, and I think it might be a little strong, for at no point did I fear being mugged for my bling. (Ok, I can't talk ghetto, I'm stopping now).

We drove around for a bit, and she pointed out the main shopping strips and the good Banh Mi (Vietnamese rolls) place near Arndale, while I tried (unsuccessfully) to learn to pronounce a few words of Vietnamese correctly. Then we went and had dunch/linner at a place called Nghi Ngan Quan on 34 Wright St, Ferryden Park. (Sorry anyone who speaks Vietnamese who may be reading this - I can't figure out how to get the tones onto the letters.)

I had the Phnom Penh dry noodle soup, which was chicken stock (I think) with dry noodles (not actually that dry - I think the term is more to contrast with the usual 'wet' pho noodles which are thicker and slimier. Kind of like the difference between cooked dried pasta and cooked fresh pasta) and slices of pork, calamari, prawns, quail eggs, and octopus with slices of spring onion, bean sprouts and continental parsley. Yum. It was delicious. Nhan had the broken rice, which was a plate of rice topped with salted fried pork-skin, and surrounded with various foods - pork cooked a couple of ways, an egg, some Vietnamese meatloaf, and some sour vegetables among other things I think. We both had an avocado shake (avocado mushed with condensed milk and mixed with crushed ice) and shared a dessert of hot sweetcorn mixed with condensed milk and other things. Yum Yum Yum. It was really good to go with someone who spoke the language and knew the cuisine too - it meant I could be a bit more adventurous with what I ate with reduced likelihood of choosing badly. Hopefully we will do it again soon. Either way, trying the Banh Mi place is definitely now on my list of things to do.

After linner, we went and visited a couple of Vietnamese supermarkets in the area. This was also good to have a guide for - I learned a little bit more about Asian culture in general, and particularly about the fresh foods available, the greens for example, that I haven't seen outside of Asian grocers. I bought a frozen coconut drink (in keeping with the rule of trying a new drink each time I visit an Asian grocer) as well as some Chinese soy sauce (after being told by another friend that using Japanese kikkoman soy sauce in Chinese dishes is not ok) and some pickled ginger for mum, who discovered a love for it last week at the Sushi Train. I nearly bought some rambutans too, which I haven't seen elsewhere this season, and got really excited about, but they were only available in $14 packs which was a little rich for my blood.

All in all I had an excellent afternoon - it was a great way to learn a little bit more about the culture, and sample some more of a cuisine that I love so much! And of course I got to hang out with a close friend! What better way to spend a saturday afternoon.

Next stop: the Lebanese grocer/bakery. I only wish I had a guide...

Thursday, 25 January 2007


I mentioned in my review of Tandoori Times in Melbourne that I'd had a superb pistachio icecream. At the time it tasted familiar, and ever since I'd been trying to figure out why. And then it hit me - the flavour was extremely similar to Charmaine Solomon's Love Cake, a Sri Lankan recipe which I tried a few months ago when I found it in a book by Bill Tikos called Mum's Favourite Recipes. I must say, the cake itself was way too rich for me, but since the taste was so similar to the pistachio icecream I loved, I thought it might be worth trying to fuse the two.

So I mixed together the flavour elements from the cake - cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, rosewater, brandy and honey - and worked them into some vanilla icecream along with some crushed pistachios. Of course, mixing so thoroughly meant that I ended up with flavoured mush (note to self: get cold rock) rather than icecream. After tasting the undiluted spice mix, I couldn't really tell whether the mush was good or not, so I sought a second opionion, which was not favourable. Then again, to get an accurate reading, perhaps I should've guinea-pigged someone who actually likes South Asian cuisine. And preferably someone who's had the icecream from Tandoori Times... but they're all in Melbourne.

Once the mush had frozen I tried it again, this time with fresh tastebuds. I think it's on the way, but needs some serious tweaking. I left the lime zest out from the flavour base, because I didn't have any, but I think it would really lighten the dish. I also used 'medicinal' Manuka honey which tastes way stronger than regular honey (and will actually clear up your vericose ulcers with topical application), so perhaps regular honey, or a reduced quantity might be a better option. I had no real method for the ratio of adding the flavour base to the icecream - I just added until I thought it was enough, so I might try and work out the optimum ratio, and I might try using a better quality vanilla icecream (or even make my own!). Also, the Love Cake used cashews (hence the name - it being a labour of love to grind them all), which I think I might try including along with the pistachios. The pistachios add a beautiful colour to the icecream, but I'm not convinced they add much flavour. Cashews have a much stronger flavour, and I think their creamy nuttiness would add something to the dish.

Maybe I will also order some Indian takeaway, so I can get a true representation of whether the dish works in the context of of an entire meal... mmmm....Beyond India....

Wednesday, 24 January 2007


Since there is nothing new to post about today, here is my favourite picture that I took when I went to China in Spring 2005. I thought that this was taken from inside the Summer Palace because of the plants, but now I'm beginning to think it was actually taken in the Forbidden City.

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

making rules.

ive been reading over my older posts and have come to the thinking that my grammar and punctuation its not quite as perfect as I'd like to think it is. This probably has a lot to do with the fact that no teacher ever taught me grammar or punctuation in a conscious way. they the schools board decided it wasnt important in 1988 and then decided it was again in 1994 which is a bit embarassing for me when someone refers to the third-person singular verb and i dont know what that are. Somehow though whenever I do notice a fault with anyone else's writing especially if its in a public place it drives me extremely mad.

So. The first rule of emilyisnow is that you do not talk about emilyisnow no-one is allowed to negatively comment on my grammar or punctuation. ill do my best but this is my blog and therefore it utilises my grammar and therefore my grammar in the context of this blog is 100% correct so actually you're not even allowed to think its wrong because its not.

Its my blog and ill commasplice if i want to, this is a Panda Free Zone.

Monday, 22 January 2007

building an army.

I'm making these to decorate my cousin's 21st birthday party this weekend. She's a pink girl. She's had a bit of a rough year, so hopefully these will bring her some luck from now on. Although I don't think I'll make it to 1000 somehow, I've only got 70 so far - are they still lucky in smaller quantities?

And yes, those pips you see on the shoulders of the third rank? They're pink stick-on diamontes. I'm bedazzler's latest recruit.

Sunday, 21 January 2007

making pizza.

Today I made pizza in an attempt to recreate the amazing 'Sienna' pizza I had at the Veggie Bar in Melbourne a week or two ago. My family seemed to like it - they ate it all up - although my brother did ask what the pizza base had done to me to deserve such hippie toppings, and my dad said it was good, but had too many weird ingredients to be technically a pizza in his book. How very Aussie Male of them. Apparently The Castle was lost on them. Well, I reckon you could put the same ingredients in a focaccia or toastie with pretty good results. A rose by any other name... Anyway, I thought it was good, and with a bit of tweaking should stand up to the original quite well.

If you want to try it yourself, the recipe follows. I've called it as I made it though, and I'm not totally sure how to universalize some of the ingredients. Sugo, which I've used for the tomato base, is available from Adelaide Fresh Fruiterers, and I don't really know exactly what's in it. I think if you're not in my neighbourhood, some pureed fresh or canned tomatoes would do it - nothing too spicy or salty - maybe with a little sugar added. I used a pre-bought pizza base, which worked pretty well, but it was a nice fresh gourmet one (ingredients: flour, water, yeast, salt, tomato, herbs) and I'm not sure a commercial frozen one would be as good. By all means make your own pizza dough - I'm sure it would be better, I'm just too lazy and my homemade pizza bases always seem to turn out soggy. Also, the red onion jam quantity given here was a tad much, but frankly, I couldn't be bothered working out how to divide up the measurents so you can do it yourself, or be prepared for some leftovers as it makes a lot. In any case, I wasn't too fusy with the measurements and it worked so you can probably be a bit vague with it and it should be fine. The whole dish took me 90 minutes from entering the kitchen to leaving it (including eating time), so it's not the fastest dish in the world, but not the slowest either. You could certainly make the onion jam and capsicum in advance and refrigerate them, and then you could probably whip it up in under half an hour.

Sienna Pizza
(makes 2 large pizzas).

5 red onions
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/8 cup brown sugar
50ml red wine vinegar

2 medium red capsicums

2 large pizza bases
500g sugo
8 cloves garlic

1 pack haloumi
2 lemons
2 handfuls rocket

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees.

2. Make the onion jam. Slice the onions very finely into half rings. Fry slowly in a big frying pan for 10 minutes in the oil and butter until translucent, then add the sugar and vinegar and fry for another 15-20 minutes until dark, sweet and jammy.

3. At the same time, blacken the capsicum. I did this by putting it under the griller (less cleaning up), but you can roast it or bbq it or put it in a dry frying pan or hold it over the gas. When the capsicum is thoroughly black put it in a bowl covered with gladwrap until it is cool enough to handle. Then peel the skin and remove the seeds and pith. Slice.

4. Crush the garlic cloves and mix into the sugo. Spread this over the pizza bases and put them in the oven.

5. While the bases are heating, chop the haloumi, wash and thoroughly dry the rocket, and chop the lemon into wedges.

6. When the bases are hot and beginning to get crispy round the edges (10 minutes perhaps), top them with the onion, capsicum, haloumi and half of the lemon wedges. Return to the oven and bake until the haloumi begins to go brown.

7. Remove from the oven, top with the rocket, squeeze more lemon juice over the top and season with salt and pepper. Serve with extra lemon wedges.

Friday, 19 January 2007

d.i.y.-ing Smash!

The great Smash! experiment is over and here are the results. I tried plain CCs (corn, salt, oil) and Nacho Cheese CCs (corn, salt, oil + optional extras), with regular Cadbury milk chocolate and Lindt 70% dark chocolate. In the picture, the bottom row is plain chips with milk chocolate, the next row up is plain chips with dark chocolate, the next row is Nacho Cheese with milk chocolate and the top row is Nacho Cheese with dark chocolate.

I was fully expecting the plain chips with the dark chocolate to come out miles in front, but actually it was miles behind. The salty chips accentuated the bitterness of the chocolate and the overall effect was just nasty. The Nacho Cheese with milk chocolate was the clear winner - it seems the extra salt balances out the extra sugar and vice versa. The milk chocolate on the plain chips was an ok combo, but the chocolate kind of dominated. One problem that I encountered was that the chocolate took quite a long time to dry, and the chips went slightly soft. Then again, that could just be that it's about 300% humidity here today.

Funnily enough, the Nacho Cheese with the milk chocolate suffered the same problem that the real Smash! did - the taste was good but somewhat overwhelming, and I found I just couldn't eat many of them at once. Then again, I could say the same about Mars bars - maybe home-made Smash! just need a mega tv advertising campaign to convince us to ignore our feelings of nausea and keep on eating! Which would explain why the Norwegians love them. In any case, I would say if you can't get the real thing, the homemade variety are a surprisingly good approximation of the real Smash!, and worth trying (in small quantities) if you're stuck inside on a rainy day in the middle of an Australian summer.

Who would've thunk it? Cornchips. Coming to a fondue party near you.

discussing Norwegian goodies.

This is a goodie package that Alice (a.k.a. Drift) sent me from Norway, in return for Tim-Tams, Vegemite and Fruchocs. Actually, it's a picture of said goodie package.

Clockwise, from top-left we have:

Risen-grot: A kind of sweet-salty Norwegian rice porridge. This is the instant variety, so I imagine it approximates the original (which takes hours to make) in the same way that Maggi noodles approximate real chicken-noodle soup. So the fact that I kind-of liked this, probably means I'll love the real thing.

Smash!: Original + bar form. The requested item. See further detail below.

Salt Sild: Nasty nasty nasty salty licorice. The only person I found who liked it was my brother. It was definitely good value though, for the horrible expressions on people's faces when I made them try one. I still have some left if you're in the neighbourhood and a masochist. Or just really like salt.

Troika: Chocolate bar with 'truffle' (like Milky Way filling), marzipan and turkish delight. Better than expected given I don't like the latter two ingredients.

Firklover: Milk chocolate with Hazlenut bar. Kind of like a Ferrero Rocher in bar form. Yum!

Daim: Chocolate-covered toffee bar. Like a crunchy Curly-wurly.

Kvikk-Lunsj: How's your Norwegian? Can you guess what this is called? It was kind of a chocolately wafer thing.

Extra: Flavoured in true Norwegian style this is salty licorice gum.

Nugatti: Norwegian Nutella in a tube.

Bringebaer Syltetoy: I actually haven't tried this yet! But I'm guessing it's raspberry jam. I'll let you know if I'm wrong.

Not pictured: an accompanying postcard of a Viking on a mountain. Or at least a man dressed up like a viking on a mountain - complete with wooly hat, horned hat and gratuitous beard.

Anyway. The reason that Drift sent me all of these lovely goodies, was because I'd specifically asked her to send me some Smash!, which I'd read about here, after I'd sourced, tried and loved the gjetost brown cheese also mentioned. Smash! are cone shaped corn chips covered in chocolate. I thought that this combination must be good, because it sounds so nasty that otherwise it wouldn't sell. I probably should've considered the fact that actually, outside of Norway, it doesn't sell. All in all they're actually pretty good - in very small doses. The sweet-salty thing actually seems to work in this context, and I decided it was more the execution that failed. The thick chocolate coating was a little overwhelming, overshadowing the crunchy cornchip inside, and making it impossible to eat too many (hmm, maybe it's not such a bad thing...). Therefore, I decided to try to make some myself, a fact which I'd forgotten all about until I read Drift's most recent post. And thus a weekend project was born. I'll let you know how it goes. Maggie Beer, eat your heart out.

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

rounding up restaurants.

A summary of the restaurants I ate at in Melbourne over the last two weeks. My new year's diet begins tomorrow...

Tandoori Times Gertrude St, Fitzroy
A huge Indian banquet for around $25. Which was definitley good value, and included entrees, mains and desserts, but all in all way more food than we could eat. The curries were good, but nothing spectacular. Various beers available, including one (Emperor?) which I quite liked, but everyone else thought too nasty to drink. Fun bollywood film projected onto a screen - less irritating than usual in a restaurant, because the sound was turned down but it had subtitles, which made it easier to ignore or follow. The pistachio ice-cream was superb, a subtle blend of vanilla, honey and spices, with chunks of nuts. If i went again, I would skip the banquet and just order one dish (given that if you go with a couple of people you can share anyway), and have the ice-cream, which would probably halve the bill.

The Veggie Bar Brunswick St, Fitzroy
Y-U-M. At this stage, my favourite place to eat in Melbourne. Well, it's a tie really, with the Moroccan Soup Bar, which was conveniently closed for all of January. The Veggie Bar is big, with large, fresh and healthy servings. If I could eat this kind of food all the time, I would be a vegetarian. Who needs meat with flavours like these? On this occassion I had the Sienna Pizza, which was topped with haloumi, onion jam, grilled capsicum, rocket and lemon juice. Tom-ace had the burrito, and Molly had some kind of noodles. I also love the roast veggie platter with hommous, tzaziki and salad leaves. I've never had a problem with the service, but I've heard it can be dodgy at times, and the place is large and noisy. Nevertheless, if you're in the Melbuns, go. Just go.

Soul Mama St Kilda
I have mixed feelings about Soul Mama. The food was excellent, but I suspect I did not choose wisely. The view out over the beach was lovely, and the building itself offers a nice space for a pre-dessert dinner walk-off. The juice I had was terriffic, and it looks like they do great cocktails. I have reservations, however, about the organisation of the place. It's huge and has large numbers of wait-staff running around with stupid headsets on, meaning occassionally mid-order they'll start talking to their microphone instead of you. But then, when manage to order, you get a receipt which you take to the large counter and choose the foods you want from bain maries. But you still pay at the end. And they bugger up your account. Methinks the whole system could be simplified by just ordering and paying at the counter. But then you would just be paying for vegetables. Ripoff! Whatever. The food was good, and the view spectacular. A classier vegetarian joint than many, and wins hands down for location. For food though, I think the Veggie Bar still sneaks past the post.

Tom's Burke Rd, Camberwell
Best Coffee. Enough said? Well, just a little more. The best coffee I've had so far, in a little gourmet food shop on Burke Road. You can stop for a $3 coffee and sit down with a magazine or for a game of checkers. They also do yummy looking gourmet foccaccias etc., but I didn't try any. The coffee is enough. The one flaw was that when I ordered one to take away, the sugar was not stirred in properly. Well, just have it there.

Burger Edge Burke Rd, Camberwell
Trendy organic etc., burger joint. We got take-away so I didn't see the place, or the options. We had your basic Aussie burger with the lot, and a gourmet antipasto one. Good burgers, but not great for the price-point. Nasty nasty greasy fries. Not a patch on Organic Life on Rundle St.

Yu'u off Flinders Lane, City
I love Yu'u. By nightime, one of Melbourne's best Japanese restaurants (apparently), Yu'u offers a beatiful set lunch for $15. It's downstairs, through a door you need to know is there, and is like a little oasis of Japanese calm, with darkwood throughout and limited seating around the bar and two long benches. The set includes tea, miso soup, a bowl of noodles with dipping sauce, a piece of fish/meat (in our case salmon) on a bed of rice, and a piece of fruit. I think they organise the menu by month, so you could find out in advance what the meat is, but in any case you need to book to get in. I guess at $15 it's not the cheapest lunch around, but when you consider the quality of the food and the environment, it's still a bargain in my book.

Shuji Sushi Flinders Lane, City
Fast sushi for city-workers on the go. The sushi itself is good and fresh, with a good ratio of filling to rice. The pancake sized, large-enough-for-a-small-lunch okonomiyaki is a steal for $2.80, although I thought there was way too much teriyaki sauce and mayo. You could always ask for less, or do as I did, and just not eat it all. The takeaway line is huge, but if you're eating in you can sneak around the corner and order straight away.

La Barrista Market St, City
Another contender for best Melbourne coffee. A smart lunch cafe, their menu looks good and the place is always full. The cool Maori barrista takes obvious care with the coffee, and the sugar is always properly stirred in if you're taking-away. The staff are friendly and efficient, and La Barrista also sells an amazing bottled organic orange juice. You'd swear their was sugar in there, but if so, they're not saying it on the label.

Zoom Little Collins St, City
We returned here because I once had an amazing salad wrap with beetroot and hommous. Unfortunatly, they were all sold out - apparently they're made at their 'other' store on King St. Perhaps I will try there someday. Apart from that, this is a trendy organic lunch-on-the-go joint. The smoothie and soup I had were decent, but I get the impression that Zoom is aimed more at business-people on the go wanting food they can feel good about, than at genuinely making the healthiest, tastiest product. But maybe I'm just bitter because they didn't have my wrap.

Noodle Kingdom, Box Hill
See previous review...

Deco Camberwell Rd, Camberwell
Deco is Camberwell's version of Caffe Paesano I think. The food is good, but not amazing, the atmosphere is comfortable rather than classy, but the place is always full and, I would imagine, consistent. I had a pretty average pepperoni pizza, but Tom-ace's risotto was quite good. Where Deco really excells is the appetisers. The warm (homemade?) bread with oil and balsamic is completely excellent, a bargain at $3, and would be a good option as an easy afternoon tea or appetiser.

Rafi's Camberwell Rd, Camberwell
The new local gelato joint. It's amazing how many gelati places Melbourne seems to have. Rafi's is not part of a chain, and despite not having a huge range of flavours, those that we tried were good, and comparable to the better gourmet gelati around the place. Since there's no other gelati place in the area, they should do well this summer.

Butterfly off Burke Rd, next to the Camberwell train station
The other contender for best coffee. Butterfly seems to be run by a few guys who're also into hiphop culture, and it is one of the cooler coffee bars I've been in. Refreshingly independent, these guys seem to take great pride in their little haven, and it shows. The atmosphere is cool, but not pretentious, and the food is lovely. A large breakfast menu with all the old favourites, a few with little twists that show they're thinking.

Samurai Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn
Good Japanese food, at an amazing price. $13 gets you a bowl of miso or chicken noodle soup, an entree (I had eggplant with teriyaki sauce - can't remember its name), a main (I had vegetarian tempura on noodle soup), and a choice of a milkshake or dessert (I had a greentea milkshake). The food is decent, the atmosphere and the decoration is lovely (if cramped).

Ai Teahouse Chapel St, Prahran
Trendy, expensive Yum Cha. All the old favourites, done well, but with none of the surprises that make Yum Cha an adventure. This felt like Yum Cha for westerners who like the idea of Yum Cha, but are a bit tentative about the real thing. Beautiful setting though, and, being a teahouse, has an extensive range of teas to accompany your meal.

Zuffa Collins St, City
Another lunch place for busy city-workers. $8.50 gets you a plate of something (veggie lasagne in my case, or a kind of wrap-cum-pie thing in Tom's) plus two salads. Good food, nice atmosphere and view, and for a fast, good lunch in the city, you could do a lot worse. I had an excellent watermelon-berry-cranberry juice, and their 99% fat free (read 99% sugar) chocolate froghurt is a great pretend-healthy lunchtime treat.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Collins St, City
Well. A crazy end to a crazy week. I stood in a LONG line for 15 minutes to get my hands on one of these doughnuts. Most people were buying large boxes of the things, and on the Skybus to the airport, there were no less than 4 people carrying these. I felt a little silly only ordering one. But it was a good thing. They basically taste like Americanised royal show doughnuts - plus a little extra sugar. They are to me like the dessert equivalent of McDonalds - they taste good, but obviously at the expense of any natural ingredients. They're very airy too - ie., empty. Hmmm. Well, I'm glad I've tried one, but I'm also glad it was only one.

Sunday, 14 January 2007

remembering a silly conversation.

'I feel sick'

'Yeah, me too.'

'I think you're a bad influence, Emily'

'Me! I'm not a bad influence. I eat healthily! You're the one that bought 12 doughnuts for $1!'

'I know... it's more that I eat festively when you're here'

'Oh. So I'm like a holiday?'

'Yeah. Like a feast. The Emily Feast!
'Good King Wenceslas looked out,
on the Feast of Emily...'

'Keep going. I bet you can't rhyme that!'

'um.....yeah, I got nothin.'


'Good King Wenceslas looked out
on the Feast of Emily.
He had packed a picnic of
peanut butter and celery.'

Thursday, 11 January 2007

eating out.

Tom-ace and I went to Noodle Kingdom on Chooseday, when, after much deliberation, I decided what I really really wanted for dinner was the Mandarin House Shantung Dumpling Noodle Soup. But since that was 800km away, Noodle Kingdom sounded like the best plan b, even though it was very very hot and smokey outside, and a $5.20 (and I thought the Adelaide public transport was bottom rubbish) train ride away.

The platz had been recommended to us by Eryn, who lived in China for a while, and gave the thumbs up to their hand-stretched langzhou noodles. Eventually we found it, after wandering around the Box Hill shopping/transport complex a bit, and a quick trip to the toilet when I realised I had left the house with my dress on inside out.

We ordered a bowl of the Authentic Langzhou Beef Noodle Soup each, and shared a side of boiled pork dumplings, and a litre of plum drink, which all cost about $26. Also, we were the only non-Asian people in the place. I thought that this was probably a good sign.

The plum drink was...interesting. Quite nice once I got past the fact that it just didn't taste like what I expected, and certainly $5/litre = total bargain. But it can't've been that good because the leftover in the fridge hasn't been touched. As for the food, I would have to say that the broth and the dumplings were a pretty good approximation of the soup I was craving from Mandarin House, but not quite as flavourful. And there was no bok choi or chinese mushrooms. But the noodles were...noodelicious! Doughy and moist, almost like fresh pasta, and with the added bonus that occassionally there was a big fatty one that slipped past the consistency control manager. arm num num.

So in conclusion: if it's Chinese beef noodle soup you want, Noodle Kingdom will do the trick. If it's noodles you want, Noodle Kingdom will totally pull the rabbit out of the hat.

starting a blog.

Argh. When I began I didn't realise how empty this would look. Populate or die.


Why a blog?

1. To inspire me to do interesting things, or at least have interesting thoughts. I am quite lazy, but hopefully this blog will inspire me to write, and that will encourage me to make sure I have good things to write about. And learn how to take good photos of said good things.

2. As a record for myself of what I've been doing. I've never been much of a diarist, or photographer, but I often look back and wish I had something to jog my memory...

3. To keep in touch with friends near and far. Many of my friends have moved overseas and interstate lately, and I enjoy reading what they're up to. One of my resolutions for 2007 is to use my passport and this way I can join in the fun. I was going to hold off until I had actual solid plans for moving somewhere interesting, but then I thought, why wait?