monkey magic | dinner club four

Japanese fusion was on the menu for Ian’s pick for April’s Dinner Club.

Monkey Magic in Surry Hills is a beautiful space; it’s industrial but warm; an open warehouse feel with a mix of concrete and wooden floors and exposed wood ceiling beams.

the entrance stairs
the main dining room
downstairs entrance lounge



For Jay’s starter he has sushi roll; it’s so good I have food envy!


raw tuna, avocado,cucumber, anchovy crumbs, orange zest and spicy sauce

For Ian’s starter he has Japanese Skewers:


assorted skewers of prawn, chicken, cheese and vegetables

Neen and I shared duck pancakes:


wholemeal pancakes with roasted duck and hoisin sauce


Ian & Neen both have the pork belly:


it’s served with with wilted cabbage, sweet potato and “yakiniku” sauce

Jay and I both have the chicken:


it’s served with with sweet corn, baby spinach, speck, miso butter and candied orange

we all share some side dishes


The steamed greens come with a citrus miso dressing, and the salad is mizuna, radish and baby beetroot with yuzu dressing.


My absolute favourite!!! Edamame with pink salt and crispy renkon chips!


Neen & I share dessert; it’s actually not that good. The flavours, chocolate and apple, don’t compliment.


frozen meringue cream with sable biscuit, apple puree and chervil

Ian has an experimental trio of mini desserts with a sesame theme. He’s not a huge fan of his dessert either.


creme caramel, profiterole and biscuits

Jay has sweet spring rolls and he loves them. He definitely made the best choice!


with creme chantilly and green tea ice cream

Monkey Magic | 3 & 4/410 Crown Street  Surry Hills NSW 2010 

They currently have a great deal – 20% off Mon-Thurs.

Food: 3 out of 5
Atmosphere: 4 out of 5
Price: 4 out of 5 (with the 20% off) 

another lovely blog

I have a new blog buddy! Super exciting!!!

Steph Konar, from [Simply Stephanie] was recently tagged as a lovely blogger and then was kind enough to on-tag moi

From reading Steph’s posts & twitter my impression is that she’s a total darling; cute, funny & joyful; a girl that loves animals (esp. her doggy Moo!), reading, fashion, cooking, travelling, working out & getting the most out of life. Basically a girl after my own heart! 

As part of this lovely blog tagging, we must give up 7 random facts about ourselves. [Check out Steph’s 7 quirky, random facts here.] So get ready for it…here are mine…

  • I always sit in the back of the taxi and then chat the whole way with the driver. I’ve had some strange and sometimes enlightening conversations!
  • Offspring is MY FAVOURITE TV show. Ever. It’s a big call I know.
  • I don’t like people touching my face. And I don’t like my arms touching anything when I’m sleeping. Weird much?
  • I find myself almost laughing out loud when I’m working out hard. I like to think it’s endorphins and not that I’m completely crazy.
  • I cried at the season finale of Glee. Who cares about neanderthal Finn but what’s going to happen with Rachel and Kurt next year?
  • Sometimes I go into radio silence for a couple of days; no seeing anyone, no phone calls, email, facebook, twitter, blogging. I talk all day long at work and sometimes I just need some downtime from being conversational.
  • I’m starting another round of Michelle Bridges 12WBT next week – 12 weeks of super squeaky clean nutrition and intensive training. I’m super pumped and a little apprehensive!

So I’d like to pay it forward to some blogstars who I read & love:

  1. Isabella from [My Fit Station]. Her blog is a total source of fitness inspiration.
  2. Daisy from [No More Fat Kitty]. She’s a fellow Aussie from Brisvegas who’s on a health & fitness journey and I love her posts! see Daisy’s post reply [here]
  3. Tam who is my darling friend and chronicles her awesomeness as a mother / wife / student / social commentator on her blog [Princess Disease] . see Tam’s reply post here
  4. Cate, a fellow Sydneysider, from [Cate’s Kitchen Adventures] who creates delicious dishes, takes pretty photos and posts them along with the recipes and adorable stories. see Cate’s reply post here
  5. Deb, another Brisvegas goddess who writes the most gutwrenchingly honest musings via her blog [Debbish] see Deb’s reply post here
  6. Jordan from [Meet Me in Paradise] who I just discovered on the blogosphere. I’m jealous because she lives in NYC and has a killer tan! see Jordan’s reply post here
  7. Neen, who until today lived down the road from me, and who is my delightful gorgeous friend and writes about anything and everything on her blog [Random Musings of Neen].
To my seven beautiful bloggers, I hope you copy the pic above, post your 7 random facts and link back to me!

suri’s burn book | blogstars

If you haven’t read the scathingly sarcastic yet hilarious diatribe from “Suri’s Burn Book: Well-Dressed Commentary from Hollywood’s Little Sweetheart” (written by ghost writer Allie Hagan) then you haven’t yet lived. All content from Suri’s Burn Book blog or twitter.

Suri’s Burn Book on Tumblr

A select few posts…

“Do you see what I have to put up with every day?”


“You know how I know Katherine Heigl is a witch?
Because dark magic is the only way she could’ve gotten those jeans on.”

“Rumor has it Megan Fox is expecting a baby with her husband, Brian Austin Green. I guess I just didn’t know that vampires and trolls could have children together.”

Twitter gems (@surisburnbook):

@surisburnbook “Remember that time Katie wore orange to the Met Ball and then blamed me for it? Nice try, lady. As if.”
@surisburnbook “Halloween episode, indeed. This is going to give me nightmares.”
@surisburnbook “Whatever, Coco. You got to sit with Cher at Dancing with the Stars? My dad is friends with Oprah.”

today I’m thankful…


  • for a wonderful weekend with my Mummy; lots of walks, quality time & coffee
  • that the sun is shining. Yay – screw you rain!
  • for my skim flat white coffee from Mano Espresso
  • that my husband still has a job (after 1500 redundancies at his company)
  • that I’ve discovered the best hand cream to stave off the winter parched skin; Murchison-Humes ‘Decidedly Rich Everyday Hand Cream’
  • for the Vivid Sydney Festival; date night this week is going to light up….literally!
  • for The Colonel; sometimes you just have to give in to fried chicken!
  • that I aced my half-yearly work performance review
  • that my favourite TV shows will be returning…Fringe, Glee, Revenge, The Good Wife & that True Blood starts back up again in a few weeks
  • for Bepanthen cream that is soothing the giant oven burn on my wrist!

Happy Monday peeps.
Hope you kick Mondayitis in the teeth!

fashion of Cannes 2012 | best of

Doutzen Kroes in Elie Saab
Natasha Poly in Gucci
Lily Donaldson in Giuseppe Zanotti
Nicole Kidman in Lanvin
Kirsten Stewart in Reem Acra
Julianne Margulies as Reed Krakoff
Kim Kardashian in Elie Saab
Kirsten Dunst in Christian Dior
Liu Wen in Roberto Cavalli
Doutzen Kroes in Versace
Diane Kruger in Nina Ricci
Cheryl Cole in Stéphane Rolland
Heidi Klum in Marchesa
Alexandra Maria Lara in Elie Saab Couture
Naomi Watts in Marchesa
Diane Kruger in Vivienne Westwood
Jessica Chastain in Gucci
Milla Jovovich Atelier Versace
Bella Heathcote in Gucci
Paz Vega in Stephane Rolland
Liu Wen in Roberto Cavalli
Jessica Chastain in Gorgio Armani
Eva Longoria in Marchesa
Tilda Swinton in Haider Ackermann
most adorable couple: Joshua Jackson & Diane Kruger
(Diane in Nina Ricci & Vivienne Westwood)

beef ragu with pappardelle | recipe

I recently wrote about gorging myself for a whole day which included this delicious pappardelle pasta dish with a tender beef ragu.

Beef ragu with fresh pappardelle

Ragu traditionally uses secondary cuts of meat which are slowly & gently cooked for hours so that the sinew breaks down and the meat is tender and juicy. For this I use my slow cooker, but you could also make it covered in a low-moderate oven (supervise this step).


Makes 4 regular or 3 large servings

  • Fresh made or good store-bought pappardelle pasta (thin, wide ribbons)
  • 1 large tin tomato puree (420g)
  • 1/2 cup red wine (I use whatever I’m drinking at the time, usually Shiraz, but you can use any red that has a full body)
  • 1 cup good quality veal or beef stock (I used veal because it has a more subtle flavour but whatever you do don’t use veggie stock as it changes the flavour completely; a ragu is meaty)
  • 800g chuck steak, largely diced
  • 3 bay leafs
  • sea salt / cracked pepper
  • 1 tbs butter, melted
  • 2-3 tbs plain flour
  • shaved parmesan to serve


This method uses a slow cooker for part of the process. If you start this in the morning, it’ll simmer away (deliciously heady aromas), unsupervised and be ready by dinner time.

In a slow cooker, place diced beef, tomato puree, wine, stock and pepper, cover and put on 8 hour low setting.

in the slow cooker

Once the meat is done, remove the meat and allow to cool slightly (to make it easier to handle) then with 2 forks gently shred each piece of meat into little fibers.

shredded beef

Strain any unwanted bits from the meat cooking liquid (the jus) and place into either a large pot or fry pan and bring to simmer.

Meanwhile, put a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta.

To make a roux for thickening the jus in the pot/pan, melt the butter and then stir in the flour, one tablespoon at a time, until it resembles a thick paste. Add this, one tablespoon at a time, into the jus (sauce) until you achieve the consistency of a thick gravy-like sauce. Then add the meat and gently stir to soak up all the jus.

meat and thickened jus

Once the water is boiling, cook the pasta according to packet directions (usually 3-4 minutes for fresh pasta). Strain water, mix the pasta with the ragu and serve!

Beef ragu with fresh pappardelle

This is also nice to serve accompanied with a side salad and a glass of red wine!


Today was cold and rainy. Which started me daydreaming about returning to Tokoriki Island in Fiji.
I’m remembering crystal blue water, huge friendly smiles, the softest ocean breeze rustling the palms, waking to the sound of gentle waves lapping and gulls chatting, reading my book stretched out on a swinging hammock, playing long games of pool-side chess, chasing geckos & hand feeding fish, the smell of sun block and papaya, snorkeling with reef sharks, hermit crab racing, our private little villa amidst paradise, the sweetest juiciest pineapple, midday beers by the pool, sunsets of the pinkest hues, massages by strong hands, the most amazing Kokonda for dinner, cocktails in the bar listening to the band and leaving so completely relaxed we felt reborn by the sun and the sea.

gorging myself

Hypothetically speaking, if one calorie can power a light bulb for one second, then I can power the sparkling Eiffel Tower for 28.8 McChickens minutes!

I must confess that yesterday I consumed enough food to feed a small African nation…it started with the work bake off and ended with an epic home-cooked romantic dinner, included a farewell lunch for a work friend and some McDonalds.

Let me set the scene…Wednesday morning I rose at dawn’s crack to collect my BFF Gracie and her Dad from the airport as they returned from a holiday in Singapore, I had a back to back project meetings with clients and then stayed up baking until 2am Thursday morning. Of course I slept in, missed my workout and then had to get drive through McDonald’s Sausage McMuffin for breakfast as I scrambled to work for Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea (raising funds for Cancer Council). And I’m in it to win it baby!!!

Yep, my coconut & lime cupcakes went down a treat (I’ll share the recipe soon)! That’s back2back years of winning the bake-off!!!!

Teriyaki Beef for lunch at Nakashima in The Rocks

Then it was down to a local Japanese diner for Trish’s farewell lunch.

this is Trish (and the afternoon tea cake – which I DIDNT have any of)

Earlier that morning (before rushing to work and after sleeping in/missing my workout) I put some beef in the slow cooker (8 hours on low) with veal stock, tomato puree and red wine. Last week I had dinner out with the girls and ate the most delicious Duck Pappardelle at DeVine Wine Bar + Restaurant that inspired my special dinner for Jay; he’s going away to work in Melbourne for a few weeks so I thought I’d get in some nice cooking for him before he leaves.

Beef ragu with fresh pappardelle

It was seriously good (if I say so myself…but hubby agreed) and I’ll post the method & recipe soon.

This morning we had our personal training session with Joe at the gym which made a nice dent in my calorie-overload yesterday.

today’s punishment

the 20 most stylish Aussie women | in my opinion!

Recently The Herald did a spread on Australia’s 50 most stylish women.

I thought some of them were a bit meh so for my Top 20 I’ve chosen only women who actually live in Australia (I do love the style of Rose Byrne & Miranda Kerr but they don’t live here!). In no particular order they are:

  • Christine Centenera (Australian Harper’s Bizaare fashion editor)
  • Jessica Stein (student & fashion blogger)
  • Kate Waterhouse (media personality)
  • Cate Blanchett (actor & artistic director of STC)
  • Lara Bingle (model & socialite)
  • Quentin Bryce (Governor General)
  • Terry Biviano (shoe designer & WAG)
  • Erika Heynatz (model & TV personality)
  • Camilla Freeman-Topper (fashion designer)
  • Carla Zampatti (fashion designer)
  • Ruby Rose (VJ)
  • Asher Keddie (actor)
  • Jennifer Hawkins (model)
  • Michelle Bridges (fitness super guru)
  • Samara Weaving (actor)
  • Deborah Hutton (media personality)
  • Gracie Otto (actor/director)
  • Alexandra & Genevieve Smart (sisters and fashion designers of Ginger & Smart)
  • Connie Cao (student, fashion blogger & winner of ASOS Future Stylist 2012!)

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