There’s not much more refreshing than an icy cold, crisp apple cider on a balmy Sydney summer’s eve.
In my little nook of the world, as the city traffic noise starts to wane, the golden glow of dusk streams through my apartment windows, my fave tunes waft over the stereo speakers, and my little shadow Harley the cavoodle excitedly follows my every move, it’s time for a refreshing cocktail. Nothing too complex; just good ingredients, and something with a clean & refreshing taste.
5 Seeds have released a new lower sugar cider, just in time for Aussie summer!
With the same clean, crisp apple taste, 5 Seeds Lower Sugar Cider is just as refreshing and satisfying as their other ciders, but with less sugar.
I’ve got an idea to pimp it up a little; adding vodka as it’s neutral flavour won’t interrupt the apple cider, and some summer fruit to compliment the apple theme and get it looking colourful in mason jars.
5 Seeds Lower Sugar Cider; bottle per person
your fave vodka; 30ml per person
cubes of ice
ripe mango, thinly sliced
slices of juicy watermelon
fat, round strawberries
green pear, sliced into wedges
white nectarine, sliced
crisp apple, sliced thin for the cup and thicker for garnish
After the first couple of weeks of summer being a total let down of rain and jumper weather, Sydney has finally been slapped in the face by the summer we know and love! High-30-degrees and sunshine!
The summer weather always makes me crave seafood, so over the weekend when I was planning a quick casual dinner for an impromptu catch up with friends, I decided to do a super easy, low fuss but totally delicious take on the Prawn Cocktail (or Shrimp Cocktail for all my Northern Hemisphere mates).
fresh prawns (I use large Australian Tiger Prawns); 3-4 per person
iceberg or cos lettuce, shredded
fresh dill, roughly chopped
fresh avocado; quarter per person, sliced evenly
cocktail sauce; I use store bought but there are some good recipes out there if you prefer to create it yourself
layer lettuce, avocado, prawns & sprinkle of dill in a pretty formation in your fave cup, glass or bowl
We’ve just had the hottest three days on record in Sydney. Much of the state is in critical weather condition with many towns and areas being evacuated for fear of total devastation by bushfire.
Seriously, I don’t know how we’ve been functioning in 47°C heat (117F).
This cake was a great distraction; it’s no-bake, so you don’t need to inflict more heat on your poor living space, and it makes the perfect summer dessert; light, creamy, citrusy and most importantly, cool.
It needs to feeeze overnight, so make it a day ahead.
Melbourne city is one of my favourites. It feels a little eastern European; with it’s cobbled stone streets, artistic laneways overflowing with cafes and Parisian-esque chairs & tables on the sidewalk facing the street so you can people watch, the wide, sleepy Yarra river that runs through the south city and not to mention the plethora of Italian eateries to round out the European feel. Mum flew down to look after Harley so Jay & I could enjoy 4 fabulous nights down there last week.
The Larwill is part of the Art Series Hotel group, which are all named after artists and are all furnished with their artworks. The Larwill is a brand-spanking-new hotel; only completed in October 2014, so it is beautifully presented. It’s fairly low-rise with 4 floors. It’s right next to the Melbourne Children’s hospital. The entry and foyer is contemporary and minimalistic with a waiting area that had a communal table and Scandinavian furniture with pops of yellow and complete with a fully loaded book shelf.
We were upgraded to a corner suite on the Eastern side which looks directly over the city. The room was beautiful; spacious and with great little details including the hotel’s resident artworks. The mini-bar had great little Australian treats (wines, cookies, chips, nuts, etc) that were ridiculously expensive, but the bathroom products are luxurious and I thought the quirky little messages were really sweet touches.
The only but significant complaint is that when I booked the hotel, even though I was aware that it was just out of the CBD (located in Parkville), I didn’t realise how inconvenient it would be; there is no direct tram into the CBD, you have to switch at least twice, and there are no cafes or shops within a 10 minute walking distance. Because the hotel was so new, they hadn’t completed it with no restaurant, bar, cafe facilities. On our first night, after being told it was a short 10 minute stroll away, we walked 20 minutes in 41ºC heat to a recommended restaurant. It was a lovely eatery, but we arrived red-faced, sweltering & sweaty! The surrounding area is pretty dead, so we ended up driving to go out & about during out 2 night stay.
If you’re considering staying here, just make sure you know how to get to any other places you plan on visiting, as it might be easier to stay somewhere more central in the CBD or Southbank.
This is a seriously superb hotel. The valet greets you on arrival, arranges a bellhop for your baggage and takes your car for undercover parking. Check-in was no drama and the room…..
The room was super spacious and had all the little bits & pieces you expect from a 5-star hotel; quality tea & coffee, OK priced mini-bar extras, 24/7 room service, amazing views, swimming pool, day-spa, restaurant and bars, plus direct air-bridge to Crown Casino precinct with a huge variety of restaurants, bars and shopping (Witchery had a great sale!). There is always something happening; downstairs has this buzz of excitement with all the restaurants and gaming, but head up to the top floors and the pool is filled with families and kids having fun and the spa is relaxing and tranquil. The Level 28 bar is sophisticated and laid-back; perfect for a pre-date cocktail (or two) overlooking the incredible city skyline.
We had cocktails on the rooftop bar before eating at well known Gradi for dinner. Gradi’s owner & exec chef is Johnny Di Francesco who is the first Australian ever trained in Naples to the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana rules. The pizza was amazing and the cured meats are all cut fresh to order.
We visited Moët & Chandon house in Epernay in France, did the limestone cellar tour, tasting and learnt about the history, and have had a romantic respect for them ever since. Domaine Chandon was the first vineyard they set up outside of France and was established in the early 80’s. I’ve wanted to visit there for ages!
We did a self-guided tour, a tasting and then ate in the restaurant.
//Jean-Paul Gaultier exhibition @ National Gallery of Victoria//
What a visionary & legendary fashion designer who takes risks and pushes fashion, social & political boundaries with his designs. This exhibition was brilliant!
Secret Shared by L Marie Adeline
I don’t usually read erotic fiction but I found this book via a book infograph on Pinterest and it was available via iBooks. It’s pretty steamy & easily entertaining!
Madam Secretary on TV; my teenage girl crush with Teá Leonie is back! Interstellar at the movies; my geeky fascination with quantum physics is peaked with this film written & directed by Christopher Nolan. Even Neil deGrasse Tyson is impressed!
these beautiful cherry & coconut muffins. they are sugar- & gluten-free and are great for quick weekday brekkies on the run
some recent quality time with friends
Tam, Grace & I at Subo in Newcastle
impromptu drinks with Jared, Pete & Jay in Darling Harbour last night that ended up being a bar hop around the city ending in an amazing Taiwanese feast at Walsh Bay
for the all clear that my Mum was given regarding a breast cancer scare. she had cancer of the uterus years ago and because her Mum (my Oma) died from breast cancer and her sister has had bowel cancer, she is extra vigilant with checkups. regular checkups are so so so very important!
looking forward to
visiting my father-in-law in a couple of weeks. it’s only a quick trip up to QLD but it’s been 11 months since we’ve seen him. attending a few work-related christmas parties over the next month; a chance to dress up, drink champagne in beautiful locations and toast the busy year just past! summer holidays are just around the corner and Jay & I have 3 weeks off work!!! we’ll be going to the beach, movies, catching up with friends and heading to Melbourne & Canberra for a week. yay!
I’ve been MIA for a few days because I’m getting my chillax on in Byron Bay!
We’ve been eating, laughing, drinking, sunbaking, eating, drinking, shopping, watching Harley entertain us & walking on the beach.
It’s been divine!
Thanks to my fave app (Instagram) here’s what I’ve been up to in pictures (there’s a few so bare with me)…
33ºc in Sydney – Christmas Eve; Harley at the Park Christmas blooms on my table! Xmas Eve afternoon snackHarley’s tired from all the festivities planning
(sleeping with his new toy from Grandmama Lizzie)! Christmas Eve at casa del WilliamsMy beautiful Christmas pressie from hubby! Eeeek!
(reward for part good girl, part job promotion)Harley chewing on his Christmas pressie from Neen & E Christmas card from our little visitors; 5 yo Finley and from little Picasso 7 yo Willowcold & rainy on Christmas day – Jay & I; later that day celebrating with Jared, Pete & their man crewMelly & Jared Xmas night – suitably drunk! the day after Boxing Day 3am on deserted Sydney Harbour Bridge; leaving for our trip!Banana palms of Coffs Harbour countrysidemore gorgeous NSW North Coast Sugar Cane Macleay Valley Byron Bay hinterlands – view to the ocean! Merry margaritas – we’ve arrived!! Beach house artwork by the owner Rosarti it’s raining…chilling inside by the poolour first dinner; lamb & prawn skewers & saladJay’s sister & family dropped in to say hi!beautiful Suffolk beachcrazy Harley likes to eat sandamazing margaritas at Byron’s Margarita Mexican Cantinaprawn fajitas – I’m in heaven…hello Mr Gekko the moonperfect beach dayCaprese salad for lunchsunrise on the last day of 2012a gorgeous idea;
the Wishing Tree on the main street of Lennox Head breakfast at Quattrothe resident lizard that taunts Harley! grey ocean over Lennox Head beach what I’m doing! Jay & Harley in the pool
Happy New Year my gorgeous friends! Hope you have a wonderful night & may 2013 be epic!