Dec 23, 2009

Dec 8, 2009

Sewing days

How cool is this?
Saturday night we headed out to find some food after watching a fashion parade for an organisation a friend has been participating in - the Social Studio.
Seamstress was on our list of new places to try, though we didn't fancy our chances of a seat on a weekend during social season.  Alas, our wish was granted and we were seated.
After beginning our tasty meal with Tempura style green prawns (with rhubarb of all things), the waiter asked to move us to use the table.  We were sat down to the side next to one of the interesting items scattered around the restaurant, reflecting it's theme.

This was not just any Sewing Machine, it is a Pinnock.  The relevance you ask? Well, my dear grandfather was a Mechanical Engineer, and when he brought the family to South Australia, begun work with Pinnock Sewing Machines!  

The waiter was not very interested in this coincidence, I mean there are many people who have family links to sewing machine manufacturers, but I was chuffed.

Although this machine looks like it was designed somewhere between 1910 - 1940, sometime before my Grandfather worked at the company, I'm still in awe. These machines are fascinating, and my interest grows.

Oh, and what else did we eat?  Straw mushroom, truffle oil & bitter melon risotto (ok but flavours need longer to develop); gai larn with oyster sauce (average); braised duck with rice & preserved lemon (best duck ever?); and SB had the pork belly.

Several weeks ago when visiting Adelaide, at a the house of an acquaintance, I studied the antique sewing machine and overlooker that they had set up and used.    I could have studied these creatures all night...

Nov 29, 2009

Today's efforts

Here's what's been happening today

3rd attempt at Sourdough Bread, using the starter from last weeks efforts. this one's plain & wholemeal flour, a lot simpler and is rising like it should

Mixed peel, including some of the lemons from the abundance LV has kindly given us, ready for the big pudding steam off next week! I've got ready my sultanas, raisins & currant mix and the Holgates nut Brown Ale - hopefully the special ingredient.

Sewing panels of the new skirt together, using the first of the material bought a year ago in Hoi An, Vietnam.

The trial oil on canvas painting is feeling like it's near complete...

Repairs on the Acrylic painting damaged from the leaky ceiling (we thought the landlord and/or agent had fixed since the previous times we told them) were not a success. Time to visit the art store and see if there is anything available.

Tonight, laksa - with tofu, straw & button mushrooms, pak choi, snow peas, rice & egg noodles (so good together) and the paste (sometimes you just can't make everything from scratch)

And maybe if I have time some Lemon Buttermilk Cookies with Passionfruit icing, to use up the rest of the passionfruit juice.

and the soundtrack for this afternoon....
Tears for Fears - Tears Roll Down (Greatest Hits 82-92)
Talking Heads - Best of Talking Heads
The Art of Noise - The Best of the Art of Noise

and for washing up:
Sonic Youth - The Eternal

Nov 24, 2009

Oct 25, 2009

My Place & Yours...Bedside

On my Bedside table:

Bento box as a jewelry box;
Antique lamp with lampshade (attempted to bead the whole thing, but realised how much wire I'd need);
Brass dish with ceramic brooch (SA designer) & various rings (inherited or stolen from Mum's jewelry box, silver bought in Vietnam & gifts);
Soap box housing a small memory of my Grandmother;
Jennie - Paul Gallico
(a copy of a book my late Aunt gave me when I was a child between - cat lovers);
365 Tao - daily meditations to ponder as I drift off to sleep;
Iggy & Lou Lou pendant a recent BP from my BF;
All on some plain white drawers I got sick of looking at so I drew over it (until I find the right medium to paint melamine).

Bad Karma

I am gob-smacked. Yesterday I went to buy a t-shirt on sale at a certain shop in the degraves street subway, and upon taking it to the counter the male clerk says it's the last one & the didn't want to sell it despite there being 3 more the same in other sizes on the rack and a girls top. Was I not 'art school' enough for him?

Well I could say he actually did me a favor because the t-shirt was quite boring, come to think of it.
I don't buy much anymore, but when I do I make sure it's a local designer or craftsperson to be supportive. I hope if this shop continues to be elitist, they don't last much longer.It's unfortunate for the other artists that sell there.

I'll stick to buying on Etsy and shops that like customers.

The day however quickly turned around with a wander in the spring sunshine visiting Craft Victoria, viewing some exhibitions for the Melbourne International Festival before it ended, stubbling across some more Miso pasters, and a nice afternoon tea at White Rabbit Record Bar in Kensington.

Oct 18, 2009

My Place & Yours...On the Shelf

Cool idea from Meet Me At Mikes! blog
What's on the shelf today?
Georgia P. is sitting on the shelf, minding her P's & Q's.
(sorry for the poor quality of my phone camera)

and I can't help but add, a few lowly stouts and ales for the tasting...

Sep 22, 2009

for Dom

last week was a year since my friend and collegue went away
here's what i made with some friends to remember her by -colourful and full of happiness.

my dolls




Jul 23, 2009

ginger times

Last week I gave a presentation to my collegues about the Building Industry in Vietnam. Why you ask? Although suppose to be a holiday, I couldn't switch off and I couldn't help but make note of all the eccentricites in the houses, temples, government buildings whilst we made our way around the country, be them on water or land.

So I threw together a bunch of photos from the huge back catalogue, showing tall, skinny houses, buildings on stilts, bamboo scaffolding and bundles of electric cable.

To win people over, rather than use wit and intelligence, I baked. Little Vietnamese gingerbread houses! Painted in blue, yellow and pink, and laid out on our conference table.

Although the dough had been resting in the freezer for several months, waiting for me to get my act together, the biscuits were a winner.

why make biscuits when you can make houses...

Jul 18, 2009

Film Frenzy Mania

It's here again! the time I delve eyes-first into the MIFF program, and sort out the 'chosen ones' from the 'will it ever come out on DVD if I miss it now?' festival favourites (as we have experienced missing films never to be found again).

In previous years I have sent out a list of choices to fellows who may not be so keen to read all the fine print in the large catalogue, or not get past the first 2 pages before the festival is over.
People out of town may just keep their eye out for any films coming to your local arthouse cinema or cult section at the movie store...

So here goes! The bold sessions we have already booked if you wish to join us. Other films now on DVD by directors are noted, and are worth seeing.

Our top 10:

'I Need That Record!' - Doco about Indie Record Stores/Music Freaks. Thurston Moore rock-god
4.45 thu.30/7 ; 9.15 wed.5/8

'Coraline' in 3D - anticipated animated fairytale (see Nightmare Before Christmas) in 3D! This is going to be brilliant.
1pm Sun.26/7; 1pm Sat.1/8


‘Thirst’ – South Korean vampyre thriller by Park Chan-wook ( Old Boy/Sympathy for Lady Vengence)
9.15pm Sat.25/7; 9.15 Sat.8/8

‘Black Dynamite’ – Homage to Black Sploitation films of the 70’s
11.30pm Sat.25/7; 7pm Thu.6/8

‘$9.99’ – Australian Claymation
12.15pm Sat.8/8

‘Antichrist’ – he’s back! Lars Von Trier (not the antichrist!) Controversial… Graphic sex & genital mutilation with William Dafoe & Charlotte Gainsbourg
9.30 Wed.5/8; 10.45pm Sat. 8/8

‘Awaydays’ – UK drama about 70s post-punk England football louts, with good soundtrack
7pm Wed.29/7; 9.15 Sun.2/8

Treeless Mountain’ – South Korean Drama by Kim So-yong
4.45 Sun.26/7; 9.15 Thu.30/7

Mother’ – South Korean Psycho Thriller by Bong Joon-ho (The Host)
7pm Mon.3/8; 7pm Sun.9/8

‘Post-Punk Mixtape #2’ – shorts on Melbourne post-punk & the Boys Next Door
7pm Thu.30/7

Other films noted – go to the program & choose film By Title

Aussie film:
John Gollings: Eye for architecture - Architectural Photographer
My Asian Heart -Doco on Photojournalist Philip Blenkinsop
Dogs in Space (1986) – if you haven’t seen this classic aussie film, check it out
We’re Livin’ on Dog Food – Doco about Dogs in Space
Going Down (1982) –cult aussie post-punk flick

In the Loop - UK Satire on Iraq war-
About Elly - Iranian film about middle-class
Humpday - US indie flick – sundance prize
Che Part I: The Argentine -Benicio Del Toro as Che
Che Part II: Guerilla
An Englishman in New York - John Hurt plays Quentin Crisp
Moon – sci-fi directed by David Bowie’s son, Duncan Jones
Inglourious Bastards – Quentin Tarantino’s latest, sold out.
The Draughtman’s Contract (1982) – Peter Greenaway’s classic
My Suicide – teenager tracks his experiences and possible suicide on film
Home Movie – Horror about kids gone wrong
Eden Log – French fantasy/sci-fi filmed in a sewer
Sauna – Finnish period horror
Mum&Dad – UK horror
Kill Daddy Goodnight – German thriller
Red Riding: 1974, 1980 & 1983 – Trilogy about the Yorkshire Ripper murders
White Lightnin’ – UK fiction. Not sure what to say about this one.
Katalin Varga – noir set in the Carpathian mountains

Balkan Cinema:
Zift – B&W noir set in 60’s Bulgarian underworld
Tears for Sale – Black comedy burlesque

12 Lotus – Royston Tan does Singapore musical
Perfect Life – Fiction&Doco on 2 women in china
Members of the Funeral – South Korean dark humour
Like You Know it all – South Korean director takes a humorous look at film festivals
On Bak 2: The beginning – Thai Martial arts period film (haven’t seen the first yet, but heard its good)
A Schoolgirl’s Diary – North Korean drama

Kid’s flicks:
Brendan & the Book of Kells – delightful hand-drawn animation
The King & the Bird – Classic 80’s French animation with labyrinthine architecture

Food, Inc – the origin of the food we buy at supermarkets
Heidi Fleiss: The Would-Be Madam of Crystal – hooker to the stars
The September Issue – about Anna Wintour, Muse for Devil Wears Prada
Maradona By Kusturica – All about Diego Maradona
Examined Life – Philosophical discussion about how we live
The 10 Conditions of Love – about Rebiya Kadeer struggle against Chinese government
Yakuza Eiga – about Japanese directors and the romanticizing of the Yakuza
Blank City – No Wave cinema in the late 70’s to early 80’s (no longer screening)

Arty doco type stuff:
Van Gogh: Brush With Genius – the paintings at IMAX
A Journey with Peter Sellars – we had a tutorial with this guy at uni, very inspirational
Rem Koolhous: A Kind of Architect – had to put this down, didn’t I?
Shadow Play: The Making of Anton Corbijn – brilliant photographer doing his first feature film ‘Control’
Visual Acoustics: the Modernism of Julius Shulman - Architectural photographer to the masters
The Art of Failure: Chuck Connelly Not For Sale – the artist that crashed & burned and tries to get back in favour

Draw me a story – animated sketchy shorts
The Sky Crawlers – 3d Anime by Ghost In The Shell director

Music Doc’s
All Tomorrow’s Parties – about the beginnings of the musician-curated festival
It Might Get Loud – Jack White, the Edge & Jimmy Page jammin’
The Liberty of Norton Folgate – Madness’ new album & concerts
Post-Punk Mixtape #1 – Post-punk Shorts

And when I have finished reading the whole program, I may add some more… stay tuned…

Jul 4, 2009

Country Style Cookery

Whilst perusing the main street of a country town for a bakery, I come across a charity store.

In the hope of finding treasure I detour into the shop, only to find a Clay pot. It's a nice size but has no lid. Conveniently next to it on the shelf are rogue casserole dish lids with no partners. One (just about) fits the lip of the clay pot, enough to get secure coverage. A pair!

Good luck, as I almost bought one from the Asian grocer - new, fresh, imported from China. Why bother when here was one already broken in that needed a home. I reduce my 'carbon footprint'.

To date there have only been 2 dishes, but more await.

Easy, tasty & wholesome.

Viet style Eggplant
Put the claypot on the heat, warm up some vegetable or rice bran oil. Warm up the oven to medium.
Saute some Garlic )2 cloves chopped( . and onion )1 small chopped( if you like.

Add in Lebanese Eggplants )~6 halved(, saute a little.
Add lemongrass )1/2 stem bruised( & Mushrooms if desired )6-8 button or shitake(.fry a little.
Sprinkle with fish sauce )1 tbsp(, sesame oil )2 tsp(, and a can of tomatoes )1/2 can whole(
Place the lid on an into the oven for 20-40 mins.
m m mmmm

Vegies thrown in
Warm up claypot with some oil - olive or rice bran, 1tbsp or more...
saute sliced garlic, throw in some cauliflower florets, julienne carrot. fry a minute or so.
add other vegies - green capsicum, mushroom, choy sum is what i used.
throw over a little red wine, tomato paste )1tbsp( & harrisa )1tsp or more(.
throw on the lid, throw in the oven or leave on the heat for 10-25mins. when serving add a squeeze of lemon or some chopped parsley

Jun 23, 2009

Meet Me at Mike's - top 5 cookbooks

Recently Meet me at Mikes hosted a talk about favourite cookbooks. what a great topic of discussion!

I've got some a little different to all the Celebrity Chef books:
1. Koto, A Culinary Journey Through Vietnam - Tracey Lister & Andreas Pohl. after a trip to Vietnam and the restaurant namesake of this book, each morsel is savoured.
2. NMAA (Nursing Mother's Association of Australia) Cooks (recipes for busy mothers) & NMAA Cooks Again- bibles in the 80's for country women. I always used my Mum's but now have my Gran's copy.
3. Japanese cooking, Peter & Joan Martin - some friends picked this up in an opshop, probably payed 50c, coloured in some pictures and wrapped it up for my birthday. It's got the most tender chicken teryaki, brilliant sushi rice, etc.
4. Far Eastern Cookbook, Charmaine Solomon - all your asian staples - Gado Gado, dahl, curry's, samosa. all laden with plenty of spice
5.Gyldendals Kogebog - My friends in Denmark gave this to me as a farewell. THe recipes are all in Danish with danish meaures. Trying to remember my danish language while cooking makes for some pretty interesting results! also has all the essential danish pastry recipes.

Jun 22, 2009

Hottest 100 of all time

best songs of all time (not all my favourites)


2-10. (not in order)

BJORK - All Is Full of Love
THE CURE - Forest
DEPECHE MODE - Personal Jesus
MASSIVE ATTACK - Unfinished Sympathy
THE MUSIC - The People
PULP - Sorted For E's & Wizz
SUEDE - Animal Nitrate

The rest of the shortlist:

Jun 20, 2009

When will it end??

It won't!
here are some more photos on Red Bubble you can buy!

Jun 3, 2009


Flickr photos updated again, see below for link

Apr 13, 2009

Apr 11, 2009

Visit the website that Lina & I helped Julian create for the friends in Ta Phin, a minority village in the mountains around Sapa in Vietnam. The beautiful and friendly Red Zhoa talked to us about their beautiful culture, handicrafts, and the homestay they offer to visitors.

Apr 5, 2009

that song is played

Isn't it great when an old favourite song you're not expecting is played, live, it takes your breath away.
The rest of the world floats away, it's just you and the drum machine; singing from the bottom of your lungs. The silly smile engulfing your face wafts over those around you, infected with the beat they grin like child back as you spin around crazily.

Mar 31, 2009

it ain't over..

because it hasn't even started yet.