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Thursday, 31 January 2013

House, Surry Hills

Late last year, I dropped my baby. Yes, my baby. At my best friend's birthday, I had a bit too much to drink, my baby was on my lap, and without thinking, I tried to get up to go to the bathroom, and my baby just rolled off my lap and onto the floor. At the time, I was a bit tipsy, so I was unfazed - I just picked my baby up, dusted her off and said "Yep! She'll be right!". However, when I got home, I was playing with my baby and I realised she wasn't functioning properly. Slow, unfocused, slightly dented, I realised the full extent of her accident. After having a minor *cough* major *cough* panic attack, I remembered I had her insured when I bought her, so I rummaged through my receipts and found the piece of paper that fixed everything. I calmed my nerves and sat down and reassured myself - yep, it was all gonna be OK. My precious camera would be fine.

And she has been returned to me! After I came back from my holidays, a package was delivered to my doorstep and in it was my precious baby all tightly wrapped in bubble wrap.

However, as a result of my carelessness, I was without child for a couple of months. And hence I was forced to use my phone camera to record my adventures. But, I have tried to enhance the quality of my pictures using Instagram (follow me @eesh_89)!

Anyways, babies and cameras aside, while scrolling through the multitude of pics now residing on my phone, I came across ones from House, a Thai restaurant in Surry Hills, which I had forgotten to blog about. For some reason these were all taken on my phone, so again, hopefully Instagram will aid me in making these photos look presentable.

Kor Moo Yang - Char grilled marinated pork neck served with Jim-Jaew dipping sauce
House serves up Thai food, but not the stuff you'd normally expect - Northern Thai cuisine is not highly represented on most Thai menus in Australia, or in fact, most countries. It's sorta like how most people visit the islands of Thailand but skip the more cultural Northern area (and I can assure you you are missing out!!!). However, it's a great alternative to the regular pad see ew and Thai red curry (again, much like the way people chose to travel in Thailand). Alot of the dishes were focused around barbecued meats and drier curries. The spices used were also different, a bit more pronounced and savoury, less sweeter than normal Thai dishes.


Mok Gai Hua Plee - Steamed curry chicken with banana flower,
eschalots, lemon grass, galangal and chilli

Nam Tok Moo - Traditional Isaan salad of thick sliced pork with eschalots,
shallots, vietnamese coriander, mint, ground chilli, ground roasted rice and lime

Ping Lin - Grilled marinated ox tongue served with Jim-Jaew dipping sauce

I remember the real reason as to why we (or more likely myself =P) chose to dine here - for the famed BTS (Better Than Sex) dessert!

Toasted brioche served with pandan coconut gelato topped with Thai caramel sauce
and sprinkled with roasted black & white sesame seeds

To answer the inevitable, is it better than sex? Well, that does depend on your own experiences I guess eh ;) haha but it is indeed very sinful and did taste good. The brioche was soooo nice and soft and sweet! I wonder if the brioche is made in-house or bought....

Nam Kaeng Sai - Thai style shaved ice desert with sweet potato, sweet taro,
pineapple and toddy palm seed. Topped with Thai caramel sauce and coconut milk

If you like your regular Thai dishes but would love to try something new you should definitely hit this place up (again, much like a trip to Thailand should be in my humble opinion =P). Actually, Spice I Am is the sister restaurant of House, so I guess all the restaurants together provide you with all the culinary delights of Thailand!


House
202 Elizabeth St
Surry Hills NSW 2010
Ph: (02) 9280 0364
http://www.spiceiam.com/house-surry-hills

House on Urbanspoon

=D xx

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

La Pesa Trattoria, Darlinghurst

My friend celebrated her birthday last year nearly 6 months after the actual date =P - we were all sooo busy at the time it was hard even to get the few of us together for a dinner. She decided to take us to an Italian restaurant she had been to many times, claiming it was one of the best Italian restaurants she's been to in Sydney.


La Pesa Trattoria is located just behind Oxford Street in Darlinghurst. It's further down Liverpool Street, the quieter end which blocks out all the hustle and bustle of the city which was a tick in my books. It's a cute little corner restaurant with a simple interior and nice intimate aura. I love places like this because it really feels like you can sit back and relax and eat good food and drink good wine with good company, all cosy and warm =).


We ordered quite quickly because we were quite hungry and from what I can remember service was friendly and prompt. I remember having trouble deciding what to get since their were a few dishes that caught, but we all ended up getting different dishes so we could sample.

Veloute of some sort (can't remember) and bread (sadly sans olive oil, they forgot)

L'Affettato Tipico della Pesa con Milanese Antipasto - Fennel & Truffle Salami, Mortadella, Prosciutto Crudo with Marinated Ligurian & Sicilian Olives

Gnocco Fritto - North Italian Fried Bread

Patate Arrostite con Aglio e Sale - Oven Roasted Potatoes with Garlic & Sea Salt

I Nostri Tagliolini con Ragu di Coniglio - Hand Made Tagliolini Pasta with Wild Rabbit Ragu

Il Risotto con Radicchio e Porchetta - Radicchio & homemade Crispy Pork Belly Risotto

L'Ossobuco in Gremolata con Risotto Giallo alla Milanese - Oven baked Veal Ossobuco with creamy Saffron Milanese Risotto

I ordered the Ossobuco upon strong recommendation from the birthday girl, and I was not disappointed! Although I couldn't finish it, it tasted really nice. I especially liked the saffron risotto, however the best part was DEFINITELY the HUGE chunk of bone marrow in the bone.....omg so good!!

Rigatoni con Ragu di Carne - Air dried Tube Pasta with Home Made Trio Meat Ragu

By the time dessert rolled around we were quite full, so we got a few things to share. My fav was the Flaming Alaskan Bombe-Thingy! It's not on the menu from what I can see on the website, hence the made up childish name, but this was my fav dessert simply because we could set it on fire hahaha!



WOOOP there it goes!!

Il Nostro Classico TiramisuHomemade Classic Tiramisu

Gelato della Pesa - Italian Cream Gelato with Chocolate Sauce & topped with Homemade Caramelised Nut Croccante (On top of a chocolate tart =P)

I Nostri Profiteroles - Homemade Chocolate Coated Profiteroles filled with Cream Patisserie

Sorbetto Misto - Mixed Italian Sorbet -
Strawberry, Lemon & Peach

Overall a great relaxed birthday dinner =).
Maybe not the best Italian restaurant, but still quite good. I'd definitely revisit because of the great menu and the fact it's small and not crowded, a great place just far enough from the craziness of the centre of the city.

La Pesa Trattoria
172-174 Liverpool St
Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Ph: (02) 9331 4358
www.lapesa.com.au

La Pesa Trattoria on Urbanspoon

=D xx

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Brown Rice Salad

There is a grocer in my local shopping centre that makes this amazing Brown Rice Salad which I bought for lunch everyday straight for about a month no joke. Finally one day I had the sense to ask the lady behind the counter what was in it - she asked me to guess, so I stood there sampling it like a Masterchef contestant and looking up with my 'hard-thinker' face on after every mouthful. I'm proud to say I guessed most of the ingredients so next year I'm trying out for Masterchef YAY.

OK no, It is such a simple dish I'm surprised I didn't guess ALL the ingredients since more than 50% are in their whole form and visible =P. But I did recreate the brown rice salad at home and it turned out so good! I actually looked up recipes on the net and I found one very close to hers. Too bad for the grocer because now I just make a massive batch and take it to work with me.


This recipe is easily adaptable to personal tastes, so you can add less or more of any of the ingredients, and you can also add whatever else you like to it =). This recipe makes a huge batch which lasts my whole family a few days, kept in the fridge - best not to keep it too long (i.e. more than a week) since most of the ingredients would go off soon.


Brown Rice Salad
Recipe adapted from Best Recipes

Ingredients
3 cups cooked brown rice
1/2 cup chopped chives
1 cup finely chopped curley leaf parsley
1 red capsicum, finely diced
1/2 cup currents
2 tbsp sunflower seeds
2 tbsp pepitas
Big handful of roasted cashew nuts, lightly crushed
1/4 cup sunflower/canola oil
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic (optional)

Method
1. In a large salad bowl place the rice, chives, capsicum, currants, seeds  cashew nuts

2. In a screw top jar place the oil, soy sauce, lemon juice and garlic. Shake the mixture well and pour over the salad. Stir to combine the ingredients together.

3. Eat =). Best served slightly chilled.


Most of the time I just omit the salad bowl part and put the first lot of ingredients in the container I plan to store it in, then I free-hand the rest of the ingredients to my taste and mix it all together in the container. I also take a bunch of cashew halves and sprinkle them over if I feel like making it look pretty =P.

Enjoy =D xx
 

Matte Checkers

I did these nails a few months ago, but due to my serious lag in posting they are only appearing on my blog now =P. Alot of my friends post pictures of nails they find on the net on my facebook wall and ask me if I'd be able to do the same thing. Alot of the time it's something I've come across before and I jump at the chance to finally get around to doing these manicures. So one of my friends posted this Matte Checkered look and I was like "hells yea that's easy!"....and about 1/2 an hour later I posted my own picture of them haha. She actually thought I had re-posted from another nail blog and a few weeks later (while we were in Melbs actually) the other girls were asking me if I could do the same manicure for them and she was amazed that the picture I had posted was my own =P.


But seriously this is a reaaaaaally easy manicure as long as you have sticky tape and a matte top coat! You can create all sorts of designs with sticky tape seriously (One of the first manicures I posted was using sticky tape actually).

The key with sticky tape manicures is to make sure that the sticky tape is not too sticky that it rips of your base colour when your taking the sticky tape off. To combat this, just stick the tape to you palm about 5-10 times just to get rid of some of the stickiness.

When your cutting the sticky tape try cut as straight as you can otherwise you might have wonky squares.

^ Make sure the sticky tape is stuck down way more firmly than above =P

Make sure your base colour is COMPLETELY DRY before you stick the tape on - for the obvious reason to prevent you ripping off your base colour haha. I put a really thin layer of top coat over my base colour just to be on the safe side. I've used Ulta3 Midnight which is a reaaaaally dark violet.


So once you've placed the tape on your nail, paint a thick coat of your matte topcoat/second colour over the nail and take the sticky tape off IMMEDIATELY - this will make sure the polish doesn't dry over the sticky tape. If you leave it to dry with the sticky tape on, chances are you will take off more polish than required for the design or the sticky tape will break and get stuck there.

Make sure you do each nail ONE AT A TIME. I put tape on all my fingers on one hand, then I paint one nails and take off the tape, and move onto the next nail. I wait for them to dry a bit, put a layer of topcoat, wait a bit, then I move on to the next hand. I find this is the quickest way to get it done that ensures no smudging. I used Essie Matte About You top coat, but there are other matte topcoats out there =).

And VOILA!


Hopefully I've inspired you to create a similar look maybe with different colours or designs =D xx

Saturday, 26 January 2013

El Loco at the House, Sydney

HAPPY 'STRAYA DAY EVERYONE! Hope you all have fun today, even though the weather doesn't look the best =P. I'm heading to the cricket tonight, hopefully the weather holds up. Even though it's cloudy it's so hot!  Summer in Sydney is scorching this year =P. It's so freakin hot, I forgot how hot it gets since this time last year I was livin it up in the balmy tropical paradise that is Thailand! Best. Aussie. Day. Ever. Snorkeling all day, partying all night! Ahhhh I wanna go back to those pristine blue waters and never ending parties.....

Anyways, one summer evening last week some of my friends and I got together to head over to Dan Hong's pop up restaurant by the Opera House, admiring views of the Harbour Bridge while the sea breeze from the harbour provided a bit of relief from the stifling heat. El Loco at the House was a nice way to relax with friends after work.



I've been to El Loco in Surry Hills before, and I thought the menu they created for this pop-up restaurant was pretty much the same thing. I think what made it special was purely the location and the set up - it was so colourful and charming with the crates for tables and music jamming, and the sandpit was pretty fun haha.



There's also a bar, however the lines for this were a bit crazy so we sacrificed margaritas for a later evening =P. The line for the food is quite long but it moves really quickly - service is heaps fast!! However, trying to nab a table or just a place to sit proved to be QUITE difficult - this place was PACKED to the brim (and we were there around 6), so I suggest you get there heaps early in anticipation of hunger just so you're not left waiting. Or, you could just sit on the floor like many people did haha.

'Camaron' Prawn Taco with Salsa Verde and Picco De Gallo and 'Pollo' Chicken Taco with Sweet Corn Salsa

El Loco Hot Dog (sans cheese =P)

El Loco Salad with Chicken and
Crispy Tortilla Chips and Queso Fresca



Since we didn't get to have El Loco's famed margaritas and funky cocktails, we grabbed a jug of white wine sangria from Customs House afterwards =P. Love this stuff!


Overall, it was OK, I wouldn't say you're missing out on much if you don't get the chance to go. Since the food is pretty much what you'd get at the Surry Hills restaurant, I'd skip the cues and the heat and just head for the hills (haha!) where you hav a guaranteed seat with aircon =P. If you want drinks and the view, might as well head to Opera Bar =P. But If you wanna check it out better be quick it's only on for a couple more days (till the 28th)!

El Loco at the House
Western Broadwalk
Sydney Opera House, Macquarie Street
Sydney NSW 2000
http://merivale.com.au/whats-on/event/el-loco-at-the-house/

El Loco at the House on Urbanspoon

=D xx

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Waffles

We have this ancient Breville Waffle Maker that we got like nearly 20 years ago as a housewarming gift. Over the years, unlike many of other unfortunately useless gifts, it has been put through the mill, trying so many recipes I'm surprised it's still alive. But no recipe has been as perfect as that found on Karen Cheng's blog a few years go. Surprisingly enough, this recipe is what led me to find her blog...and then onto many other fashion and lifestyle blogs...and then to my love of online shopping ( If you read her blog you'd know why =P)...and finally my own foray into the blogging world. So in a way, I owe these waffles ALOT. Plus, they are like the best waffles ever. So crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside....slathered in golden syrup its soooo goooooddd!


I'm an indecisive person, so the fact that our waffle makers split the huge waffle into 4 portions is perfect. As you can probably see in the picture, I like to put different toppings on each segment, leaving one blank cos even a plain waffle is a good waffle =P.

Soooo top right corner is lemon and sugar, bottom right is plain, bottom left is golden syrup
and top left is jam and margarine

Waffle Recipe
Recipe adapted from Karen Cheng
Ingredients
1 egg separated
¼ cup castor sugar
1 cup of milk
¼ cup of water
1 ½ cups of self raising flour
Pinch of salt
60g margarine (melted)

Chocolate chips (optional)

Method
1. Beat egg white (with half of the sugar), till stiff. Keep aside.

2. Beat egg yolk (with remaining half of sugar) until creamy. Then beat in milk and water. Then add sifted dry ingredients and mix in melted margarine.

3. Fold in egg white.

4. Spread some margarine over the heated plates of the waffle maker with a pastry brush (this will add extra crunch). Place batter into your waffle maker (amount will depend on your waffle maker). In between waffles spread a bit more margarine over the heated plates. This is also when I add chocolate chips, just before closing the lid on the maker - just scatter them on top of the batter and push them in a bit.

5. Eat hot! With whatever toppings you like!



Lol make sure you don't overfill like I normaly do =P

 
Enjoy =D xx

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Nailart-fest

Before I left to go overseas this time, my cousins messaged me asking if I could bring my nail-art stuff with me. I was going to take a few things regardless, given that I was going to a couple of weddings and functions, I hate having ratty nails regardless of where I am.

Well, once I got there, I found out that my cousin wanted me to do the nails for all her bridesmaids =P. Hahaha clearly I have made an impression!! I was a bit apprehensive given that I didn't have all my supplies with me and most importantly, I don't think I'm that talented enough to be doing nail art for a bridal party.

Essie Midnight Cami with a silver pattern and clear rhinestones
I managed to put together a design that went along with the colour theme (Peacock blue and silver), and I even managed to get a hold of some little rhinestones to make them look a bit more elaborate. The result was quite nice and needless to say, my fame has spread somewhat (well, throughout Southern Sri Lanka at least hahha). I had many people come up to me complimenting me on my "work" haha it was quite nice actually =D alot of people thought it had been done professionally! Understandably, the resources to be able to do this properly at home aren't readily available over there. I couldn't get a good picture since my camera was back at home in Sydney being repaired, but Instagram (@eesh_89) has saved the day yet again.

I also did my own nails for the wedding to match my saree =D. And then my cousin had her homecoming party (after the honeymoon) for which I did another design to match my saree for that as well.

Essie Midnight Cami with a gold swirl leaf pattern

Sinful Colors Merlot with a gold elaborate swirl pattern


Since my cousins loved what I did for the bridesmaids, they all requested me to do nails to match their outfits for a party held for the newly-weds =P.

Unnamed Dark Red polish with a gold flower pattern

Sinful Colors Merlot with a gold abstract pattern

China Glaze Liquid Leather with a gold circle pattern

Annnnd then, my youngest cousin, seeing what we were doing, got quite curious and stuck his (yes, a boy =P) hand in my face, indicating that he wanted his own nails painted....so I obliged =P.


Hahaha the little munchkin couldn't stop showing everyone his colourful nails =P so cute.


By the end of my holiday I had done so many manicure I actually got through a WHOLE bottle of top coat and nearly finished a bottle of Essie! Time to start charging for my services!

=D xx
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