June 22, 2009

St Ali Coffee

The housemate and I went out for lunch last Friday, and then headed for coffee at this place which he recommended, St Ali, at South Melbourne. I don't believe I've drank that much coffee in my life before I came to Australia. This country is like Mecca for coffee or something.

Anyway, the cappuccino I had was a lot smoother than most caps I've drunk, which was good. Oh, and it came like this:

20090622 Coffee from St Ali South Melbourne

The artwork I normally see on other coffee tops were never that clear and precise. Thanks to the massive amount of chocolate they placed on the foam, they managed to come up with a very beautiful leaf. I was very impressed.

I've seen how the "drawing" of the leaf was done, and it didn't look very difficult. Very gently pour the milk in, swish left to right and back several times, and then pour a straight line from the top to the bottom to form the 'stem'. And all this while, I thought these baristas used a template or something. St Ali's blog has some lovely photos of how it's done.

Of course, if I were to attempt this, I'd end up with an awful mess. Methinks I'll just stick to my usual 3-in-1 coffee for now.

June 15, 2009

Another Scarf Done

Thanks to Geekchic, I've been bitten by the knitting bug once more. Have been knitting on and off for a bit (mostly off), but when you have a knitting buddy, it's very easy to get on the wagon once more.

I bought this beautiful wool-alpaca yarn from Morris and Sons, and with just one ball, I finished this, using the stockinette stitch, in probably a total of 3 hours. Slow by the knitting people's standards, I'm sure, but for a rookie like me, it's my fastest record thus far.

20090614 Wool Alpaca Scarf

It's really soft, and the yarn's just gorgeous. Unfortunately, I cannot wear this with my black coat as it sheds like crazy. Oh well, can't win 'em all. It's also the most expensive piece of yarn I've bought so far. Thank goodness at 37 bucks per ball, I only need one to make a scarf.

'Tis a pity I didn't leave enough yarn to make pom poms at the end. That would complete the look.

*hugging the soft scarf*

June 11, 2009

Turning Twenty Nine

Note: Thanks for all the warm birthday wishes on my birthday via phone calls, text messages, Twitter and Facebook. You guys really made my day :)

I turned 29 six days ago. After my rants on how incredibly low I felt when I turned 27 and that one should shoot me when I hit the big 3-0, this year's birthday actually turned out to be the best I've had in years. To risk sounding like a complete sap, it was all thanks to the husband. Awww.

It all started when my parents were in Melbourne for a visit. On the day they were going to leave Australia, Tim came home from work with a cake. I thought we were going to celebrate a belated Mother's Day with my mum, but it was actually a birthday cake. He thought it would be nice to have the family celebrate my birthday together, albeit a little early, before my parents left. It was a very sweet gesture as I hadn't celebrated my birthday with the parents in a long time.

Birthday Gifts 2009 1

June 1 - Tim and I decided to head out to dinner. As he was on call on Saturday, I thought we could do date night on Monday instead after he was back from work. He told me he'd think of a place. Evening came, and he told me we'd be trying out this new Italian place that we've never been to before. I love Italian food, so yeah, I was definitely up for it. When we entered the restaurant, for some reason, I never thought it weird that we were heading to a bigger table instead of a table for two. Come to think about it, I wasn't even looking where I was going!

Lo and behold, over at the bigger table, were all my close friends. May, Geekchic Jen, Dom and Flo. To say I was surprised was an understatement. For someone who's never had a surprise party before, I was utterly dumbstruck. Tim had planned all that behind my back, and I didn't know how to react. After the initial confusion, I was really excited and happy (and super flushed during the evening. My cheeks were hot!). Nothing like the company of dear friends to celebrate your big day together.

Birthday Gifts 2009 2
Flowers (my fave!) from my brother-in-law and sister-in-law in Sydney, and a cute towel 'cake' from May

Birthday Gifts 2009 3
She made this for me. Gorgeous cowl scarf. Me heart!

Birthday Gifts 2009 4
Lovely L'occitane goodies from my girlfriends in Malaysia, MC and Hester, yummy Koko Black choccies from Dom and Flo, and a beautiful birthday card and facial mask from Hui Xin.

June 6 - Tim and I headed out on a day trip to Baw Baw Country, which was a two-hour drive from Melbourne. The scenery we encountered during the drive was absolutely gorgeous. Even though the day was slightly marred by the fact that I was experiencing really bad cramps, I had a wonderful time.

20090606 Noojee 1

20090606 Noojee 2

20090606 Noojee 3

June 8 - Queen's Birthday. After watching Masterchef for a month now (very addicted to the show; will write a post just on that soon), I've been really keen on trying out The Press Club, which belonged to one of the judges in the show, George Calombaris. Little did I know that a week before, Tim had already made reservations for dinner on the Queen's Birthday. Wheee!!

Dinner was absolutely scrumptious. I was actually, and I'm a little embarrassed to say, starstruck when I saw George Calombaris working in the kitchen. An hour into our dinner, Gordon Ramsay walked into the restaurant. At that time, I didn't know about his sexist remarks about Tracy Grimshaw (If I did, I would have probably thrown an egg to his face, that arrogant bastard). All I can say is that he's a head taller than George, and that he has a very crinkly face. Kinda like a Shar Pei :P

It had been an awesome week. And although I didn't actually get anything tangible from the husband for my birthday (hee hee), all his efforts throughout the week were more than enough. I felt really touched. And loved :)

At the end of the day, turning 29 is just another day, another number. The way I see it, it's just closer to the big 3-0 than anything else. Now that, THAT is going to be something.

But I'm pretty sure it wouldn't involved me wanting to jump off a bridge.

June 01, 2009

My Herb Bucket

Living in an apartment does not grant me the privilege of a garden.

Before you start thinking that I've completely done a 180 degrees change in personality, no, I do not enjoy gardening or have a green thumb for that matter.

In my cooking, many a time I'd require a selection of herbs. Even though I have bottles of dried herbs, using fresh herbs in my dishes really gives them a better punch of flavour compared to the dried ones. Unfortunately, buying packets of fresh herbs from the supermarket is expensive, especially since I do not use them in every meal. Yes, I can freeze them, but it dries them up, which makes it hardly any difference from using dried herbs from a bottle. After a while, the herbs rot, and I have to chuck them. It's a waste of money.

In the end, I've decided to buy pots of herbs and keep it on my balcony instead. During a visit to a friend's home, I saw how she potted the herbs into a large bucket, which gave me the idea to do the same as well. A trip to The Reject Shop to get the bucket, and to Bunnings to get pots of herbs and potting mix, I was on my way to have my own little herb "garden".

20090530 Herb Bucket

I originally wanted to grow coriander, as that's the herb I use the most in my cooking (on fish, curry, etc). However, after doing plenty of research on the Internet, I found out that coriander is pretty difficult to maintain. It is best that I stick to the easier herbs for now, before I venture into the less hardy plants.

20090530 Basil

Basil (not looking good, I'm afraid)

20090530 Italian Parsley

Italian parsley

20090530 Pink Rosemary

Pink rosemary

I potted these two months ago. Of the three herbs, the Italian parsley thrived the best. They taste great too!

Next up, I'm going to try my hand at growing chilli and capsicum. They're incredibly pretty in their pots, with the vibrant red and yellow against the green.