You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2011.

Off to Perth again. Why can’t I get clients on the East Coast??

– man, I love first class a little more each time…
– due to a mining conference, all hotels in the city and a 2 hour radius were booked. So I’m staying, literally, in the guest house of an employee of the client who lives on the beach. Which means there’s potential for me to see something outside of the walls of my clients offices this time around. Potentially.

– the pained expression I have to make when the security personnel at the airport explains I’ve been selected for “random” explosives testing, AGAIN. If something happens 95% of the time, can you really call it “random” ?!
– weighing whether it would be appropriate in the scope of lawyer/client relations to call up the “main house” at 10pm and ask what wine by the glass they have available for room service. I’m thinking no, which is why this is therefore a negative.

When Steve’s parents were here, we took a week long vacation with them to two Australian islands–Kangaroo Island and Hamilton Island.  Cathy had always wanted to visit Kangaroo Island for the up close and personal encounters with Australian wildlife. Dave’s life long dream was to see the Great Barrier Reef.  So for their visit, we spent 4 days off the rugged southern coast at Kangaroo Island, and 5 days in Queensland on an island in the Great Barrier Reef.

(c&s W at Seal Bay, Kangaroo Island)

A pretty great way to see two vastly different parts of this great continent if you ask us!  The first part of our adventure started in Kangaroo Island.  Pictures and story of our adventures on Kangaroo Island are on the out and about and photos pages.

(Australian and New Zealand fur seal pictures are definitely worth a gander!)

In my little world of amateur blogging, the ultimate reward would be to be “Freshly Pressed”–an honor judged and selected by the folks at WordPress that puts one of your posts on the homepage. I often read the Freshly Pressed homepage with intrigue and a ting of jealousy, and have found lots of great blogs to subscribe to through this function (ESPECIALLY cooking blogs).

Well I woke up this morning to 60+ amazing comments, critical feedback and encouraging words on my recent post of frustration/aspiration re: quitting my day job as a corporate lawyer and becoming a full-time [chef]! Turns out I am now one of the few elite, totally famous bloggers on WordPress.  Friends and family back home, you can say you knew me when….

What a great way to start a day! I hope to respond to all comments sometime between my lawyer work day today and my dinner party planning for Saturday night 🙂

For any new readers, I hope you won’t be too disappointed that this is not (solely) a foodie blog.  Yes, cooking is clearly one of my passions, but the real thrust of the blog is to share my amazing experience in beautiful Australia.  So I hope you’ll visit my out and about and photos, especially for anyone thinking about visiting this great continent.

[insert shameless plug for upcoming pictures of Kangaroo Island wildlife and Hamilton Island sparkling beaches here.  this weekend I promise.]

And I’ll definitely plan to keep on sharing my recipes, since it seems like there are a lot of people out there similarly excited about food!!

For our first weekend with the Whites, we treated them to a Sunday afternoon, Victorian style.  That is, a wine tour of the Yarra Valley and some seriously adorable Aussie animals at the Healesville Sanctuary.

Although it rained a bit (OK, maybe a lot) at the zoo, we compensated by getting warm and toasty with some afternoon wine.  Full pictures

Day 1 of our adventures with Cathy and Dave and we’ve seen kangaroos, wallabies, cockatoos, dolphins, a fur seal colony (seriously
up close and personal), sweeping oceanside vistas and the elusive echidna.

We’d call it a quits now and return to Melbourne happy, but we’re paid up at the house on Kangaroo Island for the next few days and our flights to QLD on Tuesday are already booked. Guess well just have to continue the adventures on this wilderness island and snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef one more time…

1.  Nearly every Saturday, we go to the farmers market 2 blocks from our house, see what’s fresh.  Then we buy complimenting meats, cheese and pasta at the butcher and deli on our street, and spend the day cooking and eating new and delicious things.  All week, every week, I look forward to Saturday because it means I have no (legal) work to do and can spend the entire day cooking.

2. One of my favorite celebrity chefs, Tom Collichio (chef, restaurateur and judge on my fav cooking show, Top Chef) says that the mark of a true cook is someone who wakes up, goes to market, and cooks a delicious meal with the day’s fresh and seasonal ingredients.

3. I’m obsessed with watching reality cooking TV shows and fantasizing about what I would cook for each challenge. Half the time, I’m pretty sure I could have come up with a more inventive idea, or at least executed it better under the stress of timed cooking 🙂

4. Having dinner party guests ohhh and ahhh over my menu feels 100 times better than having a client or senior lawyer thank me for pulling an all-nighter to push out a document on schedule (not that the latter has ever actually happened… but the former totally has…)

5. At lunchtime, in the office kitchen, I routinely take 10-15 minutes to cook and assemble my meals, using the toaster oven to creatively roast.  I’m pretty sure I’m the only person that uses the cutting board and knives, and I keep a smattering of condiments in the fridge and cupboard.  When I march my lunch back to my desk, the ladies invariably comment on how beautiful it looks or smells (They call good food “beautiful” here). Best 15 minutes of the workday if you ask me.

6. I don’t like cooking the same thing twice (except on weekdays, when I get lazy).  I’m all about learning new techniques, improving on a favorite or testing new flavor combinations.

7. I would rather spend 8 hours buying, prepping, cooking, baking, plating, and serving dinner for 2 than spend 8 hours, well, really, doing anything else.

8. I can make a one-handed lasagna.

 9. Notwithstanding the fact that I’ve been slammed at work and covering for someone who’s out on vacation, I’ve spent the last 2 weeks vigorously planning the “arrival” menu for Steve’s parents’ first weekend in Melbourne.

10. After a 5-star lunch at the Rochford winery in Yarra Valley (think $75 for 2 courses) on Sunday, my father-in-law declared my Sunday night dinner creation — pork chop, served with potato mash, topped with apples, sage and onion and drizzled with a punchy apple cider vinegar sauce — to be the best meal he’d had all day.  “Even better than lunch”, he clarified.

Ahh the joys of non-paid pursuits.