Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Always on the lookout for ways to broaden cultural horizons, Pip B and I took young Orson to see Abstraction at the AGNSW last week. I am happy to report that all these years later, seeing beautiful original pieces of art that I spent so many years learning about and reading about in text books back at school, is still incredibly thrilling. You see I've been very lucky over the years to have seen art at MoMA, the Louvre, Musee Rodin, Musee D'Orsay, Tate Modern, the Uffizi and a few others. Seeing so many of the beautiful works which so inspired me as a young art student has been, I reckon, one of life's great treats. As you know, my love of travel pushes me to have a trip in planning at any one time - even if it's for 2 years away, it's important to me. I don't function well if I don't have one in planning. And it's this travel that allows me to see these little treasures. But oh how sweet when the little treasures pop themselves on a boat (or more likely a plane) and get themselves all the way over here to my very doorstep!

There I was the other day, aged 35, finding myself in front of one of Paul Klee's best. It's still just so exciting. For $20 a pop, you really can't beat it.

The Abstraction exhibition has over 150 paintings by some of the most significant artists in the pre Abstract and Abstract period including Mondrian, Leger, Seurat, Klee, Kandinsky, Picasso, Matisse, Whistler and Monet and finishes on September 19 at the AGNSW. It's a MUST SEE.

Nb. The very abstract picture at top was taken on my camera with Pip's very clever kaleidoscope lens attachment. Cool huh?

And below are some art pics from my travels that I thought I'd share with you.

1. The Pieta, St Peter's Bascilica, Rome. I had no idea that this famous sculpture would affect me as much as it did when I saw it. It's incredibly moving and a very emotive tribute to a mothers love for her child.

2. David... the other David that is. The smaller version in Piazza della Signora in Florence.

3. Me and the Thinker (Le Penseur) at the Musee Rodin, Paris. So cool to see this one up close and situated in the most magnificent gardens as only the French can do.

4. Out front of the Cezanne exhibition in Florence. 

5. One of Gaugin's Tahitian delights. So beautiful. Has to be one of my favourite artists I think. This one from Musee D'Orsay, Paris.

6. The spare parts skull. Biennale, Venice. 

7. Me outside the Tate Modern having been swept away by the Rothko exhibition.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Birds Ski Trip

Well I'm feeling rather chilled and I owe it all to my lovely friend Tana. You see Tana kindly hosted a group of keen ski chicks at her wonderfully warm and comfortable home in Jindabyne for a long weekend. After months of night wakings and looking after little Orson 24/7, it was just the tonic I needed.

By night, we cooked for each other, laughed and drank nice wines and by day, of course we skied like demons, (see Pippa below, skiing like a demon).
"But what did you eat?" I hear you cry. Well, on night 1, Trudie and I cooked veal and pork meatballs with tagliatelle and a simple green salad. On night 2, we were treated to a magnificent two course (!!) feast by Liz and Sasha which consisted of white wine and 3 cheese risotto for entree followed by Lizzie's amazing herb baked chicken and fennel with crispy baked potato AND a fabulous pear, walnut, parmesan and rocket salad. YUM! Meal of the weekend in my eyes. On night 3 Nicola L and Pippa cooked 2 fabulous pasta dishes - one featuring that wonderful combintion of anchovy, chili, oil and lemon and the other a wonderful brocollini and fetta number. So as you can see, we didn't go without.

And on the slopes we made the most of the recent snowfalls and the expertise of two of Thredbo's finest instructors - Federico and Lucas. Ferderico (whom I had the pleasure of learning from), a Marketing/Business student from Venice, took us through various "exercises" (drills) to get us to lean further forward and more downhill. He had his work cut out for him trying to get us to ski with our skis shoulder width apart... we're all such ladylike skiers you see. 

And of course it wouldn't be a birds ski trip if we didn't finish the skiing with a run backwards down Friday Flat... which we did much to our own hilarity... but it wasn't as funny as Tana skiing over the embankment at the bottom of Crackenback.... see below... gold. 

Ah til next year ladies. 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

James St Community Garden

So a lovely neighbour of mine, (John the landscape gardener) told me a while ago about a small group of people from my local area who were working towards getting council approval to build a community garden.

Ever since falling in love with the River Cottage series on tele featuring Hugh Fernley Whittingstall, I've been keen on being part of such a project. Well now that's about to happen. The project team for the James St Community Garden in Redfern, have had their application approved and an $8,000 grant donated. After receiving a mailbox flier asking for interested people to attend a meeting a few weeks back, I got involved.

We start work on our little patch next Saturday, August 21, and I have to say, I'm more than just a little bit excited. I shall keep you up to date on our working bees, the development of the garden and any interesting gardening facts which should come my way.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Burgers Are Better... at home.

Ok, firstly I promise that this isn't becoming a food blog. Not that it would be a bad thing, it's just that there are so many other things to talk about. Being winter and all, there are just too many yummy, filling, tasty dinners to create hence the increase in culinary posts on here of late.

Anyway, the burgers. Being a burger lover, it seems odd that I've never made my own but I changed all that last weekend. I've experimented with my own version of the chicken burger (Oporto style) but never the grand daddy of burgers, the beef burger.

If you haven't tried it, DO IT. SO EASY.

I consulted my good friend Nigella on this one and she suggested buying the best beef mince you can, shaping about 125g of it into a patty and then seasoning with salt and pepper, rubbing down with olive oil and then frying 2-3mins on each side in a hot pan. The rest is a cinch.

I think no beef burger is complete without gherkins, fried egg (with runny yolk that explodes down the sides of the burger when you bite in), bacon and melted gruyere.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Girls on Film

So it just happened to be my birthday this week (35 big ones) and even though I didn't arrange a dinner or party, I felt it necessary to get a couple of the birds together for an impromptu night at the pub. The venue was the Lord Dudley in Woollahra and the tonic? Prosecco... and a couple of shots of course. It's tradition.

We then moved onto the Sheaf for a Jagerbomb (cause we needed that) and by 11.30 I was so tired it was time for bed. Just don't have the same stamina as I used to!

Wonderful night ladies. Thanks a million!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

A Veal Winner

...how's that for a cheesy headline...
Anyway, the other night, in my current state of wanting rich, warm comfort food I cooked up a little gem from an old Women's Weekly cookbook - Veal and Eggplant Parmigiana. Soooo good people. I was going to babble on about how fattening this dish must be but you know what? WHO CARES. It tastes amazing and it warms the soul. Its basically a layered dish consisting of a thick tomato sauce, veal, eggplant with yummy molten mozzarella and parmesan on top.

Let me know if you want the recipe.