Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Livers and a movie

We decided to go for a movie today.

I've been trying to convince Nathan to go and see A Quiet Place but he wasn't keen on horror. It seems that Emily Blunt (from The Devil Wears Prada) is not sufficient enough of a drawcard to entice Nathan into seeing that movie with me. Instead, we settled on the gay teen flick Love, Simon

The movie was showing at Cinema Nova so we headed out to Lygon Street for lunch first. We ended up going to Tiamo, which does a terrific chicken liver dish (I was in the mood for liver after seeing it served on My Kitchen Rules last night). Nathan went for the osso bucco.

The cinema was quite busy. I guess going to see a movie is a popular way to spend Anzac Day.

The movie seemed to have attracted three types of audience members: gay men, single women, and teenagers. Indeed, there was a whole row of teenage girls sitting at the very front and a whole row of older gay gentlemen sitting at the back, with the single ladies scattered everywhere in between.

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the film, which had a decent story line and a good mix of funny and sad parts. It turned out to be a very pleasant day.


Anyone who knows me knows I love a good Aesop product, whether it be a bottle of hand wash, the latest perfume, their room spray, or even shampoo for the dog. At some point, I've become obsessed with the brand (and no, this is not a paid endorsement).

Apart from their products, I'm also totally crushing on their stores. Each one is different. All are exquisitely designed.

One of my favourites is their shop in North Melbourne.

Nathan and I took Truffles to the dog park on Sunday and, on our way back, decided to stop along Errol Street for some tea and cake. Afterwards, we walked over to Aesop's just to look at the store.

The lady working there came out and we ended up having a chat. Apparently the sinks and taps are antiques that were brought back from Vienna. And the display bench was previously from a Sydney museum. So beautiful.

Pilfered pilea

The current obsession with indoor plants (driven largely by hipster types) seems to have no end in sight.

And among the most coveted of indoor plants is this beauty known as Pilea peperomioides or the Chinese money plant. 
Pilea used to be virtually non-existent here in Australia (which made it even more coveted). I've started to see it in a few specialist nurseries, often at extremely high prices. It's suppose to be super easy to grow but still remains rare in this country.

So, I was quite surprised to see a young lady with a large Pilea on the tram in the city last weekend. It was such a rare sight that I was almost tempted to ask her where she got it from. But I didn't.

And then earlier this week, I saw this on the Instagram page of one of my favourite nurseries in Fitzroy.
The accompanying message read, as follows:

Yesterday somebody stole our store baby. This is our Pilea a year ago and it has grown a fair bit since then but remained in this lovely blue pot by @lucyvanstoneceramics

If anybody knows where she ended up we'd love her back. If you see anybody sharing a pic of her on social media please share with us. She wasn't the most impressive Pilea in town but she was ours and belonged to a staff member.

Could the Pilea I saw on the tram be the same plant that was stolen from the nursery? 

Unfortunately, I can't remember any details that would be even vaguely useful (if it is, indeed, the same plant). 


Sunday, April 15, 2018

Rabbit stew

My colleague went ferreting for rabbits a few weeks ago.

He is not much of a meat eater so he gave me one of the rabbits. I was initially very excited about making something delicious with it and had planned to cook the rabbit the evening I got it.

However, upon seeing the skinned carcass, I got a bit squeamish and popped it into the freezer, where it has sat...until now.

Today, I got up early, found a recipe with a nice picture (see below) and went to Woollies to buy the ingredients.
I got home, took the carcass out of the fridge, and took it out of bag to defrost.

I immediately started to retch.

I'm such a wuss. It's weird. I have no problem chopping up whole chickens or ducks but I think the rabbit just looks too mammalian. I guess I am too accustomed to getting my meat from the supermarket, already processed and looking less like whole animals.

Anyhow, the contorted rabbit carcass is sitting in the sink. I'm going to have to chop it up and cook it – whether I like it or not.

Monday, April 9, 2018

The guy on the street corner

I hate being solicited by people on street corners asking for donations.

Today, I had a rather unpleasant encounter on Oxford Street with a young man working for Oxfam.

Firstly, I feel a bit of context is justified as normally, I would just walk past without making eye contact or politely decline the invitation for a 'chat'. But earlier, in Hyde Park, I was asked by someone else from Oxfam to sign a petition, which I agreed to do (because I do believe in their cause).

Thinking it was for the same purpose, I engaged with the young man to tell him I had already spoken to her colleague.

Big mistake.

It seemed that Oxfam have teams of people out in the city trying to engage members of the public for multiple purposes today.

The guy who stopped me on Oxford Street was wanting me to sign up for monthly donations to provide clean drinking water to help people from war afflicted regions.

Once I figured out what this guy was up to, I was trapped. I politely declined his request for a donation, which was when he started to lay on the guilt trip.

He went on and on about how we are living in an affluent country and that we should all be doing more.

At this point, I should have just walked away.

But, no. Instead, I told him that I am already a supporter of Oxfam, that I buy stuff from the Oxfam shop, and that I used to volunteer my time to door knock for the organisation when I was younger. I told him that I felt I already did enough.

That's when he pulled out the passive aggressive line "It's interesting how most people feel they need to justify why they do not want to donate."

I lost my shit. I told him that his adversarial manner is a complete turn off and risk damaging the organisation.

Realising I was now wasting his time, he then tried to say that he no longer wanted to talk to me.

Now, that must be a first.

I reminded him that he was the one who approached me and I proceeded to rant on for another 10 minutes telling him how much damage he was doing to his organisation and how not to ostracise people who were already on the same team.

Nathan, who was standing next to me the entire time, eventually dragged me away.

An artist's artist

I've been reading up on an Australian artist called Guy Warren.
Guy is in his 90s and is still active (his most recent show was earlier this year in Sydney). And judging by the interviews I've seen on youtube, the man's mind is still super sharp.

Guy is an artist's artist. He is a war veteran, an Archibald prize winner, and is highly respected. One art critic described him as a 'much underrated artist'. Looking at his pictures and the long list of public institutions that have his works in their collections, it's astounding he isn't more well known. I stumbled across his paintings online and immediately fell in love with them.

 Meanwhile,  I see 'artists' with far less talent flogging off mass produced work of extremely low quality having much higher public profiles.


I'm in Sydney with Nathan attending a friend's 40th.

The party was on Saturday night at a pub in Willougby. It was a smallish gathering, was fairly mellow affair, and I had great time.

Yesterday, we met up with another friend (also up in Sydney for the birthday) and her two teenage kids for a trip to the zoo. It's been a while since I've visited Taronga. I forgot how spectacular the views are looking back across the harbour towards the city skyline. I was especially envious of the giraffes, whose enclosure offered the best vantage point.

Nathan accompanied our friend's son on a high ropes 'adventure' at the zoo. It basically involves putting yourself into a harness and traversing obstacles in the tree tops above some of the animal enclosures. Two observations. First, Nathan is even more uncoordinated up in the air than he is on the ground (though I concede that walking on ropes does require a great deal of balance and coordination). Second, the ropes course is very demanding and Nathan was well and truly exhausted by the end of the session. Our friend's son, by contrast, barely broke a sweat, and wanted to go back for another round. Nathan said no.

We made our way back to the city by ferry. I had not seen the new (and controversial) Barangaroo development and I have to say I was quite impressed. The new ferry terminal connects visitors along the foreshore right up to Darling Harbour and judging by all the restaurants and tourists, I think it will be good for Sydney tourism.

Last night we met up again with our birthday friend and her family, and went up to the Centrepoint tower for a buffet dinner. I didn't realise that Centrepoint has had a name change and is now known as Sydney tower. Anyhow, the interior of the shopping centre is far more opulent than what I remembered when I visited there as a youngster.

I'd never been to the buffet up in the revolving section of the tower before. It was expensive so I had high expectations. The food was kind of 'meh' for the price. I foolishly challenged our friend's teenage son (the one who did the high ropes course with Nathan) to an oyster eating contest. I won (naturally) but downing oysters for competition is not as pleasant as eating them for enjoyment. I was impressed by the kid's determination. He polished off 15, which was quite remarkable for a 13 year old. I remember detesting raw oysters when I was his age.

We are flying back to Melbourne later today.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018


If I had a spare $125K, I'd consider buying this Sidney Nolan I saw at a commercial gallery today.


I had an extra day off today so decided to see the new NGV exhibition Colony: Australia 1770-1861.

The exhibition was arranged into themes, some of which made a lot of sense (e.g. European exploration before 1770; Landing and settlement at Lane Cove), but others seemed a bit random to me (e.g. Newcastle 1804: Tasmanian Aboriginal people). In any event, the exhibition brought back memories of grade 5 history lessons with Miss Eccleston.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Canberra and buffet musings

I'm back in Canberra for part of the Easter break.

I flew up on Saturday afternoon. The plane was near empty. It was terrific. Boarding was a breeze (no queues) and it took only a few minutes to disembark the aircraft.

We went to my folk's favourite buffet restaurant on Sunday. We got there 30 minutes early to line up at the cashier.

Mum and dad told me that the Chinese guy at the front of the queue goes there everyday. He eats, then goes for a walk outside the venue, and then comes back inside the restaurant and does a second bout of eating. That's taking 'all-you-can-eat' to an entirely new level. I seriously can't be bothered.

I stood behind a woman waiting for her to decide which piece of chicken she wanted. She was very indecisive. She picked a piece up with the tongs, held it in mid air for a brief second, and then placed the chicken back onto the server. She then took another piece of chicken and put it on her plate. Alas, it turns out she wanted that first piece of chicken after all, so she placed the piece that was already on her plate back on the server and took back the original piece. All the while, I patiently waited for her to finish so I could grab a piece of f*&king chicken.

Oh, and the roast duck. It's my pet peeve that the chefs at this place are super slow with replenishing the roast duck. I love duck so it drives me nuts.