Feb 15, 2019

Hello Again, Heartbreak Hill. Filet-O-Fish DIY.

It's been a few weeks since I last caught up with my good friend, Heartbreak Hill.

Truth be told. it didn't particularly miss me while I'd been away rehabilitating my dodgy pelvis.

I, on the other hand, was deliriously happy to be back.  So happy I ran myself a pretty good pace despite the heat.  I usually run this route first, first thing in the morning and that has its many joys.  The temperature, the freshness of the air, the quiet and the emptiness.

Running the hill and the bays around half seven in the morning also has its moments.  Some good, some not so much.  The good included being out there with like-minded active bodies and seeing my running landscape go through its daytime routine.  The cafes were lit up and their cabinets filled with baked goods.  The barber was open for business and its clients spilled out onto the bench out on the footpath.  The lush fields and imposing gates of the schools were open for business.  Sprightly bodies in coloured house shirts ran and kicked along the fields and hats bobbed along around me as backpacked bodies walked through the gates.  

It was the traffic that got to me.  It always does.  Stop starting along short stretches of my run as I obediently heeded the lights, having to remember to pause at driveways, trying to pace myself around the foot traffic that was doing things like walking and FaceTiming simultaneously.

I've also given up on sunglasses.  They kept bobbing out of time up over the bridge of my nose.  I'm going to have to find myself a cap with an even broader brim than the one I'm currently using instead.

But I loved it all and it was one of the most enjoyable runs I've had this year.  I'm hoping to schedule in a few more weekday runs like this over the next few months as I get ready for the City2Surf.   

After my run of the month, the obvious next step was a pit stop at my favourite local cafe for a large iced latte with skim milk.  I felt like such a rebel clutching that cup of dairy and sugar loaded espresso as everyone else around me had their black with sweetener or that random twist of lemon....

Image result for filet o fish
via Google images
Guess what the internet brought me several months back?  Not an actual Filet-O-Fish but the next best thing.  Nagi from Recipe Tin Eats' oven baked version, the recipe for which can be found here.  If you've not made the recipe before and are an ardent fan of the FOF then be prepared to have your mind and tastebuds blown by it when you do.  

I used fillets of ling for the recipe.  I doubled up the thin tail segments of the fillet on top of each other when I baked so that the cooking time would be the same for all my fish 'patties'. 

Being the cheese snob that I am, I didn't use fully plastic cheese but rather slices of Cracker Barrel that were collectively but not individually wrapped in plastic.  They still melted on contact with the freshly baked fish and they tasted even better than the real deal.  All I lacked was the Maccas dayglow hues of the OG FOF.

This is what our assembled burgers looked like.  Not to bad for a debut attempt, I reckon.  Even more successful than my maiden attempt at chicken burgers.  I over toasted my brioche though.

This is the brand of brioche buns I used.  They are available at Woolies and were the perfect size for my fish fillets.

Because I have a picky eater in the house, I didn't make Nagi's tartare sauce.  We just had mayo and ketchup with our burgers.  I got the ketchup thing from my mum.  She loves Filet-O-Fishes but will only eat them with the tartare sauce subbed out and the ketchup subbed in.  I am my mother's daughter in so many ways.

This is my gratuitous cross-sectional photo of my burger.  I can't get over how easy it was to make such a delicious and relatively healthy Maccas dupe. 

You wouldn't by any chance have a recipe for a DIY healthier Big Mac or Quarter Pounder handy would you?  Or perhaps I should see if Nagi can help...

Feb 14, 2019

Lovin' Life 14/2/2019: LEGO Cities by The Brickman at the Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park.

A sunny Sunday morning earlier this month saw me visit the Entertainment Quarter in Moore Park for the first time ever.  I was there with Master SSG to visit The Brickman's Lego Cities exhibition.

I am obviously one of those people who've been under a rock these last few years because the EQ is a happening destination at all hours of the day these days.

Seems legit.

Sure, there are a number of destinations for grown-ups including bars like the Laneway and restaurants like Fratelli Fresh

but there was also a whole lane of family friendly takeaways like Subway, a sushi outlet and ....

Black Star Pastry
which is housed in an airy, light-filled high ceilinged space that had room enough for those who wished to eat in and the larger crowd of us who were happy to line up for a takeaway.

All the classics were in store, including that watermelon cake.

I've always wanted to know what lemon myrtle tastes like.  Can you shed any light?

Should've gotten a Ginger Ninja for later.

This is Master SSG's vegan chocolate cupcake.  Before he wolfed it down.  Sunday morning swimming is hungry work.

Of course I got an iced latte and of course there's a photo of it with the SCG in the background.  I don't even follow the cricket or the AFL that closely but when you're in the shadow of an iconic patch of sporting lawn, what else can a girl do?

Similarly, here's a photo of watermelons at Black Star waiting to be transformed into that stunning layer cake.

The Lego exhibition was notably smaller than the one we visited at the ICC in Darling Harbour.  This time around, a large purpose-built tent was erected for a relatively small selection of four Lego islands that featured those meticulously built creations at the centre and a sea of Lego around and beneath so that visitors could build whatever they were inspired to create based on what they saw around them.

Our first stop was the Tokyo exhibit.

Master SSG didn't have time to appreciate the Tokyo Tower.  He was absorbed in building his cruise ship and couldn't be distracted for the next hour.

Dubai was the next city we visited, represented by the Burj and the Dubai Tower.

London was represented by the Gherkin and the London Eye.

'Our Bridge' needs no introduction...

I was fascinated by what the other children built the morning we were there.  Practically everyone featured lots of trees and windows in their creations.  Some were buildings, some were vehicles but they all that common connection with nature and light.

Have you visited the Entertainment Quarter recently?  What's your favourite place to eat there?

Feb 12, 2019

I'm Working More Hours A Week Now. I Need A New Green Handbag. Obviously.

Well.  Hello there....

A select number of Master SSG's 'pets' who got the day spa treatment in the front loader befor being hung out to air dry as part of my headless chicken laundry frenzy this weekend.

I've (just) survived my first week of working four days a week since ... forever.  To be honest, the hardest part of it so far has been the anticipation and the overcompensating.  The sense that I need to overschedule my days off (ie that sacred Tuesday and the weekend) with 'to-dos' just in case I run out of time.  I've spent this past weekend scurrying around doing 'stuff'.  'Stuff' that I felt I had to do in case I ran out of time during the week.  'Stuff' I felt I had to do so that I could 'enjoy' my weekday off.  'Stuff' that just got on the list because I like having stuff to do.  In short, I've been a bit of a headless chicken.

Predictably, it's drained me and in hindsight it was foolish.  But I had to do it to get it out of my system if that makes sense.  Going forward from here, I realise that it's going to be case of working smarter not harder when it comes to trying to deal with the intense life stress that is only having one week day off rather than two. Larger grocery shops and more loads of laundry on the weekends, making one more freezer friendly meal every now and then, doing housework on the weekend.... In short, doing what the full timers of the world have been doing quietly since time began.

 So I've decided to take that reality check, do some deep breathing and just get on with it.

Pinch Of Yum's Banh Mi Bowls have been added to my lunch prep list of recipes because they taste amazing and also make enough meat balls and pickled carrots to cover the four days I'm now at work.

Recipes like the one for Portugese Baked Chicken and Rice from a Woolies magazine circa 2017 have now maerialized on my Saturday night cooking repertoire.

Recipes that serve six are code for 'at least two meals for the freezer'.

Meal prep logistics aside, fresh corn and tinned tomatoes cooked with long grain rice are an excellent way of getting stealth vegetables into a streetwise six year old.

An unforeseen (or perhaps not so unforeseen given my the contetnts of my wardobe) byproduct of my increased hours is the misguided notion that I need to commeorate the change with a meaningful purchase.  In the shape of a green handbag.  Green.  I don't quite know why I decided on green but there you have it.


The contenders are as follows.

This Niki shoulder bag from Saint Laurent.  It just says 'edgy' enough for school pick up but also has enough pockets and a long enough strap for the real world.

The 'Solo' from Oroton which appears to be undergoing a metamorphosis under its new creative director Sophie Holt (who was previously responsible for turning Country Road around ).  This bag is part of 'The Botanist' collection that has just launched for the brand.  

I just can't decide.

Feb 11, 2019

Life This Week 11/2/2019: My Worst Purchase....

My worst purchase was that first Iced Latte from McCafe because it has fuelled an addiction that sees me planning my days around how I can work a side trip to a Maccas for my next fix.

Some might say they're too sweet, others question the quality of the espresso that is the heart of this drink but I remain a loyal fan in the face of this criticism.  As far as I'm concerned, Maccas make the gold standard iced latte.  

If you're stuck at home in your pajamas with bad hair and no other options, then you can make a reasonable dupe with some Moccona.

If you're at work but the line at the McCafe next door is too overswhelming, do not despair.  Your work ice machine is your friend.  You just need to remember to pop your coffee into the freezer for a few minutes before adding work ice cubes because they're more like ice chips than solid, chunky cubes of ice.  I think I've possibly devoted too much time to this but anyway....

Fancy cafe versions found in places like Surry Hills are okay, I guess.  But they still don't have that X Factor of being the beverage of discerning adult women sold in the same store as 39 flavoured slushies.....

Surprisingly, as a lover of their instant coffee, I am not a fan of Moccona Ice Brew.  I was given a couple of bottles whilst out and about in Bondi Junction on Saturday (the place and the time for free food samples as far as I can tell) and I've just tried the Single Shot variety.

It's touted as dairy free and containing only four ingredients.  Rather randomly, one of those four ingredients is ... lemon.  I'm baffled.  It tasted kind of strange.  Diet Coke with Lemon strange heading to wrong town level strange.   Looks like I'll still be doing it myself with instant Moccona on the days I can't get myself to a McCafe.

Have you purchased anything recently that lead you down a slippery slope into a PG rated kind of dependence?  Do tell.


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