Sunday, November 05, 2006

I'm least for now

So, as was to be expected its been several months since my last post. I knew this would happen, and I even foresaw this in my first post, but it doesn't make it any less disappointing. I'm going to try and make a more concerted effort to post semi-regularly, but still not just for the sake of it. Hopefully I can find enough to keep myself interested enough to write about maybe once or twice a week.

Anyway, I do have a few draft posts that i started months ago,but they seem kind of out-of-date now..there was a rant about charity telemarketers; a recipe for a "brand new" dessert, that I've since made several times (don't get me wrong,I still LOVE kulfi, but it doesn't quite have that "new and exciting" feel about it anymore which would make me want to post about it; and a restaurant review for a degustation menu we tried so long ago that I can't even remember what we ate. So all in all, theres not much I can put up to fill the gaps.

Thats it for now...just thought I'd tell you that I will be posting...hopefully soon. Lots to talk about at the moment...the great and exciting trip to Melbourne,the dinner of joy at Da Noi, and heaps more, so if I DON'T post, then it really is due to complete and utter laziness, rather than not having anything to say.

On that note....i hope to be back soon

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


So, we officially made it- our first anniversary! 11 months ago, when Kit and I had been together one month, I took him to Benchmark, where we enjoyed a fantastic 5 course degustation menu. That night we made a deal, that we would celebrate our anniversary at Waters Edge. Unfortunately, by the time 12 months rolled around Waters Edge had been closed, by all of two weeks! Maybe if Kit had made his move on me two weeks earlier we'd have been able to enjoy Canberra's only two-hatted restaurant before it shut its doors forever :)
So, with our first choice down, we quickly decided on Plan B, Dijon.

In memory of our first "monthiversary" we decided to try the Dijon degustation. Unlike most restaurants we've been to there was no set degustation menu. Instead, we had a choice between a 5-course or 7 course option, and could either give the chef free rein, or give him a few specific dishes we wanted to try, or avoid, from the a la carte menu. Of course, given the occasion, we chose to go all out, and opt for the 7 course "degu" (as our waiter called it) with matched wines. Our only rules for the chef were that our meal had to include the oysters, and not the mushroom and blue cheese tart. Considering the scope of the menu, we were looking forward to seeing what we'd be lucky enough to try.

Premeal appetisers included fresh homemade sourdough served with porcini mushroom butter, and warm cauliflower veloute with chive oil

As asked for, our experience started with fresh rock oysters, served with a refreshing wasabi and kaffir lime granita and topped with salmon roe. The tart granita was a perfect balance to the oysters though the kaffir lime definitely overwhelmed the too-subtle wasabi flavour. The accompanying SA sparkling semillon was a perfect match, reflecting just enough of the sweetness and zing of the oysters without overpowering their crisp be continued

(5 November 06)....see,I was onto something here, don't you think? But alas, given that we went out last night to celebrate our first 18 months together,I'm having a very difficult time remembering the subtle intricacies in flavour of the 7 course meal we had 6 months ago. I do remember there being a course of pork belly and black pudding, a really good tasmanian pinot noir in there somewhere,and maybe some swordfish, but I might be making that up entirely. Either way,it really was a great meal,and a beautiful way to spend our anniversary.The lesson is though,no matter how great a meal is, chances are you won't remember everything about it in 6 months when you try to post a restaurant review. So, I'll make sure I write about Da Noi much sooner.

Til then..

Monday, April 03, 2006

Da Cellini

This is more like it....more like what I really want to be posting about. The things I enjoy, rather than the things that angry up the blood. In accordance with our monthly tradition, Kit and I went out for dinner on Saturday, this time to Da Cellini in Braddon. Situated on the corner of Eloura and Lonsdale Streets, Da Cellini has the unfortunate honour of facing both a service station and a used car dealership on opposite corners. Then again, this is Braddon we're talking about, so for anyone looking for something convenient, but still just outside of Civic, this type of view is pretty much par for the course. That being said, the interior was laid back and comfortable, with dark woods and exposed brick, and an open view to the functional stainless steel kitchen. With the blinds closed you could very easily imagine you weren't in the middle of an industrial/commercial suburb.

We started by sharing the antipasto platter, which was a sizeable assortment of balsamic-marinated mushrooms, black olives, chorizo sausage, marinated eggplant, roasted capsicum, frittata, fried squid, oven-roasted tomoatoes and grilled zucchini, surrounding a bed of lightly dressed rocket. I guess I must have some kind of restaurant savvy, because both Kit and I commented on how similar our own antipasto presentation is at home, even down to the plating and layout. The mushrooms were just marinated long enough to infuse them with flavour, without letting the balsamic vinegar become overpowering, and even Kit, who doesn't eat tomatoes, was impressed with the sweetness of the oven-roasted tomatoes. Unfortunately, the eggplant, which is normally one of my favourite parts of any antipasto, was sliced so thinly that there wasn't enough flesh to give any sense of taste other then the oil it was marinated in, and unfortunately, no bread came with the platter, or was even offered as a side, which was disappointing.

For mains, we had the chorizo and tomato risotto, and the salmon special, consisting of a salmon fillet served on a salad of roasted potatoes, avocado and roasted capsicum. The risotto was nicely proportioned, with plenty of chorizo to give it some spice, but not much else in the way of discernible flavours. The salmon was well presented, the green avocado, red capsicum and white potatoes perhaps a hint to the Italian influence of the cuisine. To my taste, the salmon was just a touch overcooked, and the potatoes could have been a little crispier, to properly contrast with the softness of the avocado, however the flavours did work very well together.

Desserts are always best shared, so we decided to split scoops of lemon and vanilla gelato, and a slice of Black Forest Cheesecake, all of which was apparently made on premises. The gelato was everything one could expect, and the vanilla and lemon combination actually worked well with the soft texture and tart berry flavour of the cheesecake. Completed with espresso, it was definitely an enjoyable evening.

Overall, the service was friendly without being too obtrusive, albeit with a slight "Kath and Kim" edge. The atmosphere was cosy and inviting, after the sun went down, although the music definitely needs to be changed- pan-pipe classics, and muzak hits of the 90's sounds more like something you'd here in an elevator or a David Jones changeroom than a restaurant. At $90 for the two of us, without drinks, it was bordering on overly pricy, considering very similar dishes are offered at several Civic cafes, however just being able to get out of Civic was a nice change that made it worthwhile

Da Cellini
Bottom line: $90
We tried: Shared entree, 2 mains, shared dessert, coffee, BYO
Value for money: Average
Food: Standard Italian-inspired cafe/restaurant cuisine
Atmosphere: Friendly and cosy...if you can ignore the music


Friday, March 31, 2006

No place for homosexuals in Howard's Australia

When I started this blog, I had it in my head to split my posts into a few different categories: Recipes, Restaurants, Reads, Rants and the Rest. Basically, I wanted to forget about detailing the boring minutiae of my life, in favour of something (hopefully) more interesting- my ideas on the things I like to eat, to books I like to read, the places I like to go, and finally the things that piss me off. When I started this blog, I had it in my head that most of my posts would be about the things I like, because honestly, it takes a bit to piss me off, so it is with disappointment that my first real post has to be a Rant.

Apparently, as the title suggests, there is no place whatsoever for homosexuals in Australia, as long as John Howard and his Liberal party are in government. This should come as no surprise to anyone who has been living in Howards personal experiment to recreate the perfect 1950's nuclear society, otherwise known as the Commonwealth of Australia, however never before has the Government so explicitly made its intention known to treat gays and lesbians as second-class citizens.

As a resident of the Australian Capital Territory, I was excited by the prospect of the ACT government, led by Chief Minister Jon Stanhope, planning to become the first jurisdiction in Australia to offer civil unions for gay and lesbian couples and properly recognise them in the eyes of the law. The proposed legislation would be an extension of the registration scheme initiated in Tasmania several years ago, by ensuring the same functional equality for same-sex couples as for heterosexual couples.

Seriously proving himself to be a leader opposed to discrimination of any kind, Stanhope has long been an ally of the LGBT community. Since being voted in as Chief Minister of the ACT, Stanhope has sought to remove all examples in existing legislation which discriminate on the basis of sexuality. In his own words, the proposed civil union legislation is a concrete "commitment to the removal of discrimination in the ACT". Under the proposed legislation, there would be the same legal equality conferred up couples, heterosexual or homosexual, who choose to enter into the civil union scheme. The laws proposed for the ACT in now way impact upon the definition of marriage as it exists throughtout Australia, it merely constitutes a recognition and acceptance of other relationships for those in the ACT who are unable to, or choose not to participate in a marriage as defined under the Marriage Act.

True to form, the Howard Government has threatened to block the proposed Bill, as it threatens to undermine the sacred status of Marriage in Australia. Despite no mention of marriage being made in the proposed legislation, Attorney General Philip Ruddock has stated “it suggests to people who might be interested in civil union that what they have is a marriage, when in fact it is not." Conveniently forgetting the almost 50% divorce rate in Australia John Howard has asserted that “There is a special place in Australian society for the institution of marriage, as historically understood, and we do not intend to allow that to be in any way undermined."

Of particular interest is Ruddock's assertion that Stanhope is more interested in his reputation as a "civil rights guru" rather than a Minister "properly considering the needs of his electorate." Considering that the ACT has voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Labour government in previous elections it would seem that Stanhope and his ACT government have the same right to legislate for this electorate that John Howard has so decisively excercised in bringing his hugely unpopular GST and workplace reform into existence. It could just as easily be argued that Mr Howard is more interested in his reputation as a financial reformer, and more passionate about making Australia his own personal vision of utopia than taking into consideration the changing needs and priorities of his constituents, and giving them what they want. Of course the timing couldn't have been better for the Howard Government, as those wacky gays and their desire to be treated like human beings has kicked the current government scandal concerning the Australian Wheat Board off the front page, and diverted your average married, heterosexual Australian's concerns away from their job security under the Government's new workplace reform program and into much more pressing matters like the security of their position at the top of the relationship heirarchy. The Howard Government can safely show it knew about bribes and kickbacks to the Middle East by a major Australian board; can authorise the termination of employment of a perfectly capable employee on the basis of a "personality difference"; and have a foreign ambassador withdrawn from our soil thanks to its unwarranted meddling in foreign policy, all in the space of one week and still maintain its facade as being an honest, family-oriented government working in the best interests of its people because it is busy fighting the real enemy- gays and lesbians who dare to think that their relationships are worth anything in the eyes of the law

According to reports, the legislation will be vetoed by the Government unless it is watered down to be nothing more than a registration scheme, similar to that of Tasmania, affording only limited benefits to the couples involved, less advantageous than current benefits offered to heterosexual de facto partners. All the typical, and typically improbable "floodgates" arguments have been trotted out by the Government, and the conservative, religious Right, with which it is becoming more closely connected, since this proposed Bill went public, all designed to get those poor vulnerable married couples quaking in their beds at night. The "Gays" will flood into Canberra, get their Certificate of Union, and then come back to more God-fearing states and demand equal rights; the Lesbians will think they're married and can adopt a child like a real woman can; "those people" being recognised as a couple will change what it means for you to be married; the skies will rain with blood and the lands shall be rent asunder.

All this rhetoric, despite the fact that the ACT is Australia's smallest legislature, enacting a Bill which would only affect its residents, and in no way tries to alter the meaning of marriage. Mr Stanhope says it best when saying that "Mr Ruddock needs to be asked what is his real concern about the ACT legislation...what is his real concern about my commitment to remove discrimination and to show respect to same-sex relationships?...One has to pose the question whether or not the real reason is that there is no place in John Howard's Australia for homosexuals."

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

We'll start at the beginning...

Well, I've tried starting a blog once or twice before, and never really had the discipline to keep it going...who knows, maybe this one will be different, or then again, it could just be another way of killing a few empty afternoons until I find some other way of wasting my time. I might be convinced to continue if someone out there actually finds anything I have to say worthwhile...which remains to be seen

So...will YOU find what I have to say worthwhile? I really don't want to be one of those bloggers who proceeds to tell the world about the minutiae of their life...when they got up, what they had for breakfast, what some old lady said on the hopefully, fingers crossed, this will be a veritable melange of possibly interesting, probably useless tidbits of information...everything from recipes to restaurant reviews to sharply honed political satire (if theres anyone reading this who wants to offer me a job doing providing said tidbits, be my guest *S*)

Thats enough of an Intro for the blog, I guess.....if you haven't given up on me already, I may well see you here again later. Leave me a note if you want, so I at least know someones reading...that means you Kuka