Archive | October, 2011

Vampire pumpkins…

30 Oct

So today saw Sam and I attend our first ever Halloween Pumpkin Carving Party!

It was a labour of love from the beginning.  A trip to the supermarket saw us agonise over which pumpkin to get – What was the best size?  Shape?  Too orange?  Not orange enough?  Tough questions for two novice pumpkin carvers like ourselves!

Finally, after settling on what we thought was the best pumpkin and not knowing what to expect, we came to our shin dig very well prepared (thanks to Sam’s art department background and my virgo-ness).  Armed with a stanley knife, a leatherman, a kitchen knife and three different sized spoons, we sat down and got to work.  Well, Sam got to work while I watched and cheered him on.

We very quickly decided that our pumpkin actually harboured a deep-seated desire to be a vampire – so it was out with the Jack, and in with the Eric.

And here it is!  The making of…. Eric the Vampire Pumpkin!

Cutting his brain

Opening up his brain

Revealing his brain guts

Getting rid of his brain guts

Working on an eyeball

All carved! Introducing Eric the Vampire Pumpkin!

Family portrait

Eric at home - keeping watch by the front door

Happy Halloween y’all!

this little piggy xxx

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The C herb…

25 Oct

Ok… I have recently become a little in awe of the herb coriander, or cilantro as they call it here in the U.S.

I picked up an organic bunch of the stuff from the heavenly supermarket Whole Foods (cue angels singing “halleluja”!) (seriously am in love with this supermarket, but more on that later), and found myself absent mindedly chopping it up and whacking it in a simple salad the other night.  Well… cue more freaking angels, as the result was A-mazing!

The salad was as minimal as you can get, but super delicious and it came down to a few quality ingredients.

It consisted of:

Organic heriloom tomatoes, organic cucumbers, organic coriander/cilantro, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, cracked salt and pepper.  (On another occasion I also added baby spinach, olives and parmesan cheese, but I kinda like the simpler version better).

Tomato, cucumber and coriander salad

Here in the U.S. organic food is much more readily available, accessible and affordable compared to back home in Australia.  Back in Melbourne I would rarely buy organic vegetables because I just couldn’t justify spending a gazillion dollars on one bag of organic carrots, and watch my husband and my dog (yes he eats carrots too) turn the colour of oompa loompas as we couldn’t afford to buy/eat anything else.

But here it’s a no brainer.  And can I just say, where I have noticed the most difference in flavour is in the heirloom tomatoes.  They are a taste sensation.  So for all the Aussies, if you can afford to take out a second mortgage, organic heirloom tomatoes are well worth the debt!

Another salad that I whipped up last night was an oldie but such a goodie – and whenever I eat it, I always marvel at the freshness of the flavours.  Once again I did use organic ingredients, but I have made this dozens of times back home without and it tastes just as good.

Ingredients/method: 1 x tin chickpeas/garbanzo beans (drained), baby spinach, handful of chopped flat leaf parsley, shaved parmesan cheese, 1 x chopped clove of garlic, juice of 1 lemon, olive oil, cracked salt and pepper.

Chickpea salad with baby spinach and parmesan

And there you have it!  Some easy peasy, super tasty salads that should come in handy for all you Aussies facing a hot summer and for all the Californians where summer seems to have no end!

Till next time,

this little piggy xxx

Getting cosy…

24 Oct

Two weeks ago, my husband Sam and I landed in Los Angeles.  One week later we found ourselves a beautiful little sublet cottage in the Hollywood Hills. As we both love to cook and had both begun to feel the onset of homesickness as a result of being away from our well stocked kitchen in Melbourne, we set about making ourselves feel at home.

Purchase number 1… Aprons!

I found myself this gorgeous little 50’s inspired apron from store extraordinaire Anthropologie.

Everything from their measuring spoons to butter dishes to ceramic egg crates is detailed, beautiful and affordable.  Well worth a look:

http://www.anthropologie.com/anthro/catalog/category.jsp?pageName=Kitchen&popId=HOME&navAction=top&navCount=0&pushId=HOME-KITCHEN&id=HOME-KITCHEN

And luckily for Sam, not one for being left behind, during our meander through the Studio City Sunday Farmer’s Market, we stumbled across a fantastic little stall run by Cattle Headquarters.  Here we found some aprons made from old flour sacks, with printed vintage graphics.  Sam couldn’t resist!

Cattle headquarters have many more great designs and an array of products including the above mentioned aprons, pillow cases, t-shirts and tea towels.

http://www.cattleheadquarters.com/

And finally…. to really, truly, 100% make ourselves feel at home in our L.A. digs… we simply had to buy:

Purchase number 2… Sodastream!

For those of you who know us, this purchase will be of no surprise.  For those of you who don’t, please know that neither myself or Sam have any affiliation with the product, but we love it so much we/I could go on and on and on about it till all the little piggies come home.  I think there is a misconception that sodastream involves sugary, syrupy drinks.  You can put flavours in it if you want, natural or otherwise.  But essentially, its a bubble maker.  So if your household is sodastream-less and you’re as obsessed with sparkling water as I am, here is my plug:

1 – bubbles on tap!  bubbles on tap!  bubbles on tap!

2 – you’re reducing waste – nothing to lug from the supermarket and nothing to throw away

3 – the sodastream bottles don’t have the BPA plastic nasties and you can even get glass ones

4 – 60L gas cylinder makes around 60L of delicious bubbles

5 – you know what you’re drinking, we fill ours with filtered water

6 – you can choose how much bubblefication you want – super bubbly or just minimal bubbles

7 – when you’re out of gas, you swap the empty cylinder for a full one and only pay the cost of the gas refill

Seriously, do yourself a favour!  http://www.sodastream.com/

And on that note, my glass is looking a little empty… best I go and get me some soda!

Till next time…

this little piggy xxx

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