A Market Dinner in the Garden @ Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Monday 13th February

Tonight we attended an advance screening of Hidden Figures, and loved it! Set in the 60s (without the hippies, more civil rights movement) at NASA it tells the story of three extraordinary African American women and how they persisted and overcame barriers to equal rights and treatment of their time and age.

It might it low on costume porn (The Help has plenty) being set in a straight white male dominated setting, but there was plenty of plot, development of social attitudes and moments. Highly recommend!


Dinner at Kuku Mama, includes a show. I might not recall what it looks like, but that memory is seared into my mind.


A Garden Party with Lillet! Cocktails at South Wharf with delicious canapes, oysters and a cheese table! We love cheese! You can read all about it here > link.


South Melb Night Market - It took us years to get here, but we made it! To the second last session of the season. Exploring, dinner and a workshop. 

Sometimes leaving the house really sucks - people who refuse to let me take pictures! I am not having a good people month! What I need is an assertive bodyguard, or Lola (who went home). Someone to act as a barrier so I can take the pictures, and so people would be intimidated and not bully me (yes I know it needs to be repetitive, but once per a person and to me you all are the same).


Matcha & Red Bean Croissant. Disappointingly the matcha is light and almost seems like colour only, with no flavour. It costs $3 more than the original too. :(

This week's events, and that top.

Today we had meetings and went shopping, scored a $5 winter hat with a fugly ribbon (to be revamped), a $10 laced bust trending top (to be worn with stuff underneath, as I don't have the boobs for it, nor would I parading them around - no where I go will let me come in).

We made pie, but it failed. Tried to add a meringue on top, that failed too. It's just one big pile of mush. - But it tastes alright. What was wrong? The structure, it didn't set in shape and split when we recovered the springform frame, also the elements didn't stick, so when you take a slice the base was still stick to the pan.


From now on we don't buy tickets to matinee ballet performances till we get there on the day. Running late we arrived in time for the ball and to see the prince bewitched, and in result killing his love the white swan. It was set in the 14th century french court/renaissance. It was odd that the princesses were dressed identically and they were all Turkish... In terms of costumes we prefer the Australian Ballet last year. 

Dinner at the Naked European. Good food? Yes. Service? We had an issue there...

A trip to the theatre, it was interesting... I did love the set design though, with four different zones all blended into one, using simple sets. There's even a functional shower!

Exploring the area. A town house, with added stairs is now a duoplex! Though further divided it becomes four flats...


Dental hell. My head hurts! It was so bad that we ended up at the dental hospital and that's how we spent Sunday night. In hell. She touched it with ice and I nearly died!! 

High on medication I can do anything! Including grabbing a burger on the way to the hospital. Betty's Burgers. Here's a menu, order, grab a table then pick up on the other side.
Light and fluffy buns reminds me of filet o fishes. The top has been grilled underneath just like huxtaburger! We have a new contender for best burger! Betty vs hux. (Note - Get both same day back to the office to compare.) Though I'm certain the burgers at Betty's are bigger.

No combo deals. Eg buying a burger, side and drink is $2 cheaper than buying it separately
Can you book a table? There's a lot of reserved tables.

A seat at the bar means front row seats to see concrete/frozen custard made! Reminds me of self serve candy area back home at kmart. We also had a self serve helium balloon area! Just floating there waiting to be selected.

How was your week?

Keeping it Wireless with Vividwireless @ Monday, February 27, 2017

Charlie received a trial for a review. 

When I first moved out in 2015, one of my biggest challenges was access to the internet, obtaining it that was. As renters we can't add any wires and so that eliminated chances of getting home broadband, and so we had to go with tethering data from the phone to the laptop. It's quite expensive and most certainly not unlimited! I pay/paid $40 per month for 10GB of data monthly (12mth contract), but as a blogger that's barely enough, and that's with all gifs, and youtube blocked! Say goodbye to Netflix too. The only tv you'll be watching would be on the actual tv, there will be no streaming. No internet radio either. 

And so when I was offered a chance to review Vividwireless I jumped at the chance - gosh I wish this was around back then! My number one reason to go with Vividwireless? Unlike other internet providers, Vividwireless uses a wireless internet connection (not cables or DSL - through a phone line) through a simple 'plug and play' modem! There is one cable that goes into the power point, and you don't need a phone/land line. 

Vividwireless is designed for data rather than mobile phone services (think of it as a box of data), which makes it so much more affordable - especially if you split it with your housemates! - As long as they're sensible and not the 24/7 streaming/torrenting/gamer type. 

  • Price - Very good for cable-less. 10GB/$20, 40GB/$59 and unlimited/$89. The rate for unlimited is around the standard when compared to other providers. 
  • Speed - Up to 10 mbps download and 1 mbps upload.
  • High Usage - Youtube and streaming is quite good
  • It would be suitable for sensible use, and family use

  • Speed - On the not unlimited plan slows down after you use your allowance, obviously you get charged if you go over (but this is with every provider)
  • Distance - You got to be reasonable close to the modem, as it doesn't work or is super slow down the hall, even with browsing (we have an Edwardian House with six rooms, though it turns out this is only if you have an old house with multiple internal brick walls, if you have a modern wooden house with hollow walls you'll be fine)

How much is it?
Plans start at just $29 per month (Unit cost per MB $ .0015, speed is limited to 64Kbps once data allowance has been used) to unlimited GB access for only $89 per month.
- Month-to-month plan the modem costs $199, with no lock-in contract or
- 24 month internet plans = includes modem 
+ $10 delivery fee

10GB Internet Plan - $29/month
40GB Internet Plan - $59/month
Unlimited Internet Plan - $89/month

How can you get Vividwireless? It's quick and easy, and is only three steps!

1. Check your coverage: www.vividwireless.com.au/coverage
2. Purchase the modem
Online: www.vividwireless.com.au
Call Centre: 1300 327 837
In-stores: Harvey Norman and The Good Guys
3. Self-activate your internet in minutes once you get your modem!

Life hasn't been the same since we discovered Vividwireless!

One Sustainable Great Local Lunch @ Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sunday 12th February

The Sustainable Living Festival's Great Local Lunch

There is no doubt in my mind that my lifestyle is not so sustainable. Plastic drink bottles are a frequent appearance in my bag, picked up in an uber or obtained at an event, or even Coles on days when I forgot my bottle. My food, everything is individually wrapped down to the slices of bread, deli meats and condiments. Lite and easy, sure ain't light on their environmental footprint. 

I do love local food though, the theory of going to farmers/markets and reducing food miles. But is that sustainable? Haha, no, at this stage of life we can't afford to eat local. Not unless we were in food swap groups, places where say I trade you my lemons and herbs for your backyard honey or eggs. 

Why eat local? Other than you'd be supporting the very local economy, growers and farmers there's less food miles, it's fresher and less modified through preservatives and such. Also you know it's not from china. We never eat things made in china, there are no regulations and they are unethical (that's also the secret to the get rich fast scheme). In the past few years they've been trojan horse-ing through our neighbour New Zealand, so be wary of "Packed in NZ from local and imported ingredients" though everything is like that these days. It could be that 99% of the ingredients are from china and the 1% garlic powder is local. The really need to work on regulations when it comes to packaged foods. *sigh*  

As a part of the Sustainable Living Festival, the Big Weekend is (the) event to come down to Birrarung Marr (food festival territory) for three days of market stalls, workshops, talks, discussion and performances. It's the peak and conclusion of the festival.

"The Great Local Lunch celebrates local food and is Melbourne's biggest crowd farmed feast. A celebration of community, food, farming and gardening in the heart of Melbourne."  Sitting at the table will be 200+ backyard growers, local farmers who have contributed to the lunch, and food lovers (that's us)! I don't believe I'm a foodie though, such a strange word... With donated ingredients the chefs at Kinfolk Cafe and The Social Food Project have created a four course lunch consisting of locally produced food.

Wind bruised strawberry and native mint kombucha

Running a bit late we missed entrees though arrived just in time for the mains. Don't you just love it when someone takes your glass with your lipstick print on it? I failed to be assertive there. Also nothing irritates me more than when you earned your ticket, while someone else just happens to be at the right place at the right time and gets in for free!

Golden nugget pumpkin and red lentil dip served in edible pumpkin cups

Beetroot relish, mixed olives. Sauerkraut with white cabbage, carrots and Preston garlic

Free-love backyard quail egg frittata with lucky dip veggies and herbs

Potato & Red Cabbage Salad with a Creamy Dressing + Dill

Salted zucchini and silverbeet, radish, warrigal spinach, labne and dill

Stone fruit, heirloom tomato, cucumber, mint, lemon and balsamic vinaigrette

Green lentils, heirloom carrots roasted with honey, 

pickled beetroot, herbs, red wine vinaigrette

Seasonal stone fruit sponge with basil glaze and sour nectarine mint drizzle (vegan)

This is an insect hotel that we got to take home. Most fascinating, I've never seen something like this before, though I don't like gardening. Pictured to the left is a vulture, who the hell takes a drink that has someone else's lipstick mark on it? And it wasn't even like I placed it anywhere near her! Some/most days people really suck and push me a step closer to become reclusive.

Another insect hotel.

My +1 sabotaged me (not jas this time) to ensure I'd go alone. So applications are open if you'd like to join me on my adventures, must be a pork lover and drinker. Things to take home: Beetroot relish - not as salty or with gelatinous as the ones at the shops. Worm juice (not food for you). Zucchini and basil (water) soup.

While everything was delicious the highlights were those stone fruit with the vinaigrette, the purple potato and frittata! Seasonal tomatoes sensational!

It was a great event, a delicious local lunch that we'd love to be apart of again next year! On day even as a contributor, somehow *I killed a cactus*.

I love this idea: "By engaging in making our own kitchen staples, like cheese from scratch [or with a bit of help], we enhance our household’s resilience, our skill base and our relationships with our suppliers and farmers. We reduce waste, lower the footprint of our cheeses drastically, lower our reliance on the supermarket, and re-enable the tradition of natural cheese making [or insert other homemade thing here] to be an everyday part of our family’s life." - Milk Wood

Growing up American means everything we ate was packaged or frozen. There is fresh food, but anywhere I found it's more expensive then all the processed food, also it goes off pretty quickly. I didn't grow up cooking and loving it like jas, to me it's as psychologically awful as putting out the bins (where it's quite rare when I don't throw up - yes I throw up almost on a fortnightly basis). I hate cooking. But I bake. In the extremely unlikely case that le beau and I have kids, I'd like to teach them (or get him to) how to cook and love it, something I did/do not.

Cupcakes Delivered. Eventually. @ Saturday, February 25, 2017

Cupcakes. Delivered? Yes. On Time? Two Months Late.

8.55am. Half the house was asleep. The door rings, but before that I could hear the delivery guy chatting away loudly on his phone in a foreign language. Arrgg, I prefer to be woken by the sound of the scanner beeping, one of my favourite sounds. This is to date the loudest delivery guy we've had, and I'm a regular online shopper.

9.45am. Well the camera battery died as soon as I turned it on, so I guess I'll wait. Fortunately the cupcakes was well packed. There's the delivery box, inside there's a silver padded bubble bag, inside that a block of ice, then the cupcake box. I'd expected  cupcake holders, but it was a plastic box (the supermarket type) to hold them all in place! Good job packaging guys!

6.45pm. They've been in the box and they're fine. Indoors though outside it's 27c, the buttercream has kept its shape. FAQ on CC says keep up to 3 days, NOT in the fridge, or they'll turn into rocks. 

9.45pm. Cake time! We sent Andy four, shared another four with the house (1/8 of each is perfect for me, the house says 1/4) and the last four are saved for a picnic tomorrow.

An Assorted Set. Four Flavours x3. Three Sets of Four.

Still looking great the next night! Picnic at the Park.

The Flavours are: vanilla, chocolate, chocolate but with mint frosting and red velvet. I would have done a cookies and cream instead of mint, to have a set of four classics. Also cream cheese for the red velvet.

Andy - Cake didn't taste good, made me feel sick! *Ate 1.5* 

House - They're good, though some are drier than others. The buttercream was good, not too sweet and the right amount. *Eats 1/4 of each flavour* Four shared between four cupcake lovers.

Charlie - The red velvet was the best, not too moist or dry, but I agree with the house. To me they were average, but not my go to. Earlier this week we had Cupcake Queens and those were a bit fluffier and I much preferred them *I had the red velvet then too*. Also the red velvet delivered had a buttercream frosting and not the usual cream cheese.

Overall they're good though not amazing. It's great that they deliver and don't use packet mix (Cupcake Bakery, I'm looking at you).

Would I recommend Cupcakes Delivered? No, based on service. It wasn't delivered on the date ordered (21/12), which really sucked because it was for a birthday... it's like when your caterer doesn't rock up (yes that has happened, work event). 

Delivered two months late, after numerous messages that were seen and ignored (love that feature on fb/insta) and their number was disconnected at some point too. When we finally got through service was very friendly and next day delivery was organized.

The thing is that these cupcakes for my niece's 6th birthday last December during the break, she sat watching the front door for a week getting excited every time someone approached the gates (we bought her an ice cream cake instead). 

Through facebook it appears they're known for bad service, as in failure to arrive. The truck broke down and v'day cupcakes were a day late (they should have booked a courier to deliver it on the same day), and some arrived battered after the trip.

Delivered? Yes. On Time with Good Communication? Nope.

Charlie Cooks - Zen Ramen Nude Noodles! @ Thursday, February 23, 2017

Charlie received the product for editorial consideration, which did not affect her opinion.

Say Hello to Zen Ramen Nude Noodles! Dry packed shirataki noodles made from the konjac yam, stemming from ancient Japanese health food. Not only are they low carb, they're also gluten free (perfect for celiacs) and vegan (though aren't noodles vegetarian?).

Wiki Says 

  • Shirataki are thin, translucent, gelatinous traditional Japanese noodles made from the konjac yam 
  • The word "shirataki" means "white waterfall", describing the appearance of these noodles. 
  • Largely composed of water and glucomannan, a water-soluble dietary fiber, they are very low in digestible carbohydrates and calories, and have little flavor of their own.

With a long date shelf, easy to prepare and made in Japan, we have a winner! They may look small though expand quite a bit, also you'd have them as part of a balanced dish, so 50% veggies, 25% protein and 25% carbs (in presentation). While the serving size of the noodle doesn't look like much there's so many other ingredients that it's not all about just the protein and carb as some dishes are (like one of my true loves, spaghetti bol.).

Korean Japchae Noodles

An easy recipe once you prep everything. Instead of cutting everything into strips we diced the carrot (which was much easier). As we added chicken (an entire breast serves 3) (optional, omit to create a vegetarian meal) and more spinach (like the whole $4 bag from Coles) we added more soy and sugar, though it needs more salt.

The noodles were springy like ramen and a clear light yellow when cooked, packet says five minutes but we did twelve instead. On their own the noodles have no flavour, hence we chose a recipe that featured lots of asian flavours like sesame oil, sugar and soy among other textures and flavours.

A light flavouring that highlighted the textures of the dish, especially the flavours of the fresh shiitake mushroom. Served hot for dinner vs cold from the fridge I loved it chilled, the perfect lunch!

TLDR - Quick and easy, think stir fry style. Delicious hot and cold, make extra for lunch tomorrow. We're adding this one to the repetitore. 

Butternut Pumpkin Pasta

Easy to make though lacking in flavours,  lacks a balanced spice mix, which would have lifted the game. It's to you and your taste buds to determine what would work. Me? I have no idea, and shall defer to the spice master (aka girl next door).

We also felt that mash pumpkin and noodles wasn't a great combo because it didn't really absorb the flavours unlike the stir fry-ish dish we made above. It's not the noodles, but recipie I'd say.

Would I make it again or recommend it? No. But I'd definitely be recommending that korean salad we made. I think it depends on the dish, whether it would be a good fit or not really. 

With 118kj (28 calories) per served compared to 1255kj (300 calories) for a serve of pasta, Zen Ramen's a winner when it comes to cutting down carbs! Is it a substitute for pasta? Could be, depends on how'd you use it though. We're saving these for a springy cold noodle salad!

You can purchase Nude Noodles at ZenRamen, $8 a pack (serves 5) plus shipping (unknown) or stock up with five to share with friends for $40 posted.

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