Sunday, September 30, 2012

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for ICE CREAM!

Things aren't as busy for me as normal (Lazy September!) so I have been enjoying spending more time in the kitchen. Lately I've been getting into ice cream making. You don't need an ice cream churner to be able to make ice cream, all you need to do is mix it with your hand mixer every hour or so once you've put it in the freezer. So no excuses people! The flavours I've made over the last 2 weeks have been lemon curd, salted caramel, and strawberry-basil-pepper. The lemon ice cream is one that I've made a few times before and is always a winner because it's not a sorbet. Lemon sorbet is awesome but this creamy lemon ice cream is so refreshing and gorgeous it goes perfectly with fruit salad in the summer. The salted caramel ice cream was a first-make for me and it went down really well! It is super rich and sweet but nothing ever really beats salted caramel anything does it? The strawberry-basil-pepper ice cream caught my eye a recent Delicious magazine and I just had to give this whacky combination a try. The basil really freshens up the flavour and the pepper was so subtle I could hardly detect it (I might try putting some more pepper in it next time). Another perfect summer ice cream. Recipes follow the photos.

Lemon curd, and salted caramel ice creams

Strawberry, basil and pepper ice cream
Lemon Curd Ice Cream - from Tessa Kiros' cookbook Apples for Jam
Ingredients:
4 egg yolks
180g caster sugar
40g butter, cut into bits
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 2 lemons
250mL milk
375mL pouring cream (not thickened!)

Bring a pan half-full of water to the boil and then lower the heat to the absolute minimum. Put the egg yolks and sugar in a wide glass or stainless steel bowl and whisk until they are thick and creamy. Sit the bowl on top of the pan of water, add the butter and let it melt. Whisk until it watts to get thicker and creamier, then add the lemon zest and juice and carry on whisking until it thickens. It doesn't have to be cooked out like a proper lemon curd, but just until it has thickened and the egg is cooked through from the warmth of the simmering water.
Meanwhile, warm up the milk a little. Whisk it into the lemony eggs and then remove the bowl from the heat. Whisk from time to time until it's cool before you whisk in the cream. Put the bowl in the fridge until it's completely cool and then, if your bowl doesn't have a lid, pour the mixture into one that does.
Cover the bowl and put in the freezer. Whisk every hour or so or churn in an ice cream machine.

Salted Caramel Ice Cream - from Gourmet Traveller (AUS) magazine, November 2009.
Ingredients: (makes 1 litre)
150g caster sugar
6 egg yolks
50g butter, coarsely chopped
350mL pouring cream
150mL milk

Combine 100g sugar and 50mL water in a saucepan over medium heat, stir until sugar dissolves (2-3 minutes), brush sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush, then cook until deep caramel (8-10 minutes). *Make sure you watch it! The moment you turn your eyes away will be the moment it's ready and it can go from ready to burnt in no time. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks and remaining sugar until well combined and set aside. Add butter and 1 tsp salt to caramel (be careful as it may spit) and stir until combined, add the cream and milk and stir until well combined. Ad caramel to yolk mixture in a thin steady stream, whisking continuously until incorporated. Return mixture to a clean saucepan and store over medium heat until mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon thickly. Strain through a fine sieve into a large bowl over ice, cool to room temperature, then refrigerate (in a box), stirring occasionally until cold.

Strawberry, Basil and Pepper Ice Cream - from Delicious (AUS) magazine, October 2012
Ingredients: (makes 3 litres)
3 cups (390g) strawberries, hulled and quartered
2tBs lemon juice
2tBs lime juice
330g caster sugar
Handful of basil leaves
1/2 tsp finely ground black pepper
375mL milk
500mL thickened cream
300mL pure cream
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped *I actually use a great vanilla bean paste

Place the strawberries in a bowl with the lemon and lime juices and 110g sugar. Mix well, then cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 2 hours to macerate.
Place half the macerated strawberries in a food processor, along with the basil and pepper. Whiz for a few minutes to form a juicy pulp, then set aside. Crush the remaining macerated strawberries with a potato masher and set aside.
Using an electric mixer, whisk the milk and remaining 220g sugar together for 2 minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Add creams, strawberry and basil puree, and vanilla seeds, then gently stir together. Chill overnight if possible or for a least 6-8 hours.
Add the crushed strawberries once it's been frozen but is still soft. *awesome yummy strawberry bits!


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Weekly Wish-list

Last week I was walking around The Strand Arcade in the Pitt Street Mall determined to only by a pair of socks/stockings from Alannah Hill and window shop the new Rhys Lee collaboration with Gorman. Because I've been in Germany most of this year, and being so poor on my return have been trying to curb my shopping habit, I hadn't been in The Strand for a long time and so my breath was taken away when I walked past the maybenew Lover store. Everything in their latest collection is SO beautiful! The lace! Definitely wedding-day-worthy. So I pretended that I was richer than I am and went in and browsed. I'd like to put almost everything on the wish-list today but I'll be conservative and stick to just one item. It's one of the cheaper things in the store (at almost $600 it's hardly cheap but compared to the $1000+ items it is) and is called the Plume dress. It was there in black and white and I would like either please!

Image from here
First the campaign photo ^ then a close up.. The almost paisley of the over-layer is really pretty and you have to go in the store to feel the kind of fabric it is. It's a bit stiffer than you'd expect, recreating a plastic effect (but it's not plastic! and it feels and looks great). I didn't try on the dress but just by looking at it I thought it was pretty short and looking at the model above it's well above the knee.. This sort of sheer over-layer over a slip reminds me of this old blog post I did featuring Louis Vuitton but the other way around. I'd real like to have a go making something like this with a simple dress pattern and bought slip.. I'm not sure I have the best sewing skills though so it's a long-term project for sure!

This image is from the Lover website so go ahead and look through the rest of the collection.
This dress also came in black, and I couldn't decide which of the two I preferred.. they're both too beautiful! It's been hard to find an image of the black one on the internet and the campaign photo is styled with a jacket so you can't see much of the dress. Here it is anyway so you can get the idea:

Image from here. Also note the hair-styling in the Lover campaign, braids!

So.. anyone got a spare $600 lying around they want to give to a good cause? (i.e. me having this dress)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Success!

Yay! Today the results for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra Fellowship came out... and: *drumroll* I got it! I'm super excited about this amazing opportunity and so happy that I'll be able to stay in Sydney another year. I adore my city and as fun and life-changing as Germany would be I'm really glad that things worked out this way. Today is a happy day! =)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Something Old, Something New

This week's Play-List post is very upbeat and happy! I guess the beautiful weather and lack of auditions has finally cheered me up considerably. I am genuinely happy right in this moment =)

Beethoven is a name hopefully you all know. One of the greatest composers of all time! His quartets are my favourite works of all his repertoire and the Razumovsky quartets were written in 1806 as a result of a commission by Count Razumovsky (a Russian ambassador in Vienna). It's said that you can hear some Russian influence in the themes of the first two Razumovsky quartets; the first being in F major and the second being in E minor, which is where this week's Something Old comes from. I've linked here the last movement of this quartet. It's so buoyant and happy! Enjoy.


Something New is from an overall upbeat album by The Givers. I discovered these guys through FBi radio and I've really enjoyed their album In Light. The number I'm sharing with you today is Atlantic. 


I absolutely LOVE the moment around 3:20'. Listen to the whole song first though and you'll hopefully feel what I feel at the moment.

I'll also link this cute little vid of them playing live in a kitchen. It's really natural and real and I like that.


I hope that if you're down, these songs cheer you up, and if you're up, you feel even upper! =D

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Outfit Misfit

This week I didn't get a 'real' photographer (i.e my clever and generous girlfriends) and I only had a photographer of the male variety who isn't really interested in clothes.. So forgive the photos. As I have mentioned in excitement for the last couple of weeks, last weekend I went to Floriade: the flower festival in Canberra. It was really beautiful! It was the first weekend and not all the flowers were in bloom but with a million bulbs at the show, there were definitely enough out.

You might remember from this older post that I was coveting a Sacha Drake maxi-skirt that I saw in InStyle magazine. Well.. I went on an adventure to the store in Woollahra and bought one! It's slightly different to the one in the picture of that post but is the one from InStyle. I feel so proud to be supporting Australian designers! (In case you've forgotten, Sacha Drake is from Brisbane). Now on the other stuff in the store.. I have to say I felt like it was a bit more for an older demographic. Lot's of very beautiful prints, but a bit more painterly rather than strong geometric or quirky stuff which I tend towards, and the dresses are all mid-knee (a bit longer than I like to wear because I think my legs are a one of my better assets..) and with materials and designs intended to help shape the figure. I hope this isn't coming across in a bad way.. I think the stuff is great! But just not right for me at this time. The maxi-skirt is a dream come true but other than that there was nothing else in the store I wanted to try on. I still encourage you to go out and check out her things! Or maybe just do so online: easy as pie.

Anyway, I feel bad giving a less than raving review, when in fact I am raving about the item that I invested in! So now it's photo time:


The above picture is probably the best one in terms of showing off the full-length of the skirt. Taken with my friend's iPhone so maybe the quality isn't that great. Unfortunately I didn't go on the ferris wheel =(


Even though, as you can see, the day was sunny and gorgeous; it was still a little chilly down there in Canberra so instead of wearing my plain white tee with the skirt I needed to layer on a sweater. I thought this purple one goes alright with it.. It's funny here that the skirt looks a bit like palazzo pants (a 'trend' I'm not sure I'm ready to try). It's so flowy and beautiful and made the simple act of walking feel just that little bit dreamier (and the colours and print! *sigh*).


And here I am in front of the official Floriade sign! Truly great experience and anyone who has never been should make it a point to go in their lives.

Be like the pink flower! Stand out from the crowd and be proud.
My male friend was sceptical about my choice of fashion and I was a bit upset that he didn't receive the skirt as well as I thought he might. It brought up all these thoughts about confidence in wearing what you want to wear. Go along to this here blog post by a really great DIY blogger. Wear what you want to wear and don't worry about what other people think! Even though I didn't get a positive response from the person I wanted to get a positive response from, I got many compliments from other Floriade-goers and I adore the skirt myself. So that's enough for me and I will definitely be wearing the skirt many more times to come.




Wearing: Sacha Drake skirt, Oxford sweater, belt from a different dress, white tee from Jay Jays, bag by Miu Miu and no makeup or hair consideration things (a mistake!). I also wore cute floral socks by Alannah Hill but I don't have a photo of them. They will turn up in another post, possibly sock-related, in the future.

Now, I hope I'm not bombarding this post with too many photos, but I have to include a few of the flowers themselves too. Sometimes I'll edit my photos using Instagram but today I'm feeling a realisticism (yes, a made-up word) mood and have let them be.





Saturday, September 22, 2012

Quickie

Just a quick little post: check out this beautiful makeup blog by Lisa Eldridge. She's an amazing makeup artist based in London (born in Australia!) and she's got some really helpful videos. I'm not a big makeup wearer, in fact I don't wear it at all unless it's a really special occasion, but with this blog I want to try out some new things.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Happy Snaps

Happy Snaps from my week in Tasmania. I got billeted with a lovely older couple in a National Trust cottage! They had the most amazing house and grounds and made my time there unbelievable.

The cottage where I was staying.

Magnolia season!

I've forgotten what beach/body of water this was.. 

Whacky flower from the garden.

A really great example of similar pictures used as a part of a larger art instalment. I remember seeing this kind of thing on Pinterest or another blog or something, but now that I'm looking for it I really can't find it =( If I even do I'll remember to take note of it and share it with you.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

DIY

Now to the post I had actually planned for today:
Every week I do a Wish-list post and a Play-list post (Something Old, Something New) but I am failing on the To-Do-list part of my blog title. It's because I'm lazy and don't do many DIY projects these days.. but I did do something a couple of weekends ago! I started out with the grand plan of making a bookshelf from a ladder but as all good plans do, it went awry. Wooden ladders that have rungs on both sides are stupidly hard to find! No hardware stores stock them because they're unsafe for actually doing handy-work on (why don't they think of the people that don't want to climb them and actually just want to use them for interior decoration purposes? I should write a letter of complaint..) so I found a place called "The Ladder Shop" in Sydney and they have the perfect ladder for my project! However, it is not the perfect ladder because it would set me back $500. So I thought about how many great outfits I could buy with that and I decided to go down a different route..

I heard on the radio (FBi 94.5) about people making bookshelves with planks and bricks. It is the epitome of student resourcefulness in that planks of wood are cheap and bricks are even cheaper (70c a brick at Bunnings to be exact). Off I went on an adventure to Bunnings (for any non-Aussie readers out there it's just a huge hardware store) and bought the things I needed. I spent that morning building my very own bookshelf. I started off very sceptical as I thought it looked pretty awful: bricks and planks, but as I began accessorising it with my books it improved and overall I'm very happy with the effect. It's no ladder-bookshelf but it certainly does the job and looks suitably funky. What do you think? Like? Dislike? Hate?


Full frontal pic

Kawaii!!

Pulling out one of my many Vogues..

Following from yesterday..

The Wish-list yesterday involved long hair and today while I was reading Vogue Australia I got to the Lana Del Rey interview and spread. She looks absolutely beautiful! I long for her whimsically styled hair and gorgeous eyelashes and general look of dreaminess. So here are a few images that go with yesterday's post =)

This is my absolute favourite picture. Go buy the magazine to see the rest of the outfit! (involving Lover lace shorts). Image from here
Even though this image is kind of grainy (it's not like that in the magazine), I really like the effect it has given the image. Image from here.


This photo is on the cover of Vogue Australia. Image from here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Weekly Wish-list

One year ago today I shaved my head to raise money for the Cancer Council. I did it with a friend and together we raised $9067!

So I have been trying to grow my hair back and this week on the wish-list is long hair. I haven't had long hair in years and I'm desperate to be able to put it in a ponytail and do lovely braids and things. The first picture here is something I'd like as a continuation of my little bob with heavy bangs, and the second is a gorgeous messy braid down the side:

Image from here
Image from here
The next few images are all from A Beautiful Mess: a really gorgeous blog full of all kinds of lovely stuff. The caption for each image will have each direct link.

Instructions follow this link
Instructions follow this link

Instructions follow this link
It's time to play the waiting game and just be patient until my hair is long enough.. =( As much as I enjoy having short hair and styling it in a funky way, I think that long hair has lots of options too (and it's something that most women can only pull off in their youth). Any of you out there with long hair should give these styles a try!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Night At The Museum

The Museum was: The Australian Museum and the night was Tuesday. The event is called Jurassic Lounge and there are only 3 more Tuesdays left until it's all over for the year! There was live music, UV face-painting, pin the arms on the dinosaur, drinks (of course), burlesque dancing, an underwater dance tent where you can play with toy whales and fish too, games of twister and UNO, silent disco.. (If you don't know what silent disco is it's where everyone wears headphones and you dance to the music that way, so the volume isn't so ear-ruining and if you take the headphones off you can actually have a conversation. Some places even have choices of different music so if you don't like a song you can change it. Awesome concept!) There was also a nanna's corner but we didn't end up getting there =( It's a really great idea and all the museum's exhibits are open, so if you're feeling studious you can read up on some Australian museum-y stuff (I obviously wasn't..) Another great thing about it is that it only runs until 9:30pm so even though it's super fun, it's a Tuesday, and we all need to go to sleep at a respectable time in order to avoid the mid-week hangover (not pretty..)

Here are a couple of pics of me, and some friends, and the UV face-paint. I really urge all of you to go and here is the website you should go visit to make it happen.

Katherine and Carmen
Me!



Monday, September 17, 2012

Something Old, Something New

My Monday this week was spent in the car driving back from Canberra alone. Good and engaging music on long car trips is really important. Unfortunately I don't have one of those things that connects your iPod/Phone into the speakers and plays all my great playlists. So I was left with my overly classical CD collection. Today I listened to: Rachmaninoff Symphonic Dances, Mahler's Symphonies No.1 and No.7 and Strauss Eine Alpensinfonie (see this old post) as well as today's Something Old of course, see below.

Something Old this week is a piece we all hopefully know: Also Sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss, or that song from Space Odyssey.. I have had to listen to parts of this piece for my music history subject at uni and was pleasantly surprised by the rest of the piece. It's really good! Lovely string writing and obviously great brass bits. The blurb that goes with this particular video on YouTube is very informative, so I won't give you any info here, you can just go there and read it while listening =)


Something New this week should be space themed.. but right at this moment I haven't been able to think of anything. This is the closest I've been able to come: a song that I shazam-ed twice in one day! It's The XX by Angels. Maybe the vocals are a bit spacey, and the effects feel a little celestial; the instrumental opening in particular makes me imagine myself in an astronaut suit.. But really, in the words of my flatmate, this is an angsty song! I think it's really beautiful.


Now I wonder: does it still get called a road trip when you're doing it alone?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Outfit Misfit


Image from here
This week's Outfit Misfit comes to you from Canberra! I went to Floriade today, more about that later.. (and a special Floriade themed Outfit Misfit next week!) I have had a great weekend =) The weather is beautiful right now here in Australia: sunny and blue skies most of the time, even here in the Canberra.  So I feel it's appropriate to pull out my tutti frutti top from Gorman. I bought this at the Gorman outlet store in Melbourne and I am so happy that I found it. Months ago this print was in store and I was torn between whether I should invest in it or not. Because it things are quite expensive in store, not on sale, I decided it was too big a risk to take on an out-there print I wasn't sure I could rock. So when I saw it cheap-as-chips in the outlet store I was stoked! (How's that for an Aussie sentence there?) I haven't yet worn it out.. I still feel like people are going to point and laugh because I feel like it's a print that's super loud and like one of those ladies that has a fruit bowl on her head dancing in a crazy dress. Do you know the kind I mean? Well it's right there above (and the poster is just hilarious)

Anywhere, here I am where this vibrant Gorman shirt, Country Road purply/plum jeans, bracelet by Marni for H&M and sandals by Gorman. I absolutely adore these sandals, and have them in numerous colours, as you will soon see.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Weekly Wish-list

This weekend I'm going to Canberra for Floriade: a huge flower festival (it's Spring!!). I'm really excited, but not super excited.. the thing that would make me super excited would be something new and floral to wear! So on the wish-list this week are a few items that I have seen around and am thinking about.

Image from here


This stunning maxi skirt would cross off another thing on my extensive fashion list: get a maxi skirt/dress for summer. It's by Sacha Drake, a Brisbane designer of whom I have never heard of until I saw an image in the latest InStyle magazine. This skirt, named Freida, is so vibrant and pretty in it's florals. I also love the styling in this particular photograph with the blue shirt and yellow necklace. I really want to go to the store in Sydney tomorrow to try it on, as I think maxi things may not work so well on me (due to my short =( legs) and check out other clothes as I am now intrigued by this designer.
















Image from here
A close-up of the pattern.






















Floral option #2: the Liberty Floral dress from Jigsaw. I am adoring the shape of this and the floral pattern is on a smaller scale than the giant flowers on the Sacha Drake maxi-skirt. Anything with a cut-out in the back pretty much wins over my heart straight away and the skirt shape would definitely be flattering. As well as this fantastic dress, there is a lovely floral blouse on the website. So GO TO IT!

Lots of options! I will take lots of photos after the weekend and show you what I went with in the end.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Lazy September

After Audition August it's time for a bit of regrouping and focusing of my energies on the things I love. I have named this month Lazy September! It won't actually be lazy, it will really be a time for me to focus on myself and improve on things that are important to me.  The following aren't in any particular order or priority:


1. Blog regularly: as you've probably seen, my blog has been in a bit of a sorry state.. It's something I have wanted to do for such a long time so I really want to take the time and effort to work on it properly.

2. Practice more: seeing as I want to be a professional musician, I guess I'd better just man up and do the practice already! I go through phases where I practice a lot, but usually when lots of auditions are coming I never have the time to do it properly. So now is the time to really work on my recital repertoire for November and really just play for myself. It's nice not to have to practice for specific things and it will be good to focus on some specific weaknesses in scales and studies.

3. Exercise more: I will be totally truthful here and tell you that I feel like a whale. I know I don't look like one and I am actually looking ok to the unobservant bystander, but by my standards I've really not been looking after myself. I feel like I haven't been running properly all year and it's time to get back into it seriously. The aim is to go at least 3 times a week and maybe one swim. I am determined on being totally babe-ing this summer!

4. Re-start my knitting: I am an avid knitter, but people may not know that recently seeing as I have just not been doing it! I started a shorter length bolero whilst in Germany and it's pretty much done except for some tricky edging with circular needles and the joining up. So time to stop putting it off and get to it!

There are a couple of other things on the list for Lazy September but 4 seems such a good number. I want to read more books, read the magazines I haven't read yet (of which there are 10+!!), start doing more DIY and sewing things and do more fun Sydney stuff. Hopefully I keep my September not so overloaded with work and these goals become a reality. What are your goals for the month? Please share =)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Something Old, Something New

So I was saying yesterday in my Outfit Misfit post that I was in Melbourne playing with MSO, well last week I was in Tasmania playing with the TSO! For such a little island they have a good orchestra and I found the overall experience much more enjoyable than the MSO one because of the repertoire and also because I was billeted with a lovely older couple with an amazing house (photos of all that to come in a later post). So this week's Something Old was what we played in concert last Friday: Prokofiev's 5th Symphony, and for time's sake I've chosen the second movement. Sergei Prokofiev is one of the great Russian composers and lived 1891-1953. He had some problems (i.e conflict of interest) with the Soviet government and this really affected a lot of his music. Anyway, you should listen and form your own ideas about his music. It was incredibly fun to play and I hope you enjoy it too! (ABC Classic fm recorded our performance but I'm not sure how you can listen back..)


And for Something New and completely different: Ties by I have a Blood Type. This is a really rough-sounding song in that you can hear a bit of static, but I really like that effect here. I like it's wishful sort of quality and the vocals just seem to float around. It's available for free download on bandcamp.com (if you haven't been to that website and you love music you should definitely go now!).  THIS is the direct link to the song and now I think that the band is called Velvet Bumble Bees.. or the singer is Amelia Pianola. Confusing! Anyway, it's just lovely.

I hope these tunes get you going on a Monday in one way or another!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Outfit Misfit


It's been almost a month since the last Outfit Misfit: how appalling! Well, better late than never (though I should really stop living by that because I end up late to everything!). In August I went to Melbourne for a few days to play with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (as a program through the Australian Youth Orchestra). The repertoire was pretty rubbish to be honest, but AYO paid for my flights and I didn't have to pay money for accommodation or anything else, so that justified my shopping... or did it?..

I love Melbourne because it has some really great little designer boutiques of some very obscure Australian designers. However this time I was on a mission: to go to the Alannah Hill and Gorman outlet stores. It was amazing! I'm not sure if I can shop at the regular stores anymore; the stuff is a lot cheaper and it's nice to see some old stuff, in case you missed it in store. For instance, my jumpsuit, which you may remember from a previous Outfit Misfit.., was there and I bought that a good 2 or 3 years ago!




















Anyway, back on topic.. THIS dress I have nick-named: Champagne Dress (I really should come up with a more flowery name, more in the style of Alannah Hill: any suggestions?) and came at a bargain of $100! I have no idea where I'll wear it really.. but it's so beautiful I still swoon over it when I open my wardrobe. I love the sequins spreading out from the middle and that's why I named it so. And I have a particular weakness for tulle. I don't normally think about wearing it on the outside (as opposed to underneath which I am perfectly comfortable with, as providing body for a skirt) so I find it interesting and stretching my boundaries that this dress has the tulle edging at the bottom.

Isn't it sad that we have these beautiful party dresses yet we can't wear them on regular days? What if I wore this out on a Wednesday? I think people would certainly look at me strangely, maybe that's a social experiment for another day. Send me some pictures of your favourite party dresses! They need to be worn and shared!



















My dear friend Elizabeth Old has been my photographer for this session and she has captured some lovely photos I think! I always feel incredibly stupid posing for these things and I'm not a very good model (as she will concur!) so it's nice to have good friends who won't make me feel even sillier.

Dress: Alannah Hill
Hair Clip: Alannah Hill
Socks: Alannah Hill (wow, bit of an Alannah outfit going on)
Shoes: Windsor
Pearl earrings: Mum's =)