This Week’s Honourable Mentions

Detour Half Serve Avo on ToastI don’t think I’ve had one meal at home this week… seriously of the possible 15, two have been made at home. So here are a few places I gorged at this week and thoroughly enjoyed doing so in the process!

Detour
This place is the bomb diggity (I’m bringing it back). It is the ONLY place the entire office gets coffee and considering the abundance of options in the area that’s impressive. What I find more impressive and very frugal friendly is they do this cute little half serve of avocado on toast (pictured above) for $3.50. It’s been my staple breakfast for a while now… and considering how expensive actual avocados are I think I’m winning.

Detour Espresso Bar on Urbanspoon

Phamish
This restaurant had some hype, lemme tell you, everyone’s crying over missing out on some supposedly amazing duck and prawn pancakes… Well, in yo’ face! Because I totally had a nanna dinner and got to try them before they sold out. They are heavenly, the crunchy omelette, the duck, there really isn’t much I didn’t like about these pancakes. Also the SIZE was epic…

Phamish Duck and Prawn Pancake

Phamish on Urbanspoon
Kakawa
I love Kakawa, it’s not really a drop in place but when I was in advertising we would send little delicious parcels of these hand made chocolates to clients and guests… and sometimes we would accidentally over order. Kakawa is ridiculously close to my office and I often walk past. As I had already indulged this week I thought a tiny caramel couldn’t hurt.Kakawa Caramel Chew

The shop is beautiful and mostly made up of the chocolate workshop so you can see your favourite chocolates being made right in front of your eyes. I bought a chai infused caramel chew for 80 cents. It was the perfect size and uber delicious. (I also got some take away but that’s technically a present so…I’ll tell you about that later)

Kakawa on Urbanspoon

Brickfields_bigbreakfast

Brickfields
While in actual fact I went to Brickfields last week, I love this place. The menu is subject to change but if you are hungry you can’t go past their “big breakfast” aka boiled egg, hummus, heirloom tomatoes and a fancy sausage I can’t recall the name of or their bacon, kale and aioli sandwich, but beware do not munch on this baby before a date.

I always leave with a loaf of their fresh baked bread too, even though it’s too much for me to handle solo it’s worth sharing with friends.

So thank you all for serving as urban kitchens for me this week! Next week it’s lunch from home EVERYDAY!

xx

Brickfields on Urbanspoon

Moozing about Mooberry at Neutral Bay

Mooberry_NB_Topview

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to my first ever media event! I was pretty bloody excited and RSVPd in seconds – like all the cool kids. Mooberry, an uber trendy frozen yoghurt chain was opening a three-level breakfast and dessert bar in Neutral Bay. Now through all my excitement there was a small rain cloud… I’ve not really warmed to froyo, it’s just one of those things, it’s not yoghurt and it’s not ice-cream and you know, it’s no Golden Spoon. But obviously, frozen yoghurt is a thing… or more specifically THE new thing in Sydney, nearly outnumbering convenience stores on George Street.Mooberry_NB_interior

I knew of Mooberry because my Dad’s their biggest fan, so I knew exactly who to call to come with me! Not only would it be an early birthday present for Dad but he would be able to provide me with the taste buds of the millions of froyo fans out there.

On a balmy Thursday night me and Dad rocked up to this crowded and very crowded froyo bar. Decorated  with fake turf and fairy lights it feels a little like we fell through the rabbit hole.

Upon entry you walk into the bar, offering four different flavours of froyo on top and a smorgusboard of both dessert and more breakfast toppings. The upper two levels provide cozy corners and group sitting areas to enjoy your froyos. For the event the flavours of choice were plain, chocolate, coconut and pomegranate. We got a coconut with chocolate and crumble toppings and a pomegranate with “healthy things” (that was dad’s choice). And you know what? I actually enjoyed it.Mooberry_NB_Topping

Well I liked the Coconut and they had a couple of smoothies rolling around, but it was a nice surprise. Essentially I had created a froyo bounty bar and the yoghurt flavour was perfectly masked. I was so impressed I ordered myself a coffee but alas Mooberry could not convert me that much.

Mooberry Neutral Bay is right next to Maisy’s 24 hour cafe and Sam’s Thai and offers another great addition for after movie dining or an alternative to a heavy meal or just a new late night snacking venue.

MooBerry Dessert & Breakfast Bar on Urbanspoon

A little something on Something for Jess

Something for Jess_OutsideOn a drizzly Sydney day Something for Jess offers a warm and cozy little spot to park yourself for an afternoon (or weekend morning) to really enjoy some gourmet sandwiches and chai tea. The new bustling spot on the Chippendale side of Abercrombie, Something for Jess is nestled on the corner of O’Connor Street and Abercrombie – it’s hard to spot with it’s lack of sign and quaint presence but we were on a mission.

Settling in on the main communal table we had a look at the chalkboard for the fair of the week. changing every Monday the sandwiches and mains that showcase the freshest ingredients and funkiest combinations. I was immediately drawn to the open sandwiches, freshly made on order. I opted for the herb portobello mushroom with semi dried pesto, confit truss tomato, grated zucchini, salsa verde, spice roasted macadamia, truffle oil and fresh radish (phew that’s a mouthful!) and got a sweet taste/ half of  the Tassie smoked occean trout bruschetta.

Herb Portobello Mushroom_Something for JessHerb Portobello Mushroom_Something for Jess_side

So, initially, I was like woah that’s a bit exy for an open sandwich but when these babies arrived I kind of didn’t know where to begin… They were massive!

Ocean Trout_Something for JessMy favourite part of the meal was the texture. There was a good crunch in each bite with the radish, macademia nut and grated zuchinni. I found the muschrooms and tommies pretty rich after about half the sandwich and exchanged for the cured trout. OMIGAWD how were both so good!? You know what would have made them better, if I hadn’t had breakfast like an hour and half before hand.

We sat back and settled in for literally the next two hours. The staff were lovely and accommodating, answering any questions and even letting us know that the menu changed every Monday with a rotating sandwich option of one sando of the week and chicken. On weekends, we were told, there is always a bounty of pastries to nibble on.

Moral of the story is there is never not a reason to go to Something for Jess. It’s calm and and friendly environment allows you to sit back with a book or a friend and really enjoy the fresh produce that they offer and get your mind racing with some fab food combinations.

Chai Tea

Happy Eating xx

Something For Jess on Urbanspoon

Little Lauren Moves Out

Little Lauren MovesHey there weary travellers.

Ergh I have just had a most momentous week! As and avid follower of my life, I’m sure you are aware I moved out this week ;) ! It was weird. Not moving out but just doing it with out the rest of the family, so I guess, moving out was weird and it’s been haaard.

As a self-aware princess – note “self-aware” not “self-proclaimed” – I was a little concerned. I mean come one, sharing a home with four non-relatives with questionable hygiene standards … the horror! But I also have massive FOMO, specifically of not having a “share house experience” before I settle down. So when Harry trotted away interstate and we had to consider, you know, growing up I made the completely rational decision to move out ASAP into his old room, without a job and about 3 months worth of rent saved. I didn’t want to miss out!

No, I was told. You will hate it, they said.

WELLLLLLLL… it’s only been maybe 4 days so I cannot dispute any of these statements.

My beautiful hanging wardrobe, just days before it collapsed on itself.

My beautiful hanging wardrobe, just days before it collapsed on itself.

As a family we have moved eight times in my life, I’m used to new rooms so that hasn’t been hard. And the level of cleanliness is not as bad as I imagined. HOWEVER, things went a little pear shaped yesterday when those handy tension rods we picked up from the hardware store fell at 6 in the morning. THEN I had an incident with having to fry bread because…. How does one work a gas stove from the 70s? It snow balled from there: How do you turn on the TV? How do you use an antenna? What is on TV if you aren’t mooching off your parent’s cable subscription? Is the record player broken? Why are there no tables? Why do skillets smoke and enormous embarrassment as you smoke out the house?

The other thing is NO ONE IS EVER HOME. I was notorious at home for just talking at you. Alas, no one is home at 6pm for a tea and a debrief, or ever, at all.

Things will surely improve with time, however, until I am able to work the stove please take my offerings of recaps and ravings and rants instead… oh and any advise on moving out/ entertaining yourself when faced with copious amounts of me time wouldn’t go astray either.

xx

Pho 236

Pho 236 - Fresh Beef Pho

Fresh Beef Pho

I’m finishing up with summer school right now and in my mind I will just fall into a job and never have free time again. Although secretly I think full-time work will be a nice respite from study, it means I won’t get to sneak off for a long lunch on Tuesdays anymore.

Pho 236 - Special Beef Pho

Special Beef Pho

Pho 236 is one of my fave lunch spots – it’s not a very fancy place, in fact it is not fancy at all but it’s tasty and consistent and super cheap! Which is always nice, if like me you have guilt over purchasing lunches over $10.

For the most part the menu is pretty much under $10 with a Fresh Beef Pho starting at $7.80. I know this sounds weird as I’m raving about a Vietnamese places but I don’t know if I’m one-hundred percent sold on the old Pho, although I like to spend copious amounts of time saying the word to create punny restaurant names… Pho-get about it! (could be an Italian/Vietnamese fusion restaurant…)

Anyway due to this/the fact that I frequent this at least once a week I have trialled much of the menu. My go to dishes are the Rice Vermicelli with Pork for a cool $8.50 or Crispy Skin Chicken with Noodle Soup when I’m feeling flash for $9.00.

For two people you can easily eat for $20 or under including a can of cola – BOOM!

Anyway I heart it, so go there!

Happy eating xx

Pho 236 - Crispy Chicken Noodle Soup

Crispy Skin Chicken with Noodle Soup

A word of warning to vegetarians… the options for you guys are extremely limited. If you are an pescatarian go for gold but otherwise you will be served a bowl of seasoned noodles, mmmm.

Pho 236 on Urbanspoon

Oh hey, 2014!

NYEGuys, it’s 2014 and EVERYTHING is happening!

So many adventures, so many plans… but first I have to start the year, as I always do, catching up on all the things I forgot to do last year (and you thought I had changed).

For one thing I have worn a different outfit each day for twenty days now! I haven’t even had to wear a skirt a second time…which now that I think about is a bit of a worry…how many clothes do I have?!

Of course I’ve made some great budget meals and ALMOST finished summer school and that was just December.

As well as catching up on fun times with you guys, I also have quite a big January ahead, with actually finishing summer school and helping Hal relocate to the Capital… so apologies if I get mopy and eat heaps of pasta… but it’s bound to happen.

There are so many things to come this year I can’t wait. I hope you have all had a fabulous holiday… let’s do this xx

80 days of fashion…Little Lauren’s way

80 days of fashion

I’ve never really considered myself a competitive person, it’s just not in my blood…Sure in 2006-2007 we had a family solitaire competition aiming for better times/scores to become the family solitaire champion. And yes, occasionally Mum and Dad have curry cook offs where they invite unsuspecting guests over to judge who has won (for a short time this also applied to jamming before we ran out of jars) and perhaps Dad and I have five year fitness competition which hasn’t really motivated either of us… but I’m really not that competitive.

That’s why this morning (day 12/80) when my mum noticed that I have yet to repeat an outfit during my internship, I didn’t think about making a game out of it… until Dad  challenged me to wear a different outfit for the entire 80 days…. well Dad, CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

Now, I know when a lot of you think of me, fashion is probably not high on your list of things that are Lauren- though if you think of me at all I’m pretty flattered, so thank you. But rest assured this will be done the Lauren way. There will be no pictures of me traipsing around Europe before I head off to work, no beautifully lit studio shots – most likely my clothes will be artfully draped on the floor or tables around the house.

I’m no fashionista but when you have a summer filled with study, interning and helping your boyfriend move interstate, it’s nice to have a few things distracting you. I know some of you are thinking but what about operation lunch box – have I forgotten my first challenge for myself? No, I totally haven’t. This week I’m going to do a fab recap on some lunches most (/all) of which contain instant cous cous (wooo!) so if you’re not into FAASHUN you can still read about my lunch, recaps, and crafts.

For the most part I will attempt to just have different combinations of my own clothes but I have enlisted the help of some friends to expand my wardrobe should I have to…

So follow my instagram to see all my fabulous outfits and awkward selfies from tomorrow! Here we go!

10/80

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have great news. I have now entered the double digits in my practical legal training days for uni.

That’s right I have now completed 10/80 days of currently unpaid legal training. I have been privileged enough to get a summer clerkship at a pretty massive NGO and they offer many a morning tea, which totally helps with budgeting.

I celebrated this milestone with a $5.50 chicken roll from this gem in the Cross… as you can see pork rolls are cheaper – but it was a special day so I splurged.

Fresca's Bakery Shop

The celebrations continue tonight as I endeavour to create a wreath shaped pavlova that I am making RIGHT NOW… I’m pretty sure I’ve seen it done in a magazine but we shall see how I go.

Promise to keep you posted on its success!

xx

Oh my, Ramen Ikkyu, you stole my heart

Ramen Ikkyu 1

Just a warning… this post contains unabashed gushing, maybe it’s because I’ve got extreme cabin fever, maybe it’s because this is the best ramen I’ve ever had – who knows but it’s just full of gushing.

Oh My Ramen, this place is absolutely amazing.

Ramen Ikkyu does one thing, but it does it incredibly well. I could cry tears of ramen joy at the mere mention of it’s name. I decided I had to try it after reading so many great comments, so much so that when I saw it’s rating on some food websites I was horrified. But I like taking risks (bahahahahahahah). I had spent most of one Friday afternoon researching places to try ramen and got my restaurants a little confused. I’m 90% sure I got Ramen Ikkyo confused with one of the other places I read about because I was stunned, STUNNED, that it was in a food court. I even BYO’d to a food court (I don’t know if that’s legal but no one seemed to mind).

Sussex Street food court is unlike your average China Town food court, it has staff clearing tables constantly and is pretty much packed every Friday and Saturday. If you score a table near Ramen Ikkyu by the window, it’s an excellent people watching perch, especially when the night markets are on. Anyway, back to the ramen.

Ramen Ikkyu Menu

To order you go up to the counter where two iPads sit with an interactive menu. There is usually some very helpful and friendly wait staff to assist you if you get confused and if you make a mistake they are very obliging. There are several types of ramen, with different stock and meats available. The bowls range from about $11 – $20 depending on the toppings you pick, obviously the more lavish you want the more it will cost. The most expensive I saw was Pork Rib Ramen for $20.

I am more than satisfied in getting the Ikkyu Soy. It has a thicker, richer broth than some other ramens but even still it’s not heavy enough to stop me from finishing the entire bowl. On my first visit I noticed that you could select toppings to go with your ramen, I wasn’t sure if toppings came as standard as some more cheeky places give you a pretty bare bowl. Ramen Ikkyu would not do such a thing, half a boiled egg, two sheets of nori, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots and mushrooms and three gloriously cooked slabs of pork come standard. The extra toppings are very generous and all come nicely set out in a white bowl. The side bowl is the same size if you get a side of mushrooms or if you get a side of chilli oil, so keep that in mind – that’s a lot of chilli oil! I have tried the extras but I usually enjoy the ramen so much I sometimes forget about the, although chilli oil is a nice addition. I’ve tasted the lighter broth, Tokyo Soy, which is also delicious but I prefer the pepper and depth of the Ikkyu Soy.
The restaurant can be quite busy sometimes selling out of the more popular dishes and is a squige over $10 but considering you “can” BYO without charge I am letting it slide into the $10 food court. The Ikkyu and Tokyo Ramens are $11.50 each and sides start at $1.

Sussex Street food court is quite a gem and I look forward to trying a few other places, especially one apparently called “served with rice and soup” that was remarkably popular despite it’s unoriginal name.

I have to stop now, I’m literally drooling in class while pretending to listen to patenting laws of plant varieties…but dreaming of Ramen Ikkyu.

Ramen Ikkyu - Ikkyu Ramen Soy with Chilli Oil  Ramen Ikkyu - Tokyo Ramen Soy

Happy eating! xx

Also does anyone know if ramen is meant to capitalised?… awkies

Ramen Ikkyu on Urbanspoon

Lebanese bread pizzas!

lebanese pizza on plate

Lebanese bread is so versatile. You can have it in a wrap, a kebab (which is also a wrap), with eggs, you can deep fry it and sprinkle it over salad, you can grill it with toum (garlic paste) on a grill… and you can make pizzas! You may wonder where my amazing knowledge of the versatility of Lebanese bread comes from and in part, yes it is (half of) my heritage, but mostly it’s because we had 20 left over bags from my brother’s 21st so it’s pretty much been a staple in my diet for the last month.

I tried so hard to get rid of the bags but no one wanted more than one, I tempted them and promised them you could store it in the fridge for at least a week (or in my case a month), you can freeze it and it will last pretty much forever. So instead I ate it, I ate all the Lebanese bread. I was getting pretty sick of it too until Harry reminded me you can totally make pizzas out of it, and so we did!lebanese bread pizza ingredients

What you need to make 5 pizzas:

10 pieces of the small size Lebanese bread (obvs, did you not just read my spiel) or 6 if you are using the big kahoonas
Tomato paste or a Pasata Sauce
1 bag of Mushrooms, sliced
Fresh mozerralla or Pizza cheese
Fresh Spinach
2 Fresh Tomatoes cut in 8 slices
500 – 800 g of Chicken Breast
2 tsp Cajun Spice
1 small shallot
1 clove of garlic

Pizza on Make A GifHow to assemble:

  1. Slice the chicken and marinate in 2 tsp of Cajun Spice, 2 tsp of olive oil, the chopped shallot, garlic, salt and pepper and mix. Leave this to sit for about 10 minutes or longer if you wish before starting your pizzas.
  2. Preheat the oven to about 180 and leave the trays inside to warm – this will help make sure the bottom of the pizza works, of course if you have a pizza stone you’re laughing.
  3. Use two pieces of bread as a base, it makes the pizza a bit sturdier and super crispy!
  4. Assemble the pizza as cleverly depicted in the GIF above – tomato sauce (add some dried oregano too if you have any yum!), mushrooms, cheese –  or however you want
  5. Place the pizza’s in the oven for about 15 minutes
  6. In the meantime, heat a pan over the stove and cook the chicken in small batches, you don’t need to add any more oil as they should be nicely coated and this makes them pretty crispy.
  7. Leaving the chicken to stand, switch the oven to grill mode for a few minutes to crisp up the top and slightly brown the cheese – keep an eye on it, grillz are fickle.
  8. Serve with the chicken, spinach, and fresh tomatoes piled high!

lebanese bread pizza 1 lebanese bread pizza 2 lebanese bread pizza 3 lebanese bread pizza 4
Of course feel free to experiment but this was pretty amazing.

Enjoy xx

Oh also it’s kind of messy but, you know, delicious.