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Try it Thursday: strike a pose

You might have heard of this thing called twitter. But what does it have to do with me striking model poses? Well, as it so happened, the ever so lovely Lisa Jane was looking for a couple who might want a free shoot in London - it was winter, the quiet season for weddings, and an opportunity for her to shoot in places she doesn't usually get to. And for us, it was a bit of fun and an opportunity to have some nice pics taken in our home city. Double win!

So on the coldest day of the year, we headed out around Barbican. Lisa Jane was fabulous at making us feel comfortable - I mean, I know I'm a poser, but doing it for a professional wedding photographer is quite another matter...

The CG loved taking this one - any excuse to make me kiss him in public. He would be the king of public displays if I'd let him get away with it:

And this sweet one is my absolute favourite:

How lucky are we to have a bunch of great photos to treasure? Thank you so much Lisa Jane! x

Food, Fast: Caramel chicken

This post originally appeared on Laugh Lots, Travel Often.

Bill Granger recently opened his first restaurant in London, which unfortunately doesn’t take reservations so isn't necessarily a great option for a hungry week night. But it did inspire me to go have a hunt for a recipe of his for my final quick chicken experiment.

Quick Chick Part #5: Caramel Chicken

In a bowl toss together:
  • 4 halved skinless chicken thigh fillets

  • ½ a tablespoon of vegetable oil
And slice up:
  • ½ a red onion (I use a whole small one)

  • 1 ½ garlic cloves (I use 2)

Fry the chicken pieces over a high heat for a couple of minutes on one side, then flip and cook for a further minute. Remove the chicken from the pan, add a little more oil if required, reduce the heat to medium and add the onion and garlic for five minutes.

Pop the chicken back into the pan, season generously with pepper, and add:
  • 2 tablespoons of dark soy sauce
Stir to combine everything together, and then turn the heat right down and cook covered for ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn the heat back up to high for the last bit of cooking, and add:
  • 55g, or about ¼ cup of brown sugar

Cook uncovered for 3 – 4 minutes until everything is coated in thick, syrupy sauce, then stir in:
  • 2 tablespoons of Thai fish sauce
I serve up with plain boiled brown basmati rice and steamed broccoli. The sauce is deliciously sticky and tasty – it definitely delivers on the caramel promise. I wish that I had put more pepper in to give it a bit more of a kick, so if you like peppery make sure you are heavy handed with the seasoning! The man declares it a triumph, but between you and me, I’m starting to think he has a bit of a preference for the Asian inspired…

  • Total time to mouth: 30 minutes

  • Extra ingredients to buy: 1 – Thai fish sauce

  • Man rating: 8/10
So all up, four successful chicken dishes and one fail thanks to lengthy grill times. Still, all five were flavoursome and simple, and will definitely be appearing in my cooking repertoire again. Chicken...the most versatile bird? You be the judge.

Through a lens Tuesday: spring sunshine

I think I've gone a little bit English. Evidence pointing towards this dramatic transformation: I actually think winter was mild and short, and as soon as the sun came out on the weekend I stepped into thongs (I did say only a little bit English - flip flops, innit?) and a summer dress despite it only being about 20C.

My favourite thing about the weather warming up in London? Al fresco brunching. Yum, yum, yum...get in my tum...

You too can soak up the sunshine, corn fritters, soldiers and eggs at Brew. You can almost smell Sydney, it's that close.

Change of plans - big time

Er...we decided to make a change to the wedding plans. Like moving the date forward a day. FAIL! Who the heck decides to change their wedding date after the invites have already gone out? Major disorganisation. But in our defence, we're doing it for the greater good - so people can fly home on Sunday if they need to. Right? RIGHT?! 

This is why I don't book plane tickets until the last minute. Because of people like me. Sorry everyone *insert sheepish smile here*. No more major changes. Seriously this time.

Anyhoo...bridesmaids duties are over and done with and the whole weekend was super fun. I'm already missing everyone now I'm back home. Check out my hair for the day...thinking of something like possibly to combat the hot weather in Thailand? LOVE the hair clip that the new Mrs KG bought me.

Food, Fast: Tarragon chicken

This post originally appeared on Laugh Lots, Travel Often.

I love watching Nigella Lawson. It’s true what they say, she makes cooking sexy. In a mum way. Her book Kitchen has a section entitled “Hurry Up, I’m Hungry!” written specifically for me, I’m sure. Determined to try one of her recipes, I bullishly ignore through my two main problems:
  1. I can’t find fresh or freeze dried tarragon

  2. I don’t have a casserole dish or any kind of pan with a fitting lid (that’s a whole other story)

Quick Chick Part #4: Tarragon Chicken

In a pan or casserole dish, with a snug lid, heat:
  • 2 teaspoons of garlic oil (I just use olive oil and crushed garlic)

Then add:
  • 2 finely sliced large spring onions

  • ½ teaspoon of freeze-dried tarragon (I use 1 teaspoon of dried)

Stir for a minute or so then place in the pan:
  • 2 chicken breasts

Cook for 5 minutes then turn over, adding:
  • 80ml vermouth or white wine (I use wine)

  • ½ teaspoon of sea salt flakes

Put the lid on and turn the heat to a simmer for 10 minutes or until cooked through. Remove the chicken, bringing the remaining liquid to a boil and then, stirring well, add:
  • 60ml double cream

  • 2 teaspoons fresh tarragon (again, I use dried)

  • Pepper (the recipe specifies white but I used black)
Pour the sauce over the chicken and scatter a final sprinkle of tarragon if you have any fresh.

Things start to go wrong when I have to cover the chicken. With an ill fitting baking tray.

Left with not much liquid as a result, my sauce ends up super thick and fairly unattractive. Still, it’s super tasty, and the sauce deliciously rich but probably a little too salty for my liking. I serve up with plain sides to counteract the richness – steamed beans and pasta - and voila! A really speedy feed.

  • Total time to mouth: 25 minutes

  • Extra ingredients to buy: 2 – tarragon, white wine

  • Man rating: 7/10

Through a lens Tuesday: cooking with the parentals

Looking over my last couple of posts I've realised that I've lost my mojo. Clearly I'm trying to be something I'm not i.e. a regular blogger. But ultimately, this blog has always been just for me - routine and regularity I already have on Laugh Lots, Travel Often. So I'm just going to let it go. If I feel like posting, I will. If not, I won't. Deal?

I did have a pretty sweet time stalking my parents while they were cooking though. As it turns out, Dad's awesome curry is actually all about the slow cooker and a jar sauce, because "who can be bothered making their own curry paste these days?" I could not agree more. 

Try it Thursday: cruising

I always thought going on a cruise would be ace - food galore, sailing around islands, a whole floating city just made for my amusement. 

One of my friends is currently working on the Queen Mary, so with glee I clamoured aboard to have a looksee while it was in dock in Sydney. What I learned during my awesome tour: the average passenger age is 67. And while the ship was certainly impressive, I have to admit I felt - well, relieved that I wasn't actually on a cruise. Imagining myself aboard as a passenger left me feeling mildly suffocated, and I'm pretty sure that's not what I'm after in a holiday. 

So I guess I won't be trying it any time soon!

A little slice of suburbia

It's interesting how quickly we adapt to things - I found myself this winter in London actually referring to the weather as "warm" and had to be reminded by the CG that it was mild, not warm. Being home again is actually freaking me out a little bit with all the space. The family house seems like a mansion compared to my years of London shoebox living, and even stepping out into the quiet, wide cul-de-sac makes me worry because I never hear any sirens - and I could feasibly stand there all day without getting run over.

You just don't know what you've got until...you're somewhere else. 

Through a lens Tuesday: noodle soup & weird and wonderful veg

My first full day hanging with mum and dad in suburban Sydney town, we made a beeline to Cabramatta to satisfy one of my food cravings - Vietnamese Pho. Granted, there is some good Viet back in London, but personally I just think Sydney does it better.

After filling up, we hit the shops in search of childhood favourites that I don't tend to indulge in since I've been living overseas. I'm not sure why that is, but I guess I associate a lot of things with family and without them there I don't suffer the same nostalgia that seems to overwhelm me whenever I come home to visit.

This is pretty much what I'm going to look like by the time my trip is over - but probably paler:

We picked up cakes to take to my brother's new house for tea that night:

And argued about how we'd cook up the different veg on offer.

It was a lovely day. Now if I could just get dad to stop asking me if I want something to eat every five minutes, we'd be right. But some things will never change.

A classy kind of hens

Finally, finally I'm back home! After the killer couple of weeks I had the best sleep I've ever had on a plane, stepped off after a 21+ hour flight, cleared duty free, immigration, baggage and customs in less than 20 minutes, and was awarded with a welcome from my poor bestie who was waiting at the airport at 6:30am on a Saturday morning.

After a day of failed attempts at a power nap, lots of catching up, sushi and curling hair extensions, we had a fabulous champagne fuelled hens night that kicked off with survival kits (band aids for sore feet, tablets for sore heads, a hair elastic, chewing gum and a map in case anyone was separated from the group) packaged in sweet gift boxes:

Followed by delicious canapes to nibble on with our champagne and lychee martinis:


Before we headed out for a feast at Miss G's, drinks at Hugo's and clubbing at, well, The Club. I could show you those photos...but I'd rather keep it classy.