Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Sunday, 25 August 2013

The Garden off the Road

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to write about Marinda Leigh's Top 5 brunch cafes in Perth. I'm an avid fan of weekend brunches and after a long and vigorous hunt, I managed to wean the list to a nice Top 10 and from there, after subjecting ourselves to brunches weekend after weekend, we eventually came up with our Top 5! The things we do in the name of research!

The Top 5 that I will blog about are in no particular order. In my opinion, neither is better than the other and each one has its own uniqueness and special little something. And of course, a prerequisite to make it into the Top 5; good coffee!


A beautiful, sunny morning, good company and great food and service. That pretty much sums up my Saturday. I had been to Casa Bianchi a few times before and I had been dying to take Marinda there. Finally, today, we managed to find the time to head up to Mt Hawthorn to try this, as Marinda put it, infamous cafe that I had been talking up.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Weekend Down South

Over a weekend some time ago, Marinda and I went down south to the holiday house in Mandurah with my boyfriend at the time. We needed someone to cook and clean for us, after all.

Mandurah is a beautiful, quiet city about an hour or so south of Perth. It's the second largest city in Western Australia after Perth and it's a great tourist spot. For those of us that live up in Perth, we love to go down to do a bit of fishing or crabbing on a sunny weekend and end it off with some delicious fish and chips.


We drove down in the evening, trying to beat the darkness of the night and made it just in time for dinner and then bed. In the morning when we woke up, the weather was absolutely beautiful and the clear aqua water was so enticing that the first thing I wanted to do was jump off the jetty and into the water.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Black Riding Hood







This casual day look that I've termed Black Riding Hood is simple to recreate as a lot of the items are staples in most girls' closets. It's funky and cool but feminine at the same time. Black leather skirts are really in at the moment and you see them everywhere. They're one of the staple items in my closet because they're just so easy to dress up or dress down.

I'm a huge fan of tights that have unique and interesting patterns. I like to collect them from different brands and countries but a lot of my favourites are from Alannah Hill, a popular Australian label. 

Stockings: Alannah Hill
Cat Sweater, Mary Jane Pumps, Boa Fur Coat: EMODA
Necklace: Murua

 






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Saturday, 17 August 2013

Peanut Butter Swirl Choc Brownies

 

Sometimes I get moments of immense cravings for peanut butter. I love peanut butter smeared in excess on a piece of hot toast, to the point where it's dripping off the sides and onto my hands. Then I'll look around furtively to see who's watching and then lick my hands. Yum.


But as of late, my cravings have not been satiated with peanut butter itself. I've been wanting something dirty and oh, so bad! I want something that makes me feel guilty for wanting more. So I scoured Kristin Rosenau's blog, The Pasty Affair for recipes.

I love The Pastry Affair and I love the food featured in it! A lot of my inspiration to bake comes from reading this blog. If you're a fan of baking, cooking, or food, I definitely recommend checking it out! Kristin has a wonderful way with words and her pictures are inspiring!

Reading the recent post on Brownie Cookies made my mouth water for some brownies so I went in search of a way to combine brownies and peanut butter! I came across several blogs that had peanut butter brownies but they used box mix brownies! What? I don't read food blogs for "recipes" that tell me to go out and buy Betty Crocker's brownie mix.

The outrage! The lies! I silently brooded on the deceit. But a moment of ingenuity struck me and I thought, Why not use my cake recipe and alter it to make Peanut Butter Brownies? And so, was born the idea of Marinda Leigh's Peanut Butter Swirl Choc Brownies (lots of inspiration from Martha Stewart).

Flourless Chocolate Brownie
200g dark chocolate
230g butter
30g (1/4 cup) cocoa powder
4 eggs, separate
300g (1 ½ cups) brown sugar
155g (1 ½ cups) hazelnut meal









 In a saucepan, combine chocolate, butter and cocoa over low heat and cook until the mixture is smooth. Transfer your mixture to a large bowl. 

To the mixture, you now want to add the egg yolks, sugar and meal (I used Lucky Hazelnut Meal). Stir it all to combine. 

Using an electric mixer, whisk your egg whites until soft peaks form. Add one-third of the egg white to chocolate mixture and fold until combined then add remaining egg white and fold in completely.

 





Peanut Butter Swirl
(adapted from Martha Stewart's recipe. There's no need to get too fancy so I cut out some of the ingredients)

100g Peanut Butter
1/2 cup Icing Sugar
50g Butter














Melt the butter and then add peanut butter and icing sugar together and have a taste of that delicious swirl. You may find that you don't have enough for your batter so you might want to consider doubling your ingredients.

Pour half of your batter in your baking tray and then add dollops of peanut butter swirl on top of your batter.

Once you have done this, slowly pour the rest of your chocolate batter on top, being careful not to mix the the batter and swirl. Now, with the rest of your swirl, dollop it on the top of your batter.

Using a butter knife, swirl the batter around to make a marbleised pattern on the top of your cake.

Cook for about 40 minutes on 180 degrees and take it out to cool. Be careful not to take your brownies out of the tray until they've cooled slightly or there may be a chance of them falling apart where the peanut butter swirls are.


























I recommend eating while brownies are still warm with a glass of cold milk! It was a hit with all my friends and family (excluding my brother) and I will admit, I ate more than I probably should have. I am yet to perfect the recipe but the best part of baking is having fun while doing your own thing and being immensely proud of the end product.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Cherry Blossoms - Chidori-ga-fuchi Park

Our last destination was Chidorigafuchi and the Imperial Palace. We wanted to stay until dark as the night cherry blossoms (yozakura) is said to be beautiful. I will say now, we were not disappointed.






Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Cherry Blossoms - Nakameguro

Our next Cherry blossom viewing location was at Nakameguro, a quaint little neighbourhood in Tokyo. Beautiful cherry blossoms lined both sides of the Meguro river.






Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Grand Prize Winner

This is what you've all been waiting for. There were hundreds of entries and unfortunately, there is only one winner for the much coveted grand prize which includes:


EMODA bag
This totally cool bag can fit so much in it. It's handy for day wear and easily transitions into an overnight stay bag if you need it to.


JILL STUART Floral Hand Cream
I am in love with the scent of this hand cream. I also bought the perfume which carries the same scent and it is divine, subtle and sweet! Did I mention that I'm a HUGE Jill Stuart fan? Their princess-like packaging is irresistible! I'll also be including a Jill Stuart day care essence sample!


Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler
Hands down one of the best eye lash curlers out there! Do a search on Google if you don't believe me!

Love Liner - Eyeliner and Mascara (black)
This is the most raved about eyeliner in all the Gyaru magazines. You can achieve amazingly sharp lines and it doesn't smudge easily!

These lashes are natural with a little kick. Great for parties. Diamond lashes are soft and easy to apply. 5 pairs will last you a while.


Hello Kitty Lip Treatment
Who doesn't love Hello Kitty? The flavour is juicy apple and it contains SPF10+. Personally, it was the cute packaging that I fell in love with!

Pure smile mask - Chocolate
This mask which was included in the runner up prize is also included in the grand prize. How exciting!


PINKY GIRLS Sweater with the latest Pinky Girls Catalogue
I love Pinky Girls! I went crazy the last time I went to Japan at Pinky Girls in Shibuya 109 and I did it again this time. Their cute feminine sweaters and coats are to die for! This coral cardigan is soft and smooth and looks great on for a casual day out or even to wear to work.



And the winner is...




Congratulations, Lady Myx! Please send me an email - marinda.leigh@gmail.com within 48 hours with your postal details or a new winner will be picked out.

Thanks everyone for participating in my giveaway from Japan! I will see you for another giveaway before I head off to Europe!

 






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Monday, 12 August 2013

Cherry Blossoms - Yoyogi Park

The whole point of planning a trip to Japan in April was to see the beautiful and world renowned cherry blossoms. We did our research and found that the best time to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom was in the early weeks of April. In my mind, it was like walking through a park that was snowing pink petals. So romantic.


Unfortunately for us, this year, the cherry blossoms bloomed early and we missed the best two weeks of them. It was disappointing but we still managed to see some beautiful cherry blossoms.

The first location we went to as soon as the rain cleared up, was Yoyogi Park. First though, we stopped for some amazing ramen! Thinking about it makes me want to eat some more!