Sunday, November 28, 2004

Weddings, vibrators and food. Oh and Aussie version of Queer Eye..

This is a record for me. I haven't recorded my thoughts this many times in a month since scribbling "Dear Diary, Today I think he noticed me..." into my pink Hello Kitty Diary 20 years ago. I am just bursting with things to say to my laptop right now, in my usual ad-hoc kind of way.

A few items to blog about this lovely balmy Sunday morning.

First on the list: Despite being down in the dumps and making stupid purchases, I spotted something sensible in Myer: the Braun hand held blender (if you ask me it could definitely double as a female pleasure apparatus).

What do you think?

Second item: Weddings. One of my girlfriends is getting married- She is a truly lovely person with a big heart. I'm so happy for her because she's doing it her way, not her parents/inlaw's way.

She is having a crouquembouche!

Croquembouche recipe from that domestic goddess/white collar criminal:

Makes 1
The name of this classic French dessert means "crunch in the mouth." Make the caramel and assemble the dessert as close to serving time as possible.

for pastry puffs
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
7 large eggs

for pastry cream
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup sifted all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ounces semisweet chocolate
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder mixed with 2 teaspoons hot water

for caramel
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup

1. Heat oven to 425°. To make the puffs: In a medium saucepan, melt butter in 1 1/2 cups water with salt and sugar. Remove pan from heat, and add flour. Return pan to heat and, using a wooden spoon, beat vigorously for 2 to 3 minutes. (A film should form on the bottom of the pan.) Cool slightly, and add 6 eggs, one at a time, beating vigorously.

2. Make a glaze by beating the remaining egg with 1 teaspoon water, and set aside. Using a pastry bag fitted with a coupler and a 1/2-inch-wide plain tip, pipe out mounds that are 1 inch high and 3/4 inch in diameter on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush with egg glaze, and smooth the tops. Bake until puffed and golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on racks. (The puffs can be made ahead and frozen until ready to assemble.)

3. Make the pastry cream: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg yolks, gradually adding sugar, until mixture is thick and pale yellow. Beat in flour. Scald milk, and add in dribbles to egg mixture, reserving 1/2 cup. Place mixture in a clean pot over high heat, and stir vigorously until mixture boils and thickens. If it seems too thick to pipe, add reserved milk. Remove from heat. Using a hand whisk, beat butter into egg mixture, one tablespoon at a time.

4. In a double boiler or heat-proof bowl set over simmering water, melt chocolate and espresso together until smooth. Add chocolate mixture to the pastry cream; let cool completely. Just before assembling croquembouche, fill a pastry tube fitted with a 1/4-inch-wide tip with pastry cream, insert tip into puffs, and pipe in cream to fill.

5. To make the caramel: In a medium saucepan, combine 2/3 cup water, sugar, and corn syrup, and bring to a boil over high heat. Do not stir. Cover pan, and boil until steam dissolves any crystals. Uncover, and boil 5 more minutes, or until syrup is amber in color. Remove from heat. Dip the bottom of each puff into the caramel, and arrange puffs in a pyramid.

6. To make a spun-sugar web to wrap around the croquembouche: Cut the looped ends of a wire whisk with wire cutters, or use two forks held side by side, and dip the ends into caramel. Wave the caramel back and forth over the croquembouche, allowing the strands to fall in long, thin threads around it. Wrap any stray strands up and around the croquembouche. Serve.

I hate weddings, I have hated them ever since my own blasted three-receptions-in-three-hotels-in three-cities-two-countries-travelling-circus-wedding. I needed a holiday after the whole shebang, but I keep all my planning records of the event well preserved.
I had 4 dresses in cream, light pink, ivory and white. Not neccessarily in that order.

Third item: Aussie Queer Eye For The Straight Guy has been announced.
It's exciting because I DO know Brendan.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

ME day

Went to Mecca Cosmetica, the one in Galleries Victoria during lunch hour today.
I think salesgirls can spot people with bruised egos from a mile away.
I ended up spending a couple of hundred dollars on Prescriptives products.

I didn't feel like spending my lunch hour in a consultants meeting.
I left it up to the 2nd architect in charge, the eager-beaver new graduate that he is, jumped at the opportunity of going to a meeting.

The wanna-be american TV stations here in Australia screened the Sex And The City final episode recently.

I love the episode where Carrie needs to raise money to buy her apartment. She gets depressed. She and Miranda go shoe shopping.
Carrie is tempted to buy a 400 dollar shoe.
In she same breath, she asks Miranda "I've made money over the years. Where that money has gone?"
Miranda, who owns her own apartment in Manhattan and is a partner in a law firm, asks her "How many of these shoes do you own?"
Carrie answers.
Miranda does the maths and says, "There's your down payment right there."

I asked myself: am I a Carrie, Samantha, Miranda or Charlotte?
I think I'm a combination of Miranda and Charlotte.

I own an inner city Sydney apartment that overlooks water. It's in my name. But my father's money bought it for me. Just like Charlotte's Park Avenue place.
AND I'm an aggressive career bitch just like Miranda.

Many girls (and some men) out there fancy themselves as Carefree Couture Carrie.
Yes, I've been visiting Malaysian blogs again.
Tell ya what: I feel sorry for the Carries who still live with their parents, yet spending up big on their restaraunt bills, Prada shoes and Hermes bags. (OK, maybe not an Hermes bag, by the looks and sounds of it. Maybe about as much as an LV bag.)

Meeeeeeeoooooowwwwwrrrrrr. Ssssssssssstttt.
I can get bitchy in my down time.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Burn out

This is a post about nothing. After staying up to ungodly hours, we submitted our group project.

My current opinion of the validity of MBA courses is not good.

Everything that is a test in life seems to throw you in group situations and seeing whether you sink or swim. Has anyone seen The Apprentice?

Toodles- I'm off to nurse my poor ego...........

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

My adventures on a day off

I'm convinced that I'm blogging more because I've been at home these past few days.
Home is in an inner city waterside suburb of Sydney in a slick urban residential building that has more angles than it has straight edges.

It's been a rainy and miserable past few days, which makes me feel better about staying at home to work on the group project today.
I don't know how to work our Gran Gaggia coffee machine *sheepish*..... my husband makes the coffees at our house. I just drink it.
Ack. That is the most frou-frou thing I've ever said.

Silly me. Today, I walked down a street in our neighbourhood in search of a Latte.
There isn't a Starbucks or Gloria Jean's anywhere near our neighbourhood. It's too goddamned trendy for those. *mumble mumble*

I walked into the CBD in less than 15 minutes. I found myself in a queue at one of the CBD Starbucks. I saw one of the directors from my office that queue. ON MY DAY OFF.
"Hello", he says cheerfully- "wagging school today, are we?"
I went bright red (I know this because I could feel my ears burning) and said a series of things that went "Well I er...", "Um, NO....", "Actually....", "Pardon?"......
Before I could say anything else, he grabbed his Flat white and was on his way out, smiling.
I walked home with my latte mumbling to myself.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Chuck a sickie

OK. I'm going to have to take a few days off work because my MBA project group members have been pulling their weight and I haven't. So I've volunteered to do a chunk of the work in the past week. I haven't really had a weekend this weekend.
I need a few more days.

I admit I've taken on a bit too much this year.
I've heard so many "I told you so's".
Not feeling great about myself. Having PMS doesn't help either.

What to do to raise my spirits?

1. Hot giant mug of hot chocolate with loads of melted marshmallows.
I'm partial to pure white marshmallows. (Read into that what you will!)

(Hey, before anyone gets on my back about this, I have a fast metabolic rate! I weigh about 48kg and I'm 165cm tall, mmmm-kay? Kay? OOOOOKAAAAY?)

2. I remember reading Iyanla Vanzant's "One day My Soul Just Opened Up" and being a faithful follower since. Re-read my favourite chapters.

3. Put on my favourite 80's song. (Hey, don't knock it til you try it)

"99 Red Balloons" by Nena

You and I in a little toy shop
buy a bag of balloons with the money we've got
Set them free at the break of dawn
'Til one by one, they were gone
Back at base, bugs in the software
Flash the message, "Something's out there"
Floating in the summer sky
99 red balloons go by.

99 red balloons floating in the summer sky
Panic bells, it's red alert
There's something here from somewhere else
The war machine springs to life
Opens up one eager eye
Focusing it on the sky
Where 99 red balloons go by.

99 Decision Street, 99 ministers meet
To worry, worry, super-scurry
Call the troops out in a hurry
This is what we've waited for
This is it boys, this is war
The president is on the line
As 99 red balloons go by.

99 Knights of the air
ride super-high-tech jet fighters
Everyone's a Silverhero
Everyone's a Captain Kirk
With orders to identify
To clarify and classify
Scramble in the summer sky
As 99 red balloons go by.

99 dreams I have had
In every one a red balloon
It's all over and I'm standin' pretty
In this dust that was a city
If I could find a souvenier
Just to prove the world was here...
And here is a red balloon
I think of you and let it go.

Incredibly uplifting. I could go on and on about 80's tunes that inspire me.
Pssst. Just don't tell the other members in my project group.
"Gasp! How can SHE get an MBA?"

Another few days at home in front of the computer and my face in books.
My couture for the event: Bonds sleepwear.