26 February 2013

An intimate soiree with Dita Von Teese and Cointreau at The Victoria Room, Darlinghurst (25 Feb 2013)

Level 1, 235 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst NSW 2010

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A bit of Cointreauversial action

Thanks to Sharonne Lipman from Stellar* Concepts for inviting me to this intimate cocktail event with Cointreau Ambassador Dita Von Teese. I've always been a fan of Cointreau being a versatile spirit for cocktails and tonight three cocktails were served. The Dita Fizz gets my tick as a favourite of the night — ruby red grapefruit has always had great appeal for me and was very easy to drink. The bar was full of paparazzi guests whilst Dita Von Teese demonstrated her cocktail making skills. There was no room to get close as well to the action so I amused myself by taking photos of people taking photos of her which I love doing anyway. I was very impressed with the canapes served. The Grilled prawns were flavoursome and decently sized and the Lemon tarts had great flavour and excellent shortcrust pastry. The Victoria Room sure know how to cook and with such lovely decor makes for a pretty cool function space. Bar manager Luke Hanzlicek was kind enough to make me one of his special cocktails of Poached Fig and Marsala Julep ($14). Great depth of flavours makes it a winner worth recommending others to try if they're a fan of Mount Gay Extra Old Rum.

PROS: It's not every day you get to meet Dita Von Teese and she is very beautiful, Cointreau works very well in cocktails, Very nice canapes, Friendly function staff
CONS: Dita Von Teese is one very popular lady so trying to get a photo of and with her is a challenge even in such a intimate setting
MUST TRY: Dita Fizz, Poached Fig and Marsala Julep
VERDICT: Lovely decor, nice cocktails and tasty canapes makes for a successful event
Cointreau cocktails are served — one of each please!
Cocktail menu
Dita Fizz
Cointreau Fizz Classic
Bar manager Luke Hanzlicek (left) preparing some cosmopolitans

Touched by the hand of Dita Von Teese makes it extra special
Paparazzi in full swing

Cointreau lovers

Miss Pia Andersen in her vintage best
DJs in the house
Official photographers shoot out

All smiles with facebook competition winners
Grilled prawns — great flavour and decent size
Lemon tarts — good flavour and excellent pastry
Scones — nice texture and flavour

Nightcap courtesy of bar manager Luke Hanzlicek: Poached Fig and Marsala Julep ($14) made with Mount Gay Extra Old Rum, Vedrenne fig liqueur, Marsala, Angostura Bitters, Soda water, Mint leaves and garnish with mint and baby figs marinated with cinnamon and star anise
Heart shaped nail polish — pretty cool
Goodie bag to make your own Cointreau cocktail at home

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22 February 2013

Home Cooking: Kale Chips (4 Feb 2013)

Quick and easy kale chips

I love discovering simple and healthy recipes and this Kale Chips Recipe by Dani Spies from Clean and Delicious couldn't be easier. I've heard kale is supposed to be very good for you so anything that makes it taste even better was worth a go. I'm pretty sure many home cooks have already been making kale chips for years but this is the first time I've ever made them. Simply wash your kale leaves, dry them and pull off the leafy bits from the stalk. Break up into small pieces and mix in a bowl with some olive oil and salt. The olive oil spreads easily so you don't need to use too much. Spread the kale over a baking tray and pop in a preheated oven at around 180-200 degrees celsius for about 15 minutes. At first I thought they'd burn but the olive oil seems to protect them well and they crisp up nicely. Timing may vary depending on your oven so keep checking them and once crisp they're pretty much ready to eat. Trust me, they tasted a lot better than they looked.

PROS: Tasty way to eat your healthy kale, Easy recipe, Only three ingredients required to make
CONS: Hands get oily from mixing the kale with olive oil
MUST TRY: Finding other ways of cooking with kale
VERDICT: Easy and tasty recipe that makes eating kale enjoyable
Wash and dry kale
Separate kale leaf from stem
Anyone have a recipe to use kale stems?

Break kale up into smaller pieces
Mix kale with a bit of olive oil and salt of your choosing

Place kale on a baking tray. Maybe use baking paper for less cleaning up after?
Add to oven preheated at around 200 degrees celsius

Keep any eye on the kale to check when ready in your oven
Kale will be super crisp when ready
Serve and enjoy

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