Saturday, 30 October 2010

Wonder Woman... er... baby

Silly Michelle thought that when we'd go shopping for baby clothes I would stick to sensible outfits. Wonder Woman, Supergirl or get in the Christmas spirit and a tiny elf outfit?

Update: I did end up getting the Wonder Baby outfit. Click here.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Baby update - 30 and half week ultrasound

This is the scan the midwife suggested we do because the baby is tracking big. Today we were in the very capable hands of Dr Felicity Park. Dr Park was very reassuring and the ultrasound went well. All the measurements - placenta, baby, amniotic fluid - were all in the normal range. Some baby measurements were in the high range - up around the 90th percentile - but still normal. We think she is going to be a largish bub. She is currently around 1990 grams (a little over 4 lbs) and if she keeps gaining weight at the same rate she could be around 3700 grams (maybe 8 lbs) by the due date according to the computer projections. Michelle's birth weight was 3250 grams and mine was about 3900 grams so she may weigh somewhere between us. Anything less than 4 kg would be good as far as Michelle is concerned. She is the one who has to squeeze her out after all.

As far as the pretty pictures go she was sitting (hand standing?) in a head down bum up position and seems to be happily moving around - rolling, pushing, kicking. She still looks beautiful (of course). Apparently we can get a selection of snapshots from all the ultrasounds we've had so far if we bring in a USB thumb drive next time.

All in all Dr Park was very happy with the results and that everything is proceeding according to plan. We'll still need another ultrasound in 3 weeks to confirm a normal growth rate for she-who-is-as-yet-unnamed but we're more optimistic now.

Sunday, 24 October 2010


Best Thai in Sydney. 1 Chef's Hat from the Good Food Guide. We love the place. 'Nuff said.

You can't make reservations so we arrived right on opening. Lucky to get a seat eh? Minutes later the though the place is jumping.

Freshly shucked oyster with red chilli lime juice & deep fried eschalots

I can't recall the name of the lovely lip smacking cocktail above but it was made from 3 or 4 varieties of rum and pink fruit juice of some sort.

Eggnet filled with pork prawns peanuts bean
sprouts & sweet vinegar

Caramelised pork hock with five spice & chilli vinegar

Braised lamb shoulder with ginger Asian celery & chilli

Salt & pepper silken tofu with soy & lime

Taro & coconut pudding with roasted peanut ice cream

Longrain has been awarded one Chef's Hat by the Good Food Guide and is at 85 Commonwealth Street Surry Hills.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Baby update - 30 weeks

We had a our first midwife visit at the RPA today. Not sure how it went really. I'm a little concerned although I probably shouldn't be. First baby jitters most likely. However Michelle had a largish fundal measurement. She is measuring 34 cm at 30 weeks. Generally the centimetres should be close to the weeks, 30cm at 30 weeks or so for example. They give a bit of leeway. A couple of cm either way isn't any concern. 4 cm is on the high side of normal according to the midwife though. Our first visit with the obstetrician a couple of weeks was the first time the fundal measurement came up. The doctor said it was high-ish but in the normal range and if the next visit, this current one, showed a similar measurement we should get an ultrasound to see what is going on. Gestational diabetes is one of the reasons the measurement could be high. For this reason the midwife asked Michelle to have the full 2 hour diabetes check (Monday) which involves drinking a glucose drink and multiple blood tests. We've booked the ultrasound for Wednesday and the blood results should be available then too.

Jackie, the midwife, kept reassuring us that there was likely nothing wrong and we shouldn't be concerned because a big baby is another reason for the large fundal measurement. Neither of us a little people - Michelle is quite tall.

So. I'm trying not to worry but we're first time expectant parents with only weeks to go so it is what we do.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Hats Off Dinner at Bilson's Restaurant

This is the second of October's Sydney International Food Festival dinners we're participating in this year. Bilson's is Tony Bilson's 2 Hat fine dining restaurant with a series French bent in Sydney. Tony Bilson has been around for decades and many a top chef in Australia and internationally learnt their chops under the tutelage of Tony Bilson. Bilson's was one of the six Sydney restaurants to lose their third Hat in the most recent edition of the Good Food Guide. It is still, as should be said, bloody good tucker.
The theme of this evenings meal is to "... rediscover the classics of Nouvelle Cuisine – the name given to the revolution that took place in the kitchens of France in the 1970s. With dishes from three-star chefs such as Alain Chapel, Paul Bocuse, Pierre Troisgros and Michel Guerard, this gastronomic journey will show you how the cuisine of these iconic chefs has influenced contemporary cooking."

Egg and caviar. Michele Guerard. This gives Marque's take on the boiled egg a run for its money.

Mussels in Saffron sauce. Roger Vergé.

Saumon a l'Oseille. Jean et Pierre Troisgros.

Partridge en Salmis, Petit Pois Francaise. Paul Bocouse.

The man himself, Tony Bilson, even made an appearance this evening. It isn't very often you see the chef/patron who owns the restaurant dining there.

Petit Fromage Affine. Michael Roux.

Mille Feuille with red fruits. Gaston Lenotre.

Petit Fours.

Bilson's Restaurant is in the Radisson Plaza Hotel 27 O'Connell Street in Sydney and has two Good Food Guide Chef's Hats.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

The Smashing Pumpkins

"Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage".

I don't think I've ever read more polarised comments about The Smashing Pumpkins, or specifically front man Billy Corgan, than any other band. Well bands I care about at least. Even leaving the gig tonight there was much muttering about the shit encore. I thought the encore was 20 or so minutes of self indulgent over the top overblown noisy howling guitar feedback driven brilliance. Or it was the Heineken. Whatever, it was a powerful end to what was overall a pretty good set filled with oldies and newies. To be fair to Billy he did warn everybody before the last song that some critics in the US had walked out during the encore. After about 10 minutes of the final song there was a steady stream of punters leaving the floor. Maybe they had a train to catch.

The Smashing Pumpkin line-up was very different from the last time they visited our shores. Billy is the only original Pumpkin left these days. The Pumpkins have always been Billy though. What matters is they sound the same - as good as ever. Billy claims to have mellowed but he still can't restrain himself from commenting when the next old classic song gets a bigger cheer than the previous new song. I think he also mentioned during the gig that he was all about the fans these days. He could be a right arse to the fans in the old days.
And speaking of the old days I was fortunate enough to catch the Smashing Pumpkins at the height of their fame in 90s. Really not much has changed apart from the personnel. They were great then and they are great now. Billy's just a bit older. Wiser? Who knows but he is dating a twenty something pop starlet (one of the Veronicas) so it can't be all bad.

More on Billy and the Pumpkins from the SMH here and the critic from the SMH has a review of the gig here. It seems the critic wasn't thrilled with the show and I agree with a little what he says but I disagree overall. Click here for a set list and you be the judge as to whether there were enough oldies. As I mentioned I liked the last song, Gossamer, and the encore started with The Vines' hit Get Free with guest artists The Vines. Totally rockin' version too.

Did I mention that the gig was at Luna Park? Well it was.

Who'd have a roller parked at Luna Park? I think the ribbon gives it away. Down under the harbour bridge is a nice spot for wedding snaps. But at almost midnight? I hope their guests weren't waiting for them at the reception.

Friday, 15 October 2010


From the same guys who brought us our favourite tapas restaurant Bodega we now have the very new and very popular Porteño. Porteño is a stylised as an Argentine grill house. As far as I can tell that is true but that is like saying Bodega is only a tapas joint. Terry Durack gives it a score of 16 out of 20 right off the bat. That will be enough for them to be awarded two Hats in the next Good Food Guide. It will be well deserved too because some of the stuff being served here is as good as it gets. The suckling pig for example is as about as good as I've ever had. Pilu at Freshwater and a restaurant in Madrid that claims to be the oldest continually operating restaurant in the world were the previous champions for suckling pig. Now I think we have a three way tie.

The lamb was divine as was the veal tongue and pork pate. We didn't try the morcilla blood sausage this time with Michelle being in the family way and all but next time... It isn't all about the meat though. Argentine grills are renowned for their meat, and Porteño is no exception, but most of their vegie dishes are excellent too. A couple of the vegie dishes are down right sublime especially the deep fried brussel sprouts. The egg plant was yummy too.

We'd heard the team from Bodega were going to be opening a new restaurant here some time ago so we had fairly high expectations. We were confident enough to even drag along the in-laws to a place we'd hadn't been before and that had only been opened for about a month. It didn't help matters much knowing they had the same no bookings policy they have at Bodega. That meant we had to rock up early. We got there at 6.30 and the place was already pumping but they managed to find us the last table for four available and right under the gaze of a portrait of Eva and Juan Peron.

Sarah, our hostess and co-owner of Porteño, is as delightful and cheerful here as she was at Bodega considering she probably has to deal with three times as many punters in an area you could drop four Bodegas in. She probably sets an impossibly high standard for her staff to follow but having said that our waiter was pretty good. So with great service and awesome food and it is only 7 minutes walk from home will we back? You betcha.

My pictures of the food are crappier than usual - in the words of the immortal Homer Simpson, "Can't talk... Eating"

Porteño is at 358 Cleveland Street Surry Hills.