wasabi king prawns with sweet mango & basil seed; parcels of prosperity (mini deep-fried Chinese croissants with finely chopped prawns

My dad grew up in a kampung in Malaysia, one of fourteen (that’s right, you read right, fourteen) children. The family were farmers and fishermen, definitely not wealthy folk, so as you can imagine, meal time everyday was literally a battle for the last grains of rice, and if you’re lucky, like if you’ve been really good that day, you might be allowed to add some soy sauce, to give the rice a little flavour.

Growing up with these values, my dad became an incredibly thrifty man ~ not embarrassingly stingy (although sometimes just plain old embarrassing!) ~ but thrifty. He never spends frivolously (clearly not a hereditary trait, a la moi), he uses everything until it’s broken and then he uses it for five more years, and most importantly, my dad never ever splurges on food, especially Chinese food (because Chinese food is meant to be cheap and his idea of extravagant is a $20 per head – and that’s Aussie dollars – banquet). 

So when my friends and I dined at Kai Mayfair on Friday night, all I could think was oh my gawd my dad would keel over right there in his organic veggie patch if he knew I was spending a small fortune on Chinese food.

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honey lemon glazed chicken drumsticks

I always pictured that back in the day of the caveman, men ~ rugged, muscly, grunty… dirty, hairy, smelly (hmm, time seems to have changed not very much at all) ~ would wield their giant (chicken drumstick) clubs and trudge off with fellow grunty cavemen to hide behind some thorny scrubs and stake out their prey. And here they would sit patiently, occasionally scratching their derrière (an acitivity which seems to have thrived over the millennia), waiting for the perfect prey. 

Eventually, they’ll hear a rustle of movement as a gaggle (gaggle? I don’t actually know the correct term for a group of women, except for god-fearing-stampeding-horde during the Christmas sales) of cavewomen return from their daily mudbath, cleansed and all up to date with the most current cave gossip. At the sight of the soft curvaceousness of this fairer gender, the cavemen leap from their hiding place, brandishing their (honey glazed chicken drumstick) clubs in the air and charge, clubbing their chosen prey over the head.

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strawberry pavlova and chocolate lamington, from Toast Australia Festival

Ok, wishful thinking calling myself a beauty. While I am from the land down under and did try to be beautiful and even though beauty is apparently only skin deep, my natural reaction to claw, kick and bi-atch fight anyone who stands between my food and I pretty much vetoes my right to all beauty, including that of the inner variety, which is normally hidden below layers of flubber.

So be it. Eating is so much more rewarding anyway.

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blackberries with blackberry sorbet & blackberry macaroon; funky art deco; Mr Thilbault's garden vegetables with pea soup & chorizo ice cream

Saturday evening saw me skadoodling down Oxford Street in brand new 6-inch platform sandals, a silk floral-printed bubble dress (my man believes that the bubble is inarguably the most unflattering style to have ever befallen womankind) pinched at the waist with a faux-croc Karen Millen belt and my prized baby Mulberry clutch.

This is me stupendously dressed up, an event which occurs annually at best, and testament to the fact that girls dress up not to impress you boys, but to razzle-dazzle other girls, because I’m enroute to a dinner date with my gal pal, and believe me when I say I have never, nor will I ever teetered my way down Oxford Street in 6-inch heels for any man (ok, except George Clooney maybe).

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low fat blueberry muffins

There’s this person in my kitchen. She looks a little like me, a tornado of a midget whizzing around, pouring, clanking, mixing, wiping ~ generally making an atomic-flour-bomb of a mess. I think she’s baking, which is simply a bizarre concept for me to grasp because she looks like me, but I don’t bake. I just do not bake.

And there are  good reasons why I don’t bake, the main one being that I have trouble with measurements. I don’t own a measuring cup, measuring spoons, kitchen scales or any other tool of a self-respecting baker (including the obligatory cake tin, muffin tray and mixing bowl). My attitude towards measurements is nonchalant at best and I’m a true believer that a ‘pinch’, a ‘dab’ and a ‘splash’ are completely acceptable measurements for the perfect amount of spice/sauce/anything.  

So while she looks curiously like my doppelgänger, I’m still sure she isn’t me because damn if I’m ever going to be caught using measuring spoons.

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