Archive for ‘Culture’

September 6, 2012


Recently, while trawling for recipes involving Oreo’s,  i found a cooking website called Smitten Kitchen. Her wonderful pictures and fresh home-created, and sometimes  traditional, family recipes inspired me to dive into this complex (but fun) chocolate cake roll recipe.

Here’s my attempt…..

If you’re up for the challenge, heres’ the recipe straight from smitten Kitchen…

Cake layer:
6 ounces semisweet bittersweet chocolate, chopped or 1 cup semi- or bittersweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons water or strong coffee
6 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, divided

1 cup heavy or whipping cream
2 to 3 tablespoons powdered sugar (use more if you prefer a sweeter filling)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 to 2 tablespoons liqueur of your choice, such as Grand Marnier

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter or oil a 10-by-15-inch shallow baking or jellyroll pan. Line the bottom lengthwise with a piece of waxed or parchment paper that extends up the short sides one inch.

Melt chocolate with water or coffee in a small saucepan over very low heat until it is 75 percent melted. Remove from heat and stir until the remaining chocolate is smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

Beat egg yolks with an electric mixer until pale and creamy. Add sugar gradually, and continue to beat until yolks are pale and ribbony. Gently stir the chocolate into the yolk mixture.

In a clean bowl with clean beaters, beat egg whites with salt until they hold stiff peaks. Stir 1/4 of egg white mixture into the chocolate-yolk mixture to lighten it. Fold the remaining whites into the cake batter in three additions. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until cake layer feels dry (but very soft) to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. It will still seem a little underbaked.

Transfer to a cooling rack and cover the top with a light damp towel or two layers of damp paper towels for 10 minutes. Gently remove towels; don’t fuss if they have a bit of cake stuck to them. Run a knife around the edges of the cake. Sift one tablespoon cocoa over the top of the cake and cover the cake with a thin tea or flour sack towel [Updated: To clarify some cake rolling confusion, the prior directions had you roll the cake with a piece of waxed paper underneath, towel on top. In hindsight, the cake is much easier to roll with a towel underneath, as my photos show]

] that is a little longer than the pan. Place the back of a baking sheet or a large flat tray over the towel and invert the cake and paper onto it. Gently peel back the parchment or waxed paper that lined the pan. Sift the remaining tablespoon of cocoa powder over the top of the cake (that was, one minute ago, the underside). Using the towel underneath to help lift and roll the cake, roll the cake from short end to short end with the towel inside. Let cool completely, encased in its towel.

Once cool, beat heavy cream with powdered sugar and vanilla until it holds stiff peaks. Get your serving plate ready and place it near your cake roll. Gently unroll chocolate cake and remove tea towel. [Try to get the tea towel to the hamper without touching anything, as it is saturated with smudgy cocoa and trust me, can mess up a white kitchen fast.] Spread whipped cream filling evenly over cake. Gently use waxed or parchment paper once again to reroll cake. Place on serving platter, seam side down.

If you’re fancier than us, you can now garnish it with shaved white or dark chocolate or even a drizzle of each, melted; raspberries are pretty too. Serve immediately in 1-inch thick slices or refrigerate until needed. This cake is best to serve on the first day it is made. It’s still delicious after that, but the whipped cream filling does begin to deflate a little into the cake spiral.

Good Luck!!!



July 25, 2012

Van it for Splendour

If only we had the time (and money) to decorate a caravan and glamp it in style for Splendour.

Here is our wish list for next year…



July 9, 2012

Photography Love – Julia Trotti

Oh my lordy lord! This is the kind of photography most of us could only ever dream of being able to create.

Julia Trotti has solidified herself as a major player in the Australian creative industry. Not just dabbling in conceptional photography but throwing her own seductive spin on fashion, music and weddings. Her work has been featured in oh too many publications to mention, and her skills have been consigned to shoot some of the biggest bands and events in Oz.

Here is just a taste of what Julia Trotti has to offer up to the photographic gods…

Even more enticing than her online portfolio is her blog ‘I have something to tell you’ where Julia often spoils us with sneak peek shoots and inspirational ideas.

Now you can love her like we do.



July 4, 2012

Favourite Things – Vintage and Handmade Markets

Favourite Things – Vintage & Handmade Markets celebrated their grand opening at Beach Road Hotel last Saturday. There was a selection of homemade and vintage treasures to fill your wardrobes, delicious food and funky beats to help erase your Winter blues.  Here are just a few photos we snapped on the day…

We’ll be down there again this Saturday to enjoy a few refreshments, meet the locals and make new friends. We also have new additions to our Pre-Loved Collection, so keep your eyes peeled for a sneak peek tomorrow!

Stall Holders: Mitty Malou, Sillier Than Sally, Vintage Lola, Fox and Beau, Eat Art Truck,  Coco’s Buds, Vonnie’s Vintage, Barrett Soy Candles, rain&hale

Favourite Things Vintage & Handmade Markets
Every Saturday 10 am – 4pm

Beach Road Hotel – Upstairs on Level 1
 71 Beach Rd (corner Glenayr Ave), Bondi Beach

July 2, 2012

The best of the Blue Mountains

What to do in the middle of Winter? Go where it’s even colder, of course! From the giftwear haven of Leura, to the mix-and-match mall of Katoomba, to the gourmet selections of Blackheath, the Blue Mountains have something for everyone. The Hughster and I piled up the car and made the short two hour drive up to the Mountains over the weekend and thought we’d share our favourite everythings with you.


The Great Pretender – Owner and devotee of all things vintage and chic Linda Steven has just opened another shop around the corner from her first love, The Kween’s Emporium. We had a good old chat about the fashion industry and our love for great vintage finds. Linda has been collecting fabulous frocks and accessories for many years now, so she knows a thing or two. She’s currently busy setting up shop for The Great Pretender just off the main strip in Katoomba. The label specialises in reproducing a range of retro-inspired frocks, all from original patterns that she’s collected over the years. All styles are sized 6-22 to cover all shapes and sizes – if you like to dress like a real lady, then this is the one-stop-shop for you! For more info on this great find, visit and ‘like’ her shop here. The Great Pretender is located in Katoomba, at 69 Waratah Street.

Victory Theatre Antiques – Now, if you’re on the hunt for some collectables, this is the place to go, a two-storey building full to the brim with antiques, one-offs and trashy treasures. You could spend hours in there, so luckily they have a cafe at front to satisfy your hunger pangs from all the browsing you’ll be doing. Located at 17-19 Govetts Leap Road, Blackheath.

If you can’t get enough, we also found some great vintage stores in Leura, we recommend Leura Vintage and Mrs Peel.



This small restaurant, hidden away in the regional town of Blackheath, attracts foodies from near and far who come here for the mouth-watering menu. Chef Phillip Searle’s cooking is sensational, the pilgrimage from Sydney is well worth the petrol money. Housed in an old bakery (with the baker’s oven still intact – and in use!), the decor is simple yet warm. After struggling to pick a dish each from the hand-written menu, we ordered spicy smoked trout cakes with light shellfish sauce and glazed duckling sausage with beetroot & orange relish. Then for our main-course we shared the barramundi & sesame coat with artichoke & shiitake ragout, and roast glazed pork with spicy papaya salad. Despite our curiosity to try the restaurant’s famous Chequerboard ice cream, we couldn’t bring ourselves to eat another thing (although we still managed a few toasted marshmallows back at the cottage later on). 33 Govetts Leap Rd, Blackheath 02 4787 6899

Our other gastronomical favourites included:

Good coffee/hot chocolate – Nikita Espresso Bar 179 Leura mall, Leura

Gourmet Deli – Leura Gourmet 159 The Mall, Leura

Booze – The Carrington Cellars & Deli  Parke Street, Katooomba

Best Cocktail – Apple Bar 2488 Bells Line of Road Bilpin


A trip to Govetts Leap lookout for breathtaking views over the endless valleys and rivers was as far as we got nature-wise. For those more outdoor-inclined, there are hundreds of walks around the mountains, ranging in difficulty and length. A drive down to the gorgeous Megalong Valley is also a nice option, where you can find horse-riding, vineyards and tea rooms.

Note: Thermals are essential.

June 30, 2012

Vegas Love – Best Shopping Destinations

Have you scrapped Las Vegas as a holiday destination? Don’t think it’s going to be your cup of tea? Think again. Vegas is more than just late nights and pitchers of margaritas, it’s also long days pounding the pavement to hit up some of the best shopping spots I have ever been to. Here is my pick of the best spots Vegas has to offer…

Best In-Casino Shopping

The Venetian Grand Canal Shoppes: A large variety of high-end boutiques spanning all the way through to the neighbouring Palazzo Casino, with plenty of cafes and romantic canal rides.

Caesars Palace: The BIGGEST and best in casino shopping and host to 3 floors of H&M. Save a whole day for this place.

Planet Hollywood: Miracle Mile is one big circle of great shopping including a Sephora and is home to Vegas’ only Urban Outfitters.

Best Vegas Outlets – There are 3 outlets worthy of a trip….

Premium Outlets North: Mostly outdoor and at a lower price range, the north outlets are a great place for a bargain hunter.

Premium Outlets South: About a 15 drive from the strip, the south outlets are indoors and are a little more on-trend than the north.

Primm Valley Fashion Outlets: The best by far in my opinion, and worth the 40 minute drive from the strip. Constantly hosting great sales with personal favourites being a Kate Spade and a Converse store.

Best outer-Casino Shopping

There is only one actual shopping centre for me in Vegas…

Fashion Show Mall : All my favourite stores in one, with a brand new Topshop and TOPMAN!!

If you’re not convinced, click on the links to check them out yourself…



June 20, 2012

Girl Crush – Kelly Mittendorf

Photos by Matthew Priestley

Discovered on

June 14, 2012

Select Music’s 7th Birthday

Sydney-based Select Music is a multi-functional music company.  Even if the name doesn’t ring a bell, you’re bound to have had plenty of contact with them if you enjoy Aussie music. Their reach covers artist management, touring, venue consultancy and event promotion. With a seemingly never-ending roster (including Boy and Bear, Midnight Juggernauts, Tim Finn and Bluejuice), they are proud to have helped to unearth some of Australia’s top talent in recent years.

Having commenced proceedings back in 2005, they’re turning seven this year. To celebrate their birthday, they’re throwing a rather large party on Thursday 21st June. A charity fundraiser for beyondblue, the shindig will be held at four of the Oxford St precinct’s hottest venues, with a tantalising smorgasbord of Australia’s best musicians showing their wares over the evening.

Featuring Select Music artists playing across UPSTAIRS BERESFORD, THE STANDARD, OXFORD ART FACTORY (Main Room + Gallery) & PHOENIX BAR

Andy Bull, Argentina, Ball Park Music, Bluejuice, Bob Evans, Elizabeth Rose, Emma Louise, Hungry Kids of Hungary, The John Steel Singers, Josh Pyke, The Jungle Giants,  Lior, Midnight Juggernauts DJs, Millions, The Mission In Motion, Nantes, The Paper Scissors DJs, Pluto Jonze, The Preachers, Purple Sneakers DJs, RÜFÜS, Spit Syndicate, Step-Panther, Strangers, Tokyo Denmark Sweden, Toucan, The Walking Who

Tickets can be purchased here for just $20!

Who is Hughster? Check out his and other r&h guest bloggers profiles here.

June 13, 2012

Lindsay or Megan?

So, it’s been confirmed. Lindsay Lohan will play Elizabeth Taylor in the upcoming movie about Elizabeth and her tumultuous love affair with Richard Burton; Aptly named ‘Liz & Dick’.

Although some people seem to be pleasantly surprised by her likeness, we think Megan Fox, who also vied for the part, is a much better choice aesthetically. Unfortunately rumour has it that she just didn’t have what it took to play the glamorous 60’s icon.

What do you think?


 Filming continues as we speak so no trailer so far but the release date is rumoured to be released October this year. We’re looking forward to this almost as much as ‘My week with Marilyn’.



June 1, 2012

Hughster’s June Gig Guide

Thursday 7th June: Winter People – Oxford Art Factory – $12 + bf

After the cancellations of the Playground Weekender and Secret Garden Festivals, fans will finally get a chance to see Winter People live. They have a run of East Coast tour dates in support of the release of their debut EP “Gallons”.

Thursday 14th June: Oliver Tank – Oxford Art Factory – $12+ bf

 Currently completing a tour of the UK including a stop at the Great Escape Festival, this will be Oliver Tank’s home-coming. After last year’s incredible “Dreams” EP won him rave reviews, he’s completed new music recently in anticipation of his next EP.

Friday 15th June: Founds/Fire!Santa Rosa, Fire! – The Standard – $12 + bf

Two of the best unsigned bands floating around at the moment, they’re teaming up to show off their considerable talents. Both bands are slightly left of centre in their music and performance, so this should be a considerably special occasion.

Thursday 21st June: Select Music’s 7th Birthday – Various – $20

Rain&Hale favourites Toucan will be joining an all-star cast to celebrate Select Music’s 7th Birthday. The likes of Bluejuice, Ball Park Music, the Preachers, the John Steel Singers and Hungry Kids of Hungry will be lending their talents during the evening – to be held at four Darlinghurst/Surry Hills venues. Huge.

Friday 22nd June: Deep Sea Arcade – Beach Road Hotel – Free

 Listing the Beatles and Doors as some of their influences, you can get a feel of what Deep Sea Arcade’s music is like. Their debut album “Outlands” was Triple J’s feature album back in April, so we’re obviously not the only ones in love with their psychedelic-pop stylings.

Saturday 23rd June: Mosman Alder – FBi Social (King’s X Hotel) – $10

 Brisbane’s Mosman Alder will be playing at this year’s Splendour in the Grass Festival, but you can catch them for a fraction of the cost a month earlier. Their East Coast tour is in line with the release of their debut EP “Burn Bright”, a gorgeous piece of brooding exquisiteness.

Who is Hughster? Check out his and other r&h guest bloggers profiles here.