Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Video Posts - do you want them?

Hi guys

I'm looking at changing things up on Cooking in Choos for the New Year and one thing I was thinking of doing was adding some video posts. Before I do this though I was wondering what you all think about it? Would you like to see me start this up and what would you like to see me post on? I'm thinking a few how-to recipe posts to begin with and maybe a few celeb/chef interviews - so what do you think? I'd love to hear from you B x

Sunday, December 5, 2010

What's Cooking, good looking - my fave dishes of the week

So after a few quiet months I've reacquainted myself with the kitchen and decided to start blogging on one of my favourite things - food! This means I'll be documenting some of my successes in the kitchen and passing on their recipes to you. I'll also be visiting Perth's hottest restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs as well as any others I visit around Australia and giving you my take on them.

Tonight though I start with my cooking. So after eating the same old, same old (think stir-fry, curries, and steak and mash) week after week, hubby and I decided it was time to jazz things up in our weekly dinner routine and with a library of cookbooks to help us on our way it was Bill Granger, Giada De Laurentis and Masterchef 2009 contestant Justine Schofield's dishes that came up trumps.

Here are the results:

Wednesday's dish: Bill's Spankopita

Friday night's take-out night; in: Justine's Grilled Chicken burgers


Saturday night, date night: Giada's Sage & Butter Tortellini:

Do you get creative in the kitchen? If so what are some of your fave dishes? Would love to hear from you & in the meantime keep cooking B xoxo

P.S If you would like to try any of these recipes feel free to drop me a line!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Who's Sexiest People for 2010


Now just to finish off my posting for the evening, how hot are our Aussie ladies looking? Now don't get me wrong I love me some Kimmy K, but how stunningly beautiful are our Aussies gals Jessica Marais, Jennifer Hawkins and my personal fave Natalie hasn't-she-made-a-comeback Imbruglia looking on the cover of the new Who mag? Just gorgeous. Nice work Who, it's great to see these Aussie beauties taking centre stage - love it. Til next time Belle xo


Life Makeover

Following the Oprah post how appropriate is it that I launch into My Life Makeover post. Every so often we go through changes, big, small and some just so damn meaningful. We need them to keep us on our toes and stop us from becoming complacent - well that's how I've decided to look at it anyway.

This year I've gone through a few changes I'd like to share with you all (that's if' you're interested otherwise read the other posts some of them are quite entertaining if this one isn't your thing.....just don't leave - please). Note-to-self wreaking of desperation does not a great blogger make! Moving on shall we.


  • Career move: I've been lucky enough to combine two things that I love doing into the one job while continuing my passion on the side. It's been great because not only am I loving what I do all day long, I come home and get to dabble with my creative side. It's a win-win situation.

  • Learning: You should never stop learning and you should try something new everyday. I did a little bit of this over the year and I can honestly say I've come out a better person. The goal for next year is to continue the growth.

  • Travel: Having travelled to some of the most amazing parts of the world this year, I've certainly contracted the Travel Bug - again. With a couple of interstate travel plans already on the cards for next year I can safely say I think this bug is here to stay.

So there are mine, now what are yours? Have you had any changes in your life - big or small, I'd love to hear from you. Belle xo

Confused at the pic that follows this post? It's just one of the makeovers I pulled on our non-suspecting guest room, now transformed into my office/study. Painted & completed all on my own - mission accomplished.






The Big O


Those who know me, know how much I love, love, love Oprah Winfrey, and no don't worry I'm not going to rant and rave about how much I would have loved to have won those tickets to her December shows at the Opera House......but hey Miss O if you read this - you and me, chillaxing at The Ivy - can you see it - I can!!!
Anyhoo, you get the picture, I love her (I mean who asks their girlfriends to buy Oprah's 20th Anniversary DVD special for her 30th bday- me that's who!) and everything she stands for and just like the gazillions of followers I often find myself morphing into a version of her.
HUH I hear you say, OK let me explain. Before the Big O became the Big O, there was Donahue and Rikki Lake (for the Gen YĆ©rs reading, google them, they were huge in 90s). Phil Donahue was known for his tough talking, no-holds-barred debates and really set the benchmark for the whole talk show circle. Rikki Lake on the other hand was better known for her catch-cry Go Rikki, Go Rikki as well as her weight-loss, weight-gain trials and tribulations (ala Miss O).

Again I digress, my point is while both of these television personalities had their place on day-time TV neither of them (or those who have come after) had the influential power of the Divine Miss O. I often find myself (just like the other gazillion) going out and buying books from the Oprah Book Club (studious Oprah), taking on the '"don't eat anything after 7pm diet" (hungry Oprah) and sponsoring a woman from the Democratic Republic of Congo (philanthropic Oprah).
It doesn't end there either a lot of my vocab is Oprahphied too. I often hear myself asking - What do you know for certain, while having an A-HA moment, conducting a Life Makeover all while wearing my "I'm an Obama Mama" tee - see CRAZY!!!
The point is....well there really is no point - I just think she is wonderful and someone I aspire to. And hey, she aint that bad (for all you haters out there tsk tsk), I could do a hell of a lot worse...Just think if we all took a leaf out of her book, what a better place the world would be.....ahhhh OK, bare with me while I jump off my soap box - that's better!!!
OH and Oprah if you do happen to read this, two tix to the Sydney show would not go astray - love ya - PEACE!
Til next time Belle xo





Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Race that stops the Nation

So I'm feeling a little sorry for myself today, because unlike the rest of the Australia (or so it seems) I'm going to be confined to four walls working, instead of in the sunshine, frocked up, sipping champagne and punting at one of the greatest events on our nation's social calender - The Melbourne Cup!

ARGGGGGGGGGH Now that I've got that off my chest I feel a hell of a lot better. You see Melbourne Cup for me has become a bit of a traditional holiday and why it's not a public holiday is beyond me, I mean doesn't the Queen have enough birthdays but that's another post altogether! I digress anyhoo - Almost every year with the odd exception I have the day off and head out to Ascot or Flemington (OK, we did it once but it does sound so nice when you say it!!!!) with my girlfriends, have a drink and lastly place the all important bet. I love it and not just because you get to glam up and have a drink. I genuinely enjoy the big occasion, the race and the atmosphere.

Over the years I've gotten to know a bit more about horseracing too and trust me, this helps especially when you have a twenty on one (see not a big gamble but I get involved). The studying usually starts before Spring Carnival and end around Stakes Day. I go through the form guide, look at the trainer, find out who the jockey is and I've got this all down to a real fine art.

This year however with the whole work thing "getting in the way of life" I've not given it a second glance and I miss it, I really do. So with that in mind the planning is in place and guess where I'll be this time next year? Yep you betcha Flemington!!!


So what is that you're all getting up to today? Have you got a special Melbourne Cup Luncheon to attend, are you hitting up Ascot or even better Flemington? Oh and have you picked a winner? Would love to hear from you, Belle xo

Pic: Melbourne Cup 2008 with the girls at Flemington L to R: Belinda, Jade, Myself and sister Nelita.




Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tips to care for your tools

A good tool kit is a must for every home gardener, so how can you maintain your tools to ensure they last?

http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/lifestyle/a/-/habitat/7860996/tips-to-care-for-your-tools/

Saturday, September 18, 2010

An Aussie Shout Out!!

Hey guys just wanted to say a big HELLO to all of you who are following me from around the world. I can't believe in the last month I've had followers from the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, Poland, Slovenia, South Africa, Sweden, Norway and New Zealand - WELCOME & thank you for stopping by!!

It would also be remiss of me to not mention all the Aussies coming back time and time again to have a sneak peak at what I've been up, so big G'DAY to all of you too. I hope I'm not boring you too much.

Anyways stay tuned for more blogs on my hols as well as a little on what I thought of this year's PFF & how I feel about Oprah's Aussie Adventure (YEAH JUST A LITTLE EXCITED).
B xo

Friday, July 30, 2010

Celebrity Stakeouts Abroad

OK, OK, OK I hear ya - I'm SORRY!!!!! I know I've neglected you & have been M.I.A but the truth is.......well there really is no excuse I've been LIVING IT UP & I aint sorry about it HAHA!!!

OK now that I've got that off my chest I can tell you all the juicy details about my northern hemisphere adventure, oh hang on I went to Mexico so that's not right...............ANYWAYS back to it.

Regular readers of my blog will know I just embarked on an adventure of a lifetime - a round-the-world trip to the US, Mexico, Paris & Hong Kong. It was a long time in the making but something none of us (there was up to 7 of us at certain stops) will ever forget.

So I promised to blog about it & yes you're right I didn't..............while overseas BUT now I'm back I'm going to fill you in on some of the most exciting parts of our stops and hopefully entertain you with our crazy antics (trust me there were many).

I've always wanted to visit the US but really only ever wanted to see New York & Chicago (yes I'm a crazed Oprah fan love,. love, love her) however the chance to stop by LA or LA LA Land as it's affectionately known was just too good to pass up (afterall I am ridiculously intrigued with celebritydom - is that even a word).

My celebrity radar is just that - a radar. It senses celebrities, personalities and sports stars a mile away and on leaving Perth I had to put it into use...............at the AIRPORT (yep that's how good it is it started at sleepyPerth Airport).

As I Tweeted, Facebooked and texted my friends their responses came thick and fast - where, when, WHAT! and you always spot them, were the comments that flew back at me. All up I spotted seven but technically almost eight during the whole stint not bad for six weeks.

So here are the names and yes some I'm sure you won't have even heard of them but none-the-less they made my cut.

Perth Airport: The 7PM Project's Carrie Bickmore about to board a plane back to Melbourne and England Rugby Union star Jonny Wilkinson about to board the plane with me and the rest of the team woop woop - here's the evidence:


San Jose Del Cabo Airport: Yep that's right - another airport. Here I spotted Disney star Demi Lovato (apparently huge in the US and an ex gf of one of the Jonas Bros & again apparently big in Hollywood)with her sister & Desperate Housewives star Madison Delagarza (think Gabi Soulis'little girl Juanita) on an American Airlines flight to LA. I didn't get any photos of either because when I noticed Madison she was already comfortably sitting in her business class seat ready for take off.

BOA Steakhouse, Sunset Blvd:This hip LA hotspot is where many Hollywood A-listers come for a good feed (apparently Denzel Washington is there every fortnight when he's not busy filming or working it on Broadway). We visited BOA on Father's Day as did the Kardashian Klan minus Kourtney & Scott. Again no photos were taken because we only realised they were there (they were actually sitting directly in front of us but were in a separate booth hidden from the rest of the restaurant) after we saw the paparazzi go nuts when they left. I then saw the whole scene replayed over and over the next day on TMZ.

LAX Airport:Yet again at another airport I see Keith Urban walk straight past me. I was frantically searching for my Qantas Club card to enter the Admirals Lounge & he waltzed straight past me; no time for pics or even a hello - NOTHING!!

SOHO New York while on the SATC Tour:In my drunken state (yes I was drunk on the tour - long story & maybe best left for next blog)I still managed to get a pic -dodgy but none-the-less still a pic of Mickey Rourke who was out shopping with his woman. He also dropped some cash on the ground so we got extra time to get good pics - again sorry for the quality of mine. Here tis:
Chanel Paris:Our second last stop took us to Paris & I never thought I would see anybody else after leaving the US - but I did! After buying my Louis bag we headed towards Chanel and I noticed a whole heap of photographers outside. I politely asked one pap who was inside and he mutter Paris Hilton! This time I was not going to let the opportunity to pap her myself go by. Here's the proof:
So that's it, they're the celebs I got to see while away. Have you guys come papped out your favourite star? Did you get to meet them & if so what were they like? I'd love to hear from you xo

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tips to keep your home warm

Try these tips to help keep your home snug this winter and you'll not only reduce your energy use, you'll also save on heating costs.

To read the full article visit: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/lifestyle/a/-/habitat/7415010/tips-to-keep-your-home-warm/

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The right recipe for a catering career

It wasn't long ago when working in hospitality was considered something you did until a "real" job came along but, according to managing director of Australian School of Tourism and Hotel Management Alan Williams, this is no longer the case.

To read the full article visit: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/lifestyle/a/-/food/7408812/the-right-recipe-for-a-catering-career/

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Summer Flavours

A WISE man once told me I could “indulge in the taste of Italy without leaving Perth” - truer words could not have been spoken. This wise man I speak of? Maurizio Di Ciano of Maurizio Restaurant & Events Catering.
Summer flavours Octopus Salami a light refreshing dish with a slice of lemon and wine citrus, dry, sharp at the end but still very long in flavour. Served similiarly to carpaccio it’s a great starter. Salt and pepper citronelle needs lemon served with Mavasia Bianca – Alfonsia – just beautiful.
We tried the papardelle with broad beans, tomatoes and potatoes nestled in a bed of parmesan crisp. This dish was colourful, unique and light and great for those ladies who like to lunch.
There was definitely a theme coming through the dishes – Summer. Light fresh flavours had my palate dancing for joy. Side serve of potatoes, capsicum, eggplant, zucchini, beans and carrots.
Swordfish served with Etna Doc was you guessed it light and delicious and the beautiful flavours. Straight from the ocean but no fishy flavour in sight, you see the trick to good seafood is when it’s fresh there is no smell (again words of the wise man). Caught here in the waters of WA Maurizio loves to use local products keeping both the consumer and supplier very happy.
Char-grilled baby lamb marinated in rosemary and extra virgin olive oil. Again what says spring more than lamb. Light and served with finocchio on a bed of greens. The feenel balances the flavours of the lamb and matched with the wine it was a great match, Cooked medium the lamb was tender and juicy and the wine brought out the flavour of the rosemary and the pepper highlighted the flavour.
What I like about Maurizio is his food is simple and delicious – what Italian food is all about really. His Italian fare transports you instantly to gorgeous villa somewhere in Italy. Italians are a proud bunch and love nothing more than to look after their guests and Maurizio and his staff do this in spades. Going over and beyond the call of duty to satisfy our tastebuds.
The Fresh Fruit Tart was a gorgeous tart made with apple, strawberry, kiwi fruit and rockmelon served on a shortbread crust and was something I certainly imagine enjoying on a summer’s day. This flan was light and fruity and nice way to move onto our more decadent dessert the Orange Chocolate Mouse. Maurizio teamed the tart with an Asti which was just delightful.
The Orange Chocolate Mouse served in an a ginger waffle basket had my colleague in seventh heaven and not coming down anytime soon. This dessert certainly packed a punch and was decadent but not heavy – just gorgeous. Maurizio introduced us to the dessert wine the ombretto which had traces of cinnamon, almond, licquorice and cloves. Indulgent and We felt extremely honoured to be trying it as he told us the background of the wine. It was served at Barack Obama’s Presidential Dinner and all I could think of was Yes we can!
Our last surprise treat was a cheese and fruit platter with various types of cheeses including one of my favourite things truffle infused pecorino. This was a beautiful way to finish off my Italian dining experience here in Perth. I have to say I’ve been to Maurizio’s several times and each time it gets better and better. Talk show queen and president Obama’s friend Oprah often asks what one knows for certain and I can honestly say this is what I know for certain – Maurizio Restaurant and Events Catering never disappoints.

Modern Mediterranean on the Upper-Seaside

Slick with an old-school twist is how I’d best describe the newly revamped Gigi’s on George in what I like to call - the upper-seaside, East Freo.Tucked away at the end of funky George Street, Gigi’s has been around for a little while but has recently undergone a makeover and on the day we visited it seems I wasn’t the only one to notice with suits from all over the Fremantle area, too discovering my latest find.Greeted by duty manager Amanda Sullivan we were given their latest menu which was not only extensive but featured an array of local fresh produce including the Blue Swimmer Crab Cakes.As well as some fantastic menu options (including tapas) Gigi’s has a great drink’s menu on offer too, so to start us off bar manager Johannes DeWet organised a Mojito to whet our appetites.While we waited for our entrees I took a closer look at the changes at Gigi’s, which included the bar area great for tapas and drinks after work.Inside the polished look of crisp, white table cloths and black leather chairs combined with the contrast of the heritage listed building’s high ceilings and old style fire places added to the charm that is Gigi’s.But now onto the food because that’s what it’s all about – right?Sipping our Mojitos (which by the way was refreshing and the perfect way to start our dining experience) Amanda presented us with Artichoke Hearts, Blue Swimmer Crab Cakes and Japanese Seared Scallops.The scallops coincidentally reminded me of spring – light, so colourful and fresh. Topped with parmesan crisps and pepperonata they were nestled in a light tomato veloute’ and looked so good I didn’t want to touch them – but I did and boy they were good.On the other hand the Artichoke Hearts were very earthy, though not tough like some I’ve had before. Served with truffle infused breadcrumbs, herbs and Parmesan, it was another great starter.My colleague tried the Crab Cakes which were nestled on a bed of greens.He commented they were battered nicely without being greasy or too thick – delicious!Next up were our mains, the Pan Fried Gnocchi, Fish of the Day and Char Grilled Fillet steak teamed up with the Babo 2008 Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie (a versatile wine suited to all dishes).I tried the Gnocchi first. You see being married to an Italian you always compare freshly made pasta to the one your nonna or in my case mother-in-law makes.My verdict – to die for! And that’s saying something.Freshly made that morning head chef Ricky Lim did an outstanding job with my favourite edible fluffy pillows.Melt in your mouth pieces of gnocchi combined with the spring (I know there’s that word again) flavours of zucchini, eggplant, pumpkin, red pepper fondue, olive oil topped with shaved Parmesan danced around in my mouth causing a commotion I’m not quite used to – spectacular.The Fish of the Day – Seared Yellowfin Tuna was cooked to perfection and was not fishy at all. Served with a side salad of basil, tomato, potato and boccocini, it was absolutely delightful and great match for the Babo 2008 Pinot Grigio (not only versatile but crisp and one I could of kept drinking all afternoon). The Char Grilled Fillet Steak served on a bed of potato cake and field mushroom with a side of tomato and asparagus was cooked medium rare. Tender and juicy along with the gorgeous flavours of the potato cake this dish was a winner with my colleague. Magic, was all he could say!If you think we stopped here, you’re wrong (although we probably should have).Dessert can only be described as heaven on earth.Sharing the Chocolate Crepes and Lemon and Raspberry Mousse we took our time devouring these sweet treats.The Chocolate Crepes with strawberry jam were light and fluffy and the contrast of the sour cherries made it not sickly sweet and had me wanting to finish the whole thing. The Lemon and Raspberry Mousse, Citrus Curd, Italian Meringue, well that too was delicious and being a lighter dish should have been my first option - a great way to finish off such a wonderful dining experience.
Head chef Ricky Lim said he wanted to cook modern Mediterranean food and I definitely think he has achieved this here at Gigi’s. And speaking of - who is Gigi? Does she even exist? I don’t know but one thing I do know for sure is she’s funky, flavoursome, friendly and I’m going to get to know her a whole lot better!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Gardening without the grunt

Love the idea of eating fresh home-grown produce but are put off by the hard labour that goes with it? Then try a no-dig option.WHAT IS IT?
The no-dig garden, created by building up layers of organic material which break down to form a nutrient-rich garden bed, is ideal for those who lack time, have poor growing conditions or are physically unable to tend to a traditional patch.

To read the full article visit: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/lifestyle/a/-/habitat/7320008/gardening-without-the-grunt/

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sure To Delight

By Belinda Cipriano
TRY getting into Sandrino's on a weekend without a booking and you will struggle - trust me I've tried. It's booked out weeks in advance.
However what a lot of people don't know is this popular Fremantle eatery is the perfect place to grab a quick bite to eat most days of the week.
Yes, it's gained a reputation for having lines out the door (and with good reason) but if you want a Sandrino's fix pop in during the week - you won't be disappointed, just as my colleagues and I came to find out.
First on the menu was the Antipasto platter. A colourful dish filled with all the Mediterranean treats, sure to delight the greatest of food connoisseurs, it came filled with grissini sticks, marinated vegetables, prosciutto, salmon, dips and cheese.
A meal in itself, it was an ideal meal for sharing and certainly satisfied the three of us.
Next was the bruschetta and garlic prawns. The bruschetta, with fresh, chunky tomatoes and drizzled in olive oil, was delightful and hearty.
The garlic prawns served on a bed of rice was creamy but not too sickly and was served with a Gieson Sauvagan Blanc which was crisp and refreshing, complimenting the garlic prawns perfectly.
After whetting our appetites with these delicious starters, original chef Edwin Kubale surprised us with gluten-free Pannoni pasta.
You see, what a lot of people don't know is that as well as serving freshly made pasta, Sandrino's also offers their Celiac customers a choice of gluten-free pastas and sauces. Owner Jelena Kaddour said there had been a demand for gluten-free dishes in recent years.
Our Pannoni pasta was served with chicken, mushroom, sundried tomato and spinach in a creamy sauce, and was surprisingly very light leaving room for more of the delights awaiting us.
Also on the menu was popular lunchtime treat the Beef Burger with beer battered fries, vegetable stack and seafood platter for one.
Although all dishes were delicious the one that got my nod was the seafood platter.
Now the menu tells me it is a platter for one but trust me when I say this dish more than satisfied my colleagues and me. It came with squid, prawns, salmon and red emperor, and was served with a light avocado salad. Everything was grilled to perfection and this was easily the stand out meal of the day.
My vegetarian colleague on the other hand thought the vegetable stack was the best. It was beautifully presented with zucchini, asparagus and capsicum in a tomato sauce, and she said this dish was just her.
To finish us off the homemade burger with a beef pattie, cheese, lettuce, onion and tomato sauce hit the spot.
People ask me why I keep going back to Sandrino's and I guess it's the comfort of knowing that whenever I go there I'm guaranteed a delicious feed at a great price.
To know the original chef Edwin Kubale of nine years is still going strong and owners Jelena and Sam Kaddour are two of the best in the business also gets my vote.
Add to the fact that it's tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the cappuccino strip, this Freo favourite will always remain at the top of my list time and time again.

It's pretty easy being green

Creating an eco-friendly home doesn't stop at the back door.
There are lots of ways to reduce your carbon footprint in the garden and you don't have to have a green thumb to do it.

To read the full article visit: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/lifestyle/a/-/habitat/7260984/its-pretty-easy-being-green/

A look inside a fashion designer's home

Minimal, with a blend of old and new, best describes the style of Chrissie Catling's North Perth Federation-style home. The owner of fashion label S2, a self-taught designer, shares her "peaceful sanctuary" with partner Phil, her 14-year-old daughter Lily and their two cats.

To read the full article visit: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/lifestyle/a/-/habitat/7157605/a-look-inside-a-fashion-designers-home/

Rising interior design stars take award

West Australian interior design duo Sarah Urbani and James Leyton have been highly commended in the emerging design practice category at this year's Australian Interior Design Awards.

To read the full article visit: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/lifestyle/a/-/habitat/7156608/rising-interior-design-stars-take-award/

A growing business

After working in the agricultural industry for more than 18 years, a career in environmental consulting seemed like an inevitable path for Great Gardens founder Garry Heady to follow.

To read the full article visit: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/lifestyle/a/-/habitat/7125722/a-growing-business/

Make the most of a pressure cooker

How to make the most of the new generation of pressure cookers.....

To read the full article visit: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/lifestyle/a/-/food/7051223/make-the-most-of-a-pressure-cooker/

Fifties classic back in the kitchen

As a child, I remember the hissing, splattering, exploding and ducking for cover.

I'm talking about the kitchen stalwart known as the pressure cooker.

To read the full article visit: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/lifestyle/a/-/food/7051184/fifties-classic-back-in-the-kitchen/

A guide to the season's best produce

Autumn – the time to welcome shorter days, chilly evenings and an array of many-hued fruit and vegetables that are ripe for the picking.

From pomegranate to rhubarb to borlotti beans, get cooking with these autumnal treats.

http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/lifestyle/a/-/food/7026759/a-guide-to-the-seasons-best-produce/

Freak Storm Hits Vegies

Consumers can expect to pay through the roof for local vegetables, according to Jim Turley, executive officer of Vegetables WA and Potato Growers Association.

To read full article visit: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/lifestyle/a/-/food/7026757/freak-storm-hits-vegie-prices/

An accidental part house

What do you get when you combine two unique personalities, an ideal location and an innovative and experimental design practice? That's easy - Jeremy and Sascha Sanderson-Brown's Fremantle home designed by architect Kieran Wong of CODA Studio.

To read the whole article visit: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/lifestyle/a/-/habitat/6869341/an-accidental-party-house/

Expert tips for perfect robes

If you have ever dreamt of owning a luxurious wardrobe, good enough to rival the one made famous by Sex and the City's Carrie Bradshaw, dream no more. Experts say creating the wardrobe of your dreams is not as expensive or as hard as it may seem.


http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/lifestyle/a/-/habitat/6781194/expert-tips-for-perfect-robes/

Cooking Smells So Good Outside

Turning a home inside-out is not a new concept for horticulturalist and landscape designer Jamie Durie.
The host of Channel 7's The Outdoor Room has been transforming backyards since long before daybeds were in vogue.

To read full article visit: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/lifestyle/a/-/habitat/6690781/cooking-smells-so-good-outside/

Time to refresh your habitat

Refresh your habitat with some new year style resolutions . . .

I WILL FIND NEW USES FOR EVERYDAY HOUSEHOLD ITEMS
The start of a new year is the perfect time for an interior re-vamp and, when looking for inspiration, go no further than objects around your house, says interior finishes consultant Alessandra Salomone.

To read the full article: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/lifestyle/a/-/habitat/6641806/time-to-refresh-your-habitat/

It's A Good Life

The Good Store owner Marshall Martin explains the tricks to a stress-free Christmas

To read the full article: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/lifestyle/a/-/habitat/6588623/its-a-good-life/

Designer prefers simplicity - elegance

Designer Belle Bijoux reveals why she prefers simplicity and elegance at Christmas.

To read the full article: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/lifestyle/a/-/habitat/6588515/designer-prefers-simplicity-elegance/

The Queen of Theme

Interior decorator and event stylist Jane Fordham shows us how she has prepared for Christmas.

To read the full article: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/lifestyle/a/-/habitat/6588360/the-queen-of-theme/

From Russia with Love

Lydia and Zhenya Tsvetnenko show us how they celebrate Christmas at home.

Read the full article here: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/lifestyle/a/-/habitat/6588150/from-russia-with-love/

Make it - Christmas Wreath

Ringing in the season with a DIY Christmas wreath.
Materials
·String or ribbon
·Stripped ivy
·Kurrajong foliage, nuts and flowers
·Gum leaves
·Decorative bird ornament
·Hot-glue gun

Read the full article: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/lifestyle/a/-/habitat/6488824/make-it-christmas-wreath/

Make It - Eucalyptus Christmas Wreath

Christmas is not complete without a beautiful wreath. From traditional to contemporary to handmade unique, these are our top picks for adding some festive flair to your home.

To read the full article: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/lifestyle/a/-/habitat/6488670/make-it-eucalyptus-christmas-wreath/

Perth experts reveal their seafood secrets

Perth's experts share their tips on how to take the fuss out of preparing and cooking seafood.
Brett Benjamin : Mosmans Restaurant, Mosman Park
When purchasing fresh fish, always ask your supplier if the fish has been line caught or trapped.


http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/lifestyle/a/-/food/6442476/perth-experts-reveal-their-seafood-secrets/

It's chocolate but not as we know it

Educating people on how to nourish themselves through super foods, meditation and cacao is the philosophy behind "chocolate alchemists" Willow Francis and Catherine Narbett's venture, Roar Vanilla.

To read the full article: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/lifestyle/a/-/food/6429763/its-chocolate-but-not-as-we-know-it/

Quality and all the furnishings

Margaret River-based Jah Roc took out top honours at last weekend's Furnishing Industry Association of Australia's national Furniture of the Year Awards.
Hosted by the WA branch of the FIAA, the annual awards saw more than 550 industry representatives invited to the Perth Convention Exhibition Centre to have a look at the most innovative designs on the market.

To read the full article: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/lifestyle/a/-/habitat/6382438/quality-and-all-the-furnishings/

Time to tackle the spring cleaning

Spring-cleaning may be a cliche but it's a good excuse to get motivated for a tidy-up in preparation for the new season. And the good news is, with a little expert advice the task can be easier than you think.

To read the full article: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/lifestyle/a/-/habitat/6108769/time-to-tackle-the-spring-cleaning/

Aussies love the barbecue life

With the outdoor entertaining season just around the corner, Aussies everywhere are scraping their hotplates in anticipation of their favourite time of the year - barbecue season.
But where did it all begin and how has the iconic barbie evolved?

Read full article here:http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/lifestyle/a/-/food/6222536/aussies-love-the-barbecue-life/

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

So I lied!!!

Hey guys I know I promised to blog weekly but things have been a little crazy over the last month. Want to know what I 've been up to? Where do I begin?

Regular readers of my blog will know I'm planning for my trip of a lifetime & I'm happy to say it is almost here. Everything has been booked & paid for and now all we have to do is wait.

I'm blogging today to let you know that there will DEFINITELY be more blogging as we approach take-off and during my travels.

So what have I been up to? Well April was certainly a busy month with a bunch of us organising a Quiz Night for the victims of the Madeira Islands mudslides. It was a successful event with close to 400 people attending and raising lots of money for our beloved little Island. It was hardwork but fun & definitely worth it and got me thinking I'd like to do more fundraising events in the future - more of that to come when I get back.

We've also been innundated with wedding invites this year and have so far attended five all up (and it's not even June!), we've got one more before we leave and then my bff's when I get - can't wait for that one!

Works also been crazy & I'm happy to say I've been doing a wide range roles from researching to writing about No-dig gardens & discovering Perth's Best places to wine & dine. It's been a lot of fun & has only enforced how much I love my role of FOOD JOURNALIST.

Anyway as promised I'll continue to blog about food, wine, fashion, travel & everything lifestyle so if you want to hear more please, please, please continue following my adventures.

In the meantime here are a few pics which tells the story of my last two months - Adeus x
Welcoming everyone to the Quiz Night

Jade, Neli, Myself & Josie at our cousin's wedding in July - we had a ball!!

With left over bananas I'm always creating different recipes - this one a choc banana cake!


The cooler months bring with it comfort food - this dish Beef cheeks ragu Pappardelle

More comfort food - piping hot Spanish Churros with hot choc dipping sauce - yum!!


On the search for Perth's Best Burger - this one was the Crispy Bacon & Cheeseburge from Grill'd (not the winner but close Gourmet on Wray's Chicken Parma took out this year's honours).
Getting into mode World Cup at The Down-Syndrom Butterfly Ball - such a great night!


High Tea bridal Shower at Azure in Mt Hawthorn - GORGEGOUS!!



My attempt at a fancy entree care of Sheila Mag- Grilled scallops, Haloumi & black pig prosciutto

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I'll be back!!

Hi guys - Happy happy Easter to you all & apologies for my tardiness on blogging on this site!! I've had a few things in the works and have not had a moment to scratch myself.
I will however, from now on, try to post at least once a week & bring you the latest on my cooking adventures, work & travel.
Hope you're all keeping well and enjoying the Easter long weekend because I am and you most definitely should!!
Stay safe, indulge in some sweet treats and spend quality time with those you love most.
Hugs & kisses - Cooking in Choos xo

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Selamat Datang from Penang!

Last November hubby and I were lucky enough to jet off to Penang for a few days of R&R. Those of you familiar with my blog know that we're newlyweds and we really didn't get that honeymoon (it's coming US & Paris) so to get away for a few days was exactly what the doctor ordered.

I've never visited Malaysia let alone Penang so really didn't know what to expect and apart from Singapore (which is very Westernised), the whole Asian thing was very new to me. Taking off at 5am in the morning on an Air Asia X flight (again I've never done the whole discounted airline so I was interested to see what it was all about) I felt reassured (I hate, hate, hate flying) after the big boss came over and had a chat to me!!

So how was the flight - PERFECT! There was not a thing wrong with it at all. I managed to pack some Entourage DVD's and watched Season 5 all the way there and we were also given food and drink so the time went by quite quickly.

Landing in Kuala Lumpar on the other hand was quite an experience and getting on a coach to Penang, well, that took it to a whole other level. I thought it would be a great idea (me & my great ideas) to travel to Penang by coach to see the "country side" but by the 3rd hour I was ready to kill someone! Don't get me wrong there was nothing wrong with it & had we done an over-nighter in KL the coach ride may have been pleasant but after 5hrs on a plane and another 5hrs on a coach and then an hour to our hotel (yes it was almost 12hrs of travelling time) we were over it before it even began. Even hubby who is Mr Cool, Calm and Collective started snapping at every opportunity!!

When we arrived at the hotel all I could remember was my cousin Grace's words "You're going to love it - think of it as a tropical oasis of pampering and shopping" and I immediately felt a sense of calm.

The Hard Rock Hotel opened late September on the famous Batu Ferringhis beach strip. The official opening actually happens next month and if I could recommend anywhere in Penang it would definitely be here. You see a lot of the hotels in Penang have been around for years and are quite dated with most needing a refurb. The Hard Rock on the other hand is immaculate (being new of course obviously helps), the staff ever so helpful and the food delicious. You can do whatever you want there from watersports, relaxing, eating, drinking, pampering, visit their museum and even shopping has been taken care of. Whatever you want is right at your fingertips and if need be you don't have to leave the hotel at all.

But in saying that, here are some of the things we got up to on our romantic getaway:


Relaxing by the pool, reading my fave Aussie mags!

Relaxing some more - getting a parafin pedicure on the beach - bliss


Shopping at Gurney Plaza, where I picked up a Charles & Keith bag & Gucci sunnies for AUD$140

Walking down the main strip of restaurants and night markets.


The night markets strip, dead by day pumping by night!


The Hard Rock Hotel's Pizzeria on the beach - so yummy!!

The Eden Seafood Restauran which has to be seen to be believed

Lobster ready to eat!

My $104 lobster straight out of the fish-tank!

Bon Apetito!
So would I go back? Yes, in a heartbeat but probably not in November as it's a little too hot and very stormy which doesn't allow you to venture out and do much. All in all though it was exactly what we needed and what we'd hoped for "A tropical oasis perfect for relaxing, shopping and enjoying each other's company - without any interruptions."
Have you been to Penang? What did you think of it & would you recommend it to anyone else - I'd love to hear from you - Cooking In Choos :)
Disclaimer: Belinda travelled to Penang with the help of Tourism Malaysia, Air Asia X and the Hard Rock Hotel, Penang.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

My husband - Il Pizza Maestro

It finally happened my husband, the office working, football watching, "food expert" (or as I like to refer to him Perth's answer to Matt Preston) cooked me dinner tonight!!! It doesn't happen much and the last time I remember him cooking all on his own was when he proposed to me. Since then he gets in the kitchen and helps out here and there but never does something all on his own. Today though, success in the form of a mozzarella, tomato, ham and basil pizza.

I have to to say there's nothing nicer than watching a man in the kitchen cooking up a storm. Not only do you get a break in the kitchen you tend to enjoy it (the meal)more too!

So here it is the proof in the pudding, or in his case the pizza:

Hubby taking the pizza out of the oven!

Ready to eat

YUM
Have you got a pizza oven? What are some of the pizzas you've come up with? I'd love to hear from you - Cooking In Choos :)

Monday, January 4, 2010

My big Holiday Adventure

Woohoo - We've done it! Yep we finally booked our dream holiday to the US and Paris and I'm so, so excited I can hardly breathe!!!!

Hubby & I have been planning this for more than two years and with all the craziness that's been happening it sort of slipped away from us for a while, but not anymore - it's happening!!!

OK so where are we going I hear you ask - first stop Sydney (but just for an overnighter) then off on the Qantas A380 to Los Angeles. From LA we then do five nights in Cabo San Lucas Mexico eeeeeeeeeee (I so can't wait for this), then from Mexico we do three nights in LA, four nights in Vegas, three nights in Miami and wait for it two and a half weeks in New York, New York woohooo!!! From New York we fly to Paris and spend one whole week there to which we come home via Hong Kong for a four day visit and then fly back to Perth.

All up it's a six week holiday & although not very long for some it's still my DREAM HOLIDAY and I can't wait!!!

Have you had a dream holiday, where you counted down the days til take off? What's your dream destination? I'd love to hear from you - Cooking in Choos :)

P.S FYI - My dream destinations: NYC, Mexico, Paris, Greece & Brazil - hey three out of five aint bad!!! P.P.S - 159 days til takeoff!!!

Times square - New York on New Year's Eve
NIVEA Presents the Times Square New Year�s Eve Celebration

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Little Caesars open in Leederville - woop woop!!!



A few weeks ago Theo Kalogeracos - brainchild of Little Caesars Mundaring opened up his second Pizzeria replacing Retro Betty's in Leederville (another big TICK for Leederville - it's slowly but surely becoming the foodie haven Perth's been missing). And after three weeks of indulging I thought why stop now and went back for a my Little Caesar's fix!!

You can spot Little Caesars a mile away - the queue of people lining up all the way down the street or the alfresco diners sitting on upside-down black buckets usually gives it away!!But what makes Little Caesars so unique are the types of pizzas Theo & his team come up with day in, day out. On any given day you can find a pizza with pumpkin, lamb & yoghurt, prawns & prosciutto, chocolate and toffee, with each one absolutely delicious in their own right.

On this occasion I could not wait to sink my teeth into the Jane's Addiction (prawn & proscuitto) which was the very first pizza Theo introduced me to back in June at the Good Food & Wine Show.

This delicious combination of garlic cream sauce, prosciutto, prawns, wild rocket pesto and mozzarella work together beautifully - making my taste-buds jump for joy with every bite!

Have you been to the new Little Caesars? What do you think of it? Do you love it as much I do? I'd love to hear from you - Cooking In Choos :)


Diving into the Jane's Addiction

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Resolutions or as I like to call it This Year's Goals

So every year I take the time to write a few New Year's Resolutions (or as I like to refer to them "This Year's Goals") and sometimes I keep them and sometimes, well they don't last the distance. This year I've culled them down from 10 to 5, so here goes:
1. Lead a healthier lifestyle. This includes cutting out junk food and cooking tasty, nutritious meals, limiting my alcohol intake & exercising (more than I do now which is nada).
2. Make more money. The last couple of years have bean quite crazy in terms of spending our cash flow, so hopefully this year this is the year we can generate more wealth and cut down our debt.
3. Learn French. I've wanted to do this for a while now and with our impending holiday in Paris not too far away I've got even more of an excuse to learn the language of love.
4. Spend more time with family and friends. They're the ones who matter most.
5.Volunteer. Again, I've wanted to do this for a few years but have not had the time - this year I'm hoping to make the time and volunteer as a mentor at my local high school.

So there that's it. What about all of you? Do you have any New Year's Resolutions your hoping to keep? Or do you not bother with resolutions at all? I'd love to hear from you - Cooking In Choos :)

My family & I celebrating New Year's in style!

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