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Archive for July, 2008

Pictured is what has to be Perth’s best value babycino, available at Lawley’s bakery in Mt Lawley. I hope that by revealing this secret that there won’t be an immediate stampede and price rise! Just to be sure, all I will say is it is less than a dollar.

Perth's best babycino

Perth's best babycino

My son calls Lawley’s the “smartie cookie place” because of the cookie that comes with the babycino. How good is that, beats stale marshmallows.

You would think a babycino would be relatively cheap and easy to make. After all, it is just a bit of warm milk froth and in better cafes, actually a mini hot chocolate.

Gloria Jeans cafes usually offer a free babycino for every adult coffee purchased. You can then top the milk with chocolate and sprinkles. They charge for flavoured milk.

The last time I purchased one in David Jones it was about $1.90, pretty steep. We were charged $2 at the cafe at Ngilgi Cave in Yallingup but the babycino was served in an adult cup and was actually about a 2/3 sized hot chocolate.

Tealicious in Dunsborough offered a free babycino with adult coffee purchase.

On a recent visit to a food outlet at the Galleria in Morley, my son screwed up his nose and said “this is not a babycino”. I continued chatting to my mum and he continued protesting. Imagine my horror when I realised he had in face been given a small shot of coffee with froth!

I returned it to the counter and the apologetic barista said “it is only a small amount of coffee” to which I replied, “in all my years of buying babycinos, no one has ever given my son real coffee!” A new one made with chocolate was forthcoming.

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For the last few weeks I have been heavily using the fantastic food website Taste.

If you are a fan of food magazines such as Super Food Ideas, Good Taste and Delicious, this is a quick and easy way to find recipes without having to sit down on the floor and wade through several years of back issues.

Beer Bread

Beer Bread

While I look forward to receiving my copy of Delicious in the post each month and often deliberately save reading it as a reward for getting work finished, Taste is a great companion.

Last weekend I made easy Beer Bread which is great to accompany a hearty soup and also banana choc chip muffins.

Banana Choc Chip Muffins

Banana Choc Chip Muffins

I have also tried a couple of chicken dishes including a simple chicken paella and an oven baked chicken risotto.

The bread is so easy and has just three ingredients – beer, SR flour and French onion soup – how easy is that!

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Ok, seems I am not the only one finding GPS not as simple to use as it sounds. To be honest I am not sure why I even got a phone with GPS, since to use it while driving I have to either buy something to mount it or wedge it into the window visor.

I guess I imagined one day using it to find my way around another city while on holidays, instead of having to drag out the oh so obvious tourist map.

One day a week I do a lot of driving for work but usually check where I am going using Google Maps. Those directions are not entirely reliable, either, might I add, but do give me a rough idea of distance between jobs. The time estimate are often way out.

During our recent trip down south, I used Google Maps to direct us to my cousin’s farm just outside Donnybrook. I hadn’t been there for more than five years so really wasn’t sure where we were going. Being directed up a red dirt track to someone’s house, not the one we wanted, was not the desired outcome. So once we got back to mobile zone, a phone call was made. We were so close but had been thrown off course by a road being renamed.

On another occasion using Google Maps to get to Bentley, I realised I had driven in a very big circle; the quicker way to get there from the northern suburbs would have been to use the Causeway.

Anyways, I guess I will have to concede and read the detailed instruction book instead of trying to muddle my way through with GPS. I have worked everything else about the Nokia 6220 Classic out intuitively but I have a sneaking feeling I need to fiddle with the setting so I can get local landmarks.

I am not even sure how to turn it on, the blue light just seems to come on by itself. And the last thing I need is to accidentally have it logged in racking up data charges (no, I can’t work out when it is using GPS for free and when it is connecting to mobile Internet).

Sigh.

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A funny thing happened on our way out last weekend.  Discovering that our street directory did not have a listing for Carruthers Street in Mt Pleasant, we decided to try the GPS in the Nokia 6220 Classic.

Setting out from the northern suburbs, we were a little suspicious when the lovely navigator’s voice told us to turn left, turn right  – straight towards the coast. We may live north but we know Mt Pleasant is near the river, and south of it at that.

Ignoring her resulted in the command “do a U turn, now” which we also ignored.

So I tried searching for the street again, bearing in mind the initial search had not asked us for a suburb, just sent us on our merry way.

The closest Carruthers Street we could find was about 18,000km away in the US. I wondered if the phone or GPS was not set up correctly but knew that not to be the case as our little red dot moved happily through the city and on to the Kwinana Freeway, complete with speedo readings.

To cut a long story short we were actually given the wrong street name; it was Curruthers, found with the help of directory assistance.

Never to be deterred we tried it again the next day while heading to visit relatives in Vic Park. We keyed in the nearest main street to our location, Berwick Street, and off we went. I was very suspicious when we got sent down Fitzgerald Street and told to turn at Newcastle.

My husband was determined we should persist, so we headed on to the freeway,  assuming the bossy GPS lady was sending us the long way via Canning Highway.

Lo and behold she told us we were at our destination in the middle of the freeway, near Riverside Drive. We had stopped at that spot the night before due to an accident, so for some reason, it must have remembered that and ignored my Berwick St search.

So it is back to the trusty Street Smart until I can figure out the GPS instructions, not to mention the charges.

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I had the opportunity to attend a media screening today and these are my initial thoughts of the big screen reunion of former Agent Fox “Spooky” Mulder and Dana Scully

 

Early Review:

 

The X Files: I Want to Believe.

Starring David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Billy Connolly, Amanda Peet, Xzibit 

Rating…somewhere between 2 and 3 stars out of 5.

 

Couldn’t have thought of a better title, really, I couldn’t. I wanted to believe too, but instead I found myself laughing, at times inappropriately.

To be fair, there were tense moments, scary moments and certainly some gory ones but outweighing it all were the moments of out and out absurdity.

After Seven and even TV’s Prison Break, there really is only one body part that can turn up in a box these days and alas it’s no longer all that shocking.

The plot in a nutshell – the FBI is forced to “reach out” to discredited former agent Fox Mulder (Duchovny), agreeing to bury the past if he will help locate a missing female agent.

 A psychic (Connolly) who also happens to be a convicted paedophile and former priest (full marks for whoever came up with that character composite) has located a body part in the snow and the FBI needs Mulder to scope out whether the psychic is genuine or a fake.

Mulder won’t work the case unless Scully (Anderson) is along for the ride; after all, she delivered the request from the FBI.

But Scully is less than enthused; she has left the darkness of the paranormal and sci-fi world behind her. She is now a physician in a hospital run by a religious bureaucracy that would prefer to send one of her young patients to a hospice than let her try radical life saving treatment.

Mulder is almost too easily returned to the FBI fold by agent Dakota Whitney (Peet), whose superior (or is he her offsider, it’s never made that clear) agent Mosley Drummy (Xzibit) thinks Father Joseph is a phony who should be treated as a suspect.

Like the previous X-Files big screen outing Fight the Future, this one spends a lot of time in the dark and the snow; a good place to bury but accidentally preserve unwanted body parts, it seems.

If you’re an X-phile hoping for alien mythology, conspiracy theories, shadowy agents smoking cigarettes and the like, you will be seriously disappointed. Apart from a passing mention of Mulder’s sister, aliens don’t rate a mention. On the flipside, the stand alone nature of the film does make it more accessible.

This film seems more intent on challenging our faith – in God, human nature, our own judgment and to a lesser extent the value of psychics to criminal investigations.

There are questions of redemption, guilt and probing the darkness within us all.

Where the film starts to go seriously pear shaped is in building the links between the missing FBI agent, body parts found in the snow and another young woman who goes missing from the same local swimming pool.

In fact, it all goes a bit Dr Moreau/Frankenstein. Scully conveniently makes the link while doing stem cell research (good to know even someone like Scully turns to Google) for her dying teenage patient but Mulder has already joined the dots while visiting the local store (called Nutters, hilarious).

Having already chased a suspect unarmed through a city building site in almost total darkness, Mulder sets off on foot in freezing temperatures with a head injury and no phone to confront his suspect.

Mulder and Scully’s relationship remains one of the great curiosities of the film; the URST is long gone, replaced by equal parts trust and wariness.

Their status at the start is a little hazy and drew different interpretations during post film analysis. They seem at once committed and withdrawn, and Scully seems ready to walk away if Mulder lets the case take over their lives.

The film has deviated a long way from the early creepiness of the TV show, becoming a cliché-filled action thriller that doesn’t deliver enough of either. Where once there was mystery and the shadows of the unknown, we now have axes, marauding dogs and scarred thugs with eastern bloc accents.

If this is the best Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz could come up with, I feel it is time The X Files were marked case closed and sent to Area 51.

 

 

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It’s day six with the Nokia 6220 Classic after two years with the Sony Ericsson k750i which is now sitting forlornly under a pile of clothing.

So far so good – the photos are great. I like the detail shown in the extra info on flickr. Check out the photostream for examples.

No idea yet exactly how to work the GPS, it turned itself on twice today (okay I probably bumped something by mistake) and told me I was at my parents’ neighbour’s house and later when at home, said I was next door. Still, pretty close to be one door away.

Also mildly freaked by hearing the phone talking in my bag announcing the caller, didn’t know I had turned that on. Must clean up phone book entries.

Video taken in Dunsborough looks great, plays on inbuilt RealPlayer; must check out the TV out functionality. Email great too, though need to work out with Optus the data charges.

Still so much to explore, haven’t even tried the music and radio yet.

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We had lunch on Tuesday at Watershed Winery just outside Margaret River. I chose this winery after googling winery +playground or some such combination.

Alas it was bucketing down so the kids did not get to check out the play area which is in the alfresco/courtyard adjoining the cafe end of the restaurant.

The cafe end is aimed at casual dining and readily welcomes families (who supervise their children). The menu is not large but offers a variety such as wagyu beef burger with aged cheddar and chargrilled vegetables, lamb shank with (handmade) gnocchi and fish and fries.

The children’s menu had four choices – pasta, chicken and  pineapple pizza (on the same Turkish bread as the burger), cheeseburger or fish and (shoestring) fries. The pizza also came with fries while the fish and fries also had a small side salad; both came with a 100 per cent juice box, so good value and healthy, fresh choices for $8.

Our mains, the burger and lamb shank, were $19 each from memory (will check the notes later) – good value compared to some other nearby establishments,and good sizes, too.

Child's fish and fries

Child's fish and fries

As you can see from my brilliantly inserted image, the kids were also given colouring in materials.

The service was friendly and fast, with orders taken at the counter and delivered to the table (full table service in the restaurant side).

Although we were heading to the Berry Farm we spoilt out appetites by also indulging in a piece of the choc caramel tart, a flan and fancier version of the good old choc caramel slice.

The restaurant has been nominated in several categories of the Gold Plate  awards so is well worth a visit. Note to older diners, don’t sit near the door and then look cross when kids go in or out to the playground. There are plenty of other tables. The cafe is family friendly so grin and bare it!

Sorry can’t report on the wines. More images on Flickr stream…

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