Just Desserts

A review of food

(That I have eaten for the past month)

Breakfast (and lunch) 

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I like having muesli for breakfast when I get into the office. The one I’m currently obsessed with is the Carmens Honey Roasted Nut Clusters, but I also occasionally switch to bircher. 

The best thing is, there’s no preparation involved. Whack the muesli in a bowl and add some milk. If there’s fruit in the fruit bowl - cut it up and voila, you’ve got yourself some toppings. Bonus points are available if you have time to go out and buy some yoghurt (rather than using the company-provided milk). 

The above reasons are why it’s also been a great alternative to a sanga at lunch. When you’re pretty much in lockdown for 8 hours straight (due to a waste-of-time mediation, court commitments or just trying to get an advice out), finding time to battle the crowds in the lifts/food court can be tough. Therefore, why leave the office at all?!? Just repeat the simple steps taken for breakfast and voila! You’ve got yourself a delicious lunch. 

Dinner

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On the similar vein, its hard to get food for dinner when you’re stuck at work late because all the food courts are closed. Sure you can use the meal voucher and go to a Chinese restaurant or order a pizza, but that would involve so much effort. 

I have therefore just stocked up on, and gone through the whole range of sunrice pre-packaged meals (found near the “canned soup” section of the supermarket). I like that you don’t need to refrigerate them (and can therefore hoard them in your office without fear that your colleagues will "accidentally" eat them, even though you have meticulously grafittied labelled your name on the packaging).

I also like that they taste way better than frozen meals. They taste real and as if someone had just prepared them the day before, rather than some other prepackaged foods which can taste fake. And there’s actual flavour. Woohoo. 

And that’s it. 

See you on the other side - where hopefully there will be non-packaged food reviews! 

PS. Just reading over this post, I realise I sound: 

  • like a recluse; 
  • paranoid; and 
  • like I have OCD.


Clerk.

It’s been two years since I’ve done the law school clerkship experience. The clerkship experience is, if you don’t know, a few months where all the law students apply for an internship over the summer in the hope of securing a graduate position. 

Clerkship offers came out this week, and I was involved in process again, this time being pimped out by my firm to say positive things about it (I had a powerpoint and everything!). However the more I think about the whole process, the more I think that its all the same i.e. everything is just the same. For example, 

  • The answer to each firm’s “what makes us different?” is the same. It’s always some combination about their “normal” people (whatever that means) and their amazing work but also their pro bono and community initiatives. Oh and don’t forget, the magic words splashed onto a brochure: work-life balance! Until you actually work for the firms, and can make an actual comparison, their website spiels are identical and no one can actually differentiate between them. 
  • I didn’t realise this until I left university - but everyone just kind of merges into wanting to do the same thing. This all started in High School, when all of the year 12 all of a sudden wanted to become Space Accounting Cadets. So everyone in the grade got swept up into it and all applied for these cadetships, even though they didn’t really want to do it. Likewise, in the penultimate years of university - everyone then ‘decided’ they had to have a career in corporate law or become an investment banker. 

Students would ask me, what advice would I give to them, as applicants for clerkships/graduate positions. The key thing I’ve learnt over the past 2-3 years is, yeah, apply for these positions - they are great opportunities, but then also use some personal judgment and think about whether this is really want you want to do. There are limitless opportunities out there which aren’t publicised at law school lunches (I know there are free sandwiches at these lunches and that’s really luring… but as Homer Simpson said: 

Mindy: What’s wrong?
Homer: [crying] We’re going to have sex.
Mindy: Oh, well, we don’t have to.
Homer: Yes we do. The cookie told me so.
Mindy: Well, desserts aren’t always right.
Homer: But they’re so sweet)

I’m not sure if it’s a human condition thing or a competitive university student/selective school student thing, but we all don’t have to work in M&A. 

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Is this an appropriate time to use the word YOLO? 
YOLO, bitches! 


Orto Trading Co - Surry Hills

"I mean, why can’t two single bros go out and rock brunch Sunday morning-style?"

Remember that How I Met Your Mother episode where Marshall, having broken up with Lily wants to have brunch and has no one to go with but another single, straight male friend from uni? Cue the judgmental comments from the rest of the gang.

Ted: You invited him to brunch?
Marshall: Yeah, I invited him to brunch. Why? Is that weird?
Ted: Yes. That’s why I was all “you invited him to brunch?”
Marshall: Why can’t two guys who are friends go to brunch?
Ted: Because brunch is kind of…
Robin: Girly.
Marshall: Girly? Breakfast isn’t girly. Lunch isn’t girly. What makes brunch girly?
Ted: I don’t know. There’s nothing girly about a horse, nothing girly about a horn, but put them together and you get a unicorn.
Marshall: I don’t care what either of you say, I am going to the Popover Pantry with Brad. We’re here. We’re hungry. Get used to it, brunch! 

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I love brunch and I’m of the Marshall view that I just want to eat brunch with anybody, including the closest body I can find when I roll out of bed at 11am. But there’s a strong chorus of friends who like Robin and Ted think of brunch as a “coupley” or “girly” thing. 

This weekend, a few of us brunchlovers, had brunch at Orto Trading Co in Surry Hills. It’s in a bit of a random location, in amongst the “suburban” side of Surry Hills rather than where all the other restaurants are. But once you walk in, it’s full of sunlight, flowers adourning the country-esque wooden tables and light blue coffee/tea mugs. It was all very aesthetically pleasing. 

The food was also very good and we had the following: 

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Tom and I both had the chickpea fritters with haloumi $17. It was pretty good although the serving size was a bit small. I think we both could have smashed another 3 fritters. 

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Talia had the baked eggs with capsicum, roasted tomatoes and bread which was pretty good. 

I think the food envy award went to BFF AA’s meal which was the potato hash with ham, tomato, avocado, rocket, asparagus and a poached egg $16. 

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I think we all wished we could turn back the time and order the potato hash. MMMMMMM. 

All in all, another productive weekend(day) - whereby after a delicious brunch, we sat in the sun and ate some Bourke St Bakery pastries (and then I went back to sleep off a hangover for 5 hours). 

Do you reckon there’s anything weird about two platonic bros brunching?

Orto Trading Co.
38 Waterloo St, Surry Hills

Breakfast and Lunch 7 days 8am - 3pm
Dinner Tuesday to Saturday from 6pm
Ph: 0431 212 453


Momofuku Seiōbo, The Star

I’ve been a Momofuku fan-girl from way back and relished any excuse (our birthdays, graduation, end of financial year, looming law firm redundancies etc) to head to The Star for a degustation lunch with BFF AA.

Before we even got there, BFF AA conquered the online booking system so we could go. You see, reservations only open up 10 days before the day you want to dine there - at 10am. BFF AA booked us in at 10:01 and at 10:02, all the lunch reservations for the Saturday had filled up. You’ve got to be a gun…!!

The restaurant is quite large and whilst they could easily fit more people in, only takes 25 people at a time. We sat at the bar which gave a great view into the interaction of the kitchen staff. 

The first thing we started off with was hot towels (like the ones you get on the plane) (I LOVE HOT TOWELS!!!). That made sense because the first few courses of the day would be eaten with ze hands!  

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Smoked potato apple. 

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Steamed bun pork belly - smaller than the one in New York but still melt-in your mouth deliciousness. We wanted the remaining dishes to come out to be pork buns.

imagePink snapper, celery, mustard - fresh and tangy with the oil. 

imagePotato mullet roe, parson’s nose. 
Tasted like a more awesome version of KFC. 

imageEel dashi, octopus, almond milk. 
Seriously weird. We both couldn’t finish this course - textually it was just so squishy and it had such a pugnent flavour to it. 

imageOnion, burnt leek and egg yolk. 
If I could have this for breakfast every morning, I’d be a happy woman. The egg yolk was perfectly soft but not runny and perfectly complimented the sauce. 

imageMulloway, fennel, dill.

imagePork neck, squash, kombu. 

This dish was up there with the pork buns - succulent, sweet and heavenly. I couldn’t get enough of it.

I didn’t take a photo of the next course - goat’s curd, blackcurrant and mint but I couldn’t finish that one either - it was really strong, especially if you don’t like goat’s milk. 

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Pear, honey cream, muntries. 

This was like a better version of apple crumble. 

The highlight of my lunch was the final dessert.

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We were told that you had to work from left to right with this dessert. The one on the left, a canelé was absolute bliss. One of the best desserts I’ve had, ever. And then, if that wasn’t enough, we got to finish with salted caramel. Dear god, I’m going to be having dirty dreams about this amazing dessert for a while.

Momofuku exceeded all my expectations and is so deserving of 3 hats from the SMH Good Food Guide. I just can’t wait for another opportunity to come back. 

Momofuku Seiōbo on Urbanspoon

Momofuku seiobo

The Star

80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont NSW 2009

http://momofuku.com/sydney/seiobo/


A lazy person’s meal ideas

Following on from my previous post, the Vicious Cycle of no exercise, sadly my attempted health kick lasted for a grand total of two days before I went back to the wine and Pizza Hut (on days I went home) or client event canapés (featuring free champagne!!!!). So that was a bit of a fail, as was my giant hangover which rendered me unable to get out of bed until 4pm the next day.

I think one of my biggest problems with committing to such a health diet is being time poor and being incredibly, super lazy. If I can’t make it in less than two minutes, I won’t bother and will just buy it. If you are also time poor and lazy, I hope some of my easy meal ideas will help you out.

Porridge
I had some bad experiences with porridge and used to have the Uncle Toby’s 90 second oats sachets, but it tasted like cardboard slushed in water. Luckily, I recently discovered Be Natural Porridge which has been a breakfast staple ever since. It’s pretty good for winter where you don’t want to eat cereal because of the cold milk (even though it takes no time at all to ‘make’).

The lid operates as a measuring cup, you just need to add milk, microwave it and add some cinnamon and honey.
Prep time: 30 seconds. Cooking time: 90 seconds. Win.

Packet noodles
Who doesn’t love packet noodles and there is so much variety these days - you can do Asian with mi goreng, Tom yum and even pho flavoured or some classics in the form of Maggi or Fantastic Noodles. For a super degree of laziness, purchase the packet noodles already in a cup as to save with washing up and having to find some bowls.


Prep time: zero. Cooking time: 2 minutes (may be longer if you need to drain the noodles).

Canned tuna
For a super degree of laziness, just eat the tuna out of the can!
Prep time: zero. Cooking time: zero.

Canned soup
Again on the winter theme, this one is good for a warm, hearty meal. Problems can be encountered if you don’t have a can opener or do not know how to operate the can opener, but this can be overcome by buying one of those soup cans with that tab thing that just lifts up and can be pulled back to open the can. Again, there are so many flavours - you can go Italiano with minestrone or a bit classy with the pumpkin soup. Really, there’s a flavour for every meal of the week that you cannot possibly go wrong!

Prep time: 10-30 seconds to open can. Cooking time: 90 seconds in microwave and then 30 seconds to rest.

Lean Cuisine (or other frozen meals)
I used to ridicule anyone who brought lean cuisine into the office. It was just so funny that the people on ‘Lean Cuisine’ or ‘Weight Watchers’ were the skinniest people in the office. Now, slowly, I am becoming that person (and subsequently have to hide my lean cuisine or label it with an alias in the communal freezer). It kind of tastes like moosh (all of it, the pasta, veggies, rice, meat) but sometimes I just want whatever the picture is (some amazing gourmet meal) but CBB going to any effort. Frozen meals are a good compromise between what I want to eat and the effort I am willing to expend to get there. The variety is also very good (you can get Indian, Asian or Western food) and sometimes there’s two for $6 specials at Coles.

Prep: Leave out to defrost for a few hours. Cooking time: 5 minutes on high.

Do you have any other lazy people meal ideas?


The vicious cycle of no exercise

Full time work is becoming an occupational hazard to my health.

Although there are free gym memberships, yoga classes and firm netball/soccer/basketball teams; I’m not sure how anyone has any time to attend any of the above if they are actually getting any work done. 

Similarly, when I get home from work at 9-10pm, I briefly think about exercising - before realising I haven’t eaten since lunch at 1pm, then becoming overwhelmed by hunger and proceeding to eat the entire contents of my fridge. Once I eat the meal, I can’t exercise because it needs to digest (and I need to further binge on some tv shows). And by the time my dinner finishes digesting, it’s time for bed again.

Adding to the fact that the only exercise I do is walking from my desk to the kitchen (hello, scotch fingers!) is the amount of alcohol intake has exponentially increased (hello, friday night drinks), as has the amount of unhealthy crap I’ve been eating.

(I’m starting to sound like a contestant from The Biggest Loser). 

An accurate depiction of me, every night. 

It’s a common theme around Sydney - that in the initial stages of joining a law firm, you get sucked into the (delicious) bi-weekly birthday cakes, don’t have time to exercise and just eat weight watchers frozen meals for dinner because you’re too fried to make any other food. Some firms affectionately called it the (insert law firm name) Five, after the five kilos you gain from working there.

This week, I’m going to get my shit together; start running again and slowly work my way back to a decent fitness level. I’ve also steamed some veggies to eat with my red rice and chicken. 

Have you gained (insert law firm name) Five? How do you deal with this healthy work-life balance conundrum?   


Post-poo drops

Sometimes my friends and I have some (what we think are) really awesome ideas. One such idea came from living in a sharehouse with four other people and with only one bathroom.

We decided everytime someone needed to use the bathroom for “vigorous bathroom activity”, we would give the others a time warning after we were done. For example “bro, I wouldn’t go in there for 10 minutes”. Depending on the “vigour” of the bathroom activity, we would adjust the time accordingly to 15, 20 or 30 minutes.

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If only we know about APC’s post-poo drops.

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Apparently these post-poo drops effectively neutralise any weird smells and no timer system is needed.

What a great idea!

Do you have any home procedures or policies around the use of a bathroom?


Office Politics

As a person working in an office environment, amongst people prodominantly in their late twenties and early thirties, I have noticed that the conversations that we engage in all revolve around:

  • House-hunting (or house renovations);
  • Engagements;
  • Wedding planning (see also: honeymoons);
  • Pregnancies/Babies; and
  • Children.

For someone who doesn’t have their shit together at all in any of the above areas, I really have nothing to contribute to these conversations. Whilst all of my work-mates are doing all of these awesome things with their lives, I’m getting home after work and eating a bowl of cereal or packet mi goreng for dinner.

Similarly, I always feel like I need a really awesome response to the Friday question “What are you doing on the weekend!?" or the Monday question "how was your weekend?!”. Whilst other people have really great stories (mainly revolving around the abovementioned topics house-hunting/engagements/weddings/kid stuff), I feel the need to say more than “recovering from my Friday night hangover and sleeping all the way until I have to come back to work on Monday”.

On the few occasions I actually got my shit together and rolled out of bed on the weekend, I had breakfast at Bills in Surry Hills.

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Coffee

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Breakfast fried rice.

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I definitely understand why Bills is such a Sydney institution now. The breakfast was amazing. I had the corn fritters which I forgot to photograph but it was so packed full of fresh corn, it felt like that McCain ad “the rain’s are ‘ere!" (geez I hope people know what I’m talking about) and the fried rice was just jam packed with flavour.

Anyway, let me know what the conversation is like at your workplace? Are you the only youngen amongst the “elders”? Or am I the only awkward freak who struggles with conversation?

Enjoy the Easter break!