Yvette’s book launch tonight…
Posted in amsterdam, food, stylists August 26th, 2010 by pia

I’m a very proud friend – Yvette’s book called homemade will be officially launched tonight at a private book party at Foam, I cannot wait. It will be fabulous to see the book in the flesh for the first time – this has been such a labour of love and passion for both yvette and her husband oof who has been busy taking all the photographs of all the delicious recipes over this past year. Above is a photo of Yvette looking over the book pages at the printers in Spain just a few weeks ago.

For my Dutch readers, if you’d like to be the first in line to buy a copy of Yvette’s book homemade, it is now available from de vries boeken.  I will definitely give more details about the book’s whereabouts once I have them.

For now though, I’d like to just make this post an opportunity for us all to shout out in unison a big CONGRATULATIONS to Yvette for the launch of her book tonight. Will you join me in this toast?


in paris, this weekend: café éphémère…
Posted in artists, food, paris July 17th, 2010 by pia

Just wanted to pop my head into the (blog)house for a moment to let you know that designer Anne Xiradakis has organised another fab café éphémère in the 19th arrondisment of Paris this weekend, along with furniture designer Pierre Hourquet, and chef Delphine Zampetti. The free petite dégustation includes sablé au beurre salé, boisson aux fruits rouges,  and langue de chat au caramel all served on Anne’s new collection called “variables“.

Café éphémère 16 will be open today and tomorrow from 4-6pm at 104, cour anglaise: 104 rue d’Aubervillers, and on monday from 4-6pm at the jardin CPCU : 2, rue de la marne. To make a reservation call Anne on 06 63 06 83 11.

If you’d like to know more about the concept of café éphémère, click here.


Have a wonderful weekend mes amis.


edible tapestry tales in melbourne (+ some)…
Posted in australia, food, handmade July 9th, 2010 by pia

photo courtesy of rachel khoo.

It’s been awfully quiet here in the (blog)house this week, perhaps a little too quiet for your liking, my apologies. I’ve been on deadline and was really in the zone, writing day and night, night and day. And when I did manage to lay my head on my pillow to catch some zzz’s, I was editing and writing in my sleep. Right now, my brain feels like it is melting from the inside. Not a good feeling but I’m hoping it will all be worth it in the end.

In not so quiet news, I’ve been wanting to tell you about some super cool events happening down under this month…

photo courtesy of rachel khoo.

Do you remember a few months ago I wrote about the fab rachel khoo and foodie partner in crime frankie unsworth’s edible immigration tales in sydney? Well this month they are embarking on a new adventure in edible story telling, this time of the tapestry kind…

photo courtesy of rachel khoo.

Frankie and Rachel will be creating a series of dinners at the Australian Tapestry Workshop – an amazing space specialising in hand-woven tapestries (click here to read more about it).

photo courtesy of australian tapestry workshop.

For the past few months rachel and frankie have been busy making all sorts of edible weaves and hand dying edible threads (like saffron dyed homemade pasta, for .e.g. miam!). They’ve been testing out all sorts of other edible tapestries in their Paris and Sydney kitchens, skyping the results to each other. Rachel is now on her way there from Paris as I type. I can’t wait to see what they come up with for these special dinners –  if I was samantha stephens, I’d bewitch myself over there in a flash.

The six-course dinners will be held over 3 nights – friday, 23 July, saturday 24 July, and sunday 25 July –  as part of the state of design festival. The tickets are $110 per person. There are limited places available still for the Friday night and a couple on the Sunday night (saturday night is sold out). To make a reservation email rachel and frankie by clicking here.

For more info about the event, click here, here and here.


photos by me, pjb, from this post.

And in Sydney this Sunday, at the ever-lovely vaucluse house, there is a special event called colonial gastronomy: the lost art of ‘potting’. It sounds awesome, here is the blurb from the events page:

“Potted, collared and jugged foods were standard items in the C19th larder. Rediscover these lost arts, from a time when a well-to-do Victorian breakfast table would be graced with “neat little white pots, with a crust of yellow butter suggesting the spicy treat beneath, beef, ham or tongue, handiwork of the second or third kitchenmaid…” Elizabeth David, Salt, Spices and Aromatics in the English Kitchen. Potting was a method used to preserve and extend meat and shellfish, traditionally served on toast for breakfast or supper. In this hands-on workshop you will make butter in the dairy and your own potted treat to take home.”

photo by me, pjb, from this post.

The workshop is from 10:30am-12noon this Sunday, July 11. Cost is $35. there will be another session from 1:30pm-3pm as well. I’d really love to be there so if you go, please be sure to tell us all about it.

Also on at Vaucluse House at the moment is a display by guerilla knitting group Knitting the House. They have infiltrated the house and knitted up a storm! Have a look-see at this little video to have a sneak peak of some of the knitted pieces on display. What a fabulous idea.  The display will be on throughout the house until July 18.


And then there’s one more thing I noticed while perusing the historic houses trust website: at the Museum of Sydney there is an exhibition on at the moment called skint!making do in the great depression. It might sound depressing, but it’s far from – it’s all about how people in the 1930’s survived the tough times by finding thrifty ways of reusing and recycling commodities, growing vegetables, raising chickens, bartering, sharing recipes and resources. The exhibition runs until July 25th.


That’s my news for you oz birds down there. Up here in the north, the city of Amsterdam is gearing up for Sunday’s football final – Holland vs Spain. The past few weeks here have been unbelievable already – while I’ve been tucked up inside my little boat, writing my heart out, I have heard the city roar at random intervals. When I look outside during the match, the streets, apartments, canal is deadly quiet – there is not a soul to be seen. But then, all of a sudden, there is this all-mighty roar and that’s when I know they’ve scored a goal. It’s insane. Even though I haven’t been watching the games because of my workload (but also I’m so not the sporty type – remember, piano and reading books was my thing as a kid), I will make the effort to watch the game on Sunday. It would be unpatriotic of me not to do so.

I hope you’ve all had a terrific week. Enjoy your weekend, mes amis.


PS it is stinking hot here. I love it!

new creative ventures, part one: welcome to the sea circus…
Posted in creative ventures, food May 21st, 2010 by pia

Today in the (blog)house I am going to take you to two new creative ventures in two completely different parts of the world. Both of them inspire, excite, and entice, and in turn I believe they have each captured a little bit of magic. I hope you enjoy this impromptu Friday mini series…


Last month while I was in isolation-writing-retreat mode, (blog)house visitor Charlie – a.k.a the lion tamer – emailed me to let me know about the launch of her super exciting new venture in Bali. I was completely captivated by it and have been dying to share her news with you ever since. With the help of a number of creative souls including a few australian + parisian designers, the lovely Charlie & gang have set up an ultra cool new restaurant and bar in seminyak, bali called The Sea Circus.

The grand opening party last month looked like an absolute riot – a circus-clad crowd of people filled the restaurant, overflowing into the street and performing all sorts of circus tricks amidst, the atmosphere looks palpable…

In her email, Charlie told me that after visiting the (blog)house she was inspired to search for new art and has created a dedicated ‘wall of art’ in the restaurant. How cool is that? Charlie also authors a great blog, full of fun details about her new venture but it’s also packed with inspiration, illustrations, and bali info (so if you’re planning to visit bali at some point, it’s well worth bookmarking her blog with posts like this one, and this one.)

This dining table was set up for a special Australia Day supper before the restaurant was actually finished, it’s so beautiful, I love the tins of flowers and the gorgeous colour combo of the chairs and table.

love the business cards!

The chef on board at The Sea Circus used to work at the famous sydney restaurant longrain. His tapas style menu sounds scrumptious – yellowfin tuna & watermelon tartare with whitlof & citrus; mahi-mahi & tofu fritters with chilli jam & spring onions; and tart citron with clotted cream & lemoncello, par exemple.

Charlie, Josh and their team also commissioned 23 year old  spanish artist Manuel Rebollo to make a couple of ‘sea circus’ illustrations, how gorgeous is this one below…

Spectacular, non? I love all the little touches, it looks like a little slice of magic in the heart seminyak. A big congrats to Charlie, Josh and all the sea circus gang for creating a place so wonder-filled, I look forward to visiting one day and I wish you all the best!


all image courtesy of sea circus bali.

The first dutch underground farmer’s market…
Posted in amsterdam, food May 17th, 2010 by pia

Yesterday my lovely friend Rani and I went on a food-lovers treasure hunt, looking for the location of the first Dutch underground farmer’s market. It wasn’t too hard to find (thank goodness), all the clues were on the talkin’ food twitter account in the lead up to the event, and when we arrived in the general vicinity of the hidden market we spotted little signs pointing the way. Set up inside a non-descriptive building in downtown Amsterdam was where we struck gold. It was quite a sight really – an Amsterdam artist’s studio filled to the brim with artisanal goodies from all over the country, food enthusiasts, farmers, coffee makers, tea drinkers, and even a few gorgeous hens…

There were dozens of microproducers with some amazingly innovative foods to showcase and share. After a first wander of the space, chatting with some of the producers and spying their delectables, Rani and I embarked on a second round, this time with intention to eat our way around the space. We started at the Moroccan ‘cafe’ where we drank authentic Moroccan mint tea (as opposed to just mint leaves plonked in a cup of hot water) and Moroccan sweets. Then we selected little nibbles from each stall and chatted some more with the producers.

Among them were Jason Hartley (who I call ‘the brunch man’, known to us expats for his fabulous pop up brunches throughout the city, I wrote about it here) who was offering delicious pies and his famous bejewelled New York cheesecake; by m.e. black potato chips and chocolate coated black olives (they were super yum); an ex-butcher who made amazing patés and dipping oils and who also gave us a sip of his incredible homemade lemon infused gin; Stumptown coffee makers; and my favourite, formocha tea

I was also wrapped to find someone offering nettle leaves! So I bought a bunch and haven’t yet decided what I’ll make with them but I’m excited about it. All in all the event was a great success. Congratulations to all the stall owners and to Marjan Ippel for creating such a great market, I can’t wait for the next one!

artwork by selwyn