Arvana Spa – Surry Hills, Sydney

Hello folks,

Ever been to Thailand and had a massage? Do you wish you could have one again? Well now you don’t have to go all the way there to experience some luxury, sure you’re not paying in Thai Baht, but you saved on the airfare at least.

Anyways, we thought we should share this lovely spa with you if you’re in metro Sydney. We’ve now been three times and every time we walk out feeling pretty good and very relaxed. If you enjoy pampering yourself once in a while, it’s definitely worth a try. The service is very efficient and friendly and they have a room for couples, friends or pairs of any sort really, which is great for a gift/treat! The music takes you to another world the aromas lull you into a sleepy daze, while you enjoy the expertise of the Arvana masseuse! You also get tea on arrival and another on completion of your treatment, as well as, a hot towel.

If you’re savvy you can usually also find some of those group discount vouchers, generally something along the lines of $49 for 80 mins, which is pretty good! Their prices are otherwise reasonable for that special treat. Ant and I usually try to make it there at least four times a year as a little present to ourselves every quarter for some relaxation and regeneration. A great wellness treat, though you can’t claim this on any health benefits.

They are currently based on Elizabeth St but will be moving and starting on the 1 Jan 2012 you can find them at:

648 Crown St
Surry Hills NSW 2010
T:+61 2 9698 8100

Open 7 Days
from 10am to 10pm.

http://www.arvanaspa.com.au/

Shepherd’s Meat Pie

I love the slow cooker Owl’s mum gave us last Christmas. With such horrible weather this week, I decided to make some pie. We don’t have a lot of time to cook so we tend to do a big cook once a week and eat it for about 5 days or so. Since puff pastry does not keep well, I used mash for the topping instead. Think of this as a hybrid meat and Shepherd’s pie.

Cheesy crust

Mmm cheesy crust take me home!

I tend to eye my measurements as supposed to actually measuring them so take the following metrics with a grain of salt  😛

Pie Innards
1 kg chuck steak
1 Tbs Soya Sauce (Kikkoman ftw. If using a chinese brand, add a bit more)
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs chinese rice wine
1.5 Tbs tomato paste
4-5 carrots
6 cloves garlic
1 cup frozen peas
2 ‘petals’ of star anise
2 dried sage leaves
1 beef stock cube
Pinch of dried chilli flakes
Half cup of water

I had about a Tbs of dried porcini mushroom lying around so I snipped it up and threw it in. Then I found some unfinished coke which also went in (~ quarter cup).

Chuck everything into the slow cooker, set it on low and then go to bed (or work).After about 8 hours, set to high and thicken with cornstarch (2-3 Tbs, mix with cold water until dissolved, pour into innards and mix thoroughly. Sauce will thicken gradually as the cornstarch cooks).

Innards

Pie Innards

Pie Hat
800g potatoes (I used washed. Don’t use waxy potatoes like Desiree or Kipfler)

 Start with room temperature water. Boil until soft then mash with milk to a smooth consistency (practise your eyeing method, lol). Place mash on Pie Innards, make pretty patterns with your fork, sprinkle on some cheese and bake it at 200°C until golden brown (~20min).

Pie is for the week

A week's worth of pie!

The innards will taste saltish until you add the mash then its just right. Makes about 8 serves.

Isle of Ramen

Today I was reading up on Vietnamese cuisine having made bun (pronounced like a short “boon”) last night, and for some reason stumbled across a blog called Isle of Ramen which is the documentary of a person eating a different ramen everyday for lunch, and then rating them. The blog hasn’t been updated since April 2010 but I found the writing style humourous as well as descriptive enough for me to decide whether the noodle was worth trying.

Like this person, I have a vast collection of ramen noodles stashed in my work locker; all picked at random because there really is so much variety and most of the time the packet is no indication of the enjoyment factor. Once, I found an unusual instant noodle that was made of mung bean (the see-through glass noodles) seated in a Szechuan pepper soup base. I would endeavour to never buy it again if I could only remember what the packet looked like behind my steady stream of tears and numbed face.And this coming from a die-hard chilli lover! Ah, such adventures to be had with instant noodles 🙂

If Forrest Gump was asian, he would have replaced the’ box of chocolates’ with a ‘selection of instant noodles’. You just never know what you’re going to get.