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Very Good Things

Recommendations on podcasts, movies, TV, books, recipes, restaurants, technology, travel, shopping and more. Things that make life more interesting or satisfying.

Month

August 2016

Catastrophe – A TV Comedy Series

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One of the funniest TV shows I saw last year was Catastrophe, a comedy which follows Sharon and Rob as they have a one week stand while he’s travelling to London from the USA for work and she falls pregnant. He decides to move to London to see if they can in some way make the parenting and relationship work. It’s awkward and completely unromantic but absolutely hilarious. I’m telling you about an old(ish) show now because the first two seasons recently started streaming for free on ABC iview so you can get ready for season 3 which is due next year. Though you’ll need to buy the first 3 episodes of season 1 through iTunes as iview is already up to episode 4 (and only available until Friday night so get on it now). Watch the trailer for Catastrophe here. You’re welcome.

 

Three Blue Ducks Cafe/Restaurant in Rosebery

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Image from http://www.broadsheet.com.au

Four friends coming from all corners of Sydney. Rosebery seemed like a central meeting spot. Three Blue Ducks opened a couple of months ago and has taken over the space that Kitchen By Mike inhabited. The menu focuses on food that comes from smoke and fire. It was excellent and healthy so of course, we got greedy and ordered too much. Stand out dishes were Charred blue mackerel, eggplant, herbed labneh & wild rice ($15); Raw kingfish, buttermilk, roasted buckwheat & cucumber ($19), Wood roasted brussel sprouts, rye and pecan cream ($16), Charred cauliflower blistered grapes & hazelnuts ($11), Wood roasted whole flathead, celeriac, hazelnuts, tomato, lemon & capers ($55). The menu is designed to share so go with your buddies. Service was pleasant and it’s a big space – great for groups and prams. We were there for dinner but they are also open for breakfast and lunch. Find out more about the restaurant at Three Blue Ducks Rosebery and their other ventures including the original Bronte cafe and The Farm in Byron Bay here. 1/85 Dunning Ave, Rosebery

The Hunter Works – Cafe in Balmain

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The Hunter Works is tucked away in a laneway off Darling Street, Balmain in Sydney. The guys behind it (Mic, Toby and Jono) pride themselves on the fact that their produce is locally sourced, the menu avoids the usual run-of-the-mill cafe items (my favourite is the Speck + Soft Boiled Egg + Radicchio + Lentils + Pickles) and everything they do and serve takes being kind to the environment in mind, e.g. portion sizes are designed to minimise wastage and any waste is composted in the local community garden. There’s a deli section with pickled/preserved/smoked/salted goods and Brickfields bread (sliced meats and cheeses are coming soon). The service is super friendly, they play cool music and there is a nice outdoor area. All this and their excellent specialty coffee is what keeps the people of Balmain and surrounds coming back. Find out more here. Go for breakfast or lunch at 7/332 Darling St, Balmain. Open 7 days.

Frank Ocean’s New Albums: ‘Blonde’ and ‘Endless’

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I have been waiting for this for so long. Four years in fact. Channel Orange is one of my all time favourite albums so I was beyond excited when I heard this was coming over the weekend. On Friday he dropped Endless (a visual album) and then two days later we got Blond (not Boys Don’t Cry as we were led to believe it was going to be though it’s the name of the magazine that accompanies the album if you get to one of his pop-up shops). Here’s a timeline of the build up from Channel Orange until now. Stream and download via Apple Music here. P.S. The spelling of the title is still a bit of a riddle but this article sheds a bit of light on it.

My Dad Wrote a Porno – Comedy Podcast

After a couple of weeks of illness and very few Very Good Things, this podcast brought a much needed change of mood. I’ve only listened to the first episode but it had me laughing so hard that I will definitely be going back for more. The official blurb: ‘Imagine if your Dad wrote a dirty book. Most people would try to ignore it and pretend it had never happened – but not Jamie Morton. Instead, he’s decided to read it to the world in this brand new comedy podcast. With the help of his friends, James Cooper and BBC Radio 1‘s Alice Levine, Jamie will be reading a chapter a week and discovering more about his father than he ever bargained for.’ Skip the teaser and go straight for episode 1 ‘The Job Interview’ (runs for 30 min). Goes without saying don’t listen with kids around.

Stingray Sisters Documentary

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This deeply moving three-part documentary is a must watch. Stingray Sisters opens a window into the lives of the Eather sisters as they struggle to protect their home (Maningrida, a remote town in Northern Territory’s Arnhem Land) from oil and gas exploration and navigate their way between two very different cultural worlds. I have so much to say about this beautifully crafted and visually stunning film and my words will not do it justice so view the trailer, learn more about the sisters’ story and watch the series here for yourself. Each part is 26 minutes.

Baked Fennel & Salmon Recipe – A One Pot Dish

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A one pot dish that is healthy, warming and stars one of my favourite vegetables which is now in season: fennel. The recipe below is an adaption of the ‘Fish with fennel & cherry tomatoes‘ recipe from the Gourmet Pilgrim Italy cookbook. We’ve morphed it over time to bulk up the fennel to fish ratio and salmon is our fish our choice. It’s a great standalone dish though you could serve it as a side dish at a dinner party/BBQ. It also makes excellent leftovers for kids the next day. The following ingredients are based on two people but you can scale it easily by adding more layers. Prep time is 5-10 minutes and cook time in the oven is 75 minutes.

You will need:
Olive oil
1 x bunch parsley (continental/flat leaf) chopped, including stalks
3 bulbs of fennel, thinly sliced
1 x punnet cherry tomatoes cut in half
2 x skinless/boneless salmon fillets cut into 3cm chunks
Parmesan, grated (approx 50-75g)
Sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

Read the full recipe here.

Hills Bros – Cafe in Sydney CBD

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Finding somewhere in the Sydney CBD for breakfast that’s quality and beyond your usual eggs and coffee or pre-made fare can often be a challenge. Enter Hills Bros – a new cafe from the Reuben Hills team. It took us a while to find as it’s tucked away in the foyer of an office block at 5 Martin Place. A relatively small space, the design is open but intimate. The menu has Latin American and Asian influences which sounds overcomplicated but the result is not. Top pick for me was the ‘Miso Braised Pork Bowl with Japanese slaw, shichimi buttered corn, fungi, pickled beansprouts, kewpie mayo, bonito flakes & egg’ ($18, pictured) which came in just ahead of the ‘Brown Rice Congee with poached chicken, shitake, bacon jam, gingered carrot and egg’ ($14) and ‘Brussel Salad with brussel slaw, apples, pomegranate, roasted chestnuts, charred leek, rye crumbs & maple mustard dressing’ ($14 or optional extras of achiote chicken or house baked ham at $4 each). My coffee was perfect and much needed given the festivities of the previous evening, however, I would probably branch out next time and get the ‘Ginger, Turmeric & Honey Latte with steamed almond milk’ ($5). Points to the staff for your cool uniforms too. You all looked great. Read more reviews at Gourmet Traveller and Broadsheet. See their yummy Instagram pictures here. Hills Bros is located at 5 Martin Place, Sydney (enter between Pitt and Castlereagh).

 

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