Monday, July 12, 2010

83 Crazy/Beautiful Letterhead & Logo Designs

I was just looking for some inspiration for new letterheads for work and stumbed upon this.

83 Crazy/Beautiful Letterhead & Logo Designs

There are some really great designs in here so I thought I would share.

Here are some of my faves...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Great Indian Experiment - Masterchef night 4

So this week I decided to have a go at cooking an authentic Indian curry - from scratch. Britain is pretty renowned for the Balti - Australia, unfortunately, is not. I have real difficulty finding a good take out indian that isn't too greasy or completely flavorless.

Soooo I decided to have a go at doing my own.. but not only a curry, also onion bahjis, naan, and pilau rice. If you do something, you have to do it right.

So I started out by going shopping, specifically, spice shopping. I heard an advert on the radio for an indian grocer just up the road, so I decided to check them out.

They were fantastic, the guy in the shop was so helpful, I walked in with a list as long as loo roll, and he helped me find everything I needed, and gave me great advice on making my very own curry. Just incase any one wants to go and get some spices heres his info..

Mirch Masala Grocers - 35 Duporth Ave, Maroochydore QLD 45558 tel: (07) 5479 4029

Not only were they really helpful, they were actually really reasonably priced. I will definitely be going back there!

Anyway back to the cooking. I started with the naan bread because it needs a few hours to sit and rest. I got a recipe from the net and gave it a go...however the dough was reaaally tough and heavy and just didn't seem right, so I decided to trust my instincts and make another batch with a completely different recipe. I figured if it did go wrong, I would have time to make some from scratch, so I had two batches so surley one would work out.

Heres the photo of the two different batches of dough...

As you can see they are rather different. So I let these site and rest for a couple of hours while I got on with my curry.


  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 (15 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


  1. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with 2 teaspoons salt.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat; partially cook the chicken in the hot oil in batches until completely browned. Transfer the browned chicken breasts to a plate and set aside.
  3. Reduce the heat under the skillet to medium-high; add the onion, garlic, and ginger to the oil remaining in the skillet and cook and stir until the onion turns translucent, about 8 minutes. Stir the curry powder, cumin, turmeric, coriander, cayenne, and 1 tablespoon of water into the onion mixture; allow to heat together for about 1 minute while stirring. Mix the tomatoes, yogurt, 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, and 1 teaspoon salt into the mixture. Return the chicken breast to the skillet along with any juices on the plate. Pour 1/2 cup water into the mixture; bring to a boil, turning the chicken to coat with the sauce. Sprinkle the garam masala and 1 tablespoon cilantro over the chicken.
  4. Cover the skillet and simmer until the chicken breasts are no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear, about 20 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C). Sprinkle with lemon juice to serve.

I deviated from the recipe slightly... When I tasted the sauce after everything was added it was veeery spicy ( I may have been slightly generous with the spices, not thinking 1 teas spoon of certain ingredients was enough... Lesson Learnt.) I have a slightly higher tolerance for spice than Owz so i got him to sample it before I continued, and needless to say, he was rather flustered so I had to balance it out a bit.

I ended up adding another cup of yoghurt, and lots of cream to taste. The dairy products are effective at decreasing spice where as water is not. So after alot of taste testing it was more or less ready so i let it sit while I got on with the bahjis and rice.

Onion Bahjis Ingredients

100g / 4oz Chick-Pea Flour or Gram Flour
1/4 teasp Chilli Powder
1/2 teasp Turmeric
1/2 teasp Baking Powder
1/2 teasp Ground Cumin
1 Large Onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 Green Chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
25g / 1oz finely chopped Fresh Coriander
Cold water to mix
Vegetable oil for deep frying


  1. Sift the flour, chilli, turmeric, cumin, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the chopped coriander, onions and chillis and mix well.Preheat the deep fat fryer to 180ÂșC
  2. Gradually add enough water to the flour mixture to form a thick batter mixing very well so the onions are well coated.
  3. Very carefully drop spoonfuls of the mixture into the hot oil and fry until keep warm whilst you cook the remaining bhajis.
  4. Drain well on kitchen paper and serve very hot.
Mint Raita Dip for bahjis

2 cups of plain yoghurt
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp ginger paste
1tsp finely chopped mint

Simply mix ingredients together and chill until ready to serve,

Pilau Rice Ingredients

1 Cup of Basmati rice
1 ounce butter
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 3/4 cups boiling water

  1. Soak rice in cold water for about 30 mins then drain well and rinse
  2. melt butter in saucepan
  3. add in all the spices and salt
  4. stir in rice until coated in butter and spices
  5. add boiling water
  6. cover with a tight fitting lid and simmer for approx 15 mins on lowest heat setting. Do not stir in the meantime
And here is in the final product...

The naan breads were a absolute disaster. The first batch came out like cricket balls which I threw straight into the bin, and the second started off great then suddenly rose in the grill and tripled in height, they ended up really tough. I'm not even going to bother posting the naan recipe here as they were so bad.

Overall the Indian experiment was a success, the curry was so flavorful and there's nothing quite like making it from scratch. It was so much fun adding all the herbs and spices and seeing it transfer before you eyes. The only thing I really think I need to sort out is the naan bread. I will perfect them next time, and as I have a whole cupboard full of new spices to play with, I think that will be sooner rather than later!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Master Chef Night 3 - 3/07/10

Owz decided to have another crack at cooking as he enjoyed it so much last week - so who was I to get in the way of a man who wants to cook me food?
This week he cooked...

Fennel, Orange and Apple Salad with BBQ Marinated Prawns

12 green king prawns, peeled and deveined, tails left intact
1 lemon, zest finely grated
½ tsp chilli, finely diced

2 tbs olive oil

For the vinaigrette

1 tbs Dijon mustard
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tbs honey
1 tbs red wine vinegar
2 tbs lemon juice
½ lemon, zest finely grated

For the salad
2 celery hearts, finely sliced
1 baby fennel bulb, very finely sliced, fronds reserved
3 oranges, peeled and segmented
2 granny smith apples, peeled and cut into matchsticks
½ bunch flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

1. Place the prawns in a large bowl and combine with the lemon, chilli, olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside for 15 minutes to marinate.
2. Meanwhile, whisk all of the vinaigrette ingredients together with a pinch of salt and pepper, then set aside.
3. Toss all of the salad ingredients together in a large bowl.
4. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over high heat and cook the prawns for 1-2 minutes each side or until just cooked through.
5. Add 1/3 cup of the dressing to the salad and toss to coat.
6. To serve, divide dressed salad and prawns between serving plates. Drizzle each plate with a little extra dressing and scatter over fennel fronds.

Serves 4


I have to confess I was a bit skeptical of this one... I'm not a huge prawn fan... and I'm not especially fond of fennel, however I am more than happy to give anything a go.

I'm happy to say I was very pleasantly surprised. The salad was divine - individually all the elements of the salad were average, but together they created this fantastic medley of flavours that complemented each other beautifully.

Owz did a an amazing job with prawns and I have to say they were probably the nicest prawns I have ever tasted, they weren't rubbery at all, they have even given me a bit of a hankering for more!

Overall I loved this dish, and would definitely have it again - especially if it is cooked for me! I'm pretty sure that makes it taste just a little bit nicer every time.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Our Own Master Chef Night 2

So this is week 2 of our special cooking weekend.

It was Owains turn to cook this week, and he decided to cook Pork Belly. What he actually turned out was:

Roast Pork Belly with a Caramel Glaze and served with Roasted Sweet Potato and Granny Smith Apple

And I tell you what it gets 4 stars. It was lush!

The crackling on the pork belly was lovely and crunchy, while the meat was soo tender, it just fell apart. The sweet potato and the granny smiths were roasted in olive oil and thyme and were just done to perfection. The pork with the roasted apples was a lovely yet traditioinal flavour. We were a bit scared when he took it out the oven as it was looking very dark, but we needn't of worried - it was perfect.

Next up was my dessert.

Rhurbarb and Blackberry Crumble Souffle (as seen on Master Chef Australia on Friday night) heres the recipe if you want to have a go at making it yourself.

Heres my attempt (sorry about the photo quality... by the time I'd put the photos in the computer the souffle was loong gone so I couldn't get a better photo)

I tell you what - I have never been so proud of any of my cooking endeavors as when my souffles started to rise! All you hear is how hard it is to get them to rise correctly and that so many things can go wrong - but hey here was my first go and *presto* one very light a fluffy souffle.

They gave some really good tips on Master Chef on how to make sure they rise,

1. make sure you beat the eggs whites to the right consistency - they should be soft and shiny peaks.

2. was it make sure you grease the ramekin enough. What i did was put a light film of butter on it, then put it in the fridge for 5 mins, take it out, put another - more generous coating of butter on - then coat it all in caster sugar. This makes sure it doesn't stick.

3. Make sure when putting the mixture into the ramekin that you don't drip any on the sides.

The souffles were divine. So light a fluffy, and the rhubarb and blackberry mix was just lovely.

Overall - a very successful weekend of food cooking and eating... now I am very very full, and I must admit slightly tipsy from the wine that had to be drunk for the stress of the souffles so I am going to go and chill out and drink the rest of my wine before I go to bed.

Good effort I say :)

New Bloginings

Like many many people of my generation - I have decided to start a blog.

I would like to start off with a disclaimer - I am not a writer of any sort - so I imagine there will probably be spelling/typo mistakes, grammatical errors and all sorts of terrible things going on - so I apologize in advance for any annoyances I cause from reading this blog.

Due to inspiration from a few friends of mine who started them, which I really enjoyed reading - I decided to start my own blog.

Dec-a-dence - Noun - Unrestrained or excessive self indulgence

In a word - that is what I want this blog to be about. The things we love, desire and lust after, but don't actually need. The things that make us smile, the things we talks about and the things we get excited about.

I am going to blog about the things that interest and inspire me and I thought it would give me an excuse to experiment and play around with everything a bit more so I actually have something to write about.
  • Food

  • Design

  • Film (and TV)

  • Books

  • Makeup

  • and some other miscellaneous things like technology (e.g. my iPhone)

These things bring pleasure and joy to my life in many different ways.

Food: God I love food. (almost) Nothing in this world gives me as much joy and pleasure as really well cooked, delicious food.

I love to eat it and I love to cook it.

Recently Owz and I have really gotten into Masterchef Australia - it's our nightly ritual now to plop down in front of the telly at 7.30, put Masterchef on and spend an hour drooling at the mouth-watering sights.

It was Masterchef that has actually indirectly lead to me starting this blog... We decided (well I did, but roped Owz into it too) that we will eat healthily all week and then one day on the weekend, take it in turns to cook something really amazing. Which I thought would be a great thing to document - hence the blog.

It was my turn last week and I cooked Nigella Lawsons Coca Cola cooked Ham.

Mine didn't look quite as good as hers - but it tasted pretty incredible. The sweetness of the cola and treacle glaze against the saltiness of the ham was a really nice balance, and the cloves added a fragrant taste that really brought all the flavours together. I will definitely be making it again and would recommend anyone to give it a go - it may sound a bit weird - but trust me - the taste is spectacular.

This week its Owains turn to cook and he will be cooking a pork belly roast from a Jamie Oliver recipe, and I know its not my week, but on Masterchef last night they made a Rhubarb and Blackberry Souffle which looked spectacular so I'm going to attempt to make one too. I will blog about that in the next post...

Design: I am a graphic designer by trade, and after many ups and downs with the profession, I am currently working for a great company and loving my job. I see so much great graphic design out there which is scary (as I feel I will never be that good) and inspiring at the same time, I thought this would be a great place to bring all this together.

Film: I love the escapism of film, I love getting engrossed in someone else's life for 90 minutes, experiencing what they are going through, and then leaving the behind again and continuing on with my own life. I also love the experience of going to the cinema, the big screen, the smell of the popcorn, the great booming surround sound.

Books: I probably read 2-3 books a week. I am a very fast reader and once I am into a book I simply devour it. Often one book is not enough, I like to live with the characters throughout a whole series - and hear all of their stories. Any recommendations are gladly taken :)

Makeup: I have always loved makeup. Before my other loves came along and were properly formed, I was playing with my mothers makeup bag. Eyeshadow is probably my favourite thing to experiment and have some fun with, I love bright colours, and love putting bright colours on people who wouldn't usually wear them.

If the graphic design thing doesn't work out makeup artistry is going to be next. I think I thought it wasn't a viable career option when I was deciding what I wanted to be at 14 or 15 or however old you are when your teachers sit you down, and make you decide what job to want to do for the rest of your life. I was always creative, arty, and into computers and technology so Graphic Design seems like the logical path - not a silly girly thing like makeup.

So that was my not so little introduction to this blog. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I will writing it.