Tuesday 2 November 2010

Ginger steak salad, superwomen and super lashes

The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, is an absolute superwoman.  She is a mom of four, runs a cattle ranch and still finds time to run an amazing blog, write a book and take amazing photographs. Not to mention all her recipes work like a dream.

But when I come to think about it, I actually know a lot of superwomen.  I'm sure I'll end up blogging about all of them sometime but today I want to introduce you to Mel.

She is one of the brightest women I've ever met - a veritable brainiac.  Top of her class pharmacist, attentive wife, caring sister, doting daughter and the most thoughtful and fun friend.  And did I mention she looks like she should be a model? If she wasn't my friend, I would totally hate her.

We were in first year pharmacy together and became friends on the elevator on the way up to the very first lecture.

Mates at first sight.

We had a lot in common, both loved shopping and clothes, eating, talking, we were both closet (ok not so closet) science geeks, extremely competitive and shared OCD tendencies when it came to studying and organising and well, life. 

Mel went on to actually become a superstar pharmacist while I changed my degree four times and ended up a corporate lawyer now applying for med school.  Clearly one of us had her head screwed on better than the other.  We've had our fair share of silly girly shenanigans, triumphs and tragedies, and when I changed degrees and later she moved away, we inevitably don't spend a heck of a lot of time together.  But as is the magical time-travel like phenomenon that is the bond of old friends, whenever we do hang out it's like we're 18 again and nothing has changed. 

We've both developed love of cooking and baking.  I think it appeals to our inner science geeks - the precise measuring and timing, the alchemy of ingredients turning in to dishes and recently she introduced me to a scrumptious recipe from the Pioneer Woman blog for Ginger Steak Salad.

This dish is a great summer-time lazy meal.  All the ingredients I had sitting in my pantry.  It's light, it's quick as and you can do it on the barbie or on top of the stove.

As you know, I can't help but tweak recipes as I go and after tasting decided it needed more acidity so the recipe below has some rice vinegar and tangy Tabasco added. As well as extra garlic (a given, really).

Of course, you can just use extra lime juice if you don't have any rice vinegar handy.  Do, taste as you go so you can tweak it to your own tastes.

Love this dish so much, its fresh and zesty and a perfect light meal for summer.  Reminds me of Beef Tataki (one of my fav japanese dishes). Thanks Mel! Mwa!

And from super women and super recipes to super lashes.  As part of my recon mission for my wedding, I decided to get some eyelash extensions done as a trial.  Now, I have the most piddly stumpy wee eyelashes in the world.  Even mascara can barely make them visible.  So it's definitely going to be either fake lashes or eyelash extensions for the big day.

A friend of mine used to get lash extensions done all the time at this cute wee shop in Kingsland called Phoenix Cosmetics so she took me to try them out.  All the make up ladies are dressed like the pink ladies from Grease and the whole place is made up like a boudoir from a film noire but pink.  Super cute.

The lashes took 30 mins to put on and they are INCREDIBLE.  I only got the "natural" set and they are humongous. Love them! They make such a huge difference to your eyes.  And you just wake up and not have to put any makeup on and go.

You have to be super careful with your eyes though and you can't rub them, or use oil based makeup remover.  They do get a bit uncomfortable after a couple of weeks, kinda feels like there's plasticy stuff stuck to your eyelashes coz, well, duh you  have stuff stuck to your eyelashes.

I was going to take some before and after pictures and then forgot so will take some before and afters next time I get them done!  Still not sure whether they will be THE lashes for the wedding, since they do have to stick to your actual physical eyelashes so it's hard to get the lashes to extend past your eye to make them look bigger if you get what I mean?  But it's def something to think about.

Anyhoo that's enough of my wedding rant! To the recipe...

Ginger Steak Salad

Tweaked from recipe by Pioneer Woman. Original recipe found here.

2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp shaoxing wine
1 Tbsp mirin 
4 cloves garlic, Minced
1 Tbsp brown sugar

4 sirloin steaks
2 Tbsp olive oil

Salad dressing
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp fish sauce
3 Tbsp white sugar
1 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp ginger, minced (around 1 inch)
1 tsp Tabasco sauce

2 whole spring onions, sliced into little discs
500g salad leaves e.g. mesculan mix

1. Mix all the marinade ingredients and pour into a ziplock bag. Put steaks in the ziplock bag and squeeze all the air out and seal.  Marinate in the fridge for at least 30 mins, up to 2 hours.

2. Mix all salad dressing ingredients and set aside.

3. Heat heavy bottomed pan, or the barbeque. Once hot pour in olive oil.  Cook the steaks for around 2 minutes per side for rare - medium rare (depending on how thick your steaks are).  Pour the marinade over the steaks for the last little bit to glaze. Set the steaks aside to rest on a covered plate for 5-10 minutes.

4.  Toss the salad leaves in half the dressing and arrange on a platter.

5. Slice the steak into thick slices (1 cm thick) and arrange on top of platter.  Top with remaining dressing and  sprinkle spring onions over top.


  1. Aw, what a great story! I love when you have a friend who you're so close with that you can not see them for like 2 years and when you see them again, it's like no time has passed. Anyways, that steak salad looks delicious! I love a nice piece of juicy steak- I'm totally a dude like that :) I'll have to try this recipe!

  2. Wow.
    Looking Yummy thanks for Ingredients to prepare.

  3. Susan: My mouth was definitely watering when I was taking the pics. Was so hard having to stop myself just hoeing in before taking the photos. Oh the trials of food blogging :)

    Kathryn: Friends like that are the best no? The older I get the more I realise its the people in your life that matter most huh? I love my steaks too! Bloody and mooing I say...haha we are such dudes :)

    Desktop Strippers: Not a problem buddy. Hope you like the dish! :)

  4. Wow! I don't know what to say Ness....you must know more than one Mel?

    I believe I am entitled to a right of reply. For those of you who do not know her personally let me introduce you to Ness. She is without a doubt the most intelligent, genuine and caring person I know. For a person who has suffered such a tremendous loss of such a very special person in her life she would have every justifiable right to be angry but yet she always has a smile on her face and never stops giving.

    Oh and by the way the only reason I was able to top pharmacy was because Ness changed her degree.

    PS I made your version of this salad on Sunday. I don't know how you do it but I prefer it to pioneer womans recipe.

  5. Aw hun, you are so sweet...your message got me all teary. Every single word about you in that post is true, just ask anyone who knows you :) Love you long time mwa xox



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