Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Book Review: I, Iago

They called me "honest Iago" from an early age,
but in Venice, this is not a compliment. It is rebuke.
One does not prosper by honesty.

Nicole Galland's novel provides a different perspective on the Shakespearean tale of Othello ... the villain's perspective. Narrated by Iago, the architect of Othello's downfall, the story cleverly weaves a background, his motivations for his actions, a different view on the circumstances.

The story behind the creation of the novel is that the author had been involved in putting on one hour versions of Shakespere's play only to discover when they went to do Othello that the actor to play Iago hadn't even read the play. She worked through the character with him but that raised more questions and ideas for her about Iago's motivations, his relationship with his wife, his actions when he was found out and the other character's responses.

The story starts with Iago growing up in Venice, joining the Venetian artillery, falling deeply in love with his wife Emilia and becoming Othello's ensign. But his jealousy of not being appointed lieutenant and over Othello's obsession with his beautiful wife Desdemona drive him to action that leads to disastrous results.

In this story Iago is a complex man. Dismissive of the Venetian class system, yet driven by a need to raise his status. Deeply loving of both Emilia and Othello yet he destroys them both as he himself is destroyed. Known for honesty but brought down by lies. It is a convincing story of a man's downfall.

I have to admit that I'm not that familiar with Othello the play. I knew the basics but I think I've only seen a television adaptation once so the twists and turns were a surprise but I think you would enjoy it as much if you were familiar with the play as if you had never seen it. Overall I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in Shakespere or even just a villain's perspective on his crimes.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Restaurant Review: Kinn Thai

A warm Friday night, some spicy Thai food and a tasty cocktail is pretty much my idea of bliss and I had the great pleasure to enjoy it at  Kinn Thai.

If you haven't come across it yet, it has replaced Wagamama between Sammy's Kitchen and Wood and Coal in the North Quarter of the Canberra Centre. Wagamama had languished, mostly empty for quite some time. Kinn Thai couldn't be more different. On the Friday night we visited it was packed and we watched the rapid change over of tables. I'm sure they did at least three seatings at most tables.

We had no booking but being just two us and quite early, about 6pm, we scored a table straight away. By the time we left at 7pm however there was a queue and I could see our table being snapped right up.

The menu offers lots of the usual favourites but one option I like is that for most types of dishes - eg stir fry - they offer a base and you choose your protein. Being our first visit we went with our benchmark Thai dish - pad thai which we had with chicken - plus an entree of duck pancakes and a second main dish of a crying tiger salad.

We also ordered cocktails. I ordered a Ho-Ra-Pa ($14) which is Don Julico Tequila, Thai Basil with a hint of raspberry and ginger ale. S ordered a caprioska ($12) made with cachaca, brown sugar and lime. Both were delicious, although we each liked the other's better and ended up swapping. My only comment was that the Ho-Ra-Pa came out in a glass like a mini fish bowl which was a bit difficult to drink from.

The pancakes came out incredibly quickly - they actually beat our cocktails to the table. The pancake itself was very tasty, quite different to the Chinese style ones I'm used to, more chewy and tasty. It was filled with generous chunks of duck, spring onions and cucumber and accompanied with hoisin sauce. At $10 for 2 pancakes it is on the expensive side for a small entree but we both loved them and would order them again.

Next dish out was the crying tiger salad ($23). It gets a 2 chili rating on the menu and deserved it, my first mouthful had a big chunk of chili which got me right in the back of the throat. But if you like chili I think you will love this dish. It was fresh and flavourful with the taste of the herbs and a generous amount of lemongrass. The beef was incredibly tender, you could cut it with a spoon and while this is quite a decent serve the two of us had no trouble finishing it.

Finally we had the pad thai. We had chosen chicken ($16.50) but it also comes in vegetarian, beef and prawn options. I would definitely rate this as a good and tasty pad thai. It was slightly heavy on the tomato for me and S would have liked more peanuts but that was really nitpicking. Again a very generous serve disappeared fast, although with so many other interesting things on the menu, I'm not sure I would order it again.

All up our meal came to $75 which given that it included two cocktails I thought was pretty good

Service was great. The food came out promptly and the wait staff were attentive if, it seemed, slightly inexperienced with the iPad ordering system.

Every dish we saw going past looked and smelled great. S who isn't big on going to the same place twice commented that he would be keen to return and try a few more dishes.

Overall we really enjoyed our dinner. I can't wait to go back with a crowd and try some of the seafood dishes (S doesn't eat seafood) as I've heard great reports about the crispy soft shell crab.

Kinn Thai Restaurant
125 Bunda Street
Canberra City

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Random Musings: Frocktober

It is that time of year again - Frocktober! The month where I wear frocks every day to raise funds for the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation.

The start of the month has been extremely busy. Last Saturday I held the "Spring High Tea" a fundraising high tea for Frocktober. I was lucky enough to be supported by a host of great Canberra businesses with items to raffle and auction and over 60 people attended the afternoon to enjoy delicious food and drink provided by the Canberra Institute of Technology and hear the lovely music of the Canberra Girls Grammar string ensemble.

It was a fabulous afternoon. The final bills aren't in but it looks to have made around $2,000 for the OCRF which is a complete thrill. You can read more about it here.

Aside from that I've been wrestling with the usual Frocktober challenges - having enough work appropriate frocks, battling wind and full skirts, figuring out how to accessorise for the weather. But it is a fun challenge and as always I'm enjoying it.

As always, Frocktober makes me think of the person whose diagnosis and death put me on this path to supporting the OCRF. It is 5 years now since Aunty Sue died and I'm still not used to the thought that she isn't here with us. It was her diagnosis that made me aware how difficult ovarian cancer is to identify and that without an early detection test we will continue to see a woman die every 10 hours from this hidden killer.

So while I may be spending the month having fun wearing frocks, it is for an amazing cause. Frocktober has already raised over $100,000 month for more research. If you want to donate, you can do so at:

To see all my frock efforts visit my Instagram page at:

And if you feel inspired, it isn't too late to join in. Head to to get all the details.

Happy Frocking!