Greetings reader!

Today is a very good day for you if you’ve just randomly stumbled upon our site Four Senses- Touch Smell Taste Sound! As you’ll lose yourself in hours and hours of reading, and leave with a long list of things to try, be that restaurants, recipes, products, or stuff to hear or do. Please feel free to click on the different category tags to read all the different posts we’ve accumulated over time.

The majority of posts aren’t time sensitive, so don’t limit yourself to only reading the most recent posts, but check out the vast archive of Restaurant Reviews we’ve compiled (which we’ll keep adding to on a weekly basis).

We’ll keep adding more recipes for you to try, when we can certify that they have been tried and tested by us, and proven not to give us (or you) the runs. Haaha.

Check out our Kombucha journal where we’ve documented our steps to success, and will journal our future batches as we experiment with different flavours and ingredients. Our journal is detailed enough so you can replicate and produce a brew which will rival a store-bought beverage.   

And each time we come across some good products which we think you might also like, we’ll post these things under ‘Product Recommendations’ so you’ll have all the details if you want to check them out.

We’re also known for being eclectic in our listening tastes, which include music albums, podcasts, audio books and rando stuff from Netflix, so we’ll post recommendations as we come across some good stuff which you might like to see and hear.

And there’s just so many things to see and do in Ol’ Sydney Town, so we’ll post up monthly lists of what festivals and activities you can partake in; we have a Live Gig guide which we’ll update on a regular basis; and we’ll explore a Sydney suburb each month and we’ll document each step of the way so you can replicate our travels if you like.

So in short, if you’ve just randomly stumbled upon our site! Happy days! As you’ve just uncovered a whole entire avenue of cool stuff to read, interact with and try! So don’t be a stranger, bookmark our site and check back often as we’ll be uploading posts several times a week. We guarantee that each time you visit there will always be something new for you to Touch Smell Taste and Hear!    

February Festivals and Things to Do!

After a smoky and hot start to the year, let’s see what February has installed for us? Here are my top things to see and do for the month of Feb 2020 in Ol’ Sydney Town!

The Big Bounce Australia– Sat 1 Feb – Mon 10 Feb

St. Ives Showground, 450 Mona Vale Rd, St. Ives NSW  

Catch the final 10 days of the Big Bounce in Sydney! You have to see it to believe it! It’s the world’s largest jumping castle ever- more like a jumping resort! Within this inflatable playground expect ball pits, slides, climbing towers, DJs, confetti blasts, snow machines, crazy dancing, and competitions! It’s all you want as a kid, all in one neat 1200sqm package! And parents, if you’re tempted to jump as well? Check out the times and dates for the adult only sessions! Come on, come on down! But leave everything sharp at home plz.

For more info and for tickets, click HERE!

ICC T20 Women’s World Cup Australia V India– Fri 21 Feb

Sydney Showground, Grand Parade Sydney Olympic Park, NSW   

To kick-start two weeks of T20 Women’s World Cup cricket action, the Aussies will be striding out to the pitch to do battle with the Indians! Check out the defending T20 World Cup champions defend their world title on home soil! Be ready to watch the little white ball fly!   

For more info and to purchase tickets, click HERE!

Mosman Melted Cheese Festival– Sat 1 Feb – Sat 29 Feb

719 Military Rd, Mosman NSW (above the Mosman Club)

In the month of Feb, Mosman will be where you want to be at if you’re a cheese lover! Marketed as the ‘festival of melted cheese’, let the cheese melt while you savour their stretchy gooie goodness in summer! At the Furnery Rooftop, they will be serving up a menu featuring cheese as starters, cheese as mains, and you guessed it…… cheese for dessert! Lactose intolerant sufferers beware.  

Check out the menu and for more details, click HERE!

Raging Waters Sydney– anytime during summer

427 Reservoir Rd, Prospect NSW

With the drought and water restrictions it’s hard to maintain a backyard pool- so why not allow Raging Waters Sydney look after the water side of things, while you and your family just worry about the fun side! With over 30 rides, slides and attractions- including the H2Go Racers, the 360 Rush, a chance to chill out at the beach (while being in the Western suburbs), or lose yourself (or your bikini) in the brand new Whirlwind slide! Like they say, something for everyone!

For more info and for summer sale offers, click HERE!

Kokedama Workshop AT Bondi Beach– anytime

Merchant & Green, 96 Glenayr Ave, Bondi Beach NSW

Have you pretty much tried it all? Pottery, photography, massage, cocktail making classes? Why not try something new!? Kokedama anyone? Kokedama is an age old Japanese art form, a cousin of Bonsai- consisting of petite plants living off a ball of special soil and moss, bound by string. In the 1.5 hour class you’ll learn how to make your own Kokedama balls (x3), decorated with a variety of succulents or seasonal indoor plants. After the class you can hang them, keep them in bowls, or feature them ‘naked’. Max of 8 in the public classes- $110 pp.

For more information and to book into a class, click HERE!

Audiobook Review- The Lincoln Lawyer

All good things must eventually come to an end.

And isn’t that true with all things? My epic 2.5 month career break has finally come to an end, and in the final month I was binge  listening to the Mickey Haller series a.k.a the Lincoln Lawyer; and after a month I’ve finished the entire 5 book series and here is my brief re-cap of the experience!

After Michael Connelly’s most well-known character (Harry Bosch), Mickey Haller is Connelly’s second most  widely used character, creating 5 standalone novels where Mickey is the main protagonist (while Mickey makes a further 5 cameo appearances in books in the Harry Bosch series). The 5 books which make-up the Mickey Haller series are:

The Lincoln Lawyer (2005)

Here we meet Mickey Haller for the very first time, a well-known Defence Attorney who works out of the back-seat of his Lincoln town car – criss-crossing the court houses of LA to represent his numerous small time clients in front of overworked judges in the busy LA justice system. All the while, Mickey attempts to drum-up further business, trying to secure future clients such as drug addicts, petty thieves, and con-artists. But this day is Mickey’s lucky day, when he scores the big one! Landing the case to defend a wrongly accused Beverly Hills playboy, charged over the attempted rape and assault of a ‘working girl’ set on extorting his client for a big pay-day. However not everything nor everyone is who they seem to be!

The Brass Verdict (2008)

After the death of an associate, Mickey inherits all of the in-flight cases of the slain defence attorney- the good money making cases, and the not so good. Included in this windfall is the lucrative and high profile defence of a multi-millionaire Hollywood producer, accused of killing his wife and her lover in a fit of jealous rage. Mickey and his half-brother LA Detective Harry Bosch, partner up to smoke-out the real killer behind the case! However who responds to the heat, isn’t who they expected it to be!    

The Reversal (2010)

Mickey is enticed to cross the aisle, and for the first time he sits at the Prosecution table acting on behalf of the People to keep a convicted child killer locked-up behind bars. It’s an all family affair, with ex-wife Maggie McPherson as his second chair, and his half-brother Harry Bosch as his Investigator. But now with the once convicted killer out on bail, no one is safe while he remains free in LA!

The Fifth Witness (2011)

The defence of foreclosure victims seemed like a safe enough business model, mundane but profitable enough for the Lincoln Lawyer – until a foreclosure client of Mickey’s is charged with the murder of a high ranking bank employee. Now Mickey finds himself back in the criminal courtroom, defending an accused murderer. Although the times have changed, blackmail, manipulation, greed and murder remain the same in this new world he lives in!

The Gods of Guilt (2013)

And after 8 years, many things loop back around to where it all started in Book One of the 5 book series – a prostitute whom Mickey had saved in the first novel, shows up dead in ‘The Gods of Guilt’. Mickey is hired to defend her accused killer – after he is convinced of the accused’s innocence and the framing of his client by a much higher power. And as Mickey does, he stirs up a hornet’s nest to draw out the shadowy culprits to a confrontation in the safety of the court-room……But this time, has Mickey angered a power stronger than he can withstand?

Each of the 5 books in the Mickey Haller series are nail-biters, thrilling page turners which will have you enthralled right through to the end! And once you’ve finished with one, you’ll be unable to resist starting the very next! Throughout the last 30 days, I was literally returning one title back to the library, and that same afternoon I was already cracking open the next. I powered through them so quickly that they all started to blur into one another. But if I was granted a ‘do-over’, a second chance to pace myself to make the experience last longer? Would I? Never! Given a second chance, I’d binge the series all over again, they were such a great read! Each as unpredictable as the previous instalment!

If you haven’t already read/listened to the Mickey Haller series, I emphatically insist that you do so! To get you started, just click on the link HERE, and it’ll take you to the Audible landing page for all of Michael Connelly’s audio books- including the Mickey Haller series! Enjoy.   

Chicken Satay Stir Fry Recipe

A quick and easy deconstructed chicken satay recipe!

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

500g Chicken breast fillets

1 Brown onion

1 Cucumber

1 Pack coriander

1 Head garlic

1 Birdseye chilli

1 Lime

6 Tablespoons Peanut butter

1 Cup water

2 Tablespoons sweet chilli sauce

3 Teaspoons soy sauce

2 Cups brown rice

Directions:

Step 1: Prepare ingredients by dicing chilli into small pieces, chopping onion into small squares, shredding garlic into thin slices, peeling and deseeding cucumber and slicing into wedges, removing coriander leaves from stems, and cutting lime into wedges.

Step 2: Meanwhile, cook rice according to your preferred method.

Step 3: Dice chicken fillets into small bite-sized pieces and stir fry in a wok until they’re 80% cooked through (approx. 5 mins). Remove from heat and set aside.

Step 4: In the wok, stir fry chilli, onion and garlic for 5 minutes, before adding 6 tablespoons of peanut butter. Stir fry for 2 minutes before adding water, let simmer for 5 minutes.

Step 5: Add sweet chilli, lime juice, soya sauce and coriander to satay mixture, and cook for a further 5 minutes, before adding chicken back to wok. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Step 6: Serve chicken satay over brown rice and cucumbers. Enjoy!  

Album Review – Cats: Highlights from the Motion Picture Soundtrack

It may be a flop in cinemas, however ‘Cats: Highlights from the Motion Picture Soundtrack’, is a pretty good album indeed!

My wife and I don’t have many family traditions, but one tradition we do practice each year is to watch a movie in cinema during that period in between Christmas/New Year’s, before going back to work for another year. And this year, with our one movie quota we watched CATS! (Although we’re dog people)…….

The Motion Picture

From all accounts, the motion picture adaptation of the popular stage production ‘Cats’ has been a real flop – as unimpressive as a once nice and fluffy cat, but now wet and all shrunken after a bath. However all the bad reviews still didn’t stop us from handing over hard-earned cash to watch it, and at George Street cinemas, there was actually a reasonably sized audience joining us – made up mostly of retirees and teenagers (you-know, the types of kids you’d expect to be performing at a high school’s production of ‘Cats’).

The film itself? I have to admit I totally fell asleep between minute 8 and minute 20 of the film (largely due to already having been made to sit through 30 minutes of back-to-back pre-screening adverts *Yawn*). While my wife found the middle portion of the film quite slow and hard to endure.

The film itself and the sound quality in our opinion, is best appreciated in a cinema, compared to watching it later on the small screen (ooh, it would be utterly horrible on DVD). And we have to agree with the critics and stack up criticisms on this fact – the CGI was distracting, which took away from the viewing experience, and the scaling of the set was baffling at times. However if you’d previously had the pleasure of watching the live stage production of Cats, you’d probably agree that the motion picture follows the musical numbers and storyline very closely. The only differences between the stage and motion picture productions was the larger role of Victoria (young white cat), her new song ‘Beautiful Ghosts’, a more star-studded cast (in no particular order except from oldest to youngest…… Judi Dench, Ian Mckellen, Rebel Wilson, Jennifer Hudson, Jason Derulo, and Taylor Swift), and of course the main difference between the stage and motion picture versions was the distracting CGI used to transform man and woman into cats (in our opinion, echoing the thoughts of other critics, Lycra bodysuits and face paint would have been enough for 2019).

But for those who criticised the film for its storyline, or the lack thereof, if they entered the cinema remotely educated from reading up on the theatre production of Cats – they would’ve already known that Cats in all renditions lacks a storyline. In a nutshell, the storyline sees the new young white cat drop in on the night of the annual Jellicle Ball, where one cat is granted a new life after a competition (like having 9 lives isn’t already enough). The majority of the film is spent showcasing different cats (through song and dance), putting forward their individual arguments of why they should be the chosen one. And after a failed attempt by the villain to undermine the fair selection process, a cat is chosen. And somewhere along the way is the singing of the most iconic song number from Cats (‘Memories’). And after a pro-cat (anti-dog) direct appeal to camera, the film fades to black.

On the whole I walked away satisfied enough, as I’ve always enjoyed musicals, and my expectations when walking in were so low, it was quite easy for the film to meet and then exceed them.

The Soundtrack

As expected, the soundtrack of an onscreen musical was unable to capture all 100+ minutes of music from the film. Thus the soundtrack is titled ‘Cats: Highlights from the Motion Picture’, time limited to 59 mins. But we can only hold our breath and hope, that like Les Mis, in time they’ll release a deluxe 2-disc version that will include all 20+ songs featured in the film!

But if you’re still tossing up whether or not to watch the film, why not first give the soundtrack a go? The soundtrack contains the major tracks like:

Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats; The Rum Tum Tugger; Old Deuteronomy; Macavity; Mr. Mistoffelees; Memory; and Beautiful Ghosts – both Victoria’s and Taylor Swift’s versions.

We’ve been playing the soundtrack on our Google Home almost daily since we watched the film, and at times I’ve caught myself whistling to tracks from the album as they’re super ‘stuck in your brain’ earworms! If after you’ve listened to the album from Spotify, and you’re still left wanting, wondering ‘what am I missing out on?’, ‘which songs didn’t make it into the highlights?’ Then you’ll just have to watch it in cinema! The missing songs from the soundtrack include:

The Naming of Cats; Grizabella: The Glamour Cat; Growltiger’s Last Stand; The Jellicle Ball; The Moments of Happiness; and The Journey to the Heaviside.

So don’t just stand there! Go! Go! If Cats is doing as poorly as people claim it to be at the box-office, then it won’t be in cinemas for much longer- so go! Go! Don’t walk but run and catch it before it’s too late!

Product Recommendations- Lindt Fruit Sensation V Haigh’s Chocolate Berrychocs

Fruit-centred chocolate balls verses fruit-centred chocolate balls!

Ah Christmas! Don’t you love it when people gift you premium chocolates which you otherwise wouldn’t buy for yourself, as you’re too cheap!

This Christmas my sister gave us a hamper, which included a packet of Lindt Fruit Sensations- Mango & Passionfruit.

While my wife’s boss gave her a Haigh’s Christmas chocolate hamper, which included a packet of Berrychocs.

Thus with 2 types of balls in my hands, what better than to facilitate a Chocolate ball V Chocolate ball head-to-head battle!

Lindt Fruit Sensations- Mango & Passionfruit

Out of the blocks, Lindt’s chocolate stands out due to its dark chocolate flavour – the pairing of a bitter dark chocolate with a sweet fruit centre, definitely grabs your attention due to the opposing sweet and bitter flavours. The Lindt balls are a bit on the small side, being almost as small as a large pea? So it’s actually hard to tell if the fruit centre is genuine dried fruit covered in dark chocolate (this was my original expectation), or if it was merely an artificial jelly which happened to be flavoured like mango and passionfruit. Priced at $4.00 (100g), it’s more affordable, but it also tastes more commercial/mass produced. **Note: The fruit centre is a fruit puree incorporated with other binders.

Haigh’s Chocolate Berrychocs

When you pull one out of the pack, it’s obviously larger than the Lindt ball – easily the size of a macadamia nut? Biting into it, the Haigh’s chocolate is definitely creamier and more premium tasting than the Lindt. Whereas if the Berrychocs were coated in a darker, more bitter chocolate? The Berrychocs would have easily won hands down (Haigh’s Berrychocs are a mixture of both milk and dark chocolate). The fruit centre is very soft, and when I was trying to work out what the fruity centre reminded me of, Cadbury’s Cherry Ripe came to mind. According to the Haigh’s web-site, the Berrychocs are:

“Strawberry and raspberry flavoured fruit centres with a white chocolate layer then pan coated in milk or dark chocolate”

With that description alone, it spells out artisan chocolatier! And how it justifies a more premium price of $10.50 for 200g.

So in this chocolate ball head-to-head, I do believe the Haigh’s chocolate Berrychocs has it! My measure? If I could only have one more choc-y ball, I’d reach for the Haighs! But if you’d like to check out either of these tasty chocolate products, click HERE for the Haigh’s Berrychocs, and HERE for the Lindt Fruit Sensations!

Podcast Recommendations- Murder Book

Will Pierre Romain, romain free?

If you’re into true crime pods, then you have to listen to Murder Book Podcast, where bestselling crime fiction author Michael Connelly tries his hand at hosting a true crime pod!

The first season of ‘Murder Book: The Tell-tale Bullet’ is a 14 part deep dive into a case of a 1987 LA carjacking gone wrong, resulting in the death of a 21 year old, and the lingering unresolved justice for over 30 years! The tale and the nature of the crime isn’t unique, i.e. black-on-black killing with gang undertones, but the delays and the lead-time to justice is unique though.

The podcast provides us, the listener, access to interviews and commentary with the police and prosecutors involved in the case; real-life audio recordings from the court; wiretap recordings of the accused; and answers to some listener questions to help you further understand the case – all riveting stuff!

The series might be deemed as being long and somewhat drawn-out, however the 10 hour ordeal is still worthwhile to sit through, when at the end of the day you’re guaranteed closure when the jury hands in its verdict to a case which has been open for more than 30 years.

The highlight of the experience for me was actually hearing Michael Connelly’s voice for the first time. After listening to his Harry Bosch and Micky Haller books across a span of almost 20 years, I was surprised to actually hear the man speak (talk about a gravelly voice?). But after a while Michael’s hoarse tones became a welcome sound in my ears, as he translated the legal and police jargon, and summarised and interpreted the court and wiretap recordings, to ensure that you’re able to follow the case and the sometimes unexpected turns it takes.

Meanwhile, the negatives against the podcast experience were the poor audio quality of courtroom recordings (which Michael apologises profusely for), and the unpolished and sometimes hard to follow courtroom arguments….. Not to mention how uneventful much of the courtroom activity actually is? I guess from listening to Michael’s books and when watching fictional courtroom dramas on TV, you’re spoon-fed perfectly delivered and crafted arguments from the lawyers and perfectly clear responses from witnesses. However in reality, what I found was that courtroom proceedings was actually quite boring, that it required quite a bit of concentration to follow and absorb lawyer’s arguments and witness testimonies, and it wasn’t until halfway through the court case did I understand that if an objection was ‘sustained’ by the judge, was the question allowed to be answered or not by the person on the stand. Therefore we greatly welcomed Michael’s interruptions into the court proceedings, to explain what we were listening to, and why the lawyers were presenting elements when they were.

But for one who isn’t really into true crime pods, I enjoyed it; and this was the first podcast series my wife listened to from start to finish, and she really enjoyed it as well! So yeah, check out Murder book if you haven’t already – it’s an intriguing listen.