Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Frantic and frenzied ...

Dear readers, Life has been crazy busy for weeks!

My blog has been in hibernation for a month. My work has been go, go, go at a very stressful time of year. I'm crawling (just) to the end of the year. I finish up tomorrow for 2 wonderful weeks.

Apparently it's Christmas (this Saturday ,I'm told) and apparently we're having 22 people to lunch and dinner on Christmas Day. So I need to get a few things organised .... and then ..... and then .... it's 9 blissful days doing nothing on a houseboat.

Hope you all have a happy, safe and peaceful Christmas with people you LOVE.
Here's to a year of fabulousness in 2011. I just know it's going to be great.
And here's to the glory of an Aussie summer.
Let's hope we get some sunshine.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sew long

It's been sooo long since I've done anything remotely crafty so I made the most of a few hours on the weekend to crack onto a new project (I mean, why finish off projects when there are so many new ones to begin!!)
I raided my fabric stash and added some new fat quarters to make a summer picnic blanket.
I love the pinks, greens and yellows. Such pretty summer colours Don't you love the green and white spot?

I got the pattern from the queen of craft Pip Lincoln at Meet Me At Mikes.
I love her philosophy that when you craft it doesn't have to be perfect.
I'm quite a fan of the 'wonk' ... and the end result is delightfully wonkily imperfect.
Will post some pics of the finished picnic blanket soon. Can't wait for our first summer picnic or a dreamy afternoon sleep when you need a little light cover.Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Dinner for One

I'm batching this weekend.
And loving it.
My time is my own while James and Eliza are on a father/daughter camp with a whole lot of dads and daughters from Eliza's school.

Usually when I'm on my own I do something very simple for dinner - toasted cheese sandwich or grab a takeaway.
But tonight I thought I'd savour the serenity and whip up a little something for just for me.

I started with 6 freshly shucked oysters ...

Earlier in the afternoon, I slow roasted a tray of tomatoes for about 4 hours at 100 degrees Celsius.
These are gorgeous.
Just cut in half, drizzle with olive oil, scatter some fresh herbs, a grind of pepper and some flakes of salt and into the oven.
They're so tender and sweet.

So what to serve with these little beauties?
I know ...
some quail.
Wrap the quail in prosciutto with fresh sage, a bay leaf, a bruised clove of garlic and some lemon peel in the cavity,
roast the quail for about 12- 5 minutes, turning after about 7 mins.

I rummaged in the pantry for some special pasta.

So there you have it.

Prosciutto wrapped quail with slow roasted tomatoes on hand rolled pasta .

Sorry there's no picture of all the elements on the plate. I finished the lot before I realised I didn't have a photo.

Trust me, it was totally delicious.

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Monday, November 8, 2010

Getting Creative In Print!

What a thrill to pop into Spotlight today - for a couple of reasons:
1. I'm enjoying a day off and don't have to be anywhere for anyone but me!
2. I never get time to really have a good old fossick around and Spotlight is one of those places where you don't want to be in a hurry
3. I was keen to see a copy of the new look mag - Get Creative
4. I'm in it !!!!

I wrote a column about why I craft, and as I flicked through the magazine I convinced myself it probably hadn't made it to print.

I couldn't see it .... but then a few more pages over
And there were my words staring back at me ....

I smiled to myself ...

Then I spent at least an another hour choosing a few fat quarters for a summer project I've got in mind.
I came home (snuck past the sleeping puppy) and made a cuppa and settled back with the magazine.
It looks great. Lots of crafty ideas that seem pretty easy - which is absolutely my style.
If I can get my act together you'll see some of the projects on my blog over coming weeks.

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Now ... where were we?

We've been busy.
Chopping, cooking, eating and drinking
and seeing the horses race past, occasionally.
And cleaning the house and entertaining
with more chopping and cooking and eating and drinking.
Then going to work and coming home and getting ready for the next day at the races
with more chopping and cooking and eating and drinking.


The Spring Racing Carnival is officially over.
Time to put the hats, headbands and hatinators away.
And time to have a decent meal.

All this finger food is exhausting!!

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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick or treat?

Eliza and her friend Laura are at a Halloween Party tonight.
They decided against going spooky
preferring to dress up as geeks instead.

Taking their inspiration from Beauty and The Geek with a little bit of Glee thrown in ...
They did raided the Laura's brother's wardrobe for their 'costumes.'

The Geeks called themseves Rob and Bob and look pretty pleased to be going to a party.

More beauty than geek don't you think?
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Saturday, October 30, 2010

A day at the Derby

Well, we can't say we weren't warned!
A months rainfall in a day - that was the prediction from the weather bureau.
And while the day started off with overcast skies, the rain started falling around midday, right on cue, and kept on falling and falling and falling and falling.
We spent the day at the Derby (I think it's the most elegant day of the Spring Racing Carnival) . We made the most of the dry weather in the morning, actually getting to see a horse or two.
Then the rain came ... and we retreated to the marquee and I donned my gumboots.
If I'd been more entrepreneurial I would have brought a few more pairs with me and sold them off for a small fortune.
The huge downpour all afternoon meant I didn't even put a bet on, so I saved a few dollars in that department.
I left the track mid afternoon and got a train home.
A hot shower and then into some comfy clothes with soup for dinner and a movie on the couch.
What a day.
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Soupa dooper

It was definitely soup weather on Saturday.
We came home absolutely soaking from netball.
I was secretly hoping it would be called off and we could all have a sleep in .... but no, we trudged out to the courts (Ruby and all) and watched Eliza play in the rain.
Ruby played in the puddles.

After a hot shower I made a hot lunch.
Freshly baked bread using rosemary from the garden the some of the stuffed olives James bought at the market.

And oh the smell of the bread as it baked in the oven ....

Then a pot of pumpkin and potato soup ...

topped with a drizzle of olive oil and some cracked pepper...

Sensational, even if I say so myself!

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Monday, October 25, 2010

A hat trick

We're in the middle of organising a Melbourne Cup party next Tuesday, at home. Living in Melbourne means we enjoy a public holiday. (Isn't that so Australian where a public holiday is declared for a horse race!)
Anyway, it's a wonderful day to dress up, drink bubbles, eat lovely chicken sandwiches .... and wear a hat.

While I'm still planning what to wear (eeeeekkkk!) , Eliza has got her outfit sorted..... but what to wear on her head?
So, we scooted into Lincraft on the weekend and made a couple of purchases - a headband and some ribbony bits and pieces.
The plan was to put it together with a hot glue gun at home...

But then a lovely young lady approached me as I clutched my ingredients and asked if I knew about the free hat making service in store.
Well um no .... actually.
A few minutes later and the bit and pieces turned into a lovely headpiece for Eliza.

It's simple and lovely and PINK of course.

The trusty hot glue gun did the trick and ta da .....

She loves it.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Words only

My photo program is not working at the moment
Not sure if the Internet fairy will wave her wand tonight ....
But I hope it's back to normal tomorrow.
So watch this space.
I've pictures of a headpiece I whipped up for the races ...
And pictures of the olive and rosemary bread I whipped up for dinner
to go with the broccoli and potato soup I also whipped up ...
Tomorrow we've got guests for lunch and I'm poaching a whole salmon.
Pictures to follow ...
So please Picasa fairy do your thing.
I've got so much to share

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Blooming beautiful

We hit 27 degrees today and it was all blue sky and sunshine in Melbourne.

The crabapple in our garden is in blossom.

And the colours are gorgeous.

I love the pink and white combination and the way the sun shines on the leaves.

Daylight saving means it's still light when I get home. Yay.

Time to enjoy the garden with a glass of wine.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Vintage thread

Vintage cotton reels.
The old fashioned kind.
Spools of jewel coloured thread.
I fossick for more where ever I go.
Pure pleasure.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I love a bargain

I'm always on the lookout for vintage cookbooks
and I love a bargain.
So when the two come together, it's a happy, happy day!

I found this copy of the classic Ma Cuisine by the legendary Escoffier in a junk shop when I was on holidays in Queensland. I pounced it on straight away.

There was no price on it so I inquired at the counter ...
Did I hear it correctly? I asked again just to be sure.
Then happily handed over $1 for this little beauty!

I've been leafing through the recipes and I might have to give a couple of the classics a wide berth.

While I love a challenge in the kitchen , boning calf's feet is just a bit too much on a weeknight after a long day at the office. I mean first you have to catch your calf!
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Monday, October 18, 2010

First bath

The first bath is such a milestone.
The parents are nervous.
The newborn is blissfully unaware.
Cameras are poised to capture the moment ...
And so it was when Ruby had her first bath.

The dear little thing took it all in her stride. She's pretty placid and we took it slowly.

She didn't bark or yelp or howl at all ... (unlike other experiences I've had bathing newborns)

She squirmed a bit and slipped a bit ... and wondered what on earth was happening...

We rinsed her off with lovely warm water.
The out of the bath and into a towel.
She shook and shook and shook and shook and
raced around the house and around and around and around ....
Then she had a big long sleep.
Not bad really!
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Sunday, October 17, 2010

For dinner tonight

It's Sunday night and after another busy weekend, dinner will be something easy.
I'm thinking scrambled eggs ...

using these freshly laid, free range eggs - given to me by a friend who's girls oblige with two perfect eggs every day.

So scrambled eggs, with some snipped chives from our garden .... and I'll pick some of our spinach and throw it in the pan for just a minute. I'll shave some parmesan too.

The spinach has been so easy to grow.
We've picked quick a lot already and there's still lots more to eat.

So an easy, tasty dinner on the way. Scrambled eggs and wilted spinach - to be eaten before Junior Masterchef.

What are you having for dinner tonight?

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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Rain and wind and hail and cold

The rain , the wind and the cold!
We've even had hail.
Winter has returned in a freezing blast.

Our back yard is a muddy mess of puddles.

There's no question the rain is good for the garden.
Everything is looking fresh and lush...
It's just that the temp has dropped from 20 to 5 degrees.
And our heating isn't working so we're piling on the layers.

And Ruby is looking longingly through the window, waiting for the sun to come out.
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