Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Flowers

We've had a quiet week this week at the hut. We're both busy at work. Rob's had a slight cold all week which is making him feel a little droopy. The weather has been a bit cool and damp and grey. So we've just hibernated a bit in the evenings, eating warming foods and reading on the window seat. I can't wait for daylight savings to begin this Sunday!

I thought I'd do a native plant post today. Although I don't work as a botanist at the moment, I can't help myself, as we walked (well raced as the dogs were so keen) along the path to Snug Falls last week, I kept checking with Rob I hadn't lost it. Picking out pretty wildflowers, checking I still knew their names (well at least the name I knew them as, damn taxonomists keep changing them!)

Rob's Monday practical was looking at three families of plants Myrtaceae, Ericaceae and Rhamnaceae. So after our little walk we found a few specimens to take into work the next day.
I thought I'd share a few of my favourite pictures from each family (all photos are Rob's of course!)


This little cutie is Euryomyrtus ramossissima, part of the Myrtaceae family, which is better known for the more showy eucalypts, melaleucas and callistemons. The leaves of this family all have that distinctive eucalypt smell if crushed. This particular plant is common in coastal heath vegetation, and is easy to pick out with the five white/pale pink petals.

The next two are both members of the Ericaceae family, known for their tough, often sharp little leaves. The one above is Leucopogon virgatus, I love their fluffy white petals, or more correctly their hairy corolla tube. Leucopogon is latin for white beard. The petals of all the species in this family are fused into a tube, sometimes they are open like this species, but the tube can also be shut like in Richea.
This even furrier flower is actually another species Pentachondra involucrata found in heathy woodlands.

Finally this little plant is part of the Rhamnaceae family, which contains some of my favourite plants. This is the species Stenanthemum pimeleoides, a rare prostrate shrub found on the east coast. It has tiny little flowers which are quite inconspicuous compared to the larger showy white bracts. Bract is just a term for a modified or specialised leaf associated with a flower (botanists love descriptive terms). Aren't the little heart shaped bracts adorable? I often pick the leaves of plants in this family just to rub their softness against my skin, if they could make lingerie out of them, I'd be the first in line to buy some!

Well there ends today's little botany lesson, hope you have a lovely weekend, so far we don't have any plans and that doesn't worry me a bit!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday's Menu

Well after looking at last weeks pictures I did tell Rob we should try not to eat cheese for a week. We almost got there, but on Friday we needed a quick last minute birthday gift, so we headed straight for Bottega Rotolo, and I knew we'd be walking out of there with some cheese.
Sure enough we did, a small washed rind and a hard cheese called Chebris Brebis that was made from a mixture of ewe and goat milk. Both excellent.Photobucket

Top row: Spaghetti alla puttanesca, Rolled loin of pork stuffed with prunes, sage, breadcrumbs, garlic and onions, Friday's cheese platter with salad and bread.
Middle row: Strawberry Lemon Curd Puff, Left over pork on Tuesday :), Mini-roast lamb (shanks) with baked potatoes and carrots.
Bottom row: Stir fry with rice noodles and the last bit of pork, lamb soup, and roast potatoes.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Our weekend:

We've had a quiet weekend, apart from this afternoon we stayed in at the hut the whole time, it was lovely.
But we made the most of our time, yesterday we weeded my lilies (some are still in pots); I seem to have a zillion, and that's only a slight exaggeration, several hundred at least.
Rob made a batch of Seville marmalade, I made lemon curd to put into a doughnut shaped puff (choux pastry again), and we mixed the rest with whipped cream to churn into the most wicked ice-cream.
Today was sunny but cool, after a morning perimeter walk with the dogs, Rob made a big pot of lamb shank and vegetable soup and I used up the egg whites to make almond and also coconut macaroons.
Whilst Rob did some digging, I admit I had a post lunch snooze on the window seat.
But later we headed for a walk at nearby Snug Falls. Both dogs love to walk in the bush, but Claudia got herself all scared over two little girls on the track! It was sort of funny, maybe their tartan dresses were too frightening for her?
She has been a little naughty this weekend, Rob spread some blood and bone under all the trees and she keeps sneaking off to eat it!! Cheeky bugger, it didn't seem to matter if we growled at her, she just couldn't help herself!
Although at least it distracted her from the dam, where a mother duck and 11 of the cutest ducklings have been keeping us entertained with their antics!
Hope your weekend was as relaxing as ours.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Flowers

I'm afraid I'm cheating a little with today's flower pictures.
Although our quince trees have just started to flower, the weather has been terrible in the mornings so I haven't managed to get a photo. Luckily for me Rob has a vast collection of pictures so he dug a few out for me to share.

Quinces, we love their fruit, the perfume is like nothing else, we often buy a couple just to pop in the fruit bowl, so that the perfume wafts around the house. One of the first things Rob and I did together as a couple was take cuttings of a favourite quince tree at a friends place. Our success wasn't brilliant, but we ended up with four trees which are now planted at the block, perfectly positioned so that you can sit on the window seat and gaze at them.

Their flowers are quite beautiful don't you think? I especially love the buds, how they are all whorled up. You can see the similarity to roses can't you? Rob is running his Tasmanian plant taxonomy practicals at the moment, so we're in flower collecting mode (really just Sunday afternoon strolls finding flowers!) His introductory prac is called Supermarket Systematics. We go shopping and buy a trolley full of fruit and vegetables, and then the students get to classify the produce into their families (with the help of some of these photos as the flowers are the key to grouping plants). After the prac is over the students get to pick one of the items to take home! I miss helping Rob with these pracs, I used to quite like demonstrating in the classes.Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Midweek musing

Photobucket I had a lovely long weekend, as I took Monday off, and got really lucky with the weather, Monday was absolutely perfect, blue sky, warm, a slight breeze. Rob and I went for a morning stroll around the block before he had to head into work. He’s trained the dogs to react to the word “perimeter”, as soon as he says it they get all excited and start heading for the fence behind the hut to start their walk. They actually don’t like to go on a walk without us. The pack instinct is pretty strong in German Shepherds, they like us all to be together when we’re doing things.

Then I spent the day catching up on washing (perfect weather for it) and cleaning up the hut. I guess that doesn’t sound very exciting, but I quite liked the space and quiet, and was happy enough getting our hut back into order, and I had the dogs for company. It was warm enough that I could open up all the windows, the big bifold doors in the main room, and the French doors in the breezeway, and the hut stayed just the right temperature. I even walked around barefoot on the polished concrete and it was just fine.

Rob did come home early to help prepare dinner for my family. With my niece being baptized on Sunday, my grandmother and aunt were over visiting for a few days from Melbourne. They were keen to see the hut, cause the last time they’d visited was for our wedding, and it was nowhere near complete then. We served soy-toasted almonds, baked olives and gougères (I was hooked on choux pastry after the profiterole tower). Rob cooked a rolled loin of pork stuffed with sage, onions, garlic and prunes in the Weber, and he served it with roast potatoes and red cabbage and apple. I had made my go-to dessert: a steamed marmalade pudding. It was nice to have them visit (with my parents and brother too), to just sit around the table and chat.

After tidying up the breezeway I took a few shots of it. Which is quite hard cause it’s got a cathedral ceiling and is only 3m wide, I tried to lie down to take a shot, but Claudia thought that meant she could come and chew on my ears! We’re pretty happy with this space, our front entrance, we can come in and dump coats, bags and shoes. The dogs love it too; cause the concrete is cool to lie on. It doesn’t normally look this tidy, usually there are baskets of shoes and dog drying towels, and a dog mat, but it’s nice to get it back to it’s original state once a week!
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I can’t help but share these two pictures of Nigella and Claudia, you can’t deny they have character! Photobucket Photobucket

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday's Menu

Trying a post from my phone, so this might be brief!

Leftover lamb soup.
Photobucket Tuesday
Tomato and vegetable soup
Photobucket Wednesday
A cheeky mid-week cheese platter lunch at our favourite Bottega Rotolo and tomato & meatball soup sauce on pasta.
Photobucket Photobucket Thursday
Procuitto & Fetta frittata
Photobucket Friday
Cheese (again, just a little one though) with rocket, pear and fennel salad.
Photobucket Saturday and Sunday
My personal tapas plate & Rob's paella
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Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Flowers

Camellias - I love them. We have been collecting some of my favourites in pots for a while now. Just trying to work out the best place for them at the hut. The gardens at uni are a bit eclectic, but behind one of the big buildings is a lovely planting of camellias. Here are a couple of my favourites. I'm thinking of taking some cuttings from them in summer. Photobucket Photobucket

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


My clandestine love affair with the colour red had remained hidden until recently. I don’t think I can deny it any longer. I thought perhaps I’d moved on from red. The hut was going to be cream, blue, and sandy yellow.
But red has been creeping back into our life.

It started when I unpacked our favourite red stoneware plates and bowls. Suddenly, I wanted to serve all our food on them. I know white dinnerware is more chic, that most food looks better on white. But every time I opened the crockery draw (that in itself is quite a novelty!) my hands would pass over the neat stack of white plates and choose the lovely glossy red plates.
Then I remembered a happy afternoon spent in an Italian café at Cottesloe Beach, and loving the look of their bright red napkins on the long communal timber tables, and thinking one day I’m going to have a table just like that. So I picked up a set of plain red cotton napkins recently.
Our bedroom also got the red makeover. We’d always had a cream bedspread. But then we got Claudia. She can’t help herself, she loves beds. But she also loves mud. So we thought this red check would camouflage the worst of the paw prints.
My favourite jam just came back in stock at Coles, I love their gingham lids, as you can tell.
Rob found us these Fler Narvik chairs on ebay, we’d be on the look out for pair, and happily for us they came newly upholstered, in lovely soft red chenille corduroy.
So now that Rob shares my love affair, I can quite openly sneak some more red into the hut. I found these red reindeer tealight holders at Spotlight on Saturday. Kitsch I know, but also beautiful at night. It’s going to take all my will power not to keep using them every day until Christmas.
Finally the window seat arrived last week. We’d oscillated over the colour of our cushions for over a year. Blue? Sandy yellow? I’ve ordered enough samples from Warwick to make a bedspread! But none of them were quite right.

We sat on our makeshift cushions. We looked at the samples. I looked at Rob. “You know what I’d really like?” He laughed, I think he already knew, “I’d like a red check just like our bedspread!” Not quite as elegant as we were originally planning, perhaps a bit clichéd, but at the moment it feels right for our little hut in the country.
Welcome back red, I’ve always loved you.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday's Menu

Ok a quick post this week, with the return of some cooler weather, I craved warming food-

Monday- some cheese! We enjoyed the leftover lamb souvlaki for lunch, and then our window seat had been delivered, and neither of us wanted to get up and leave it to cook dinner, so we just nibbled on some parmesan!

Tuesday- after enjoying a beef burger with the lot from the Devil's Kitchen on Sandy Bay Rd, we ate a rustic Caesar salad for dinner.
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Wednesday- Spaghetti and meatballs! Enough said.
Thursday- stir fry vegetables and rice noodles with a heap of mint.
Friday - My comfort food meal (it was cool and rainy on Friday evening), Bratwurst sausages with mash and peas and my favourite Dijon mustard. Oh and my lovely husband bought us some sweet little macarons for dessert.
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Saturday - I thought I'd share our little lunch of a washed rind sheep's cheese and a very, very ripe goats cheese and sourdough bread.
Dinner was lamb shanks roasted in the Weber, basted in the left over red wine sauce from last weekend's pears, with baked potatoes and spinach. We love this mini roast lamb dish.
Sunday- A lamb shank and vegetable soup with home baked potato bread.
Oh and I can't resist sharing our trial run of the Profiterole tower for Maisy's baptism. Still working on the consistency of the creme patisserie. I asked my brother how they were, his reply "explosive"! Photobucket What's been on the menu at your home this past week?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday Flowers

Another new regular post I hope- I've been following Sarah's blog Molly's Maison since the beginning of the year, and I love her Friday Flowers posts. It's nice to look around and find beauty in the garden, all year! So I hope you don't mind Sarah, but I'm joining you in regular flower appreciation.

Today is a new acquisition, that actually flowered a few weeks ago, a real snowdrop, Galanthus elwesii.
I've lusted after them for years, always bookmarked the page in my favourite bulb catalogues. But never been able to bring myself to actually buy one.

I saw this one at the markets a few weeks ago and could resist no longer.
Thank you Rob for capturing it so beautifully. Photobucket

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


A few close ups
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Sorry only took them with the phone will need to do a photo shoot with a real camera! We are quite smitten. Last night we dragged a few make-do mattresses as cushions, grabbed a drink and didn't move, not even to make dinner.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Monday’s Menu

A new regular posting theme for me. Well actually it will be the previous weeks menu. In an attempt to truly web log what we serve on the menu at the Hut, I’ve decided over the weekend to take a photo of our dinner each night over the next year.

The iPhone has helped me document things pictorially recently and looking at the photos, a lot of them are food related.

I think it will be interesting to see what we do eat, and how repetitive we are.
If it gets too boring I may not post them- but it might spur us onto culinary variety, you never know. Hopefully there aren’t too many pictures of scrambled eggs on toast or vegemite on toast!

This week is not complete but there were some memorable meals so here goes:

Monday and Tuesday
Chef: Rob
Beef shin, mushroom and stout pie with mash topping (a tweaking of Matthew Evan’s recipe in his latest book, Winter on the Farm) and peas.
Rating: Pretty good, beef perfectly tender, but needed something to give the sauce some more depth of flavor.

Wednesday (sorry no photo)
Chef: Rob
Pasta carbonara.
Rating: The go to meal for comfort and ease- Nigella Lawson recommends it as a meal to serve with your lover the first time he stays over, preferably in bed.
Given we’re an old married couple now, we eat it quite civilly at the table! We used some real eggs from our friend’s chooks so the sauce was a nice saffron colour.

Chef: Rob (I’m not doing well here am I?)
Pumpkin, mushroom, spinach and pistachio risotto
Rating: Colourful and an unusual but satisfying flavour combination. Next day we ate the leftovers for lunch with out the nuts and missed them for the crunch they added.

Chef: Our equivalent of a take away meal
Cheese selection from Bottega Rotolo: Delice Cremiers, Brie and Parmigiano Reggiano. Fig and walnut rye baguette and a rocket and fennel salad. Oh and a bottle of Cotes du Rhone.
Rating: Delice Cremiers cheese a standout, a light textured cheese like whipped butter, slightly fruity but with a surprisingly clean acid finish. Which meant we could eat it all!
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Chefs: Rob (main) me (dessert)
Rump steak with Nicola potato chips and spinach.
Cherry and almond cake
Rating: Rob loves to use his Weber BBQ.  Steak and chips is always going to be a winner in this household. We just have to remember to save a tiny morsel for each dog, otherwise they sulk for the rest of the evening. My cake was a new recipe for me, using some gorgeous dark coloured glace cherries. I was a little worried I’d cooked it too long, but with a dollop of cream and a spoonful of cherry conserve it was a pretty good pudding (if I do say so myself).
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Chefs: Rob and me (terrible I know on Father’s Day- but he loves to use the Weber)
Souvlaki- slow roasted then grilled lamb shoulder, hummous, cacik, green beans cooked in tomatoes and onions.
Poire belle Hélène with home-made vanilla ice-cream
Rating: Our favourite summer food was pulled out of the repertoire a little early; the weather was beautiful at the Hut yesterday. Nothing I like better than putting our food together at the table and then eating it whilst the juices dribble down our chins. It’s not pretty but delicious. The pears has been cooked for about 4 hours and were soft and spiced with the vanilla and the red wine. Mmmm is all I can manage right now.
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Well we’ll see what culinary delights the next week brings.
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