Wednesday, December 26, 2012

2 weeks old

Our girls are two weeks old today. Unbelievable in some ways. It's been a big couple of weeks for us and them. A blur of hospital visits, expressing, naps for us, and growing and eating well for them.
They are doing well so far.

Yesterday our Christmas was quiet. I got to cuddle Maggie skin to skin for the first time, (Elisabeth and I had our first cuddle two days earlier) and Rob got to cuddle Elisabeth. Easily my best Christmas present ever.
I can't wait til I can cuddle them whenever I want to.

Then we had fish and chips at the beach so the dogs could run around a bit. We headed home for a nap - then we had a lovely dinner of glazed ham, potatoes, broad beans and salad and a Christmas cassata for dessert.

Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 14, 2012


Sorry there may be a break in blog transmission for awhile.

The twins decided they would like to see Christmas this year, not next.

Maggie and Elisabeth were born at 5.54 and 5.55 respectively on the 12.12.12.

For more numbers Maggie weighs 777g and Elisabeth 889g.

It was all a bit of a rush and was by emergency c-section.

Maggie and Elisabeth are now in Neonatal intensive care, where they will stay for some months.

Believe me you wouldn't want to see the daily food photos from hospital!!

So I'm not sure when I'll be back here at the Hut Chronicles.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Late spring hut photos to cheer myself up

Yesterday I came home feeling tired and a little grumpy/emotional.

I have been pretty good up to now. But I wasn't feeling the best and I lay down on the window seat and if I have to be honest, I shed a few tears. Nothing serious, just regular pregnancy symptoms, and general tiredness. Poor Rob. He went outside and braved the cold and rain (after our preview of summer last Friday we've headed straight back to winter it seems!!) to pick me some more of my roses. Which are a delight.

I didn't end up sleeping that well last night (and I know this is only going to get worse!) so feel a little tired still now. I only have 12 working days left after today. Things are starting to press in from all sides as I tick off things on my to do list.

So today I need to post some photos to cheer myself up, shake me out of my mood.

How can you be grumpy if you live here?

So hopefully now I can shake my silly mood and enjoy the rest of my week.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Monday Menu and the hut has got it's Christmas on

Sorry the blog was a little quiet last week. No real reason just time I guess.
We had a good weekend, on Friday Rob and I headed to the State Cinema to see Skyfall. I loved it. Although as the movie was over 2 hours long I did have to dash out mid way to visit the ladies, and I was fairly desperate to leave at the end too.

Because we'd picked the early showing (6.30pm) dinner didn't really work out very well, as it was too early before hand and then too late (for Hobart) afterwards. We did stop at Mykonos for some hot chips! Felt like an undergraduate student again.

The gale force winds on Saturday meant that we stayed inside, and so Rob got our decorations out of the loft and the hut was decorated in a few hours. We still love our homemade twig tree, and I've already spent the last two evenings gazing at the lights.

We've still been enjoying our veggies from the garden (although the wind totally trashed the peas and broad beans so they've been pulled out now and I spent several hours yesterday shelling beans and freezing them).

So our menu:

Monday: Real Shepherds pie with left over roast lamb shoulder, veggies with a topping of smashed pink eyes.
Tuesday: More Shepherds pie.
Wednesday: Salad with vegetables from the garden and bacon.
Thursday: Salad with peas, broad beans, bacon, avocado and parmesan.
Friday: ahem, hot chips!
Saturday: Some peas and beans from the garden.
Sunday: Rob made the best steak sandwich, with grilled bread, fried eggs, onions, tomatoes and of course steak.

All those veggies must be doing the twins some good, we visited our Dr on Friday, and when he measured them on the scan they were both measuring a week ahead! They now weigh an estimated 700g each.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday Menu

What a lovely weekend, the weather was gorgeous, and we finally did our spring cleaning.

Our menu culminated with our lunch yesterday with friends-

Monday: Potato, carrot and pea frittata.
Tuesday: Broccoli, peas, beans, asparagus and bacon.
Wednesday: Pasta with bacon, cream, peas and parmesan.
Thursday: Broad bean risotto.
Friday: BBQ sausages and bread.
Saturday: Steak and silver beet.
Sunday: We served our friends marinated ocean trout with Pigeonhole rye and molasses bread with yoghurt cheese, marinated olives and soy roasted almonds. The main course was a slow roasted lamb shoulder, carrots, parsnips, peas and broad beans (from our garden) and steamed pink eye potatoes. Lemon and almond tart.

After all the cleaning and getting ready I was pretty tired, I fell asleep at about 7.30 on the window seat!
Hope you had a good weekend.


Friday, November 23, 2012

A flower for Friday: a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

So yesterday afternoon I totally undid any calm or peace I may have felt after pregnancy yoga by my second attempt at maternity bra shopping. The less said about the bra I ended up with the better. In my defence it was the only one in my size in Hobart and I really needed one. (Rob's verdict was not pretty, when I was trying to get dressed this morning, the words "the most horrible bra ever" may have passed his lips, needless to say I have jumped online to find a less grandma like bra this morning and I am just praying it gets here QUICK).

Anyway, I drove home to find Rob had cleaned the whole house and picked fresh flowers from the garden. This stunning rose was next to my bed. Which instantly made me forget the shopping.

I exclaimed over it's colour and form, and how beautiful it was. I couldn't tell which one is was so asked him. Rob looked a bit sheepish, and said "you're not going to be happy about this, it's Limona". I didn't quite get it at first, as Limona is a pale yellow. Rob had to spell it out, they've mislabeled the rose and I've planted it in the middle of my yellow roses! Maybe I shouldn't be so particular about my rose plantings, but this is going to stick out like a sore thumb! May need some rearranging over winter.
This weekend we're having guests over for lunch on Sunday, so there will be some cleaning, baking and cooking to be done.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday's Menu {Christmas baking has started}

The Christmas baking has started, with a sudden realisation that Christmas is only 5 weeks away I thought we'd better get our skates on.

So I prepared a double batch of fruit mince (started with a Nigella recipe then tweaked it a bit). We used lovely Amarena dark coloured glace cherries, golden raisins, Rob's home brewed apple cider, and hazelnuts in place of almonds.

While that was cooking away I soaked three separate batches of dried fruit. A double of our standard fruit cake mixture to make two cakes as gifts, the pudding mixture (my grandmother's recipe) and a Gourmet Traveller pudding mix that we used for our Christmas cake.

The Gourmet Traveller mix includes the following:

300gm prunes, chopped
150gm each currants, dried cranberries, raisins and chopped fresh dates (we used dried ones this time)
100gm natural almonds, chopped

These are all placed in a bowl with the rind of an orange.
Then I warmed 100gm cumquat marmalade (we always have plenty of our homemade marmalade), 60gm quince jelly (meant to be quince paste, but we always have an abundance of jelly), 125ml muscat and 60mL brandy (meant to be Grand Marnier) in a saucepan over low heat until the marmalade and jelly are combined. This is then poured over the fruit and left to soak.

On Sunday I made the pudding and our cake (I use Stephanie Alexander's recipe from the Cook Companion). It feels like Christmas now.

Our regular menu has included over the last week:

Monday: Asparagus, broccoli, peas and broad beans.
Tuesday: Silver beet, carrots, parsnips and cauliflower cooked with a little water and butter.
Wednesday: Antonio Carluccio's tuna linguine: with garlic, ginger, parsley, chilli, tomato passata and of course tuna.
Thursday: Penne pasta with bacon, with our garlic, fresh peas and broad beans, and Parmesan.
Friday: Vermey's BBQ sausages in squishy bread and our home-made tomato sauce.
Saturday: Mt Gnomon pork rack with carrots, pink eyes and broad beans.
Sunday: Pan-fried pink eye potatoes with our carrots, broad beans and peas.

It may look vegetarian, but we had been out for lunch a few times last week and eaten meat then, so only felt like vegetables in the evening.

What's been on the menu at your home this last week?


Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Flowers

Well it's a bit hard to see, but there are flowers in the photo below.

I love having a personal photographer who is willing to get up early enough to catch our garden in that perfect golden early morning light!

The flower garden is coming along, the roses are expanding and most have buds so I should be able to see what each one looks like this first year.

My original plan for the flower garden was for it to be a picking garden, so we have tried to keep things in the four quadrants to certain colours (white, pink, orange + yellow, red + blue/purple). In theory this had worked but there is the occasional mislabeled plant that is popping up in the wrong colour bed.
But I'm ok with that.

Now that the tulips have finished, the ranunculus are still going, please hold me to this- instead of 40 ranunculus corms next year, I'm going to plant 200 per quadrant. We both love them that much, and I won't feel so guilty picking them.

We have been collecting various annuals and perennials so it will be interesting to see what they end up looking like. We seem to struggle to fill the red bed (after the failure of my red ranunculus corms) so I'd be interested in any suggestions for red flowering plants.

My lilies are the main players in the garden still (after collecting them for years in pots) and they are all popping up quite happily now. Again my labelling may have left a little to be desired or we've mixed up the bulbs, because I can see the occasional plants with reddish tips to their leaves in the yellow bed. There are fat little buds amongst the leaves waiting to expand, it won't be long I don't think.

Again I have plenty of orange, yellow, white, and cream lilies, a fair few pink ones, but not many red ones. I've tried a few different reds but never been totally happy with their colour. Rob did utter a sentence I never thought he would "we need some more lilies" when looking at the red bed.

Thankfully I have felt much better this week. Today we had an appointment with our obstetrician and got to take a peek at the twins. I always feel so much more relieved after a visit to our Dr. He is quite lovely and reassuring. They now weigh 500g each! He measures their heads and tummies and they seem to be the right size for their age (about 25cm long at 22 weeks). Apparently at the moment they both have their heads down and their feet are at the top on each side of my tummy (which explains all those kicks I'm feeling!!) They are still able to move around quite a bit and always put on a good show.

So we treated ourselves with some lunch from Sweet Envy (conveniently positioned on the way back to work), their potato bread is still a favourite. Rob picked a lemon meringue donut which didn't make it past the city, and I picked Alistair's take on a Tim Tam or what he calls a Mit Mat. I have been saving it, and tried a mouthful at afternoon tea.  I may never eat another Tim Tam again. His, unsurprisingly, wipe the floor with them!

This weekend we're at home, so there will be garden tidying, grass cutting and hut spring cleaning (the windows are pretty bad with our two dogs smearing their noses all over them and the birds).

What are your plans for this weekend?


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Snap it {on my plate}

The last few nights we've been enjoying fresh produce picked just before dinner from our garden. The peas and broad beans are abundant at the moment. Last night Rob and I wandered around the veggie garden and selected carrots and parsnips, silver beet and cute mini cauliflowers.

I snapped this photo of the basket before taking it inside.

Rob just cooked them in a little water and butter, so the carrots and parsnips were nice and firm still but the silver beet wilted. We sat at the table and enjoyed every mouthful.

It makes us so much happier when we eat fresh vegetables from our hut garden.

Playing along with Sarah at Faith Hope and a whole lotta love.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday's Menu megamix

I'm back. The cold is all but forgotten (except for the occasional annoying cough).

To be honest I can't remember a lot of what we ate the week before last, but looking at my collage, we enjoyed a spring vegetable risotto (peas and broad beans courtesy of our garden), an omelette, roasted lamb shanks and root vegetables on couscous with minty yoghurt, and home made lamb souvlaki the next day with the left over lamb, hummus and more minty yoghurt. We also headed out for lunch one day for roast duck, pan fried beans with pork and dumplings. They were good.

During the week I had off we enjoyed:

Monday: Steak with pumpkin, asparagus and mini radishes from our garden.
Tuesday: Mushroom, bacon and pumpkin risotto.
Wednesday: Chicken wings with sausages, sage and onion.
Thursday: Frittata with pumpkin, asparagus (from our friend's garden, it was so sweet) and walnuts.
Friday: Penne with cream, peas and bacon.
Saturday: A birthday dinner in northern Tasmania for Rob's father. We started with dips and bread, Rob made Nigella's marinated ocean trout (she uses salmon) with capers and gherkins. We moved onto roast beef fillet with Cafe de Paris butter, new pink eye potatoes, steamed carrots and parsnips, fresh broad beans and peas (the last four veggies from our garden) and a green salad. The birthday cake was a chocolate roulade with cream and raspberries.
Sunday: After snacking all day we ate a simple salad of rocket, pumpkin and pine nuts.
Rob sent me some gorgeous photos he took of the spring grass at the hut, with the dogs wrestling in the foreground. If I can I'll load up a movie made of the images...but in the mean time here is my favourite.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Resting and kicking

Sorry for the break in blogging posts. I have come down with a head cold which is harder to shake than normal, so am resting (on doctors orders!)

He could have told the twins though, they have been wriggling and jiggling with every sneeze or cough, and today I even saw a kick!!! Rob was watching too. Cheeky things. It's nice to know someone's having a great time!

I have to share a photo of my first rose to bloom in the new garden, appropriately named First Prize. I can't wait til the others start.

Hopefully I'll be better by the weekend.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday Flowers

The grass is taking off at the moment at the hut. Rob spent a happy day in the orchard with his scythe getting the grass down, although I suspect he'll need to be back not before long at the rate it seems to be growing!

I quickly snapped a photo looking from the orchard into my flower garden and onto the hut. It's starting to look really good now, the lilies have started to get growing and my beds are filling up with flowers.

Nigella and Claudia always like to follow us about when we garden, they particularly like to sit on the paths and sniff the breeze. You can see my nicely mulched rose beds (with pea straw) and behind them our happy almond trees.
I think I will see my first rose over the weekend, I've been impatiently watching this bud develop and colour up- appropriately the rose is called "First Prize".
The roses seem very happy in the clay soil, they certainly get plenty of sun and now they are mulched we shouldn't need to water them much. Finally the ranunculi are going crazy, neither Rob or myself can pick a favourite colour, each is so perfect.
Hope you have a lovely weekend whatever you get up to.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday's Menu

Thank you for all your lovely congratulatory messages on my last post. We chose to keep the sex a surprise (Friday's scan was the big 18-20 week morphology scan), well I did, Rob did peek, but couldn't really tell!

Unlike some of my Monday Menu posts from earlier this year when I felt ill just looking at some of the food, I am now enjoying most foods (just not spicy food or too much of any one thing).

Monday: Pumpkin, bacon and pea risotto with toasted walnuts and crispy sage.
Tuesday: Home grown broccoli frittata with a side of cheesy cauliflowers (again from our garden).
Wednesday: Creamy bacon, pea and pecorino penne.
Thursday: Nigella's one pan sage and onion chicken and sausage, with steamed new pink eye potatoes. We used chicken wings instead of a jointed chicken, which we love.
Friday: Egg and bacon pie- used Annabel Langbein's recipe but with puff pastry not shortcrust.
Saturday: Lemon, thyme and chilli chicken wings cooked on the Weber along with BBQ'd asparagus.
Sunday: Oxtail stew with rice and peas.

And those pancakes- a special request for the show day holiday, Rob's American style pancakes with buttered pecan ice cream, whipped cream, maple syrup (the real stuff a friend bought back from Canada) and toasted pecans.

What's been on the menu at your place this past week?


Saturday, October 27, 2012

One of life's surprises

If you've followed my blog for awhile you'll know we surprised our family and friends at Rob's birthday by getting married.
Seems the universe, fate or someone else had a surprise in store for us.
I've heard many people say that seeing your baby on an ultrasound for the first time is an amazing, life changing moment.
I doubt that Rob or I will ever forget the moment when our Dr congratulated us, and showed us not one, but two babies on that little screen.
We have since found out our babies are identical twins, a one in 300 chance event.
I have now gotten through 10 weeks of all day nausea and sickness, and am starting to grow a nice round bump.
We saw them yesterday in one of their big scans, a marathon 2 hour session of finding organs, legs and arms to measure. Somehow our lovely radiographer was able to keep track of which limb belonged to whom. It is amazing to see how close they get to each other in there. Apparently our 3D pictures were keeping the other staff amused in the other room (I didn't realise they had an audience) as baby A's legs suddenly turned up in front of baby B's face!
Our babies technical due date is in mid March, but twins tend to be early, so we expect them sometime in late February. Life at the hut will change, but it is a very welcome and happily anticipated change.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday's Menu and snail mail

What an odd weekend weather wise, windy on Saturday (but sunny) then on Sunday we had rain/hail downpours every hour, so we kept trying to do stuff outside before scurrying inside to hide (especially Nigella and Claudia!)

We visited the Woodbridge Nursery and picked up some flowering plants for my garden and some lettuce and broccoli seedlings for the veggie patch.

On Sunday we took delivery of two round bales of pea straw and lucerne hay for mulch.

Menu wise-

Monday: Salad with carrots, cheese, broccoli, cauliflower and potatoes.
Tuesday: Chicken breasts with crispy sage on a bed of rice and peas.
Wednesday: Broccoli and chorizo frittata
Thursday: four bunches of asparagus steamed, prosciutto, fresh sourdough bread and a few slices of parmesan cheese (and soft boiled eggs for Rob.
Friday: Barbecue sausages and silver beet.
Saturday: An aged piece of porterhouse beef on the bone, roasted with onions. Our first harvest of some cute little parsnips and carrots, more silver beet and some steamed new season pink eye potatoes (not ours).
Sunday: As we ate some leftover beef on fresh bread for lunch, Rob just fried up the leftover pink eyes as chips with some parsley. Oh and we had an apple and raisin crumble for dessert (I always double the crumble recipe which means we have frozen crumble topping ready to go!)


I got busy stamping some parchment writing paper, putting my Webster's dictionary stamp set  and Kikki.K to good use. I have written most of my letters as part of Sarah's Good Mail Club, and it's quite satisfying to see the pile of fat creamy coloured envelopes pile up on the table.


How was your weekend? What have you been eating recently?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday Flowers

Today has been a long day.
Claudia woke us at 5am with persistent whining. This is not totally unusual, she jumped up on Rob, yet we still ignored her. She even tried to wake me (this is unheard of, she knows I won't usually get up). Rob looked out the window and saw some wallabies on the lawn in front of the hut and we assumed she wanted to chase them.
The next thing we heard as we tried to fall back asleep was Niagara Falls. Poor Claudia must have been absolutely busting! Luckily she picked the dog bed in our breezeway (with a concrete floor) as a spot to christen when her silly humans wouldn't let her out. We felt so mean.

Then we had to take our car to be serviced, something we always put off as long as we can (maybe we have learnt our lesson here), the brakes haven't been all that great recently. Sure enough they needed replacing, ahem as well as all four tyres. Hmm. An expensive day out for the commodore wagon.

So I wil distract myself and you with pretty photos of the block and garden.

Rob took these last weekend, while I was still snoozing.

I have saved the best tulip to last, the Queen of the Night has just started to flower.
The ranunculus is just starting to get going too.
And these two? They love their early morning rambles in the wet grass, wrestling with each other and munching on fresh wallaby poop.

This weekend I need to get writing, I'm joining in with Sarah's Good Mail Club, so I need to decorate some envelopes and write a few notes. Also on the agenda is spring cleaning the shed and the pantry, both of which have gotten out of control over winter.
What do you have planned this weekend?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Monday's Menu

The curry from last week kept on giving this week. I think Rob would have eaten it one more time, but I'd had enough!

Monday: Beef curry with rice, steamed broccoli and yoghurt.
Tuesday: Beef curry with yet more silver beet and Naan bread.
Wednesday: Bacon, asparagus and pea risotto.
Thursday: Silver beet and parmesan omelette.
Friday: Porterhouse steak on the bbq with wilted silver beet.
Saturday: The first Lamb souvlaki mini Lebanese feast. We found some turkish bread from the newish Turkish cafe down the road, Rob slow cooked a lamb shoulder with rosemary and garlic, and we made hummus, cacik, sliced some tomatoes and lettuce. It was delicious.
Sunday: We ate leftover lamb at lunch and Pigeon Hole sourdough and cheese for dinner.

What's been on the menu at your house?


I don't want to but I think I'm going to have to turn on comment verification, I am getting totally spammed via the comment section, and whilst they don't show up on the blog it's getting really annoying. I hope blogger sort out the commenting thing soon, cause I admit that the fuzzy letter/number thing isn't the best option is it? Has anybody else been experiencing issues?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Snap it {breakfast}

Those of you who follow me via Instagram will know that Saturday and Sunday at the hut usually start with breakfast in bed for me.
I know I'm spoilt rotten. I do appreciate it. Rob will surprise me with a tray including orange juice or coffee, and depending on his mood/inclination:
  • thick pancakes with fruit and yoghurt or maple syrup
  • sourdough toast/home made bread/crumpets with honey or jam
  • muffins (he I have to say makes the BEST muffins, Baklava, raspberry, jam doughnut, orange, the list could go on)
  • home made granola with poached fruit and yoghurt
  • a full cooked breakfast.
Whilst I love pancakes and muffins, I have to say I think if I had to make a choice for my last breakfast ever, it would be something savoury. My all time favourite breakfast? Is left over spaghetti and meatballs on toast. 

If anything this collage demonstrates just how much I love our red plates and red gingham doona cover (which is fading because we wash it so frequently!)

Playing along here.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Monday's Menu

Loving daylight savings, but I struggled this morning to wake up.

This weeks Monday's Menu collage looks a little bare.

Monday: Mushroom, asparagus and bacon risotto.
Tuesday: Broccoli and potato frittata (our own broccoli) with a side of wilted silver beet.
Wednesday: I ate so many left overs for lunch I just snacked on some nuts for dinner. Rob, having been to the gym tucked into a big plate of you guessed it, cooked greens from the garden.
Thursday: We had dinner at my parents, my mother had made lasagne.
Friday: Rib eye steak with baked potatoes and asparagus.
Saturday: Beef curry with chickpeas, lentils, silver beet and carrots, with pappadums.
Sunday: Curry take two, with added steamed pumpkin and little waxy potatoes.

The curry is a winner, and I'm pretty sure we'll have it for dinner tonight, if not tomorrow night. I may sound like I'm sick of silver beet, but we're not. Harvesting greens just prior to eating them has totally changed my appreciation of them. They taste so much better. I know everyone tells you that, but it's true. Try it.

What's been on the menu at your place?


Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday Flowers

Tasmanian spring weather - I don't know how we forget it from year to year. Yesterday was warm (well for Tasmania) but the wind picked up early. I found out via the ABC news website that power went out at the hut at about 10am. Luckily we'd already been invited to my parents for dinner- as a hut without power wasn't that appealing!
The wind hadn't died down much during the day, when we drove home at 8pm we came across the electric company work team dealing with a tree and power lines just down the road from us. The hut was in darkness. After Rob rescued the Weber bbq (it had travelled around the side of the shed on it's trolley!) and some seedlings growing in trays we lit some candles and headed to bed.
This morning we were able to survey the damage. One tray of seedlings (quite sadly some Tangerine fluff poppies I'd won from Phoebe) had flown off in the wind, a few of our eucalypts had been damaged on the fenceline, and most distressing was our big eucalypt we'd been growing near the dam for the last 5 years has lost a significant amount of the main leader trunk (it had already suffered in the terrible wind a few weeks ago, but it's height has been reduced by half now!) The broad beans and peas look a bit worse for wear too, but hopefully they perk back up.
Somehow my tulips survived. Which is something, as a few warm days had brought on the flowering. Thankfully Rob took these photos last week in some morning sunlight.

The vegetable garden is looking so promising, everything is so green.
With any luck the weekend will at least be less windy, and best of all daylight savings starts this weekend!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Monday's Menu with a side of our Spring garden and Cinnamon tea cake.

I like the ying and yang of this weeks Monday's Menu photo collage. Chocolate cherry cupcakes made with a jar of Bonne Maman cherry preserve right next to a very virtuous meal of steamed greens from the garden. The greens are starting to get going now, we ate three types of broccoli in our soup on Saturday, the ever present silver beet, as well as the tops of the Savoy cabbages.
I can not wait for the broad beans and peas to start. Yesterday we planted some more seedlings and seeds: lettuce, chives, sweetcorn, beetroot, rocket, radishes, and parsnips.

Anyway the menu:

Monday: Baked ziti with silver beet.
Tuesday: ahem, baked ziti with broccoli.
Wednesday: Steamed broccoli, silver beet and cabbage tops with soy sauce.
Thursday: Pork and fennel sausages on silver beet and fresh sourdough bread with home made tomato sauce.
Friday: Decided to live in the moment and headed down to Cygnet for dinner at the Red Velvet Lounge. Rob enjoyed a rump steak, with old-school chips and salad. I had the famous pork cotoletta. We shared a dessert of cherry ice cream and chocolate sauce, and we were back home by 8pm.
Saturday: The big grand final day with our annual consumption of footy food. We ate the footy franks in white squishy buns with mustard, tomato sauce and butter (that sentence confused a few of my international Instagram followers- they eventually worked out I was talking about a hot dog!) I'm afraid that they didn't make for a very photogenic food picture, but they were tasty. We used the remainder in a tomato and vegetable soup.
Sunday: Rob cooked us Patricia Well's Chicken breasts with sage and potatoes (parboiled, then sliced and cooked in butter).

My sister, her husband and my niece visited for afternoon tea yesterday, we had chocolate caramel and almond slice (similar to this recipe but with almonds), those cherry chocolate cupcakes and a simple cinnamon teacake. Which was probably the most popular! See the very simple recipe below.


Cinnamon Teacake {From Women's Weekly}


60g butter, softened
2/3 cup castor sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup self-raising flour
1/3 cup milk
15g butter, extra
3 tablespoon castor sugar, extra
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 160deg C (fan-forced oven)
Grease and line a 20cm cake tin.
Beat butter, sugar, egg and vanilla until light and fluffy (about 5 mins).
Stir in sifted flour and milk with a wooden spoon, beat lightly until smooth.
Spread mixture into the tin, bake for approx. 30 minutes.
Turn onto wire rack, pour over extra melted butter, sprinkle with combined extra sugar and cinnamon. Serve warm with butter.

Finally Rob headed out when it wasn't blowing a gale or pouring with rain (not many opportunities over the weekend!) and took some photos of the flower and vegetable gardens with a real camera. I'll share them on Friday, but in the mean time I'll leave you with a photo of the dogs in the flower garden. Everything is starting to look very green and lush.


Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday flowers {tulips}

Today dawned grey and a little gloomy, especially in comparison to yesterday, which was a lovely, balmy, 24 degrees. About the perfect temperature! This morning I quickly snapped some photos for a Friday post, only with my iPhone, so hopefully the weather is kind enough over the weekend to take some with the real camera too.

I had looked into my flower garden yesterday morning, and noticed that the yellow Golden Parade tulips were looking to start soon, but one warm day was enough to tip a few into blooming, along with the first of the red Ad Rem tulips.

It's so lovely to see them from our bedroom window each morning (although I'm not sure I need to check them at 5.50am thank you very much Claudia).

I now am impatiently waiting for the other tulips to start properly (the Queen of the Night and the rest of the Ad Rem's) and my ranunculus.

I'm already planning next year's spring planting, with more tulips, anemones and ranunculus and some daffodils. We do have some daffodils, but I planted them under the hazel and quince trees out in the paddock. Apparently they are tasty for wallabies so they're not exactly thriving.

Happy weekend.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Snap it {three}

Just quickly, three daffodils.

Oh Spring.

Playing along here.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday's Menu {Rob's baked ziti}

Silver beet is still featuring quite regularly at our dinner table at the moment. Rob snuck it into four of our meals this past week. I don't mind really. It feels so right to be eating vegetables from your own garden.

So this weeks menu:

Monday: Pea, speck and mint risotto
Tuesday: Steamed greens from the garden (silver beet, cabbage tops and purple sprouting broccoli)
Wednesday: Pasta puttanesca
Thursday: Scrambled eggs and wilted silver beet on rye toast
Friday: Tomato sugo, cacciatore salami, anchovies, olives, bocconcini and silver beet thin crust pizza
Saturday: Rob's baked ziti
Sunday: Slow roasted lamb shoulder, with potatoes and minted peas

I had a few Instagram requests for the ziti recipe, which I have shared below. In true Rob style he tinkered with the recipe, but I think when it comes to baked ziti anything goes!


Rob's baked ziti

Based on Antonio Carluccio's Ziti al forno alla Napoletana and Nigella's Rigatoni Al Forno (from Feast). Basically it was a Bolognese sauce, with cooked pasta (should be ziti but I couldn't find it so substituted penne), a béchamel sauce, mozzarella and a layer of silver beet.

Would easily feed 8 (greedy) people or 10 (more self controlled) people!

For the meat sauce:
1 onion
2 carrots
2 sticks of celery
2 cloves of garlic
50g unsmoked streaky bacon or pancetta - Rob substituted thinly sliced Cacciatore salami.
50 g butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
700g pork and veal mince
700mL bottle of tomato passata
2 tablespoons tomato puree
250ml red wine
2 bay leaves

For the béchamel
85g butter
50g plain flour
500ml milk
Salt or stock granules to taste
Freshly grated nutmeg

1 x 500g pack penne pasta
Couple of handfuls of fresh silver beet (or you could have used spinach), washed and drained.
Grated parmesan
Sliced mozzarella

Finely chop the peeled onions, peeled garlic, peeled carrots, the bacon or pancetta or salami and the celery.  Heat the butter and oil in a large pan and fry the onions, garlic and celery until softened, then add the chopped carrots.  Add the mince and fork it through until it browns in the pan as much as possible. Pour in the tomato passata, puree, red wine, and bay. Stir well and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat, partially cover and let cook gently for 2 hours, (well ours probably only cooked for an hour but it was good, you just want it to be nice and thick).

To make the white sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan then add the flour and stir and cook together to make a roux. Take off the heat briefly, and whisk in the milk – just using a hand whisk – then put back on the heat and, stirring all the time, let the sauce come to boil and bubble away for a few minutes to get rid of the floury taste. Season with salt and pepper (or you could use some crumbled stock cube or bouillon concentrate). Turn down the heat slightly and cook until slightly thickened. After turning off the heat stir some freshly grated nutmeg through the sauce.

Preheat the oven to 200˚C/fan oven 180˚C/gas 6 and put the water on for the pasta. When the water comes to the boil, add salt and cook the pasta until its al dente (don't overcook it here as it will keep cooking in the oven). Drain the pasta.

Layer the meat sauce in a buttered roasting pan, then the cooked pasta, followed by a layer of silver beet, top with the béchamel and layer the mozzarella and grated parmesan over the top.

Cook for 30- 40 minutes or until the top is crispy and golden.

Now I'm really hungry and glad that this is sitting in our fridge waiting for us to reheat for dinner tonight.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Flowers

Finally something to share. I meant to take photos the week before but the weather was so terrible I didn't get a chance to.

My spring flowers have started. Bright red tulips, deep blue anemones, lipstick pink anemones, white anemones, pale blue spring star flowers, nodding Hellebores, and just the last couple of days the pink Claudia tulips have started to expand and colour.

It's so nice to look out our bedroom window and see them in the morning. The blue wrens have been a bit confused by the blue anemones. The poor males are having to compete with 50 bright blue anemones, to which the females are irresistibly drawn!


The vegetable garden is starting to get going too. We're eating fresh silver beet several times a week. The broad beans and peas are flowering which hints of tasty fresh beans and peas to come.
Garlic and shallots are hopefully fattening up beneath the soil, if their leaves are any indication of their happiness.
The carrots and parsnips are starting to actually grow so we may get a few of those too sometime soon.
We're even eating the tops of the Savoy cabbages (we put them in a little late to actually have cabbages).
We're hoping to put some new lettuce seedlings in soon, as well as a new sowing of rocket.
Fine little asparagus spears have emerged, but we will have to be good and let them be for this year. I'm already looking forward to our first harvest of home grown asparagus next year. One of my favourite vegetables.
The orchard has started to bloom, almonds, the peach and nectarine, plums, apricots and now the apples. The alpine strawberries are flowering and expanding too.

Hopefully Friday flowers is now back for the season!

Hope you have a lovely weekend.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Snap it {colourful}

I'm saving most of my flower photos for Friday (finally have some flowers to share!)

But in looking for something to share in today's snap it theme, colourful, I couldn't go past my anemones. We have pink, blue and white.

Taken with my iPhone, without a filter, the pink of these is so intense.

I'll be back on Friday with some more garden photos.

Playing along with Sarah at Faith Hope & a whole lotta love.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday's Menu

A lovely quiet weekend. Saturday was sunny and warmish, so we opened up all the doors of the hut and headed into my flower garden to weed. The garden is coming along, but I'll save that for a Friday flowers post!

On Sunday we headed to Cygnet for breakfast at the Red Velvet Lounge (I had a half breakfast while Rob had the works, including black pudding). Then we wandered around the market (which didn't seem to have as many produce stalls this time), but we still found a bargain $2 Tupperware container (it looked brand new!), a long black linen dress for me at the second hand clothes store behind Lotus Eaters, and a cute vase made from a Grolsch beer bottle.

We had to collect plants and go shopping for one of Rob's 2nd year prac classes - Supermarket Systematics; he gets the students to classify fruits and vegetables into their families to introduce them to taxonomy.

Then after a nap on the window seat we cleaned the hut.

On the menu at the hut this week:

Monday: Asparagus, pea, silver beet and bacon risotto.
Tuesday: The power was out so we headed to the local pub, I had crumbed scallops and chips and Rob had a steak and chips.
Wednesday: Free range scrambled eggs on wilted silver beet on sourdough toast.
Thursday: Cheese and more sourdough bread.
Friday: We had beef, Guinness and potato pies for lunch and Jackman and McRoss so just snacked.
Saturday: Brined and barbecued chicken on salad.
Sunday: After our big breakfasts we didn't feel like lunch or dinner!

What's been on the menu at your place this last week?

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