Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday's Menu

It felt like summer. After a poor start to my culinary week in Canberra, we made up for lost time over the last few days.
Shropshire Lamb Shoulder from Mount Gnomon Farm on Australia day. It was seriously tender. I'll have to order another before long I think. Eaten with roasted vegetable couscous, mint, cucumber and yoghurt, and beans.
A lovely fruit mince tart decorated with hearts.
Basil, we ate it as pesto on Friday night and then with real tomatoes on fresh bread on Saturday and Sunday for lunch.
Chicken provencal, again, it's my new favourite summer dish, with steamed new potatoes or rice.
Banana ice cream, easiest recipe ever, blitz 4 bananas, add a can of condensed milk and some cream. Churn.
Berries, in summer puddings or mixed through whipped cream. Our little patch of alpine strawberries are going crazy.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Summer heat

Although probably not hot when compared to the mainland, if the thermometer tips over 30 us poor Tasmanians start to wilt.
Whilst Rob worked on fixing up the paths in my flower garden, I moved from shady spot to shady spot.
The window seat in the morning, the hammock was good until lunch, then our bedroom for the mid-afternoon. Finally the breezeway lived up to its name in the late afternoon.
Drinking icy drinks and listening to the dogs pant, I read gardening books dreaming of some cooler weather.
We enjoyed tomatoes and basil for lunch on toast, and my home made banana ice cream hit the spot afterwards. It's still warm now, all the hut doors and windows are open allowing the cool breeze in. We're listening to the men's tennis final on the radio and eating mango sorbet.
This sort of day is ok once in a while, but I can't really do much in weather like this.
Nigella could cope if in the shade or a breeze
My garden paths progress
Hammock view on Friday before I fell asleep
Hammock view on Saturday
Claudia did not cope with the heat well! Even the polished concrete was warm.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Friday Flowers, a little late

Sorry last night I meant to post a photo of my Christmas lilies. But on the way to the garden I got distracted by our new hammock. Well it's not really new, a friend gave it to us a year ago, but Rob put the hooks up last night. So I jumped in and promptly fell asleep!
I have to say I think the Christmas lilies are my favourites. I must have 100, and I'm not exaggerating. Their creamy trumpets are a little more elegant than the garish colours of the asiatic and oriental lilies. Lightly fragranced, they are a delight.
We've decided to stay at the hut as much as we can this weekend, we didn't even head to the gym this morning. I did pop down the road quickly for some bread from Red Velvet Lounge and some vegetables. But I'm back in the hammock, and don't plan on moving very far! Hope you enjoy the last weekend of January.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mid-century collecting

I mentioned a few weeks ago we bought another myrtle sideboard. It was delivered on Monday while I was away.
We now have 7 pieces in this series designed by Fred Ward for the Myer Heritage collection manufactured in Melbourne in the 1950's.
We swapped the two sideboards and I moved all our glasses into the new one. It looks so nice and sparkly. Apart from a bed for the spare room, we now have all our furniture. I do love the age in these pieces we've collected, the patina of the timber is beautiful. I'm so glad we persevered and got the windows and skirting done in myrtle to match. It's a very beautiful timber.
We had friends over for lunch, slow roasted lamb, couscous, potato bread, beans, beetroot salad, and cucumber yoghurt salad. We then nibbled on cheese before having dessert. Rob made a beautiful fruit mince tart, and our friend brought a platter of berries.
We all headed down with coffees to watch Rob give a scything demonstration.
I'm currently lying on the windowseat, listening to the tennis, considering a little snooze. Hope you enjoyed your holiday if you're in Australia.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


So I had a fast trip to Canberra. No culinary delights to share, as the restaurant was picked out for us to meet at on Monday night, and I picked a doozy- the vegetarian burger. Not sure what came over me, but it was dry, and the bun toasted until it was hard and crunchy. Breakfast at the hotel was pretty good, but fairly standard hotel breakfast fare. Then I had an all day meeting so had a catering lunch, and snacked at the airport.
The hotel was a new one, the Burbury, all black walls and pale limestone tiles. It did have a nice big bed, with lovely crisp white linen, and even a doona, something I always miss when travelling. I'm not a sheet and blankets sort of girl.
I had some time to wait before our dinner so enjoyed lazing on the big bed (for once with out dog fur) and watching the tennis. We haven't had a tv for over 6 months now, and for the most part I don't miss it. But the tennis just isn't the same on the radio!

Rob took these photos the other morning at sunrise. I'm trying to pick one for my blog header.
I'm thinking number 1? What do you think?


Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday's Menu

We had a quiet weekend. Slept in both days, I spent some quality time on the window seat whilst Rob constructed my garden beds.
It was hard to take him away, but I had ordered some free range pork, bacon and a shoulder of lamb from Mount Gnomon farm, and had arranged to pick it up from Guy at MoMa, the new food and produce market at MONA on Saturday afternoon. When we got to the gate people were still streaming in, there were cars everywhere. I have to admit we haven't been before. The place was buzzing and there was a long line to get into the museum. We visited Michelle for a chat and bought a jar of her peach jam, but it's presented so beautifully I don't want to open it. Guy was braving the stiff breeze that was coming up the Derwent.
Rob cooked the pork belly on a bed of red cabbage in the Weber, we ate late, the tender pork served alongside some steamed zucchini and beans.
Sunday was a perfect blue sky day and we stayed home all day. The garden beds are nearly done. I baked a batch of banana, walnut and choc chip biscuits. A cross between a biscuit and banana bread. They were pretty good, but Rob thought they needed a touch more sugar.
This last week we headed out for lunch nearly every day, oops. In the evenings we had grilled vegetables and beans on Monday, and just snacked on cheese and crackers on Tuesday. Rob spoiled me with birthday pancakes in bed before work on my birthday. I'd requested pesto for dinner, so he made deconstructed pesto, just frying the pine nuts and warming a garlic clove in olive oil. Then they're tossed through the pasta with basil and Parmesan.
Thursday we were adventurous and chose some lamb souvlaki sausages from our butcher. I made a mint, parsley, tomato and cucumber salad. It was just warm enough to eat it outside.
Friday night was a treat: dinner out at Red Velvet Lounge. We ordered some smoked eel croquettes for entree, then had a pork cutlet (each) on mash with rocket and red pepper pesto. We somehow squeezed in a honey and hazelnut parfait, and rolled home before 8pm!
Today I head off to Canberra for a night, not sure what culinary delights await me there.
Hope you had a great weekend.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


On the eve of my birthday last night we were treated to a fantastic thunderstorm, with lightning that lit up our bedroom. This morning Rob made me pancakes for breakfast in bed. I'm feeling spoilt already.
Am I feeling another year wiser? I think so.
What have I learnt over this past year?


Having our own home has made a big difference to how secure and settled I feel, and you know what it's ok if I want to spend as much time there as I possibly can.
I like our little life in the country, waking up and seeing the bush on the hill opposite, the quiet, or the sound of frogs croaking, watching wallabies hopping and feeding in the paddock at dawn (rather than our garden) and watching and listening to birds. Sorry if I sound like some sort of crazy bird watcher freak, BUT the other night I was sitting on the terrace having a cool drink and a wedge-tailed eagle flew up the block over the dam, it was being harassed by a pair of forest ravens, and for once was flying quite low. I could barely get the words out to get Rob to come and have a look! It flew over us, the hut and then hid in a big eucalypt on the hill. I'm glad that I can still feel awe in moments like that.


I like being Rob, a lot.
We've lived together for awhile, but it was always something we wanted to do one day. Sure we haven't much changed, I don't think, but making it official was important to us both, I love starting sentences with "my husband.." I like seeing my wedding band on my finger, watching those bunnies and foxes chase each other, and didn't mind changing my name at all.


It's ok to wear boys jeans.
I've come to loathe shopping for jeans. This last year, after trying to squeeze myself into several pairs in Myers, I walked out of the women's change room, walked up a flight of stairs and found a perfect pair in the men's section! Comfy, long and my favourite boot cut style. Not even baggy in the "wrong" places, which makes me wonder how comfortable they are for guys!

I have to stop worrying so much.
I know I let things niggle away at me, until I come up with all sorts of crazy scenarios. I've watched my mother stress about everything and it's not a healthy way to be. So this year I'm trying to work on my negativity and enjoy life a little more, instead of worrying about the what ifs.


Two dogs are so much funnier than one.
Watching our two muck about and play games never fails to make us laugh.


I like baking cakes for parties.
Our wedding, birthdays, Christmas and work events. I like doing it well and making people something they enjoy.


Babies are cute.
Sure I may have thought this before, but since my niece was born in May, I've realised that a baby who's related to you is quite different. I like that she smiles at me when I visit, or tries to share my ice-cream, or tips her head sideways when looking at me. She's adorable. Watching my little sister (whom I can remember holding as a baby) as a mother is beautiful. She's the same but different. It suits her.

What will I learn this year I wonder?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Monday's Menu

Ok so at least we got back to regular meal times this week.
It was cool earlier in the week so we felt like warming foods.
Monday was a roast tarragon chicken with roasted parsnips (our favourite), carrots, sweet potato and zucchini.
Tuesday was easy then, as Rob made a leftover chicken and vegetable risotto.
Wednesday has become our traditional pasta night, so it was our store cupboard favourite pasta puttanesca.
Thursday we decided on steak on the Weber, with grilled eggplant, tomatoes and onions with a last minute sprinkle of basil.
Friday night we treated ourselves to our old favourite cheese! A glass of French red wine, with a loaf of fresh bread, some oozy chèvre and a bizarrely orange blue cheese- Shropshire Blue. The iPhone app I have Fromage recommended eating the blue (or orange) with a cup of tea, a combination I tried the next day and it was surprisingly good.
Saturday, truthfully we decided not to take a photo, although it was delicious, fresh butter beans and boiled pink eye potatoes, but unfortunately the steak we cooked alongside was a touch (only slightly overdone), Rob now has quality control and was disappointed, so I decided not to take a picture. It still tasted pretty darn good though!
Sunday we had our friends around for lunch. I baked some potato and rosemary flat breads which went down a treat while we waited for the lamb shoulder to cook. Rob had slow cooked it the day before, so then it just needed a quick grill. We served it with couscous and roasted vegetables (parsnips, carrots, red onions and beetroot) and minty yoghurt. Sorry I forgot to photograph it, but as I've just ordered a lamb shoulder from Mount Gnomon farm we may do it all again this weekend! We finished it off with a chocolate cherry pavlova. I poached the cherries, and I have to admit my first pavlova collapsed into a sad looking cow pat overnight. So I whipped up a replacement in the morning. You know I don't like to brag, but I'm going to, it was fantastic. I thoroughly recommend you try it!


Sunday, January 15, 2012

The laundry hut

Hope this post is not too dull, but we've finally tidied up our mini hut.
When we designed the hut we always wanted a separate hut for the laundry and shed. The original hut in the states that we were inspired by had one, and we thought it was a good idea.
The verandah is perfect for our washing line, and the builders did finish it off very neatly, even plastering and painting the inside.
But as we hadn't gotten around to putting up shelves or cupboards, both rooms were quite a mess, and it was hard to find anything, the laundry also doubles up as Rob's home brew store room, so was quite squishy.
Last week I sourced some Tas oak cupboards for free, so after a very exciting trip home with then precariously balanced in a trailer, we dragged everything out and they fitted perfectly.
It finishes off the laundry hut perfectly.

Laundry before and after, with new home brew storage

Shed before and after

The rest of our weekend was spent moving the remaining gravel (Rob) and cooking/getting ready for our lunch with friends today.
Right now we're snoozing on the window seat (Claudia), blogging and reading. Claudia had a stressful day, our friends have a young daughter and Claudia was petrified. After peeing on my foot (!) Claudia spent the whole afternoon hiding and looking very nervous. The little girl did persevere and Claudia would allow her to pat her (we always were near just in case it got too much for Claudia) but she wasn't fully relaxed until they left! I'm hoping she grows out of it, I'm not sure how to desensitize her, as I've read that it can just be too hard on the dog and the irrational fear will get worse. Any ideas/advice?
I'll be back to share the food we cooked tomorrow.

Claudia before the scary 7 year old turned up!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Flowers is back for 2012

Sorry for the break in transmission.
The aftermath of the party combined with our return to work has meant this has been a pretty busy week for me.


For my first Friday of 2012: some daisies growing in the grass at the block. I am so looking forward to the grass being cut for hay. The snake thing still freaks me out at times.

Thanks for your comments on my last post, our diet has been a bit better this week, and not being near the pantry is a good thing too! We headed to the gym on Monday and Tuesday, I had a visitor at work on Wednesday and Thursday so missed a few days, but I went to a Body Balance class today at lunch.

I did a really good job of switching my brain off in regards to work, I couldn't even remember how to use Microsoft Outlook to send emails on Monday! As I said I had a visitor (seemed like a good idea before I went on holiday) so it was a bit manic as we worked together on a document ahead of a deadline.

Today I've been shaping my new to do list for work tasks (just quietly some of them are ones I didn't' complete from last years!)

Been so busy I haven't been able to mention that we bought another myrtle sideboard that matches our ever growing collection, this one has glass doors, so hopefully that will turn up next week. We'll shuffle one of the others into the spare bedroom, and probably take the odd one out to the Antiques Warehouse in town. We haven't visited them in a long time, so am looking forward to that, I wouldn't be surprised if we came away with something else!

Lastly we have salvaged some timber cupboards from a room at work, they would just trash them so we're going to install them in the shed and laundry, we're both looking forward to making those rooms look a little more organised. I'll take some before and afters.
Yeah it's the weekend. We're having the builder and his family over for lunch on Sunday, something I've been meaning to do for 6 months. Oh well, we got there in the end!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Monday's Menu


To tell you the truth, our eating habits haven't improved this last week, we've been snacking and not bothering with proper meals really. When I went back over my photos from the last week there was a lot of cake, an egg and bacon pie, sausages and mash, and a single salad!
Not exactly the healthy week of vegetables I was hoping for.
I'm afraid, unlike Rob, I can't get away with what we've been eating over our holiday, particularly combined with the lack of gym classes. My jeans are feeling a little tighter than I'd like. Whilst in my head I'd love to go back to the weight I was 10 years ago, realistically I'm not too upset by my body and know that I'll never be a size 10 (well I never was), but every so often when I put on a little extra weight, I get a little paranoid, and it makes me unhappy. I admit there have been times in the past (in changing rooms mostly) when it's brought me to tears. Rob is lovely, and I know he finds me attractive regardless, but I can't help it, I'm a girl and want to feel good about what I look like!
We normally head to the gym at our workplace (uni) and really enjoy the formal classes rather than using the treadmills. But with our holiday predominantly at home, it seemed a bit silly to drive into Hobart just for a gym class every day! Maybe not so silly now. I always feel my best when we're in the Pump class (weights) and don't even mind seeing myself in the mirror. So as inspiration I've just bought some new gym clothes and sneakers.
I really hate dieting, and to be honest am not very good at it, as I love food too much. I didn't eat well as a child, skipped breakfast, often threw away my lunch. Not because I wanted to be skinny, just because I wasn't very keen on what was being served up! Of course when I moved out of home and could prepare my own food I became much more interested in eating. But I was younger and my metabolism was able to cope with it.
But just to get back to normal I think I'll try to be good for a little while, otherwise I'll start to avoid mirrors.
Sorry about all that, hardly an issue compared to what some people have to cope with in terms of health, financial or family problems, but something that's on my mind none the less.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Doctor Who and my little brother turns 30

My brother, James, is a mad keen Doctor Who fan, but he's also quite likes any science fiction story. So it was a no-brainer when we started to plan his 30th birthday party. My sister and I did most of the planning and preparation for him.
So yesterday was the day, and it all came together quite well. We spent several hours turning my parent's carport into a space/Doctor Who themed space. Throw in 50m of Aluminium foil, some black garbage bags, my collection of honeycomb ball decorations (as planets), a Tardis, darlek and an alien (my sister is so talented, she painted them all last week, they looked brilliant) and you might get the picture.
James had decided long ago he'd like to be Tom Baker's Doctor Who, so had the scarf, wig, hat and jelly babies ready. Rob decided to use Claudia as a prop (although she was a most reluctant one!) and dressed up as Will Smith's character in I am Legend. I decided to be a Stepford wife, complete with blonde bob, silly heels and apron.
Food wise we kept it simple, snacks followed by a BBQ (Will did brilliantly there, despite his brown makeup running in the slight rain that fell half way through cooking).
The guests really got into the dressing up, we had several Star Trek characters, Storm and Wolverine from X-men, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy characters, Men in Black, numerous Jedi Knights, Angels from Doctor Who, a nutty professor, and many others I couldn't pick! (Not being a huge sci-fi fan myself!)
The local party shop must have done well in wigs, hairspray, face paint and other props.
With appropriate party music to groove to, we all had a great time. My other sister Skyped in from London, and also dressed up as Holly from Red Dwarf, which was inspired as she wore black and set up her camera against a black background so her head really did appear to float. Dad took her (via his laptop) around the party to chat to everyone, and she hung on for a few short speeches and the cutting of the Tardis birthday cake.
A fun evening, and I think James had the best time. We headed off home to wash off the make-up and head to bed. Today is our last day of holidays. It's been lovely, but like always went so quickly. I'm not looking forward to work tomorrow morning. Hope your weekend was relaxing.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A day of rest

Rob has been busy the last two days. We had 80 (of the 108) square meters of the paving delivered before Christmas. Rob has spent several days (5 truckloads-about 25 tonnes) spreading, leveling and compacting the gravel. Then we got paving on Monday. Rob had carefully drawn out a plan for the full 27m terrace, my job was to check which size pavers he'd need next, go and collect them from the crates and trolley them over to him. The first row was the slowest, but then we got in a bit of a rhythm. Most of the time I randomly selected the pavers, but I did select a few particularly nice ones for in front of our bedroom French doors.
Of course the last two days have been the hottest so far on our holiday, and the terrace is in full sun.
By the end of Tuesday we had run out of three of the sizes, so today was a day of rest, literally. After we headed into town for a little shopping, we both fell asleep on the window seat for a couple of hours!
The remainder of the paving arrives tomorrow, so our last few days will be spent finishing it off and helping out with my brother's 30th birthday party. He decided on a science fiction theme, so I'll be making a Doctor Who tardis cake and some alien cupcakes over the next few days.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A late Weekly menu

Sorry, I forgot it was Monday yesterday. The paving has been progressing well, almost time to get outside and keep going!
This last week we've eaten quick meals, as we seem to be coming inside to eat around 8pm.
Our Mt Gnomon ham was delicious (every time we ate some Rob would declare it the beat ham he's ever eaten!), we used it in two pasta dishes; a creamy pea and ham sauce, and a lemon, thyme, olive and ham dish. Otherwise we ate the Chicken Provençal with rice, and a few salads. Earlier in the week we had home made pizza with smoked salmon and pesto (our basil is going crazy) followed by an apricot tart when some friends came around for lunch.
This week the ice-cream maker has been put to good use: I've made banana ice-cream, mango sorbet and chocolate ice-cream.
Anyway, I'll try and be more disciplined with my food photography this week.
What's been on the menu at your place?
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