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?


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Snap it {bright}

Yikes two posts in one week!

The theme for Snap it this week is bright.

It wasn't very bright last night at the hut when we got home around 7pm. No electricity. I had been expecting it over the weekend when we had the gale force winds (over 100kmph) but for some reason a tree fell over yesterday afternoon and took out the power in our area. A quick phone call to the power company wasn't terribly comforting, "restoration time unknown, call back in 90 minutes".

So we got back in the car and headed down the road to the local pub for a counter meal. Whilst not the most exciting meal we'd had in a while, it was warm, we didn't have to cook it, they had lights, flushing toilets and running water and a nice wood heater to sit by. Rob and I made it last as long as we could, reminiscing about when was the last time we'd eaten at a pub together. We're thinking 2009!

When we got back to the hut, the power was still off, so we lit a tray of candles, jumped in bed and watched an episode of Northern Exposure on the iPad. The power flicked back on around 10pm.

The weather has just turned for the worse again, so I might ring the power company before we drive home, just to check there isn't a reported outage in our area!

Playing along at Faith, Hope and a whole lotta Love.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Monday's Menu

What a weekend, the gale force winds were quite frightening at times, and our little hut isn't even anywhere near the big trees! The little hut withstood it all pretty well, although some of the creaking and window flexing was a little off putting. Garden wise we sustained some damage to a few of our boundary eucalypt trees (as in one was lying flat on the ground!) but it may still recover after being staked back up.

I hibernated inside, whilst Rob braved the weather to move a truck load of top soil into the last three vegetable garden beds. Instead I picked up the newborn cross stitch sampler that I bought, ahem, two years ago to complete for my niece's birth. I'm afraid I didn't get very far. I picked it on the design (cute native animals and flowers) but didn't realise just how fine the fabric is, so the stitching seems very small. But now that I've started again, hopefully I can be a bit more dedicated and get it done in time for her 2nd birthday!

Menu wise this week:

Monday: Soba noodles with silver beet (from our garden), with soy and sesame seeds.
Tuesday: Pink ling (on the BBQ) with asparagus. (hmm not sure about Pink ling.)
Wednesday: Vegemite toast after a very filling bowl of mushroom and bacon soup at Jackman and McRoss for lunch.
Thursday: Linguine with pecorino and peas.
Friday: Silver beet, speck and parmesan frittata.
Saturday: Slow roasted beef brisket with baked potatoes.
Sunday: Minestrone, with more of our silver beet.

Can you tell the silver beet is doing well in our garden?

Treats this week included a cheese burger from Devil's Kitchen and apple, cinnamon and almond muffins.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Monday's Menu

Well Spring certainly started with a bang in southern Tasmania. Blue skies, warm temperatures. The weekend was perfect.
We pottered in the garden, weeding my flower beds, Rob installed a new overflow pipe (the outflow from our tank currently ended in the middle of my rose bed which is not ideal), he has redirected it to the veggie garden where we hope to put a water butt (a barrel). My anemones have started to flower, blue, pink and white and the occasional rogue red one!

Yesterday we headed into town and had yum cha at Me Wah with Rob's daughter for Father's day.  We love it, trying steamed dumplings (pork, prawn, vegetarian and trevalla) the obligatory roast duck and pork ribs. It was certainly buzzing yesterday, with families of all different combinations shared lunch.

I must admit we came back home to the hut and had a nap to sleep off all that food!

Menu wise this week -
Monday: Stir fry rice.
Tuesday: We headed out with my work colleagues to Ethos. To eat a series of tapas style dishes. My favourites were the fried chickpeas and a chorizo sausage cooked in red wine with potatoes. It's a lovely space, and the food was ok. But now that I've been I probably won't be in a rush to revisit.
Wednesday: We stopped by Bottega Rotolo for some lunch (beautiful minestrone for me) and had an asparagus, speck and parmesan frittata for dinner.
Thursday: Scallops with bacon on rice.
Friday: Penne pasta with pecorino, peas and speck. This was delicious!
Saturday: Beef shin stew with mash potato.
Sunday: After our big yum cha feast we had some leftover beef shin stew with pasta.


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