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.
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