Sunday, May 30, 2010

Autumn is in full swing!

I love Autumn. And Melbourne turns on this season with style. Driving down the street this morning, I saw quite a few gardeners out on their footpaths raking up leaves. That's the downside. This could be a daily task that would drive anyone nuts. Frans has a blower thing that sucks up the leaves. Here is the front yard the day after he cleaned up the leaves! It's almost pointless.
Those two garden beds (one along the front fence and one to the left of the tree) are not doing much. In fact they're rubbish. I guess they are absolute proof that if you don't prepare your soil properly, then you're doomed. I had planted a row of Camelias along the front fence. But our fierce January heat scorched the plants. I need to start again. So I'm leaving the beds as they are now till Spring. The challenge is that even though they are in the shade of the tree, the rain doesn't always get to the garden beds. So the beds actually are a bit dry. I'm planning to add a lot more organic matter to the beds and then trying again for next Summer. I'm crossing my fingers!

This is the view this morning from our back deck. We could be living in the country. It's the best! That back corner needs serious work. Not sure what we're going to do yet.

And finally, this is a beautiful tree just down the street. Magnificent in it's Autumn splendour.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Crochet fun!

So this is what I'm playing with at the moment. I just LOVE free form crochet and knitting. It's fun, quick and easy! I've been inspired by the work of Prudence Mapstone. I've almost completed this yummy green and orange bag. I used tapestry canvas as the base. It was easy enough attaching all the little bits to the canvas before I stitched it all together. Then it became a bit more tricky. Awkward more than anything else.

This is side one

Side two. Only a little bit of work left to do.

Here are the last few 'rounds'. I'll make lots more little baby discs to fill up any gaps.

And this is going to be my next project. This is one of Prudence Mapstone's beautiful creations.

Lots of little discs required!

And here are the yarns just hanging about waiting for me to start!

So stay tuned.....

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Dinner with friends

So we had Sunday lunch. A lunch that lasted all afternoon. What could be more fun than sitting at a long table with friends and just enjoying good food, good wine and of course good conversation!
There was a highlight for me. Pavlova. Not just your ordinary Pav. This one has changed my view on this traditional Aussie desert. I'm starting to believe the folklore that it's actually a Kiwi invention. The reason is that my friend Julia is a Kiwi (we'll forgive her!) and her Pav was sensational.

I'll never top a Pav with strawberries, banana and passionfruit again. Instead it will get the "Julia" treatment. Lashings of cream, Cherries & a thick syrup made from the juice of the cherries. Fabulous!

Catching up!

Well, it's been a fun few weeks. Lots of eating, laughing and just enjoying life. So I've been a little slack and havn't posted for over a week. So I'm going to start with Mother's Day. That was a couple of weeks ago. I was spoiled along with Doris, (Stephen's Mum) by breakfast at the Camberwell Market. And you know I love my markets! So for me it was a perfect way to celebrate Mothers Day. Thanks Sara, Stephen and Jess.

Speaking of markets (again!), we're lucky enough to have a new farmers market start up at the local school around the corner from our house. Once a month on a Sunday morning, a bunch of passionate farmers and foodies spread out their goodies for us to buy. It's not cheap, but then you know you're getting really good stuff. Seeing that it was so close to home, we walked down to the school at around 9am. It was a beautiful Autumn morning. Misty and cold. Winter is defintely on the way. I love Autumn and Winter!

Walking down our street.

Our haul included:
Natural yoghurt (Turkish style)
Goats cheese marinated in olive oil (made by the same dude that made the yoghurt)
2kgs of organic Nicola potatoes (these make wonderful mash. A little yellow and slightly sweet)
Eggplant (for another batch of melanzane)
2 doz free range eggs
Quince paste

And this little treasure was spotted on the walk home. Beautiful gum blossoms. They just begged to have their picture taken!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Happy Birthday Sara!

Well, it's not every day that you have a birthday. So Sara decided she wanted to celebrate her special day with a South Africa feast. So we fired up the potjie pots (black cast iron pots) and got cooking. She shared her birthday with some special friends.

Stephen scored some serious brownie points with this beautiful bouquet of flowers.

The men watching the fire. It has to be 'just right'.

 The pots are on the fire. The cooking has begun. 

Baking for the party. Tipsy tart & Melktert. And variations of the two deserts.

Lynnie's delicious spinach & cob dip


sBobotie. A Malay style South African mince dish. It went down a treat.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Turkish Delights and Creative Inspiration

What a week it's been! I helped my friends Lisa and Peter Walton at their stand  Dyed and Gone to Heaven at the Australian Patchwork Convention for 4 days. It was great seeing so many familiar faces. Not to mention being inspired by all the wonderful quilts, fabrics and colour on display. The convention was held at the beautiful Melbourne Exhibition centre. It's a restored building of beautiful curves and wonderful detail. The surrounding Fitzroy Gardens are spectacular. Even with Autunm approaching, there was plenty of colour.

The sky might of been grey, but the building still looked beautiful.

The beautiful manicured garden.

Red and orange cannas surround the garden.

On Saturday night we went out to dinner with Peter and Lisa to a Turkish style restaurant called Baba. We made the mistake of turning up at the wrong end of Lygon Street and both parties ended up cabbing it to East Brunswick instead of Carlton. Duh! Well, misdirections aside, the meal was sensational! We opted for a Food Safari. Small starters consisting turkish breads & dips, cuscous, eggplant in tomato sauce (YUM!) and lentils with calamari. The mains included a kebab (see below) and a salmon clay pot. The food just kept coming.

This is the elaborately presented kebab on a sword! The lamb was tender tender tender....

The sword kebab was served with crispy potatoes. Delish!

One of the dishes we were served was a salmon, muscles and chic pea stew served in a clay pot. The cumin, cinnamon and othe middle eastern spices were incredibly aromatic.
Desert was devine! Poached mandarins with sheeps milk frozen yoghurt in the small glasses. Served in the centre bowl were piping hot little donuts dripping in honey, sprinkled with crushed pistachios. And of course, not forgetting the silky smooth turkish delight.

My dinner partners were horrified that I could not finish my piece of turkish delight. To be honest, it was the equivalent of the famous 'wafer thin mint'! We were all stuffed! Would we go there again? Yes. The only negative for me was the awful music if you could call it that. Just a noisy doof doof in the background. Not needed at all. The restaurant was noisy enough as it was. But a good experience none the less.