Saturday, 30 January 2010

Jam Making and Pot Scrubbing on a Saturday Arvo

I picked all the fabulous deep, burgundy/black, shiny, elderberries from the bushes that are scattered around our place.

My first ever batch of elderberry jam was coming up, some online recipe research and I was ready to go...berries, lemons and their pips, sugar...easy as!
Spending a Saturday afternoon on our fab 42-acre organic farm in pristine Nth West Tassie, looking out the kitchen window at magnificent Mt Roland and making jam.
The simple life, all seems so idyllic and romantic.
I WANT to be a baking/jam making queen, but it seems it just ain't my glass slipper.

Everything was going swimmingly, bubbling away and looking AMAZING...all I did was pop outside for a sec to check on Mr I and his efforts with setting up the new sprinkler in the vegie garden and well, before I knew it...Eau-de-BURNT was coming from the house.
Black tar all over the bottom of my stainless steel pan, SERIOUSLY I could patent this stuff for sealing roads.
I ended up with NO jam for a LOT of mess and one very burnt pan.

More online research on how to remove end-of-the-world-radiation-proof type substance from pots, lead me to boiling up baking powder and water in the pan and scraping with stainless steel implements and finally success...well actually, a bit more scrubbing to come.

So much for stocking the cupboard with scrumptious jam and feeling proud of my providorian skills and making something for almost nothing straight from our garden...all I got was a wasted day and lots of scrubbing!

Think I'll throw some fresh layed eggs, just harvested potatoes, parsley and silver beet in a pan and call it a frittata...

What about you?

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Mucking Around On A Sunday Morning

This morning I had fun and revealed probably a bit too much about myself* on the thouroughly entertaining Kerri Sackville's fabulous blog...
LIFE AND OTHER CRISES: Kerri's 30 Second Questionnaire. Take It.
Maybe you might like to pop over there and have a play?

Here are her Q's and my answers:

1. Have you ever faced death, and if so, what did you think about? Last year my car skidded on ice and it became completely uncontrollable. I knew not to touch the brakes but did try to steer but it was impossible, the wheel wrenched from my hands and I hurtled towards and then crashed through a farm fence American-movie-countryside-police-chase style, eveything went in slow motion and all I could think was thank-Buddha this is not a brick wall or a tree! I was shaken, but fine - car not so good.
2.What was the weirdest thing that ever happened to you at school? In primary school another girl and I pretended we were in a trance,** a girl, I did not like very much, came and spat on my face to see if I was bullshitting and I didn't react! I got to spend the afternoon on the "sick" couch because clearly I was MENTAL! The couch was a lovely old Sanderson print one which was on the landing of a beautiful old staircase.
3.Have you ever been desperately envious of someone? Desperately envious of anyone who is not desperately envious of anyone
4.If you met yourself, do you think you would like You? Derrrr...I reckon I would love me. I already love meeting like-minded people and those who share similar characteristics and life experiences 'cause it really does make me feel like I am not a complete freak!
5.If you could only eat one food the rest of your life, what would it be? Salted Cashews
6.Have you ever stolen anything? I think a pot-o-gloss from the chemist at Kew junction when I was about 10? Then I really stepped it up with magazines & books & smokes from my 1st real workplace & and I MAY or may not have pretended to ring up items and pocketed the cash instead a few times! PLEASE don't tell anyone OK? Oh and SORRY old boss : (
7.Rate these in order from hardest to easiest to give up for a year: chocolate, sex, alcohol, mobile phone, TV, computer. Computer, TV, Alcohol, chocolate, sex, mobile phone.
8. If you weren't with your current partner, who would you be with? Are you on drugs?! JOHNNY DEPP

* Seriously why do we spill our guts so easily on this inter-webby thing? I've decided as I am living a fairly isolated life these days, it's my Cafe, or my group of parents standing around outside the school gates waiting to pick up their kids, or my Friday night at the pub.
**No REALLY what's that all about?

I'm happy with the lovely 21 degree sparkly day we've got here.

What about you?

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Of Cold Meat & Salad & Catholicism...

Remembering how when I was a kid I thought the best dinners my Mum prepared were the ones that were obviously all about her not wanting to KNOW about having to cook, AGAIN, for her 5 kids. My Dad is Italian and when he made lunch or dinner it was another type of food experience altogether! More on that another time.

I thought Mum's "can't be buggered" dinners, actually I think we called them teatimes, were amazing, special occasion, we-are-so-lucky! dinners and I have a memory of Mum spinning them that way.

My top 3 were:
3. Cold meat & Salad - Mum's name for thickly sliced ham and some iceberg lettuce and MAYBE some sliced tomatoes with Kraft French dressing

2. Rice Bubbles! Yep...Rice Bubbles. When Mum made the announcement that it was too late to cook, so we could have Rice Bubbles for dinner, it felt so decadent and radical and bohemian
my absolute favourite...
1. Pan fried ham and cheese sandwiches and packet chicken noodle soup! This one was always on a Sunday night AND we were allowed to eat in front of the TV watching Disneyland, which was hopefully a Fantasyland episode! Dad was in charge of the pan fried sangers.

I've also been spending some time searching online trying to find a certain Mary statue to add to my collection,

it's not about religion for me - way too many atrocities have occured in the name of religion.
Not really sure what it's about other than I just like iconography from all religions, but as catholicism is in my past, I guess it's what I am drawn to. Don't EVEN get me started on all that is wrong with the Catholic Church...I think the erudite Steven Fry expresses my feelings perfectly here:

Just defrosted something in the microwave and missed out on stopping the beeps!
I HATE that!
Do you know what I am talking about?
Our microwave when it reaches zero on its countdown, gives 4 loud beeps, once it hits zero, there is NO way of stopping this. Opening the door doesn't stop it and neither does pressing stop, the ONLY way to avoid them is to get back to the microwave before it gets to zero and open the door or press stop.
It really SHITS me!
Am I bonkers?

Having a lovely time listening to a spot of Laura Marling and the very lovely The Unthanks
Enjoying a very moody, muggy, heavy-navy-&-grey clouded Saturday

What about you?

Friday, 15 January 2010

Spuds & Kookaburras

Happy with this morning's bounty.
I dug up some spuds from under one plant - there are about 10 more plants still in.
Here they are and I can tell you fresh picked potatoes are so far removed from their sad, supermarket cousins, it's TRAGIC. They are so naturally buttery it really is astounding.

Mesmerised by the family of kookaburras that have taken up residence at our place. Every morning and afternoon they wind up to their full-throated chuckling. I feel so privileged to have them around and they really do "sit in the old gum tree!"

Now I'd like a bit of rain, thanks

What about you?

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Chasing Bunnies. Chooks & Floral Arrangements

Feeling pretty good.
'Been thinking about food, so I went online hunting for some old cook books that I've wanted for ages and found them for bargain prices here
I went for a long walk around the orchard with beautiful Bobby who chased rabbits and is now happily flopped and panting at my feet!

Wondering what to do with all the googie eggs the Ladies are laying at the moment! Only so many fritattas you can eat in a week! I am not so good in the baking department and too many cakes just means someone has to EAT them!

I picked some fennel flowers from a monster plant that I'm letting go to seed and they really do look splendiferous popped in a vase and they smell AMAZING. I'm not a fan of aniseed flavour but the seed heads look stunning and they smell like lemon and liquorice.

I played in my vegie garden, feeding and watering and was delighted to see these perky little finger radishes have popped up, can't wait 'til they grow up. My vegie garden carked it whilst we were on our big o/s adventure and I've had to start from scratch but it's coming along gangbusters now

I marvelled at this perfect bird nest I found a while ago sitting amongst the branches of one of the rose bushes and I brought it inside to study the talents of the birdy who made it. I also freaked out when I noticed a monster HUNTSMAN sitting in it! is now back outside.

Tonight I think I will make one of my deeeelicious pizzas - I just can't come at the ones with 2 basil leaves, a smear of tomato passata and 3 slices of buffalo mozzarella - I go all out and use heaps of baby spinach leaves which disappear down to nothing, I also hide a layer of shaved hot salami on the bottom. This pic was taken before I added a crumbling of the DIVINE Meredith Goat Cheese Mmmmmmmm

I reckon I'm having a pretty good day so far

What about you?

Friday, 8 January 2010

Last night I...

watched the superb Dusty Springfield on a great doco on the ABC. Lots of footage I've never seen. Her voice and her talent were so spine-tinglingly brilliant.
Then I watched episodes 5 & 6 of Tangle - crikey it really is slow burningly addictive. Ben Mendelsohn and Frank Gallagher's performances are amazing.
I drank a few too many vino biancos - but had fun doing it
I watched and listened to this stunning performance by Tunde Adebimpe from TV on the Radio
and I chuckled and chuckled at this hilarious image...

and today it is STILL making me smile

What about you?

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Procrastinitis Bigtimus

Suffering from chronic procrastinitis
I promised myself I would go for a long walk around the walnut orchard , hasn't happened yet
I promised myself I would get started on writing a piece and submitting it for publication in one of my favourite Mags - aiming high, I KNOW and exactly why I still haven't started.

Instead, I got pleasantly sidetracked with fossicking through some more old books
I stirred up some wonderful memories on rediscovering this joyous book that my children and I ADORED back in the 80's!

How I loved them all - the naughty, hilarious and all-about-entertaining-the-adults John Hamblin, the warm, natural and delightful Noni Hazlehurst, the gorgeous, charming, cheeky John Waters and the exuberant and playful Benita Collings.
Dress up days were and are the BEST

My memories were given a severe yank when I found this inside one of MY favourite childhood books "Now We Are Six" by A. A. Milne.
Drawn by me!

Then with glee I reread some of my favourites

I don't think losing myself in books is too bad a way to it?

What about you?

Monday, 4 January 2010

Today I am...

Catching up on what's happening over at Meet Me at Mikes
Listening to the joyous Mumford and Sons
Drinking some refreshing green blackberry tea

Enjoying the heady aroma of one of my favourite incenses

Reading this book by Kate Veitch

and while sorting through some old kids books found this fabulous lot!

Here is one of the lovely illustrations...

A great day so far

What about you?

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Getting a bit Crafty

This Christmas, I was on a majorly restricted budget and at a loss for gift ideas that cost little cash.
The fabulous Pip at the wonderful Meet Me at Mikes had been crocheting some gorgeous snowmen and hearts and I came over all inspired.
I hadn't picked up a crochet hook for many years - my Nonna taught me way back when.
I found myself obsessed with learning how to make these lovely little hearts and after some refresher courses on Youtube I was on my way!
I made up a few hearts as practice and then started on some bunting for decoration.
I woke up during the night about a week before Christmas with a brainwave...very rare I can tell you - I would find some brilliantly appropriate and relevant quotes, print them out and frame them along with one of my crocheted hearts. The gorgeous frames were a bargain - $15 at The Reject Shop.
I was very happy with the results and may I say I little bit impressed with myself.
The results of my handiwork...