Friday, June 29, 2012


It's poor quality I know, but I am now a Great Aunt!  My darling niece, Hazel, gave birth to a beautiful baby daughter, Aurelia Winter Rose, this morning at 3:33am.  She is just delicious!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


When I was a pre-teen, a couple (or so) decades ago, I found the idea of a packet cake mix a novelty.  My mother made everything from scratch because she just did and I suspect it was probably the less expensive option.  For me, packet cake mixes held great allure, they were something the other kids had in their homes. Now of course I appreciate the lessons learned from my mother's necessity and in turn love, but then I just wanted a White Wings cake.

I'm not sure if they still make this one, but White Wings used to make a cinnamon tea cake.  It had the cake mix in the larger packet and smaller packet with the cinnamon sugar mix.  You baked the cake, drizzled it with melted butter, then covered with the contents of that little white packet.

The cake was quite flat and didn't rise much, being almost completely smooth.  I've never been a binge eater, but I remember that cake, eating it hot, that it's substance was almost nothing, meaning you were cutting a second sliver before you'd swallowed the first.

This cake is a combination of my memory and modern day habits.  It's quick and easy, smells delicious and has such a fine, soft, light crumb that tonight, when I cut Geoff and I equal pieces to have after dinner, I actually jammed - yes jammed - a secret smaller piece in my mouth before I left the kitchen!  I've never been a binge eater, but this cake encourages at least a second sneaky bite.


From top to bottom:  broad beans, peas, broccolli, leeks & onions, lemons, lemongrass, limes (overripe now).

There has been a lot written about how much you can produce in a small garden if you choose to focus on the possibilities rather than the limitations.

I have longed for a large garden FOR.EVER.  I adore our garden and absolutely squeeze all I can out of it, but I have always longed to walk in my garden, from fruit tree to nut tree, to my small olive grove, basket on arm, collecting produce along the way.

That, however, is not my reality, but I've decided to focus on what I can squeeze in and then squeeze in a little more.  As well as all mentioned above we have an orange tree, a cumquat, a blood plum, a large strawberry patch, a bay tree, numerous rosemary bushes, copious amounts of parsley, tarragon, thyme of varying kinds, savoury and thai basil.  I've also planted 3 long rows of garlic this year which I'm excited about and hopeful for.

I have just ordered a morello cherry and two blueberries and intend to keep them in pots for now, in perfect sunny spots out the back.  When summer approaches we're going to put in a lazy bed at one end of our front lawn and the tomatoes can go there, along with Florence Fennel and a zuch or two - they like space.  Basil of course will be squeezed in everywhere.  Potatoes, I'm getting a couple of old style bins for those.

I'm really excited about accepting the reality of what we have, finally, and seeing all the possibilities for the spaces not yet being utilized.  I'm also considering trellising the side of the house for pumpkins as they love to climb!  I haven't mentioned that to Geoff yet, he's not quite as keen for a "Mediterranean" style garden as I am.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I have a habit of leaving things to the last minute.  Actually that's not quite accurate.  I have a tendency to forget time, but only when I cook.  I'm not someone who's late or keeps anyone waiting but I tend to forget timing when the oven is involved.  At 2:35 I put an apple pie in the oven to cook, knowing I would have to leave the house about 30 minutes later..  It's almost time to go and it's not quite ready....  I also have my quiche pastry blind baking and that's not quite ready either.

I don't like everything about Masterchef, but watching them all battle with quiche the other night made both Geoff and I fancy one.  Contrary to what the judges were saying, this Australian household doesn't have quiche as our go-to meal on a regular basis, in fact I can't remember the last time I had a slice, although I know it would have been my mum's.

So when I get home after school and swimming, to a cooling apple pie and a blind baked quiche case, I'll do my own little elimination challenge and see how I fair with my judges.

As an aside this is my mum's pastry - no fuss, 8oz SR flour, 4oz butter and cold water.  Rub in the butter, add water.  Rest.  Roll and form. Rest.  No fuss, works beautifully, tastes great.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Sunday, June 17, 2012


Last night we joined Jo, her family and friends, for a Winter Solstice celebration.  Strictly speaking we're not there yet as it's on the 21st, but it was more than close enough.

I was having far too much fun to take photos in the dark, I couldn't see the buttons!  There was a glorious fire, the kids made latterns and took a very dark walk around the edge of the property and I was pleased not to be the one who fell down.  There were toasted marshmallows, smores and today all our clothes smell like an outdoor barbecue.

The glow sticks still have a little glow left in them, at least that's what Leila tells me from under her bed with the lights switched off.


I simply can't get enough of the doughy stuff and I can't take too many pictures of it either, but I can live with that.

Monday, June 11, 2012


There was some crazy Spa Day action at our house today.  I was covered in cream and "relaxed" as well, actually felt quite nice!

Friday, June 08, 2012


I adore these fabrics.  Sometimes, when I buy fabric online, it arrives and is a bit of a disappointment.  Not these though, the colour, the joy and the riot of them together just makes me feel happy.

I've been on a quilting bent of late, this one's to be for us.  A lap quilt for our couch, for the girls and I to cuddle up under on movie night, perhaps to keep Geoff and I warm during a late night smooch!  Mix in some soft indigo denim and I'm excited to get it started.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012


 Cold wet days demand tea with biscuits.

Monday, June 04, 2012


A very fit active girlfriend of mine, one who exercises for the love of it, tells me I don't eat enough.  Apparently I have a good diet, full of all the right things, but I need to eat more regularly.  I don't eat much during the day, a coffee and one slice of toast for breakfast, lunch around 1-2pm, then dinner.  I just don't get hungry.  I am trying to make more effort to eat more though - it sounds wrong though doesn't it?  Apparently to get your metabolism moving you need to exercise more and eat more - that kicks your body into action.  So I need to eat more often, eat meat more than I do, or protein at least, and get my butt moving more.

My body is so crackly and stiff, it really makes me wonder if something isn't wrong.  I bend down by splaying my legs wide to reduce the depth of my bending, I mean, that's not normal is it?  I know the more you exercise the looser you can feel, but honestly I feel so stiff and sore in my bones that I've made an appointment to be sure it's not something more than middle age.

It's so easy to put off what you intend to do.  I'm full of good intentions, really on a daily basis, but find it so easy to be distracted by nothingness.  I need deadlines, I need structure, I don't operate well without plans, without commitments, in that situation I tend to fritter away hours of my time with nothing major to show for it.  Moving forward into being home full time for a while I need to get better organised - with my diet, with committing to exercise, to deciding how I'm going to fill my days, to making the most of my time with Leila at home.  I've been putting off thinking about it, honestly trying to avoid it, but I need to start trying to nut out what the rest of my year will look like.  I want it to be good, not just time passed.