Monday, June 22, 2009
Sunday, June 21, 2009
We spent the afternoon at Sydney's Winter Festival.... too much rich, wintery food. Dinner called for something lighter and a bit more healthy for our tummys. We made this delicious, easy broccoli soup from ingredients we had on hand.
1/2 brown onion, finely sliced
1 rasher of bacon, chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 small potatoes or one large potato chopped into 1cm dice
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets and the stem cut into small pieces
500mL-1L of liquid chicken stock
Fry the onion gently in olive oil until starting to colour. Add the bacon and cook for a couple more minutes. Add broccoli and potato then pour in enough stock to cover the vegetables. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Roughly mash some of the soup to thicken the liquid. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with crusty bread for dipping.
The medium ones have Perspex windows and electric doors. If there is
an emergency there is no way to get off the train. These trains have
been ordered to be taken off the Sydney rail system by Christmas eve
this year. We had to travel in a scary coffin train. Naturally we
devised escape methods.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Arrived in the new apartment - Winton St. Between Turramurra and Warrawee stations.Spent the day at Hornsby shops just cruising.
Roast dinner with Gareth and Liz and David and Stella. David and Stella are another couple living in the apartments. Liz and Gareth brought their crazy cats - Simba and Maya. Simba is the golden one, maya a gorgeous little 'blue' burmese. 6 months old.
Delicious roast beef with yorkshire puddings and all the trimmings.
Neil had his last exam on Friday morning. Relaxing + packing for sydney friday night.
Flight at 12.30am Saturday - Perth to Melbourne. See photos for evidence of "red eye" flight time!
Flight 8am Saturday - Melbourne to Sydney.
Flights ok. Neil gave me a bread roll at 3am perth time in Melbourne which made me vomit on the plane - gross. The whole back of the plane was filled with school kids on their way to a school trip - hopefully not full of swine flu.
Arrived in Sydney then train to Central Station - very easy. Picked up at Central by Gareth - Neil's brother.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Poor little honey went off to boarding school today in preparation for our trip to Sydney. She was not happy!
Janne was out of town this morning so I was invited to the market run. Markets were the same as usual - although maybe a bit more quiet. Still tempted by the fantastic french patissiere and lawley's bakery treats - though I did manage to contain myself.
Went to check out a wool/coffee shop - Wooly Lattes at 46-48 Grantham St, Wembley. Lovely chai tea and apple and cinnamon muffin to share with mum.
Unfortunately the wool and patterns available were not all that inspiring. Could do with a bit of a re-vamp. Maybe some demonstrations of 'young' things you could do with nice wool. The designs were still quite old fashioned.
We thought maybe if they sold cute knitted hats and headbands and shawls etc it would encourage young people to knit things for themselves.
Couldn't wait to get home to Mum's house and sit by the fire - the winter weather is definitely here today.
Home sweet home.
Garden looks great - needs a bit of weeding, but so nice and green.
The Chinese Tallow-wood is lovely and flame red.
New neighbour has moved in next door. Still waiting for him to be around more so I can spy on him. I don't even know what he looks like yet.
Gave honey her new toy and jumper - very pretty in her new jumper.
She has conjunctivitis and so her eye is goopy and rank. Poor girl.
Really really good to see Neil - although I'm not allowed to distract him as he has an exam on friday.
Dinner at Gino's with mum and dad. Delicious gnocchi with napolitana. Dad had fettucine with chicken, vodka, tomato and spinach - looked really good too. Mum had the agnello - lamb with roast veg, very predicatable but as usualy - delicious.
Really lovely to be home!
I have always wanted to keep driving East on the Great Eastern Highway. Follow the sign that says 590km to Perth. Today I was allowed to. Relatively sleepless night. Woke early - 6.30am
Breakfast, shower, newspaper, fuel.
Drive east for 2 hours - Southern Cross. Keep driving east - Merredin, Cunderdin, Kellerberrin, Meckering, Mundaring, Perth. Plus lots of other towns in between that I have managed to forget about.
Cryptic crossword, jellybabies, water, delicious lunch from the french hot bread bakery in Merredin, coffees, sleeping.
Really lovely to have Mum's company.
The change in landscape along the way is the most incredible.
Arrived home safe and sound at around 3pm (we had to drop Libby in Floreat which probably added about 30 mins to the trip).
On Wednesday Mum came to Kalgoorlie.
She flew up after work so we could drive back to Perth together.
Her plane was supposed to land at 6.15pm. I left home at 6.05. I could see her plane circling and then land just as I arrived at the airport - the beauty of living in a town that only takes 10mins to drive from edge to edge!
Dinner at Judd's upstairs restaurant with Eliza and Libby.
Pasta looked great, veal looked great, chicken looked great - all reports fantastic. I think they forgot the sauce on mine and it was a touch overcooked (steak) - but still a lovely night.
Slept in my king single bed with mum and hot water bottle. Mum slept like a log. I heard her snoring! So nice to have her back.
Monday, June 15, 2009
If you are a fan of Beatrix Potter you will know all about Roly Poly Puddings from her book "The Roly-Poly Pudding". If not - a Roly-Poly pudding is basically a scone-mixture wrapped around a filling of apples then baked with syrup on top. It may not look so amazing - but absolutely perfect, especially with ice-cream or cream.
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tbsp butter
2 apples, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp sultanas
Juice of half a lemon
1 good tsp mixed spice
1 tbsp butter
4 tbsp brown sugar
For the syrup -
Bring the ingredients to the boil in a saucepan over medium heat then turn off.
For the filling.
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
For the dough
Mix plain flour, baking powder & pinch of salt in a mixing bowl & cut in 1 tablespoon of butter. Mix with enough milk to make scone-type dough (ie sticky).
Roll out lightly (about 20x30cm / 8x12in). Spread with filling then roll up.
Place in deep dish and pour over the hot sauce. Takes 3/4 - 1 hour in moderate oven (180C).
4b wanted to have a dinner party to celebrate the end of semester one. They had a freezer full of sausages and the latest issue of good food magazine had a sausage special. The theme was set - it was to be a sausage-fest. Plenty of sausage-filled and sausage-inspired meals.
The people were invited - all 10 students plus 3 residents working in ED. The meals were cooked. The table set and decorated.
The dishes -
Home-made sausage rolls to start - delicious (much better than from the shops).
Sausage 'risotto' - really amazing
Braised sausages in red current jelly and red wine - also delicious
Toad in the hole - this was perfect for what it was supposed to be - just not my ideal sort of meal
Pizzas with chorizo
Potato bake and potato salad for sides - definitely a 'blokey' meal!
Unfortunately the problem with sausages is that it doesn't matter what you do with them - they are still sausages and always taste very strongly so.
So my tip would be - don't buy super-cheap supermarket sausages, spend a bit more money and so when the flavour of the sausage comes through the dish it is a flavour that you want to be there and a flavour that enhances the dish.
And for dessert - homemade baclava and roly-poly apple pudding with ice-cream. The pudding was a first effort for me and will definitely be made again. So simple but very moreish.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Sylvia is a lovely greek chef that mum met while on holiday on Castellorizo. Sylvia won a baklava competition on the island, beating all the Greeks and Turks. This is really simple - once you master the technique.
I had my first try at making them today - with great success. Try to avoid using pampas pastry - it is very difficult to work with. For ever sheet that I could separate successfully, two were thrown in the bin.
Normal almonds with skins on were much cheaper at the supermarket than blanched almonds. If you cannot find blanched almonds, or want to save money you can blanch them yourself. Put the almonds in a heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water. Leave for about one minute then drain. The skins will slip off easily when pinched. If they are too difficult to skin, repeat the boiling water process. Make sure you don't leave them in the water for too long as they will go soggy.
1/2 kg blanched almonds
1 packet of filo pastry (preferably not Pampas)
250g unsalted butter, melted
3 1/2 cups sugar
3 cups water
Juice of one lemon
Preheat your oven to 180C. Place the almonds on a tray in the oven. Roast for about 10 minutes or until starting to colour and smelling delicious and nutty. Remove the tray from the oven and leave the almonds to cool to room temperature. Blitz the almonds in the food processor until reasonably finely ground - like very coarse breadcrumbs.
Make the syrup - place the ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to the boil. Simmer for 20 minutes (220C on a sugar thermometer). Set aside to cool.
Now assemble the baklava. Preheat the oven to 200C.
Lay out a sheet of filo with the long edge closest to you. Brush with the melted butter. Layer with another sheet, then butter this sheet too. If the filo is very thing add a third sheet, buttering the top too.
Sprinkle the half of the pastry closest to you with a layer of the almonds. Roll up away from you, keeping it as tight as possible. Roll it up completely. Lay a separate sheet of filo on the bench and butter. Place the already rolled sausage on top of this sheet, flap side down. Roll up tightly.
Cut into diamonds approximately 4cm long.
*At this stage they can be frozen between layers of baking paper in an airtight container. Take out of the freezer and defrost in the fridge the night before cooking - or cook from frozen.*
Place separately on a baking tray and baste with butter. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 200C (keep an eye on them!). Lower the heat to 170C and bake for a further 10 minutes. They should only be pale golden. They may not need this long.
Leave to cool for 5 minutes. Pour over the cool syrup until it about 1/2cm deep. Leave to soak in the syrup for about 5-10 minutes - or to taste - then transfer to a serving dish.
Still half asleep from my afternoon nap. Courtney was stir crazy - wanted to go for a walk into town for afternoon tea. Extremely lovely Kalgoorlie afternoon. Bright blue skies and cool crisp air. We shared a blueberry ricotta crumble slice. I had milk in my tea. I'm sure my stomach won't be happy with the milk. But I was more than happy with the experience! By the time we were walking home the sun was creeping down lower over the horizon. As soon as it started to go down the cold crept in. It is going to be a very chilly night.
We saw Kalgoorlie's Haunted House on the way home. Not so scary in the daytime - scary at night?
Saturday, June 13, 2009
I had my handbag packed and was walking out the door. I heard a commotion. Headed out the front and there was a lady, two girls and a dog, pulling desperately to get inside our yard. Half an hour later and there was still no movement of the dog... very keen to stay at our place. So we did what any other dog lover would do, and let him stay. (I think I forgot to mention that the lady found the do that morning and was going to take her to the pound on monday).
We found a tattoo in her ear tonight and so she should have an owner somewhere!
She is a lovely dog... very skittish, but such a little sweetheart.