Thursday, September 30, 2010

Preparation is the key

It's my Bro's birthday this weekend. A significant one at that. There will be cake. Oh yes, there will be cake.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Likin' lichen

Cheesy title, hey? I couldn't help myself. I'm quite enamored by the colours and textures.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Starting the week easy

I tend to ease into cooking for the week. Monday night is usually the simplest of them all. Particularly the case this week as I'm still reeling from Saturday's draw. We've got to do it all again next weekend!

The ricotta stuffed shells are inspired by a Donna Hay recipe.

Pasta: 5-6 shells per person. I cook a couple extra, because if you're not careful the shells tear or stick rendering them almost useless. These are pricey at my local deli, I'm going to try and stock up at Mediterranean Wholesalers when I finally get there.
Sauce: Onion and garlic sauteed with 400g chopped tomatoes (canned is fine), a pinch of chili flakes and a couple of anchovy fillets (optional)
Ricotta mix: 400g ricotta, sprinkle nutmeg, salt & pepper, two small squares of defrosted frozen spinach
Extras: Handful tasty cheese for the top and a pinch of pesto for each shell (again optional)

Cook tomato sauce.
Cook shells - I suggest plenty of gentle stirring to avoid sticking.
Drain shells - doesn't matter if they're still a bit wet.
Spread tomato sauce on base of baking dish, arrange shells and stuff with ricotta mix.
Sprinkle with cheese and pesto if using and bake in 200C oven for 15 mins.

I serve mine with some par boiled broccoli, toasted almonds, plenty of lemon juice and a bit of butter.

Serves 4 and is easy to scale.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Fingers crossed

This, this is the ticket to my weekend. It will be punctuated by a bit of cycling, gardening and for the first time since May, enjoying double digit temperatures that start with a 2!

May the best team win.
May that team be us.
Go Pies!

Friday, September 24, 2010

It ain't pretty

It doesn't get much better than a call from Mum asking me if I want to cross cooking a whole fish off my '10 things in 2010' list. Hell yes I do. Even better when she'll be supplying the fish.

It was 1.1kg of ocean trout, marinated with Chermoula, wrapped in baking paper and cooked in the oven, served with smashed potatoes and bok choy. The four of us devoured it all.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

This week in the garden

... I came out to discover someone had stolen one of my olive trees! See that stake, there used to be an olive tree tied to that. Some opportunistic individual couldn't part with $9 at a Nursery for their own tree and decided to take mine. Dug it out of the bed on Sunday night. A great way to start the week, no? No!

At least I'm getting to enjoy the flowering ranunculus.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The weekend

Pretty happy we made it to the Garden of St Erth on Saturday, because after five hours on the bike on Sunday we were fit for nothing!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Still going strong

A perfect start to the weekend with the Pies making it through to the Grand Final; easily at that. Then breakfast with my girlfriends with an announcement involving a pregnancy with twins! Just about to head out for a little drive to the country. Good times. Hope they're happening where you are.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My creative space

A small start on the embroidered bunting. Not perfect, but good practice!

Plenty of spaces here.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Smoked fish salad

This is a keeper, from a relatively recent Donna Hay magazine. I like to start it the night before, by boiling the potatoes. It's almost impossible to find smoked trout in our poorly stocked local supermarket, so I almost always use a fillet of smoked salmon instead. The brackets indicate my deviations from the recipe. This one's for you R.

Salad ingredients:
800g baby potatoes (regular work fine too) • Olive oil • 2 bunches baby beetroot (or 2 medium beetroot) • 400g smoked trout (or salmon) fillet, flaked • 1 bunch watercress, leaves picked (or rocket & spinach mix) • 400g broad beans, blanched and peeled (I usually forget these)

Dressing ingredients, combine:
• 1/2 cup whole egg mayo (low fat) • 1 tbs grated horseradish (Yumi's is good) • 1 garlic clove crushed • 1 tbs white wine vinegar • salt and pepper • (and sometimes a dash of water to thin out the dressing)

Heat the oven to 220C/425F.
Boil the potatoes until tender, then smash/squish on a baking tray, drizzle with oil and bake until golden. Bake the 2 beetroot at the same time, wrapped in foil. ~30 mins. If you have baby beets, it's suggested that you just coat them in oil and bake.
Once tender, peel the beetroot (gloves are handy here) and chop.
Assemble salad and spoon over dressing.

Monday, September 13, 2010


It's been years since I've been to Heide and I thoroughly enjoyed roaming through the gardens by the house, to the Yarra and beyond. I loved that it was a hub for Australian artists, but in staying there one had to contribute to the household chores, cooking and gardening. Most of the meals were prepared fresh from the garden. That's certainly something to aspire to.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Second Annual 30th

The feeling's mutual. Mr T totally rocks my world, this morning he cooked me pancakes, gifted me the rack I've been coveting for months and announced that he will indeed be joining me overseas for three weeks. My 2011 European trip has now been extended out to eight weeks. I could not be happier.

We're off to Heide Museum of Modern Art this afternoon and a celebratory dinner tonight. Hopefully Mexican, you know, because that's how I like to celebrate annual 30ths.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Pink's nice and all...

This is is the reason why our weekends haven't involved getting amongst it of late. Mr T has indeed done a sterling job - I on the other hand only really offered encouragement (sometimes un-constructive criticism - eek) and cups of coffee, my skills do not extend to plumbing, plastering, tiling or grouting. All that pink and brown and gold and cream has been replaced with white and grey. It's a little sterile, but I don't think that's a bad thing when it comes to bathrooms.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

In essence

This is my kind of project and it involves a cheap bottle of vodka. You start it, leave it for 2-6 months or so, then reap the rewards. Hello vanilla extract!

I have been lucky enough to have a wonderful friend bring back a whole lot of vanilla beans from Bali over the last couple of years. I had five or so left over from the last batch and they weren't going to waste. The beans were split and scraped them into the jar and topped with vodka. The jar needs to be stored in a cool dark place. You can even top it up with used (clean) beans along the way.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Apple crumble slice

I recently re-subscribed to Donna Hay magazine, but made a promise to myself that I'd actually try the recipes rather than delight in the styling and photography. I'm not sure sourcing this recipe counts... for what it's worth it makes a pretty good half time treat at the footy, even if it's not served on floral plates.

Monday, September 6, 2010

This week in the garden

The winter planting is about to payoff. The freesias are close to blooming. I'm excited by the prospect of potted colour in the garden this year.

Quite a bit of the rocket (and there's a whole lot) has flowered. I'm going to let it go to seed and hopefully reaps the rewards all summer.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sunday in the City

It's been a long time since we've been out and about on a Sunday. It started with a pre-midday yum cha session with my family for Father's day. Then Mr T and I wandered the city; shopping and stopping in at the library for some inspiration, South Melbourne; for coffee supplies at St Ali and Albert Park; to spend fast expiring voucher at Wool baa. I'm not entirely sure what I'll do with new stash, but I'm sure it won't be long until I decide.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sketch Saturday

This term I managed to get half way through the unfinished banksia. In the middle there was the flax lily that I need to re-visit because I didn't even get close to the correct colour for the flowers and there's the last attempt above which caused plenty of frustration.

My art teacher suggested, next term, I pick less complicated specimens.

Friday, September 3, 2010

It ain't pretty

As I alluded to yesterday, it's been a long week. However I was pretty happy to cruise home on my bike knowing that I was in for a treat. A nourishing bowl of vegetables. Something that has been sorely missing from my diet this week. When I know I'm not cooking for Mr T I make a beeline for 101 cookbooks. Tonight it was all about the Sushi bowl.

I almost followed the recipe to a tee, however once the rice was cooked I threw my rice serving plus a handful of grated carrot and zucchini into the microwave for 30 seconds and I also opted to top with an egg omelette. Delicious.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


As happy as I am to see Spring, I'll be even happier when this week is over.