Sunday, October 16, 2011

Berry Garden Festival

Ok, so I've tried twice to upload a series of photos from today's visit to the Berry Garden Festival. I had a picture of the Taj Mahal of chook sheds, a vege patch to make you salivate, gorgeous garden borders, an enormous bougainvillea climbing up a tree, shady groves, a croquet lawn and a lily pond.

But no, Google and my lazy satellite connection don't want to play that game. So in the end, I'm posting just one photo from my trawl around the gardens on show - this outdoor shower, with hot and cold running water. This really appeals to me. I could get AM to shower outside, instead of trailing bits of grass through the house after he's been in the garden. I'm imagining lovely cool showers outside on hot summer nights. One of my most vivid memories of a trip we did to Malaysia 20 years ago was taking outdoor showers at one of the cheap-and-cheerful places we stayed on Langkawi Island, just like this one. It was fantastic. where should it go?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New for me cooking - Quinoa pudding

Another new-for-me dish and ingredient, quinoa pudding with cranberry compote, which I ate for breakfast on the weekend.

Sweet, kind of like rice pudding, really. You could eat this for dessert. Rating: Three thumbs up, one down (son, an adventurous eater, but not into this). A nice introduction to quinoa.

Quinoa pudding

200g quinoa

2 cups milk

1 cinnamon quill

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbs maple syrup

1/2 cup raisins

Rinse quinoa and place in a saucepan with 500mL water. Bring to boil and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until or the water has evaporated.

Add the remaining ingredients, bring to boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for anout 20 minutes or so, until thick.

Serve with natural yogurt and cranberry compote (below):

Cranberry compote : Place dried cranberries, 1/4 cup caster sugar, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon and 1 cup of water in a small saucepan. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or so, until the liquid is thick and syrupy.

Friday, October 7, 2011

On my mind - decluttering

This is my first contribution to Rhonda's On My Mind series.
This corner of my study has been on my mind for a while. Its a disaster. It badly needs a decluttering. The filing cabinet is packed with old paper work that I really need to go through. The cupboard is full of old books and textbooks, wrapping paper, brown paper, bubble wrap etc etc - the sort of stuff that you keep because it "might come in handy one day" and "one day" rarely comes. That paperwork stacked on the computer desk is old school stuff - it too needs a purge. Propped up against the filing cabinet is a white board Action Man rescued from a renovation at work. It needs to find a home or its "out". There is a stack of files on the floor that belong to AM. On top of the cupboard are boxes for various bits of computer/camera equipment. On the computer desk is two old desktop computers and a defunct printer and busted shredder, as well as discs from the last eleventy years.
Sigh. There's a day's work there.
This corner of doom really sucks the energy out of this room (it is behind me as I write). Maybe that's why I don't blog as often as I should. That corner of doom is like a silent admonishment to me every time I sit at the computer!
Oh well, it looks like another rainy weekend. Maybe - this is the weekend to tackle it.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Footy and Pizza night

We've had a long weekend here in NSW. We don't tend to go anywhere on long weekends. Our town is overrun with Sydneysiders, so the traffic is diabolical. Far better to stay here.
This weekend has also been quite wet, so I haven't done as much gardening as I had planned. Rather, I've started on a dress, and we've cooked.
Sunday night saw us watching the NRL Grand Final between Manly and the NZ Warriors. Being St George fans, naturally we went for the Warriors. If you're team is out of the comp, you go for whoever is playing Manly.
Sunday in front of the telly? Pizza night in order.

Here is what we had:
Margarita: tomato, bocconcini, basil
Vegie: Chargrilled eggplant, onion, mushroom, bocconcini
Salami: salami, grilled capsisum, bocconcini
Hawaiian: ham, pineapple and mozzarella (requested by kids)
Last of all was a new one for me, potato pizza - I know carb city! First of all I sauteed two sliced leeks in butter and oil for 10 minutes or so until very soft. Put this as a first layer on the pizza dough. Finely sliced two small potatoes in the food processor and put this on the pizza. Sea salt, finely chopped rosemary and a dousing of olive oil to finish. Took a little longer than the other pizzas to cook - about 20 minutes- but very nice. Pizzas do not have to be all about tomato and cheese.
All the pizza were devoured. Potato pizza got thumbs up from all. Unfortunately, though, Manly won.
Life is not always fair.