Sunday, September 30, 2012


Can you see my baby blood plums and baby morello cherries?  So, so proud.  Will only be prouder when they're ripe and the juice is running down my chin as I bite into them!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


The garden is filling in, a shimmer of green covers most trees and bushes, those that aren't heavy with blossom.  Our back yard is very small, but really quite lovely and once green takes over it's a little oasis. The air is warm, the sun's shining and my mind turns to barbecuing.  We rarely sit outside in the cooler months but once it reaches October we love to spend as many evenings having dinner outside as we possibly can.

I have such clear memories of the girls being just babes and toddlers here, sitting outside under a temporary "tent" over our clothes line with a half shell pool underneath, melting Frosty Fruits dripping down their little chests and into the water.  Geoff cooking something on the bbq, frosty cold beers, staying out until the mozzies overwhelmed us.

Life is moving very fast, as a mother time is running through my fingers.  Ella celebrates her 9th birthday in a few weeks and Leila begins school in the new year.  I never anticipated being home full time to be as nourishing as it is.  I know that it could well begin to wear a little thin and recognise that this time isn't forever, but I like being here, with the girls, every day, every hour, while I can.  I feel lucky that we have balance in our lives and comfort that affords me to stay home.  There will be a time when I'll want to return to that life that switches between mum and Victoria, but now I'm happy and I'm so glad that I'm here, thinking of barbecues, brushing hair and breaking up holiday spats!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


My parents are master embroiderers.  I say parents, because there was a phase when my dad sewed alongside my mum when wool embroidery was the craft of choice.  I'm not sure how many they finished but there were letters of the alphabet, each around 50 x 50cm, each letter covered with a flower or plant that corresponded to the letter.  They are somewhere safe, probably in my roof space along with much of mum's other supplies.

My mum has many beautiful cross stitch works on her walls, mainly of Danish design, and I love them all.  I love the memories of mum sewing them and the beauty of the finished works.  Cross stitch isn't for me though, the counting, having to constantly concentrate, it's too precise for my style of handwork.

Over the past few years I have been sewing these Christmas decorations.  Every years three new designs join the gang, 1.5 of this year's patterns already finished.  They remind me of a little red slipper I received many years ago, when I was about Ella's age, from a Hungarian lady my mum worked with.  Her name was Anna, she had very dark hair for a lady of her age, which she wore in a bun at the nape of her neck and she had an ample chest she used to pull me into.  She brought the slipper back from a trip "home" and it is quite delightful.  These "pozie" designs put me in mind of that slipper every year.

Such is my enthusiasm for embroidery, freestyle for lack of the correct term, that I've been scouring new sites and been trying to find just the right work to get me into something big.  Not sure how to start on this but I've decided to try and create my own pattern, of hellebores, or winter roses.  Years ago now Christie inspired me with her red thread work of Alice in Wonderland, so I figure maybe I can draft a pattern too..... Watch this space.


Borrowed beauty care of the houses and nature strips in a block's walk from our house.  Why is it so hard to recreate a perfume as pure and delicious as the real thing?  I would smother myself in a scent that mirrored the delight of fresh freesias.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


I know, I'm far too keen.  There are a couple of quotes with regard to Melbourne Cup day and one of them is that it's the day when you plant tomatoes in Melbourne.  I'm about 2 months early of that date  ...  What can I say, the sun is shining, it's glorious to be outside again and I'm overexcited.  In the same way that my children are dragging out summer dresses and thongs in their enthusiasm to embrace the weather, I'm planting tomatoes.

We added two raised beds to our front lawn to grab a little more growing space.  I think Geoff was a little worried that I was going all Mediterranean on him, trying to convert every inch to something that provides.  They don't encroach at all and if I was the only one with a say in it, I would say we could fit another 3 in on the other side quite easily ......

Purple Haze and Early Nantes carrots - in.  Five types of tomatoes - Green Zebra, Tommy Toe, Principe Borghese, Black Russian and Tomato Berry.  It is early though and there is still weather ahead so until we're more predictably warm I'll bag them each night before the sun goes down to get them through to the next day.

Peas are big enough to eat, broad beans starting to flower, Broccoli delicious and with none of the funky smell of store bought heads.  Garlic, onions and leeks are slow and steady, emphasis on the slow.

Happy Days.

Sunday, September 09, 2012


She was Gretel, I was Hansel.  I was responsible for the fire, she for making us a bed of pine needles and cooking dinner.  She apologised because all there was was roasted avocado "and I know you don't like that Hansel".  I said if I was hungry enough I'd eat it.  She agreed.


My almost constant companion sewing alongside me on her own design.


There are a number of things my mother has always done in the kitchen, that I have come late to.  I recognise that in my younger years it was an immaturity in that I didn't want to acknowledge that perhaps my mum knew what she was talking about and that what she said made sense.  I am big enough to admit that with the passing of years I see more and more the sense in all she says and just quietly, think I am becoming a younger version of my mother.

I've said many times just how much I enjoy making my own bread and it's something I now do every other day.  For so many years I thought breadmaking was beyond me, too hard, too instinctive, but it's really not true.  We can all learn anything, with enough interest.  What I'm talking about here isn't instinctive or even particularly creative, but it does give you more control of what you eat and is generally more cost effective.

Mince.  Is there a meat eating household who doesn't consume it once a week in some form or another?  I've always been wary of beef mine, particularly the cheap versions in a strange pink colour reminding me not at all of a good bloody red steak.  For years my mother has minced all her own meats and extolled the virtues of it, how easy and the reassurance of knowing exactly what was in your minced meat.

When I turned 40 my parents gifted me a Kitchenaid and for the subsequent birthday a mincer attachment.  I've been mincing all our meat for the past almost 2 years and declare that it's easy to do (even the cleaning up) and pleasing to see what's in my mince, just like mum said.  I buy rump steak on special and mince that, trimming most of the fat away so effectively having a "heart smart mince".  For pork mince, such as that in the picture, I buy either pork spareribs (avoiding those with too many bones) or a piece of pork belly and trim off the skin and first layer of fat.  Chicken, I generally only buy whole chickens and joint them - so from a $9-$10 chicken (@ 1.2kg) I will have two breasts, two legs, two thighs, wings and the carcass for stock.  Depending on what we're having - bone out and mince away.

In years to come I imagine the girls flipping over the books I'll one day print from this blog and recognising the wisdom of mine, and nan's, cooking ways.

Sunday, September 02, 2012


Father's Day 2012, my crazy gang.  Huevos Rancheros for Dad and I, homemade doughnuts for all.  

A poem for Dad, from Leila


"Walk a little slower, Daddy",
Said a little child so small
"I'm following in your footsteps, 
And I don't want to fall."

"Sometimes your steps are very fast,
Sometimes they're hard to see,
So walk a little slower Daddy
For you are leading me".

"Someday when I'm all grown up,
You're what I want to be.
Then I will have a little child
Who'll want to follow me."

"And I would want to lead just right
And know that I was true.
So walk a little slower, Daddy.
For I must follow you."