Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Easter Wrap-Up

As is tradition, I spent the Easter long-weekend in Beechworth with my mum This is just a snap-shot of the 5 day break.

As we left town on Monday afternoon, the sky looked fantastic, and was followed later by a gorgeous sunset.

We spent the weekend watching planes coming and going across the sky, leaving behind magnificent jet trails.

A few beautiful sunsets viewed from the loungroom.

The town came alive for the Easter Saturday markets.

On Monday, we happened to be in town as the Anzac Day march went through. We followed, and observed a very moving service in the gardens. Most appropriately, a cockatoo screeched overhead.

We visited one of the many local wineries, and I spotted this little catterpillar hiding amongst the vines.

The grape vines are all changing colour, and the hills looked great with all the red and gold.

On one of our regular afternoon walks (have to walk off all the wine and chocolate), I spotted some King Parrots hiding in one of the trees.

And further along, this kookaburra keeping an eye on things.

I've come home all rested and refreshed, and with a to-do list a mile long. I start my next teaching placement on Monday, so for the rest of this week I'm hoping to be very productive! Hope everyone had a lovely easter.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Feast

I've escaped the city this Easter, as is tradition for my mum and I. While it's a lot cooler here at night than at home, the days have been beautiful (though still requiring a jumper). Even the later afternoon on Thursday as we were heading away looked magnificent, and morphed into a beautiful sunset.

Today we checked out the Easter Market, then made our way to Brown Brother's for their Easter Festival lunch. It was amazing! We started out with some fresh breads before embarking on a four course feast. Each course came with a matched wine, making for a very yummy lunch.

I forgot to take a photo of the appetizer, but it consisted of oysters, melon and some veal "cigars".

The entree followed with tempura zucchini, fresh pate, heirloom beetroot with goat's curd, and blood pudding (which I won't eat) with chickpeas.

Then the main; I chose the gnocchi with pear, walnuts and blue cheese, while my Mum went for duck with quince.

Last up, I had a chocolate mousse with poached pear for dessert while my Mum had an apple tart.

Dinner tonight is just a few light nibbles; I couldn't possibly eat much after all that food.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Plan C in Central Park

A couple of afternoons and this little Schnibbles is done. I'm totally in love with the Central Park fabrics, and look forward to making a bigger quilt once I have a bit more free time.

Friday, April 15, 2011

A New Friend

I seem to have made myself a new friend lately, and while I sit at the dining table sewing, the juvenile Magpie sits on our outdoor table and sings for me.

I've finally found a little time to do some sewing for myself; between uni and market stuff, there has been very little of that lately. But with only one day of uni left before the Easter break, I've got a little more free time and I'm making the most of it!

The Plan C schnibbles has been on my mind for a while, as has Central Park...the perfect project to work on in my spare time.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cats, Owls and Pasta

I had a delivery today that came in a long, narrow box; it didn't take Bella too long to make herself at home, right down the very end.

I'm making progress on my market sewing for next month; I've finished big owls, bunnies, and now a pack of little owls. Since I took the photo, they've been stuffed and had their squeaker inserted...just need to stitch them closed now.

I've also made some yummy home made pasta this afternoon which I'm looking forward to having for dinner. Simple and easy to make, and my recipe makes two adult serves plus a small serve of leftovers for lunch, or serves 4-5 as a side dish for something like beef stroganoff.

To make my pasta, blitz in a mixer 2 cups plain flour, 2 eggs, pinch of salt and a few slugs of olive oil. Then add some warm water and blitz till it resembles bread crumbs (the amount will vary depending on your flour). Tip onto your bench, knead until smooth, then wrap and pop in the fridge for an hour. Then use a pasta roller to roll out and cut as desired; I make mine into fettuccine.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

New Arrivals

I've had a couple of new Moda ranges arrive in the last week that are so pretty I have to share. If only I actually had time to do something with them!

Strawberry Fields by Fig Tree; pre-cuts only are available, as this line has not yet been released in full.

And Hullabaloo by Urban Chicks; I've got charm packs and a couple of fabrics including a cute animal print.

I won't be at the April Mulgrave Maker's Market, but I will be back for the May market and will have a selection of these fabrics with me. Otherwise, pop on over to Bella's.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Quince and Almond Cake

If summer is all about peaches and raspberries, then autumn must surely be about quinces. Last year my tree gave us one lonely fruit, but this year a bounty has been slowly growing.

My usual kitchen activity is quince jelly and poached quinces, but I thought I'd do something a little different today. Quince and Almond Cake!

  • 100g softened unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup castor sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/3 cup plain flour

  • 1 tsp baking powder1 cup almond meal

  • 1 cup poached quinces, plus more slices for the top of the cakefew tablespoons of liquid from the poached quinces, or jam, for glazing

  • Heat oven to 170°C. Line a springform baking tin or a tin with a removable base.

  • Cream butter and sugar together until pale and creamy. Beat in eggs one at a time.

  • Sift together the flour and baking powder, and stir in the almond meal.

  • Slice the cup of quinces into thinnish slices (about 3 or 4 mm thick) and then fold into cake mixture.

  • Pour batter into prepared tin and smooth the surface a little. Slice remaining quinces to an equal thickness and arrange (patterned or as you please) on the top of the batter.

  • Bake for 40 minutes or until it can be cleanly skewered (in my case it was 45 min). Let cool for a few minutes before removing the outside of the tin.

  • Warm the quince liquid or jam in a small saucepan and brush over the top of the cake to glaze. (I used a bit of quince jelly)

Absolutely divine served warm with a big dollop of greek yoghurt.