“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ....Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lets take a little trip to Qatar....

This post comes with a warning this morning...put the kettle on and have a cuppa...get comfortable because there are quite a few photographs today....
 
I'm in a reflective mood this morning it seems...I've been thinking how wonderful rain can be, especially after the hot week that we've just experienced here. Oh I know it wasn't as hot as many places on the planet, but when I heard the raindrops beating down during the night, I must admit it was a relief.
I began to think how it might have been back in the day or still is in fact in many places around the world. To not have Internet access or having the impending weather changes announced by a friendly meteorologist over the airwaves seems unimaginable in our modern technological world.
I can imagine years ago eager eyes scanning the horizon for signs of imminent rain. Homing in on primitive skills ~ smelling rain looming :-$
We knew the rain was coming yesterday and thankfully it did arrive ~ sometimes it doesn't ~ birds, plants and Muffin are very happy.
I also thought back to my garden that I tended in the desert, especially after mentioning my tomatoes in my last post. So I thought I'd show you what I managed to grow in my concrete desert garden in Qatar

Firstly I have to take you back so that you can appreciate the climate and landscape....


I have to admit this is the inland sea and not quite the plot that I had...but it gives an idea of what things used to be like...
Also a good point is if I show you a photo of 'The Sheraton Hotel' back when it was first built in 1979....
The corniche waterfront has now been completely developed...



Apologies I was getting distracted...we were talking about gardens....I wanted to show you a photo of the garden when we first arrived (nothing but a concrete square) before I started growing my plants but its hiding somewhere today : (

So anyway, here's a hanging manager ~ well you know I love them and always have to have them around me. As you can see this one is mostly filled with Petunia's.



On to some veggies... the runner beans and unfortunately I can't remember what was planted in the front little container.

 A grape vine began to explore the boundary wall with a little help of some lattice. The mushrooms have been family members for quite some time now and always cause a stir where ever they reside.



Here's part of the back wall... 
Ahh...I'd forgotten some the these friends...how could I?


The bird bath is in use here in Melbourne and a great watering hole for many little birds and critters...



One of the things that I managed to grow that really did surprise me was Sweetcorn!

They were brilliant ~ so juicy and sweet

And then the corner veggie plot...
  I always love to have fresh herbs that are just a stride away from the kitchen...

 Things at one stage seemed to be getting out of hand...
 The outside eating area became my nursery...well these delicate seedlings needed shade from the scorching sun and it was too hot for us to sit and eat...air conditioning saved the day when temperatures started to climb.

 And then there were more....


Wasn't I a busy bee...
 Here's more of the tomatoes...


The tomato wall...quite literally...but they grew so well at the side of the house on the boundary wall and the neighbour was free to pick any they could reach : )


Like beautiful red rubies...


Yet another wall....I was sorry to say goodbye to a lot of these friends plus their pots.


This was a photo of our first house in Qatar...if you look closely you can see someone special enjoying the sunshine. Yes Muffin is an expat too and has always liked the sun. This garden had two green lawns...emphasis on green.



So I think you'd better get on ~ I've taken so much of your time today. I've been aware that the last few posts have been rushed, so I wanted to take more time today and believe me it took some time to find these photos!
I hope you enjoyed your trip to Qatar....come back soon and who knows where we'll get to : D
Have a terrific Tuesday...Enjoy!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Tomato Soup

I'm having mixed reviews with my tomato plants this year, but I have to confess they are planted at the side of the house and I'm not giving them the due care and attention that they possibly need.
We've been able to pick enough to keep us supplied in our needs and this was this mornings pickings alone....



But here's some I picked earlier as they say....


Guess where these were grown....? Answers on a postcard...oh well maybe not...
Actually they were grown in the desert. In Qatar to be precise! Not bad for the desert eh?
Although these tomatoes also were planted at the side of the house attached to the large concrete boundary wall, I'd have to walk past them regularly so I was very attentive....and I received my reward. Kilo after kilo...



I'm hearing from reading blogs and comments that the inevitable is happening in certain parts of the world. People are suffering in the colder weather and have the usual winter ailments, so with that in mind I thought I'd post my son's favourite soup. I just hope he doesn't see this as it will remind him about it and its 34 degrees celcius here today. Not exactly soup weather... I've also heard that Perth has 41+ (yuk!)
I'm wondering if this soup might actually be good served cold...I'll not try it though as I'm funny like that, I like my soup to be hot! No matter what the temperature is. 

Tomato Soup Recipe:-
Pick fresh tomatoes and slice in half.
Place tomatoes in an oven tray with crush garlic sprinkled over the tops.
Add fresh Basil leaves and cracked black pepper and a little sea salt. Be careful not to over season at this point because seasoning can be added later.
Drizzle with a good virgin olive oil.
Place tray in a warm oven and gently roast the tomoatoes.

Once the tomatoes smell wonderful and have softened sufficiently place them into a sieve and crush the pulp through the sieve leaving the skins and seeds etc behind. Make sure that you take the excess of pulp from the outside of the sieve.
Place to one side.

Ingredients...

1 onion, peeled and fineley chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and coarsely grated or blitzed
a handful of fresh basil, roughly torn
a little olive oil
1.1 litres / 2 pints of chicken or vegetable stock
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method...
Put the onion, garlic, carrot and basil into a large pot with a couple of glugs of olive oil. Gently saute until soft.
Add stock and roasted tomatoes to pan. Gently simmer for about 20 minutes.

Puree the soup using either a food processor, a liquidizer or a hand-held blender, but be careful as it will still be hot. Once you've pureed the soup, put it back into the pan, bring back to a simmer. Season carefully with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Just before serving add a knob of butter or whisk in a little cream to give a silky texture.
Serve straight away sprinkling a few torn-up basil leaves, croutons or a swirl of cream if desired.

Enjoy : D
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p.s. notice I didn't mention the Tennis today...aww well....maybe next time? ; )

Friday, January 27, 2012

Andy Murray takes on Novak Djokovic tonight!

As planned today has been a quiet day (phewph) but there's excitment mounting....Andy Murray will be playing Novak Djokovic in a few hours time at the Rod Laver Arena.
I went along on Wednesday with my OH to the Rod Laver Arena to watch Djokovic play Ferrer. It was a really good night and although I didn't really use my camera very much I've got just a few to show you.
Here is a series of photos showing the walk up to the arena looking back at the city....



 And then there's the first exciting sight of the blue outer courts....

 If you look closely over to the left of the photo, you'll see the name 'Rod Laver Arena'.



After a beautiful meal in an air conditioned marquee with Champagne flowing, (its tough I know) we made our way to our seats...Game on! 
Apologies for the blurred photo but we were sitting quite high up ~ I really must get a better camera.
Anyway, if you're a tennis fan you'll know all about the game and if you're not then you probably don't want all the details. Surfice to say...obviously Djokovic won hence waiting to see tonights game.
The winner of this match will play Nadal after he beat Federer (which was yet another fantastic match last night) So here we are about to hopefully see Andy (4) beat Novak (1)....sorry Novak but we need him to win...we've been waiting for a Grand Slam winner since Fred Perry in the 1930's so its time.
Not a great deal more words from me today because I have to prepare and cook dinner before the match starts....
"Come on Andy ~ ITS YOUR TIME"


Have a great night and hopefully we'll have the result we want, although as long as it's a good match we won't complain.....well maybe just a little ; D

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Happy Australia Day

 "HAPPY AUSTRALIA DAY EVERYONE"





Photo courtesy of http://www.australian-flag.org

Some interesting facts about the Australian flag that you might like to read...
The Union Jack in the upper left-hand corner of the Australian flag serves as a reminder that the continent of Australia, which was unified in 1901, was originally a commonwealth of six British subject states that were formerly separate.
Australia's flag was the result of a design competition; the flag was adopted in 1906, though with limited use.  The background of the flag is blue, while the foreground includes three elements that are important to Australia's statehood.
The stars of the Southern Cross appear on the right-hand side of the flag.  This constellation, an important navigation aid, is honored on the flag because it helped early settlers reach the new continent.
Great Britain's Union Jack flag occupies the upper hoist corner, or canton, of the flag.  This element signifies the historical ties between Australia and Great Britain.
Directly under the Union Jack is the Commonwealth Star.  While there were originally six points on the star to signify six federal states, another point was added in 1909 to represent the Northern Territory.

Australia Day in Victoria is a day for people from every walk of life to celebrate the things they love about the country. It is a time to celebrate their freedom – as individuals and as a nation; their lifestyle and culture; their land and its beauty, across beaches, forests, and the outback; their history and Indigenous past; and their opportunities and future.

From the smallest barbecue with friends right up to the thousand-strong People's March down Swanston Street, the Australia Day Committee encourages all Australians to take pride in their country on January 26 and reflect on who they are as a nation.
We have been kindly invited to celebrate with friends this afternoon. There are predicted to be about 40 people of all nationalities gathered together.
So what ever you're up to today for the celebrations, I hope you have a wonderful time with family, friends and neighbours.
Once again I must dash...I've got to produce a culinary delight to take along to the barbeque....what is it about this week? It's been full on....
I may not post tomorrow as I will be having a quiet day hopefully to recover. My champagne head is a little delicate still from last nights tennis. Great night by the way and Andy won too...Whoohoo...

"HAPPY AUSTRALIA DAY EVERYONE"
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