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

Monday 30 August 2010

Pumpkin Soup

Today I decided to make the most of the winter seasonal produce before salad season starts.
I wanted to indulge in a warming winter soup.
Pumpkin soup has recently been voted the winner in our house.
So pumpkin it is.........
Firstly you'll need some good chicken or vegetable stock.

Chop pumpkin into chunks and place in an oven tray. Oven setting 180 degree's (Gas Mark 4)

Drizzle chopped pumkin with good extra virgin olive oil. I add a little seasoning but not too much
as I like to add to taste once the soup is underway.

Place in oven until roasted.
Meanwhile place a knob of butter into your soup pan and saute onions until softened.
Add the stock.

When roasted put pumpkin into a suitable container and blitz (skin and all)

Next I like to sieve to make sure no skin gets through - I don't like bits!
There's nothing better than a really smooth creamy soup.

This sieve is the third one I've tried and thankfully its perfect for the job. Previous ones took forever and far too much effort.
There's more to life!

Only thing left to do is to enjoy......

Wednesday 25 August 2010

Feel the Heat

I can't believe how cold it is here in Melbourne at the moment. I know that its winter, but seriously its really not what you expect when thinking of Australia. Oh for an open fire or a wood burner right now.

Yesterday I decided to not venture out of the house. The rain was pouring and it was blowing a hoolie, so I decided to reorganise my photo's instead. It was whilst browsing that heat started to radiate from the page. So I thought I'd share some with you.

After all this blog is supposed to be about travel and the globe so here's some pics from our trip to the Inland Sea in Qatar.....feel that heat?
Yes, those are our tyre tracks.....

I feel so much cosier already - how about you?

No exactly like the donkey rides on the beach...

I think the three wise men might have stopped off for a coffee?

Monday 23 August 2010

Look What Landed....

I couldn't believe my eyes the other morning when I saw this 'Collared Sparrowhawk' land in the tree right outside our window.

I had to quickly grab my camera and got three pics before it flew off.
It was getting quite a lot of hassle from the other birds in the area.
But looking at those tallons - you can see why.

The tree by the way does look very sad I have to admit but its amazing how many birds use it for a perch. I wouldn't want to lose it.

Friday 20 August 2010

Classic Lemon Tart....yummy

After the last posting I thought I'd better carry out my promise and include the photos of the lemon tart.....
The lemons were brilliant. The whole kitchen was filled with citrus fragrance.

Glad I bought my new ceramic pie weights - I normally use rice but these were so much better.

Good enough to eat!

Thursday 19 August 2010

Is this really Australia? Yesterday was grey, damp and had an incredibly cold blustery wind. As my mother used to say "It's a lazy wind....it doesn't go around you - just straight through".
But at certain points on our walk there were beautiful glimmers of yellow.

Firstly, I picked some flowers from my garden that just wanted to come inside out of the cold wind and join the others I had in my vase.

Then a neighbour spreads her goodwill at this time of year by placing a bucket full of lemons outside her garden gate. Her trees are laden with lemons. Unlike my poor specimen. My excuse is that its still recovering from the hail storm we had a few months ago.

I'm ashamed to say that there's only one lonely lemon on my tree. I can only dream of having enough to share with neighbours. I just look on with envy.
Last year she did the same thing about this time of year and after walking past for two days and wondering if they were meant for people to take, I noticed a post-it attached to the bucket saying 'thank-you'.
Walking away with my pockets smelling beautifully lemony, I went home and baked a lemon tart. I thought it only fair that I should repay their kindness and take a few portions around to the house to pass on my gratitude.

This year my other half thinks its only fair that if I take them again, then I should bake them another lemon tart. The fact that its his favourite dessert has nothing to do with it, or so he assures me....yeah right!

So after posting this I'll be baking. There might even be photo's to share later. Sorry I can't distribute any lemon tart. You'll just have to make do with the photo's but just think of the calories you'll save.
Lastly I was hoping that the third yellow object might be the sun, but that wasn't to be, but I did see these little cuties.

Maybe spring is just around the corner......

Friday 13 August 2010

Muffin and Zac are offically 'an item'

The new love in Muffin's life.....introducing Zac.
Trust me they are a very happy couple although Muffy is looking decidedly pensive here.

Relaxing watching a movie at Zac's pad

Whispering sweet nothings into his ear...

Although I've given her the birds and the bee's lecture as you can see all that's forgotten. He's already made his way into her bed!

What can you do? Obviously I was wasting my breath....

Tuesday 3 August 2010

“Who is it….?”

I thought my son was trying to wind me up and send me over the edge (which wouldn’t take much some days I have to admit) when I heard a knock at the front door… well, I thought it was at the front door.
Thinking he may have left his key at home, I went to let him in but when I got there – no-one was in sight. I peeped around the corner to see if he was in the process of jumping out but nothing. So I went back to my tasks and assumed I was hearing things. But then it started again… tap, tap, tap, tap….

This time I dashed to open it, nearly breaking my ankle on the stairs but once again zilch. So frowning I went to check the patio doors. Nada…

At this point if it had been my son I can assure you, he would have regretted wasting my time.

The poem ‘Someone’ came to mind:-

Someone came knocking at my wee, small door;
Someone came knocking; I'm sure-sure-sure;
I listened, I opened, I looked to left and right,
But nought there was a stirring in the still dark night;
Only the busy beetle tap-tapping in the wall,
Only from the forest the screech-owl's call,
Only the cricket whistling while the dewdrops fall,
So I know not who came knocking, at all, at all, at all.

Walter de la Mare

I just shrugged it off and again went about my business until later in the afternoon the taps came again. Now I really was intrigued and had to investigate. I rushed to all the doors and windows looking for clues. Was it some form of morse code and someone desperately needed help? The only thing I could see in close proximity was a male blackbird. Hmm…...could it be?

Here he is in all his finery…

Yes, it certainly was him. Guilty as charged.

Since that day I've watched him and he has been a regular caller both very early in the morning and late in the evenings. And he doesn’t seem to get the weekends off!

He spends enormous energy attacking his reflected image with gusto. He has at times even brought his ‘Birrrrrrrrrrrrd’ to watch his male prowess. I’m not sure if she’s impressed or just stunned by his stupidity. It’s hard to tell.

He has now been named ‘Gregory’ (you may well cringe here and rightly so – as in "Mr. Peck")

I hope you appreciate how long it has taken me to obtain this photo of ‘Gregory’ because once he’s fired up, he’s extremely observant and takes flight as soon as anyone gets near. I've been like an SAS commando crawling on all fours or hanging over the decking virtually absailing to catch him in the act.

Note to self: If I ever get an action shot I'll post it.

I’ve also heard what I assume are his taps on the garage window but maybe that’s the next generation on their turf. I do hope not. Heaven help us if ‘Greg’ has passed on this tradition… it’ll drive us all crazy….tap, tap, tap, tap, tap!

P.S. By the way apologies to my son for the false accusation!

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