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

Monday 31 October 2011

Melbourne Cup Parade.....

Not much time for words today, but thought I'd post the photo's from the Melbourne Cup Parade which took place yesterday.....
We didn't particularly envisage watching the parade, but on our way to the Immigration Museum to see the 'On their Own' Exhibition we timed it perfectly for the start.
We exited Flinders Street Station right into Federation Square.....and the Parade began....

The Pipe Band sounded great....

The Melbourne Cup....

Some of the previous Melbourne Cup Winners even joined in....

I seriously don't think this jockey has a hope of winning....

Little cutie...

Must dash....got to get ready for today's events....
Good Luck and enjoy your day whatever you get up to ; D

Saturday 29 October 2011

Le Croissant ~ Patisserie Francaise

The doggy walk had a definite purpose this morning at my OH suggestion...."lets walk towards the cake shop"....amazing really because he claims he doesn't have a sweet tooth :~/
So off we set.....
Our destination 'Le Croissant' on Toorak Road. You can actually smell the shop from about 50 paces.....it just draws you in....
Belles Pâtisseries Françaises

'Le Croissant' has been established since 1969 and is one of Melbourne's oldest French Patisseries. Tradition and experience are the most important ingredients in their authentic hand made pasteries. Using all natural ingredients, they offer a selection of freshly baked pastries including hand made croissants, biscuits, tarts and cakes. Yum..yum...yummy

Here's a little something we picked up for our afternoon tea....
They specialise in making traditional French cakes. The favourites being the Millefeuille (a French vanilla slice) and the Croquembouche (profiterole tower).

The Millefeuille are the best I've tasted and trust me I've tried a few over the years.

But there isn't just cakes there's savoury treats too....and beautiful fresh bread....the list goes on.....

The smell, the taste, the perfect croissant ~ "Magnifique!"

Anyone who starts work at 4.30am (or even as early as 3am on some occasions) then it has to be more than just a job....you can taste the passion and these bakers have passion.
If I have one complaint or criticism then it has to be that they are closed Monday and Tuesday!

J'espère que vous aurez la chance de visiter et de profiter...

Have a great weekend : D

Thursday 27 October 2011

The chicks have hatched.....

There was a definite perfume wafting on the morning breeze today....sunscreen lotion in abundance. It was as powerful as any of the flora or fauna bursting in the competition to attract attention.
With the temperatures steadily making progress climbing up the thermometer, it only makes sense to lather liberally when venturing outdoors. It wasn't until I looked around to find where this aroma was coming from that I had to smile to myself. When you imagine a building/reno site you don't usually associate it with a pleasant pungent pong! But obviously these guys were not afraid of ridicule from fellow blokes or to tip they're caps to their more feminine side....sense prevailed. Sunscreen slapped on regardless. The old saying 'Slip, Slap, Slop' came back to me....how powerful advertising can be. That must have been years ago...
I have to say it was the nicest building site I've ever smelt....Not that I'm in the habit of smelling building sites I have to say....
Anyway, I digress somewhat from my main idea for today's post....

Whilst watering (from my rainwater tank I hasten to add) I became aware of being watched. No, not from the workmen but on closer inspection....this little chap or chap'ess? See that beady eye?

It's like one of those 'where's Waldo' pictures?
This is the nest I posted about a few weeks ago but now The Chicks have hatched.
I was balanced (as you do) on a lounger to take this photo, which is not the most stable of props....I can definitely clarify this now as it collapsed and whacked my across the shins and back as I tried to shy away discreetly. My shout and curse certainly wasn't really intended for tender innocent chicks to hear, but then it did hurt!

After all the kafuffle, I thought I'd better retreat and leave them in peace...plus Mum was looking on.
I'm not sure how many chicks there are...I think maybe two, but seriously even one in this little nest is a tight squeeze. I think they need to upgrade or renovate.

I must away and get busy.....
Whatever your up to today ~ Enjoy!

Tuesday 25 October 2011

The Simple Woman's Day Book

FOR TODAY ~ Wednesday, 26th October 2011

Outside my window...Dare I say  it yet again....the sun is shining in a clear blue sky. But a little bird told me that its quite chilly outside at the moment. There's just a smidgen of a fresh breeze making the leaves shadow dance upon the bedroom wall.

I am thinking...Will I be able to type or concentrate whilst Muffin and Zac greet each other excitedly and their play begins. You'd think they hadn't seen each other for months instead of just whilst they slept.

I am thankful...for friends that I can just call up anytime for a chat or meet up for a cuppa and a catchup.

In the kitchen...unfortunately there's the left over smell of last nights chicken curry : {

I am wearing...I'm still in bed so never you mind! (again ~ I seem to be repeating myself on this one)

I am creating...a list of all the things that are beginning to crowd my thoughts. I need to write them down to get them out. Maybe then they'll be more room for the more creative idea's to form. I'm hoping so.
I've got a fresh piece of silk stretched and waiting for me on its frame.....

I am going...to the Melbourne Cup but not today obviously. Its on Tuesday but there's events and races for the whole week. It's a constitution here in Melbourne. Posh hats and frocks....so a lovely excuse to get dressed up. People have the day off work to either go to the races or to gather with friends and family. There's always a very happy holiday atmosphere.

I am wondering...if this internet connection will last until I actually hit the button and post. Apologies for today's entry I'm a little distracted with this ongoing problem. What did we do before we had the internet????

I am reading...'At Home with the Templetons' by Monica McInerney. After reading 'The Lost Wife' by Alyson Richman, I wanted an easy light read and this book certainly delivered on that front.

When the Templeton family from England takes up residence in a stately home in country Australia, they set the locals talking – and with good reason. From the outside, the seven Templetons seem so bohemian, unusual... peculiar even.
No one is more intrigued by the family than their neighbours, single mother Nina Donovan and her young son Tom. Before long, the two families' lives become entwined in unexpected ways, to the delight of Gracie, the sweetest of the Templeton children.
In the years that follow, the relationships between the Templetons and the two Donovans twist and turn in unpredictable and life-changing directions, until a tragedy tears them all apart. What will it take to bring them together again?
Its a wonderfully entertaining and touching story about the perils and pleasures of love, friendship and family.

A perfect holiday read but I'll certainly be ready for a more challenging book after this one.

I am hoping...that my internet stops being so annoying. Its been playing up for about a week now...hence less posts. But so far this morning it appears to be okay. Fingers crossed it carries on behaving.

I am looking forward to...still the same answer here...I just get so excited when I think about having my daughter come to stay : D I just can't wait for Christmas when she arrives.

I am hearing...my son shout 'goodbye' as he heads off out for the day. The two dogs gruffing and growling whilst they wrestle and play with each other. A helicopter fly by. The usual cacophony of birds song. The odd car passing and the usual tap tap tapping of the keyboard.

Around the house...there's quite a few clothes to put away...well as I've mentioned in Melbourne you need layers. Unfortunately the last few days have been hot, cold, cool, windy, wet and stormy.... you need a fair amount of gear to cover that lot. So they're still hanging around.

I am pondering...on the fact that there's only eight weeks to go before Christmas arrives....EEK! I better get planning and pondering some more.

One of my favorite things...My cuppa! Need I say more.....?

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Trying out a new restaurant with friends. The museum exhibition I never made it to last week. The  Melbourne Cup festivities.

Here is a picture I am sharing...
The Melbourne Cup

{photo from hellotravel.com}
And there you have it.....my day book for this week. Now I really do need to get some breakfast and get on with the day...these dogs don't walk themselves.....
 Don't forget to hop on over to the Simple Woman to check out the other day book entries!

Sunday 23 October 2011

Mango Smoothies.....

Smoothies are always a favourite drink in our household, especially when the temperature creeps into the mid to upper twenties. Not the bright blue or vivid red kind of smoothie that makes you wonder what on earth is hidden in its depths, that might keep your kids hyper for at least a week or awake for the next 48 hours!
No, I mean the healthy, pure, fruit kind of smoothie.  

My boys favourite flavour is Mango....it tends to disappear as soon as it hits the glass.
It's cool smooth fruitiness is perfect for warm summer days.

So how to make this delishious drink....

First I add some crushed ice into a liquidizer, then peel and cut up two mango's. Place into the liqidizer with the ice. Add a good measure of pure honey. Then add a good few spoonfuls of low-fat icecream. And lastly milk. Blitz until fully mixed. Its thats simple.......

From this stage its just a question of whizzing up and doing a taste test. You need the consistancy to be thick and creamy but not too thick, because it has to be sucked up through a straw. I remember once I made it too thick and everyone's face turned blue trying to suck up enough of the mixture. What a giggle..... but they kept trying - they were determined to drink it.

Its a great way to get the kids to eat fruit.....they haven't a clue its actually REAL fruit.
Another favourite flavour is Strawberry but I have to admit I'm not too keen on making that one. I have to  sieve the blitzed mixture to eliminate all the tiny pips, which can take quite a time but the flavour is yummy.

I only started to make these smoothies because I felt my son wasn't getting his fruit quota.....with these smoothies there's no stopping him.

The test of the correct thickness for the smoothie is whether the straw can stand alone in the centre of the glass....hehe ; D

Friday 21 October 2011

Singapore Chilli Prawns....

As I thought, by the time I'd got myself organised last night it was too late to take photos of the Singapore Chilli Prawns that we had for dinner...but I have to say they were delicious, so I thought I'd let you see the recipe. They were so quick and easy, which is always a winner in my book.

I keep saying that I'm not a big fan of seafood, but I slowly seem to be converting. Each time I try a recipe I'm won over. It could be that the seafood/fish produce is exceptional here. The added plus is that they are so quick and easy to cook. You have to ensure that they are super fresh though and that you don't overcook the dish otherwise there's nothing worse.

I used to be so nervous about cooking seafood but I've moved on so much since then. Maybe all the Masterchef and Cookery Programmes are finally paying off.

Here's the recipe....I hope you try it and enjoy its simplicity but packed with fantastic flavour......
{This photo was from another time....I like to use all my own photo's as much as possible.
I used fresh King Prawns last night for the Singapore Chilli Recipe}

Recipe for Singapore chilli prawns - serves 4

2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 x 5 cm piece ginger, finely sliced

2 fresh red chillies, finely sliced
16 fresh raw prawns, (about 1 kg)
2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
6 tbsp tomato ketchup
250 ml hot chicken stock
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp cornflour
3 greens spring onions, finely sliced

1. Heat a wok over a high heat.
2. Add the oil and fry the garlic, ginger and chillies for 30 seconds, whilst stirring.
3. Add the prawns and cook over high heat for 1 minute ~ tossing well.

4.Add the chilli sauce, tomato ketchup, stock, salt and sugar to the pan.
5. Bring to the boil, stirring well.
6. Simmer for 2 minutes.
7. Add the cornflour paste to the pan, stirring well.
8. Add the spring onions (scallions) and toss.

If you wish accompany either with rice or noodles and beansprouts. Or why not a mixture of them all? They all taste great.
I added my noodles into the wok at the end of cooking the prawns. This way they get coated in the wonderful tasty sauce.
Sprinkle with a few spring onions on the top or coriander leaves to add greenery and that cheffy look.
Enjoy! ; D

Thursday 20 October 2011

Bloomin' Lovely....

Let me introduce you to my first Sweet Pea grown here in Melbourne. Obviously not THE first but MY first. I just came across it on my morning rounds. What a lovely surprise....

But then I found another....

That got me thinking what else may be blooming so I took a wonder with my camera to see ... (I'm a little confined to barracks at the moment with Zac staying ~ he's not too keen to travel in the car, so we're staying close to home)
So what did I find?
Firstly it looks like I could be crushing grapes and maybe having our own vintage.... ; )
So many grapes but will they all stay for the duration, I ask myself?
I'm a little concerned about anything growing in the food stakes with having the possums nearby. I'm keeping a close eye on my strawberries that's for sure!
I'm not sure if they have a liking for grapes but we'll see. But I do suspect someones been at my blueberries though : / 

Here's a little ray of sunshine if you haven't any today in your neck of the woods...

And then we come to the roses......ah the roses.
Its incredible because I'm so good at growing them....(blowing my own trumpet here).... they just grow brilliantly without me doing a thing.
This gorgeous bloom is just under my bedroom window, so by next week when I write my Simple Woman's Journal, I may be able to say I can see it.

They just get better and better....
I just can't decide which one is my favourite.

Whenever I see a rose I automatically remember my Grandmother. She adored her rose garden.
I'm sorry I can't tell you the names of these shown here because I've only adopted them and there's no label attached.

Although having said that this one below reminds me of a rose called 'Peace' which she used to grow. Don't ask me how or why I remember that particular one but I do. Maybe its because it had such huge blooms and I was only a little toot back then. My cousins and I would pick the petals and mix them with water in a jar to make perfume. How many little girls do that these days I wonder?

Last but by no means least....

But that's just blousey and showing off.....
There's more to photograph but the rain that they predicted would head our way seems to have arrived. Well a few spit spots...It's still 30 degree's though so no bother.

I'm away now to prepare Singapore Chilli Prawns for dinner. Not sure they'll be a post because its gone quite dark for a photo session. 

Tuesday 18 October 2011

The Simple Woman's Daybook....

FOR TODAY ~ Wednesday, 19th October 2011

Outside my window...the sun is shining which is casting beautiful dancing shadows from the tree outside across the wall. The sky is a stunning blue already with not a cloud to be seen.

I am thinking...Its 15 degrees already with a reported 25 plus to come so will I possibly take a dip in the pool?

I am thankful...that everyone in my extended family is heathly and well. Especially my brother-in-law who had an incident with an angle grinder...Eek! I haven't heard the full story yet but just that thankfully he's okay.

In the kitchen...the chocolate chip cookies I baked yesterday afternoon. Nope I didn't eat them all.....but then today's another story! Maybe I will have to get into that pool and do 60,000 laps :-[
I am wearing...I'm still in bed so never you mind!

I am creating...not a great deal...AND I MUST SORT THIS OUT!

I am going...initially take the dogs out for their walk before it gets too hot.Then do a little retail theropy...I need some new flats. Last years sandals are very tired.

I am wondering...I've been awake since dawn (my OH had to go into work for an early meeting) so why am I still here? I blame this internet thingy.....once it gets a grip on you its hard to move away.

I am reading...I finished 'The Lost Wife' by Alyson Richman, last night so I haven't decided on my next read yet. If you have a recommendation please let me know....I'd love to hear. We haven't got our next book club choice yet so the world's my oyster for my next read. How exciting.

I am hoping...that my son is remembering to put on sun screen. He's away and its toasty out there I just hope he's not toast too.

I am looking forward to...I'll not say Christmas this week (its getting boring, although its true I am) I just get so excited when I think about having my daughter come to stay : D I just can't wait.....

I am hearing...the lorikeets doing their usual kamikaze fly by. Other than the tap tap of my laptop keys and the fan frantically trying to cool my laptop down its very quiet here so far.
The dogs thankfully are curled up tight faking sleep because everytime I move an eye opens just to check...is it breakfast time yet?
My stomach's rumbling too so brekkie sounds just the job.

Around the house...its quite tidy thankfully because I want to do more than just clean today.
I know the studio still has my ruined silk sitting waiting so maybe I can get to that later.

I am pondering...all the things that I need to do before my daughter arrives in December.
It'll be wonderful just to spend all our waking moments together. We need to plan what we want to do whilst she's here to maximise the time.

One of my favorite things...my books. Unfortunately so many are still in boxes after our move but I want to buy a small book case for my special ones. Well, that small might have to extend to a large if I think about which ones I would like to in a bookcase.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
I want to try and get a new silk design started. I've got gazillions of old photographs that I'd like to pick out a few treasures to have them copied. I'd also like to use some for my family tree. I've promised myself to do this for a lifetime it seems, but hopefully one day I'll do it.
I've got some brilliant photo's from our travels but they are just sitting in boxes, which is just a shame.
There's also an exhibition that I'd like to see at the Immigration museum of the British Child migrants http://museumvictoria.com.au/immigrationmuseum/whatson/ After reading the book and seeing the film I really must now see this exhibition. I'm not sure I'll fit it in this week but its on the plan ~ its on until May so I'll definitely get there sometime before then.
Plus then there's all the usual stuff that has to be done in a week ie gardening, cleaning, shopping, visiting friends, dining out etc.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

Another typical Aussie Icon....
{photo taken at Healesville Sanctuary}

And there you have it . . . my day book for this week. Now I really do need to get some breakfast and get on with the day.....Don't forget to hop on over to the Simple Woman to check out the other day book entries! 

National Baking Week....17th to 23rd October 2011

To say I've not stopped the whole day is an understatement...and its still only 4.45pm, so I've still got a way to go yet. On top of a busy day, I came across the fact that its National Baking Week in the UK. Well, I tried to ignore the fact and just move on, but once something like that gets lodged in my brain, the only way I can dismiss it, is to quickly bake something.....what pressure.
I've got so many recipes I want to bake but then my son's away this week, so I don't want to over do on stockpiling of goodies. It's okay for my OH, he cycles about 30k a day so he can burn it off.
Anyway, I thought I'd just throw some cookies together to go with our evening cuppa.
I decided to do two kinds....the first being a Chocolate and Walnut cookie...(well walnuts are supposed to be good for you, isn't that right? Yeah I know.....it's just all the sugar and butter that accompany them that isn't ideal....but then as I've said before anything baked or cooked on a Tuesday doesn't have any calories!) 
The second variety I chose was a scrumptious Chocolate Chip (can you guess that these are my preference.

I just had to make a cuppa when these beauties came out of the oven. Well, you have to taste don't you? I've heard all the celebrity chefs constantly telling us ....taste, taste, taste. So I did! Hmm.........
I'm not sure how this happened but the cookies on the right are the Chocolate Chips and they seem to be extremely bigger than the others. Maybe its my subconsciousness at work. If I only eat one with my cuppa I'd better make it a good one!

Size definitely matters.... ; D

Serves: approx 16

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 8 minutes


4oz/100g Butter
4oz/100g Soft Light Brown Sugar
1 Egg (beaten)
2 tsp/ 2 x 5 ml Vanilla Essence
6oz/175g Self Raising Flour
1oz/25g Rolled Oats
3oz/75g Walnuts, roughly chopped
5 oz / 150g Milk Chocolate, roughly chopped or chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to Mark 5 / 190C/ 375F.
2. Cream butter and sugar together.
3. Gradually beat in the egg and vanilla essence
4.Sift Flour and mix into the creamed mixture.
5. Add Oats, Walnuts and chocolate.
6. Mix well.

(You could add anything to the basic cookie mix ~ whatever you fancy) I just divided up the mixture and added the mix to each that I wanted.  

7. Roll a small amount into you hand and pat to make a round flat shape.
8. Place on a non-stick baking tray ~ leaving a space between each one.
9. Bake for 8 minutes or until firm around the edges and soft in the middle.
10. Leave to cool on the baking sheet.
11. Lift off using a palate knife and store in an airtight jar or tin.

Not exactly Masterchef but soooo good and perfect for a cuppa.

The cookies are best eaten the same day :{
Whoops......think I'm going to have to get out on the bike tomorrow!

Saturday 15 October 2011

Muffin and Zac....walking out together

Yet again a beautiful day here...I know I'm beginning to sound like a broken record, but its true.
So off we went on our morning walk using the new duel lead. Its been so funny since Zac came to stay seeing all their antics and none more so than getting the hang of this. It started out like a push me pull you kind of thing. One would want to stop and sniff whilst the other was keen to keep walking. Or worse still both pulling in different directions. But we seem to be over that now and working as one in harmony.
They're getting on great and here's the proof....

So if your viewing this from some tropical island - you'll know he's fine and not missing you at all when you see this... lol ; D

We were going so fast its nearly a blur....

I hope this little video works....I've got my fingers crossed. But I think it needs some suitable music to accompany it...but its getting very late here, so that may have to be a project for another day.

In a garden en route we came across this improvised bird feeder, with a little visitor....a rainbow lorikeet. I told him where I knew of a five star restaurant with a huge block of bird seed, so I hope he comes to call soon. 

But then he was gone......just a flash of colour.

It was definitely a day for the birds, because we then came across a small flock of Galah's. I can never remember the name of these birds but thankfully someone else did.

{Galah - Scientific name: Cacatua roseicapilla}

Facts about the Galah
The Galah can be easily identified by its rose-pink head, neck and underparts, with paler pink crown, and grey back, wings and undertail. Birds from the west of Australia have comparatively paler plumage. Galahs have a bouncing acrobatic flight, but spend much of the day sheltering from heat in the foliage of trees and shrubs. Huge noisy flocks of birds congregate and roost together at night.
Galahs form huge, noisy flocks which feed on seeds, mostly from the ground. Seeds of grasses and cultivated crops are eaten, making these birds agricultural pests in some areas. Birds may travel large distances in search of favourable feeding grounds.

Galahs form permanent pair bonds, although a bird will take a new partner if the other one dies. The nest is a tree hollow or similar location, lined with leaves. Both sexes incubate the eggs and care for the young. There is high chick mortality in Galahs, with up to 50 % of chicks dying in the first six months. Galahs have been recorded breeding with other members of the cockatoo family, both in the wild and captivity.

And finally here's a little quiz....which country was this photo taken in? Would you believe it IS Melbourne....see I told you its so like the UK here. The cricket season has just begun with the resonating sound of ....'Ow's that?'

Have a brilliant fun packed weekend - whatever you get up to.....

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...