Sunday, June 24, 2012

Family treasure

My family are all keen collectors of various old bits and pieces.  Over the years I have been fortunate to be given some of this treasure, perhaps because people recognise my fascination with these links to our past.

Today I have decided to share a few recent additions to my collection.  Some of these items have incredible sentimental value; others are just old and interesting. 

This beautiful sheet music has been in the care of my maternal grandmother for many years.  It is part of a larger collection that originally belonged to my great-grandmother.  She had this music when she boarded at a convent in Wentworth, NSW, sometime around 1912.  This sheet was specially chosen for us from the collection due to the title.

My grandmother also generously passed on this little teapot to me.  It originally belonged to a man who trained horses on the Murray River property where she grew up.  This man taught my grandmother how to ride horses and when he passed away this little teapot was given to her from his possessions.  It dates back to around 1930 and is in perfect condition.  

These chunky stools were given to us by my mother in-law.  She picked them up at a clearing sale knowing they would suit an old table that we have under our verandah.

These interesting old sieves are displayed in our garden.  One was found on our property, the other was picked up in a pile of rubbish at a local racecourse.

Are you from a family of treasure hunters and collectors?

I hope you are having a lovely Sunday. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sunday at our fire

Lighting our camp fire and cooking dinner in the camp ovens is becoming a winter Sunday ritual at our place.

A spontaneous arrangement in the sunshine and some fun on the old bike while dinner was cooking.

Lamb chops and corn for the kids, lamb shoulder and vegetables for us.

The sun setting behind our wood pile.

On Monday with the fire still warm we toasted camp oven bread for afternoon tea and enjoyed the last little bit of heat...until next Sunday I hope.  Life seems better after we have all sat and cooked around the fire.

Do you have any winter rituals?  

Friday, June 15, 2012

Walnut Tart

Happy Friday my friends.  This evening I am sharing one of my favourite tart recipes.  

I have made this quite a few times and I love it for the rich, dense filling that has a subtle taste of honey.  I still have a lot to learn about the art of pastry making but this particular pastry usually works well for me.  There is something special about a tart... wouldn't you agree?  This recipe was adapted from a Delicious magazine, published a few years ago.

Walnut Tart

250g plain flour, sifted
125g caster sugar
125g unsalted butter, chilled
1 egg

Tart filling:
3 eggs
⅓ cup honey (warm honey gently to make it easier to combine with other ingredients)
2 tbs cream
250g walnuts roughly chopped
1-2 tsp icing sugar

Pulse flour and sugar in a food processor for a few seconds.  Add butter and process until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Add egg and process until mixture forms a ball.  Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Roll out on a lightly floured surface and use it to line a 23cm loose-bottomed fluted tart pan.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200ºC.  Line the pastry shell with baking paper, fill with rice or baking weights and blind bake for 10 minutes.  Remove baking paper and weights from shell.  Reduce heat to 180ºC.  To make filling process eggs, honey and cream in a food processor until well combined.  Stir in nuts and then pour filling into case and bake for 30 minutes.  Cover with foil if the top is browning too quickly.  

When cool, sprinkle with icing sugar.  Serve warm or at room temp with cream or vanilla ice cream.

*Try substituting a mixture of walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, macadamias and pistachios.  
*As you can see I have used a pie dish rather than a loose-bottomed tart pan.  A loose-bottomed tart pan would make cutting the tart much easier.

Do you bake tarts?
Do you make pastry?
I hope you enjoy this one!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Pat's caravan

I can’t quite remember if my love for little old caravans started when I first read Georgina's blog (one of the first blogs I ever started following) or if it happened when I bought this book.    

Initially I started to hunt for little old toy caravans and so far I have these three little treasures.

My family have become quite accustom to tours of back streets as we stalk caravans and peek over people’s fences.  A little weird I guess but no real harm has been done!

So, after Easter I took the plunge and put a classified in our local paper for a real life caravan of my own.  The main requirement was that it had to be small, old and fairly cheap. 

In amongst a few calls a gentle, elderly lady named Pat contacted me.  Pat had an old caravan and so I finally met her and the little 1970’s era Millard caravan.  It was immediately obvious that Pat was an independent and proud woman who had been a widow for two years.  Pat was born and raised in Broken Hill, raised four children and was married to her late husband for sixty years.  They had lived in the same inviting yet modest house their entire married life.  We chatted about the caravan, life in general and I admired her home and the impressive fruit trees. 

I loved the caravan immediately.  It looked small enough for me to manage, was neat and tidy and the louvre windows and burnt orange colour scheme sealed the deal. 

When I left Pat’s house I felt quite emotional.  I had just met a special lady who could have easily been my grandmother and I was about to buy a piece of her and her husband’s history.  They had made plans to travel more in the caravan before her husband passed away.  It made me think about seizing every moment with my own family and the importance of taking time to chat and connect with people in the community.  The short conversations I had with Pat were warm and genuine, I had an instant friend.  These moments are sometimes forgotten in our busy lives. 

A big thank you to my husband Terry for embracing my schemes, dealing with the old tyres and skillfully maneuvering the caravan out of town and home safely.   

Long term we are considering converting the caravan into a mobile market stall for my little food business.  Or perhaps we might restore it for family tours and adventures…it would be cozy, but fun!  

Friday, June 1, 2012

In My Kitchen June 2012

Welcome to another little tour of my kitchen. 

Firstly, some foodie reading material.  This enormous CWA cookbook was a gift and it is a wonderful source of simple yet delicious recipes.  The photography has a distinctly Australian style and most of the recipes require simple ingredients. 

A lot of bloggers have already written about Kinfolk magazine which is really more like a book.  I purchased my copy online through Pulp and it was so delightfully packaged in this red polka dot paper I did not want to unwrap it.  If you love photography and food Kinfolk is full of inspiration.  The dreamy pages are printed on heavy paper and with no advertising it feels quite special.

Sadly, this is my last tray of poached quinces for the season.

As the weather cools my basil is fading fast, my last batch of chunky pesto until next summer. 

Home made pasta made to serve with a duck ragu.  Every time I make pasta I wonder why I don’t do it more often.  Apart from bread, it is one of the simplest yet most rewarding things to make from scratch.  Photography thanks to Annabelle (5).

My husband Terry cooked our interpretation of Billy Kwong's Duck with Citrus Sauce for Mother’s Day in the camp oven.  Actually it wasn't strictly in our kitchen, but at our campfire area.  Served with steamed greens from the garden it was a memorable meal cooked with love in the great outdoors.

A little batch of simple apricot jam tarts made with some pastry scraps.  These take me back to my childhood.  They were one of Mum’s standard treats always made with pastry off cuts from something else, such as a meat pie.

What have you cooked this month?
Have you read any inspiring foodie books or magazines?

Please share and join in the fun at Celia’s beautiful blog Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.