Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Summer days at home

So, Christmas is over for another year.  To be honest, it took me a while to get into the Christmas spirit this year but once the day finally arrived our day was fun and low key.   We enjoyed a manageable amount of food, drinks and gifts with various parts of our families.

After lunch on Christmas afternoon, I am a big believer in having some sort of an expedition or activity.  I find staying in and around the house all day long quite claustrophobic and getting out and about in the fresh air creates further opportunities for conversation and fun.  This year we gathered together some friends and food and headed to one of our dams.  We watched the full moon rise while the kids set yabby nets and lit a little fire.  As the night progressed a spectacular storm rolled in creating the perfect ending to our Christmas Day.

On Boxing Day we lit our wood oven and kept it steadily burning for a few days.  With some cooler days and a little extra time on my hands I felt like getting stuck into some cooking that I hadn’t managed to get done before Christmas.  This big batch of home-grown apricots went into the wood oven to dry, following on from a Boxing Day lamb roast.

The vegetable garden is also enjoying the cooler days.  It has become an unruly tangle of cucumbers, zucchinis, tomatoes, beans, basil, rock-melons and chickpeas.  

For Christmas my love gave me some gorgeous, indulgent gifts.  Just for fun he also gave me this little caravan, car and a girl with a camera.  Looking at this little set up just makes me smile.  

With the wood oven back in action there was always going to be bread and bread photos.

How are your days looking?

Have you recovered from Christmas? 

I wonder if you love a Christmas afternoon expedition?

Monday, December 21, 2015

Pre-Christmas moments

As we hurtle towards Christmas I am feeling slightly unprepared compared to previous years of precision organisation.  It has been hot and dry and life has been busy.  So, this week I am going to work hard on breathing and focusing on what is important and meaningful in my life. 

I have generous, thoughtful blogging friends and Celia is one of them.  Celia recently sent me a gorgeous little parcel containing a bracelet, earrings and a pendant handmade from sterling silver and vintage Swarovski crystals. Celia tells me that years ago she used to make jewellery and collect old Swarovski crystals.  Is there anything this talented woman can’t do or make?   Thank you Celia. 

Every sunrise is special.   The cool stillness of the morning is my favourite part of the day, no question about it. 

This year I have already gifted countless bags of homemade Christmas biscuits to associates, family and friends.  A handful of special people have received mini gingerbread houses.  I favour an understated gingerbread house and prefer simplicity over thickly layered lollies and sweets.  Tiny pendants from Paperboat Press always feature just to add a little non edible magic. 

Tomatoes and basil from my garden, it doesn’t get much better than this.

Family, friends and horses in the early morning light, I will never get sick of capturing moments like this.

My snake beans have just started to produce their long, crisp beans.  These are one of my favourite vegetables to have in the garden.  

Pip's blog posts are always full of useful thoughts and tips and I found this recent post about keeping cool at Christmas really helpful.  You might too!  

Are you feeling organised this week?
Are you finding some special, quiet moments?  

Merry Christmas, friends.  xx

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Summer colour

We are lucky to have connections to a local stone fruit supplier who occasionally sends a few boxes of perfectly packed fruit our way.   The aroma and taste of these nectarines instantly takes me back to the summers of my childhood.  An easy nectarine and almond tart seemed a good way to use up the slightly softer fruit.  

Cool dark walls provide a moody backdrop for pretty flowers and glittering ornaments.  It is always so exciting to see a new shop open in a country town, best wishes to the Botanica team.  This little space is a breath of fresh air in our main shopping strip.

These beautiful, golden Trevatt apricots in my garden are destined for stewed fruit, drying, gifting and perhaps a fruit tart or two.

Red dust and a soft pink sunrise as my husband takes off in his plane for another day of station work.

Sunrise at the horse yards while Sugar takes it all in.  The only way to manage horse riding in our summer is to start early.  Catching the pretty morning light is a bonus.

Feral goats come in an endless assortment of colours but I thought this little mob seemed nicely colour coordinated.  

I hope you have some pretty colour in your world!

Happy weekend, friends x

Friday, December 4, 2015

In My Kitchen, December 2015

Welcome back to my kitchen.  In between finishing off school for the year and preparing for a busy month of sheep work I have managed quite a lot of cooking.

This focaccia recipe came from Lunch Lady magazine and it is a winner.  As some of you know sourdough is my bread of choice but sometimes it is nice to go back to an easy recipe that contains instant yeast, just for fun.  I topped this loaf with strips of zucchini from the garden, garlic and fresh thyme.

Christmas is coming at us quickly and at this time of the year I always launch into some serious gift biscuit baking with some help from my big dough mixer. 

At Christmas time I find it very useful to have an army of mini gingerbread men on hand to give to teachers, hairdressers, mail delivery people and unexpected guests, as well as family and friends. 

My children picked this bunch of sticky gum tree flowers for me.  Apparently they climbed a rather tall, rusty old ladder to reach them but they assured me it was all very safe.  I loved the flowers and didn’t ask any more questions.

Curly cucumbers make pretty, temporary bracelets.  Home grown cucumbers make me happy, even if they do grow into strange shapes. 

Poppy seed heads remind me of tiny sculptures and I love saving them and throwing their tiny seeds around the garden.  I am trying to think of a creative way of using this little bunch, on our Christmas table perhaps. 

I am rather sad to hear that Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial will no longer be hosting this link up of kitchens from all around the world.  If you get a chance, please call into Celia’s blog for a dose of kindness, sharing, friendship, family and creativity. 

Happy Friday friends x