Saturday, December 24, 2016

The week before Christmas

The week leading up to Christmas has been a busy one.

I have been up early every morning when the light is so soft and pretty that I literally scramble to catch it with my camera.

The last load of feral goats for the year have been mustered and trucked out.

The working dogs played an important role capturing the goats in this muster.  They worked all day in the dust with no complaints, just the occasional the splash in the trough.

In the garden I am picking zucchinis, cucumbers, lettuce and capsicums. 

I believe the first tomato for the season needs a little bit of fanfare.  I scoffed this beauty sliced on sourdough with soft goat cheese, basil and honey roasted figs.   It felt like a true celebration of my summer garden, right there on the chopping board.

Why make a normal gingerbread house when you could make a gingerbread chook house?  In true Australian style there is even a pesky (lolly) snake hiding in the straw.

Merry Christmas friends. May it be calm and peaceful. x

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

My Christmas list

Hello friends.  How is your Christmas shopping progressing? Are you completely organised or completely bewildered with the whole thing? Here are a few tips and ideas that help me each year.

When it comes to gift giving our list has been whittled down over the years.  We only buy for immediate family and special friends and we try to keep the whole thing fairly low key.  I believe in quality over quantity and try to shop locally when I can.  In saying that, online shopping is also my friend at this time of the year.

Homemade gifts are still my favourite and this year I will be baking, assembling and packaging biscuits, mini gingerbread houses and dried apricots and figs.

Here are some other suggestions and links for gifts that are slightly unique, one off or handmade. 

Although most of my family live in remote areas far from delivery services, for those who do live in urban areas a flower delivery is a surprising gift that can become part of the recipient’s festive d├ęcor.  The bonus is that fresh flowers don’t need cupboard space after Christmas.  My favourites are East End Flower Market and Flowers By Alice if you happen to live in Adelaide.

Many people in my life work with dogs, horses, motorbikes, light aircraft or all of the above.  There are many options for accessories in these areas and hard-wearing leather and saddlery goods are a timeless gift.  Two favourites are Kent Saddlery and a.l.lcreations for custom made belts.

For clothes and homewares why wouldn’t you choose an Australian designer? Doops Designs are a new favourite of mine.  All screen printed items are original designs, hand drawn and hand printed using eco-friendly water based inks that are 100% solvent free.  Just good stuff. 

Magazine subscriptions to any of these three independent publications would be welcomed by most of the girls and ladies in my life: Far West Living, Graziher or Lunch Lady . 

I hope some of these links might help or inspire you.

Now, back to the gingerbread men, figs and apricot chaos in my kitchen. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A Christmas photo shoot

There was this day way back in October when I packed up the kids into the ute with all of their swimming gear.  For once we decided to leave the dogs at home!  In addition to the kids and the swimming paraphernalia I also had an old timber table, stools, linen, glassware, sparkling wine, old spoons, a chair, a wreath, all of the ingredients for a Bloody Mary including ice, vintage cocktail swizzle sticks, emergency clean up gear,  camera gear, four gingerbread houses and just to test my limits, an ice-cream cake. 

What unfolded was certainly my most ambitious cooking, food styling and photography project up to this point in my very amateur career.  While the kids swam in the creek I styled and snapped and furiously wiped up the drips and rearranged things and waited for the prettiest light I could possibly capture.  There may have been flies and glare from the afternoon sun and the occasional incident involving two small people, mud, water and towels dropped in the prickles.

Thank goodness for the magic of photography and for Claire, the very trusting creator and founder of Graziher for letting me loose on these wonderful projects. 

If a Bloody Mary for Christmas breakfast takes your fancy or you are interested in reading about our own twists on some festive traditions treat yourself to the summer issue of Graziher magazine.  You will be supporting a beautiful and unique independent publication.

I hope the countdown to Christmas isn’t getting too hectic for you.

Are you getting whole heartedly into yet?  Or perhaps like me you are taking one small Christmas step at a time.