Sunday, January 31, 2010

Welcome Chiara !!!

We are very happy to have Chiara stay with us for 12 days. She is on a school exchange with her school from Turin, Italy. Our Brianna will do the reverse exchange in October when she travels to Italy with her school for 3 weeks.
Chiara and 29 other students arrived in Sydney on Monday 25th January so they were lucky to celebrate Australia Day in Sydney, climb the Harbour Bridge and even had a swim at Bondi Beach. Then they flew to Adelaide and went to Cleland Wildlife Park where they saw some our native animals. They did some shopping in Rundle Mall and visited Glenelg.
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Angus cooked Beer Can Chicken for Chiara which we had with a salad and baked potatoes.
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The chicken is rubbed with a spice mix then lowered over a half full can of beer. The beer boils and steams the chicken and makes it lovely and tender. The spice mix is listed here.
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Here is the cooked chicken, ready to be enjoyed.
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After a warm day, the sky turned all shades of pink, orange and red.
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Corella's roosing in an old gum tree...
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Their noisy chatter forms part of our background daily sounds of the bush...
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There was a Kookaburra close by and I showed Chiara where it was sitting in a tree but it wouldn't sing for her. Maybe tomorrow.
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I made chocolate cup cakes...
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... and a Buttermilk Loaf from the Gourmet Farmer (SBS Thursdays at 7.30pm), Matthew Evan's blog. It is a recipe from an elderly lady who befriended Matthew. The recipe is here - I actually added a chopped Granny Smith apple and omitted the walnuts. It is very nice spread with some butter.
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Apparently, this is a blue moon. Blue moons occur when you have two full moons in one month. You can read about is here.

It was very bright in the sky. I couldn't get a good picture once it became dark.
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Today (Sunday) we are going to our favourite beach - No.2 Rocks. I'll post some pictures tonight.
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Cheers - Joolz

Saturday, January 30, 2010

What a busy week...

We moved Kirby out of the room she has been renting all year and into this flat. She will share it with her friend Ash who is starting Uni this year.
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It was hot the day we moved all the furniture so the girls were quite pooped by the end of the day. We all were!
Kirby's room will come up quite good once she puts up her pictures and makes the bed, of course!
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Our unit has a car port which the other units don't have so they are lucky that they can hang laundry under there if it's wet and they can also put a table and chairs out there so they can sit out on warm nights. All the pots that are under the fold out clothesline are gone so that area is much tidier now. Angus bought 2 of the concrete pots home for me - I'll paint them a charcoal grey and will fill them with flower seedlings.
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The bathroom is a lovely, very dated 1970's style with blue tiles that really don't match and the grout is quite grotty. I gave it a cursory clean but next time I'm there I'll give it a deep clean (read...scrub floors with bleach) and Angus will do some more in there - remove old grout and re-caulk it. The toilet backed up the first day we were there and the plumber came on Thursday - $500 to repair a cracked pipe that is blocked with vines. Ouch!
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The kitchen is being gutted and will be fully replaced in early March. We will put down new vinyl flooring also.
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This is the lounge/living room, looking from the kitchen. The girls want to do a feature wall and put in cedar venetian blinds in here. The flooring is just vinyl so we'll get a nice floor rug to hide it a bit.
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Because our school term started back on Wednesday 27th, Brianna and I had to head for home on Tuesday. Angus and Kirby went to the cricket at Adelaide Oval. Once we were out of the city, Brianna took over the wheel. We headed off to drive the 400kms home - blue skies all the way.
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It was a long 400 kms of open road at 80 kms/hour!
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There were plenty of Aussie flags flying...
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This is the Big Lobster at Kingston SE. We like things BIG in Oz!
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Being Australia Day, I had to eat one of Australia's icons - a meat pie with sauce in a paper bag -
(or as some true-blue Aussies would call it - a dogs eye with dead horse - our own take on Cockney rhyming slang!). This one was a Stockmen's pie - full of big chunks of beef, lots of vegetables in a glossy, delicious gravy. Scrummy!
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Nearly home - my wide brown land. Mount Muirhead with a pine tree covered hill in the distance and freshly baled hay in the foreground.
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I hung an Australian flag in our front window for Australia Day - yep, that's me in the reflection...
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I have been out in the garden in the past few days, tidying things for the arrival of our guest, Chiara. She is on exchange from Turin in Italy and will stay with us for 12 days...
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I love my Black Magic agapanthus - it really stands out in the garden.
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The carpet roses are nearly in full bloom again...
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Fresh herbs from MY garden - rosemary, mint, oregano and basil.
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SPAGHETTI BOLOGNESE
I made the sauce from 350gms minced beef, browned in 1 tblspn olive oil with 2 cloves of garlic. Add a 700gm bottle of tomato sugo, my chopped basil, oregano and rosemary, salt and pepper and a teaspoon of sugar. Let this cook down for half an hour.
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Spaghetti Bolognese with a sprinking of parmesan cheese.
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How exciting! This is my first baby tomato on our bushes.
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It is a month since I planted out our Topsy Turvey Tomato planter. It's going well and it loves the water. I have been watering it every other day because I don't want it to get water logged and go rotten. It's all trial and error as we go along.
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We are having a quiet day today, giving Chiara a rest then we are off to the beach tomorrow with some other families. The weather is warm but not too hot so it should be a lovely weekend. Enjoy yours won't you?
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Cheers - Joolz

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Australia Day 2010

Wishing all Aussies here and overseas a great Australia Day!
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Cheers - Joolz

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Aussie Aussie Aussie...

Oi! Oi! Oi! It's Australia Day on January 26th!
(let my Mixpod load and enjoy some Aussie songs)



Friday, January 22, 2010

Homemade Ravioli...

These are my lovely petunias that I have growing in a large terracotta pot on my front porch. I only planted them(1 punnet) 2 weeks before Christmas and they have gone crazy.
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Wednesday - Chicken Ricotta & Spinach Ravioli a la Joolz!
Okay, now onto the pasta making. I made a standard dough out of 500gms plain flour and 4-5 eggs. Knead it then rest it for 30 minutes. Take a small amount and start feeding it through your machine.
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It is a back-breaking job doing this by yourself - it helps if you have a helper to wind the machine while you fedl the dough through. Thank you, Brianna!
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I made a mixture of Ricotta cheese, 1 egg, finely chopped cooked chicken breast, wilted baby spinach, salt, pepper & parmesan cheese. Place small spoonfuls on a strip of pasta. Brush milk around each mound of filling.
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Cover with another strip of pasta, remove air bubbles by pressing down around each shape. Take a fancy scone cutter and cut out each shape - or you could just use a knife.
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Using a fork, press down to seal each portion.
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I put my finished ravioli on a plate but a sheet of baking paper would have prevented them from sticking. This was a major problem when I went to put them in the boiling water. They stuck! Aaargh!
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The finished result - not too bad but not that tasty either. And I was absolutely wrecked from making it! Will try making it earlier in the day or the day before.
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Trouble shooting: - I think my pasta could have been a bit thicker - they were quite fragile. More flavour needed for filling - it was bland.
More time needed to made a better butter & oil sauce (with sage leaves maybe).
Don't be tempted to overcook - they really only need probably 5 minutes tops!
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I will try again soon with some fettucini or tagliatelle with a good old bolognese sauce. The actual pasta was lovely and tender.
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Thursday - Pork leg steaks with apple slices in Marsala - served with...
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a side of seasoned baked potato pieces and honeyed carrots... and a green salad.
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Friday - Rump Steak and some lamb shaslicks on the BBQ tonight. Absolutely had it from a couple of very busy days. I'll have some pics of our weekend later next week.
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Cheers - Joolz

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