Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My hero...


I clicked on Tatersmama's blog this morning and what I read made me cry (and I don't think that was her intention because it was mostly about a frittata! - read the comments too). A child in crisis, placed into emergency care. So dirty and unkempt that the bath water had to be changed 4 times. My God, we live in Australia, not a third world country! I was just so sad for that poor kid, knowing that she had to live like that. She is safe for the moment and we can thank Tatersmama for that - my hero for today! Thank you, Katie!
~

You will find as you look back
upon your life that the moments
when you have really lived,
are the moments where
you have done things
in the spirit of love...

-Henry Drummond

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Joolz


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Cupcakes and Mulberry Jam...

Mmmmm... cupcakes for school lunches this week... lucky if they'll last past Tuesday!
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I picked an icecream container full of mulberries a few weeks ago but hadn't got back to the tree where I sneaked them from. My brother-in-law came into work the other day with a ziplock bag full of mulberries, ripe and ready to eat (they ended up in a delicious little tart). I mentioned how I needed to get some more so I could make jam. He obliged by bringing back another 2 litre container full.
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This is my incredibly expensive jam funnel! Actually, it's a re-purposed 2 litre milk container which I cut down. It is ideal for pouring jam into jars.
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The fruits of my labour - 14 jars of jam and a further 3 jars of jam juice (no fruit). That will be nice swirled through icecream or drizzled on bread and butter.
~
Lunch was a very nice plate of barbecued fish (Flake fillets or gummy shark) which was given to us by our friend Graeme who loves to fish.
Greek Lamb Kebabs a la Angus for dinner.
~
Cheers - Joolz

Saturday, February 20, 2010

"I'm high maintenance...

I got to thinking about all the products I use each day, just to get ready for work.
First I shower and use shampoo, conditioner and body wash...
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... then moisturiser, liquid foundation and powder foundation...
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... eye shadow, mascara, blusher, lipstick...
~
... then choose a fragrance for the day.
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... then before bed, I cleanse, moisturise, clean my glasses for the next day and brush my teeth (and I clean them in the morning too!).
~
" I'm high maintenance - but I think you've gotta be! " - Kath Day-Knight from Kath & Kim
~
Joolz

Burgers for dinner...


Ainsley Harritot has been a favourite of ours since his first TV series. He's fun, cheeky and a bit of a show off but he certainly knows his way around a barbecue grill.
I had only used this recipe for meatballs before. They make a great appetiser before a barbecue. Make the meatballs beforehand then simply re-heat in the microwave and serve with sweet chilli sauce. I decided to make the burgers for dinner last night.
~
(Joolz pic of picture in Ainsley's book - how good do the burgers look?)
MONZARELLI'S MEDITERRANEAN BURGERS
500 gms good quality sausage meat (I added 200 gms beef mince also)
8 sundried tomatoes, very finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons shredded fresh basil
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
~
Combine - all the ingredients above (I use a disposable latex glove for this job - then it doesn't get under your fingernails and you don't have to remove your rings).
~
Shape - (using damp hands) the mince into about 6 even sized burgers, making them large, round and flat.
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Cook - either on a barbecue grill until browned nicely on both sides or in a non-stick fry pan - no extra oil is necessary as quite a bit comes out in the cooking.
~
(Joolz pic)
Plate up - I bought damper rolls, toasted them in the oven, spread the roll with sweet chilli sauce (or tomato sauce or dijon mustard), then placed the burger (I actually split the burger through to form 2 thinner burgers) on, topped with lettuce mix, tomato, beetroot, more burger then a slice of cheddar cheese. Wack the lid on and enjoy this very tasty burger. So much better than a bought one!
~
Joolz

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sunrise...

(First pic taken 0704)
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(Last pic taken 0705)
We had a mix of fog and smoke in air this morning (from a grass fire late yesterday). The sun looked huge, just hanging in the sky. I think we are in for a hot one today. The foggy mornings are heralding in the arrival of Autumn - my favourite season. Chilly mornings, sunny days and crisp nights leading up to winter. I'm sick of the hot, humid summer so bring it on!
~
We have this weekend home so I'll be 'pot'tering. I have two large concrete pots to paint and get planted with something for outside so that will keep me busy and there are plenty of roses to dead head. Hopefully I might get one more flush before they start to go off for winter.
~
Kirby heads back to uni next weekend so we will go also as we need to get a sofa bed and chairs for the lounge room of the unit.
~
Cheers - Joolz

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Happiness...


I borrowed this little verse from a picture on Pioneer Woman's blog.


Happiness
is not in our
circumstances,
but in ourselves.
It is not something
we see,
like a rainbow,
or feel, like the
heat of a fire.
Happiness is
something we are.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Off to see a movie...


The M.O.T.H and Brianna have gone to have their ears drums blown out by AC/DC tonight in Melbourne. The saner women in the family (Kirby and moi) are going out to dinner and then to see Valentine's Day. A much nicer choice and I know we'll be able to hear ourselves think when we come out of the film. House is clean so when we get home there'll be nothing to do - Bliss!
~
I'll let you know what I think of the movie later.
~
Review: Loved the movie! - okay it's a chick flick and I don't think Angus would have liked it that much but Kirby and I certainly enjoyed it. If you liked Love Actually and He's Just Not That Into You then you'll like this. There were so many well known actors in it which kept it interesting I think. Loved Ashton Kutcher, Jennifer Garner but Patrick Dempsey was the shocker!! A few twists right at the end had us gasping but ultimately we laughed lots and cried a bit (well I did) and we thoroughly enjoyed it. I'll definitely buy it when it comes out on DVD to add to my chick flick collection.
~
Thinking I'll put up a list of all the DVD's I have soon - you can probably tell a lot about a person from their DVD library!
~
I must try a Red Velvet Cake - Debbie and Granny both made them for Valentine's Day and they look delicious.
~
Enjoy your week,
Joolz

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Topsy Turvy Tomato update...

My Topsy Turvy planter is still hanging in there.
I have several small bunches of tomatoes growing and lots more flowering and developing.
~
I planted it out on December 31 so how much longer before they start to ripen and turn red? They are in full sun most of the day. The varieties are grosse lisse, apollo and roma but they all look the same so far. This thing loves water so I give it a good soak every day otherwise it wilts.
~
Around the other side there is parsley and continental parsley, oregano, chives and thyme plus basil, which is hidden under all those tomato plants. They all look healthy and I have snipped off bits for different dishes and they taste amazing.
~
In another tub planter, I have some salad lettuces growing. These are about 3 weeks old now and have boomed along and are ready for picking. For about $6 I have enough lettuce to last us through until the end of summer. I water them with rain water and they are chemical free.
~
On the food front, dinner tonight is lamb loin chops marinated with garlic, plum and soy sauce (a la Angus - bless him!) with mash and carrots & beans with bacon plus gravy. For dessert it's called... get an icecream (Cornett0) from the freezer or have a mini trifle that I made. No-one else really likes trifle, so I guess they are mine!
~
Normally I would set a jelly in a glass bowl with jam rollette sponge rolls doused in sherry, top with fruit then custard, more fruit then custard and cream on top. These are sort of a low fat, single serve version...just for me! Jelly, Yo-yo biscuits (I didn't have any sponge rolls) drizzled with Marsala (no sherry either!), topped with custard and a cherry.
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Cheers - Joolz

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Farewell to Chiara and a busy few days...

Bri and Chiara at Wynn's Coonawarra.
~~
Brianna, Kirby & Chiara
~
We farewelled Chiara on Wednesday morning. There were a few tears shed amongst us. Chiara was a perfect guest and we certainly enjoyed having her stay with us. It will be great to meet her family in October in Turin.
~
This is the entire group of exchange students and their hosts.
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What an experience it has been for these students. Hosting an international guest then later this year, jetting off to Italy to rejoin them in their country to experience their daily life and culture.
~
L-R: Beatrice, Samantha, Sally, Maddy, Brianna & Chiara
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On Thursday, Angus and I headed to Adelaide. We did a few jobs at the unit and found a lovely leak in the shower recess, called a plumber and he estimated the job to cost +$600! On our last trip there, the toilet had backed up and that cost $580 to have the pipe to the septic cleaned out and tree roots removed and an inspection point put in! We have bought a money pit, I think! We find it very hard to get jobs done because of the turn around times with tradesmen or just physically going to buy things - sometimes you have to go across town a couple of times before you find what you want. The new kitchen will go in, sometime in March (fingers crossed!) then we can start to redecorate with feature walls, new vinyl etc.
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
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A quiet week ahead, I hope. Enjoy yours,
~
Cheers - Joolz

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Food, food and more food...


On Friday night, the Italian Club in Mt Gambier help a Pizza & Pasta night and we were all invited. They had a very big crowd.
~
~~
On Saturday night, we gave Chiara a typical Australian dinner - roast lamb, potatoes, carrots, pumpkin and peas with gravy.
~
Chiara, Brianna, Samantha & Beatrice
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On Sunday, we joined the Macera family and visited the Coonawarra wine district. Ric rode his motorcycle there and he gave Chiara and the girls a quick ride down the road. We enjoyed a lovely lunch at Upstairs at Hollick.
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Salmon & Leek tart with fresh herbs
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Aged Teys Brothers black Angus scotch fillet, dauphinous potato, pepperonata, green beans with cabernet jus
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Rare roasted Naracoorte venison topside, daupine potato, local beetroot & horseradish cream, green peppercorn jus
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Stuffed chicken fillet, carrot mash, coriander cream and cream beans
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Pan roasted duck breast, black olive polenta, spiced cherries, mushrooms and Arabica sauce
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Grilled Watson's lamb backstrap, white bean puree, shiraz jus; warm salad of confit lamb shoulder, cherry tomatoes, basil and white anchovies (mine!)
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Pasta with prawns and chorizo (didn't write down the description for this one, sorry)
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Now onto the desserts.....
~
White chocolate panna cotta, anise jelly, chocolate crumble and cherry icecream
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Bitter dark chocolate tart, chocolate sorbet, caramel sauce, salted peanut brittle & pure cream
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...and finally, steamed lemon pudding, passionfruit and nectar syrup, passionfruit semi freddo and pure cream
~
We went home feeling very full. It was a warm night so we sat outside and had pizzas cooked on the pizza stone in the barbecue for a late dinner.
~
Chiara got to see our cat, Bonnie, play with a mouse before eating it and because the night was so warm there were lots of bugs swarming about. She had bugs in her hair and trying to got down her t-shirt.
~
Tonight (Tuesday) we have a farewell dinner for the Italian students at TWC then we farewell them tomorrow as they head for Melbourne for 2 days before they fly back home to Torino.
~
Cheers - Joolz

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Mars Bar Chocolate Crackles ...

MARS BAR CHOCOLATE CRACKLES
200 gms Mars Bars
2 tblspns thin cream
2 tspns cocoa powder
3 cups Rice Bubbles

In a small bowl, over simmering water - melt Mars Bars, cream and cocoa until smooth and runny. Place rice bubbles in large bowl, add chocolate mixture and combine well. Spoon into patty pans.
As an Easter treat - top each crackle with a small foil wrapped egg (I used Australian chocolate coins for our Italian guest).
Refrigerate to set.
~
On the menu last night - crumbed lamb chops, mashed potato, peas and carrots with rich brown gravy.
~
Chiara came home from school and went and had a sleep - she was tired from 'teaching' some junior school children how to count and say some things in Italian and the day had been quite hot.
~
Cheers - Joolz

Monday, February 1, 2010

A day at the beach at Number 2 Rocks ...

We headed off at 11 am for the hour long drive through the sand dunes...
(click on pictures to enlarge)
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which lead us to Number 2 Rocks.
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It is a beautiful horse-shoe shaped bay with a reef which lets the waves break, leaving the inner water calm and safe for swimming.
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When we first got there, the girls explored along the shoreline, looking for small fish and crabs.
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You can see the waves breaking on the rocks behind the girls. We listened to the thundering sea all day.
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For lunch, we had lamb chops and beef sausages with various salads which we all shared. I think the Italian girls all enjoyed their lunch.
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Here are two of the chefs - Angus & Ric
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Sausages and lots of salad.
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Our friends have kayaks so the girls had fun paddling about.
(Sally, Maddy & Brianna)
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Beatrice, Chiara and Samantha.
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A wave came in and gave Chiara a wet bottom!
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They had lots of fun. We also set up a volley ball net and they played that also.
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They spent time walking along the beach, drawing in the sand and looking in rock pools for crabs and star fish.
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L-R : Brianna & Chiara, Sally & Maddy, Samantha and Beatrice.
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In the late afternoon, it was time for some beach cricket. Beatrice was very good
at hitting the ball.
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More waves crashing on rocks... soon it was time to pack up and head for home. On the way back we found a steep sand hill so the girls could try some sand-boarding.
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They found it tiring, climbing to the top, sliding down then climbing to the top again and again!
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It was funny to watch...
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..sometimes they stayed on the boards...
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... sometimes not!
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Oops! Beatrice takes a tumble!
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A beautiful sunset to finish the day...
~
We arrived home and had toasted ham and cheese sandwiches for dinner then showered to wash off all the sand (there is still lots in my house!). We all slept very well last night.
~
Cheers - Joolz

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