Friday, February 27, 2015

A long time between posts!

Last weekend, it was off to Melbourne for a company dinner. I had my hair cut and coloured at a salon in Clarendon Street, South Melbourne. Quite a good experience!

When you are used to your country town hairdresser it can be a bit daunting but the girl who did my hair was lovely.

As I was leaving I asked where I might get a pedicure and shellac toe nails done. Right over the road, as it turned out, at Pearls Nails. Half an hour of pampering!

A quick trot down the street and I came upon taco joint called Mad Mex. Seriously good crunchy chicken tacos with black beans and guacamole. Lunch done!

Gus had a meeting in the morning then he went off to do his helicopter flight that I gave him for his 50th (18 months ago!). This was his third attempt at having a steer of a helicopter.

No dice! It was too smoggy and because the horizon wasn't clear, he wasn't allowed to fly. Can you believe it!? It looked like a beautiful day for flying! Anyway, he did the tuition, now he just needs to reschedule. Bah!

We went to a lovely awards dinner that evening, at Aerial at South Wharf...









On Saturday, after doing some business, we headed for Daylesford. I was keen to see the area so we can go back for a longer weekend stay.

We stayed at the Mills Spa Suites which was quite quirky and arsty but very comfortable. I love a self contained unit where you can eat in if you want and make your own brekky. We got take-away from the Taj Mahal Indian restaurant which was a 3 minute walk away. Nice and simple - Mango chicken , saffron rice, raita and naan bread. $37 for two of us. Then we settled in to watch The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - how apt!

Sunday morning we visited the local markets but we didn't buy anything. I would have loved to buy some fresh produce but we cannot take fruit and vegetables over the border from Victoria into South Australia. There were strawberries, blackberries and freashly dug potatoes. Yum!

We toured around looking at the different spa places so next time we come over we'll have a spa day planned.

Lunch was at Captains Creek Organic Wines. A lovely lunch - mine looks a bit weird but it was delicious! It was slices of meat loaf over cold, lovely roasted root vegetables, a red wine reduction and baby spinach leaves.

We bought a bottle of cider for our girls to try...

Once home on Sunday night, we had these (favourite) tacos for dinner. I love the salsa!

I managed to find a Kikki.K store on Clarendon Street too so I bought a little note pad and envelopes for my letter writing. Better get on to that!

Monday when I went shopping, Woolies had black plums for $5/kilo so I bought two kilos.

10 bottles of jam for about $13 ($3 for sugar) is pretty good. I now know of someone who has plums so next year they will be for free!

I also bought some washi tape on line so I pimped some jars of jam to give to my 4 sisters.

Bit speccy, eh?

Tuesday night we had a zucchini slice (my own throw together recipe), a few lamb chops and a green salad.

My back garden has done well with a bit of watering (amazing!)...



these were taken late afternoon...

My juice this morning...

And finally I made Choc Chip Cookie Bars for Brianna this morning - we are off to the Clipsal 500 V8 Supercars this weekend! Life is not dull around these parts! Good to catch up with the girls again, though!

Cheers - Joolz xx


Friday, February 20, 2015

Cyclone Marcia...

Absolutely no laughing matter, but I couldn't resist this pic.


Queensland is bracing for this horrific category 5 cyclone which is expected to hit within a couple of hours. Yepoon, Gladstone and Bundaberg are expected to be most affected. Extreme flooding rainfalls are expected up and down the coast.

Stay safe, Queenslandians, we are thinking of you!

There is also a category 4 cyclone (Lam) off the Northern Territory - hoping all Territorians in it's path stay safe too.

Joolz xx


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Happy snail mail!

I received a lovely letter from a fellow blogger, Tracy, yesterday. A wonderful letter, written like there was no social media out there, just giving me news of things going on in her world and asking me questions about what's going on in mine.

Lovely words from one mum to another, living miles apart, going about our lives...

Oh, that note paper is so cute! I was in Kikki K the other day - I should have looked!

I will write a reply soon (once I find some nice note paper) and also to another blogger who lives in New Mexico. I received a Christmas card from Ande so I will get something off to her too!

Do you still do snail mail? I know you do, Kath!

Write a letter today and brighten someone's day!

Cheers - Joolz xx


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Banana bread ...


Dead bananas make the best banana cakes and bread...

Here's my go-to recipe - a easy melt and mix batter that never fails...



I added in some dark choc chips....


See, dead easy!

Cheers - Joolz xx


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Scrumping and vanilla peach jam...

I went scrumping the other day (scrumping - stealing fruit from someone else's trees. British.  Its considered less bad than, say, shoplifting, but adults still disapprove) and got some beautiful peaches.
I was actually given permission by the owner of the tree but it still felt like stealing as they weren't home at the time!
So yesterday, I washed them then soaked them in boiling water to make peeling their skins off easier.
That worked well.
I roughly cut them up, removing the stones (these were free stone peaches not cling stones)...
I ended up with 1.7kg of fruit.
By this time it was time for me to go to work so I sprinkled them with 200gms of sugar (all I had) and covered them in cling wrap ready for me to cook later.
When I got home last night, with more sugar, I put them into a large pot and added a further 1.3kgs sugar and a vanilla pod that I scraped the seeds out of and threw in.   Brought it to a good boil, skimmed off most of the scum that formed then let it simmer away until it had reduced down. I'm not sure really how long I cooked it for.
Once bottled, I turn them upside down - this ensured the seals pop when they have cooled.
Tah Dah!  Seven lovely jars of vanilla peach jam!
My pantry is filling up - I now have apricot, strawberry and peach jam, cucumber pickles and pickled beetroot in there.
We had a foggy morning here this morning - a good sign that autumn is on her way - hooray!
What else have you been bottling and preserving?  
I'd like to try making fresh salsa and some tomato sauce. Our Foodland had sauce tomatoes out the other day but I was busy over the weekend do I didn't get any. Hopefully sometime this week, they'll have more.
 Have a nice day,
Cheers - Joolz xx