Wednesday, February 25, 2009



Monday, February 23, 2009


Sunday, February 22, 2009



Saturday, February 21, 2009


Friday, February 20, 2009


Thursday, February 19, 2009


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bushfire Appeal Quilt Blocks

Monday, February 16, 2009

I am working on some quilt blocks to donate to a group in Alice Springs who will be putting quilts together for those who have lost everything in the bushfires. It's just a small thing but hopefully my few blocks will help. If you are a quilter and are interested in helping you can find all the details here.

There's a tutorial here.

And a big thank you to Tia for co-ordinating it all!

I'll share photos as soon as I get my blocks finished.

Dinner time

Friday, February 13, 2009

Moong dal before weighing and washing. I love big bowls filled with pulses. I feel healthy and virtuous just looking at them. That they are also delicious makes being virtuous pretty painless.

This is JW's current favourite food. I can't believe how quickly she has gone from vegie mush to table food. Where did my baby go?

Moong dal (recipe from Madhur Jaffrey)
285g moong dal
2 cloves garlic
2 slices peeled fresh, ginger
1 tsp chopped fresh coriander
1tbsp ground tumeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp oil
1 pinch ground asafetida
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
lemon wedges
chopped coriander
Rinse the dal thoroughly, put in heavy bottomed pot, add 1.1L water and bring to the boil.
Remove the froth that collects at the top
Add the ginger, garlic, coriander, tumeric and cayenne.
Cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar andsimmer gently for an hour, stirring occasionally.
When the dal is cooked add the salt and lemon juice.
Heat the oil , when hot add the asafetida and cumin seeds.
As soon as the seeds turn dark remove from heat, pour over dal and serve.
Serve with basmati rice, lemon wedges, chopped coriander and broccoli.

Bushfire Appeals

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The toll from the weekend's bushfires here in southern Australia has shocked everyone. We all want to help in whatever way we can despite feeling somewhat helpless. The Red Cross has been raising funds, businesses have been fundraising and donating and community groups, schools and families are finding ways to offer help. There are blankets, clothes and toy collection points in my neighbourhood and trucking companies that have volunteered their time to take all the donations down south. Coles supermarkets are donating all the profits they will make tomorrow (Fri 13th) to the Bush Fire Appeal so instead of doing my weekly shop at Woolies I will be heading to Coles tomorrow morning after I drop the kids at school. If there is a Coles near you and you have some shopping to do tomorrow, I hope you will do the same.

This poem has been rattling around in my head over the past few days...

My Country by Dorothea Mackellar

The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lanes.
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins,
Strong love of grey-blue distance
Brown streams and soft dim skies
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me!

A stark white ring-barked forest
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes,
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart, around us,
We see the cattle die -
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold -
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land -
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand -
Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

...and this poem that tells a story too many people are living right now.

Bushfire (The Australian Spirit) by Paul Buttigieg

My last saucepan
Amid the ashes
A last possession
But never enough to stop me
Boiling the water
Whilst I lost everything
We’re not losing our cup of tea
We’re not giving up
There is hope
Even if my house has gone
Are hanging on
And I must help
I’ll build again
There is no time for feeling sorry
Only for pouring the tea
For heroes

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

After yet another weekend of solid work for Mr Duyvken the bathroom is actually starting to look like a bathroom once again.
For those of you playing along at home we bought the vanity, tapware, shower head, etc at The Renovation Boys. The showroom is small but easy to browse (although I would not recommend taking 4 children like we did) and the staff were very friendly and efficient. We had a mix-up with our delivery but they sorted it out pretty quickly for us.
We bought the tiles at a Tile Factory Outlet and it was fantastic. They have a huge range of tiles and it was much cheaper than a hardware or tile store. They have a limited range that changes regularly depending on what stock levels they have but the prices are pretty impressive. We ended up getting a much nicer tile than we thought we'd be able to get and I love how it's looking as it all comes together.
The only thing that isn't ready to go yet is the shower screen but now that the tiles are up I can get someone to come to measure the space. Any tips on reasonably priced semi-frameless glass shower screens?
But enough of that, I'm even boring myself!


Saturday, February 07, 2009

Baby's got blue eyes

and curls

and her mother's eyebrows.

As requested

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Pumpkin lasagna for Eleanor

Ingredients2 pumpkins (yes 2 pumpkins - you will never be hungry again!)
1/2 to 1 tsp chilli flakes (depending on taste)
olive oil
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
pinch nutmeg
2 cloves garlic
handful basil leaves
lasagna sheets
1/4 cup sage
1/4 cup walnuts
salt and pepper
grated cheese

NoteWhole pumpkins are difficult to work with unless you have an enormous knife and arms like that character Doakes from Dexter.

Over the years I have tried many things to make cutting into a whole pumpkin a little easier and I have figured out that 8 mins in a microwave at 650 watts does the trick. You'll need to leave the pumpkin to cool for a while but it is so much easier to peel and chop it is well worth the extra time.

Peel and chop the pumpkin, toss it in olive oil, chilli flakes, salt and pepper and roast until tender. I like to cover the pumpkin with foil to keep them from getting too caramelised.

Roughly mash the pumpkin when it's ready and set aside to cool a little while you make the white sauce.

Melt butter (or butter alternative) in a saucepan, add about a 1/4 cup of plain flour, stir until combined, add about 2 cups of milk (I use soy milk) stirring constantly. When it has thickened remove from heat and add the crushed garlic, a sprinkle of nutmeg and salt and pepper.

Spread half the pumpkin in the bottom of a lasanga dish, cover with lasagna sheets, use almost all the white sauce for the next layer, cover with basil leaves and another layer of lasagna sheets, then use the remaining pumpkin for the next layer, then another layer of lasagna sheets.

Use the remaining white sauce and grated cheese to cover the lasagna sheets so that no pasta is uncovered.

Cook in the middle shelf of a moderate oven for about 45 mins or until pasta is cooked through and the cheese on top is melted and golden.

Melt about 1/4 cup of butter in a saucepan, add 1/4 cup of thinly sliced sage leaves and 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts. Stir until the butter melts, bubbles and starts to brown. Remove from heat and pour over the lasagna immediately.

The smell of those buttered walnuts will make you want to eat this straight away!

Serve with a salad of dark greens or steamed broccoli.

Another note
I want to try this with ricotta next time instead of the white sauce. Methinks that would be yummy.

Getting stuff done

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Since finishing Katherine's quilt I have packed the sewing things away and pulled out the photo albums because I am a one project at a time kind of a girl. I have a lot of catching up to do. I have just finished 2006 and have all of 2007 and 2008 to print out, put into albums and annotate.
(note to copy editors - that's not quite the word I am looking for but it's close enough, any suggestions?)
I'm not a scrapbooker but I do crop the photos, add notes and a little embellishment here and there so it does take me a while but I'm aiming to get up to date by the end of February. It will feel wonderful to be on top of this again!
I'm also clearing the garden, teaching the middle two to swim and baking pumpkin lasagna. What have you been up to?

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