Monday, 30 November 2009

A giggle and a smooch

Tom and I went to Sydney this weekend for a gig, or as I like to call them, a giggle (I also call the shmoozing part that inevitably occurs afterwards a 'smooch'. Hence, a giggle and a smooch.) Sydney pretty much kicked our collective arse all weekend, but all was forgiven when we dropped back into our favourite antique shop in Berrima on the way home. I bought some amazing Art Nouveau-y curtains with a geranium design for my craft pursuits, and Tom bought me this adorable little Norwegian saucepan with a burnt handle as a late anniversary gift. I plan to use it exclusively for the purpose of brewing homemade chai. Fortuitously, it's rather chilly here at the moment so I've already given it a try, and it worked perfectly. For a good homemade chai recipe check out Ellen and Tara's beautiful blog A Whistle and a Milkshake.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009


Today was a glorious, precious day off. I:

Sewed like a crazy person and arranged a spot at the Gorman House Markets next Saturday the 5th of December to sell prettie things! A more detailed post on this with lots of pictures will be up soon.

Ate ginger candy. So soft and chewy and delicious. Cost me $1.25 a packet at the Asian supermarket.

Dyed more doilies. What are our thoughts on the red, wise readers? Tom suggested I dye over it with blue to make purple, but I kind of enjoy the bloody succulence of this colour.

Observed the first flowers on my eggplant plants. One day these will become lovely long glossy purple eggplants!

Made an epic Pad Thai. I saw the recipe in this morning's Food and Wine, the best feature of the Canberra Times, and knew I would have to make it tonight. I've been searching for a good, authentic recipe for a while, and this is definitely the one for me. I shall share it, all in good time.

Friday, 20 November 2009

A Few Things. Peas, mostly.

Snowpeas are possibly the most satisfying vegetable to grow. Planted these as seeds less than a month ago and look at them go! Plus they are so pretty with their lovely curly fronds.

I've been sewing more cushions. Not for me this time, but an exciting, still undefined future project.

I have a new favorite cook book: Nigel Slater's Tender. It's all about growing and cooking your own veggies, a theme close to my heart, but is also just achingly beautiful both in photography and in words. He begins the book with a list of his favourite smells: Snow (yes, I believe it has a smell), dim sum, old books, cardamom, beeswax, moss, warm flapjacks, a freshly snapped runner bean, a roasting chicken, a fleeting whiff of white narcissi on a freezing winter's day.

The man speaks straight to my heat. Expect lots of yummy recipes from this in the future.

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Saturday, 14 November 2009


Last weekend, Thomas and I went to Berry to celebrate five years of smug coupledom.

We started the weekend with a divine dinner at the very trendy, fusion asian style Hungry Duck. Our table wasn't ready when we got there, so we got to sit in their beautiful vegetable garden (from which much of the food they serve is made) and drink genmaicha (my favourite of the green teas) and eat our delicious entrees: chili squid with Chang Mai relish and pork buns by lantern light. Flavour sensational! Seriously though, if you ever go to the Hungry Duck do make sure you ask if you can start with drinks in the garden. It's truly magical!

We stayed at the quaintly named and naughtily beyond our budget Sojourn at Far Valley (look at their website for more photos, I couldn't do it justice). Which isn't actually in Berry but a place 10 minutes away called 'Far Valley'. It's a beautiful, green cow farm surrounded by stunning eucalyptus forest. There are only two cabins so it feels very exclusive, and the interior is incredibly sleek, modern, and alarmingly clean.

I was awoken early by the cows, so spent some quality time with some quality magazines.

We spent a lot of time on the deck reading, drinking wine and eating cheese and fig paste. It was perfection, except the cheese tasted like petroleum. Tom declared 'I will not let our weekend be ruined by bad cheese!' and huffily drove back into town and insisted that the shop replace it. It was hillarious.

On the second night we picked up lovely fresh oysters and prawns from nearby Nowra and ate them in our stylish digs. Tom cooked a scrumptious asparagus dish (the trick is to cut the asparagus in half length ways so there is plenty of exposed surface to caramelize against the hot pan), which was the highlight of the whole meal. We drank some fancily-labeled beers and made a huge mess.

After dinner, a frog came to our veranda to visit! He was rather friendly/scared stiff and patiently posed for photos.

On Sunday we ate at the very famous, and rightly so, Berry Woodfired Bakery. Like Silo (for you Canberra peeps), but possibly even better. I ate three loaves of their bread over the weekend and in the days that followed. Tom took lots of posy photos of me with bed hair while we waited for our meals (mussel linguine which wasn't as good as mine, salad and kipfler potato wedges with a tasty homemade tomato relish. What is it with Berry people and their relishes?).

On the beautiful, windy drive home through fairy glens and semi-rainforest, we stopped at a few roadside honesty store thingies. I thought this one was particularly charming with its colourful flowers. We bought a gigantic lettuce which looked more like a conifer that had been sculpted into a cone shape.

We also stopped at a magnificent, gigantic antique shop in Berrima. These shoes were from 1910 and were teeny tiny! We're actually planning a trip back there soon. It's the kind of place you could get lost in and spend all day.