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Garlic day

 Today we harvested the garlic that Hugo and I planted back in April.  My favourite thing to grow, if only because it's so easy. Plant a clove in Autumn then a few months later a whole bulb appears.
 Wipe off the dirt... 
Shake it off too...
 Check out the size...
Look at this one Mum! 

{this moment}

Agrarian Kitchen

A special visit to the Agrarian Kitchen today to do some research for a special project.  Rodney and Severine are so lovely and generous.

The kitchen is heaven. The gardens are beautiful and productive. I really want to move in.

And those windows. Love. Big, big love.

For one night only...

and a day, the Mothers Market is back and we are thrilled to be there again. And not just for the free bubbly either.  Although that is part of the attraction of this fun and stylish event.

The Mothers Market is where all this cupcake business started, two years ago. Wow!  Can you believe it? We're looking forward to being there to catch up with all those gorgeous stalls and eat Mondo Mama's delicious food.

We'll have our usual flavours and specials like rhubarb and rose, pan forte brownie and our chocolate hazelnut macarons, which are looking rather good now don't you think? All that practice has paid off.

A big weekend for us, baking for three days of markets plus one hundred mini cupcakes ordered for a cocktail party thrown in too.  Yikes! I guess this means the silly season has officially started. I'm definitely going to need that glass of bubbly. Maybe even two.

Sunday night feast

The weather is glorious today and we are eating outside.  At the market today, the stall holder next door was selling garlic scapes, the young flower heads from garlic plants, which can be harvested early so that the bulbs will grow bigger.  It not only reminded me that I have a bunch of these on my own plants, but also of this totally delicious post

Barbequed scape aoili (made from eggs and scapes from our garden) with greens and pink eyes from the market today.  And a little bit of beef.  With more of those beautiful strawberries for dessert. 

What are you having for dinner? 


...was a glorious day.

Time for some down after the hectic past few weeks.
With a pile of new library books and a basket packed with snacks, a picnic rug and cushions, we headed off to the tree house and got comfy under the flowering virgila tree.
We read stories, ate ginger nuts and drank blackcurrant tea.

Hugo took some snaps.

It's the simple things that bring the most pleasure.

Today is very windy and I think most of the blossoms have blown away. I'm grateful we had the chance to enjoy them yesterday.

Photos by Hugo.

:: 20 questions...

Hooray! A new game over at Pip's place.  I should be hanging the washing out but, here is a welcome distraction.  Why don't you head over there and play along too?
  1. Sweet or Savoury? Both! I like savoury in the morning and sweet in the afternoon.
  2. Dresses or Jeans? Skirts actually.
  3. House or Apartment? Oh a house please. Although an apartment in Paris would be nice!
  4. Shop Online or Offline? I do a lot of shopping online, books, clothes, music and a weekly organic grocery shop that gets home delivered.
  5. DVDs or Downloads? DVDs, haven't worked out how to download yet.
  6. Cocktails or Juice? Juice, fresh orange is my favourite.
  7. Chocolate or Strawberry? Probably chocolate
  8. Laptop or PC? Laptop - I love my MacBook.
  9. Magazines or Newspapers? Terrible magazine junkie, ever since I was teenager reading Smash Hits and No 1.  These days I love Inside Out, Gourmet Traveller and Organic Gardener. 
  10. Facebook or Twitter? I use both, too much really.
  11. CDs or MP3s? MP3s I love being able to buy an album immediately, don't know if my credit card does though!
  12. Kids or Pets? I have both and wouldn't be without either.
  13. Macaron or Cupcakes? I can't say no to a cupcake.
  14. Walk or Run? Walking nowadays, I used to run a lot before children though.
  15. Breakfast in Bed or Breakfast Out? Breakfast out, I don't have enough pillows to prop myself up to eat breakfast in bed.
  16. Market or Supermarket? I try never to go the supermarket, I like markets and little grocery stores.
  17. Sourdough or Grainy? Bread is my favourite food and I'll take either as long it's well made. 
  18. Heels or Flats? I'll  be in flats until Blundstone start making heels. 
  19. Late nights or Not? I would like to get to bed earlier than I do, but see number 10
  20. Coffee or Tea? Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon.
Right, that laundry's not going to dry itself. Back to work. 

Sunday's spring bounty

Despite yesterday's downpour, it was a wonderful day at the market. Aside from loving what I do there, baking and selling cakes, a big part of the attraction is bringing home fantastic produce every week.  Now that the growing season is getting into full swing, yesterday my shopping basket was positively groaning with fresh spring produce.

It was the last day for the apple man, he's run out til the first early croppers appear in late February.  But he's swiftly replaced by a grower selling the most delicious strawberries imaginable, their fragrance wafted over to our stall until they sold out.  Other spring produce included tiny broad beans, rosy rhubarb stalks, artichokes and little sweet golden turnips that children were eating like apples. 

My family reckon I'm a bit strange, coming home and immediately photographing artichokes in the  soft afternoon light.  But I couldn't help it, they're irresistible.  Not only to look at but to eat.  The question was, do I leave them on the counter to look beautiful all week, or eat them while they're still super fresh?  Naturally greed won the day and I cut them in half, rubbed them with lemon juice, tossed with olive oil and roasted for about ten minutes. Messy to eat but finger licking good.
Sunday night is our one weekend family meal together, a feast usually made up of bounty from the market.

Then it's bathtime for the kids before settling down to watch Jr Masterchef.  I cried last night.  I'm going for Jack and Hugo and Elsa are going for Isabella.  Jack comes to our stall and buys cakes.  I asked him if our chocolate cake was as good as Donna Hay's.  He said "Better!"  Such a lovely young man.  And that's another reason why I love the markets.

My creative space...

A good friend recently bought an old farmhouse to renovate for use as self contained accommodation. The house is utterly gorgeous :: surrounded by a big country garden with chooks, fruit trees and the most covetable green house.

I was very excited when she asked me to photograph the house for the website. Yesterday I shot the kitchen. I had so much fun playing in there, creating a little country breakfast scene. The light is so beautiful. I took along some props like bread, milk, eggs and picked greens from the garden and set up the shots while Hugo played in the garden. Bliss.
I'll let you know when the site goes up so you can have a peak at the house. You might want to come and stay:: it's a really creative space!

In the meantime, I can't help but wonder, where can I put some white painted shelves in my kitchen...

More creativity here

Our day on film

We had a photo shoot at our house today for Country Style magazine. Yes we did. I loved watching the ace photographer work. He used real film. And real polaroids! Old school.

I spent the day with the peeps and they played and helped me bake cakes and generally had a relaxing day at home while someone photographed them. Pretty much a regular day for them, except somebody else snapping away instead of me. Even Mabel got in on the action and was a model pup.

It was a lot of work getting the house and garden ship shape. But it did mean the old girl received a much needed spring clean (um, the house not me) and now is lovely and tidy. I can't imagine it will stay that way for long though. I look forward to seeing our house in print, because it means I'll have proof that the house was actually dusted once.

Here's our kitchen :: finished for now. Few more things to finish off, but for now, it is done. Woo Hoo!

This spring

The flowers are in full bloom and give the appearance of a proper cottage garden, ahem, in places. We've fox gloves for the first time this year. A new favourite, someone said once you have fox gloves you'll never get rid of them. I must say I'm pretty happy about that.
The children are building fairy worlds with leaves and lichen, and never want to come inside for dinner. I'm weeding, weeding and weeding and that Mabel, cute as she is, is digging holes where they are not wanted. Cheeky.