A busy week in the kitchen in preparation for last weekend's Mothers Market. I love that market. It was one of the first of its kind in Hobart, and while not a regular one anymore, when it is on, it's fantastic. We ran the cafe again. A chance to cook delicious food, both sweet and savoury, in the gorgeous vintage kitchen. We used crockery from the stunning china cabinet, filled with vintage treasures of tea cups, cut glass bowls and Alfred crockery. I could easily move into the hall if I was allowed, and happily cook all day. I wish I wasn't so busy and had taken more snaps.
On Friday night we made curries and old school chicken sandwiches washed down with pink champagne. Next morning for breakfast we made rhubarb and granola with greek yoghurt, herb and cheddar muffins, baked on site so they were lovely and warm and smoked salmon and creamy scrambled egg ciabattas. For lunch the ciabatta continued, baked by Jay at Pigeon Hole, with soppressa or ham crammed with salad, and a quinoa and broad bean salad loaded with mint and feta. No pictures but all gobbled up pronto.
Today, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed with how busy things are, and as ever, Amanda's words of wisdom remind me to "move as slowly as I can, as mindfully as can be." I still read her blog every morning, five years on, and get so much inspiration from her. I feel better already.
a friend said. Months and months of waiting and exciting anticipation. Getting ready for the arrival by preparing the hearth (just as you would a nursery) walls are painted and tiled, floor reinforced and tiled, window installed and finished. All the paraphernalia, flue, tank and radiators are here and waiting. Two weeks over due. Any day my baby is due. Any day.
Cooked :: a big pot of strawberry jam
Ate :: doorstops smothered with the still warm jam
Played :: with dogs on the lawn
Bought :: rhubarb, baguette and beautiful araucana eggs from Huonville and Cygnet markets
Every year without fail, the rapid spring growth serves as a reminder of who really is boss in this garden, and it's not me. It's Mother nature and she has big plans for our garden. She wants to turn it into a meadow. Then, she'll leave it as a meadow until the trees have self seeded, grown tall and established, then it will be a forest, just like it was 150 years ago. If it wasn't for my endless mowing, weeding, mulching and trimming edges, this garden would turn into a meadow in about a year I reckon.
This never ending battle to fight off the meadow requires an armoury of garden tools that clutter and spill out of the potting shed and garage: lawn mower, brush cutter; hedge clippers and an assortment of hand tools. And while the big petrol guzzling machines may be the most effective, they need constant petrol, oil, servicing and replacement parts. Usually one of them is broken or at the mower shop at any given time.
Interestingly enough, a small but growing army of gardeners in the next village down the road have turned to the age old tool of the scythe. They've taken to cutting each others' meadows for hay. Much to the bemusement of the local petrol heads. Beautiful to look at, and with a bit of practice, just as effective as its modern counterparts, it's quiet without any moving parts to break. A friend kindly lent me their scythe this week so I could see for myself how it faired in the meadow fighting stakes. I need some practice for sure, but the gentle side to side movement and the irresistible sound of the steel cutting the grass makes this option very appealing. Working outdoors, listening to the sound of the birds, with no ear muffs, no stinky petrol fumes and finishing the job with neat pile of cut grass, what's not to love. It's a winner. Have a look here at how effective these scythes can be.
Yep, I think I'll be adding one of these to my Christmas wish list. I'm sure Mother nature would approve.
These spring days, when the weather plays nice, are my favourite. Mild sunny days spent in the garden, surrounded by flowers and new spring growth. Even the most neglected parts of the garden have a charm about them at this time of year . Yesterday Hugo and I had nowhere to go and nowhere to be except at home. All too rare these days, as it seems the pace really picks up towards the end of the year. A day off is one to be treasured.
We spent the morning in the garden, sowed some lettuce seeds, planted tomatillos, harvested all the carrots and a few rogue garlics that were overlooked last year. Then the sight of a massive scorpion forced a hasty retreat inside. A hot chocolate to soothe the fractured nerves of a small boy (who thought scorpions have lasers) and a batch of cinnamon buns to bake. Ready just in time to share with friends for afternoon tea. A perfect spring day with nowhere to go. I wish there was more of them.
Are you making granola? There's loads of recipes around and it's so cheap to make yourself, especially if you stock up on ingredients in bulk at the local health food store. Now that the warmer weather is here and more and more summer fruits are appearing, granola is our favourite breakfast, served with loads of yogurt and fresh fruit.
This recipe, based on one of Heidi's, really is a doddle to make and you can add substitute your own favourite fruit, nuts or even add seeds if you're feeling really virtuous. I like to add the dried fruit after the granola has baked so they don't burn and turn bitter. Here's our recipe, but would love to know if you have a favourite one.
Granola :: makes a really big jar full.
4 cups of oats
1.5 cups hazelnuts
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup dried sour cherries
1 cup of golden raisins (my god have you tried these? A taste sensation!)
1 tbs cinnamon
2 tsp salt
60 g coconut oil
1/2 cup honey
Preheat oven to 150C. In a large bowl combine oats, hazelnuts, coconut, cinnamon and salt and mix well. Then in a small saucepan melt coconut oil over gentle heat. Add the honey and stir well to combine then pour over oat mixture and toss really well until all the dry ingredients are coated well. Spread evenly over two baking sheets and place in the oven for 30 - 40 minutes, or until starting to turn golden. You can stir the granola half way through if the edges are getting too brown. Allow to cool then pour back into large bowl and add the fruit and toss. Store in a large airtight container.
What if there was an eccentric millionaire who owned an art gallery....
who had a vision for a farmers market...but
it had to be like no other...
More like an art installation...
a marriage between art and food...
combining interesting and contrasting elements of a market...
What if you were asked to be involved...
in an insanely challenging role with impossible deadlines...
Crazy. Preposterous. Folly.
Would you take on the pressure, the stress and the sleepless nights?
Hell yes! Bring it on!
So what are we doing you may ask? Well, we are super excited to be working on a new book with Matthew, Ross and Nick, we're still doing cakes by request, we're catering for events using delicious, sustainable and local ingredients, we're writing about food, styling for food photo shoots, and well, there is one project that we are so over the moon about that I have to pinch myself to check that I'm awake and that it's real. But you'll have to wait to hear more about that.
As they say, you have to close one door before another one opens and well, this week that proverb certainly rings true. Hooray for cupcakes! Those dear little treats have been so much fun.