Monday, November 30, 2009

Asha's Birthday

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Ours has been probably one of the busiest we’ve had in a long time with a garage sale on Saturday at Dad’s and our nephews’ christening yesterday. Today is our beloved dog Asha’s 4th birthday. She is a lovely natured dog and we are so glad she is part of our little family. Below is her as a puppy and also a more recent photo. I’m off to take Asha and Grace for a nice long walk and a play in the park to celebrate…

Friday, November 27, 2009

New Potato Salad

Image from here

We dragged out the barbecue for the first time in a while during the week so I tried a new potato salad. It made a nice change from the usual one I make. I've posted the recipe below. Hope you all have a lovely upcoming weekend. We are in for an extremely busy one...

Warm Potato, Bacon & Mushroom Salad

750g chat potatoes, halved
1 eschalot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbs white wine vinegar
2 ½ tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 bacon rashers, trimmed, roughly chopped
12 button mushrooms, halved
4 cups (120g) baby spinach leaves
1 tbs chopped chives

Cook the potatoes in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 10-12 minutes until just tender. Drain. Meanwhile, whisk together the eschalot, garlic, vinegar and 1 tablespoon of oil in a large bowl. Add the warm potatoes, toss to coat, then set aside to absorb while you cook the bacon and mushrooms. Heat a non-stick frypan over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and dry-fry for 2 minutes or until crisp. Remove and add to the salad bowl. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan and cook the mushrooms, stirring, for 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Season well, then add to the salad bowl with the remaining ingredients. Toss to combine, then serve warm.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Helen Rawlinson Screen Printed Fabric

The fabric I ordered for Grace’s room has arrived so it looks like I’m in for some sewing this weekend. I really happy to stumble across Helen’s Etsy store – she has some great items for sale. All the fabric in her shop is hand screen-printed in her studio (a converted Chocolate Factory in East London) using solvent free water based inks. Check out her store or her blog to see more. Below are some examples of her lovely fabric…

All images from here

Monday, November 23, 2009

Malteser Biscuits

Hope you have all had a fabulous weekend. We spent Saturday tidying up our patio as our new paving is now complete (will post ‘after’ photos once I get my new pot plants) and yesterday I made a batch of Malteser Biscuits (recipe below). The flowers on my desk Double Delight roses which are blooming beautifully in our garden at the moment. It is so nice to be able to pick fresh flowers every few days to brighten up our house and these ones have the most beautiful fragrance too. Hope everyone enjoys their start to the week…

Malteser Biscuits

250g butter, softened
⅓ cup white sugar
⅓ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
½ cup condensed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
165g packet Maltesers, roughly chopped
2 cups self-raising flour, sifted
½ cup plain flour, sifted

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line baking trays with baking paper. Beat butter and sugars in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale. Add condensed milk and vanilla and beat for a further 1 minute. Add Maltesers and flours. Stir with a large metal spoon until well-combined. Roll mixture into small walnut-sized balls. Place onto prepared baking trays, allowing room for biscuits to spread. Gently press biscuits with a fork to flatten slightly. Bake 2 trays at a time, for 12 to 15 minutes, swapping trays halfway through. Stand for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Little Miss Cupcake

Little Miss Cupcake is a gourmet cupcake business which used to have a stall at the Kalamunda Markets. Every time I went I would make a beeline for that ever-popular stall, join the huge queue and head home with a tray of beautifully decorated cupcakes for afternoon tea. These days, Little Miss Cupcake has its own cute store where it also sells cupcake-related gifts and homewares. I just had to share some photos of this pretty shop with you all. See more lovely pictures on their website here.

Both images from here

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Relaxed and Cosy Lounge Room

Image source unknown

When we moved into our house, we were happy to live with half-filled rooms until we tracked down and could afford to buy exactly what we were after. Four and a half years down the track, our place is still looking unfinished. Our lounge room is in desperate need of completion. At the moment, I’m still on the hunt for cushions, throws, artwork, a feature armchair, wine rack/buffet and lots of knick knacks. I really love the lounge room in the photo above. I like how it doesn’t have any one colour which is too dominant and it looks casual and inviting – exactly the look I want to aim for in our house…

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hydrangea Display

This photo was taken in the garden at Cataract Gorge in Launceston, Tasmania. I was amazed at the way such varied shades of hydrangeas were growing so closely together. I would love to have a potted white hydrangea with its lush green foliage on our patio once the new paving is complete. However, something I read made me think that perhaps hydrangeas were toxic to humans. Has anyone else heard of this? I am hoping I am wrong…

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Gift Elephant

Image from here

Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend. This is probably old news but I just love this site I have recently discovered. Can’t remember what/who led me to it but it is one of the best organizational tools I’ve come across. It’s called Gift Elephant and it helps you keep track of gifts you’ve given to others. More importantly, it helps record the givers of gifts you and your family have received. I wish I’d begun using this earlier. Check it out for yourself here.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Coconut Chicken

Tried out this recipe last night from Real Living’s Summer Cookbook. It was a nice simple meal and didn’t take long to prepare or cook. Has definitely made it into my recipe folder. I served ours with steamed vegetables.

Chicken & Beans with Coconut Sauce (Serves 4)

4 single chicken breast fillets (about 800g total)
Vegetable oil, for brushing
2 tbsp green curry paste
375ml coconut milk
200g green beans, trimmed
½ cup chopped fresh coriander leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat pan on medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook for 4 minutes each side or until cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside for 5 minutes to rest. Meanwhile heat frying pan over medium heat. Brush with oil. Add curry paste and cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Stir in coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low. Add beans and simmer for 5 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat. Stir in half the coriander. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Divide beans among plates and top with chicken. Spoon over coconut sauce and sprinkle with remaining coriander to serve.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Nursery Spruce Up

Been browsing my inspiration folders for ideas on how to spruce up Grace’s room. Here’s what’s taking my eye so far…

Image source unknown (please let me know if you know)

Image from maliburahcel on Flickr

Image from Helen Rawlinson

I’d love to make some sort of fabric bunting similar to the one in the top photo, perhaps to hang along the bottom of the cot. Shelving to display books and toys like the middle photo has would add some more colour to Grace’s room. Love the alphabet flashcards too. The fabric in the frame above is screen printed by Etsy seller Helen Rawlinson. I’ve ordered some to make a cute cushion for the chair in Grace’s room (or perhaps to stretch over a canvas). Can’t wait for it to arrive in the mail soon…

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Latest Renovation Project

Re-paving our patio has finally started! Our bricks have arrived and work is underway this morning. We are re-paving right up to the windows in the photo below which will stop our dog Asha from lying in the sandy patch and traipsing dirt everywhere. The new bricks are also darker and should flow on from our living area floorboards better. The shrub in the photo is our beautiful star jasmine which is covered in hundreds of little white flowers at present. Once it’s all finished I’m planning on putting a few pot plants next to the house and having some sort of centrepiece on the outdoor table.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Afternoon Tea Scones

Made a batch of lemonade scones for afternoon tea on the weekend. I’m sure you all have the recipe already but for those of you who don’t, I’ve written it below. They are super easy to make. The tablecloth in the photo was passed on to me by my Nanna several years ago. At the time I remember thinking it was ‘old and Grandma-ish’ and that it would probably sit in the linen cupboard. Now, I love nothing more than setting the table with it and have a real appreciation for embroidered linens and all the hard work that has gone into them. Hope you all had a lovely weekend too.

Lemonade Scones

3 cups Self Raising flour (sifted)
250ml lemonade
250ml cream

Mix to a firm dough, 2cm in thickness (the trick is not to overwork the dough – do not knead it, just bring it all together). Use a scone cutter dipped in flour to cut out scones. Brush with milk. Bake in a 200°C oven until light golden.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Morning at the Markets

Aren’t these coral coloured peonies stunning? Saw them today at the Kalamunda Markets and couldn’t resist taking a photo to share with you all. Grace and I had a lovely morning wandering around looking at all the stalls and stopping for a cup of tea at one of our favourite cafes. Came away with a cute little crystal vase, a ceramic Christmas ornament and a pot plant.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Laura Ashley Tray

Saw this lovely scallop edged butterfly tray in Laura Ashley the other day and am still trying to decide whether or not to buy one. It is a buttery cream colour with accents of duck-egg blue. Very pretty! I love the scalloped edge. They also have a matching tiered cake stand.

Image from here

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bare Nursery

Having seen the nurseries of other babies in my Mother’s Group over the past few weeks and having been totally inspired by all of the gorgeous kids’ rooms featured on Amanda’s blog Swish and Swanky, I have decided that poor Grace’s room is in desperate need of completion. Even my husband remarked the other day that her room was looking bare. As we didn’t find out if we were having a boy or a girl when I was pregnant, we went for a fairly neutral coloured room with hits of yellow and green. I also didn’t want to go for anything too baby looking as I am keen for her room to be able to adapt as she gets older. I think I need to sort out some more artwork, add some colour to the cot somehow and perhaps get some shelving. Any more suggestions?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Busy Weekend

Doesn’t the weekend always fly by so quickly? Went to IKEA (again!!), visited a nursery to get some more plants for our garden and made a few batches of vegetable puree for Grace’s second week on solids. Also after months of careful thought, I decided to buy the cute little red teapot I had seen at T2. Now I’m off to sit down with a magazine, a cuppa and some of my new favourite biscuits which I baked this afternoon - a perfect way to spend a Sunday evening. Hope you've all had an enjoyable weekend too.