Monday, March 28, 2011

Week Off

Sorry I haven't blogged that much over the last week. Grace has been unwell as she came down with a cold which has developed into an ear infection and to top it off, Paul and I now have her nasty cold too. So I've decided to take this week off to look after my little possum as well as myself and to try and catch up on things around here.

I promise to be back to blogging as normal after the weekend. Enjoy your week everyone...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

On My Table

On Friday night, one of my best friends Kylie gave me a belated birthday present which I absolutely love. It is a gorgeous Willow pattern teacup and saucer which has been recycled into a soy candle and it smells absolutely divine. It has found its new home on our kitchen table along with some flowers still going strong from the other night.

I love that this candle has been fashioned from something someone no longer wanted or needed. It's wonderful that people can find creative uses to reuse old bits and pieces. Do you own something that has been 'recycled' in a similar way or been adapted to find a new use?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Our First Cooking Club

Happy Monday! I hope you've all had a nice relaxing weekend just like we did. On Friday night, my friends and I had our very first Cooking Club get together. Unfortunately, we were having such a good time tasting all the yummy food and chatting away, that I forgot to take any photos (next time I promise!!) so all I have are a few shots of the table before everyone arrived.

It was a smaller group than usual for our first meet up as two girls couldn't make it, but it was still an enjoyable night. I organized a little 'surprise gift' for one of my guests (the latest Good Food magazine and a sample pack of goodies that came with it) who I chose by placing a sticker randomly under one of the side plates on the table. The person who sat in this spot received the prize.

As for food, half of us made salads and half made desserts. I also put some roast beef on in the slow cooker to go with our salads. Our menu consisted of:

Pumpkin and Spinach Salad
Broccoli Salad

Raspberry Bread and Butter Pudding
Easy Tiramisu
Turkish Delight Rocky Road

We have decided to hold our Cooking Clubs every month and a half. For next time, I would like to try making a special drink to serve my guests and would like to spend some more time on decorations and making the table extra pretty. Ideas for future themes we discussed were easy weeknight meals, winter warmers, morning tea treats, an international night and Christmas goodies.

Overall it was a fun night and it was great to taste the dishes and to come away with several new recipes to add to my recipe folder, several of which I'm dying to make again.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Donna Hay's Chicken Nicoise Salad

It's been a little while since I've shared a new recipe with you all so today I thought I'd post one I've been making a fair bit recently. It's from a Donna Hay magazine and was given to me by my sister-in-law. Unfortunately, I haven't managed to take a photo on the numerous times I've made this dish as it's always been gobbled up very quickly but take my word for it, served with some fresh bread, this is a great salad for a quick, light meal that can be prepared ahead.

Chicken Nicoise Salad

2L chicken stock
4 chicken breasts
250g green beans (sliced lengthways)
⅓ cup kalamata olives (pitted)
150g baby Roma tomatoes (halved)
70g rocket (I also add some baby spinach)
4 hard boiled eggs (halved or quartered)
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
⅓ cup olive oil

Combine the garlic, lemon juice, mustard and oil and set aside. Heat the stock on high and bring to the boil. Turn the heat to low and add the chicken for 14 mins. Add beans for another few minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the beans tender. Cool chicken and shred. Put in a bowl with remaining ingredients and drizzle over dressing.

(Serves 4)

Image above from Donna Hay website

Monday, March 14, 2011

Tub and Bubble Fun

We had a fairly busy weekend just gone which is unusual for us. On Saturday it was my sister's birthday and we had a barbecue/picnic lunch down by the beach. At night, Paul and I headed into the city for a birthday dinner while my Mum minded Grace. By the next day we were exhausted. One function a day seems to be all I can handle these days.

On Sunday, Paul was working away trying to level sand and dig reticulation trenches in the soon to be 'Grace's Corner' of our backyard. I had to spend some time online renewing my Western Australian College of Teaching membership (what a painful process!) and so Grace was happy playing in the sand watching Paul. When I finally came out to see what they were both up to, Grace was filthy and covered in dirt so we filled up her outdoor toy tub with warm water and bubble bath and she spent a good half hour in there splashing around and having fun.

As for the week ahead, my first Cooking Club with my friends is this Friday night which I am really looking forward to. What are you looking forward to this week?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sculptures By The Sea

Over the long weekend, we went and had a look at the Sculptures By The Sea on exhibition at Cottesloe Beach. There were some interesting sculptures, some clever and some a bit weird but it was fun wandering around checking them out.

My favourite was the 'sea' of paper boats. The last one below in front of the Indiana Teahouse is apparently worth over half a million dollars. Here are a few I managed to snap photos of...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Happy Birthday To Me...

This past weekend in Western Australia has been a long weekend which is lucky for me because Saturday was also my birthday. I received some lovely presents including a few things I've had on my wishlist for a while now like some windchimes (to hang on our patio) and a small thermos (to take with me on picnics with Grace).

Not being a 'special birthday year' (that's next year for me), I just wanted to do something simple so we went for breakfast along with some family members at my latest favourite spot in Fremantle. In the evening, the three of us got a yummy pizza and took it to Kings Park to enjoy.

I hope you have all had a wonderful weekend too...

Friday, March 4, 2011

Making Me Smile...

One of Grace's favourite things to do is play in the family boat with Daddy. I love this photo I snapped of the two of them in the driveway waving to people walking their dogs along the footpath and to cars that were passing. Yesterday evening, Grace was in there 'cleaning' with a dusting rag while Paul was vacuuming. Very cute.

What has made you smile this week?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Back After A Break

Image via Ada and Darcy

I must apologise for disappearing from blogland over the past week. I haven't quite felt 100% and just needed to rest and have some time out. The terrible heat we've been experiencing hasn't helped much either as our study is the only room without an airconditioning vent and I couldn't bear sweltering in front of the computer. Perth has had virtually a fortnight of days over 35 degrees - I am longing for some autumn weather now that we're into March.

Anyway, I'm in a chirpier mood today and hope to be back to blogging as usual by the end of the week...