Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Passion of the Fruit

What do you do when you find you have an abundance of passionfruit on the vine and also in the fruitbowl?

 Why, you cut em up, of course...

And then you pull out your Muffin Bible, and turn to page 167...

And you get muffin-ing!

And then (twenty minutes later).... get eatin!  yummmmmmmm!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Going nuts: a beginners guide

This weekend gone I ventured back to a time long, long ago when I didn't have a care in the world....back to a time of running barefoot through the paddock, climbing trees, dodging cow poo (I grew up on a farm - stay with me here)...and cracking nuts.  Fresh homegrown macadamia nuts, freshly fallen from the tree down the back - picked up before they have a chance to be macerated by the mower on its weekly rounds.

Here's how it goes...

,,,gather together your equipment: nuts (essential), hammer, relatively sunny spot of concrete...preferably with a little divet-hole like aperture just right for holding said nut.  Don't panic though, a few good hits with the hammer and voila! you have your own!

Don't forget to wear your ugg boots - it's cold out this time of year.  Gloves also would be a good idea.  Keep them fingerless though or there'll be a serious chance of hammer slippage and there could well be an injury (swearing too, if you're anything like me).

Now get crackin!  

 Watch out for these secret split ones - where the split comes where your fingers are holding (but of course it does!) and pinches you without a thought.  These once you're allowed to eat. With revenge and relish.  That's the rules.  You're also allowed to eat the ones that get squashed by any form of over-zealous hammering.  Watch out for your thumb though.  That'll hurt when you hammer that.

At the end, you'll have a container with a healthy amount of cracked nuts ready, looking at...eating....

...right after you get the broom and sweep up the mess you made.  You really don't want someone to step on a half-cracked macadamia shell in their bare feet (not that anyone would be in bare feet this time of year but I'm just saying) - especially not yourself!


Sunday, June 17, 2012

In My Kitchen: June 2012

Joining Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for her monthly In My Kitchen posts - pop on over to Celia's and see what's happening in the kitchens of other bloggers....why not even join the fun yourself!

In My Kitchen this month....

.....I had BIG plans to show you my chickens living in my kitchen.  Not real chickens.  Pretend chickens.  Chicken 'ornaments' that have slowly gathered in a flock to almost take over my shelves and cupboards.  I do seem to have a lot of them.  But as with most plans in this neck of the woods, they were destined to be changed and altered from the outset.  Forgone but hopefully not forgotten, they will make their appearance in another IMK post without a doubt.  

In the meantime....

....In My Kitchen....the mixmaster sits awaiting action....

...fruit has been soaking....

....the tin has been lined.... has been poured....

....and ingredients assembled.

Recipe notes have been decoded (the wine helps with this one!)....

....and the action begins!!!

Time is a'tickin....

In 3 1/2 hours the deed will be done and the cake will be cooked.  There's a milestone birthday coming up for which a cake of significance will be required (although in no way is the finished product to mention the age of said milestone birthday!  That's between the birthday girl and herself thank you very much!).  It's not for another 4 weeks but time is of the essence and there is no time like the present (especially when it comes to fruit cakes).

Watch this space next month for the finishing of it.  

I hope it turns out like I hope :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

My Sorj Experience

The other day Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial did a post on her new chapatti pan and how she originally wanted a Sorj but got a chapatti pan and even though it isn't a Sorj she still loves it (are you still with me?).

Now, I worked in a bakery for 10 years so I know all about the different tins we westerners bake our bread in, not so much about other tools/pans/implements used around the world but thanks to Celia I now know what a Sorj.  Not an upturned, biggest-wok-I've-ever-seen at all, but a traditional Lebanese bread maker!  Now I know.  And, best of all, I've seen one in action, with my very own two eyes!

[cue story]

Two years ago now the LOML and I were travelling the world and living it up a little.  Well, as much as you can live it up when you're travelling light and not-so-cashed-up.  

Anyway, we ended up in Lebanon and found the LOML's family up in the mountains using only a village name and a vague idea of actually where in Lebanon it was - but that's a whole other story for another are some pictures to set the scene...

Looks like a postcard doesn't it?  It was like this everywhere I looked - amazing!

Once we had been with the family for a few days, we were taken early one morning around to the LOML's aunt's house to see how she went about making the flat breads which she would sell in the village.  She had tried for the last six or so years to retire from the bread making, being that it is an all-night vigil in order to have fresh breads for morning and she is not a young woman anymore, but the village would not let her retire, so here she was at 4 in the morning kneading dough and cooking the most delicious, crusty-crackly flat breads you could possibly imagine.

True, she had been up for hours doing this and was nearing the end of the dough balls when we arrived but, without breaking stride - knead, roll, flip, flop, bake...repeat, she had a traditional breakfast feast pulled out for us to eat (labneh, tomatoes, olive oil, hummus) with the freshest of fresh, piping hot flat breads all while watching her work her magic.

And it was magic.

Watching her hands move with a confidence that comes from a lifetime of doing a task - shaping the dough into a flattish round with patting motions on a floured stone, then picking it up and twirling it around and around her hands like they do in the best Italian pizza restaurants but thinner, way thinner, until it was almost translucent and then flipping it onto a floured cushion to rest for a minute or two while the bread on the hot Sorj baked, before carefully flipping the rested flatbread onto the now empty Sorj to bake for a minute on one side, then flipping to the other side for even less time and then gently lifting it off to the pile of freshly baked breads already done. 


An experience I will never forget.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Wedding Bells

So it turns out that it is 12 years together - not the 10 I was thinking - that my friend and her new husband have been together.  A commitment in itself really but now they have the official recognition as well.

It was a beautiful wedding.  The weather was crap.  Torrential downpours at exactly the wrong time but that didn't dampen enthusiasm nor spoil the mood.

The bride was late, the groom was surprisingly relaxed, the little kids were very well behaved, and there was one groomsman who looked a little green around the gills (though I have it on good authority that as his girlfriend was the chief bridesmaid he was worried the suits and pretty dresses would put ideas in her head!).

While traditional, the Catholic ceremony was still quite relaxed - the priest's mobile phone ringing during the homily did help to add to that atmosphere!  Certainly, his mention that it was most likely the big man upstairs calling in to see how the ceremony was going lightened the mood considerably! 

The reception kept up that feeling with a cocktail feel - finger food, no set menu, lots of dancing, plenty of wine - and lots of time to laugh and joke and catch up with friends.

The LOML and I looked great, if I do say so myself.

I'd been on my feet for quite a while - that's my excuse for my cankles and I'm sticking to it!!
And as for my shoes, the bride wore the same pair in white.  Definitely great style there.

Overall a magnificent day!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Love is in the air

Tomorrow I will be attending a wedding that has been 10 years in the making.

Not far from the waterfront, a short drive from the city, overlooking the bay and the beach, a woman and her man will be making their union official in front of all their family and friends.  

Tomorrow my friend Nicole marries her sweetheart.

Just made for each other they are, with so much laughter and jokes going on between them you can tell from the outset that they truly are best friends.  

Generous and caring, I can't wait to share their day and celebrate with them...

...especially in these new heels!


Watch this space for photos... 
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