Sunday, April 24, 2011

Things I Found in the Spring (Autumn) Clean

I must say I had a wonderful day cleaning out cupboards and drawers which took way longer than it should of as I kept stopping, reading, reminiscing and occasionally shedding a tear.  But mostly it was a day full of wonderful memories.  This little vest was my first discovery.   I remember making it for Shannon whilst I was working in Cairns for two weeks...and amazingly I found this photo of her wearing it.  This photo was taken on the occasion of their baptism.

Then I uncovered my dad's "Motorist's Record Book".  Dad would write in this book every time...and I mean every time..he bought petrol.    It seems to begin in about 1982 when petrol was 40c a litre and I think this coincided with the purchase of the Holden Commodore.
 Speaking about Dad, I came across this card Shannon had made for grandad..absolutely priceless find:
In amongst some papers, I found a copy of a creative writing magazine where some of Liam's early writings were ;published:
This post could go on many forgotten treasures were unearthed..but will finish on this email from Liam which he sent to Shan and I after competing in the Gold Coast Half Marathon in 2004.  It bought back memories of the finish of the half marathon and I was feeling pretty weary and was beginning to wonder whether it was all worth while.  I suddenly heard Liam calling my name from the stands next to the finishing line.  His presence there was totally unexpected.  It made me feel like a champion and when I found this email, the memories of that wonderful day came flooding back.

That's it..Time to put the stuff away and get on with the cleaning.

The Finished Quilt

I have been working on this quilt for Guy for way too long.  So set myself a deadline of Easter Sunday to have it finished.  Guy, who is three, had graduated to a 'big' bed and needed a quilt to snuggle under in the cooler months.  So finish it I did.  I used a Kookaburra Cottage pattern, Raspberry Shortcake.
And the fabric was a mixture of  Freespirit by David Walker and Traffic Jam by Allison Jane Smith.  The spots were from Spotlight.   I still have difficulty photographing my quilts and tried hanging them outside..but the light wasn't right.  Anyway, decided that any photo is better than no photo:

 And just had to share this one of Guy hiding under his can his tiny hands peeping out from the top.  Needless to say, he was very thrilled and enjoyed counting all the 'matching' squares.

Now to move on to the next quilt...can't wait. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

An Easter Treat

 How cute are these?  Felicity made these tasty morsels for us today.  You can find the recipe here:
They are truly a treat and I highly recommend them.  Thanks Felicity for sharing them with us. Shannon and I had a bit of fun photographing these little gems to their best advantage.  Apologies to those who missed out on Felicity's treats.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

An Unexpected Distraction to Water Falling Down

On leaving the Art Gallery on our way to the QTC production of Mark Swivel's play, Water Falling Down, we were suddently confronted by this:

Just wonderful watching the little people's reaction to him.
But we had an appointment with a play and couldn't dally any longer.  So off to the Cremorne we headed:

Just to add a quote from the brochure:

"Water Falling Down is a powerful new Australian work which explores the complex and fragile relationship between father and son" 

"Water Falling Down is a poignant and funny reflection on parenting, love and loss; an intimate and very personal story about fathers and sons"

Great piece of theatre in my opinion.  We all agreed it was a rewarding way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Sunday Flowers (a bit late)

My Sunday afternoon walk through Toohey Forest failed to provide much stimulus for my Sunday flowers post..but  I did manage to capture a few gems.  The forest, often described as an island in suburbia, is home to hundreds of native plants, the most prominent of which is the grass tree (Xanthorrhoea). Nevertheless, a small white dog and I had a very enjoyable walk.

Back home, I did find a couple of flowers that have graced my garden for more years than I care to remember.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Oh What a Lovely Walk!

I meet up with a couple of friends on a Wednesday for an energetic walk along the Brisbane River.  We meet after work and walk in a set direction for about 30 minutes and then head back.  I took my camera along last week to capture the beauty of the Brisbane River. 

Jessica's Ella's Pink Lady in the Maritime Museum

Page 105 of WeightWatchers Cook Basics

Friday night..what should I cook?  Well I turned to page 105 of the WeightWatchers Cook Basics new cookbook - Yogurt-marinated lamb skewers with tabouli...sounded good.  Had all the ingredients and a bit of a fan of tabouli, decided to give it a go.  Well, here's the results:
It was delightful..the Old Gold Bunny was impressed.  The plate is part of a dinner service I bought in 1967 and I still love it.  The brand is Bidasoa and it was made in Spain.  I have done a quick search of the internet, but can't find anything similar, although there is fair amount of "Bidasoa" out there. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Quilter's Companion

Addy is the most fantastic quilter's companion...but I do have another one - a Hera marker by Clover
Just wonder who would have invented such a clever, simple tool which has been invaluable in marking out Guy's quilt.  Maybe it was Mrs Hera..need to do more research.  I bought mine at Peppermint Stitches when I was doing a course there.  I thought Christine said "hero" marker..well my hera marker is a bit of a hero in fact.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Easter Bunnys at Work

 Looks like one bunny enjoyed the lunch way too much..Look at that smile!
Couldn't resist taking some photos of these Easter bunnys.  My workplace has traditionally given all staff a small gift at Easter and this year we all scored these delightful bunnies.  They looked so cheery hanging about on Cathy's desk.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Cabbage Rolls with a Hint of Reminiscing

Shannon has requested a recipe for Lebanese cabbage rolls (Malfouf) so that she can cook up a feast for some friends.  I first watched Shan and Liam's grandmother (Olga) (Morney to her grandchildren) prepare these in my kitchen about 40 years ago.  Hunting through some old things, I found this delightful photo of her and her grandchildren..Shan and Liam are the youngest ones:
Olga never used a was all in her head.  I guess she had learnt from her mother who had fled Lebanon in the early 1900s.  Confronted with Shan's request for a 'written recipe', I felt rather daunted as to how to explain the process.  You need a very good cabbage..a nice big that that you have lots of lovely leaves in which to roll your mixture.  Anyway here version of Morney's cabbage rolls:


1 very special cabbage
 1 cup rice
1 finely chopped onion
500 grms of minced lamb
1/2 tspn cinnamon
1/2 tspn allspice
You mix this all together (clean hands particularly good for this)
loads of garlic
lemon juice

Then the fun begins:

 Boil a big pot of water..and plunge the cabbage leaves in until they are soft and pliable.
Cut the leaves into squares (that's why you need a nice big cabbage) and place some mince mixture in the square, fold in the ends and make a neat little parcel.

(Boy I didn't think it was so hard to write a recipe!) Before you do the rolling bit, you need to have another saucepan (if you have one)..and line it with cabbage leaves..this will prevent all sorts of bad things happening.  Place the little rolls in the cabbage lined saucepan..pack them quite tightly.

But I have forgotten one extremely important need to place lots and lots and lots of unpeeled cloves of garlic in amongst the cabbage rolls.  Don't be timid with this. Top the saucepan up with water..add some salt.

With the tomatoes, scoop out the fleshy bits which you put on top of the rolls. I try to use as many tomatoes as I have people coming to dinner.  Another forgotten step...reserve some of the mince mixture and stuff the tomato shells.  The stuffed tomatos (with their little cut off tops back on) go on top of the cabbage rolls. (This may have been an "Olga" extra.)  Cover with a tight fitting lid and gently simmer for about one hour..then add the lemon juice and simmer for another 30 minutes or so.  Remember, just a gentle don't want to burn the bottom layers of the cabbage rolls.

If all else fails, check the internet, sure to be hundreds of versions on there. And I can't wait for feedback from Shannon or whoever else dares to follow my recipe.  Now I know why celebrity chefs get paid so much money!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011


My commitment to blog and photogragh the meals I cook from the new WW cookbook (Cook Basics) continues.  I did cook the Vegetable Pasta Bake on Saturday night but was way too hungry to get out the camera. It was very, very nice.  As I tend to do, I launched on the recipe, and realised I didn't have all the ingredients..but being resourceful, used what I had in my pantry.  The borlotti beans turned into cannolini beans..and I left out the spinach leaves (didn't have anything to substitute - and felt pretty certain that iceberg lettuce would not quite cut it).  But will definitely make that one again.  And there are leftovers in the freezer.

It has been years and years since I contemplated cooking (or even eating) sweet and sour chicken.  For some reason I was drawn to page 23of my new cookbook.  So tonight was the night to put the recipe to the test.  Well, I just loved it.  My only change to the recipe was the additon of celery which did add a crunch to the texture. 

 There are so many recipes in the book I want to try.  Can't wait.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday Flowers and a Beautiful Autumn Day

Granny's orchids in full flower:
 And some pretty bouganvilla:
 A beautiful pink camelia (which I remember buying about 12 years ago)
 Another camelia which has been around the garden for years and years and is always forgiving of the lack of care:
And lastly a day lily..beautiful one day..gone the next:

A New CD

I was listening to the Music Show with Andrew Ford the other Saturday morning and heard an interview with Tim O'Brien.  I liked his music and I liked what he had to say.  It was an archived interview from the Blue Mountains Folk Festival.  Not having bought a new CD for a while, I had no hesitation in checking out Amazons..had a bit of listen to the a few reviews and clicked on 'pay now'.  It arrived on Friday and has been delighting me ever since.  Pretty well a 'love it' from the start and that is always a good sign. 

Just had to share the blurb on the CD: 
" I called some friends together and we played this stuff without a lot of thinking.  It felt good doing it - whatever else happens is gravy.
My dad's gone but I see him smiling"
And another little quote:
"Dedicated to the memory of Frank A O'Briend Jr who often said "I have never had bad ham.  I've had some that's better than others, but I've never had bad ham" 
Bit like life, actually.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

You've got to love technology!

Just enjoying Saturday night at home..listening to some beautiful music..enjoying a nice glass of wine..text message telling me to go to Orange and log in and put in a password and voila...this gorgeous photo of my darling daugher comes up.  Here she is sitting in Liberty of London, one of our favourite London haunts.  Thanks to Bek for taking the photo.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Weight Watchers @ Work

I am sure everyone has heard of Weight Watchers..the most successful weight loss program there is. I have been so lucky to have been part of Weight Watchers @ Work conducted at my workplace, the Queensland Teachers' Union.  It all came about following an informal conversation with me friend Jann. We are in our second session at work, and eventhough I am a life member and really need not attend, I just love our little sessions on a Thursday.  Brian, our leader, from Weight Watchers, has been amazing.  I really don't know how he comes up with so many little inspirational tips to keep our little group on track. Anyway, today I said I would photograph my dinner and put it on my blog.  Well, I have a favourite at the moment and it is from the Programme Cookbook..Japanese Chicken on sushi rice.

Well I think I need Donna Hay to help me out with my food stylist skills.  But it tasted good eventhough I forgot to include the sugar snap peas (I discovered them on the bench later). But I did add some capsicum for colour. I went a bit crazy with my camera then and couldn't resist taking some shots of my seahorses (a gift for my 60th from a my dear friend Ivan).  They are on the wall behind my 'photo shoot'.

By then, Addy thought I should include a photo of her.

Isn't she gorgeous?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Parks and a Poem

Addy's need for a 'wee' break on our drive home from Holmwood forced me to stop at a most delightful park at Walloon.  The Henry Lawson Bicentennial Park is home to the moving "Babes of Walloon" memorial which commemorates Henry Lawson's poem about the tragic drowing of two young sisters.

The beautiful poem is even recreated in part on the toilet block:

And to think I would never have discovered this beautiful park if it wasn't for my little dog.