Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Treasures and the Last Days of Summer

Once a year the local fire brigade has a big fundraiser.  The whole town gets together on this day to devour sausages, pop their children on deflating jumping castles, and most importantly, buy each others donated junk. SOOOOO much quality junk.  It's like a tiny  fair, with an auction and bits and pieces for sale. Delicious scones and jam, silent auctions of donated goods (we won some great wine), and did I mention quality junk?  The kids all bought a little something with their pocket money. I just love it. I was trying to be restrained this year but overdid it on the books. Who can resist fill a bag for $3? And 50cents for 80s records, treasure I tell you!

I now have a bulls head (fake) to go with the Queen of the Rancho (I know it's just a loan sister).  Who could resist? I also acquired some lovely porcelain Mexican items to put in my succulent collection. Are you seeing the quality?

The big Bowerbird mentioned she would like a desk for her room this week and voila, as I walked up to the Auction stand no one was bidding on this treasure. Sold to the ecstatic looking lady for $5. I love the auction, watching who will buy what, and wondering how much items will sell for. I could have bid a bit higher on that lovely door mirror, but there's always next year... 

The family laugh at my keenness to arrive early so as to nab the best bargains, poor dad is quickly placed on kid duty as I nudge my way into the crowds. I even left a guest with baby to arrive early, it was 10am and we did find her easily when she arrived later (yes I am feeling a little guilty). All those old wordly goods, I just love to look and wonder who owned them before. What stories they could tell. What they say about our town and its history.

All the kids got their faces painted, this is post long hot day but you get the idea. One cat, one owl and a monster.

 Then to cool off, a wicked water fight. Luckily I was holding the camera and hence untouchable.


 Then we sat with a beer on the verandah bathing in golden sunlight, watching the children slurp quickly melting icy poles.

A perfect day.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Quinoa Vegie Burgers & More Zuchinni

Quinoa Vegie Burgers.

4 smallish zuchinni grated
2 small carrots grated
2 spring onions chopped

2 cloves garlic chopped
4 eggs
approx 4 cups cooked quinoa (measured when cooked)
dukkah and/or spices to taste
3 tablespoons flour

Mix it all up together - this is a very generous recipe and made about 15 large patties.

I cooked up a lot of quinoa (I pronounced this incorrectly for a good year before I had to unlearn what I had learnt) as a side dish and made the burgers as a way of using up the left overs and what we had in the garden. All very approximate measurements. Gosh it's easy to overestimate how much quinoa you need to cook when it's dry.

So much of this going on around here!


 Fry on BBQ or in frypan into flat patties.
I think this would have to be my favourite vegie burger recipe to date, soooo easy and many possibilities to add different ingredients.

I sliced these delicious "fairy" eggplants thinly and barbequed them to have on the side, they are creamy yum.  They have even converted the Big Bowerbird to eggplant. Even those who don't like eggplant are enjoying watch these purple stripy beauties grow. 
This is how we had the quinoa the first night. Just plain with Stephanie Alexander's Kitchen Garden Companion "Warm Saute of Zuchinni, Pine Nuts and Currants" amazing zuchinni recipe.  The big Bowerbird has a penchant for balsamic vinegar and this is her favourite way to eat zuchinni - with a balsamic glaze. 

We may turn green by the end of summer.

And there are still more on the bench awaiting consumption. Lot's of nectarines from our tree and cherry tomatoes aplenty.
It is safe to say we have a summer glut. Such a lovely problem.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Magical Birthday Party

The party took almost a year to come around.  Such anticipation and discussion, I was concerned it could only end in tears after all the two year old hype. I limited numbers, knowing that being the centre of attention is what every 2 year old thinks they want, until the day arrives.  There has to be some knowledge gained from having 3 kids.  We have had some serious tears at big birthday parties.  As the time got closer the little one wanted to know if we were walking or driving.  The mass decorating of our house and thorough explaining hadn't provided the writing on the wall, of course she can't read yet and the whole party was pretty abstract in her mind.

Our plan to picnic by the Fairy Tree in the Fitzroy Gardens was quickly changed when the forecast took a turn for the worse.   Ahhhh, manic house cleaning ensued, with grumpy mummy bribing small children with computer time. They earned a whole hour and really held up their bargain to be mega super helpful.
Every day is a dress up day in our house and there were plenty of fairy dresses to choose from, but in the end she chose this princess dress. I found this vintage treasure in an op shop before I had number 3, and have had it stored in my junk room forever. What a glorious find, one of those rare moments when mother and daughter love of a garment converges. There's tulle under that skirt.

Dad is wearing green stockings and the most amazing latex elf shoes, he surprised us with a visit to the costume store.  The best family picture of everyone else is the one where I've chuckled and given myself a nasty double chin - isn't that always the way! Lucky I'm the editor.

I was tempted to go and buy evil party food, in keeping with my lazy summer disposition, but some very helpful suggestions from Christine of Slow Living Essentials saved the day.  Mid summer we are at the peak of our vegie patch harvest and are not short of food to share, it just requires preparation.  I was so pleased I made the effort. For lunch we had - home made pizzas - two vegetarian and two child friendly cheese ham numbers.  Two zuchinni slice because those green guys need eating. The real winner for the day was the home grown potato wedges - so yum. I did one lot with garlic and rosemary and another lot covered in dukkah - they were a huge hit and very simple to make - just cut into wedges and cover with oil and flavourings and bake for about 1/2 an hour.
The birthday cake was a zuchinni chocolate and pecan cake.  The recipe is from here  Amazingly no one could taste or even recognise the three cups of zuchinni it contained.  A wonderful simple recipe, I might hold back a bit of oil next time but definitely a great cake.  We also had little Tinkerbell cupcakes because the little Bowerbird is obsessed with her lime green delightfulness.  

Nanna brought a beautiful fruit platter and we pulled out a huge bowl of recently picked blackberries to share, all of which was eagerly devoured.

The big Bowerbird made these amazing freezer cookies ahead of time, so they only required baking on the day.  They were utterly delicious and not one was left. I particularly loved the World Peace Cookies. In fact there was only zuchinni slice left for dinner so we guessed the catering quite well.


Checkout that fabulous spotty number.  The little one said - "I like your dress" to which the spotty one replied "You can touch it if you like", when you're looking special it's good to know it.

One of the problems with your own children's parties is that you're usually too busy to take pictures. Twas a lovely party with many sweet moments to remember. The bubble wands were a slight failure as we bought our bubble mix from the two dollar shop and it was a bit cheap and nasty and didn't stick to the wands which we had tested earlier.  We did send the wands home with our guests, along with some home made soaps the children had made, and zuchinnis. So pleased that the shop buys were limited to eggs, ham, cheese and flour.

My little baby really isn't so little any more. Gosh that 3 year point has me yearning for more. It all seems so doable at this age. Just exquisite that moment when you first hold them in your arms.

Happy Birthday Little Bowerbird, I hope we get to share many more with you. At the end of the day she declared that when she turns 39 she is going to have a robot party, would be very cool to see that one!