Sunday, May 8, 2016

Eight weeks (part 2)

April arrived in Canberra complete with an April Fool's Day joke from Mother Nature:

...making our local landmark, Black Mountain, topped by the Telstra Tower, disappear in the morning...

...and reappear in the afternoon.

Other highlights of the month included our quarterly care package of American goodies from sister/aunt L...

...two weekends at the coast - one to Kioloa...

...and one to Durras Beach in Murramurang National Park...

...where we got up close and personal with some of the locals...

...and admire some of the oldest gum trees still standing anywhere in New South Wales.


Most of the rest of April was taken up with a combination of school holidays and solo parenting, which meant juggling work with activities around Canberra - and Miss B's and my now-traditional Sunday breakfast of crumpets when DP is away - making the batter the night before is definitely the key to success.

And my latest foray into flower arranging brings us up to date, with autumn taking hold in Canberra - the heat is on, the nights are drawing in, and the slow cooker is getting a workout. What's happening where you are?








Saturday, May 7, 2016

Eight weeks (part 1)

That posting-more-often thing doesn't seem to be working out too well, so here comes another mammoth update - so much that it's going to be in 2 parts!

I've developed the habit of baking a loaf of bread on the weekend just to have some around - not because we've got company coming or any other special reason, but just for us. This is what happens when I leave it lying around.

I took some of my first batch of homemade oat cereal and used it as the filling for some homemade chocolates to bring as a hosts' gift. I thought of it as a variation on the Nestle Crunch-type candy bar, but discovered I like the crispy but hefty (and a little bit salty) oats even better.

This is a chicken recipe involving sauteed onions, chicken breasts, and deglazing the pan at the end with balsamic vinegar. I made it in March and I can't remember where I found the original recipe - it was good, though!

Miss B and I have been trying to make time for creative endeavors - we found these alphabet stamps at Miss B's favorite shop.

My first attempt at a salade Niçoise, with a twist - I roasted the potatoes and green beans instead of boiling them, as in the traditional recipe. An excellent dinner salad for those of you where the weather is warming up.

DP's program has students from about two dozen countries besides Australia, and every year they host an International Day festival. I went this year for the first time - here's a picture of, as you can see, the Anglo-American corner.


Continuing the salade Niçoise theme, I made a pan bagnat - a Provençal sandwich - as my contribution to a potluck cards evening with friends. Given the activity, I thought sandwiches were the appropriate food choice, but as it turns out you need two hands to eat this.


And then all of a sudden it was Easter! The usual suspects: tarrale...

...pizza chiena...


...the brunch spread...

...and this year's new addition: an Easter-egg-themed table runner that I made myself out of tea towels.

I liked it so much I moved it onto the kitchen table after Easter was over, and left it there to enjoy for another week or so, along with some leftover goodies.

Speaking of leftover goodies, that brings us to the end of Easter and the end of March. Next up is part 2: the April recap!




Saturday, March 12, 2016

Cranberry lemonade

Despite the fact that it's officially autumn in Australia, March in Canberra so far has mostly been unseasonably stinking hot - record-breakingly hot, in fact. That means that, instead of breaking out the slow cooker, I'm looking for ways to keep cool and stay hydrated. There's only so much ice water you can guzzle, and I'm trying once again to restrict my Pepsi intake. This is my latest inspiration to seek out alternative options.


Cranberry lemonade
The cranberry part of this comes from the leftover syrup in which I made sugared cranberries at Christmastime - essentially simple syrup infused with cranberries. Simple syrup keeps forever in the fridge, and I usually have a jar on the go. The tartness of cranberries and lemons complement each other, and the sweet simple syrup balances them out - plus you don't have to dissolve it in drinks the way you would sugar.

Fill a glass halfway with ice. Squeeze in 1/2 lemon (about 30 ml/1 oz/2 Tbsp). Add an equivalent amount of cranberry simple syrup (if you're using plain simple syrup, you might not need this much). Fill the remainder of the glass with fizzy water and stir to combine. Drink immediately.

Serves 1. Can be multiplied to share with a friend or two. Would probably also make a nice cocktail with the addition of a shot of gin or vodka.
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