Sunday, June 30, 2013

June wrap-up

June is almost over, and that means it's winter in Canberra now for real. This tree is now completely bare, so I'm glad I got a picture of it early in the month when it was in its full autumn glory. Here are some of the other things we were up to this month:

DP's birthday, which involved a cake disaster of epic proportions - I used a cake stand I'd never used before, and it overbalanced while I was frosting, causing the top layer to fall on the floor. We managed to salvage it, somewhat; it didn't look too good, but it was still an edible finale to DP's traditional birthday dinner of steak au poivre, garlic mashed potatoes, and sauteed greens.

Winter in Canberra is seriously dry, and not just for humans. I noticed that all my wooden utensils were looking dried out, so after some extensive internet searching on various methods, I decided to try walnut oil. My utensils loved it, and so did my hands, plus it's food safe and a little goes a long way. I recommend trying it.

As part of my continuing efforts to waste not, I collected all the stems I had chopped off of several batches of kale and spinach, tossed them with oil, and roasted them as an experiment. The results were promising, but the idea needs more work. Stay tuned.

Miss B's school had a phys. ed. event where all the students rotated around a series of activities placed all around the grounds. This meant lots of extra parents around to help with organizing, and I offered to bring something in to supplement the food we'd be cooking the canteen. I made a batch of oat-fruit bars filled with homemade strawberry-quince jam. (Note quality-control sample at bottom left.)

On one of my canteen days, I also got a special treat - we've had a grandmother visiting in Canberra for several weeks from Canada, and she's been volunteering with us in the canteen as part of spending time with her granddaughter. As a goodbye gift, she brought in a batch of butter tarts, a classic Canadian dessert I've heard lots about but never had the chance to try. They're very rich and delicious - kind of like tiny pecan pies without the pecans.

 DP went on a two-week trip, which always means special treats for Miss B - including one of her favorites for Sunday-morning breakfast: rainbow pancakes.

 Miss B wanted to make a card for her grandmother's birthday, and I decided to join her. (I didn't notice until I posted this picture that I spelled 'Happy' with 3 p's - apparently I got carried away with the rainbow coloring!)

And today DP came home from his trip, laden with gifts for all - including a ceremonial (but real, and very heavy!) kukri that was presented to him as a thank you by the regiment he visited.

How's your June been?


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