Sunday, April 27, 2014

Silent Sundays

A selection of photos from our second week of school holidays - a road trip to the Great Ocean Road:

Bay of Martyrs

Twelve Apostles
Typically subtle Australian signage
More breathtaking coastline

The Grotto

London Arch

Hiking, Cape Bridgewater Seal Walk

Seal colony and cliffs, Cape Bridgewater
Surf, Cape Bridgewater

Frolicking at Bridgewater Beach

Admiring Cape Bridgewater, post-hike
Local seals mooching freshly caught tuna, Portland Harbor waterfront
Inquisitive (and large!) stingray, Portland Harbor waterfront

The road home and the Pyrenees hills

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter weekend

Canberra is kind of a ghost town at the moment - Easter is a four-day weekend in Australia, and nearly everyone has taken the opportunity to get out of town. However, since my idea of a good time on Easter weekend is cooking up a storm of traditional family goodies, here's what we've been doing:

Friday: making tarrale - with Miss B really getting into it for the first time this year...

...always nice to have an extra pair of hands for this annual undertaking!

Saturday: time to make the pizza chiena - and here they are, just out of the oven... some homemade goodies for the baskets, in accordance with DP's family traditions.
Sunday: the Easter Bunny hits a home run with delivery of a Rainbow Loom friendship bracelet maker - the toy of the moment in Year 4; 8 bracelets completed before breakfast...

...and, of course, Easter brunch for 11, featuring most of the above and a few other things besides. Bonus: after a frosty start this morning, it was warm enough to eat on the patio!

Hope you're having a lovely weekend as well, and a very Happy Easter to all who celebrate!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Unplanned detours

My recently formed small department (four people) has been going through some major upheaval in the last few weeks. And when I say “upheaval,” imagine me cruising along a smooth highway in my little car, only to find I have suddenly been diverted into a game of bumper cars (dodgems?). Not disastrous, but somewhat unnerving. More on that later, I hope, when the dust settles.

Meanwhile, it’s midway through autumn in Canberra: dark not long after six o’clock, temperatures dropping down into the single digits (Celsius) at night, trying to hold off on turning the heat on until ANZAC Day (25 April), in accordance with Canberra tradition. Put the two together and the need for starchy comfort food becomes self-evident.

Short rib risotto
This is more of a suggestion than a recipe; I made my favorite short rib recipe for dinner a few nights ago, and hit upon this as a good way to use up some leftovers. I started the risotto in the usual waysoffrito, rice, wine – and heated up several cups of the short rib cooking liquid, thinned with hot water, to use as stock. I shredded a couple short ribs’ worth of beef to stir in at the end, along with the leftover braised kale I had made to serve with it the first time around. Finished with butter, pecorino romano, salt & pepper.

Top with more grated pecorino romano. Serve in your old bunny dish if necessary.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Rolled pavlova

Pavlova season (and eating-outside season for that matter) is pretty well over in Canberra as of this week; we turned the clocks back over the weekend, which means the sun is setting before 6pm. (Not to mention the 14 days of rainfall we had in March - twice the historical average.) So I'm filing this away for about six months from now, while those of you in the northern hemisphere can get ready to enjoy it.

I've written about traditional pavlova before, and rolled pavlova is just a variation on a theme - same ingredients, different presentation. The great advantage of rolled pavlova is that, unlike the traditional version, which needs to be assembled at the last minute, it is best done a couple of hours in advance and left in the refrigerator to rest.

I used the method outlined in this recipe from, a mammoth and consistently reliable Australian food website. I prepared and baked the pavlova base according to instructions (leaving off the almonds); once it had come out of the oven and cooled a bit, I turned it onto the prepared baking sheet, which I had dusted with confectioner's (rather than the suggested caster/granulated) sugar. Then I spread it with a thin layer of lemon curd, and filled it with whipped cream and my own choice of fruit (in this case, mixed berries) before rolling up and refrigerating for an hour (while we ate lunch). When it was time for dessert, all I needed to do was slice and serve: simultaneously stress-free and impressive, always a winning combination.

Enjoy! Meanwhile I'm thinking it's gotten just about cold enough here to break out the sticky toffee pudding.

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