Sunday, 29 May 2011

Cut off

The computer has gone to hospital and has been there a week now. No internet! (I don't have a mobile phone etc), so no blog. I hope to be connected to the world again by the end of this week.

I am really missing my daily catch-ups with the world!

Friday, 20 May 2011

Autumn morning

Walking in to Ballarat to do some shopping, I stopped at the top of Dana Street and looked out across to Mount Buninyong.

(Click on this picture)

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Boasting and baking

I went to Clunes Booktown last Saturday and made an egg & bacon & herb pie - an old favourite - to take along. Best picnic dish ever. Easy, too.

You layer freshly cooked bacon pieces, then add a thick layer of  chopped fresh herbs - parsley, thyme, chives, sage - then a layer of eggs, each just broken a little and a touch of cream, black pepper and a LITTLE grated nutmeg very lightly stirred in with the tip of a fork so the eggs mostly keep their shape. If you're greedy you repeat the layers, and cook the pie a bit longer.

I bought a few fascinating books and had the best scones from the tea and scones room at the RSL.
As well as books I brought home apples. Clunes streets are planted with apple trees and apples were falling out of the trees.

I wasn't the only one who took a few apples home. 
Some of the Clunes apples became a tart tatin, or upside-down apple tart.

This is so easy! You wash but don't peel the apples and cut them in half across the middle, so that you can see the star of pips in the centre. Just take out the littlest bit of the stem and core. Put a clove in each half then sit them in a baking dish on butter, lots of brown sugar with cinnamon and with the peel side on top.
I usually add honey, or apricot jam to the brown sugar etc. This year I put in a little of my quince jelly.
Bake very slowly until the apples are glazed and super soft, smell delicious but still keep their shape - and the sauce is thick and just a little runny in the pan. Put the pastry on top and bake it. When it's cooked and cooling, you turn it upside down and the pastry soaks up all the sweet sauce. Beautiful hot or  cold.

This is my quince jelly.

I  made it just after Anzac Day. Quince jelly is something I don't always achieve. I never know, each time I cook up a batch of fruit jelly, exactly what I will make. I  have made quince syrup, I have made crabapple paste, and one sad year I made feijoa rubber - yes it bounced and had a burnt rubber tang to it.

This is real jelly, and it stands up for itself!

Now what will I make with the last of the windfalls?

In praise of shorter days

Now that the days are shorter I'm getting up in time to greet the first light of the morning, without any effort at all.

and the moon is out earlier, so I can catch her when I'm walking the dogs.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

May days

May is a misty, smoky, melancholy month. I love these mild days on the edge of the wintry cold.
This is good sewing weather. I am ready to start quilting the new quilt. 
It's good walking weather too. I'm walking down to Main Road tomorrow to have a second look at Maria Cook's excellent quilts.

Heritage weekend

The steam trains were back at Ballarat station for two days.

You could hear the whistles all through the city.


Last Saturday and Sunday the city held its Heritage Weekend. I was particularly touched by the young people I saw in the New Ballarat Cemetery (1860s new cemetery). 
They have undertaken to maintain the inscriptions on the oldest Chinese graves, the the graves of people with no families here to look after them.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Samhain offering

For Ceres and Proserpina, for Demeter and Persephone.

Yes, I am mixing my seasons and myths, but  the year is turning to winter, here in the south of the world, and violets are flowering - my mother's favourite flowers.

Friday, 6 May 2011

A sewing seizure

I was sorting out some material on Wednesday evening.  Then I began to play, cutting bits up and stitching other bits together.

It all began to work well .

 More selecting.

 Some rejections.

A lot more stitching. I've been sewing away for two days now.

  Paddy lurks under the table, popping out now and again to see if I am ready to go for a walk.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

The elusive saffron milkcap

Off to Creswick, an old forestry town with lots of pine trees, hoping for saffron milkcaps at 7 am this morning.

Lots of lovely poisonous funghi. These usually grow alongside the delicious saffron milkcaps, but not this year.

Of course, just because people can't eat these it doesn't mean they don't provide food for other creatures.

We did find ONE saffron milkcap, and it was being eaten as we watched.

Next week, after the rain that's being forecast, we shall go west of Ballarat, to less peopled parts, and search for our favourite mushie again.