Tuesday, December 18, 2012

our family christmas

We had my husbands family over on the weekend for our family christmas and yes it was on that particularly scorching hot day! I had to re-think my menu a little bit so I was spending as little time in the kitchen as possible and I was using the stove as quickly as possible. I know I said I was going to do a chicken ceasar salad but I just couldn't face bacon and eggs AND schnitzel in that heat. I'd found a recipe in the Christmas edition of the free Coles magazine (hey, you never know where you'll come across a decent recipe!) so after a few adjustments, things cooked and kept in the fridge and a quick pan fry later - it was done! And it was delicious, of course teamed with a few other things on the table. : )

chicken, haloumi and cherry salad


4 chicken schnitzels (either crumb your own chicken breasts or buy them crumbed)
1 bunch of aspargus
50g peppery baby rocket leaves
1 cup cherries
1 pack of haloumi

2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1 TBS lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, peeled and chopped in half
1 tsp dijon mustard
a pinch of caster sugar


This salad is lovely cold and the components of it can be made ahead of time and thrown together at the end!

About 4 hours before eating - place olive oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat and cook schnitzels together until cooked. When you take them out of the pan, drain them on  paper towel and leave to cool for about 30 to 45minutes and then cover with foil and keep in the fridge.

About 2 hours before eating - Fill kettle and put on to boil. Trim ends of asparagus and give them a wash. Place them in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. set aside for 1 minute. Drain and place in a bowl of cold tap water for 2 minutes. Drain, pat dry with paper paper towel then wrap and place in the fridge. Chop cherries in half and take out the pits, discard the stalks. Keep them in a zip lock bag in the fridge.

About 30 minutes before eating - Put dressing ingredients in a glass jar with a lid. Shake and set aside. Doesn't need to go in the fridge.

Just before eating - Get your platter ready. Wash rocket leaves and scatter over the platter. Place some olive oil in a frying pan and place over a medium high heat. Take out the asparagus and scatter over the platter. Slice the haloumi however you like and fry each side for 1 minute or until lightly browned. Take out your schnitzels and slice into strips. Scatter chicken, haloumi and cherries over your platter. Discard garlic and drizzle over dressing. Serves 6 -8 as a side.

The remainder of my menu included a mix of bread rolls served with organic butter; a seafood platter of oysters, a balmain bug and fresh prawns served with tartare sauce, seafood sauce and a gorgeous garlicky aoli. I also put together a small platter of smoked salmon with crostinis, baby capers and some dill. For dessert we had mini magnums plus! my Christmas sundae and let me tell you, it all went down an absolute treat! As you can see I got the kids to paint "Christmassy things" on the paper table runner and to save myself even more time we used paper plates for eating and paper bowls for prawn shells and I had arcopal bowls with lemon and water for finger bowls and apparently salt on ice makes it melt slower! : )

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas with family and friends!
Eat, Drink, Be Merry!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

simple christmas dessert or christmas sundae

Sorry it's been a while. We are all so busy, I know! Life has been turned up to 11 for the last few weeks around here.....the end though is in sight! Christmas day is only 40 days away!! I can't wait until I sit down with my family, tear open a few presents, listen to some bad jokes and eat way too much good food. Yay!

I came across Sara Lee Fruit Inspired Mixed Berry Icecream a few weeks back and I was immediately transported to Christmas. It has that lovely creamy/fruity/slightly spicy flavour of pudding icecream. Seriously! So I thought I would layer it with a few other Christmassy things to create a simple christmas dessert that anyone would love.......unless of course you're a vampire.

simple christmas dessert or christmas sundae


>1 litre Sara-lee Fruit Inspired Mixed Berry Icecream
>Christmas Cake (I used Big Sister Premium Rich Mini Christmas cakes 80g each) One cake did 2 desserts.
>1 punnet of fresh blueberries, washed and dryed with kitchen paper
>Ground cinnamon for sprinkling


select your serving bowls/glasses and layer the ingredients however you like. Top with blueberries and sprinkle with ground cinnamon. Just make sure you get the icecream to cake ratio just perfect!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

anzac biscuits and old cookbooks

I've tried many recipes when it comes to Anzac biscuits and this recipe is a blend of all of them. It's not a tricky recipe by any stretch of the imagination but it's the little things. Salted butter is a must! Stirring the dry ingredients really well to distribute everything evenly is crucial and baking for exactly 12 minutes will give you approx 15 small pieces of heaven!

I love coming across old cookbooks on my travels as more often then not there are little snippets of recipes scrawled down on a torn piece of paper, cut out from an old newspaper or handwritten or even typed in a letter. I recently came across The Radiation Cookery Book from the 30s with such treasures hidden inside. I was going to pop this gorgeous old book in my shop but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I'm funny like that with cookbooks though; they mean more to me than money.

Within this little book was a typed letter. It's not dated unfortunately but it looks to be from the 50s or so. I love it! At the top is a recipe for garlic steak. Under this is a letter from Babs to Aunty Viv,

"I was speaking to Win last night and she said that you asked for the recipe (though recipe was typed as receipt!) Here it is Auntie, hope you like it as much as we do. You see I must show of to some one that I can Type, and as I'm in the typing mood to night, you will have to suffer the impersonal touch of the typewriter, sorry dear.

How are you anyway? I suppose like the rest of us, rather busy preparing for Christmas, oh, by the way June Tipper and Jimmy Vile have announced their engagement, I only hope that June Proves worthy of Jim, and I guess we will have to try and like her a little better. the ring is beautiful, I'm green with envy.

We are still struggling with our Flat trying to make it look like home, but I hope by Christmas it will be nice. I ran of the rails there, didn't I?.

Well my dear I will leave you now, hope you find the steak good.

With love from both of us",


priceless : )

anzac biscuits


62g Western Star original butter
30g (1 tablespoon) golden syrup (I use the CSR 500g squeeze bottle for convenience)
2 teaspoons cool tap water
1/2 teaspoon of bi-carb soda
1/2 cup oats ( I use Quaker Oats original pack)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed


Pop your oven on to 160C. Lay some baking paper on a large biscuit tray.

Melt the butter and golden syrup in a small saucepan over low heat until all the butter is melted. Add the water, combine and set aside.

In a large bowl add the remaining ingredients and mix really well. The brown sugar can create small lumps and you don't want to bite into a small chunk of bi carb! Add the melted mix to the dry mix and combine really well. I usually make each biscuit around 22g or so which should give you between 15 and 16 biscuits. Spread them out as they will flatten while cooking. Bake for 12 minutes.

Take out of the oven and leave to cool on the tray for 5 minutes. Remove from the tray and lay on a cooling rack until completely cool. Keep in an airtight container in a cool spot or in the fridge for a couple of days.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

sunny spot

Our friends over at fox drink water let us borrow their gorgeous old day bed when they moved house a while ago. It has had a beautiful old curtain panel draped over it for nearly 2 years now, well until I  washed it and it decided to fall apart....literally, in my hands! So I had a look in our cupboards to see what I could use to pretty up the space again. I'd forgotton about this old single sheet that was originally mine from when I was a little one. I held onto it all these years thinking I would make some pillow cases from it one day! So I wrapped it around the mattress. Then I found the gorgeous old throw that I'd bought a few years ago at an Op shop. I know Winter is well and truly gone but I just love it. It's not perfect, it's a little rough around the edges but it's hand made and the colours go with anything. The pillow is also hand made. I bought it at Marrickville Markets about 5 years ago. I wish now that I had bought more! A lady had made all these gorgeous pillow cases from vintage fabrics and was selling them for $6 to $8 each! I fell in love with the turquoise vase and just had to have it.

After I tucked the sheet in and draped the crochet throw over the day bed and popped the pillow in its spot my son walked over and said, "That's pretty Mum. You should put it on your blog". {melt}       so here it is : )

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My SOS Salad

You know what it's like when you're travelling; especially with kids. It always takes longer then you expect to get to your destination. You never pack enough snacks for the trip. They scream every time you pass a McDonalds and everyone has to have their own individual toilet stop!

When you finally get home and you've thrown the bags into a pile on the loungeroom floor and the kids are still complaining that they want McDonalds  and you look like you've been awake for 3 days,  you go to the fridge, collect these ingredients and throw them together........just make sure you ask some nice person to put them there, preferably that morning! : )

My SOS Salad


1/2 cup cous cous
1 tablespooon butter
1/2 cup each of parsley and coriander, washed and chopped
6 to 10 mint leaves, washed and chopped
1 400g tin chick peas, drained and rinsed
1/2 red capsicum, diced
Salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice

1 packet of haloumi


Pop your kettle on. When it boils add 1/2 cup boiling water to the cous cous, cover and set aside for 5 minutes.

Throw herbs, chick peas and capsicum into a serving bowl.

Slice haloumi into slices and add to a heated frypan that has had some oil added to it. Fry until lightly coloured on each side. (Be careful - 9 times out of 10 I manage to overcook the heck out of haloumi!) Set aside.

Take the lid off the cous cous, put over a low heat and add 1 tablespoon of butter. Stir through until melted.

Add cous cous to the salad and season well with salt, pepper and adding the extra virgin olive oil to give it some moisture.

Serve with the haloumi on the side and some lamb chops if you like and dress it with the lemon juice at the table. This salad is also nice on its own without the haloumi too but who doesn't love haloumi!

serves 4 as a side

Friday, September 28, 2012

diy gelato and hello xmas menu!

Whenever we get away for a break we don't always have internet access or even a t.v. It's kinda weird not knowing what's happening in this crazy world of ours; if only for a few days!

One of the first things I do on Holidays, after I have re-aquainted myself with my husband and let said husband know that if he doesn't spend some quality time with our children the holiday is over! I head to the nearest Vinnies in search of old foodie magazines. I've collected a few over the years. My favourite, Gourmet Traveller. I just love them! They always inspire me; sometimes leading me to other ideas or cuisines. By the time we get to take a holiday both my husband and I are usually exhausted and I've almost always lost my enthusiasm for cooking - especially those last few days when I was making 3 different dinners in one night!...it's a long story.

Holidays are my time to find a comfy spot under a tree, a sunny day and a few magazines to re-ignite me! One of the 3 issues I picked up during the break was the 2005 Christmas issue and you wouldn't believe it except that I am telling you right now - I have worked out the menu forthis years Christmas Lunch!! Yay!

So, this Christmas I am using KISS as my theme - Keep it simple stupid! For starters I am going to serve King Prawns with a fresh lemon pesto - easy; for main I am going to serve chicken.  My brother in law doesn't eat red meat and he's not a huge fan of seafood which leaves me with pork or chicken. So then I had an idea! Usually I'm slaving away in a hot kitchen creating a Roast with all the trimmings in 40C heat. Not this year people. This Christmas I've decided on Schnitzel. Now, just hear me out first before you start thinking it's going to be like the dodgy deep fried you may find at a leagues club. I'm thinking a parmesan crusted schnitzel each piece about the size of your palm, crumbed the night before, quickly pan fried and set aside as I'm getting the entree together. Then placed over a simple Ceasar Salad with some crusty garlic toasted bread. See, Simple : 0

Ok, so Dessert is the big finale! The thing we all hang around for at the end. Usually, at our place, it's a sad fruit platter that one family member (who shall remain nameless) has pre-cut that morning and then driven over an hour with fruit platter flying around the back seat to our house. Then we try for a while to fit the fruit platter in our tiny fridge but there's allready enough food in there to feed the whole extended family and anyone who happens to walk past our house......for  the next year; so then it just stays out on the kitchen bench which is slightly hotter then the sun until the end of the day when we finally eat what the ants have left us.

Back to the Dessert! Did you catch "The Living Room" on t.v the other week? We just happen to flick the channel when Miguel was blitzing some frozen strawberries, strawberry jam, a fully scraped vanilla bean and some cream - Wa-La.....Instant Gelato! This totally blew my mind!! Can you believe it? No stirring over a hot stove until the sugar melts; no need for an expensive icecream maker and there wasn't a sugar thermometer in sight! I knew I had to try this. Back to our holiday, a few pages later I had 2 ideas that I really wanted to try (2 ideas that will become the dessert component of my xmas menu) - Watermelon and Rosewater Gelato and Pineapple and Passionfruit Gelato  - here's the recipe for the latter.......it doesn't get easier then this!

Pineapple and Passionfruit Gelato


1 ripe pineapple
1 small tin of passionfruit or at least 5 - 10 fresh passionfruit, depending on their juice content
1 tin of light or full fat organic coconut cream (you will only need 3 heaped teaspoon fulls)


Chop ripe pineapple  into small pieces (as you want them to blitz easily in your machine) the night before and place in a zip lock bag in the freeezer - you should have about 500g. Separate seeds from passionfruit pulp. Keep seeds in a zip lock bag in the fridge (you can use them as garnish if you like)  You should have at least 1/2 cup of pulp. Pop this is a zip lock bag in the freezer. Keep the tin of coconut cream in the fridge. When you are ready to serve, blitz everything together and dollop into your gelato cup of choice. Serve! Decorate with the passionfruit seeds or without or even add a few pieces of some reserved frozen or room temperature pineapple to garnish. The possibilities are really endless!

I'm ready Christmas!.....Bring it.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

dreaming of paris

I can't quite remember where my desire to go to France came from. Whether it was my love of Art or pain au chocolat's! When I think about it I really can't recall where the idea started and why. The interior of my home is not overly french and I don't really eat french food; I think the most french thing I've eaten in a while is a croissant! I've travelled a little but I've not been to France as yet......but I dream of flying into Paris and going straight to a boulangerie and downing a croque monsieur!
 Many years ago, before I met my husband, an ex-boyfriend of mine was going to France with his brother and his brother's new wife. I asked him if he could buy me something from France. I remember at the time I had no idea what to ask for so I just said, " Anything French". He brought me back the Picasso mug you can see in the 3rd pic. I fell in love with it. I was so proud of this gorgeous mug.... It was  my small piece of Paris! and I have had it on show in every place that I have lived.
A few months back my Mother-in-law announced she was taking a trip to France. (It was to be just before the Tour de France, which was a double whammy for us as my husband is a bike guy!) I said the same thing to her as I'd said to my ex-boyfriend, "Bring me back anything French" and she did! She bought this beautifully simple silver bangle and had my name engraved on it and she found herself in an old antique place she saw the old soup ladel in the 2nd pic and thought of me! Gotta love French enamel!!

I also love looking through French stores on Etsy....places like French Find and Magalerie are always filled with beautiful, beautiful things!
Vintage photos Bordeaux, A booklet with small photos from Bordeaux, France by French Find

Titled: Eiffel Tower Paris by Magalerie

a girl can dream...............but if anyone has a spare ticket.....I'm there!
: )

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Spring Boats

It's here! It's here! Spring! hooray for everybody! We've been out in the garden pulling out the weeds, mulching everything within an inch of it's life and finally bringing the pool back to life; pumping it with 1000ml of algae killer - CLEAR!. The place is finally starting to sparkle again after a very long and very dull Winter. I love this time of year. Sure, the magpies manage to swoop only me in a crowd of people and the August winds love to blow every little bit of debri from the air into our pool, including a lonely sock ( if you're missing one, we've got it!) otherwise, Spring is all good!

Spring Boats - serves 4 as a snack or serve as nibbles - makes 12


12 chat potatoes (try and buy thin longish ones)
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

1 x 160g (4 x 40g) mini tubs philadelphia cream cheese (either plain or I love the sweet chilli one with this dish)

200g Asparagus
1/2 red capsicum
1/4 cup baby rocket leaves
1/4 cup coriander leaves
lemon juice from half a lemon
salt and pepper

How to make your Spring Boats

Pre heat oven to 240C. Pop the potatoes in a large pot, cover with water adding salt and bring to the boil. Boil for 15 mins. Drain well and place on a baking tray with baking paper and using a heavy spoon press down. Not too hard as you want them to hold together but squash them a bit so that you can pop the toppings on. Now drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil and bake for 25 mins.

Bring a small pot of water to the boil. When ready pop in the spears for a few minutes and then drain and refresh under cold water. Chop into 2cm lengths. ( You could also char grill the aspargus if you prefer) Dice capsicum. Chop up the baby rocket leaves and the coriander leaves roughly.

When the potatoes are ready take them out and leave to cool for a minute or 2. Meanwhile, dress the salad with the lemon juice and salt and pepper. Place potatoes on your serving dish, top with the cream cheese of your choice and then top with the salad and serve!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

how i met your father - spring lamb and lemon broccoli pie with minted pea puree

It's Father's Day tomorrow and I am well prepared....for a change ;-) Pancakes for breakfast, Banitsa for lunch and this pie for dinner - plus a gift or 4 in between!

Most people, when asked how they met their partner, will usually say,"Actually, it's a funny story...." Well, ours is a little funny-ha ha but more lucky, I think. A few years passed before we actually met face to face but it's always the getting there that's the interesting part.

After HighSchool I decided to do a Bachelor of Arts in Communication ( I think I wanted to be a writer of some kind....?) and was thrown into a group of great individuals from all walks of life. One person in my year who I was a little in awe of (she was an incredible photographer) was in love with all things American. One day her and I were working on a project in an editing suite. Anyway, next door she overheard this American accent and nearly jumped out of her chair to go speak to them. His name was Jasper and he was actually Swedish but had lived in America for a short time. My friend quickly lost interest but I ended becomming good friends with Jasper and we would often catch up for lunch or we'd go grab a coffee or a beer! He lived in an apartment with  a young guy who was doing his HSC. Attached to the Apartment was a house  where the Mother of the young guy lived. Whenever she was out of town, it was party time! It was at those party's that I would often hear about the young guy's older brother who was living and working in Ireland. So after 4 years, 3 boyfriends, a tattoo and a trip overseas later I turned up to another party. This time I was on my own. I walked into the apartment and realised that I didn't know anyone in the room. I could feel a set of eyes burning into my back and I turned around - it was my future husband  - not that I thought that in that moment!  He was sitting between two girls but I gave him a smile anyway, turned back around and then went on to find my friends. I ended up sleeping over the night, next door in the main house. Jasper told me that Rob (the older brother) was in the bedroom opposite me and that a few other people were crashing on the couch. The next morning I was up early, I found some breakfast and then being the neat freak that I am..... I cleaned the kitchen. yep.... and.....  mopped the floor.....I know! who does that, right?  After I finished I went into the bathroom to find some toothpaste. Rob appeared at  the door and asked in a gruff voice, "Did you clean the Kitchen?" Thinking I was in trouble I answered with equal gruffness, "So?". He smiled and said, "Wow, you can come back whenever you like"......the rest as they say is history.


1 onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, finely diced
1 stick celery, finely sliced
1 carrot, finely sliced
salt and pepper

500g lamb shoulder cubed
1 head of broccoli, chopped into florets (approx. 200G)
1 teaspoon lemon zest and splash of lemon juice
40g butter
18g plain flour
1 cup milk


600g orange sweet potato,(chop into 2cm cubes, boiled until tender, approx. 20 mins from cold water till done).
Dash of milk Mash 
30g  butter
30g parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

3 sheets of shortcrust pastry

To serve on the side

1 and a half cups of  frozen peas
A few mint leaves

How to make your spring lamb and lemon broccoli pie with minted pea puree

For this dish you need to have everything ready to go. Pre-heat oven to 200C and have your baking dish(es) ready to go. Spray with olive oil spray. set aside. Get your sweet potatoes on. When they are ready, drain well and add the butter, parmesan cheese and the dash of milk and mash. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a large frypan add some oil over a medium heat. Saute the onion, garlic, carrot and celery until soft. Place in a bowl. Add the lamb in 2 stages, turning and cooking through. Start the roux.  Take out the pastry from the freezer! Place the butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat. When melted add the flour and stir to a paste. Slowly add the milk and the keep strring. Don't stop! It should take approx. 5 minutes to thicken. When your meat is done add it to the cooked vegetables and set aside to cool slightly. When the roux is done, set it aside to cool slightly. You should have your sweet potato ready too. Now pop your broccoli in a microwave safe dish with the lemon juice and lemon zest and microwave for 4 minutes (850 watt microwave) Now add everything to the roux and add salt and pepper to taste.

Place your pastry in your desired dish(es) Add filling and top with sweet potato mash. Bake for approx. 30 minutes depending on your choice of dish. Just keep an eye on it.

Just before serving pop the frozen peas in a plastic container with a splash of water and cook with an 850 watt microwave for 4 minutes 40secs. drain, add the mint leaves and puree with a stick blender just before serving. season with salt and pepper.

To serve you can have the minted pea puree on the side or pop a bit on the top of the pie. Delicious!
Happy Father's Day Rob and yes, I am still cleaning your kitchen!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

chai tiramisu cupcakes

To celebrate the birthday of the lovely Caroline I wanted to make her a cake that was nothing less then special. I've been thinking about this combination for a while now. Tiramisu is traditionally with coffee so I figured chai tea would work in a similar way. The first time I made this dessert it didn't work at all, actually it reminded me of clag glue with honey; Obviously I'm not very cluey with custard! So to make it a little easier on myself I thought - Cupcakes!  Hooray for Cupcakes!

I bought the very special Dolfin Chocolat, au hot masala. A lovely subtle chai spiced chocolate from Belgium and teamed it with some marscapone and a custard flavoured cupcake - Ta dah! Chai Tiramisu Cupcakes!

Make them for someone special.


3 cups Self Raising flour, sifted
2/3 cup vanilla custard powder, sifted
dash of salt
1 cup caster sugar

2 cups water
2/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons lemon juice

100g Dolfin Chocolat - au hot masala (2 x 70g packets)
2 tablespoons pouring cream

125g marscapone

Ground cinnamon, for dusting

How to make your Chai Tiramisu Cupcakes

Pre-heat oven to 180C or 160C fan forced. Line 2 x 12 hole muffin pans with cases.

Sift flour into a large bowl along with salt and custard powder. Stir through caster sugar. In a seperate bowl combine water, oil, vanilla and lemon juice. Whisk the liquid into the dry ingredients until smooth. Divide among cases. The mix is quite runny, don't worry! I use a 1/4 cup measure which gives me 24 cupcakes exactly.  bake for 25 minutes. Remove when ready and allow to cool slightly in the muffin tray. Cool completely on a rack.

When cooled and you are ready to serve them cut out circles in the top of each cake, cutting an an angle, almost like a funnel shape, keeping each round as you'll place these like a hat over the choc and marscapone (I used a muffin tree which held 19 cupcakes and the chocolate mix was just enough. If you want to make the full 24 chai tiramisu cupcakes you can either use a little less chocolate in each cupcake or use more chocolate in the melting process)

Using a small saucepan add 2 tablespoons of pouring cream and 100g of the hot masala chocolate. Using a spatula stir over a low heat until melted and smooth. set aside to cool for a minute.

Spoon in a little pool of chocolate into each round, top with a little dollop of marscapone (roughly the same amount) place the round at a slight angle and dust with the ground cinnamon. Enjoy immediately. Maybe with some chai tea too!

Happy Birthdays!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

a little place called.....kiama

Not sure if I have mentioned this before but I grew up in a little place called, Kiama.  Back then it was a lot smaller and a lot quieter. I remember we couldn't buy bread on the weekends; and the nice man at the petrol station use to fill up our car for us and give our windscreen a clean too and I always slept with my window open. If it was really hot I'd prop the back door open too which use to be opposite my bedroom door. The smell of the beach, the cool air of the mountains and the warmth of the sunny sunshine always take me back there.

As we get older I think we all have a soft spot for where we grew up, especially if we no longer live there. At the moment I am about a 2 hour drive away from Kiama, which doesn't sound too far away but having 2 small children in the car, it always feels like 8 hours!

Over the last couple of years the following pieces have come my way by chance. Something makes me look under a certain book or peek inside an old yellowed envelope or flick through a stack of magazines or even a fleeting coversation with a new friend from Etsy can bring me exciting things.  From these moments, these pieces have found me and they stay close to me and they remind me of home.

I bought a gorgeous vintage piece from Vegas and Rose on Etsy and the lovely Penthea gave me this amazing spoon of the Kiama Blowhole.......it literally blew my mind!

February 1998 issue of Country Style - Kiama - Mountains by the sea 

A gorgeous old map of the local kiama area from 1932

It now lives in my sons room

8 fabulous old black and white snap shots of Kiama.....I nearly didn't look in the envelope but my curiosity always gets the better of me!

I almost wish this photo of the Post Office was in colour! I remember when they painted it pink in the 80s, yep, pink! It took the town a little while to get use to that one!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

No regretsy on Etsy - 2 years of fun!

Hello there! Today I celebrate 2 years on Etsy...YAY! Here are some of my favourite things - my favourite pieces and my favourite photos! that I thought I would share with you all. time flys.....

I remember when I found this beautiful breakfast in bed tray....my heart stopped beating! I knew exactly how I wanted to photograph it. My great grandmother hand stitched the place mat that you can see in the pic too!

This is my all time favourite picture. Something about milk glass, I just think it is stunning and the colour of this wool with the feather, just divine!
This was the first time my arts background snuck into my listings. This was one of a series that I titled, "Still Life" a piece with various findings and this was one of the items that the lovely Kristy from Flights of Fancy bought. She uses this piece as part of her props now!

If I could, I would fill my house with flowers everyday! and every now and then I buy a big bunch and use them in a photo or 2 for my listings. I loved the shape of this pitcher; it was so thick and heavy and had a real history about it. Just a gorgeous old piece that was perfect as a vase too!

Luminarc glassware is just classic, isn't it? I imagine these being used at a wedding or any fancy soiree. I just loved the light through them and the lady who bought them was so incredibly happy with them. It's always nice to get such lovely feedback!

This set was originally a set of 10 and I sold part of it as a set of 4 so yes, I still have 6 for myself! That blue against the white is just such a pretty combination. The Etsy Shop Sadie Olive even featured this pic on her blog - she loved it too!

My heart went a flutter when I saw these pretty things too! Westminster tea cups in perfect condition with a white exterior and each interior a different pretty pastel tone. From memory this was my quickest sale! It was gone 3 hours after it was listed!

This is one of my most recent sales. I loved this collection of china but each piece had cracks, chips or crazing; they reminded me of the mosaic I bought from the Art Centre many years ago where the artist used vintage china. So I thought these pretty pieces would look gorgeous in a mosaic too!
Sometimes you come across something beautiful where you least expect it. I always love looking at old furniture, not that I have anywhere to put it! but I enjoy looking at beautiful pieces. I remember seeing this gorgeous old kitchen dresser with the prettiest old metal handles in the shape of a rose. I pulled on one, opening  the drawer just slightly and saw these beautiful pieces of old wallpaper being used as liners. 5 pieces of equal size. Just stunning. A lady from the US bought these pieces and I would still love to know what she ended up doing with them!

wow! There were so many more pictures I wanted to add but hey, you can just go and check out my shop......have fun! ;-)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

peanut butter and chocolate freddo brownies

Oh dear, we have been eating our daughters daycare fundraiser chocolates like they are free! Eating one each night along with a cup of tea after the kids have gone to bed. It's an expensive slice of heaven but a small price to pay for a few minutes of sanity in our day! We are half way through the box, only 24 to go.....I am 2 kilos heavier (though that could be all the  lasagne I've been enjoying this winter!) and my husband, who is a keen cyclist, has noticed his waistline has ever so slightly expanded too.....We have to get through these chocolates sooner rather then later and we need to share them with people....lots of people. Maybe I could grate up the chocolates and hide them in a peanut butter brownie?.....done!


1/3 cup  or 70g softened butter
½ cup  brown sugar or approx 90g
2 eggs
1/2 cup smooth full fat peanut butter 0r 120g (at room temp)
1 cup plain flour, sifted
1/4 teaspoon bicarb soda
good dash of salt
2 x 35g freddo frog chocolates, grated

How to make your peanut butter and chocolate freddo brownies
Pre heat your oven to 170C. I reccomend using a slice tin without baking paper as the mix is quite thick and tricky to smooth down. Just make sure you grease it well. Otherwise, use baking paper and smooth it the best you can.
In a bowl add the butter and sugar and beat until light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition until light and fluffy. Stir in peanut butter.
In a separate bowl mix together the sifted plain flour and the bi-carb soda and salt.

Add the flour mix to the egg mix and fold together gently. Add the 2 grated freddo frogs and mix gently.

Add it to your slice tin and smooth down. Pop it in the oven and bake for approx 30 minutes. Take out when centre springs back and cut into 12 pieces or any size you like. Enjoy warm and with or without a sprinkle of icing sugar.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

quilt crazy

I take my hat off to anyone who can sew. When I was young I thought Doris Day was the beez kneez. I remember buying pretty vintage fabrics in buttercup yellow or fabric with little cherry motifs and making my own skirts. Very simple skirts I should add. But that was about as far as I got. These days I let my Mother in law do all the sewing. You see, she is one clever lady when it comes to a needle and thread and one of her big passions is quilting. It's one of those crafts that I didn't really think about until she made my husband a quilt (one of her first) back in 2001. It was just a small one to throw over the couch but it was in these lovely olive, black and mustard tones.  She must have sensed that I was a little envious of this beautiful quilt as  I received mine a few months later for my birthday; a bright yellow and hot pink one! Over the years we have been lucky enough to have been given 7 more beautiful hand made quilts.

Last year my Mother in law moved onto making one for my Brother in law and his new wife and it was spectacular. I was SO jealous!!!  It was different shades of cream with white. Hard to explain but just stunning. My Mother in law asked me if I would like her to make one for our bedroom too. After a quiet happy dance I said, "I would love one!... in soft blues please ;-)". And this is what she came with. If I hadn't seen her working on it for nearly 6 months I would swear that this quilt had been bought from a shop. I take my hat off to you Helen!

This beautiful quilt has brought such calmness to this space. I love laying on the bed flicking through a magazine or sitting on the armchair in the corner reading with the sun on my back....bliss!
the blue circle in the middle is the centrepiece

a close up of all the tiny details

And here's my effort! My Mother in law had some fabric left over so I made a simple tissue box cover to match!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

pineapple chai muffins

I was flicking through a magazine last week and came across a recipe for pineapple and coconut muffins. It made me stop and think. It made me realise that I only ever eat pineapple on pizza! Clearly something  had to be done about this..... Later that week I found myself craving some home made chai tea.  Could pineapple and chai tea thrown together in a muffin really work? Make them and find out........I dare you :)


7grams of ginger, skin off
10 cardamom pods
10 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 cup soy milk
1 tea bag of your choice (I use a plain black tea bag)
3/4 cold water
60g butter
100g brown sugar
1 egg
1x 225g tin of pineapple in juice, drained, juice discarded. Reserve 9 pieces of pineapple for the tops.
170g Self raising flour

how to make your Pineapple chai muffins

pre heat your oven to 180C. Get your muffin tray ready with baking paper, cases and/or oil spray. This mix makes 9 muffins.

Place ginger, cardamom pods, cloves and the cinnamon stick in a saucepan with 3/4 cup of water on high heat, bring to the boil and boil for  4 mins. Reduce heat to medium, add soy milk and the tea bag and simmer for 2 minutes. remove from heat, . Strain the liquid into a jug or bowl  (making sure there is no debris left in the chai tea mix) and set aside to cool. You will only use 1/2 cup of this chai liquid so at this point you could just enjoy the leftovers.

Place butter and sugar into a bowl and beat with an electric mixer untl pale and thick.  Add the egg beating well. Fold through flour and pineapple (don't forget to keep 9 pieces aside) , alternating with the chai liquid until well combined. Pour into prepared muffin tray/cases and pop a slice of pineapple on the top of each muffin mix.  Cook the muffins for about 25 minutes, checking them as you go. Set aside in the tin for a few minutes and then turn out onto a cooling rack.  Enjoy warm from the oven or at room temperature.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Strawberry Muffin Goodness

 Whenever I head to the markets I always have to take some tasty morsels with me to ward off "market fatigue". Even if I've had a decent breakfast of porridge and a cup of tea, after 20 minutes of walking around a market I start to channel Bear Grylls, "Ooooh, is that a grasshopper? mmmmm, this little fella is just oozing with good protein!" That's why I really have to take something with me; especially if I'm going with friends!  
 I like muffins that look kinda healthy. Ones that are preferably filled with a fruit of some description. Ones that don't make you feel so guilty about eating them at 7am! I think this recipe kinda covers all those things........brown sugar is good for you, right?

Strawberry Muffins with oats

 300g plain flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder, sifted
½ teaspoon bicarb soda
Dash of salt
2 eggs, beaten
155g brown sugar
1 cup natural yoghurt
½ cup melted butter (approx. 115g, pre melted weight)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

From 1 punnet of ripe and sweet strawberries, I used 185g (with stalks still on) Take stalks off and slice.
¼ cup oats or quick oats, toasted (You can do this on a piece of baking paper in your microwave. Set to 850 watts, microwave at 20 second bursts for 1 minute. Make sure they don’t burn. Moving them around after each 20 seconds)

Combine ½ teaspoon each of brown sugar and cinnamon, for dusting


Pre heat oven to 190C. Spray your 12 hole muffin tin with olive oil spray or pop in cases.
Sift flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt into a large bowl. Set aside.
Beat the eggs in the base of another bowl. Add the brown sugar, yogurt, melted butter and vanilla. Mix together until all well combined.
Add the wet mix to the dry mix and fold together gently using a rubber spatula. Adding half the strawberries and mix through gently.
Fill your 12 hole muffin tin with your mix. On the top of each one, place the remaining strawberries and top with the oats. Sprinkle with the combined brown sugar and cinnamon.
Bake for 15 – 18 minutes. Just check that they spring back to the touch. They should be lightly browned. Leave in the tin for 5 mins then take out and place on a cooling rack. Enjoy! If taking to a picnic, once they are cooled you can pop them in zip lock bags and keep at room temperature.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Dude Food

Are you watching Masterchef? I love watching the challenges. Not so much the eliminations or even the inventions tests but I happened to see the adds for the "Dude Food" Invention test  that's coming up on on Sunday night and I was reminded of my husband a few months back. I was about to make my usual Spaghetti Bolognaise when my husband gave out a huge 'man' sigh.  Knowing this was his way of saying, "Not Spag Bol again!", I asked him what he would like for dinner. His response, "meatballs?". Phew! I thought he was going to say somethng from here!

Sorry about the meatball pic! It's not the best and I completely forgot the parmesan cheese! So forgive me! Also, the pic above is a little 'man corner' I created for my husband. How cool is the He-Man cake tin?

Spaghetti with Meatballs and Tomato Sauce


1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
10 ripe cherry tomatoes, chopped in half
salt and sugar

500g beef mince
1 carrot, grated
3 broccoli spears, finely chopped
1/2 large or 1 small corn, kernals removed
salt and pepper

250g Egg pasta Vermicelli


Fill a large pot with water. Pop the lid on and put over a high heat.

In a small saucepan add a good dash of extra virgin olive oil and pop over a low heat. Add the onion and garlic and a touch of salt. Sweat over a low heat for 5 minutes.

In a microwave dish add the corn kernals and broccoli and microwave until done (about 2 minutes) Set aside

In a large bowl throw in the mince and add the carrot and salt and pepper.

Add the cherry tomatoes to the small saucepan along with a another dash of salt and a sprinkle of sugar. Add a touch of water. Raise the heat to medium but keep an eye on it that it doesn't catch on the bottom.

Add the corn kernals and broccoli to the large bowl and give it a good mix through. Get out a large saucepan, add some olive oil to cover the base and pop over a medium high heat.

meanwhile, make your meatballs. If you make them small then they are easy to eat bite-size morsels and they will also be quicker to cook too! Have them all ready to go so they will have the same cooking time. When your pan is hot enough, add all the meatballs, starting with the centre of the pan and working your way out. Adjust heating if need be. You don't want to nuke them!

Add salt to the large pot of water and throw in your pasta. Pop 10 minutes on your timer.

Check your meatballs. Start with one of the outer ones. They should turn over easily with out breaking. If they do fall apart then they need more cooking on that side. If they are ready, turn over and pop the lid on. Cook for a few minutes or until cooked through. When ready, place on absorbant kitchen paper.

Drain pasta and place in bowls. Top with meat balls and tomato sauce. Adding fresh ground black pepper, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a huge amount of shaved parmesan cheese. Hopefully the dude in your life will be happy with this!