Friday, July 30, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Don't tell the American Association for Pediatrics, but I've also been showing Little Bro YouTube clips of diggers. I can't say I find them exciting- diggers making holes, diggers loading trucks, diggers dredging rivers, diggers carrying people, diggers dancing..... but Little Bro loves them. So much so that I have cut back on DiggerTube when Little Bro started handing me the iPad with a hopeful "digger?" The most interesting thing the clips have taught me is that there is Digger Land in the UK where "families can drive heavy machinery". I guess that could be us one day.....!!!
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated's The Best Recipe.
900g frozen blueberries
1 tablespoon cornflour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbs lemon juice
Combine, put in pie dish and bake at 200C for 15 minutes, until the fruit starts to release its juice.
Topping (made enough to cover two of my dishes so I froze the leftovers)
2 cups self raising flour
3 tbs sugar
8 tbs chilled butter, cubed
8 tbs vegetable shortening (I used copha)
1 tbs milk (or more if needed)
Combine ingredients in above order in a food processor until a smooth dough is formed. Roll between plastic sheets (it's quite sticky) and cut out in desired shapes (elephants in this case)
When the fruit has cooked, stir and top with the dough. Brush with milk and 1 tbs sugar, bake 25 min. Cool for at least 10 min to allow filling to thicken before serving
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Slow cooked lamb shank and tomato ragu
4 lamb shanks cut through the bone and trimmed of fat
4 sprigs parsley
4 sprigs rosemary
4 cloves garlic
2 tbs olive oil
250mL red wine
2 carrots, grated
1 zucchini, grated (from my frozen summer giants!)
1 stalk celery, chopped
750 mL tomato passata
500g pasta (I used penne; rice is great too)
Use a knife to cut a slit in a meaty part of each shank and poke in the parsley, rosemary and garlic (Ian Parmenter mentions folding and tying the meat with string...)
Brown the lamb in a casserole dish, remove, reduce heat, deglaze with the wine. Add the vegetables, simmer 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and meat, bring to a simmer. Cover tightly, simmer 5 hours. I do this in my oven set at 120-150C; you could also use a slow cooker or keep it on the stove top.
Remove lamb bones. Cook pasta, top with lamb and sauce.
This meal got big thumbs up from the boys- I will definitely be making it again, though perhaps looking for a cut of lamb that is currently cheaper than shanks!
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Monday, July 5, 2010
The prime consideration in our design plan has been that the bed sits on the North side of our deck, so we want something that is both aesthetic and, like the apple tree, tall and deciduous (the usual shade-in-summer, sun-in-winter factor). I am happy to be corrected, but our requirement for tallness rules out most edible plants in a functional form- the apple tree's out-of-reach fruit was just a possum magnet. B and I quickly decided that this could be the spot for our long awaited "aspens".
As I have shown, aspen trees (Populus tremuloides) are for us a pure Colorado icon, as much as the columbine. White trunks, green leaves in summer, red or yellow in autumn, and bare white trunks in the snow.
The only problem with P. tremuloides aspens is that they don't grow at elevations below 1500 feet: they have no chance in Melbourne! There are other aspen varieties, but I suspect they're not really suitable for the small spot we have and besides, they're not "our" aspens.
So on to Plan B, silver birches (Betula pendula). There are heaps in our area, and with white trunks they are quite aspen-ish to our mind. When we were looking for a house to buy a few years back, one came up with a clump of silver birches, and we decided our future garden would have silver birches. In fact, they became a joke between B and I: until the apple tree's demise we would have had to clear some other garden bed for our silver birches but couldn't decide where. When I'd consult B about other garden design issues, his reply has been "I don't mind-I just want my silver birches". So it's quite exciting to finally have them in the works!
The apple tree's demise has sparked quite a domino effect in the rest of the garden. In the first place the soil in the bed is horrid, so we'll be digging in loads of manure and compost. I've already transplanted the long-suffering rhubarb to its third home, and to make room for the birches we have moved the Mexican orange blossom and the port wine magnolia to one side of the bed and the daisy to the lawn border. The two camelias were sent to our South side yard, which will now be an official acid-lovers bed (despite its own problems).
The plan is then to plant silver birches across the bed, so that their trunks will be a feature to look at. The fence will be covered in a creeper (probably Jasmine as we love the scent), and if I can ever get my cuttings to take root, we'll have a Rosemary hedge, which will tie in with the bed on the south side of the deck. I'm also in the process of ordering blue columbine seeds fron an American company, so the plan is to have wildflowers around our "aspens".
This is one of my biggest garden design job ever, so I'm dying to see the finished product!!
Saturday, July 3, 2010
The first conference I went to was in Vail, and this was a view of one of the hills, showing the aspen forests which are overtaken by conifers at the more exposed points. The most memorable part of the conference (with apologies to the organisers) was that one evening there was a fire alarm during dinner, and who should be one of the responding fire fighters but thehusband of TV's original Bachelorette!Our final Colorado Fall experience was a hike near Steamboat Springs. We started in aspen forests...
Friday, July 2, 2010
Thursday, July 1, 2010
So... there were 22 comments in June, so random.org will select one from that... and if it's my comment I'll count back to the last external comment.
And the winner is.......
Comment #9, which was from ANB about her winning sourdough loaf. Callistemon seeds heading in your direction.... enjoy!