Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Salad season is here!

Last day of Spring and I was lucky enough to 'hire a hubby' tonight to help me get things in order around the house before Summer sets in tomorrow.
After a quick stroll along Brownhill Creek to work up an appetite, my surrogate hubby and his 'other woman' (ie. his wife!) came home with me to cook up a feast.
We set Pete to work on the BBQ - I've never seen it look so clean!

Then we girls got to work in the kitchen, frying up some chorizo with chilli, blanched almonds and kalamata olives for nibbles - aided by a lovely cold glass of wine.
On to the salad - a newbie I was desperate to try after a vox pop at work to determine which would be the most popular with male guests.
Warm salad of lamb, zucchini, asparagus and feta won.
Thank you Masterchef Magazine!

The gorgeous little patties were coated in sesame seeds and were just the perfect size.

To keep the boy happy, we also (by 'we' I mean Michelle) put together a tasty cous cous salad.

Ainsley Harriet's citrus tang as a base (yes, we cheated) but then we added craisins, pistacchios and coriander.

Job well done (if I do say so myself!)

We finished off with Eton Mess - completely unnecessary for a casual Tuesday night dinner but it was amazing. We soaked the strawberries in pomegranate juice and topped the layers of meringue with ruby red pomegranate beads for a bit of crunch and tartness to break through all that cream.

We're now resting our fat bellies on the couch, watching The Blind Side. Life is grand!

Warm Salad of Lamb, Zucchini, Asparagus & Feta
Serves 6
Preparation: 30 mins
Cookings: 20 mins
400g minced lamb
150g feta, crumbled
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 Tbs fresh or dried breadcrumbs
2 Tbs finely chopped mint, plus extra leaves to serve
35g (1/4 cup) sesame seeds
150g peas (I used frozen)
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed, thinly sliced on the diagonal
80mL (1/2 cup) extra virgin olive oil
4 zucchinis, thickly sliced
1 wedge preserved lemon, flesh discarded, skin sliced (I just used normal lemon zest)
1 1/2 cups wild rocket
1 lemon, juiced
  1. Combine mince, 100g feta, garlic, breadcrumbs and mint in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Place sesame seeds on a plate. Form mince mixture into 24 x 4cm patties, then place on plate and turn to coat in seeds. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
  2. Cook peas in a pan of boiling salted water for 3 minutes, then add asparagus and cook for a further 30 seconds. Drain vegetables and refresh in iced water. Drain again and transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Heat 2 Tbs oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add zucchinis and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes until golden but still crisp. Add to bowl with pea mixture. Reserve the pan.
  4. Heat remaining 2 Tbs oil in reserved pan over medium heat. Cook patties in 2 batches, for 2 mins on each side or until browned and cooked through.
  5. Add patties, preserved lemon, rocket and lemon juice to vegetables and toss gently to combine.
  6. Divide salad among plates. Top wiht extra mint leaves and scatter with the remaining 50g feta to serve.
NB. We cooked the zucchini and patties on the BBQ - essential for Summer entertaining!

Recipe from Masterchef Magazine, Issue 8, p 106

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A whooping good time

A day at the polo instantly evokes memories of Julia Roberts 'whooping' from the sidelines in her super styley polka dot outfit of Pretty Woman fame.
But what does a day at Polo in the City Adelaide style involve?

Hmm, no royals unfortunately.

But a bit of this (hello pearls!) . . .

And copious amounts of this (well - I was stoked with my one glass of French amongst far too many Bird in Hand pinot noirs)

To end up like this!
(I am so glad I had the sense to take a photo before our 'free-flowing' drinks caught up with us! Am still trying to get used to the new fringe)
We had a brilliant day on the sidelines and while no 'whooping' was involved, we were enthusiastic participants in the divet stomping and after party shenanigans at a nearby watering hole.
Trouble with a capital T.
But oh so fun.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

All I want for Christmas . . .

I've had my eye on the most gorgeous book for weeks now, and just stumbled across the behind the scenes video for it . . .

Fleur Wood's Food, Fashion, Friends is SO me.

A definite stocking filler thank you Father Christmas (Mum, I hope you're reading this!).

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Peony perfection

Nothing better than receiving a bunch of flowers.

Especially when they're stunning peonies . . .

. . . is there anything more beautiful than a big bunch of peonies?

Love the touch of pink on the tight buds.

Completely adored our bouquets for Bree's stunning wedding, two years ago.

(Happy anniversary PS!).

As you can see above, it took two of us (me and Bree's divine neice Emelia) to hold up the heavy bunch!

Peony perfection.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Marvellous Melbourne

Top on my list of 'must-dos' when I visit Melbourne is a coffee and cake at Laurent in the city.
Sublime. Doesn't it just look like a Paris sidewalk above?

I have my mother to blame for this obsession which sees me indulging in a tarte au citron and cappuccino every time. So much for bootcamp this week!

There's something very special about taking time out in the middle of the hustle and bustle of city life and stealing a half hour or so at a table for one with a good magazine or book.

Just call me Carrie Bradshaw!

And I love the fact this cafe features in the 'Lose yourself in Victoria' tv ad. Gorge!

Another 'must-do' in Melbourne in catching up with Lill, my oldest friend in the world.

She was attempting her first ever triathlon on the weekend but still took time out to catch up with me at the cutest little bar/coffee shop at the bottom of the GPO.

Federal Coffee Place. It's fab.

I just love how they make the most of the most obscure of places in Melbourne, nothing goes to waste. Here in the Rad, we lack that 'outside the square' thinking.

Just love the cloisters setting here, very European.

Oh, and the chorizo and fior di latte pizza and cider were good too!
(Not to mention the shopping!)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Vera . . .

I want.

I need.

I have to have.

Everyone loves Vera.

Pic from here

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Blooming fabulous

Nope, that 'Health' magazine is not mine (what a laugh!). But the tapas cookbook, Domino bible and Kylie Minogue book sure are!
I just love coffee table books.
Fabulous square navy coffee table care of Emma
My Granny is just the best. I popped round to visit her and Grandpa tonight after bootcamp (yep, you heard it here first - I am actually EXERCISING!) and they were so excited to see me - the telly was turned off (the VCR set for some British drama!) and I was offered all sorts of food only found in a grandparents' pantry. Nothing like a hug from your grandparents to make you smile.
The best bit about visiting Granny and Grandpa is that you never go home empty handed. Whether it's a carton of eggs, a box of tea bags or some chocolate covered licorice, there's always a treat in store.
Tonight, she presented me with a gorgeous silver tea set that my aunty left for me - a very special gift indeed. Can't wait to host a high tea with macarons and cucumber sandwiches . . . and special silver. Maybe at my sister in law's baby shower, how divine!
Love my Notting Hill photo on the mantlepiece, not happy that it fell off the wall and smashed a few weeks ago!
Granny has a gorgeous garden, she's the envy of the street and is responsible for preparing the Church flowers once a month - I used to love helping her out as a little girl.
I was lucky to spend time in the garden with Granny tonight, marvelling at her knowledge of plant names and helping her collect a few bunches to brighten my little place.

Don't ask me what it is we put together, but I was thrilled with the colours and the instant life it brought to my living room.

Oh, and the perfume . . .

Monday, November 8, 2010

New blog fave

Working in the racing industry, this blog post touched on all the right notes - and get a look at that use of pink and yellow - a girl after my own heart!
I think I'm very slow off the mark to discover Sharnel's fabulous blog, but do yourself a favour and check out My Life My Loves. Stunning.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Super Sunday

Sundays make my heart sing. I love them.

My gorge sister-in-law, brother and Toby the super dog!
Woke up to my brother's dog Cooper giving me a sloppy big kiss this morning - spent the night in the Adelaide Hills at my brother and sister-in-law's place, they always spoil me rotten and you leave feeling so refreshed and rejuvenated after a little country air.
Great lazy breakfast at a little place in Aldgate, then off on the All Paws Walk in support of the local animal shelter (with Toby the Super Dog {who thinks he's a lap dog} leading the way).
My black and white suede ballet flats are a bit worse for wear!

Okay, I know these are peonies, but it's the only pic I could find on file of me with my Granny!

The Sunday fun continued with a quick visit to drop off some of the first David Austin roses of the season to my Granny and Grandpa.

I love giving the gift of flowers, they can really brighten someone's day.

Then a fabulous afternoon followed at the pub with a dear old friend who I haven't had a proper catch up with in months. The sun was out, we enjoyed a few drinks and talked ourselves silly.

Great work to Kimbo from BBT who features in this month's Ivy & Piper online mag. LOVE her striped pillowcases

Five hours later got home to slip into crisp, clean sheets and catch up on my blog reading in bed.
Perfect Sunday!

Just got a text from the gorgeous Ace in London who's heading out for a Sunday lunch in the country. Sunday lunches in the London countryside always make me think of 'The Holiday' - one of my all time favourite movies. Could Jude Law get any more handsome?

How did you spend your Super Sunday?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Ladies who lunch . . .

There's no better excuse to get the girls together than a long lunch in the sun.
The darling Es orchestrated the most fabulous celebration for the sake of a celebration last week, with seven of us girls getting together for copious amounts of bubbles and belly aching laughs.

Es and her hubby to be Ross have created a stunning home just perfect for entertaining with a kick-arse kitchen and gorgeous deck. It was such a pleasure to help out in the kitchen!
Each guest was assigned a course and I chose sides - I've stumbled across some brilliant salads lately and wanted a group of guinea pigs to test them on. I settled on quinoa with lemon, mint, fetta and peas; roasted veggies with hommous; and spinach, avocado, macadamia and lime salad. Top that off with caramelised onion sourdough and we're on to a winner!

Nibbles were by Brooke who whet our appetites with delicious dips and pita - and oh so tender marinated octopus. Lipsmackingly good with sparkling pinot noir!

Es - the hostess with the mostest - followed up with a Donna Hay salad that rocked my world - asparagus, fried haloumi, roast capsicum salad with caper and balsamic dressing. Wow.

Then Caz and Kristy joined forces with main course - the most divine lamb rack EVER. Complete with smashed roast potatoes. YES!

Yep, awesome salads if I do say so myself!

Lemon and dill atlantic salmon for Marissa.

Wow, it looks like Christmas!

To my dismay, I had to leave early and missed Ruthie's berry creme anglaise tart. She even made her own pastry (love your work!). But it looked so pretty and I managed to squeeze in a pic on my way out the door. Spring on a plate!

Lots of fun was had and I can't wait til next year's instalment. Thanks Es!