Wednesday, June 20, 2007
MIL will join us on Sunday (she's flying) and we have booked a car to drive up to the Barossa Valley, known for its German heritage (settled by Germans in the 19th century), German food and of course its wines. We'll have a couple of days there before driving back to Adelaide for a couple more days and then take the train back.
So I'll be taking an enforced blogging break as I doubt I'll have the opportunity or time to get to the internet. See you when I get back!
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Today I received my Chancellor's Medal, for "distinguished service" to the university. It was a wonderful gathering of about 30 people, made up of family, former colleagues, and academic staff from the humanities departments I liaised with during the 16 years I worked at the university. The Chancellor (seen holding the medal in the photo above) is a lovely, warm woman and put everyone at their ease. The academic who nominated me and gathered support from various sections of the university and with whom I've enjoyed working with for many years, is at the right. I spoke my piece and impressed Oldest Son with the fact that I looked at my cheat sheet only once. The cheat sheet by the way was nicely bound in handmade paper with a five hole pamphlet stitch.
I was joking with the Chancellor, saying that since I retired I've taken up crafts, and when I looked at the medal, all I could picture was using it as a stamp or something to emboss! But really, I could use it to do rubbings...
Monday, June 18, 2007
When he rang from Sydney I asked him how he felt about being back in Australia. He said when the plane was coming in from Sydney he got a little teary eyed, and I thought Oh no, he wants to go back to the U.S. But he said it was because he was really glad to be home again, and that warmed a mother's heart no end.
It's wonderful to hear the boys' laughter and kidding around with each other. They are so close, despite being very different from each other. Now they are both planning to do a beginners Greek course together, which is great. I might be able to brush up on my very rusty Greek too.
Today I'm cooking one of Techie Son's favorite meats, rack of lamb. I know I've posted some lamb recipes before and I was surprised at how many people in the U.S. commented that they hadn't ever had lamb! But lamb is big in Australia, and we eat it often. Here's a simple recipe from The Australia the Beautiful Cookbook, Techie Son was able to make it when he was still in primary school:
1 tsp grated ginger
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 T. soy sauce
2 T. dry sherry
1 T. brown sugar
1 T. honey
1 cup chicken stock
Trim as much fat as possible from lamb and place in baking dish, fat side up.
In a small saucepan bring remaining ingredients to a simmer and pour over lamb. Bake for 50 minutes at 350ºF (180ºC). Serve with rice.
Note: the marinade makes a generous amount, so those ingredients could be halved.
From The Australia the Beautiful Cookbook
*Bendigo is a large town in Central Victoria, and was a major site of the mid-19th century gold rushes.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
However, I have now moved the desk you can just make out on the right of the photo to the family area near the kitchen, and
Another change I've had to make in preparation for Return of TS is buying a new monitor (see above photo). The AC adaptor of my old one started burning up a few weeks back and I've been using TS's monitor in the interim. Has anyone else bought a monitor lately? They are no longer square, but are now wider than they are tall. Seems weird. (I just noticed that the monitor shows this post in mid-draft, also weird...)
I should have mentioned in the last post the name of the scrapbooking place Gina took me to. It's Simply Scrapbooking, details on their nicely designed website. Although it wasn't as huge as the one Miss Eagle and I visited a few weeks ago, it was large enough to be comfortable. Craft places here often seem to be so cramped, you're either bumping into shelving or other customers while browsing. I wish they had stores like Michael's in the U.S.: K-mart sized craft stores = heaven!
Friday, June 15, 2007
I know it is said time and time again, but I just have to say that blogging has to be one of the best ways EVER to meet people of similar interests, people who I would have missed out on, no matter how many clubs I joined. It's actually sad to think that before blogging I could have walked past these two wonderful ladies, in the city, at a local shopping centre, even lived in the same suburb, and I would have never made their acquaintance. So I am rejoicing at the opportunities that blogging provides, plus having the time to take advantage of those opportunities. (Oh, have I mentioned lately that I'm retired? heheh. It's almost time for me to do a post summarising my first year of freedom).
Thanks to Gina I have discovered a new source of paper and wonderful collection of stickers, as well as other craft items. And I'm glad Gina was there to show me the way to this shop as it was in an out of the way place, but well worth it.
I couldn't help comparing the experience of following Gina (with her, to me, mysterious Andre Rieu scarfed draped in the rear window) and that of following Miss Eagle a few weeks ago, again leading me astray to another craft heaven. Gina is a lot easier to follow, whereas Miss Eagle bolted out of the blocks in her station wagon and it was a case of catch me if you can until we reached our destination. lol!
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Here are some of my latest creations.
A couple of books I made practising a new stitch on the spine. The larger of the books has on the cover a little kimono made with an origami technique. Instructions for a similar kimono are found here.
Recently I did a printing workshop at Barb's, and surprised myself by drawing a giraffe which I then carved out of a rubber block to be used as a stamp. Here I've stamped it onto a paper that has a background made from using bubble wrap and a perforated piece of scrap metal. Lots more to experiment with.
Saturday, June 09, 2007
Receiving my ring, made of silver, which I prefer to gold. In the second photo I was having a little laughing cry.
This was a lovely day in the Berkeley hills. Very relaxed, no need for rehearsals or catering, we and the guests brought food which was lovingly made. We were able to chat to people as we later sat down on picnic blankets under the trees. Some of my students were there, including Annette and Robert.
Friday, June 08, 2007
The mattress the Man Who Cooks is sitting on was our sofa - oh so typical of the place and time!
Coming soon: photos of our wedding...
Saturday, June 02, 2007
As my son went off to his casual fill in job as dishwasher at a very fancy restaurant this afternoon – Mel and I have never eaten there, but Toby gets to eat their beautiful food on his food break! – he said that I should make sure to save some of that Syrian chicken for him. So it sounds like I can sometimes compete with a fancy schmantzy restaurant with a French chef, no less! This recipe is from Karen Martini (great name!) who writes for the Sunday Age. She's been away on maternity leave but her column returns tomorrow. Welcome back, Karen!
Syrian chicken with ginger, lemon and saffron
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 tsp ground turmeric
size 14-16 free-range chicken, cut into 8 pieces (NOTE: size 14 = 1.4 kg = 3 lbs, size 16 = 1.6 kg = 3.5 lbs)
100ml olive oil
2 brown onions, thickly sliced
100g fresh ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
5 cloves garlic, bruised with the back of a knife
2 small red chillies, split
2 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 pinches saffron threads
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
5 sprigs thyme
1 lemon, juiced and zest finely grated
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp vegetable stock powder
1/2 bunch coriander leaves
cooked couscous or rice, to serve
Combine salt, cumin, cinnamon, pepper and turmeric in a large plastic bag or container with well fitting lid.
Add chicken pieces and shake to coat.
Heat olive oil in a large heavy-based pan over high heat. Add chicken and brown on all sides. Remove from pan and set aside. Add onions, ginger, garlic and chillies to pan and cook for 3 minutes, adding a little more oil, if necessary. Add tomatoes, saffron, cumin seeds and thyme and cook for 2 minutes.
Return chicken to pan and add lemon juice and zest, honey, currants, stock powder and enough water to just cover chicken. Cover with a lid and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes. Uncover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until chicken is tender and cooked through and sauce is slightly reduced. Stir in coriander. Serve with couscous or rice. Serves 4