In My Kitchen December.

Well the month started with a landmark birthday for me so to celebrate we headed to Echuca on the Murray River to take charge of a houseboat for 7 nights. Myself, Mr ATMT, my 3 sisters, brother-in-law, our 2 closest friends and our 2 sons (interchanged throughout the week) spent some lovely hours doing absolutely nothing apart from eating, swimming, drinking, dozing and playing games. Unfortunately our daughter couldn’t make it as they were in Hawaii and were delayed getting back.

Brittania on The MurraySunset starting to roll in.img_3539 Most nights we just ate, played games, had a few drinks and did lots of laughing while the cockies squawked loudly around us.img_1243

In My Houseboat Kitchen.

We ate like kings! Unfortunately I seem to have waylaid a few photos but I can share the Finnish Flaxseed Sourdough load that was made from the recipe Francesca over at Almost Italian had posted, this loaf was delicious and I have been requested to make more and more and more. The recipe was spot on which always makes me happy!

Finnish Flaxseed Sourdough

I had packed some basic supplies and ran a mini ‘how to’ session for making sourdough. The house boat had a gas oven that wasn’t all that good at keeping in the heat so it needed some assistance. You do what you have to do!oven-doorThe loaf actually turned out pretty well considering, but I have had a bit of experience cooking in a dodgy or even without an oven.bread-on-boatWe had a butterflied lamb leg that my sisters purchased at the sensational butcher in Yae. The meat from there was some the best I’ve had in a very long time, roast BBQ’d lamb, lovely fresh asparagus and salad and we were happy campers on a boat.

roast-on-houseboatI was blown away by this lemon & ginger cheesecake that my niece made and was brought along by my sister as a surprise birthday celebration. It was delicious and I kept sneaking a piece every day when no one was around.img_0131-001 I took a batch of Glenda’s orange muffins as these have become somewhat addictive for us. I had made and frozen them to take, they really last the distance very well. Not sure what made me place it on the BBQ to take a picture of, but here it is, looking back at the Murray River before it gets gobbled up.img_0184-001 Before we left I made a batch of sourdough croissants with the intention of taking them with us.img_1161They didn’t make it away and they were delicious!Sourdough croissants Finally In My Kitchen back at home was the making of the Christmas pudding. As is tradition at our place, whoever is around has to have a stir for luck. Look who I found! I’m loving having our grandson around, you turn into complete idiots entertaining him and I love every minute of it!

Pudding stirring
Pudding stirring

Thanks to Liz over at Bizzy Lizzy’s Good Things who takes the time to link us all together for these peeks into what goes on in other kitchens.

Wishing everyone a safe and happy Christmas and holiday season. I’m pretty excited about having a kitchen to entertain and cook in this year! 🙂 

 

In My Kitchen, July or August?

Although our lovely IMK hostess Maureen is recuperating and no ‘formal’ IMK is in place for a while, there are quite a few of us who are still enjoying doing a post under the IMK banner. We wish Maureen well and hope she is back on deck very soon. Here is my ‘In My Kitchen’ for July or is it August? I never quite know if its about what happened the previous month or what’s on the upcoming horizon.

My very first In My Kitchen post was a little rundown on what limited facilities we were coping with and plans for the future vision. I am pleased to say we have come a long way (over a long time) in finally establishing a good working kitchen.

We recently travelled to Greece & Turkey and these are a couple of things I brought back as momentos. From L to R, a second-hand tap just like the ones you see on all the ablution washing stations on Turkey outside Mosques and call to prayer points. This will end up in the garden somewhere and I love it! Then there is a clay pot, some  assorted rolling pins and paddles that are traditionally used for transferring the delicious gozleme to the cooktop and off. I’m finding them very handy as little bread peels. See how well they blend in with the gorgeous bench tops?

Turkish souvenirsOn the right is a clay dish that is used for placing on the top of dolma or dolmades as they cook. Does the same job as a plate but I like the memory of buying it at the Çanakkale market. The shiny little dish below is for presenting little treats to guests, things such as Turkish delight, small pastries etc. I found a set of these in a catering store in Istanbul for 18TL (the set) and in the tourist spots I noticed they were selling for 25TL each. Happy with that find. I have a little bowl full of Ouzo lollies that we bought in Greece ready for anyone that takes a fancy.

Ouzo lollies I  did manage to bring a couple of Turkish plates back. I must admit I was a little disappointed with the shopping opportunities. At the limited places we visited, things were either cheap, or really expensive and not what we considered great quality or value. Love the colours of this plate and it reminds me of the hot air balloon ride we did at Cappadocia. IMG_8636This hand painted plate is very different but I just adore it.Turkish platesIn My Kitchen is the first loaf of bread baked in the new oven. This was baked Saturday and it’s now Wednesday and I had a slice tonight with just a smear of butter. Delicious!IMG_8659The view of cupboards (actually they are all drawers) in the island where the sink and dishwasher is going.IMG_8647New oven and a few more drawers. Why can’t anyone put labels on straight?IMG_8646 Below is the last of the makeshift kitchen. The ‘toy oven’ has been relegated to the shelves and most of the other stuff on this set of shelves will be going to the op shop or chucked. My bread books will be displayed onnsome shelves beside the chimney and the bread ‘trolley’ will probably sit in the chimney alcove.

IMG_8656 The existing wash up area is about to become a thing of the past (hallelujah!) Those beer bottles are not my breakfast dishes but some I tipped old sauce out of while clearing things out.IMG_8655I have an impending sense of being clean and organised, I like that!IMG_8653So, what’s in your kitchen this July? Or is it August?

Tastes of Turkey

One of the things I enjoy most about travelling is the exposure you get to seeing how different cultures eat, cook and celebrate the special events in their lives. The food in both Greece & Turkey was wonderful, healthy, fresh, colourful and varied. I have come home motivated to try a lot of different dishes so I reserved a couple of Turkish cook books at the local library, this one, Anatolia-Adventures in Turkish Cooking arrived Friday so I’ve done a couple of test meals.

Anatolia Recipe BookYesterday I made ‘Ezo The Bride’ Soup, or also known as red lentil and burgul soup. I had been eyeing off a recipe for Turkish Bride Soup that Annabel Langbein has developed but I hadn’t gotten around to making it. This soup seems to have many variations to both the ingredients and the story as to how it evolved, when I googled it, no other recipes seemed to use rice as well as lentils and bulgur and many others used butter to cook the onion first.  I didn’t have enough red lentils so I made up the balance with brown lentils. Served with some pumpkin seed sourdough it was a hale and hearty meal indeed and one I think, that would be extremely high in fibre content. Oops, should have wiped the bowls before taking pictures I think!

Turkish Bride soupI mentioned last post that I made some red pepper paste, this paste is used in just about everything in Turkey. It is as common as our tomato paste is and it is delicious. The version I made is quite spicy as I used my rocoto chillies as well as red capsicum to make it. This pic shows some tomato paste on the left and some weird-looking pepper paste on the right. It has been stored in the fridge with olive oil covering it so it looks strange but you can see the brilliant colour of it. Most of it is still hiding under the layer of oil.

Pepper pasteTonight I made a version of Lamb kebaps with Barbecued salad.

Lamb kebabsThis was delicious! I deviated a little in the cooking as I didn’t have any meat skewers and our little grill pan is all that is available at the moment so it was easier to shape them like kofta. I made these a little earlier so the stove was free to cook the salad skewers, I also included some eggplant in the vegies to grill. The meatballs were reheated just prior to serving.

Kebabs fryingI couldn’t be bothered making pita bread so it was served with some mountain bread (not really recommended) and some greek yoghurt. I’m glad I halved the paprika in the sauce mix as it was quite hot, tasty but just a little too much.

Ready to eat kebabs

Both of the recipes I tried were really nice so I’ll continue testing a few more. I will create a document and add the recipes for these dishes later.

Last year I mentioned we had bought a Kitchen dresser, and that I was going to give it some TLC. I just didn’t like the shiny lacquer finish that had been applied and I wanted it to look far more soft and silky.

Antique kitchen dresser

well I’ve finally been working on getting it to look more like it would have originally. It means going over every part of it with water based paint stripper, lots of sanding, possibly some oxalic acid applications to remove some black staining, lots more rubbing with steel wool then applying a finish of beeswax and carnuaba wax. So far it looks promising as to how it will progress but there is a long way to go yet. This is after the first attack.

Sideboard drawersSome would think this enough to burn the unit but I happen to love wondering about what it may have been that chewed its way along the back of this drawer.SB Drawer eatenHere are a couple of pics taken in a little restaurant in Goreme Cappadocia Turkey. These women sit here most of the day making dumplings, Turkish ravioli (manti) and other beautiful goodies.Goreme mantiThis is the setting our table was placed, you look out over some of the amazing ‘homes in caves’ which is what this area is most noted for.IMG_7137 This will give an indicator as to how much the tourism industry is effected by the unrest in the area. Normally would be packed at this time of year.IMG_7136We under-estimated how much food would be served by a mile. This was the appetizer,IMG_7139Followed by the main meal of Turkish ravioli (this is what the women made) it is about the size of the tip of a finger and painstakingly shaped to perfection. There is about a match sticks head worth of filling in each piece. This was served with yoghurt, red pepper paste and dried herbs. The other dish was smoked roasted stuffed eggplant and I am drooling remembering it! The bread was baked in their wood oven and I thoroughly enjoyed every morsel!Manti

IMK September! ……

Ah, the Winter freeze is thawing somewhat and Spring is technically here, but it’s still cool enough to enjoy comfort food from the slow cooker. With the state we are in with this house, I just don’t know what I’d do without this trusty appliance. I had a pork shoulder going begging and was a little tired of the asian or mexican style pulled pork, so I went random and threw in to the pot, the pork, some celery, carrot, onion, juniper berries, apple, ginger, cloves, a little apricot jam and a stubby of beer. Before serving I added some peas and reduced the sauce on the stove till it was rich and sleek. Served with some mash, topped with chopped spring onion and some toasted baguette. One if those ugly but really tasty meals!
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The sourdough baguettes served with it  were a short, chubby version due to my oven size limitations. Autolyse of about 10 hours (accidental) and overnight bulk ferment in the fridge. These were cooked in the gas pizza oven and even though I dropped the tray as they went in I was happy with the result. Beautiful crust and crumb and tasted really good.

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I recently attended a cooking class at Relish Mama in Cheltenham. The theme was Middle Eastern Vegetarian and although I didn’t learn a great deal about the food, I was really impressed with the format and structure of the day. There were several assorted dishes cooked which we all tasted, I certainly didn’t have to cook dinner that night! A beautiful set up and I got some wonderful kitchen design tips and had lots of laughs. One of the dishes made was a beautiful Freekah salad, not being able to source Freekah locally it was on my list for when I next visited Dandenong. That was Saturday (becoming more frequent), so along with the freekah,

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I picked up some glutinous rice flour to make stuffed Indonesian Pancake (Dadar Gulung). Green batter, coloured with pandan and filled with a sweet, coconut filling it makes a lovely tasty and visual dessert.  I am wanting to have a go at making some Turkish style ice cream but need 2 ingredients I can’t find locally. One is mastic and the other is Salep or Sahlab. I found the mastic in Dandy but not the Salep, doesn’t appear to be too much online either. Happy for someone to steer me in the right direction or even advise if it is necessary to have a success with ice cream or if it can be left out.

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For those who get my regular posts, you are most likely aware of my demolition Monday’s in removing the old kitchen. We have 12 foot ceilings and I’ve been up the ladder with my trusty wrecking bar, sledge-hammer and renovator tool removing the old cupboards. Finally the last of them are gone. Wish I could say I was sorry and how much I’d miss them!
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We can now start marking out some of the new kitchen’s concepts to get a feel as to if it will work or not. The brown wall on the right will be going and the room extended about another 5 metres creating a kitchen/eating/living space.

IMG_2295 I’ve also started sprouting some sweet potatoes. Simply just cut in half and sitting in water that gets changed regularly. I keep the container over one of the hydronic heating vents and should have sprouts appear in a few weeks. The soil in the greenhouse will be quite a bit warmer warm by then so I will be able to plant these out. WARNING, the photo is a bit loud!

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That’s my lot for this months IMK. Thanks Celia from Fig Jam & Lime Cordial for linking us all up. Oh, if anyone has some tips or recommendations for a trip we are planning to Turkey & Italy next year I’d love to hear them. So much to choose from, so ideas from like minded people are always invaluable. 🙂

#RelishMama

 

In My Kitchen-May

It is now 9.43 pm and literally 15 minutes since we walked in the back door after spending Friday, Sat and most of today in Sydney, our state of New South Wales capital city. I’m probably too late for the IMK deadline so I’ll just do a brief summary of what’s in my kitchen (or will be after my weekend in Sydney).

We flew in around midday on Friday and jumped into a taxi to the Chef’s Warehouse that we have heard Celia frequently mention and shown us the delights she has acquired there. My goodness, I am so glad we don’t live too close! I focussed on only buying things I know are hard to source at home and that I could fit into my hand luggage and came away with this little lot. Some clay cookware which I’ve been wanting to get for tapas and breakfasts, in particular spanish eggs. A Really fine mesh skimmer, some bakers linen for using as a couche (once I have an oven I can fit a baguette bigger than a hot dog roll into). A lovely wooden spoon and,

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some new wine glass racks that have a wider base than the ones we use now. This was quite funny as the lady at Chef’s Warehouse didn’t think we’d get them onto the plane as they might be considered ‘dangerous’. She very kindly gave us some bubble wrap we could wrap them in and post home which we had every intention of doing until we got to the airport with our package ready to post and there was  nowhere to post it. A quick discussion with the security people and we were okayed to carry them. Lucky!

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I attended a spice appreciation and blending class at the renowned ‘Herbies’ in Rozelle. This was great but will take too long to cover here, a separate post about that later. I did bring home some special spices and the blend I made up as part of the session. Now to think of a way to use it! I also picked up a lovely new bowl at ‘The Essential Ingredient’, another one of my online shops. This is an extremely short post but after a busy weekend I really need to hit the hay and dream of  how I will use my Sydney souvenirs In My Kitchen!

Thanks again Celia for the link up! Head over to Fig Jam and Lime Cordial to see some other interesting kitchens.

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Sailing on the Gippsland Lakes!

How lucky are we? We have been fortunate enough to share a beautiful weekend on board the yacht of some dear friends. And what a great weekend we had!

Their yacht is moored at Paynesville, which is the gateway to the Gippsland Lakes in eastern Victoria. A series of channels, inlets and small protected harbours separated from the ocean by dunes and hills create a boating mecca and a wonderful environment for birds to take up residence and breed.  The bird life is sensational! Pelicans, parrots, gulls of all species, swallows, terns and black swans. It is reputed that habitat for up to 20,000 water birds is within the Gippsland Lakes.

The weather was sensational as was the company and the whole experience. Here are a few happy snaps from the weekend.

MooringOur overnight mooring. Snug as bugs securely tied up. Went for a walk to check out the ninety mile beach. Beautiful!

90 Mile beach

Back to ‘camp’ for some R&R, prepare dinner and await the sunset. We did also imbibe in some (much) wine to help pass the time.

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Dinner was curried chicken, salad, spinach and ricotta croquettes, some baked tarts and oven roasted vegies.

Sated, we settled in to watch the skyline.

IMG_9959Weren’t disappointed with that, stunning indeed! The turning point, when you know you are definitely being transported from day to night.

IMG_9935 Sunset Gippsland LakesThere is something magical about being on the water, no mechanical noises, birds tittering, lapping of the waves and mother nature puts on a performance of beauty and wonderment. There was much discussion about moon phases and astrological patterns though out the evening. Everyone is an expert at these times of course! Unfortunately we didn’t have the equipment to shoot good photos of the moon waxing or is it waning? Is it a ‘d’ or an ‘o’? Long story that’s no where as interesting without a few bottles of wine to help.

Gippsland Lakes Junk

Many different water craft on the lakes. Thought I was back in Asia for a bit.

There were lots of jellyfish wherever we stopped. I find these stunningly beautiful and very elegant. I love watching them dancing through the water. Was it the Nutcracker or Fantasia that started my fascination with these creatures?

JellyfidhBirds everywhere.

IMG_0068IMG_0034Back to the mooring feeling extremely relaxed and happy to have been able to share such a wonderful time with our wonderful friends. I just love being on and around water, even more so with those we love! What makes you happy?

 

 

Tasmania Top Bits

Just some last highlights of our Tasmania trip. From Tarraleah we headed to Richmond and parked the camping trailer in a great bush site of the Richmond Caravan Park for a week doing day trips around the island. We covered Hobart, the capital, Bruny Island which is the most magnificent island south-east of Tasmania. It had been 20 years since visiting there and although much more developed it is still beautiful. There are boutique food production places dotted throughout Tasmania, many doing some wonderful things with cheese, cider and preserves.  There are many wonderful historic sites of both convict days and early settlement. I’ll continue the tour using the photos!

Hobart Botanical Gardens

One of the places I did insist on going to was where they film the ABC Gardening Australia vegetable gardening segment (commonly referred to as ‘the patch’). This was great to see, it will be so much better now that I have offered ‘my two bobs worth’ (for those outside Australia this means my opinion) to the head gardener.  IMG_3645They have a rocoto chilli planted there that is amazing! Fully laden with fruit, no sign of frost damage and he reckons no protection was offered to it. IMG_5999I have my doubts about that. This is my rocoto after winter frosts and it had carefully and lovingly protected from the heavy frost. Hopefully it will re-shoot!Rocoto chilli frost damageThe Japanese Garden, just beautiful.IMG_6012 Now this is a Mulberry tree! IMG_5989  Just making sure he’s got things sorted before we head off! All looks good. Carry on.IMG_3644Entally House – a beautiful historic mansion (although it is showing signs that funding for restoration and repairs may have been cut). IMG_4002 I was very impressed that it has what is believed to be the only surviving Victorian Glasshouse in the country. Now that’s a greenhouse!IMG_4005 Hows this for a water filter? It must have taken weeks for about a cup of water to filter through and come out the bottom.IMG_4016 This is a cracker! They planted grapes in the garden outside and trained the vines into the glasshouse where they grew along rods ensuring fruits were protected from birds and weather extremes.IMG_4031We accidentally stumbled upon ‘Woolmers‘ a world heritage listed convict site. I wish we’d planned a bit ahead for visiting here. All I can say is if you are in Tasmania and you like history you MUST visit this place. There have been 6 generations of the Archer family living here since it was settled in 1817 and everything they lived with, worked with and played with is still in place. Too much to relay, check it out! I’m going to have to build this in the garden, what do you think it is?IMG_4035 Bet you didn’t pick it is a smoking room! Not sure who would be the grog getter these days.IMG_4033Some pig food! It was great coming back to camp in the afternoon and firing up our Ozpig. We are absolutely thrilled with the way this little beauty performed over the week. Some of our fare was: Vegetable soup with a pork sausage in it of course!IMG_5903 A quick fire up in the morning for breaky and a cuppa.IMG_5907 Moroccan styled chicken and rice.IMG_5985And the highlight I have to say, was the pot-sticker dumplings I made from the leftover pork belly from lunch at the Kettering pub.

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It is with a heavy heart I write this post as our dear friend who lives in Tassie, that we unable to catch up with as they are travelling the mainland, passed away suddenly while they were in the red centre. Love ya Mick!

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Sunset at Richmond

 

Sausage making at Tarraleah. In someone else’s kitchen!

This months “In My Kitchen” is not from in my non-existent kitchen! We have just spent 2 weeks touring the beautiful island of Tasmania which is in Bass Strait south of the mainland of Australia. The only planned event we had was to participate in a sausage making class at the amazing village of Tarraleah which is in the high country of Tasmania, located approximately midway between Launceston and the Capital Hobart.IMG_5867 The rest of our time was spent touring and returning to our comfy campsite based in Richmond. When we decided to do the trip to Tassie, I thought going to a class of some sort of foodie thing would be good to do. Googled, and the sausage making class at Tarraleah came up. Sometimes you just know things are going to be good purely based on the initial communication and service standards that you get. I can only say our experience was delightful. We had booked  a camp site, but due to the minus 4 temps we asked if there was any indoor accommodation available. Some quick compromises were done and we were checked into Scholar House which is the old school of the township. An extension lead out the front door of our room for our camping fridge into the car and we were sorted. The room was extremely comfortable and happened to be in the same building our sausage making class was being conducted. IMG_5802After a lovely dinner at the pub and a great sleep in the extremely comfortable king size bed we woke and headed off (20 metres) to the kitchen not too sure of what to expect. No worries on that front! Small class of 6 lovely people (including us), chef Michael took us through the steps of making Cumberland, Bratwurst, Polish Smoked, Duck with cherry and apple cider vinegar and lamb & wattle seed sausages. We learned how to portion a duck, mince the meat, stuff the sausage casings, make a beautiful reduction for the duck sausages, use a smoker and had a few good laughs to boot. We then had the opportunity to sit down and share the feast while imbibing some great local wine.  I really did enjoy the day, the class offered great basic information and we came away with some great new skills. I am going to return for some other classes they do at Tarraleah as they are very good value. Here are some photos of our very successful day.

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Cutting up the lamb into mincer size pieces.
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\ An assortment of our meats used in the sausages. No skin was used, just lots of fat!
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Making a stock from the duck carcass.
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View out the window at the cold, wet miserable cow.
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Lamb & wattle seed snags.
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Ready to cook, by this time we’d lost track of which were which!
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And more, and more.
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Chef Michael stuffing things up!

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We ate, and drank and continued to eat sausages for a week after the class.

Snags, wine and laughter. Thanks Tarraleah for such a great day! Think next time I’ll suggest a salad to share too though. A little different IMK this month thanks to Celia from fig jam and lime cordial for hosting. But hey, it’s a kitchen! I usually close my IMK post with a photo of how the oak tree outside my kitchen is looking. Amazing how it can be bare one month and fully dressed the next! IMG_4047

Touring Tasmania

This has been our 4th visit to Tasmania and we explore a little bit more every visit. Sadly, our friends who live here are travelling Australia at this time so we will not be able to hookup with them. We have no plans apart from participating in a sausage making class at Tarraleah and going to the Salamanca Market in Hobart. Every other day is just ‘free wheelin’.
We travelled over on the Spirit of Tasmania II with our camping trailer. Weather forecasts of -4 in the high country at night are a little daunting but we can always choose to have some luxury (and warmth) by using a cabin if we feel it’s unbearable.
We had a great start to our adventure, I had been under the pump at work and didn’t think I would be able to get packed or mentally prepared in time but somehow did. I desperately needed some new shoes and had found no joy looking locally so asked if we could stop at the Melbourne Walking Company on our way through to the boat. Sure, no worries, trying to find somewhere to park in Melbourne with a camping trailer attached! No drama, loading zone right out the front, I ran in, managed to buy 3 pairs of shoes and was back out in under 8 minutes? This shop has a great system where can ‘Reserve to Try’ online, you walk in, check out your choices and it’s done and dusted. That’s shopping I can cope with!
Stopped in South Melbourne, had lunch at the Downstairs Bistro with our son and then walked to the National Gallery to kill a bit of time before we could be loaded onto the boat. Off to the South Melbourne Market to get some nibbles to have on the boat. Tasmania has strict quarantine laws so we couldn’t take any fruit and veg, that will have to purchased on arrival. Still a little too early to board, so we found a bar on the St Kilda Esplanade and had a glass of wine while watching the wind surfers.IMG_5651Was plenty of wind to keep them moving! I can’t imagine how sore your upper body muscles must be doing this sport.

Finally, onto the Spirit of Tassie, armed with overnight bag, nibbles, and an extra pillow. Watched the lights on the shoreline for a while, enjoyed some wine and cheese and settled into our cabin for the night. I love sleeping to the moving motion of boats and trains, I had a great sleep even though it was  quite a rough sea. Woke up in Tas!

Offloaded in Devonport and tried to decide on which direction to head over Breakfast. Decision was to go towards Deloraine via Mole Creek, and then to lake St Clair travelling past the Great Lake which is beautiful and has hundreds of fishing huts dotted along its shoreline, many of which look like recycled scrap. Don’t get me wrong, love the recycled thing but it doesn’t do much to the aesthetics of this landscape. It was freezing, wind was really strong and when seeing the snow still on the ground we were a little concerned about setting up camp in such conditions.

IMG_5684At lake st Clair we decided to stick with pitching the camper and set up on an unpowered site. Was not the best pitch we’ve done!

IMG_5701Unfortunately you can’t have fires at many places in Tassie so we gave our little butane camp heater a good workout. It was great. We had packed our Ozpig hoping to use it wherever we stopped but this didn’t seem likely so far. We survived the cold night, worst thing was when you want to go to the toilet in the middle of the night and its about -2 degrees! Good sleep (after I’d braved the cold for a wee), no leaks in the camper and no trees came down. Breaky of bacon and eggs cooked on the electric BBQ, cup of tea was very well received! Did the Platypus Walk around the edge of the lake, it’s so beautiful! Lake St Clair is one of my favourite sites in Tassie.

IMG_3619 IMG_5765Packed up the camper and headed off to see the Wall in the Wilderness. What amazing talent that artist has, well worth seeing. We continued towards our destination of Tarraleah for the Sausage Making Class. This town was originally the base for the community who worked and ran the hydro power station. A complete community that was once busy and thriving. When the hydro station was converted to automation, the town disintegrated and was virtually abandoned. Some forward thinking people purchased the entire village and have converted it to a dedicated tourism and accommodation facility. Cooking classes, conferences, weddings, golf trips, photography etc. You name it, I think they’d cover it. We decided to book a room for 2 nights due to the cold conditions and it was a well made decision.

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Our room in Scholar House, well our bed really, there was so much more to the room!
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Hydro Power Station that was the reason Tarraleah originally was.
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View of the grounds looking at Scholar House.

We stayed in Scholar House which was the old school that has been converted to comfy rooms.  Very reasonably priced and extremely comfortable. We’ve plugged the camping fridge into an extension lead to keep supplies all good, had a nice dinner after a few drinks at the pub the came back to sit by the open fire in our building. Great sleep in the comfy king size bed, waking up ready to tackle making some sausages! Wonder what we will learn! I’ll do a separate post about this class!

From Taraleah, we headed south and made a base camp at Richmond where we found a spot that didn’t mind us having a campfire. The great thing about touring Tassie is that you are never far from anywhere. We decided that it was better to travel a bit each day and come back to a comfy camp site rather than pack up and resettle everywhere. Good choice it turned out!

That’s it for the first leg, I’ll continue with the highlights next post. I hadn’t realised how much I wanted to say about this wonderful part of the world!

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Visit Daylesford-Happy Birthday Liz!

I never quite understand why we have to celebrate the Queens birthday. I know technically we are under the rule of the British Monarch (and I do have issues about that), but her birthday isn’t even close to when we are forced to take a long weekend so I never quite get it. I do however get how important it is to take time out in often stressful lives and times when we are exposed to undue, often unreasonable pressures placed upon us in our working life. We have both been under the hammer recently so it was great to be able to take advantage of the long weekend, hitch up the camping trailer and head west to the picturesque township of Daylesford. Daylesford is the spa capital of Victoria and has much history relating to the gold rush in its past. We didn’t care, all we wanted to do was chill out and get away for a couple of days. Mission was successful, except we came home feeling more stuffed, I think the relaxing process  had started to kick in! A few extra days would have gone down a treat!

We braved the traffic leaving Gippsland at 4.30 and had arrived at the Camping Ground at 8.15, not bad considering we had to go through the city where the traffic was choc-a-block. Did a basic set up only that night, opened up the top of trailer so we had a bed, had a glass of wine and were asleep by 9.30 I reckon. Next morning we set up camp, putting up the awning and annexe, making sure the fridge etc was going and headed off to explore. No agenda, just went on the breeze. On Sat was firstly going to the Daylesford Farmers Market, it was a good market. I got the impression it was quite new, we picked up some lovely goodies including cheese, sourdough bread, olives, a small lemon tart and we ate an exceptional kransky sausage ‘d and served in a roll with onion and a native berry sauce.

Check out the colour of these golden beets!

IMG_4411The market set up at the Daylesford Primary School.IMG_4410How’s this for carrot colour? Heritage varieties I believe.IMG_4412Sourdough bread and some cheese, both good. The lemon tart wasn’t that great, wait for my review on my Worlds best Lemon Tart Facebook page!IMG_4433We also visited the Convent Gallery, a beautiful historic building that takes you right back to days of old. I did somewhat embarrass myself here by singing a Cants style song (Monty Python style) while entering a small ante room only to find the room full of people when I turned the corner. Think they may have picked up on my lack of religious respect!

Convent galleryThis window is hopefully similar to what we will have on the back wall of our kitchen once it goes ahead. Will be able to look out to the oak tree and hills beyond.IMG_4424Beautiful garden at the Convent Gallery.IMG_4422One of the many historic buildings in Daylesford.IMG_4418Main Street of DaylesfordIMG_4414I normally like to excel myself and be a bit daring with cooking when we camp, but this time we were both so ‘stuffed’, I packed the slow cooker and before we ventured out on Sat I threw in ingredients for a green curry and on Sunday spaghetti bolognese sauce. It was great coming home not having to think about anything more than cooking some rice and pasta. We were again, extremely comfortable in our Outback Camper and celebrate the decision to purchase this 4 years ago. It is however getting a little cold for camping without heating, fires weren’t allowed at the campground so it was early to bed in the toasty sleeping bag. We did a naughty sneaky and lit our Cobb Cooker which is a small unit designed to burn heat beads or small briquettes. I’m not really into gadgets but the purchase of this for a song off Ebay a few years ago has proven to have been well worth it. Great investment, you can cook a roast using only 4-6 heat beads, safe and can also grill etc. Found out is also works beautifully as a heater!

Cobb cooker

 

Happy family celebrations!

Happy indeed! While we were away our younger son proposed to his girlfriend and got a YES! We are so happy for them and proud of the man he has grown to become. From the day your kids are born you just want them happy, positive and for me the other wishes were that they are tolerant, non-judgemental of all people and had a strong sense of humour. Proud to say all three of our kids have these qualities and I am honoured to be a part of the lives journeys. Congratulations D&A! Oh, happy birthday Queen Elizabeth too!