Long weekend that was-for some! Family celebrations are fun!

Amazing to think that a whole country can come to a halt based around a race horse, but yes, here in Australia we can. I have traditionally been a great Melbourne Cup Day celebrator, but this year there has been so much happening that I didn’t even give it a thought! No sweep tickets, no TAB bets and not even watching the race. Hang my head in shame! The Melbourne Cup is always run on the first Tuesday in November and it is a public holiday for the people who live in the state of Victoria. It has turned into a time when many take the Monday off creating an extra long weekend. Not so for me.

Our son and his fiancé celebrated their engagement with a rather large party on Saturday night and you could not have asked for more disastrous weather conditions. After a beautiful Friday of 28, no wind and balmy conditions the cool front confronted with avengance. Temp slid down to about 13-15, rain was horizontal and the wind was just horrendous. All the planned outside arrangements were put on hold and thankfully our gracious hosts opened their home so the celebrations could continue inside. No mean feat for about 130 people! I had been cooking at every available opportunity for the party and it all went down well, especially the spicy (very) small sausages and the Indian pakora I made. IMG_6179 Just love this Indian pakora recipe of Annabel Langbein. I’ve made it a few times and always served them freshly deep fried but this time I made them ahead of time and reheated before serving. Wasn’t sure how that would go but it was fine. Batter wasn’t as crispy as when fresh but flavour was still good. IMG_6181Served with a minty yoghurt sauce.Cauliflower pakoraThe beautiful couple, though I think Dave may have had a beer or two by now!

IMG_6195Our daughter has a great sense of design style and does some beautiful cake decorating, she contributed this lovely 3 tier chocolate fudge cake decorated with little daisy flowers. Looked lovely and I must admit we are munching on it as I write this post!10424268_1563188050563163_5140644749713191810_nIt was a great party and a great reminder that it is so special having these happy times and celebrations with those we love.

 

 

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!