30 April 2013

25 April 2013

We're all Australians now

Australia takes her pen in hand,
To write a line to you,
To let you fellows understand,
How proud we are of you.

From shearing shed and cattle run,
From Broome to Hobsons Bay,
Each native-born Australian son,
Stands straighter up today.

The man who used to "hump his drum",
On far-out Queensland runs,
Is fighting side by side with some
Tasmanian farmer's sons.

The fisher-boys dropped sail and oar
To grimly stand the test,
Along that storm-swept Turkish shore,
With miners from the west.

The old state jealousies of yore
Are dead as Pharaoh's sow,
We're not State children any more
We're all Australians now!

Our six-starred flag that used to fly,
Half-shyly to the breeze,
Unknown where older nations ply
Their trade on foreign seas,

Flies out to meet the morning blue
With Vict'ry at the prow;
For that's the flag the Sydney flew,
The wide seas know it now!

The mettle that a race can show
Is proved with shot and steel,
And now we know what nations know
And feel what nations feel.

The honoured graves beneath the crest
Of Gaba Tepe hill,
May hold our bravest and our best,
But we have brave men still.

With all our petty quarrels done,
Dissensions overthrown,
We have, through what you boys have done,
A history of our own.

Our old world diff'rences are dead,
Like weeds beneath the plough,
For English, Scotch, and Irish-bred,
They're all Australians now!

So now we'll toast the Third Brigade,
That led Australia's van,
For never shall their glory fade
In minds Australian.

Fight on, fight on, unflinchingly,
Till right and justice reign.
Fight on, fight on, till Victory
Shall send you home again.

And with Australia's flag shall fly
A spray of wattle bough,
To symbolise our unity,
We're all Australians now.
AB "Banjo" Paterson

23 April 2013

Sun, surf and sand ... (pt 2)

 Another morning frolicing in arctic water ...

 ... and running on the beach.

A short wander on the rocks.

An unphotographed walk through town and lunch.

A scenic afternoon drive along the Great Ocean Road.

Past the currently almost non-existent famous house on a pole.

Home, relaxed and happy.

20 April 2013

An afternoon in the valley

Long weekends come thick and fast in Victoria at the start of the year and a few weeks ago we had not three but four days off over Easter.

The Sparky and I left our decision to go away a bit too late, particularly given that we needed to find somewhere that would allow the dogs. A nice, quiet time at home though was in the end just what was needed.

As I sat on my laptop on Friday catching up on bloggy stuff and drafting a few new posts I came across this fabulous post over at Not Quite Nigella about a nice sounding place just around the corner.

Easter, chocolate ... seemed like pretty good timing to me.

So Saturday I packed The Sparky into the car and off we went for a drive to Yarra Glen.

The view when we got there was pretty good too.

The menu was almost overwhelming but we ended up deciding to share a pumpkin pizza and a ... lemon meringue tart ... phew, I almost forgot what we'd had! It was all delicious though and we cleared both plates quickly. I could have gone for another coffee but the place was pumping ... Easter Saturday, chocolate, free Easter egg hunt? Yeah, timing was great ... so I decided not to join the crowd again.

It was a lot of fun and we will definitely be back, just maybe on a quieter day!

Oh, and just in case you were thinking that we walked away empty handed ...

A selection of thank you gifts ...

... and an indulgent treat for me.

Thank you Lorraine, we had a wonderful day out and will definitely be back again!

18 April 2013

This is not the greatest song in the world ...

I'm not a food blogger. I just want to make sure that that's out there right up front. Although I have been known to photograph food while we're on holiday, pulling my camera out at a cafe or restaurant is not something I'm likely to do regularly. Neither is taking progress photos of a meal that I'm cooking ... I tend to be concentrating on what I'm doing for starters.

I realise that that may sound a little hypocritical given the number of food blogs that I read, but it's just not me. I like reading it but I don't like doing it.

That said, this is a blog about my life and food is definitely a big part of my life. I like cooking it, I like eating it and I like reading about it. I get a lot of inspiration from the foodie blogs that I read and have been known to comment that I'll be trying out their recipes one day.

One such comment elicited a challenge from the talented Ms I-Hua (yes, she of the fabulous orange cups) to not only try her recipe but to blog about it ... um, yeah.

This however is not Ms I-Hua's Ayam Goreng Hebat ... this is just a tribute*.

I started with one large chicken breast, chopped and marindated for the day in coconut milk, chopped chilli (fresh from the garden!), tumeric powder and salt.

The Sparky decided that rinsing the marinade off the chicken was a waste of marinade and instead tried to flick it off ... resulting in chicken goopy marinade landing on his face, so not a method either of us would recommend!

I mixed the flour coating to recipe, quartered because of the smaller amount of chicken, coated the chicken as directed (flour mix, buttermilk, flour mix) and then ... placed it in a baking dish. I sorry, but you won't find me deep frying at home, I love the results but not the method.

Baking turned out to be a pretty good way of cooking this though ... oh.my.goodness.

Now, I had every intention of making the coconut rice as well (and still plan to at some stage). The Sparky however had a craving for hot chips so while the chicken was baking he popped out and picked up chips and salad, giving us a delicious, simple, delicious Sunday night dinner.

Did I mention it was delicious? We will definitely be having this one again ... with coconut rice and peanuts and all the trimmings next time! 

*points if you get the reference

16 April 2013

Sun, surf and sand ... an Aussie long weekend (pt1)

A few weeks ago, on the Labour Day long weekend, The Sparky and I joined the throngs of Melbournians driving out of the city.

We finished our so-called eight hour days, The Sparky loaded the dogs into the van and I jumped on a tram to meet him along the way. Roughly five hours later we arrived at our camp ground and set up camp in the dark ... trying hard to be quiet.

Two days of hot, hot summer fun followed.

We danced on the beach ...

... drank from rock pools ...
... okay, so that was only the dogs, but we did walk through them.

When it got too hot we jumped in the van ...

... drove to the Cape Otway Lighthouse ...

... which was a nice drive, but unfortunately the dogs weren't allowed so we didn't actually get to see the lighthouse!

From there we headed down to Port Campbell, past the Twelve Apostles and other sights that make this one of the nicest drives in Australia.

Because most of the drive is through National Park, we weren't able to stop and get out with the dogs. This lookout here though gave a gorgeous view of the entry to Port Campbell.

  The forest that you drive through is not bad either ...

... although a little difficult to capture from a moving car!

13 April 2013

MFWF - Herb and Chilli Festival, Wandin

Last year at around this time I made a passing comment over on Ms I-Hua's delicious blog that I would like to get to the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2013, having missed my opportunity to get to any of the events in 2012.

Somehow Festival time snuck its way up on me again this year and it wasn't until Melbourne foodie blogs were overflowing with posts about preview events they were invited to that I realised it was once more here.

Given that my parents were in town the first weekend of events and we were booked to go away over the long weekend, the second and biggest weekend of events, it looked like the Festival was going to pass me by again. I did contact the one restaurant in Apollo Bay that was running a MFWF lunch but as they were upstairs there was no way we could get there with the dogs.
The final weekend there were two events that I wanted to try to get to. One was the pour over class at The Urban Coffee Farm, the other was the Herb and Chilli Festival in Wandin.

Unable to choose between the two, I asked The Sparky which he would prefer ... he chose the Chilli Festival, not surprising to anyone who knows that we have four different chilli plants in our backyard! I did get the impression that he would have chosen the coffee if it was a cold drip class though, information which I have tucked away for future use.

Unfortunately due to the poor weather and the sadly lackluster event I don't have any photos of the actual festival. We did however walk away with two delicious purchases -

The olives are marinated in olive oil, which is not only delicious but means we have a herb infused olive oil left over when they're gone. The garlic and chilli oil is full of chunks of garlic and chilli and tastes absolutely delicious on roasted pumpkin ... which it turns out, I know where to find ...

So overall, not the best event we could have chosen, but it was still a fun day out ... and there's always next year!

05 April 2013

Just dropping in ...

So much to say, so little time! Yes, I'm still singing the same old song ... but I'm singing it in a relaxed, happy tune not a stressed, sick one so I guess that's something. Looking forward to getting a few photos edited and sharing a little more of what we've been up to soon.