Week in review: 16-22 February 2015

This week’s goals:

  • 17,000 steps per day – 6/7 days. Weekly total 137,518 (daily average 19,645)
  • [Private Goal] – 0/7 days
  • Go to bed before midnight (baby steps!) – 5/7 days – 3 of which were 11.55, but it all counts!

This week was a quiet week. Still settling back into school routines and trying to get to grips with new arrangements. Library day is different, PE day is different, music day is different – all good fun to try and remember. I’m trying to put my own morning habits and routines into back place as well as trying to get Juniordwarf to do things like get his stuff out the night before instead of racing round in the morning looking for it.

We’ll get there in the end. Probably the end of term, when it will all fall to pieces again at holiday time.

We spent the weekend at Bacchus Marsh with family to celebrate a significant birthday. It’s not a place I ever would have thought to visit otherwise, but it turned out to be a delightful town, with some lovely old buildings and very friendly people.

The clouds looked like mountains in the sky

The clouds looked like mountains in the sky

It was a very hot weekend, but we had a great time with Slabs’ family and I think his parents must have been thrilled to have all their kids in one place, as it doesn’t happen very often.

Slabs and I took the opportunity of having 6 babysitters to get away for a couple of hours and have lunch at the Bacchus Hill winery.  I mean seriously, what else would you do at somewhere called Bacchus?

Bacchus Hill Winery

Bacchus Hill Winery

Wine!

Wine time back at home!

Bacchus Hill Winery

Bacchus Hill Winery

We enjoyed the wine and the food a lot, and Slabs appreciated being somewhere with a bigger range of reds than most Tasmanian wineries produce. Unfortunately, not having any checked baggage with us, taking some home wasn’t an option, so we’ll just have to go back next time we visit the area.

Impresario Theatre

Impresario Theatre

Bacchus Marsh Court House

Bacchus Marsh Court House

Lerderderg Library

Lerderderg Library

Werribee River

Werribee River

It was 36 degrees or something equally horrific when we got home, and the house was like a hot box. Sleep proved to be very difficult on Sunday night.

Next week’s goals:

  • 19,000 steps per day.
  • [Private Goal]
  • Go to bed before 11.45 pm.
Advertisements

Tassievore Eat Local Challange – Week 4: Tassievore Dinner Party

Once I’d finished my epic 12 km walk on Saturday, it was time to start preparing my feast for the Tassievore Eat Local Challenge. This was Week 4’s mini-challenge: to have a dinner party where all the food is from Tasmania.

I’ll put my confessions up front. The butter we had in the fridge wasn’t Tasmanian, and I forgot to buy some of the Tassie butter. I didn’t buy Tasmanian olive oil. And I’m pretty sure sugar and coconuts don’t grow here. I also used salt, which I didn’t think could be obtained from Tasmania either. (But I later found Spice Tasmania, which does produce a salt blend locally – but from the information on the website, it looks like it’s a blend designed for cooking with fish, not as a general table/cooking salt.)

Now that’s out of the way, I can get on with the post!

“Dinner party” implies more people than just us, so I invited Lil Sis, Mr Tall and their friend Mr Not-as-Tall. Two of these people have worked as chefs, so there was no pressure. None at all.

I decided on my menu earlier in the week:

Course 1 – Dips and vegetables

Course 2 – Pumpkin soup and bread

Course 3 – Slow roast beef from Two Metre Tall with roasted pumpkin, beetroot and baby spinach salad

Course 4 – Apple crumble with Valhalla Ice Cream

Course 5 – Pyengana cheese and the black garlic I bought in Week 1

I bought the ingredients during the week, making sure I was only shopping at Tasmanian businesses (from my previous post) and I was only buying Tasmanian products.

My main problem was getting hold of Tasmanian pumpkin – there didn’t seem to be a lot of it around. I’m not sure if it’s a bit too early in the season, but I was almost at the point of changing the menu to carrot soup, when I finally found some at Eumarrah. Day saved!

I made myself a running sheet so I knew what I had to be doing when. If you’re doing a multi-course dinner I would highly recommend doing this so you don’t forget anything and everything’s ready at the right time.

And here’s how it happened . . .

After I got back from my walk, I put the beef bones (souced from Two Metre Tall quite some time ago) into the oven to roast for the beef stock. I’d never done roasted beef bone stock before, but it’s a great way to do it and the stock I ended up with was fantastic.

Image

While they were roasting, we headed off to the local market for some veggies and some take-home laksa for lunch, because I knew I wouldn’t have time to do anything for lunch.

When we got home, it was time to put the bones and vegetables into the stock pot. It simmered away all day and I took out the stock as I needed it.

Image

At midday I got the beef (a 2.3 kg piece of chuck steak we’d picked up from Two Metre Tall on Friday) ready for the slow cooker.

Image

I seasoned it with salt and pepper, seared it all over and put it in the pot with vegetables, some of the Tasmanian mountain pepper berries that I bought in Week 1, and a cooking liquid that used some of the stock and might have included some of this.

Image

Image

At the same time I roasted the beetroot and garlic in the oven for the beetroot dip.

Image

Once I’d made the two dips (tzatziki and beetroot – using Elgaar yogurt), I had a bit of a break so I could do some housework (yay) and get the dining room ready for guests.

The cooking-in-earnest phase began at 4.00, when I cut up the pumpkins for the soup and salad, the beetroots and the apples. If you ever have to cut up a lot of pumpkin, I suggest allowing about an hour for this task.

Image

Image

The soup cooked away nicely, the salad veggies roasted very well, the apples stewed, the dips were ready for a 6.00 start and I was ready to do this.

Image

The rest of the evening was busy, making sure everything was ready with the other things it was meant to be ready with. You know, things like cider.

Image

I used the Tasmainan mountain pepper in the soup. I served it with woodfired bread from Redlands Estate that we got from the market and cream from Elgaar – and chives from Lil Sis’ garden.

Image

Image

The beef roast was divine. I think it’s the best beef roast I’ve ever done and I’ll definitely do this again. Especially as it needs a bottle of wine to be opened.

Image

I loved the beetroot and pumpkin salad that went with it – the highlight of this was the Tasmanian walnuts from Tamar Valley Organic, (that I got from City Organics). They were cracked open and scattered over the top straight away. Fresh, unopened walnuts are infinitely superior to the opened ones that you can buy in the shops. I always thought I didn’t like walnuts, but now I know I don’t like pre-opened ones. These were wonderful.

Image

The accompanying wine for the main course was another Derwent Estate. This time a 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon, which we love, and managed to get the last 5 bottles from the cellar door a couple of years ago. A worthy wine for this dinner!

ImageImage

I found a very strange recipe for apple crumble online, and the topping reminded me more of an ANZAC biscuit than a crumble topping. It worked pretty well, although I think I could have done with 3 or 4 more apples because they weren’t very big.

Image

We finished off the evening with some Pyengana cheddar cheese and the black garlic I bought in Week 1. It had an interesting flavour and I think it complemented the cheese (and wine) very well.

Image

And that was it. A huge day of cooking. Done. I survived and everyone seemed to be happy.

I really don’t like cooking very much. The only time I enjoy it is when it’s something I can do over a few hours, have a glass (or two) of wine while I’m doing it and get totally immersed in it. This ticked all those boxes, and the fact that it was so close to being completely Tasmanian made me very happy (I’m still annoyed I forgot about the butter though).

I might do it again one day.

P365 – Day 364 – the Taste (and year in review 11/12) (30/12/2011)

Today we went to the Taste Festival in Hobart.

Juniordwarf enjoyed the cups & saucers ride

More cups and saucers

Entry to the Taste

Inside the main hall

Outside the Brasserie. Nice & shady.

Ice cream

Enjoying an ale

Two Metre Tall Ale in a plastic cup?  What a crime against Ale!

Wheelie Bin Orchestra performing “We Will Rock You”
These guys were great!

Juniordwarf enjoyed the Wheelie Bins

The Winery

Year in Review (11/12)

Since my Project 365 is rapidly coming to an end, I’m going post a link to my favourite post from each month this year over the last 12 days of the year.
November: eleven
My contribution to the 11eleven Project.

P365 – Day 258 – happy birthday (15/09/2011)

Today was Juniordwarf’s birthday.
He’d been so excited about it: the holiday, being with Slabs’ family, getting a pirate cake . . . and he said he was going to wear his pirate suit all day.
When I asked him what he wanted for his birthday he said he wanted ‘a pink cake’, and ‘pink presents’. I asked what he actually wanted in the presents, and he said he wanted clothes and The Wonky Donkey. He was absolutely convinced he’d be getting that book, and he didn’t stop talking about it, so that was on the ‘definite’ list.
The plan was for us to take him to Questacon in the morning and then meet Slabs’ family at a park for lunch and a small party.
We gave him two presents in the morning, with the rest to come at the party. He was absolutely over the moon to get The Wonky Donkey (and we lost count of the number of times we played the CD in the car). I also decided that each birthday I was going to try and get him to make a hand print and write his name for a special scrapbooking page, so we had a bit of fun with some purple paint.
No doubt inspired by Fathers Day, Juniordwarf said he wanted breakfast in bed, so we let him eat his toast in bed.
He had a wonderful time at Questacon. He particularly loved the Earthquake house and the roller coaster simulator, as well as the kids section, Mini-Q.

We met up with Grandma, Grandad, Aunty Purple Bee and Uncle Tee at the park, where Juniordwarf opened the rest of his presents and got his pirate cake that Slabs made yesterday.

We spent the rest of the afternoon at the park and then back at Aunty Purple Bee and Uncle Tee’s house, before going out for dinner.

We had a very tired little boy on our hands at the end of the day.

P365 – Day 232 – party! (20/08/2011)

Slabs and I went to a friend’s ‘milestone’ birthday party.
We dutifully shipped Juniordwarf off to his grandmother’s place for the night (as usual, as soon as we got there he was keen for me to leave, almost pushing me out the door. It’s so nice to feel wanted.)
The party was fun and we had a good night with our friends.
We might have had a few drinks too.
Since this isn’t a particularly interesting photo, I played around with it in one of the photo apps that I use quite a bit, PictureShow, to see what some of the effects were like. I quite like the results. The one above is called ‘HoloGraphy’.
ColorShake

Cross

MultiExposuresBlack

MultiExposures

Vivid