It's breakfast that gets me out of bed every day to start my morning routine. But sadly, not my own. It's that little guy next to me who wriggles, squirms and speaks, perhaps accompanied by a rude slap on the face, sometimes a sweet whisper, or sometimes a shout, that he is so hungry, his tummy is rumbling and it's time for breakfast. I feel lucky if my little Hugo alarm goes off after 6am, usually it's the around the 5.30 mark. After the smalls' breakfast is under way, I have my first coffee of the day. Then it's usually a chaotic rush to get out the door on time. But after we return from the morning drop off, it's time for my breakfast. Hugo's off playing and I like to sit amongst the breakfast dishes and linger over a second coffee and perhaps some toast with jam, maybe a boiled egg. The morning sun shines in and I eat in peace, whilst reading a library book, a recipe, the mail, or perhaps writing a list for the day. I sit for sometimes three, maybe, four minutes if I'm very lucky. It's complete and utter blissful me time.
I've always loved auctions, the excitement of finding a sought after treasure, fast talking auctioneers, the thrill of winning a bid and hopefully scoring a bargain. That said, auctions are no place for someone like me with a strong competitive streak coupled with a terrible lack of self restraint. I still enjoy a window shop at the rural clearance auctions though. A monthly highlight for folks 'round these parts, it's a social day of catching up with friends and gossip, maybe finding a bargain, all whilst enjoying a delicious refreshment of spooky boiled red sausage in white supermarket bread. Armed with a bag of snacks, wet weather gear and camera, Hugo and I headed off to one this morning in search of treasure.
Despite being a grim, nine degrees with constant drizzle, we found what we (I) came to see, the covetable Massey Ferguson 35X. My dream tractor. Who wouldn't want to be seen sitting behind this stylish piece of vintage farming machinery? As long as it was red of course, I sure would.
The auction had hundreds of old farming relics listed, all laid out in rows at the local show ground. Rolls of wire, old Thonet chairs, the odd chaise longue, jam pans, fence posts, old kerosene tins, even a box of old stamps for apple cases which I would have loved (how much fun would the smalls have stamping sundowner on everything!) Oh how I wished for a few child free hours and wads of cash. However, queues, drizzle and potty training toddlers do not a happy mix make, so sadly we didn't stick around to see what bid lot 496 fetched. Probably a good thing too. I don't know how I would have got the Fergy home. It would look super nice on the lawn though...don't you think?.
Drying our cards and posting them for the kids mail swap...
Making Jack O Lanterns, knowing it's not Halloween but thinking it should be...
Opening a new restaurant called Shoo-shy (shoo shi)...
and serving our signature dish, green moss soup...
And thinking about what to do with this...
What have you been up to?
P.S. Thank you so much for all your lovely comments on my last post! Glad to see so many chocolate lovers out there in blogland ;)
One of the challenges I face with two house bound sickies is keeping them amused whilst they have some quiet time. I guess making chocolate chip cookies isn't probably the best idea, but hey, it's fun and it ticks a few boxes for me. Fun activity - tick, make snack - tick, late night treat for overwrought mama - tick. We used a great recipe from Bill Granger and I'm sure Bill won't mind if I share it with you. It makes quite a dry mix so the children can make dough balls with their hands and place onto the baking tray, so they can work on those fine motor skills and eat the raw mix, cool huh? They flatten out during cooking and make these giant size biscuits, although *cough* these are a teensy bit larger than Bill suggests. But they are fun and it means I met at least one challenge today - tick!
Bill Granger's Chocolate Chip Cookies
125g unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups tightly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 180 . Place butter and sugar in a bowl and beat until light and creamy. Add vanilla and egg and stir to combine. Stir in the sifted flour, baking powder and salt until just combined. Fold through chocolate chips.
Place spoonfuls of cookie mixture on a greased and lined baking tray, allowing room for spreading. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until they turn pale gold. Allow to cool on the tray for 5 minutes before placing biscuits on a wire rack to cool further.
There I was today, snapping away in the garden at the green for today's Eye Spy theme. But I noticed something red. Raspberries? On the canes? I thought they had well and truly finished and had even taken the netting off. Seems the birds have all flown away for the winter because the canes were dripping with fruit. Gosh I was excited::what a bonus!
Anyway, I realise they are red not green, but there is green grass, I'm wearing a green cardi, and obviously I am green (in the novice sense not the in the thumb way) when it comes to gardening. Plenty of green in that.
One of the many stories I remember from reading Barbara Kingsolver's fabulous book, Animal Vegetable Miracle, was the tale of traveling in Italy and discovering an ugly and warty but delicious pumpkin, Marina di Chioggia. An old Italian heirloom variety. Always one to seek out tasty heirloom varieties for my garden, I sought some seeds for myself. No easy task, but eventually I found a supplier of the warty ones.
Ten seeds arrived and after sowing them all, five plants survived. What an incredible sprawling plant the pumpkin is, with massive leaves, curly tendrils and hiding under those umbrella like foliage, the odd green globe treasure. Rabbits, possums and weeds prevented us from a massive crop, but each plant gave us at least one, if not two pumpkins, of this type called a turban. As an immature fruit they have a smooth lime green skin and I was concerned that they'd sent the wrong seeds as there was no sign of any wartiness. But a quick google of the words "immature marina di chioggia image" came up trumps and allayed my fears:: we were on track for some warty goodness. Thank heavens for the internet.
They are a delicious pumpkin with a sweet golden flesh. I'm hoping to save the seeds and plant some more next year. But I should have some spare seeds:: would you like some? I can't promise they will be viable but let me know if you'd like a few seeds and I can share the warty goodness.
I think we'll try to make pumpkin gnocchi on the weekend, with brown butter, crisp sage leaves and some pecorino. I'll let you know how we go, warts and all.
Look at this baby. A Remington Holiday. Isn't it adorable? Gorgeous blue. Makes me very happy every time I clap eyes on it. I'd been on the prowl for one for ages since seeing one here. And since finding one, it's taken a few additional weeks to source a ribbon, work out how to attach it and get it all working properly. But now there's no stopping us. My girl wants to be writer you see. And I figure every budding young author needs a portable typewriter. So that one day,when she's grown up, she can pop (I would say throw but it's far too precious for that) her Remington Holiday on the back seat of her car and head off to a secluded beach shack for some serious wordsmithing. Or perhaps he will...She loves it of course. We all do. It feels real somehow, enduring in a culture of throwaway keyboards. And terribly nostalgic. And it makes such an amazing sound::clickety clickety clickety ping!
I've known of Molly's blog for sometime, but lets face it, there's simply not enough hours in the day to read every gorgeous blog you stumble across, so I hadn't really visited much. But I've just finished reading A Homemade Life, and well now I'm going to make time for Molly. I love her blog. I love her writing and I love her recipes. Her writing is so warm and honest, sometimes sad, sometimes funny, always captivating. You know when you finish reading a book that you've really enjoyed, that feeling of sadness you have that it's over :: you want more but there isn't any? I'm so glad that's not the case here and I can keep reading Orangette. I can find out what Molly and Brandon are up to, or more importantly, what they are cooking whilst admiring the lovely photos Molly takes using polaroids. And she does love to talk about cake. Which is just as well, because I love to read about cake. And eat it. It's perfect.
And if you can get your hands on a copy of the book do, it's well worth suffering the miserable exchange rate for. This cake was a recipe from the book I had to try, super easy and super delicious a French Style Yoghurt Cake, we ate it for breakfast on the weekend. Delicious.